WA Secretary of State Blogs

Little known facts about WA State Library Employees

October 13th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Uncategorized No Comments »

Photo by Don Hankins licensed under CC 2.0

Photo by Don Hankins licensed under CC 2.0

Paul Longwell a Washington State Library IT specialist by day is a Beekeeper by night. Paul recently told us about his participation in the Washington State Beekeeping Association apprentice beekeeper program.   In order to reach the highest level of Master Beekeeper it takes six years of study. To prepare for the exams you need several hard to find references from both State and Federal documents. But have no fear, Paul works in a library! On searching our catalog he discovered that we had every single one of them. The Washington Beekeeping Association now uses these resources for their Journeyman training classes.

To name just a few:

Evaluating honey bee colonies for pollination a guide for commercial growers and beekeepers

Bee pollination of tree fruits

Beekeeping in the United States

So if honey or bees are your passion, remember the Washington State Library is a sweet spot to study and learn more about your hobby.

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Our Pacific Northwest card file is now online!

October 2nd, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Library 21 Initiative, Public Services, State Library Collections, Uncategorized 1 Comment »

From the desk of Steve Willis, Program Manager for Central Library Services

card catalogThe Pacific Northwest Card File appears to have been started in the early 1950s as a finding aid for biographical and historical information in the Washington State Library. Information was indexed from newspapers across the state as well as many published local histories, creating a very unique point of access.

Comprised of hundreds of thousands of cards, the drawers are divided into a Name File and a Subject File. Work began in late 2012, chiefly with WSL volunteer David Lane, on the Name File. We are now up to the surname “C” and will continue to update the online index as progress is made.  See the open drawer in the picture? That’s where we are currently working.

The Card File was closed in the early 1990s.  Please remember however that this is a historical card file and not every item listed is still on the shelves of the library.  A quick chat, email or phone call to the reference desk will help to ensure  you get the proper resource.

To see a nice sampling, simply type in the name “Anderson” in the “Last Name” box.

Many thanks to Evelyn Lindberg for creating the utility that made this possible

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Puget Sound Mail – News from La Conner, 1879-1880

August 11th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Marly Rudeen

Each newspaper has its own personality supplied in part by the editor, in part by its subscribers and correspondents, and in part by the events of the time period. The Puget Sound Mail from La Conner strikes me as an outward looking paper. Much of front page news comes from San Francisco and other west coast cities, including regular news from southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley. But the rest of that valuable space is given to international, East Coast and Midwestern news items. Local issues are covered on pages 2 and 3, with p. 4 used for feature items or essays. There is far less reporting of local visitors or social events than in some other papers.

I’ve explored several issues and found some entertaining stories. To browse through the issues of the Puget Sound Mail on your own go to: http://www.sos.wa.gov/legacy/newspapers_detail.aspx?t=27 and select issues from the list of dates on the left or from the calendar display on the right. A list of articles will appear at the bottom of the screen, click on any of the links.

BittersSept. 13, 1879
p. 1 “Foreign News” “… the British Embassy at Cabul had been attacked by several Afghan regiments which had assembled in that city…” (Some things remain constant.) Under “The India Insurrection” “A dispatch from Prome says that massacres in Mandalay continue…”
p. 3 In “Review of our Local Business Cards, &c.” – “Mr. Joseph Alexander, druggist at La Conner, has a very complete stock of drugs, medicines, &c., and is highly esteemed by the community for his obliging attention to business.”
p. 4 The day’s features include small treatises on “Clock Making in the Black Forest,” and the “Age for Legal Marriages” in different European countries.

Sept. 27, 1879
p. 3 Under “Local News and Comments” “While burning a lot of straw on one of the ranches adjoining this town, the other evening, 25 sacks of grain, which had been covered up, was consumed in the flames; which leads us to suggest that you remove all grain a safe distance from the burning straw.”
p. 4 This week articles cover the “Curiosities of suicide” and “The Last Polish Revolution.”

Oct, 11, 1879
p. 1 National news covers the collapse of a grand stand in Detroit, a quarantine in Nashville, and yellow fever in Memphis. Hostilities with Indians continue in the Denver area.
P. 4 There are brief essays on “English Home Life” and “Kissing the Baby,” a look at political campaigning.

Oct. 25, 1879
p. 1 International reporting covers “Trouble in Afghanistan,” “Inundations in Spain,” and a “Row in Hayti.” National news repeats with Indian conflicts and yellow fever. West Coast News reports on a suit over mining rights in San Francisco, an absconding bookkeeper, and Mendocino outlaws.
p. 3 Local news covers visitors, social outings, appointments and shipping news. “The Pacific Mail steamship China, a vessel of some six thousand tons, is now on the Sound taking in cargo… Residents are urged to visit the ship in port as she … is a monster in way of naval architecture.” New years ball

Nov. 8, 1879
p. 1 War with the Ute Indians continues, Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan dies, as does the Civil War general Jos. Hooker. Internationally there is a report on English crops, more floods in Spain, French communists, and political trials in Russia.
p. 3 A bill has been introduced in the legislature “proposing to cut down the per diem of County Commissioners from five to four dollars per day.”
“Preparations are being made here at La Conner for a grand masquerade ball on Thanksgiving night.”
There are also ads for the steamers Chehalis, Susie, Fanny Lake and Josephine.

