WA Secretary of State Blogs

Special Edition! Washington Digital Newspapers website is ready for the oldest & newest news!

July 25th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer

WDNWASportsThe latest “news” on the newspaper collections is the merging of two existing collections into a new one called “Washington Digital Newspapers,” (WDN) which will give the public easier, full-text search access to these historic newspapers (move over, Google!). You can now browse titles, view by calendar date or pick a location from a map to search the issues here. The collection currently includes more than 45 titles and over 306,000 newspaper pages. Now it’s also mobile friendly so you can research with your smart phone or tablet device!

The website will also feature some more recent issues of the Eatonville Dispatch (1916-2010), our current digitization project due to be included this fall. Most of the newspapers will be pre-1923, which are considered “public domain” available for students and teachers to download for school research projects without worrying about requesting copyright permissions for use. We’ll be rolling in our earliest pioneer & territorial titles from the Historic Online Newspapers collection, which is currently indexed by subject and proper names, so it too will be full-text searchable over the next couple years.

WDN_WACrimeA recent addition to the collection is the Tacoma Evening Telegraph (1886-1887). More additions by the end of this year include the Centralia Daily Hub (1914-1916), Spokane’s Danske Kronike (Danish/English, 1916-1917), and Dat Moi (Vietnamese/English, 1974-1987). Washington State Library staff will add at least 40,000 pages of new content by end of this year, content that hasn’t appeared in any of the library’s earlier digital collections or on Chronicling America. Just this month the Anacortes Museum signed on to help us digitize the Anacortes American in 2017!

The Washington State Library is a rich resource of information for students, genealogists, researchers and history enthusiasts as one of the best `go-to’ places to find Washington newspapers. We have the largest selection of Washington newspapers on microfilm and we’re excited to be a new associate member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association. This fall we will be meeting with newspaper publishers and editors to help ensure that our history and culture will be best preserved in  newspapers from print, microfilm and into the born-digital world of current news media!


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Washington State Library Digital Collections – Historical Maps

July 14th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the desk of Jeff Martin

The State Archives and the State Library hold extensive map collections dealing with the Washington State and the surrounding region. This new blog post shows two more examples. The first map shows military stations occupied and abandoned as of January 1881; railroads existing and projected; wagon roads, and lighthouses. The map has been reduced in size for presentation.

map 1

Symons, T. W. (Thomas William), 1849-1920.
Title Map of the Department of the Columbia / projected and compiled at the Engineer Office, Department of the Columbia, by Lieut. Thomas W. Symons, Corps of Engineers ; assisted by Alfred Downing and C.C. Manning, topographical assistants, U.S. Army ; drawn by Alfred Downing, topographical assistant.
[Washington, D.C. : Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army], 1881.
Note Electronic data.Relief shown by hachures. Includes list of sources consulted in compilation.  Shows military stations occupied and abandoned as of January 1881; railroads existing and projected; wagon roads, and lighthouses.
“Brevet Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton, commanding Department.”
“Prepared and published under the direction of Brig. Gen. H.G. Wright, Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army.”

The next map shows an emigrant wagon road to California in addition to selected features of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.




Author Mitchell, S. Augustus (Samuel Augustus), 1792-1868.
Title Map of Oregon, Washington, and part of Idaho 
Imprint [Philadelphia] : S. Augustus Mitchell, [1863], c1860.
Description 1 map.
Note Relief shown by hachures.
“Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860 by S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the U.S. for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.”
Prime meridians: Washington and Greenwich.
In right margin: 44.
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Historic Fire Lookouts in Washington

July 11th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

Historic Fire Lookout Stations - StorymapAs we enter, what will no doubt be, another intense fire season in Washington State, it is comforting to know that technology and modern methods are in place to spot and stop wildfires quickly.  But it also brings to mind a reflection on how fires were managed in the early 20th century.  One answer was a chain of fire lookout stations, many built by the CCC in the 1930’s.  “Back in the 1930s the still-growing lookout system seemed like a stable part of the fire protection program of the forests of Washington. “ (Spring and Fish, pg. 11).  “They were placed, wherever possible, so at least two stations could overlap surveillance of the same territory and thus accurately pinpoint the location of a fire.” (pg. 14).  In 1953 the U.S. claimed 5,060 “permanent” fire lookouts (pg. 22) with 685 in Washington.

