WA Secretary of State Blogs

Washington State Library Digital Collections: Historical Maps

May 16th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Jeff Martin:

Maps add a visual element to history. The State Archives and the State Library hold extensive map collections dealing with the Washington State and the surrounding region. Maps for these digital collections are drawn from state and territorial government records, historic books, federal documents and the Northwest collection. Here are two examples from this growing collection.


Author: Roberts, Henry, Lieut.

Title: Chart of the N.W. coast of America and the N.E. coast of Asia, explored in the years 1778 and 1779 [electronic resource] / prepared by Lieut[enan]t Hen[r]y Roberts, under the immediate inspection of Capt. Cook ; engraved by W. Palmer.

Imprint: London : Wm. Faden, geographer to the King, Charing Cross, 1784.

Note: Electronic data.

  “July 24, 1784.”

Relief shown pictorially. Depths shown by soundings.

“The unshaded parts of the Coast were taken from a Manuscript Chart which a Russian furnished us with …”

Includes notes.

Vertically fold-lined at center.

This link will take you to the online map.


Corporate Author: Illman & Pilbrow.

Title: Oregon Territory [electronic resource]

Imprint: [New York] : Illman & Pilbrow, [1833]

Description: 1 map : hand col. ; 25 x 31 cm.

Notes: Electronic data.

Shows locations of Native American tribal groups.

Relief shown by hachures.

Prime meridians: Greenwich and Washington.

Probably drawn by David H. Burr.

“Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1833 by Illman & Pilbrow in the Clerk’s office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.”

Longitude coordinates given inaccurately.

“1837” and “48” handwritten at lower right corner in margin.

Would you like to see the map in all it’s glory?  Click here to go to the map of the Oregon Territory.


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Leaves of Knowledge – Classics in Washington History

April 21st, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

2016-04-12_15-01-18Here is Jeff’s latest spy; a fascinating record of travels in Washington and Oregon at the turn of the 20th Century.

From the desk of Jeff Martin

Written by

Elma MacGibbon

Shaw & Borden Co., Printers and Publishers, Spokane, Washington

Publication date: 1904


I have had the opportunity, during the last few years, to travel very extensively throughout the West, and considerable in the East, with my husband, and finding people in general greatly interested in my oral description of the numerous places I have visited. I decided to give a history of the many cities and their surroundings as I saw them during my visits, at different seasons of the year.

Realizing that it will be of interest and information to the reading public, I now present to you Leaves of Knowledge.

Elma MacGibbon

Classics in Washington History – Leaves of Knowledge, Elma MacGibbon, 1904

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History lovers take note: Washington State Library Electronic State Publications

April 1st, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, Federal and State Publications, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

2016-03-17_9-37-32The latest state document discovery from Jeff Martin

The Fourteenth Session: A brief history of the men who represented the million and a half people of the state of Washington in the legislature of 1915

Prepared by
Alfred T. Renfro
Beaux Arts Village, Washington
Publication date: 1915

A brief history of the men who represented the million and a half people of the State of Washington in the Legislature of 1915.
It is not the purpose or object of this book to discuss the Legislature as a whole or the merits of the bills. Neither is it a manual. The acts of the Legislature are recorded in the Journal, the results in the Session Laws, and the pocket manual covers the field.

This work will endeavor to treat [sic] of the personnel of the Legislature. Devoting its pages to the personal side of the men who made the laws. In some cases where the author knew, there will be found an “intimate peep” [sic] into the lives and characters of the members.

Another gem from within the document… “Governor Lister will be remembered in political history as the ‘Veto Governor.’  Of all vetoes recorded since statehood there appears to be over 40 percent credited to his administration.”

Washington State Library Electronic State Publications – The Fourteenth Session

Let us know in the comments if you find anything else that is particularly compelling.

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Protecting the treasures of Washington State, or a peek into the vault.

March 17th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Uncategorized No Comments »

The Washington State Library has a collection of very special books we keep in our “vault”.  This includes the Territorial Library Collection, as well as many other beautiful and rare books.  These books are old and fragile and special considerations need to be used to view them.  If you make an appointment and travel to Olympia during the library’s open hours, we would love to help you view these rare books. However thanks to the wonders of modern digitization many of these titles are available in digital format through the internet archive.   We thought you might like to have a peek into some of these beautiful old books that the Washington State Library keeps safe for you.