Nov. 22, 1879
p. 1 Terrible storms damage mid-west cities, drought threatens Virginia, and there’s a nasty suicide in Texas caused by infidelity. Diphtheria ravages Russia, there is unrest in Cuba, and Afghans are hanged in Cabul – further trouble is anticipated.
p. 3 “It has been suggested that the Literary Society be revived, now that the winter season has set in.” “Mr. J. S. Magg’s, dentist of Seattle, will be in La Conner during the first week in December. Those desiring his services would do well to come early in the week as he intends to stop but a short time.”
p. 4 Readers can learn more about “Ammonia” and “Diphtheria.”

Dec. 6, 1879
p. 1 National news reports a terrible boiler explosion in Eauclaire, Wisc. A grand jury in Salt Lake is hearing testimony on Mormon polygamists. In the international column an appeal is made to raise money to alleviate suffering due to famine in Ireland.

Jan. 10, 1880
p. 3 The heaviest snowfall in memory hits La Conner with 3 ½ feet of the white stuff.
There is talk of running a steamship line between Port Townsend and La Conner to accommodate the miners rushing to the Skagit River gold fields, Port Townsend being a port of call for those coming from California or British Columbia, and La Conner being at the mouth of the Skagit River.
The deep snow proves a life saver for Thos. Lindsey who is attacked by a bull while feeding his cattle. When the bull charged he fell into the deep snow, “As the infuriated animal commenced to roll the man in the snow he became blinded thereby and finally desisted until his victim was rescued.”

Jan. 31, 1880
p. 1 “State and Territorial” Farmers near Hillsboro, OR are demanding that a law be passed “compelling every man to keep his stock from running at large.” Under national stories, negotiations with the Utes are underway to end hostilities. For Foreign News, a terrible disaster in a Newcastle coal mine is reported.
p. 3 “Land-slides were the order of the day during the recent thaw.” Locally it affected Indian residents from up the Swinomish Slough where “the building and a number of canoes were completely destroyed, the Indian occupants barely escaping with their lives.”

Feb. 21, 1880
p. 1 From “The Willamette Valley” – Eugene’s City Council received a petition “asking that saloon-keepers be required to procure signatures of a majority of the voters of the city before a license would be granted.” It failed to pass.
p. 4 ”The Rights of Teachers” defends teachers against charge of short hours and long vacations, and “Legislative Facetiae” quote the Sacrament Bee as it reports on plans for a masquerade party to celebrate the passing of a legislator’s first bill. Oregon Kidney tea

Mar. 13, 1880
p. 1 Under “Foreign News” there is a report of the execution of a Russian Nihilist for attempting to shoot Gen. Melikoff. Finns are making noises about independence, and there is a fatal boiler explosion in Glasgow where twenty-three people died.
p. 4 There is an interview with Frederick Douglass about the death of the man who had once owned him as a slave.

Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers at the Washington State Library’s web site. The State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

More Washington newspaper titles have been digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the National Digital Newspaper Program. These and many other American newspapers can be found online at Chronicling America at the Library of Congress.

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Spokane – Wide Open Town?

July 21st, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen.

While looking through issues of the Newport Miner for 1907, I came across the following quote – “Poor old Spokane has had to bow to the inevitable, and beginning next Sunday the lid will be jammed down so hard that visitors will hardly recognize the town. Mayor Moore has issued an order calling for the closing of all saloons on Sunday and abolishing the notorious cribs and concert halls.” Jan. 9, 1908, p. 5

As I was born and raised in Spokane this seemed odd to me – I hadn’t noticed that it was particularly depraved (though since we moved when I was only 14 that may explain my not noticing.) Still, I wondered so I started looking through some early issues of the Spokane Press, Nov.-Dec. 1902, and started looking for the seedier side of Spokane. It turns out there was lots going on.

You can explore the Spokane Press for Nov. 1902-1910 at the Chronicling America web site Choose the Browse Issues link, select a year from the drop down box, and then choose an issue from the calendar display. I’ve listed some of the dates and pages below for some interesting tidbits.trader's bank

Nov. 10, 1902

p. 1 “Buncoed Out of Three Thousand” H. E. Gower, a recent arrival from Wisconsin was in town for business and at the train depot to return to Missoula. A man approaches him, saying that he’s from the same county in Wisconsin. He invites Gower to go with him to a friend’s place to see pictures of the Klondike. When they arrive the friend is absent, but there’s a card game in progress. Gower loans his new friend some money and then takes his place for a few hands when his friend has to go out for a bit. “They had all my money in about five minutes. I don’t know what the game was, except that it was cards.” (No mention is made of what they were drinking, but given that Gower couldn’t remember what game he had been playing or where he had been playing it, one has to wonder if a bottle was involved.)

Nov. 12, 1902

p. 4 “Charges His Friend With Embezzlement” Lyndon M. Hall files a complaint with the police to the effect that George O. Scraggs has swindled him out of $100. Mr. Hall wished to mail his certificate of deposit received as wages to his bank. He wrote the letter, endorsed the certificate and enclosed it. His friend, Scraggs, offered to drop it off at the Rathdrum post office for him. Instead, Mr. Scraggs boarded a train for Spokane in Rathdrum. “He landed there in the evening and going to ‘Doc’ Brown of the Owl, it is said, presented the endorsed certificate … when the arrest was made he was broke.” (The Owl is only one of the well-known saloons and gambling establishments in town, others are the Stockholm, the Coeur d’Alene, the Combination, and the O.K. The moral for both Mr. Gower and Mr. Hall seems to be that they should be a great deal less trusting.)