As keepers of our state’s history the Washington State Library has a variety of resources that help us remember this piece of our past.  One such resource is the wonderful Washington Rural Heritage collection.  This is an ever growing collection of images pulled from personal collections and small historic museums.  Part of the collection includes pictures of fire lookout towers from around the state as well as panoramic images taken from lookout towers.  Pulling images from the Rural Heritage collection and our digital photo collection we decided to create an interactive storymap to keep the history alive.

In addition to the historic images we have several books in our collections about fire lookouts.  So if you are interested in the history, the legends or the modern practicality of how to visit or even cook at a lookout station remember that much of our collection can be requested through ILL.

Doty, Thomas. Trek to Table Mountain: Seasons of Stories. Ashland, OR: Upriver Downriver Productions, 2003. Print.

Kresek, Ray. Fire Lookouts of the Northwest. Fairfield, Wash: Ye Galleon Press, 1998. Print.

Langston, Libby. Lookout Cookbook: A Collection of Recipes by Forest Fire Lookouts Throughout the United States. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Museum of North Idaho, 2005. Print.

McFadden, Tish, and Tom Foley. How to Rent a Fire Lookout in the Pacific Northwest: A Guide to Renting Fire Lookouts, Guard Stations, Ranger Cabins, Warming Shelters and Bunkhouses in the National Forests of Oregon and Washington. Berkeley, CA: Wilderness Press, 2005. Internet resource.

Rideout, Ham. Fire Watch: A Summer to Be Remembered at the Steliko Point and Badger Mountain Lookouts : Memoirs of a Jr. Forest Guard and so Much More! Steilacoom Wash.: N.p., 2006. Print.

Luckily for Washington many lookout stations still exist. Today there are eighty-seven lookouts which remain standing. (Abegg) So, if you’re up for a hike or perhaps the chance to spend a night in a piece of history why not venture out and visit one yourself.

Abegg, Steff. “Fire Lookout Structures.” www.sTePhaBeGg.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2016.

Spring, Ira, and Byron Fish. Lookouts: Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics. Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1981. Print.

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Classics in Washington History- Bigelow Family mementos

July 5th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the Desk of Jeff Martin 2016-06-29_11-41-40

The Bigelow Family mementos are a marvelous collection of memorabilia of an early Thurston County family.   The collection consists of a hand written journal (and transcription), photos, newspaper clippings, and birth, death and marriage records.

Written by

Daniel R. Bigelow

Digitized version of the unpublished diary

[Daniel R. Bigelow diary, 1848-1853] (118, [7] p.) — [Transcription of] the Daniel R. Bigelow diary, 1848-1853 / transcribed by Roger Easton — Reminiscences of the last survivor of the First Territorial Legislature of Washington / Alice Palmer Henderson (The State, [1899?], p. 295-299) — Through many perils : Mrs. [William] White’s journey across the continent to meet her husband … / (account by Margaret Margaret McCallen Stewart White Ruddell, mother of Anne Elizabeth White Bigelow) (Weekly ledger (Tacoma, Wash.), [189-?], p. 12+)

Collection appears courtesy of George Bigelow (grandson of Daniel R. Bigelow); Some pages in this collection are not searchable because they are handwritten.

Daniel Richardson Bigelow was born March 21, 1824 in Belleville, New York. He joined a wagon-train and headed west on the Oregon Trail to Portland, then sailed up the coast in the schooner Exact to Puget Sound in Nov. 1851. He established a law office in Smithfield (now called Olympia). On June 18, 1854, he married Ann Elizabeth White, the first school teacher in the area. Ann was born Nov. 3, 1836 in Illinois and arrived in Olympia with her family in late 1851. Daniel was Treasurer of Thurston County, a member of the first legislature of Washington Territory, Superintendent of the Olympia School, and President of the Board of Trustees of Puget Sound Wesleyan Institute (forerunner of the University of Puget Sound). He was one of three commissioners who completely rewrote the laws of Oregon Territory at Salem during the summer of 1853. Their recommendations were accepted by the Legislative Assembly and enacted into law, creating the new Territory of Washington. Daniel Bigelow died Sept. 15, 1905 at Olympia. Ann Elizabeth Bigelow died Feb. 8, 1926. The Bigelows had 9 children.

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Olympics of the Mind and Body – July 2016

July 1st, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the desk of Shirley Lewis olympics of the mind and body

July 1

Explore historic forts: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Fort Nisqually Living History Museum are two examples which were established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in what later became Washington Territory.

July 4 – Observe our nation’s independence by marveling at the scope of U.S. Government publications. Washington State Library is a regional Federal Depository Library for Washington and Alaska. We’ve got the day off to celebrate, but if you have questions about federal government publications, please Ask a Librarian at the Washington State Library.