An interesting fact about this book is that it is the first known use of the word “Oregon” used to describe areas to the west of Carver’s travels.

Travels through the interior parts of North-America, in the years 1766, 1767, and 1768/ by Jonathan Carver, which you will find in our catalog. 

This book includes a vocabulary of the Chippewa language (beginning on page 420)

vocabulary of Chippewa language

Beautiful maps, descriptions of the strange animals and plants encountered on his travels and engravings of the things he saw.

Travels_through_the_interior_parts_of_North_America (1)

If you’d like to see the book in its digital entirety use this direct link to the internet archive. Or the next time you’re in the area, why not make an appointment and come and view the original.

Let us know in the comments how you like these sneak peeks into the treasures of our state.

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Electronic State Publications: Invasive Weeds of Eastern Washington

March 7th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

2016-02-09_11-31-16Thinking about your garden?  Look to State Publications for help. This time Jeff Martin has found another beautiful and informative State Publication.

Prepared by
Stephen M. Van Vleet, Ph.D.
Washington State University
Whitman County Extension
Publication date: 2009

The rapid spread of invasive plants threatens natural resources across the United States, and the Pacific Northwest is no exception. Invasive species displace natural plant communities…

The control of any weed begins with early detection. The objective of this guide is to aid in the identification and control of invasive weeds found in eastern Washington. For further information about noxious weed identification, control options, and control requirements under state law, please contact your local noxious weed coordinator or a Washington State University Extension educator.

Read the entire publication at: Washington State Library Electronic State Publications – Invasive Weeds of Eastern Washington

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The Washington State Library is a depository for state publications

February 9th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Federal and State Publications, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

Are you aware that the Washington State Library is not only a Federal Depository Library but also a Washington State Depository?  This means that we collect, preserve and provide access to all publications created by Washington State Agencies.

In 1963 the State Legislature created Washington State Depository Program and RCW Chapter 40.06 to ensure that our citizens have economical, convenient and permanent access to state publications. We have publications dating back to 1853, when Washington became a territory, which can be found in our online catalog, and are continually collecting new items as they are published.  We also distribute copies of state publications to libraries around the state, and capture and preserve electronic publications, so that citizens can more easily access them.

As you can imagine this is an enormous job but also one that is highly gratifying as we get to see all sorts of fascinating and often beautiful documents as they are published.  We decided to share some of our finds with you as they make their appearance.  So for the inaugural post we give you the Teanaway Community Forest Management Plan. 
















Prepared by

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

April 2015

In 2013, Washington State paid $100 million to acquire 50,241 acres in the Teanaway, First Creek and Cabin Creek river basins of Kittitas County from American Forest Holdings LLC. The purchase was the largest single land transaction by Washington State government in 45 years, resulting from more than a decade of collaboration by many people and organizations.

The Governor and Legislature authorized the acquisition to protect a key segment of the Yakima River Basin watershed under the provisions of the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan (known as the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, or YBIP). Lawmakers directed the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to manage the property in consultation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as the first state-run community forest under the terms of a 2011 law that emphasizes community participation in forest management.

This plan was developed to meet the requirements of the law and to reflect the priorities of the Washingtonians who cherish the Teanaway and view it as a special place.

Want to see the document?  Click on the links below.

Washington State Library Electronic State Publications – Teanaway Management Plan

Washington State Library Electronic State Publications – Teanaway Management Plan Appendices

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Winter Travel in early Washington

December 21st, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »


This is the time of year where our thoughts turn to family and celebration.  As we ask our neighbor to feed the cat, stop the mail for a week, pack our cars for a trip over the mountains, or head towards the airport it’s easy to forget the challenges of travel in the early days of our state’s history.

With winter travel in mind we’ve compiled photographs from the collection; pictures of snowy travel by sleigh, train and automobile.  So if you get caught up in traffic snarls or flight delays on your travels remember how comparatively easy you have it.

Washington Rural Heritage  is a collection of historic photographs from around the state.  The Washington Rural Heritage Program helps small libraries and museums digitize their historic photo and archival collections. It is also a digital archive for Washingtonians, with more than 300 family photo collections included in the website/database.  Each picture in the collection tells a unique story.  Think about taking time over the holidays to explore and lose yourself in these images of early Washington.

Pictures in this slide show are from: Ellensburg Heritage, Roslyn Heritage, Skamania County Heritage, Orcas Island Heritage and Whitman County Heritage.


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The National Union Catalog never looked so good!