 Nov. 14, 1902

p. 1 In “Spokane Gamblers are Out of a Job,” several of the largest gaming houses are raided and all gambling equipment seized. But the houses had gotten word of the raids and “the results of the Sheriff’s haul were not the handsome roulette, faro and other tables… but what the doughty sheriff did capture was several wagon loads of old furniture, musty with long lying in secluded cellars where it had possibly awaited just such an occasion.” Prominent patrons of the establishments hold the opinion that it will all blow over and the games will be back in a month.

 p. 4 “War is being Waged on Buncoes.” Chief of Police Reddy asserts that his able constables and detectives are doing their best, but that “ a few high-collared gents, wearing good clothes, well-addressed, will land in town and before the police or detectives can locate them it is possible for the bunco man to hypnotize a victim and relieve him of his cash…”

 Nov. 18, 1902

p. 1 The formation of an “Anti-Vice Party” is announced in anticipation of the next municipal election. It will be “pledged to wage war on Spokane’s gambling houses and all resorts of vice.” Rev. George Wallace of Westminster Presbyterian Church rejects the claims that the gambling houses “are a source of revenue which yearly brings thousands of dollars into this city…”the owl

 Nov. 22, 1902

p. 1 “Saloon Men Willing to go to Jail in Defense of What They Believe to be Their Rights.” A controversy arises about the presence of slot machines in gambling houses. Evidently a law has been passed barring the use of “cash-paying slot machines” but not other forms of gaming or equipment. The saloon owners, especially the smaller ones have hired attorneys (the firm of Nuzum & Nuzum) and plan to make a stand. (A follow up article is in the Nov. 24, 1902 issue on p. 1.)

 p. 2 “Alma Arrested” is the first small article referring to the Stockholm Saloon and its cast of characters. Alma Green is arrested and charged with having drugged and robbed John Johnson. Johnson is also arrested for drunkenness, and now claims that his name is actually Charles Jameison.

p. 3 “The Wide-Open Town” The paper, in response to the new Anti-Vice party, has found two men, a pastor and the proprietor of the Owl, to write opposing columns, both for and against the “Proposed Movement for the Suppression of Vice.”

 Nov. 29, 1902

p. 1 “Stockholm Case Dismissed…” In the matter of Alma Green and Charles Jamieson, the judge throws the case out for insufficient evidence. Jamieson is still claiming he was drugged and robbed. He also asserts that the Stockholm’s owner Gust Pearson threatened him if he testified. The defense asserts that Jamieson was very drunk and spent all his money on whiskey.

 Dec. 3, 1902

p. 3 “Council – Has Warm Session over Stockholm License” The Chief of Police has lodged a complaint against the Stockholm saloon and variety theatre, and its owner, Gust Pearson. There is some conflict due to the fact that the complaint lists no direct evidence of the charge and is sent back to the police. Police Commissioner Lilienthal and the licensing committee advises the council to investigate.

 Dec. 8, 1902

p. 1 W. S. Green who had been a “special officer” at the Stockholm saloon, applied for an arrest warrant for – Police Commissioner Lilienthal! Charges are malfeasance of office and allowing open gambling operations in Spokane. (It seems odd that an officer who had worked in a saloon is all that disturbed about this issue.)

 Dec. 9, 1902

p. 1 Commissioner Lilienthal surrenders at the court house offers bond and is released to continue his duties. The corporation counsel make the argument that Lilienthal cannot be prosecuted under the cited statute since it concerns state and county officials and he is a municipal officer. Under “Bunco Man,” the arrest of “Swede Sam” is reported. Sam is charged with removing considerable money from a young man from Pendleton.

 Dec. 10, 1902

p. 1 The case against Commissioner Lilienthal is dismissed among a flurry of lawyers, objections and affidavits. In a related development – “May Arrest Kimball”- S. W. Green is securing an arrest warrant for Prosecuting Attorney Kimball, also on a charge of malfeasance of office. (He’s on a roll.)

“Lawyers Determined” The law firm of Nuzum & Nuzum representing the saloons in the slot machine case is determined to take the case to the superior court and to the supreme court if necessary.

p. 2 “Interprets His Duty” Mr. Green, he of the arrest warrants, attempted to explain his concept of duty. While he was a special officer at the Stockholm he was stationed there by the city but in the employ of and paid by the saloon. “He says his interpretation of his duty was that he was to protect the patrons and the house from crime and disorder and this he endeavored to do faithfully.”

 Dec. 12, 1902

p. 1 The city council will be hearing complaints against the Stockholm and its owner, Gust Pearson.

 Dec. 15, 1902

p. 1 “Wants Two Theatres Licenses Revoked” Fred D. Studley is charging that the Comique and the Coeur d’Alene theatres have violated their licenses by employing women in their saloons “to encourage immoral conduct, and gambling contrary to good morals.”

 Dec. 16, 1902

p. 1 Swede Sam is fined for “being found with implements with which to make loaded dice.” detective agency

Dec, 17, 1902

p. 1 The city council messes about with the charges against Gust Pearson, the Stockholm, the Comique and the Coeur d’Alene. Everything scheduled for next week. In the superior court a judge refuses to issue search warrants for five gambling houses as the initial complaints were made in the justice court rather than the superior court.

 Dec. 18, 1902

p. 3 “Stockholm Inquiry” The city council hears the case against the Stockholm. “Eric Linden and a man named Patterson said they had been robbed in the place. Captain Coverly testified on the reputation of the place, and Officer Miles described the ways of its habitues.” The case was continued.

p. 4 “Gambling among the Women of Spokane” describes the habits of the ladies in town, asserting that “Spokane has some of the gamiest women to be found anywhere.” (I don’t think that means the same thing anymore.)

