WA Secretary of State Blogs

Horrible Murder!! – The Case of the Aged Bride

July 24th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Technology and Resources, Uncategorized No Comments »

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen
I will admit to a weakness for a murder mystery – but one from the early 1920’s with shady characters, a missing trunk, divers in Lake Union, forgery, fraud and general unsavoriness?  Well, that’s irresistible.  And all done up in purple prose by the Seattle Star?  Even better!

Feel free to follow the story yourself by looking at the Seattle Star in Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87093407/issues/1921/).  I’ve listed the dates and pages below.


May 25, 1921, p. 1

Meet James and Kate Mahoney.  James is 37, an ex-convict, paroled from Walla Walla in December of the previous year after assault and robbery charges in Spokane, and a former train conductor before that.  He is being held on forgery charges at the time the story breaks.  He marries Kate Mooers on Feb. 19, 1921.  Kate is 72 and quite well off, owning several buildings in Seattle.   Kate Mooers is the former Kate Keeler “whose dance hall and allied activities at Butte in the late 80s were celebrated thruout the Northwest.”  (Hard to see what could go wrong.)

A few months after the wedding the “aged and wealthy bride” is missing.  Her husband insists she is traveling… in Cuba.  The Captain of Detectives is planning on dragging Lake Union for a mysterious trunk. And James Mahoney “the ex-convict bridegroom” is held in the city jail on charges of forging various documents that allow him access to his wife’s resources.

Mahoney insists that they went to St. Paul, MN for their honeymoon, where they quarreled (coincidentally after Mrs. Mahoney signed papers allowing her husband power-of-attorney and access to her safety deposit box.)  The bride then departed to travel to Havana via New York.  The forgery charge arose after he used the papers to gain access to the safety deposit box.

In the weeks and months to come there are rumors, mysterious witnesses, blind alleys of inquiry, charges and countercharges, dueling lawyers and a cast of peculiar characters.  I’ve tried to list some of the more significant points on the timeline below.

May 26, 1921, p.1

A trunk lid and hair found in Lake Union by a houseboat resident near the Lake Union auxiliary power plant!  (Not the right trunk.)

A floating body seen in the bay at Edmonds! (Later determined to be a logger – May 27, 1921)

Mahoney sends a telegram to his wife care of the  N.Y. hotel where they had reportedly arranged to meet after her travels!  (No one has seen her there.)

May 27, 1921, p. 1

The female friend of one of the witnesses against Mahoney goes missing.  Rumors spread that Mahoney’s first wife also disappeared on a trip east.  Officials continue to drag Lake Union. 

May 28, 1921 p. 1

When grappling hooks fail to produce a body, divers (looking like something out of Jules Verne) are brought in to search Lake Union.  They fail to find a body.  Due to testimony of witnesses seeing someone like Mahoney rowing about Lake Union in the dead of night in a small white boat with some sort of large object in the stern, Capt. Tennant of the police remains convinced the body will be found in the Lake.

Mrs. Mahoney’s niece insists a letter, purportedly from her aunt, is a forgery.

May 30, 1921, p. 1

Stories and counterstories continue.  Mahoney’s first wife is located alive! (Score for Mahoney.) But says she left him because he was smuggling opium and tried to kill her! (Score for the police.)

May 31, 1921, p. 1

Mystery witness claims to have heard Mahoney jest about his wife’s death.  Divers still searching.  Police assert the Mahoneys did not board the train for St. Paul as claimed.

June 2, 1921, p. 1

A submarine or U-boat sled is brought in to be used in search.  Forgery hearing set for June 14.

As the days and weeks go by, the story occupies less and less space in the paper.  The County Commissioners offer a reward for information about Mrs. Mahoney’s whereabouts (June 2).  The search for the trunk goes on, but one can imagine that Capt. Tennant of the police is beginning to get some odd looks around headquarters.

July 30, 1921

Headlines again when a trunk (empty) is found in Lake Union.

And finally – Aug. 9, 1921, p. 1

The trunk is found with a badly decomposed body! Mahoney is back in jail.  The body is identified as Kate Mahoney by the wedding ring and false teeth.

Aug. 10, 1921, p. 1

Mahoney announces he will make a fight of it at his trial, and five people attempt to claim the reward for finding the trunk. Police search for a hammer which they believe was the murder weapon, along with poison, and sightseers from all walks of life visit the morgue to observe the remains.

There are then several days of reporting on various facets of the case leading up to trial.