December 16th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

12371035_978424865556349_3448584737465999370_oWe all know the joy that a book can give us.  I suspect that curling up with a good book is one of life’s great pleasures for most of our readers.  But I doubt there are many people who would say that the National Union Catalog ever made them feel “warm and fuzzy”.  However this holiday season it has done just that.  The National Union Catalog is, of course, not traditionally used for tree construction.  According to Wikipedia “The National Union Catalog (NUC) is a printed catalog of books catalogued by the Library of Congress and other American and Canadian libraries, issued serially beginning in the 1950s… the set is a massive bibliography (754 volumes) compiled during the period from 1968 to 1981”  754 volumes of large green books what could be better for tree building?

Our tree is the brainchild of Mary Schaff one of the State Library’s crackerjack reference team.  It started with inspiration found on library Pinterest pages.  It turns out many libraries across the country have come up with the idea of a holiday tree made of books.  And a lot of libraries use Pinterest.  The NUC is an obvious choice because of the large green volumes, but other successful library trees have been made of bound journal volumes and other lesser-used publications.  And no one is better at documentation than librarians; instructions on how to create a book tree were found easily.

Once she had the go ahead from Crystal, Mary started building our tree.  12249757_978424868889682_6305688495417380389_nThe end result is a 7 foot ever evolving “tree” of joy.  Library patrons and staff check regularly to see what new items were added the previous day.  Some additions are anonymous, some are public but each change brings delight.  The public services staff report that the patrons love the tree and that it has completely changed the atmosphere in the library. The tree has served as a both a physical representation of holiday spirit, as well as a conversation starter about the NUC and the future of print books in libraries in general.  Many people are interested to know that only a fraction of the NUC was used to create the tree (about 220 volumes of the possible 754).12348010_978424872223015_8845830000677088247_n  Other speculations include the weight (a lot), the physical strain of moving the volumes (a good cardio workout), and what would happen if someone took a volume out at the bottom (highly improbable due to the weight of the volumes above, but let’s not test it out).  Rest assured that we are not utilizing books that are frequently used, nor are the books in danger of being damaged.  In fact, some resting time on their boards is probably a relief to these NUC volumes which have spent decades resting on their fragile edges and spines.  And that isn’t to say that the NUC isn’t still valuable.  As the Wikipedia article indicates, as of 2008 nearly ¼ of the volumes’ contents were still not listed in OCLC’s Worldcat.

We wonder if other libraries in our state have built trees from books this year.  We’d love to see what you’ve made.  Please send us your pictures of book trees or even general holiday decorations to wslmedia@sos.wa.gov.  If we get enough we might start our own Pinterest board.  We love seeing the creativity happening around Washington State.

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Federal Documents for Everyday Living: Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

October 19th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

Federal Documents for Everyday Living:
Vol. 1 no 1 October 19, 2015.

Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and it’s a perfect opportunity to talk about federal publications, web sites and blogs.bully-655660_1920

Did you know that the Washington State Library has a comprehensive collection of federal and state publications going way back into the 1880s? We are the Regional Federal Depository Library for Washington and Alaska. Most government publications can be located through the State Library’s online catalog (indicated below as At WSL).

Stop Bullying.Gov is a great place to learn about Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. There are materials for parents, teachers, and kids (http://www.stopbullying.gov/resources). You can also find the policies and laws of various states. Here’s a link to the Washington State page: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/washington.html. In Washington State harassment, intimidation or bullying are terms used in anti-bullying laws. The laws also cover cyberbullying.

Here are some federal publications at WSL that may be of interest:
Bullying is not a fact of life (HE 20.427:B 87/2/2008). (n.d.). [Rockville, Md.] : U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services [Rockville, Md.] : U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. At WSL: Print: HE 20.427:B 87/2008

Ending the school-to-prison pipeline :. (2012). At WSL: Print: WSL Fed Docs Annex (Call Ahead) Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG.112-848; Microfiche: WSL Fed Doc Fiche Annex (Call Ahead) MICRO Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG.112-848; Online http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112shrg86166/pdf/CHRG-112shrg86166.pdf

Lumsden, L. (2002). Preventing Bullying. ERIC Digest. At WSL: Online: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERIC-ED463563/pdf/ERIC-ED463563.pdf.; Print: ED 1.310/2:463563; Microfiche: MICRO ED 1.310/2:463563