 Dec. 20, 1902

p. 1 The city council takes on the Stockholm case once more and first several officers testified to the saloon’s unsavory reputation. Then they hear the defense – the bar’s ‘special officer’ and the night bartender testified that Charles Jamieson had spent all his money on booze and had not been robbed. Two of the establishment’s ladies testified that they were expected to obey rules of conduct. For instance there is a rule about not sitting in men’s laps. “Mr. Pearson doesn’t like it.”

 Dec. 22, 1902

p. 1 “Stockholm Resort Sells Soft Drinks” The city council has revoked the liquor license for the Stockholm. They continue to draw a crowd.

 Dec. 24, 1902

p. 1 “Lilienthal talks on the Theatre Cases” It seems the cases against the Comique and Coeur d’Alene have been dismissed. He notes that “The witnesses produced by the complainant were all employees of the Stockholm.”

 Dec, 25, 1902

p. 3 In “How Gamblers in Spokane Spent Merry Christmas Eve” a reporter comments on the crowds that spent the evening wandering from one resort to another “in an ever unsatisfied desire to find excitement.” In “Straight House” Gust Pearson asserts he will make more money without serving liquor than he did with it. “If patrons of the place insist on having liquor the only way for them to get it is to have it sent in from one of the neighboring saloons.” (An ingenious work-around!)

 The Spokane Press was digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the National Digital Newspaper Program. The Press and many other American newspapers can be found online at Chronicling America at the Library of Congress.

Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers at the Washington State Library’s web site. The State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

 

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William Gohl – Not a Nice Man

July 15th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen

One of the most notorious citizens of Aberdeen in the early 20th century was William Gohl. While he might have listed his occupation as agent for the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, his real job included such duties as graft, theft, extortion, arson, and murder. The local paper, the Aberdeen Herald, documents some of Gohl’s history through his trial and conviction for two murders in 1910.

William Gohl

You can follow the story through the newspaper by going to the Chronicling America web site for the Herald choosing the Browse Issues link, selecting a year from the drop down box, and then choosing an issue from the calendar display. I’ve listed some of the dates and pages below.

Popular wisdom in Aberdeen credited Gohl with a much higher body count than the two murders for which he stood trial. Most were convinced he was responsible for most of the “floater fleet” of bodies found in the harbor and the Wishkah River over a decade. He was widely thought to kill and rob sailors reporting in to the Union office if he judged that no one would miss them, helping himself to their valuables at the same time. Anyone who crossed him might find their business burned down, or find themselves on trial with Gohl’s cohorts swearing that he was guilty. Conversely whenever anyone was brave enough to charge Gohl with a crime, those same cronies provided him with sturdy alibis.

 Aug. 23, 1909, p. 1

One such case was that of a local saloonkeeper, Sig Jacobson, who was accused of illegally selling liquor on Sunday. The case had to be tried three times before a guilty verdict was reached, the first two having ended in hung juries. The paper opines that “The fact that Wm. Gohl, the unsavory agent of the Sailors’ Union was pushing the prosecution accounts in a measure for the disagreements of the first two juries..” The assumption was that the case had been brought through personal enmity.

 Feb. 3, 1910, p. 1

The story of his downfall begins on Feb. 3, 1910. The headline on the front page is “Accused of Double Murder – William Gohl, Agent of the Sailors’ Union is Accused of Killing Two Men.” The article details his arrest for the double murder of John Hoffman and Charles Hapgood. (As the story develops Hapgood’s name is spelled in a variety of ways – Hatgood, Hedberg, Hatberg, etc.) According to the article the tale is “filled with gruesome, cold-blooded particulars.” Police have gathered the information from a former friend of Gohl’s whom they refuse to identify. The cause of the alleged murder is said to be Gohl’s fear that Hapgood, a long-time crony, knew too much about some of his activities, and might turn against him. The body of one of the men, Hapgood, has been found, the authorities are still searching for the second, that of John Hoffman.

Feb. 7, 1910, p. 1

Now the paper feels free to report that Gohl is “suspected of many crimes” and rumors abound: he is responsible for a large number of the ‘floaters’ found in the harbor; leaving 4 non-union sailors to drown in the rising tide on an isolated spit; arson; recruiting toughs to testify on his behalf and provide alibis if necessary. “For the past three or four years Gohl has had the people of the water front terrorized with his threats and known ability to make them good…” Many of the rumors of Gohl’s crimes were started by Gohl himself as part of his campaign of intimidation.

Over the next several issues the search for Hoffman continues, the officials consider calling a Grand Jury – the first in 26 years.

 Apr. 7, 1910, p. 1-2

The story continues with further details of the case. The police originally went looking for Hatberg’s body on information from a “well-known businessman” whom they still refuse to identify. However his account has now been supported by testimony from John Klingenberg, a young Norwegian sailor, who had shipped out to Mexico a few days after the murders. On his return he is arrested and confesses to committing the murders with Gohl and on his orders. Klingenberg’s confession is printed on p. 2.

John Klingenberg

John Klingenberg

After that there are a few small stories, usually on p. 4 about preparations for the trial.

May 2, 1910, p. 1, 4

The trial begins with jury selection and a review of the case and the persons involved.

 May 5, 1910, p. 1

The jury is chosen and the actual trial begins in Montesano.

 May 9, 1910, p. 1

Witnesses present damning testimony about the events and as to the identification of the body as Charles Hadberg. Part of the evidence for the body’s identity is a section of embalmed skin that bears a tattoo recognized as belonging to the victim. (Yes, there’s a picture of the skin on the front page of the May 9, 1910 issue.)