Aug. 13, 1921, p. 1

This piece concentrates on the expected testimony of the expressmen that conveyed the trunk from the Mahoney apartment to Lake Union at Mahoney’s request.

Aug. 16, 1921, p. 1

There are reports of Mahoney’s increasingly odd behavior in jail and how his possible insanity would affect the trial.

Aug. 17, 1921, p.1

Mahoney is brought before a board of physicians to evaluate his mental ability to understand trial procedures and the charges against him.

Aug. 18, 1921, p. 1

Mahoney is declared sane, and doctors remark that he overplayed his role.  His mother and sister in an effort to help ”admitted that insanity was rampant in their family tree.”

(Probably not as helpful as they might have wished.)

Various legal maneuvers take up several weeks and are boring enough not to make the front page.  Plus the escape and pursuit of a convict from McNeil Island provides enough thrill for the reporters.

Sept. 19, 1921, p. 1

The case is back on the front page just before trial, with fellow prisoners charging that Mahoney plans to shoot up the courtroom.  Sightings of Mrs. Mahoney – alive – are also reported.  (But never verified.)

Sept. 20, 1921, p. 1

At the beginning of the trial process, one reporter interviews Mahoney and remarks, “Jim Mahoney ‘went insane’ in his cell again at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon…”  A history of the case is printed to assist folks in following the trial, and a lengthy jury selection begins.

Sept. 22, 1921 and following

Actual arguments and testimony begin and continue over several days with both prosecutor and defense attorney scoring points, shaking witnesses, and building their cases.  Mahoney gives an interview every few days.

Oct. 3, 1921, p. 1

Verdict of guilty is returned on Oct. 3.  Mahoney’s lawyer announces plans to appeal. 

Dec. 1, 1922, p. 1

More than a year later, James Mahoney is executed on Dec. 1, 1922, at the State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.  His demeanor is described (stoic), as is his smile (sour).  One side article describes the reaction of his mother to the notification of his death.  Another describes how his 13-year-old niece, Margaret, led him “back to the faith in which he had been raised.”

The Seattle Star 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 (chroniclingamerica.loc.gov) at the Library of Congress.

Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers (www.sos.wa.gov/legacy/newspapers.aspx) 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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WSL Updates for July 23, 2015

July 23rd, 2015 Diane Hutchins Posted in Digital Literacy, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates No Comments »

Volume 11, July 23, 2015 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:









Have you heard? Funding for the Microsoft IT Academy was renewed for another two years, providing free access for all Washington residents through August 2017. Along with the online courses, Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification will continue, and we’ll soon introduce a new resource for digital literacy certification.

Join us for one of two online meetings to learn more and share ideas and best practices for the future of the IT Academy. Sessions will be held:

  • Wednesday, August 13 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. PDT
  • Tuesday, August 18 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. PDT

A few minutes before the scheduled time, click to join the meeting.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Iaukea, Project Manager Microsoft IT Academy at 360-570-5578 or elizabeth.iaukea@sos.wa.gov



Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, is recruiting for three Library & Archive Paraprofessional positions at three correctional facilities.

For more information, please visit Branch Library Associate (In-training LAPP5)

Please share this announcement with anyone who may be interested.



Would your library’s patrons like to explore some tech devices? Would your library’s staff like some hands-on experience with Kindle, Nooks, IPads, etc.? The Gadget Menagerie kits are available for loan to Washington libraries.

For details, please contact Joe Olayvar, Library Development, Washington State Library at olayvar@sos.wa.gov.



The Washington State Library recently awarded 10 grants totaling $72,881.96 to public, academic, school and tribal libraries to support digital literacy efforts. Projects include career classes, new online curriculum, STEAM programs, family activities, and the Microsoft IT Academy.

Congratulations to the 10 recipients of the 2015 Digital Literacy grants:

  • Asotin County Library
  • Ellensburg Public Library
  • Garry Middle School
  • Garfield High School
  • Nine Mile Falls School District
  • Lakeside High School
  • Nooksack Indian Tribe
  • Pierce County Library System
  • Seattle World Schools
  • Wenatchee Valley College
  • Whitman County Rural Library District

We will be working closely with the recipients to support the maximum success of their projects during the next year.



Since counties are mailing primary election ballots to voters now, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) and Secretary of State’s (SOS) Elections Division request Washington libraries consider adding voter information to library websites. Libraries across the state have always been wonderful partners in relaying information to voters on behalf of the PDC and SOS. Please help us move that partnership online, so that visitors to library websites can access voter resources with just a click of the mouse.