July 5

Take a hike — or a walk — Washington has trails for all modes of perambulation. How about the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park? This trail traverses the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, a not-for-profit organization that works to conserve land from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Central Washington.

July 6

Charles Dudley Warner wrote “politics makes strange bedfellows“(Summer in a Garden, Fifteenth Week, end of second paragraph). Here’s a few of biographies and oral histories of notable Washingtonians involved in government, politics, and journalism. Strange bedfellows?

You decide:

July 7

Got dairy? Visit the Washington Dairy Products Commission to learn about Washington’s dairy industry. Check out the Facebook page, too. The cheese doesn’t stand alone in Toledo (Lewis County); it has a parade! Meanwhile, at Washington State University’s Creamery in Pullman, they can Cougar Gold® cheese so you can eat what they can.

July 8

Enjoy the purple haze and fragrance of fields of lavender: Sequim Lavender Festival, Blue Mountain Lavender Farm in the Walla Walla Valley and Pelindabra Lavender (San Juan Island).

July 11

Explore North Cascades National Park – you’ll find beautiful scenery, a landscape of fascinating ecosystems, and hikes which challenge the body and mind. If you can’t make it there, enjoy a new exhibit at the Burke Museum in Seattle: Wild Nearby – Discover Washington’s North Cascades or try reading North Cascades Traveler’s Guide or The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby from your deck chair.

July 12

Discover the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL), a program of the Washington State Library. Located in Seattle, WTBBL provides library services state-wide, at the library and by mail, to any Washington resident unable to read standard print material due to blindness, visual impairment, deaf-blindness, physical disability (cannot hold a book or turn pages), or reading disability.

July 13

Get your kicks with soccer: root for the Seattle Sounders FC, read about the Seattle Sounders famous rivalry with the Portland Timbers or celebrate 50 years of soccer with Washington Youth Soccer.

July 14

Aviation is a super (sonic) part of Washington’s history. Fly high with a Boeing test pilot’s memoir, restore vintage airplanes in the youth program at the Port Townsend Aero Museum, read about and visit Pearson Field in Vancouver, or soar into the Museum of Flight. Learn about flights that didn’t go so well in Aircraft Wrecks of the Pacific Northwest, Volume 1 and Volume 2.

July 15

The Washington Blueberry Commission serves the blueberry growers of Washington who serve us delicious, nutritious blueberries. Find a farm and enjoy those fresh berries.

July 18

Get teed off – go golfing! There are golfers and public courses throughout Washington. The City of Spokane has four municipal golf courses. Chambers Bay, owned and operated by Pierce County, hosted the U.S. Open in 2015; read all about the course in America’s St. Andrews: Linking Golf from its Past to its Future.

July 19

Enjoy the people, places, and rolling landscape on the Palouse Scenic Byway.

July 20

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park near Vantage is a great hike to view the geologic forces which shaped Washington.

July 21

Visit the New Dungeness Lighthouse near Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula – hike or boat to the lighthouse; climb the stairs to see the view; learn how you can be a keeper. Operating since 1857, the lighthouse has a long history. Washington State Library has a copy of List of Visitors to the New Dungeness Lighthouse from 1895 to 1920.

July 22

Ride a bike – the Washington State Department of Transportation works to provide a safe ride for bicyclists. It’s paying off because Washington has been named the nation’s number one “Bicycle Friendly State” by the League of American Bicyclists for several years.

July 25

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Washington Native Plant Society. Washington State Library subscribes to the Society’s journal, Douglasia.

July 26

Come listen to the music in the great outdoors: the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival; the Olympic Music Festival; the Gorge Amphitheatre; and at the Artisans at the Dahmen Barn (near Uniontown in Whitman County) are just a few concerts available.

July 27

Delve into the past and present with Washington newspapers at the Washington State Library. The newspaper collection includes current issues on paper and historic newspapers on microfilm with some searchable online. WSL subscribes to about 125 daily and weekly newspapers throughout Washington.  The microfilm collection consists of over 40,000 reels of newspapers dating from the 1850s to the present. Search Washington State Library’s online catalog for newspapers by City, County, Title, Subject, or Keywords.

July 28

Climbing every mountain? You’ve got plenty to pick from here and some good company, too. Read Jim Whittaker’s A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond, or Fred Beckey’s climbing guides to Washington mountains or Mike Gauthier’s Mount Rainier: a Climbing Guide.