Gohl evidently made a habit of bragging about his crimes, perhaps for the intimidation value, but he left many witnesses to testify to his claims of killing Hadberg and Hoffman. The original witness whom the police had not identified is now revealed to be P. J. McHugh, former owner of the Grand Saloon where Gohl and his cronies were frequent customers.

 May 12, 1910, p. 1, 4

After 10 hours of deliberation, the jury comes back with a guilty verdict and a recommendation for leniency in sentencing. That recommendation was reported to be part of a compromise for the jury, allowing those who wanted to vote for murder in the second degree to vote for murder in the first without the death penalty. The defense witnesses had taken little time and Gohl’s only attempt at an alibi was from an Aberdeen carpenter “said to be mentally deficient.”

It seems as though all the fear and intimidation Gohl had banked ran out of steam. The case was perceived as strong enough, and Klingenburg’s testimony damning enough, that witnesses were willing to risk coming forward and adding their testimony to the whole. On the other hand, witnesses that were expected to testify for the defense – such as Mrs. Gohl’s brother, failed to materialize. Leaving the defense attorneys little option but to charge that the prosecution was politically motivated by “interests” in Gray’s Harbor.

 May 16, 1910, p. 1

Gohl announces that he may appeal the case on the grounds that: the wording of the charge (written before Klingenburg’s confession and not amended afterwards,) indicated that Gohl held the pistol that killed Hadberg  Part of Klingenburg’s confession was his admission that he had shot Hadberg while in fear that Gohl would shoot him if he refused.

The paper also raises issues of the conduct of authorities in the investigation, conflicts between the County Sheriff and the Aberdeen City Police, with the paper seeming to intimate that the City police were not wholehearted in their pursuit of Gohl.

 May 19, 1910, p. 1

There is still talk of appeal as the date for sentencing approached, and one of Gohl’s former cronies, Lauritz Jensen, known as “The Weasel,” is released from the county jail. He had talked freely while incarcerated about Gohl’s various crimes – bombings, robbery and the theft of building materials. The paper takes a dim view of his release.

 May 26, 1910, p. 1

Gohl is sentenced to life imprisonment, and the paper quotes extensively from the Judge’s decision, listing his reasons for the sentence. It is considered improbable that any appeal will be made, and Gohl is scheduled to be moved to the penitentiary in Walla Walla within a week.

Gohl spent the rest of his life incarcerated, first at the penitentiary and finally at the Eastern State Hospital in the ward for the criminally insane. He died there in 1927. Various sources place the count of his murders at anywhere from 40 to over 100.

The Aberdeen Herald was digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the National Digital Newspaper Program. The Herald and many other American newspapers can be found online at Chronicling America at the Library of Congress.

Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers at the Washington State Library’s web site. The State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

 

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Yakima Herald – During the year of Statehood

July 9th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen

The year is 1889 and Washington Territory is on its way to becoming Washington State. There’s a great deal of enthusiasm for the process, and a great deal of regional competition as a constitutional convention is held along with fierce debate about which city should be the capital of the new state. While all this is going on the residents of Yakima are also devouring news from back East, local comings and goings and, judging from the ads, a lively commercial sector.

I’ve skipped through several issues and found some entertaining stories. To browse through the issues of the Yakima Herald on your own go to and select issues from the list of dates on the left or from the calendar display on the right.

 aphroFeb. 9, 1889

p. 2 Evidently looking forward to the prospect of Statehood, the citizens of North Yakima had offered to host a constitutional convention is their fair city at no cost to the Territory. The editors of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer had objected strenuously to the proposal, though whether they truly felt it was premature, or were irritated that the convention might be held someplace other that Seattle is left to the reader to determine. The Yakima Herald editor is pretty sure he knows the reason and has some fun quoting the PI’s contradictions and spoofing what he sees as their pomposity. See “Constitutional Convention at North Yakima” and “Communication”.

p. 3 In the “Personal” column comings and going are noted carefully including some the principals might prefer not be mentioned. “Mrs. Frank Riggle has gone to Island City to remain. Matrimonial infelicity is said to be the cause of her departure.” Under “Backing his Opinion” a viticulturalist buys a shipment of grape cuttings and predicts that the Yakima Valley will rival California as wine and grape country.

p. 4 In a list of text ads – “A nasal injector free with each bottle of Shiloh’s Catarrh Remedy…” (Erg!)

p. 5 A new serial novel begins – “The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.” (These novels were quite popular during this time, printed in sections over several weeks or months.)

 March 7, 1889

p. 2 “The Pacific Northwest” Charles Skeels, a Spokane saloonkeeper, is fatally shot by his wife who objected to his attentions to two “variety actresses”. “Mrs. Skeels bears a bad reputation, being known in the Coeur d’Alene country as ‘Bunko Liz’.”

 p. 3 “Surprise Party” Capt. J. H. Thomas and family were guests of honor at a surprise party which was truly a surprise “for the Captain was in bed and asleep.”

p. 4 Ads – “If you have lost any money lately, Redfield will return it by selling you goods so remarkably cheap that you will forget your misfortune.” And “Shiloh’s Vitalizer is what you need for constipation…”

Apr. 4, 1889

p. 2 Ads – “For weak and delicate women nothing builds up the entire system more thoroughly and effectually than Oregon Kidney Tea.”

p. 3 “A Terrible encounter” Harry Hampton’s battle with a 12-pound trout is reported. Worried that the trout would take off with his new split-bamboo rod, he threw himself into the creek after it. “The encounter was terrific. Sometimes the fish had Hampton down and then the positions were reversed, but finally Hampton conquered, and pale and panting, he at last landed his prey.”hunter

“Personal”

“John G. Boyle is back from Washington. He looks happy, but it is not known what office he was promised.”