Questions about the PDC link should be directed to Lori Anderson, PDC Communications & Training Officer. SOS Deputy Elections Director Allyson Ruppenthal can answer questions about the MyVote link.



July 27

  • The Art and Science of Working Remotely (InSync); 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PDT

July 28

  • Data inclusiveness benefits for all (O’Reilly); 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. PDT

July 29

  • Crowdfunding for Libraries: Technology Tips for Futuristic Fundraising (TechSoup); 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT
  • Open Educational Resources: Librarians as Advocates, Advisors, and Creators (Georgia Library Association); 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT


For more information and to register (unless otherwise linked above), visit the WSL Training Calendar at sos.wa.gov/q/training.


The Washington State Library has gone social! Friend/follow us at:

   Facebook: on.fb.me/FBWSL;

   Twitter: twitter.com/WAStateLib.



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Statewide Database Licensing Needs Assessment Results Released

April 28th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources No Comments »

Image courtesy of K. L. - http://bit.ly/1HO1tQa -Flickr Creative Commons 2

Image courtesy of K. L. – http://bit.ly/1HO1tQa -Flickr Creative Commons 2

The WSL Statewide Database Licensing (SDL) project announces the release of the results of the recent needs assessment. The consulting firm’s executive summary and recommendations, as well as the full 28-page report are available for download and reading at sos.wa.gov/q/SDL_Needs.

The data collection included two surveys, one for library staff, and one for library users as well as interviews with library staff. The library audience for both surveys included all types of libraries that participate in SDL: public, private academic, and community and technical colleges, hospital and research libraries, and K-12 schools, both public and private.

A goal of the assessment was to determine if the current ProQuest package of databases continues to meet the needs of participating Washington libraries, their staff, and the citizens of the state. Fully 85% of library staff respondents showed their preference for having the SDL project continue doing what it has been, but at the same time, a majority also indicated their desire for more choices and flexibility in the resources offered by the project, although the percentage of those making that their top choice has declined since 2010 when a similar survey was conducted.

Making sense of the results, and writing recommendations based on them is the current task of the SDL Advisory Committee and project manager, Will Stuivenga. Comments and suggestions are solicited and encouraged.

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Ask WA- Washington’s Virtual Reference Cooperative

March 2nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources No Comments »

aubriImagine you are out and about and have a burning question.  Or maybe you have a big paper due tomorrow and there is something you need to cite that defies all logic.  What do you do?   Pull out your smartphone or tablet, or log on to the internet and Ask a Librarian of course.  Ask WA is the statewide virtual reference cooperative coordinated by Washington State Library.  Nearly 60 public and academic libraries around the state take part in the program.  Ask WA is also part of a global network of libraries that are available to answer questions 24/7.  Yes that’s right, 24/7.

Now imagine you are a teenager and the idea of actually visiting a library or talking to a librarian is either too scary or soooo uncool. But honestly you still need their help.  Ask WA is the perfect solution.  With the thought in mind that teenagers have their phones practically glued to them and love text as a form of communication, Whatcom County Library’s Ask WA Administrator, Aubri Keleman decided to do something about pairing the two.  Working with school librarians in her service area Aubri arranged a day where she could visit eleven classes of middle schoolers to demonstrate the service.   Just that statement sounds a little overwhelming but the preparation involved was so much more.  While the service has librarians available around the clock, having 30 students login at one time is more than it can handle, particularly all day long.  But it’s a cooperative right?  Whatcom County librarians as well as librarians from all over the state and even country volunteered to take on extra shifts.  Aubri created a great list of Q&A’s for the kids to use so that the librarians would be prepared with good answers.  The big day arrived and we were off to the races!

Over the course of the school day Aubri visited the classes, demoed the chat service and then had the kids login and try it.  315 questions were asked and answered in that one school day.  They wouldn’t be Middle Schoolers if there weren’t a few “Yo dog” type of questions but on the whole the kids were polite and asked good questions.  (An aside, the school librarian explained that “yo dog” is a sign of respect!)  Aubri reported that they were excited to be chatting with a real person, and wanted to know about them.   They were really excited when they got someone from out of state and of course, they loved having permission in school to pull out their phones.

Comments from the kids:

“Thanks that was awesome!”

“That was very helpful”

“Thank you that is exactly what I was looking for.”

“They were very helpful! Thank You!”

It sounds like the day was a big success and that the 7th and 8th graders of Mount Baker Middle School have discovered a new way to get help with their homework.