July 29

Get on board a Washington state ferry: cruise on Puget Sound or cross the Columbia River. You can also cross the Columbia from Washington to Oregon on a Wahkiakum County ferry. You might need something to read while you wait in line (it does happen), so try Safe Passage: the Birth of Washington State Ferries: a HistoryLink Book.


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Bet you didn’t know!… Special Collections in Washington State Libraries – #1 The Virginia Woolf Library

June 28th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

woolflibr1In May the Library Council of Washington held their quarterly meeting in Pullman at Washington State University’s Holland and Terrell libraries.  After the meeting they were given a tour of the library as well as a visit to Special Collections and Archives.  As part of the tour the members learned that WSU houses Virginia Woolf’s personal library.  How cool is that?  How did this happen? Questions, we have questions… This chance encounter got the wheels spinning.  How many interesting and unexpected collections are housed in Washington Libraries?  With the Virginia Woolf collection in mind this intrepid reporter decided to reach out to the Washington library community and see what she could uncover.  The result of this exploration will be a blog series we’re calling,  “Bet you didn’t know!”  Episode #1 fittingly, will cover The Virginia Woolf Library.

The first question asked of Trevor James Bond, Head of Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections at WSU was “How did the personal library of a British author end up in Pullman, Washington?”  The story can be traced back to WSU’s former English department chair, John Elwood.  In 1967, while on a sabbatical, he and his wife were living in Sussex near the Woolf’s country home. During this time a friendship was struck between the couples.  In 1969, after the death of Leonard, Virginia Woolf’s husband, a mutual friend, Nancy Lucas, told Ellwood’s wife Karen that a “large portion of the Woolf’s personal library would soon be available for purchase” (Becker).  Ellwood jumped on the opportunity and the purchase was arranged.  The timing was prescient as not long after there was a revival of interest in Woolf’s work.

The collection has been augmented and built over time.  In 1974 a large collection of Hogarth Press (the Woolf’s publishing house) publications were purchased from Trekkie Parsons (a friend and executor of Leonard Woolf’s estate).  A purchase of 400 books in 1979, and another 100 volumes in 1983 helped to build the collection (Becker).

The current collection contains close to 10,000 books and is the amalgamation of four to five libraries that came together.  Books from Virginia’s father Leslie Steven, books from her brother Toby, books from her husband’s library, books from friends and review books.

The Woolf’s personal library tells to us a lot about their reading and provides a peek into their lives and how they thought.  In the library are many volumes inscribed by authors or sent to them for review. The Woolf library reflects how they read and used books; which books are worn and used, which are barely touched. Many of the books arrived in bad condition with detached covers.  Virginia Woolf herself attempted repairs.  Her efforts are described as “slapdash and pathetically inadequate”. (King & Miletic-Vejzovic)

In addition to the books in this collection WSU houses maps that were part of the original acquisition, and almost most fascinating of all there is a collection of “insert papers.” This collection consists of manuscripts, letters, and miscellaneous material that, for a variety of reasons, were placed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf in books from their working library.  (T. J. Bond, personal communication, June 10, 2016)

If you are interested in browsing the collection in the catalog, here is a link limited to just the Woolf library.  Or if you’re in the Pullman area, why not make an appointment and view the collection up close and personal?

Becker, P. (2013, October 25). The first lot of the more than 9,000-volume personal library of Leonard and Virginia Woolf arrives at Washington State University’s Holland Library in Pullman in 1971. In HistoryLink.org. Retrieved June 23, 2016, from http://bit.ly/28SLZC2
King, J., & Miletic-Vejzovic, L. (2003). The library of Leonard and Virginia Woolf: A short-title catalog. Pullman, Wash: Washington State University Press.  Retrieved June 23, 2016, from http://bit.ly/28SC1zO
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Summer Reading in Washington

June 23rd, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

Chld Canoe copyFrom the desk of Carolyn Petersen

Schools are out and kids are signing up in droves to participate in their public library’s summer reading program.

Research has shown that children who continue to read over the summer maintain their reading skills and that summer involvement with reading leads to better academic skills when children return to school in the fall.

Summer reading isn’t just for grade school children. In addition to grade school children, preschoolers, teens, and adults can find programs to encourage them to read at public libraries. This year’s theme is sports related: On your mark, get set….Read.

The Washington State Library supports public libraries across the state by participating in a nationwide consortium of youth services librarians who voluntarily contribute the program ideas and processes which make up the resource manual. The State Library pays for each public and tribal library location to receive a copy of this manual in the fall of the year so that they can begin planning for the following summer.