 Apr. 19, 1889

p. 5 A new serial novel begins – “Colonel Quaritch, V.C. by H. Rider Haggard.”

 May 16, 1889

p. 1 “Are Times Degenerate? – Bishop Potter says Yes.” In the report of sermon in NY, the Bishop warns of the dangers of “mistaking bigness for greatness and sadly confounding gain and godliness.”

 May 30, 1889

p. 3 “Local Brevities” “Ellensburgh is thronged with rough characters and a special force of police is required to maintain order.” (A persistent rivalry with Ellensburgh is noted throughout the issues.)

 June 6, 1889

p. 1 The question of where the new state’s capital should be is of great interest. Candidates vying for the position: Pasco, Centralia, Ellensburgh, Walla Walla, Spokane Falls, etc.

p. 3 “She wasn’t Mrs. Gillum” – recounts the interesting history of an fashionable couple who spent several weeks in Yakima. A Mr. Gillum, a life insurance salesman who made “a very gentlemanly appearance,” and his wife, “a well-rounded blonde” who was fond of whist and maybe a bit of poker – just with friends, of course. Amazingly, though “she disclaimed more than a very slight knowledge of the game she was always remarkably lucky.” The gentlemen of Yakima enjoyed her company but the ladies never took to her. After they left and set up in Spokane Falls, Gillum’s divorced wife showed up claiming that the young child with them was hers and that Mr. Gillum had never married his blonde companion. The miscreants escape down the back stairs.

“Local Brevities” “Colonel Prosser has a telegram announcing the loss in the terrible Johnstown flood of his step-mother, two half-sisters and a number of other relatives.”

 Aug. 15, 1889

p. 2 “Yakima the Capital” The editor makes his case that Yakima is really the only reasonable place to locate the new state capital. “Even the Olympia people believe this, when they are honest with themselves…”

 Oct. 10, 1889

p. 1 “How a state is made” The new state constitution has been adopted and a federal act is now required to become a state. The process is discussed in a question and answer session with Supreme Justice-elect, John P. Hoyt.

p. 2 “Falsehood Pure and Simple” Evidently, North Yakima has lost its bid to become the new capital, and blames its opponents for misrepresenting it as “a Northern Pacific town, and that the company was aiding us by its influence and money.”

 Nov. 14, 1889

p. 2   “We are now a state… The emancipation from territorial vassalage was received in some giddy cities with the burning of powder, patriotic speeches and champagne for the rich – whiskey and beer for the poor. Here in dignified Yakima we smiled a smile of satisfaction and moved along the even tenor of our way, building three-story brick business blocks, handsome residences and projecting new and greater enterprises for the coming year.”

p. 3 “The city has been on its bad behavior this week. Nine ‘drunk and disorderlies’ occupy the municipal jail. Five men were arrested today for fighting.” One of the jail’s residents moaned, “’What is getting into this town of Yakima?’ Other have asked the same question. The marshal says the prisoners shall work on the streets under ball and chain.”

 Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers at the Washington State Library’s web site. The State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

More Washington newspaper titles have been digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the National Digital Newspaper Program. These and many other American newspapers can be found online at Chronicling America at the Library of Congress.

 

 

 

 

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The West Shore – Enticing settlers to the late 19th century Pacific Northwest

June 30th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Uncategorized No Comments »

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen, Deputy State Librarian

A recent addition to the State Library’s digital collections is the lavishly illustrated West Shore. This literary and general interest magazine was published from Aug. 1875-Mar. 1891. The Washington State Library owns some of the issues from 1880-1890, and has digitized the issues and made them available online. (Warning – some of the PDFs are large and do take some time to load.)

According to its tagline from the 1885 issues, the West Shore is “An illustrated journal of general information devoted to the development of the Great West” and is published in Tacoma and Portland. It is meant to serve as a booster for the whole Northwest region, encouraging investment and immigration. It also serves as a general news journal for western residents, keeping them informed on both local issues and developments from back east as well.

By the early 1880’s, each issue looks in depth at a couple of locales, discussing their suitability for farming or raising a family. The articles report on local industries, the economy, churches, types of farming, climate, and transportation. In the illustrations the locale is represented by drawings of public buildings and private homes.  westshore

The issue for Aug. 1883, covers Jackson Co., Ore. and Vancouver, W.T. May 1885 takes a good look at North Yakima in “Building a Town” (p. 135). The issue for Jan. 18, 1890 examines the charms of Kittitas Co., the history of St. Joseph’s Mission near Coeur d’Alene, and Ashland and the Rogue River Valley.

In the early years, the editors were in the habit of reprinting articles, stories or poetry from other publications. The Jan. 1880 issue attributes material to the New England Farmer, Rural Press, The Alliance, North American Review, Reno Gazette, London Telegraph, and Harper’s Magazine.

By May 1885 there are fewer articles from other journals, although it’s possible that the editor is just not attributing as carefully as before since there are short articles on such diverse interests as: Hindu temples, Jugglers of India, Iguanas, and the Japanese city of Kumamoto. More space is given to short local news notes. The emphasis on exploring the characters of a variety of regions and towns continues, as do extensive coverage of railroads, lumber, coal, fishing and other commercial interests.