Currently almost 60 libraries and library systems in Washington participate in Ask WA. Are you interested in learning how your library can participate? Just contact Ask WA Coordinator Nono Burling.

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WSL Updates for February 12, 2015

February 12th, 2015 Shirley Lewis Posted in For Libraries, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates No Comments »

Volume 11, February 12, 2015 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:







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Statewide Database Licensing Needs Assessment Survey

January 22nd, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources No Comments »


DATABASE at Postmasters, March 2009 by Michael Mandiberg / CC BY-SA

DATABASE at Postmasters, March 2009 by Michael Mandiberg / CC BY-SA

The Washington State Library’s Statewide Database Licensing (SDL) project announces the release of two important needs assessment surveys, one for library staff, and one for library users. All library staff who are aware of the library’s electronic resources, especially research databases, are encouraged to take the staff survey, and all Washington libraries are encouraged to promote the user survey to their clientele, through their web sites, social media, patron newsletters, and any other appropriate media or opportunities.

The surveys will be available through Friday, February 20, 2015. Here are the survey links:

• Library user survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SDL-2015
• Library staff survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SDL-Staff

The library audience for both surveys includes all types of libraries that participate in SDL: public libraries, private academic, community and technical colleges, hospital and research libraries, and K-12 schools, both public and private. In the case of K-12 schools, the end user survey is intended for classroom teachers and administrators, rather than students, but college and university students are strongly encouraged to take the survey.

In promulgating the survey links, be sure to notice that they use the secure https protocol. Visit sos.wa.gov/q/SDL for additional information, including suggestions for promoting the survey to your users. For questions about the surveys or the SDL needs assessment process, please contact SDL project manager Will Stuivenga will.stuivenga@sos.wa.gov 360.704.5217. Thank you in advance for your participation and cooperation in making these surveys a success.

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WSL Updates for January 15, 2015

January 14th, 2015 Shirley Lewis Posted in For Libraries, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates No Comments »

Volume 11, January 15, 2015 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:







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The WSL has a new Master.

January 12th, 2015 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education 3 Comments »


By now I think most of you have heard about the Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) program which is offered through the Washington State Library. The ITA is a collection of over 400 online courses and other IT instructional materials that are available to all Washington residents. But have you heard yet about the newest addition to the program, the opportunity to prove your skills with certification?

Thanks to the hard work of Elizabeth Iaukea, certification sites are being set up all over the state. While completing the trainings provides the necessary skills to be competitive in a 21st Century workplace the certification tests are the best way to prove to employers the depth of your knowledge. Having attempted just a basic test myself I can attest to the fact that they are not easy.

Well, on Monday January 5th, the Washington State Library’s IT Academy program certified their first Microsoft Office Specialist Master (MOS).   And now I’d like to introduce (drumroll…) Jeremy Stroud, WSL’s graphic designer, web guru and now Master of the Universe (er.. of Microsoft Office). In order to earn this lofty title Jeremy first passed the entry level tests in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. Then for the Master certification he also passed the expert level class in both Word and Excel.

Here’s what Jeremy has to say,

“I have been using Microsoft Office programs since the mid 1990’s, being first introduced to the suite of programs while in high school. I’m not shy about facing challenges so if I came across issues while using an Office product, I dug around until I found a solution. This tinkering and experimenting with Microsoft Office, in addition to the courses taken through the years, have allowed me to have a very broad and in-depth knowledge of the programs. The rise of the internet has made this even easier as there is now a wealth of knowledge available, such as the Microsoft IT Academy. When opportunity to take the certification arose, I decided to see how far my knowledge went. I believe that having my MOS Master certification will open many doors for me as I continue throughout my career.”

The Microsoft IT Academy and MOS certification testing has been available in all of WA’s public high schools for almost four years now, but has only been available to the rest of the state since November 2013 (MOS certification followed a year later), through special Legislative funding provided for the program to the State Library and available through all public, tribal, and community and technical college libraries in the state.

Adding certification was the natural next step, and missing piece to make the online training pay off.” Iaukea explains. “As the many who have suffered through periods of unemployment know all too well, it’s not enough to have the skills – you have to be able to prove to employers that you have them. Microsoft Office is the third most requested job skill, and MOS, as THE industry recognized credential for this software, is the BEST way to demonstrate that you have those in-demand skills.”

That’s why, in 2013 the Legislature approved money to support the program for the biennium ending June 2015. As a result, anyone can take the online courses and use the Study Guides provided by their local libraries to take a MOS exam – without having to travel as far or pay as much to test ($50 or less rather than $125).