Make reading and learning a regular part of summer by joining others in your community for lots of good reads and special programs at your local public library.

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The Statewide Database Licensing Project has selected a vendor.

June 16th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

UpwardsThe Washington State Library and the Statewide Database Licensing Project Advisory Committee are pleased to announce that ProQuest has again been selected to provide a suite of database products to the nonprofit libraries of Washington State. The new contract with ProQuest is set to begin on July 1, 2016.

The package includes a periodicals collection, a collection of Washington and national newspapers, and resources for children and students, to name just a few. A complete listing of the content in the new ProQuest package is available along with detailed descriptions of the individual components on the ProQuest Package Product Descriptions page.

The SDL Advisory Committee had a key role in the selection process, advising on the RFP itself, and subsequently assisting with the scoring, and making vendor recommendations. Feel free to
contact members of the Advisory Committee, or Carolyn Petersen, with your comments or suggestions.

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A day in the life of a chat librarian

June 10th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public 2 Comments »

4078540366_2f3029dfb8_oAubri Keleman of Whatcom County Public Library was born to be a chat librarian.  Well honestly she was born to be ANY sort of librarian, but today I want to tell you about one of her evening shifts covering the Ask WA queue for WCLS.  Ask WA, you ask, what is Ask WA? Ask WA is a cooperative of public and academic libraries around the state which work together along with librarians around the world to provide 24/7 access to library services.

Aubri’s day started out fairly routine with a sixth grader from a Washington library trying to find information about a bookmark contest.  He was the winner for his branch and was excited to receive his prize.  Aubri answered his question, said goodbye and signed off.

The next question though was the kind that wakes you up a little faster than you wish.  The patron asked about poison and the side effects from ingesting something not designed for human consumption. Aubri instantly responded with the 800 number and website for poison control along with a query if he had a phone.  She gave a little information and offered to keep the window open while he called, but was disconnected.

Imagine, for yourself, how she must have felt waiting and wondering if the person at the other end was all right.  Fortunately, this time, the patron logged back on a few minutes later and she was able to reconnect.  She expressed concern, encouraged a call to 911, passed along the information that in Washington we have a law that says if you take someone to the hospital you will not get into trouble.  The patron was having trouble getting poison control on the phone so Aubri herself called and relayed what she learned over chat.  With the information she provided he agreed to head to the ER and signed off leaving Aubri feeling much better about the exchange.  The sentence “You saved my life!” may have taken on a whole new meaning that night.

The final conversation that evening was a great way to end her day.  Aubri is a former teen librarian and especially loves chatting with teens.  This one started out goofy, as teen chat interactions often do.  “I might be socially awkward.”  Followed by “Sorry that was my brother!”  Within a few minutes Aubri had engaged this teen in a conversation about movies, books, and graphic novels; which ones he liked, which ones she liked and why.   She provided great book suggestions with links to his library’s catalog.  Final words from the teenager, “You are the best librarian I have talked to.  Thank you for being so nice.”

Aubri reports that she loves being a chat librarian because there is so much variety.  While every night may not provide quite such an array of questions, we are lucky in Washington to have a team of excellent and experienced chat librarians.  Haven’t tried it?  Next time you have a question from simple to complex, from goofy to life changing, you might want to have a chat with a librarian.

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Listen Up! Stories from the Northwest Corner

June 6th, 2016 Evan Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

ListenUpLogoThe National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016.  In honor of that centennial celebration, the Port Angeles Public Library—located right on the footsteps of Olympic National Park—recently interviewed a number of its patrons about their experiences visiting, living in, and working at national parks throughout the U.S.  These audio recordings are now accessible online at: http://sos.wa.gov/q/listenup.

We especially enjoyed ranger Dean Butterworth’s story of guiding troubled teens on a snowshoeing trip in Mount Rainier National Park: http://www.washingtonruralheritage.org/cdm/ref/collection/nols/id/4155.

This is the first of an ongoing series of oral histories projects planned by the Port Angeles Public Library. Their new program, Listen Up! Stories from the Northwest Corner will collect and archive a wide variety of stories from Clallam County residents. Inspired by StoryCorps, the interviews will be made available for listening through the North Olympic Heritage website—part of the Washington State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage program.

The North Olympic Library System is hosting a free listening party at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center on Tuesday, June 21, 7pm, at the Olympic National park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Rd, Port Angeles. Stop by to hear locals recall their favorite National Park stories and memories!  And if you can’t make it, the recordings will also be available at the Visitor Center all summer long.

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