The magazine also presents articles on many topics of general interest, such as:

  • Women in Massachusetts being allowed to vote in the school board elections for the first time (Jan. 1880, p. 19)
  • Poisons and their Antidotes (Jan. 1880, p. 2)
  • Microscopic Discovery of Malarial Poison (Jan. 1880, p. 30)Langshan
  • Immigration problems (May 1885, p. 130)
  • Great indignation about suspected census fiddling. “Grand larceny of 50,000 people is what Oregon charges against Superintendent Porter and his beer-guzzling subordinates…” (Oct. 25, 1890, p. 162)
  • Agriculture report gathers reports from various local papers (Aug. 1883, p. 176)

The West Shore also includes poetry, short stories and jokes, but one of its most significant characteristics was the wonderful illustrations scattered throughout the issues to illuminate articles or to picture the northwest cities and towns that it featured. Even an article on a particular breed of chicken , Langshan Fowls, in the Jan. 1880 issue (p. 22) includes this wonderful engraving.

coverartThe cover art for the May 1885 issue attempts to portray the abundance of natural resources in the Northwest.

The issue also gives the reader a Bird’s Eye view of the growing city of North Yakima.

Bird's Eye View of North Yakima

Bird’s Eye View of North Yakima

By 1890, the West Shore has begun to experiment with color!

And even with some ‘social issue’ illustrations.

The West Shore was an ambitious undertaking and had the largest circulation of any Northwest publication for a time. It provides a unique record of the Pacific Northwest in the last part of the 19th century, and the State Library is happy to make its issues available online.

To see other digital collections at the State Library visit the Library web site:

The Washington State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

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Life in Colville 1907-08

June 20th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen:

A sampling of the local news from the Colville Examiner from Oct. 31, 1907-Jan. 1908 provides a vivid view of life in the north half of Stevens County. One thing that stands out is that the Colvillians were a traveling bunch. They visited and were visited on a regular basis, travelling to family and friends in other small towns, the big city of Spokane, and relatives in the Midwest or eastern states. Departures and arrivals are noted carefully in the local sections of the paper. Colville Examiner 1907

The editor, J. C. Harrigan, also includes articles and short snippets on roads, railroads, mines, church events, clubs, appointments of government officials, and entertainments. Births are welcomed, marriages celebrated, and deaths mourned. The overall picture is of a vigorous, social community that is busy laboring, building businesses, and seeking entertainment.

I’ve recorded below some bits that caught my eye, but I encourage you to visit the Colville Examiner on your own through Chronicling America Choose the browse option, choose a year and an issue, and dive in.

Nov. 9, 1907

p. 13 “Lizzie Paschilke, who enjoys the unenviable reputation of being under indictment for horse stealing, entered a plea of guilty in the Superior Court last Saturday and was sentenced to a term in the state industrial school in Chehalis. Her mother was convicted of a similar charge in the Spokane County court last week and sent to the state penitentiary.”

 “George H. Bevan of Kettle Falls was in Colville Thursday. Mr. Bevan is a road commissioner… He is also a democrat and has no hesitation in letting it be known.”

 Nov. 16, 1907

p. 11 “The Colville high school football team met defeat at Coeur d’Alene last Saturday, but by a smaller margin than that of the previous game, which shows our boys are improving with practice…” Colville Examiner 1907

 Nov. 30, 1907

p. 17 “ Chewelah possesses a dancing school which meets every Thursday evening at the Odd Fellows Hall…”

 Dec. 7, 1907

p. 13 “For the benefit of any persons interested, it is announced that the cells for the new county jail will not be installed before the first of January. Of this take due notice and govern yourselves accordingly, for the time cometh when Sheriff Graham will not be obliged to sit on a nail keg with a shot gun all night to keep prisoners from escaping from the old fort building.”

 Dec. 14, 1907

p. 7 “The Ungathered Spinsters will hold their annual state convention some time in January. Watch for date.”

p. 17 “The Echo basket ball team is practicing twice a week and is busily engaged at all times in studying the rules of this popular indoor sport. The great interest manifested thus far found expression in an exceptionally forcible argument last Sunday.”

 Jan. 4, 1908

p. 13 “The moving picture subjects at the opera house this week are: The Adventuress, Love’s Tragedy, Following in Father’s Footsteps, The Bargain Fiend, An Artful Husband, How to Cure a Cold and Playing Pranks on the Gardener.”

Jan. 25, 1908

p. 13 “ Notice has been served upon the unsuspecting public of Colville that unless police interference is made, the Colville Imperial Minstrel Club will give its first series of gigantic girations at the opera house next Friday evening, Jan. 31. The public is invited to come and hear as much of the program as may seem reasonable. An admission fee will be charged for the purpose of keeping the club from giving another performance soon. Several new features will be introduced which have not yet been proscribed by law. A large orchestra of the city’s best musicians will accompany a chorus of the city’s worst vocalists as far as the new jail. A packed house will undoubtedly be present, and the sorrowing friends of the 15 young men in the minstrel club will anxiously wait for their safe return that evening.”

 The Colville Examiner was digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the National Digital Newspaper Program. The Star and many other American newspapers can be found online at Chronicling America  at the Library of Congress.

Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers at the Washington State Library’s web site. The State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

 

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“Veritable Hermit Discovered Living in the Heart of the Olympics”

May 7th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Steve Willis, Central Library Services Program Manager of the Washington State Library.

The following article was found at random in the Sept. 1, 1903 issue of the Seattle Daily Times and contains a description of one of the more unusual libraries in Washington State history:

headlineThe Times Special Service.

EVERETT, Tuesdays, Sept. 1.–A hermit, such as fiction deals in, has been discovered in the heart of the Olympic mountains, by Attorney Robert A. Hulbert, of this city, who has returned from a fishing trip through that rugged region.

 The hermit, who, years ago, was known in New York City by the name of Le Barr, lives in a commodious cabin, high up in the foothills and fourteen miles from others of his race. The account of his brief visit with the recluse is told as follows by Attorney Hulbert.