We are proud and extremely lucky here at the State Library to have a MOS Master in our midst. But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s hear what some of his co-workers have to say

Jeff Martin – Head of Library Development

“I always knew Jeremy was talented when it came to Microsoft Office software. I frequently ask him the “how do I” questions that stumped me. I consider myself an intermediate user of the software suite when it comes to Word, Excel, and Outlook. After mixed results with the basic certification tests on Word and Outlook, neither of which I passed, only one of which I came close to passing, I have a new found respect for how in-depth Jeremy’s knowledge of these products truly is. Jeremy is a great problem solver for Microsoft Office. My problems, his solutions.”

Rand Simmons – Washington State Librarian

“Jeremy is my go to guy for Outlook, Excel, Word and PowerPoint. I know the rudiments of the software but when I am baffled he saves my bacon by making a quick fix. I have yet to encounter a problem he couldn’t resolve. His mastery of Microsoft products shows in the excellent products he produces.”

Will Stuivenga – Cooperative Projects Manager

I consider myself to be a relatively savvy computer user, especially when it comes to Microsoft Office products … But I know that I can count on Jeremy to run circles around me in terms of his exhaustive knowledge of specific features and functions of any MS Office product. And if he doesn’t know the answer off the top of his head (which he often/usually does), he can quickly find it (by sitting down briefly at my computer), or (if needed) look it up online. In some cases, I can look things up myself, but in many situations, it’s simply easier and faster (i.e., more efficient) to just ask Jeremy, than to struggle on my own. Having him here in the department is a wonderful and convenient resource that I have used and relied on countless times over the almost 11 years I have worked here in Library Development.

While Jeremy’s co-workers will certainly reap the benefits of his expertise we hope that this mastery will be reproduced around the state as more people complete the courses and take advantage of the certification program. Go Washington!


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Davenport Public Library – Providing Broadband Access to their community

December 1st, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding, Technology and Resources 1 Comment »

davenportOver in Lincoln County the Davenport Public Library is doing business, but not quite as usual. In 2013 they were the beneficiaries of a Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant as well as a LSTA grant both administered by the Washington State Library. We recently heard from Katy Pike, a librarian at the Davenport library about some of the ways that implementing this grant has impacted the Davenport community. First the numbers. Their speeds used to be a slow 1.5 mbps download and .5 upload. After on average they now receive 20 mbps download and 22 mbps upload speeds. Quite a change.

Katy reports that before the grant it was impossible to run a public and staff computer on the same internet line without competing for the very limited bandwidth.  With the upgrades this is no longer true. Other benefits to the patrons are that many people in the community now use the library computers for filing tax returns, applying for DSHS benefits, career development, online education, and information or entertainment needs. And because of the broadband the Davenport Library now has the capacity to run Microsoft IT Academy from its public computers which will allow the local residents to increase their computer skills, which hopefully will lead to better jobs.

But the best part of the story is not about numbers but about people. Katy told us three of the kind of stories we love to hear, and they seemed like stories to share.

As soon as the library was set up with higher speeds, a teen girl in our community was able to utilize DPL’s internet to meet her homework and entertainment needs. Originally, the internet speed was not sufficient enough to load online programs that were accessible to visually impaired patrons. Now, this young lady uses the library’s downloadable book service and Wi-Fi.

Our fire station across the street from DPL utilized the library’s Wi-Fi when retraining volunteer firefighters in CPR/First Aid. (It was needed to access the instructor’s online education materials.)

The sewing business next door to DPL is utilizes the Wi-Fi to teach crafting classes and to conduct other business transactions.

Katy said that while the library is open only sixteen hours a week, the Wi-Fi extends beyond the walls of the library. People often use the library’s Wi-Fi just by sitting in their cars after hours. All in all, it sounds like the library’s broadband is having a wide range effect on the Davenport community.

Finally a quote from Katy, “E-rate, the equipment awarded from the 2013 Broadband grant, and technology expertise from the Washington State Library allowed the Davenport Public Library to successfully participate with the BTOP grant. The [Davenport] library doesn’t have consistent tech support and doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to have participated without guidance from the Washington State Library.”

The Washington State Library is working diligently to help support the libraries and by extension the residents of Washington State. Thanks to Katy for sharing her story with us. How has the State Library impacted your community?

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WSL Updates for November 6, 2014

November 5th, 2014 Shirley Lewis Posted in For Libraries, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates No Comments »

Volume 10, November 6, 2014 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:







————————————————————————————————————— Read the rest of this entry »

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