School bullying : extent of legal protections for vulnerable groups needs to be more fully assessed : report to congressional requesters (eBook, 2012) [WorldCat.org]. (n.d.). At WSL: Online: http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591202.pdf.; Print: GA 1.13:GAO-12-349

Stop bullying now! [videorecording] : take a stand, lend a hand. (n.d.). [Rockville, Md.] : U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration ; [Washington, D.C.] : Dept. of Education, [2006?]. At WSL: Video: WSL Fed Doc CDROM Annex (Call Ahead): CDROM HE 1.60:B 87/DVD

United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, author. (2014). Bullying-free schools: How local, state and federal efforts can help : field hearing … June 8, 2012 (Des Moines, IA). At WSL: Online: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112shrg91970/pdf/CHRG-112shrg91970.pdf; Print: Y 4.L 11/4:S.HRG.112-913

State Documents

Dept. of Labor and Industries. (2006). Workplace bullying [electronic resource] : what everyone needs to know. At WSL: Online: http://digitalarchives.wa.gov/WA.Media/do/323B27DC85A0F8D224E101E22BE60FF1.pdf

Office of the attorney general. (2006). Bullying is not okay [electronic resource] : when your child is the victim, the bully, or a bystander. At WSL: Online: http://digitalarchives.wa.gov/WA.Media/do/1489D5AC5546CA3205A0D9367BDD7FB1.pdf

Washington (State). Office of the Education Ombudsman. (2007). Bullying at school: What a family can do. Olympia, WA: Office of the Education Ombudsman. At WSL: Online: digitalarchives.wa.gov/WA.Media/do/C84C22CEF3AA7AC529363CE419E88AD3.pdf; Print: Wa 379 Ed82 Bul S 2007

Other Resources

How Libraries Help Kids Stand Up to Bullying


To find federal publications available at the Washington State Library go to the online catalog at www.sos.wa.gov/library/catalog.aspx.

How to search the online catalog:  (1) set “search by” to keyword, (2) enter a search term, e.g., bullying, in the “search words box,” (3) set “additional options/search in” to “federal publications” (4) then click on the search button.
You should get a list of federal publications about bullying. Documents may be online, in print or in a variety of other medium. Entries indicating “call ahead” mean you should call us and ask that the document be retrieved from storage and brought to the central library for your use.

Your local library can send us an “interlibrary loan” request and borrow materials on your behalf. In many circumstances, our librarians also are able to scan and send you electronic copies. Contact Ask a Librarian to inquire about specific titles and availability. Our Ask a Librarian service is available  at 360-704-5221 (Monday – Friday noon to 5:00 p.m.) or use our chat box at http://1.usa.gov/1OoGTct. It’s easy.


This publication was prepared by Rand Simmons, Federal Collection Executive Manager, with the assistance of Staci Phillips. For more information contact Rand at rand.simmons@sos.wa.gov.


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Even boring machines can be interesting.

August 17th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

With Big Bertha in the news on a regular basis we got to thinking about boring machines in general. Or rather, interesting boring machines.  One in particular comes to mind, from the historic coal mining community of Roslyn, Washington:


From Roslyn local historian, Sue Litchfield:

Steep-pitched mines predominated the Roslyn-Cle Elum Coal Field, making it more expensive to extract coal than the relatively flat coal seams in the east and Midwest. In an effort to cut costs Tom Murphy the mine’s general manager designed and built the N.W.I. Company’s coal boring machine. The boring machine was able to drill crosscuts and air tunnels in a third of the time required by conventional means. “Murphy earned recognition from engineers throughout America and other countries for his genius in coping with the problems of steep-pitch mining in the Roslyn Cle Elum Field,” wrote Cle Elum’s Miner Echo. “A boring machine, first put on paper about 1940 and finally constructed in the Roslyn shops about 2 years ago, was one of his pet projects. Employed at the No. 3 Mine, the machine has eliminated the expensive upkeep of ordinary main airways by boring them 42 inches in diameter through the coal.

These photos of the Northwest Improvement Company’s coal boring machine, as well as other mining machinery and equipment photos were digitized by the Roslyn Public Library with grant assistance from the Washington State Library. They are part of the Washington Rural Heritage Collection and come from the family photo collection of a descendant of Frank Badda, who worked for decades in the Roslyn mines, working his way up to the position of Superintendent until the last mine was closed in 1963.

Oh and back to Big Bertha, she does have one thing that the Roslyn boring machine lacked… a Twitter page.

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