“Hermit Le Barr is 60 years of age. Fourteen years ago, after domestic troubles, he left his family in New York City and turned to the West, a wanderer on the face of the earth, with no place he could call his home.

 “Thinking to find gold he went into the Olympic mountains prospecting. Almost before he knew it his supply of provisions became exhausted. Starvation stared him in the face and he turned his tottering steps toward civilization.

 “His hunger became intense, and at the time he had about resigned himself to his fate he managed to shoot a large trout. This he baked upon the rocks and consumed ravenously.

 “As he completed his meal an elk strayed across the trail and a shot from his rifle brought the magnificent animal to earth. The following morning he killed a large bear.

 Had Found Paradise.

 “Le Barr told me he immediately made up his mind that he had reached paradise, and straightaway built a roomy cabin, hewing the logs and riving the planks with his own hands.

 “The hermits next step was to take up a claim of 160 acres. This valuable timber land is now in the very heart of a government reservation. The United States recognizes Le Barr’s ownership, and the old man looks forward to a time when Uncle Sam shall pay him a handsome sum of money to relinquish his claim.

 “The cabin in the wilderness is composed of a single room 20 by 40 feet. Trophies of his skill with the rifle adorn the rought-hewn walls. He has learned taxidermy and has many fine heads of deer, bear, elk and smaller denizens of the forest scattered about in decorative disorder. Deep and soft are the skins of wild animals covering the floor– a collection of years.

 The Hermit’s Library.

“An incongruity striking my attention was the presence of many late books and magazines carefully placed in rough bookcases.

 “Frequently Hermit Le Barr walks sixteen miles to replenish his library. He is well read and remarkably well posted on current events.

 “When bleak winter makes his approach, the hermit lays in a great supply of wood and goes on long hunting excursions to stock his larder. And then the snow comes, sometimes ten feet, frequently thirty-five feet covers his cabin, and he and his books and dogs are prisoners for three long months.

 “The hermit is a picture. His frame is tall, his hair falls long on his shoulders and his great beard drops nearly to his waist. He is clad in buckskin from head to foot.

 “Le Barr says he frequently sees great herds of elk roaming the hills and valleys. Before government rangers were placed in the timber Le Barr told me that whites and Indians killed entire herds as the animals wallowed in deep snow.” 

Rufus Lebar (sometimes called Labaie, or Le Barr) was born ca. 1836 in Pennsylvania to French immigrant parents and was raised in Connecticut. He served in the Union Army for most of the Civil War as a soldier in an artillery unit. Rufus appears to have built his cabin about 1890. It sat deep in the woods, 15 miles west of Hoodsport, at an elevation of 850 ft.

In History of Hoodsport / by Jean L. Bearden, the story continues: “Rufus LeBarr had taken a homestead claim on the South Fork of the Skokomish which he had filed in 1890. In 1905, he was still waiting for the government to give him title to the land. The surveys were still disputed and finally, after he was ready to give up, he was given the title in 1906, sixteen years after he had applied.”

Rufus promptly sold the land in 1907. Today his homestead is now part of a trail along the lower south fork of the Skokomish River in Olympic National Forest. Rufus died Oct. 25, 1909 at the home of his daughter in Seattle.

Robert HulbertRobert Ansel Hulbert, the attorney who told the tale, was born in Seattle on Mar. 10, 1864. After obtaining a law degree from the University of Washington in the 1880s he served as Snohomish County Clerk in the 1890s and then worked in private practice in Everett until 1907, when he moved to Seattle. Hulbert died in Seattle Dec. 30, 1943.

And the fate of Lebar’s library has escaped the pages of history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Washington’s State Flower

April 25th, 2014 Kim Smeenk Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Washington Reads No Comments »

rhododendron
In 1892, there was a hotly contested election in Washington State…for a flower.

 

Tacoma Daily News July 16 1892 pg 8 excerpt

Tacoma Daily News July 16 1892

The 1893 World’s Fair was fast approaching, and the state flower would be part of the exhibit for Washington State.

It came down to Clover vs. Rhododendron, and it was decided that the women of the state would vote…and only the women.

They didn’t have the right to vote in any other election until 1910, but this time it was the men who were not allowed to cast a ballot…even if they were gardeners.

 

Tacoma Daily News June 17 1892 pg 3

Tacoma Daily News June 17 1892

The campaign was hard fought.

Some people didn’t like the name of the rhododendron.  It was too long and too hard to spell.

Others claimed they had never seen one before, and the state flower should be grown all over the state.

Tacoma Daily News July 14 1892

Tacoma Daily News July 14 1892

 

Polls opened across the state and thousands of women voted.

After the polls closed on August 1, the Rhododendron had won.

 

These are some of the books about Rhododendrons that you can find at the Washington State Library.

rhododendron story coverThe Pacific Coast Rhododendron Story, and Rhododenrons in the Landscape are both written by Sonja Nelson, who was an editor of the Journal American Rhododendron Society.

The first title is more of a history, with descriptions of the different varieties.rhododendron landscape cover

In the second book, she provides extensive advice on how to use rhododendrons in different styles of landscaping.

 

rhododendrons in america coverRhododendrons in America by Ted Van Veen, provides a nice introduction to gardening with rhododendrons.

He has a list of the different hybrids created as of 1969, and color photographs on every page.

 

Come and visit us at the Washington State Library, or browse our catalog, if you’re looking for books about Rhododendrons, or newspaper articles that tell the story of how it became our state flower.

 

 

 

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