WA Secretary of State Blogs

Spokane – Wide Open Town?

Monday, July 21st, 2014 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.

 

William Gohl – Not a Nice Man

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 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.

 

NW Card File Starts the Journey to Online Access

Monday, April 15th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, News, State Library Collections, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


0415131231aFrom the desk of Steve Willis, Central Library Services Program Manager of the Washington State Library:

What do these people have in common?

John Anderson – the Swedish immigrant who served as a consulting engineer in the construction of the USS Monitor and after the Civil War settled in King County, where he continued to tinker and invent.

Grover Andrews – “The Destroying Angel” who was a leader the Morrisite Colony in the Waitsburg region in the 1880s.

Donald Archer – The daredevil student from The Evergreen State College who in 1980 donned a costume with wings and big bug eyes, then climbed the side of the Federal Building in Seattle.

Dr. Nettie Asberry – The first African American woman in the United States to receive a doctorate degree, Nettie was an early civil rights activist in Tacoma who lived to the age of 103 in 1968.

Yes, all of them have surnames starting with the letter “A.” And, they are a part of Washington State history as indexed in the Northwest Card File.

This searching tool is comprised of 180 card catalog drawers divided into two groups: personal names, and, topical subjects. The file serves as a finding aid for Washington State newspaper articles, obituaries, book chapters, pamphlets– indexing the collection in much more detail than a traditional card catalog.

It appears the Northwest Card File was started in the early 1950s, although it indexes material much older than that. In the early 1990s the File was basically retired, and the indexing was performed on computer. Stored on Bernoulli drives, the indexes were printed into hardcopy form. By the mid-1990s a more updated online index was introduced and continues to this day.

Throughout 2012 WSL staff from Central Library Services (Glenn Parsons, Marlys Rudeen, Sean Lanksbury, Shirley Lewis) working with Evelyn Lindberg of Library Development, designed a database to provide online access to the Northwest Card File. We are hoping to provide public access to the index in increments as we go. Inputting started on a trial basis in late October, but really began at the start of 2013 when WSL volunteer David Lane joined the project.

Two and half drawers later David has completed the “A” surname file! As he dives into the letter “B” I can either figure out how to clone him, or, make a pitch to our faithful readers out there with strong data entry experience to join the project as a volunteer. If you are interested in helping us build this unique finding aid please contact Steven Willis, Program Manager for Central Library Services, ph: (360) 704-5276, email: steve.willis@sos.wa.gov for details.

Happy Birthday to the Temple of Justice!

Friday, January 18th, 2013 Posted in Articles | No Comments »


wsl_MS0321_MaryanReynoldsWSLStacksTempleOfJusticeCirca1952aToday marks Centennial Celebration of the Washington State Temple of Justice building, home to the State Supreme Court.  The Temple is also home to the Washington State Law Library, but did you know that the building also housed the Washington State Library for 45 years?  This excerpt, taken from “Historic Sites of the Washington State and Territorial Library: 1853 to the present,” tells more…

In 1913, the library collection’s were relocated “temporarily” (from the Old State Capitol Building) to five small rooms in the basement of the Temple of Justice, with the rarest items placed into a vault. The Temple of Justice, home of the Washington State Supreme Court, is the oldest building of the Wilder and White capitol plan on the Capitol grounds, dating back to 1912. Though started in 1912, construction was not fully completed until 1920 due to issues with construction financing. Upon completion of the Legislative Building, the library was supposed to move into dedicated space there. This plan was never realized for when the Legislative Building was completed in 1928, the spaces had already been taken over by other state agencies.  Other plans for relocating the collection were devised over the years: moving the collection back to the Old State Capitol Building following a remodel, into “available space” in the General Administration Building, or into a remodeled Labor and Industries Building. All proposals were rejected, often because the costs were close to or the same as creating an entirely new dedicated facility.

Changes and growth began to occur at the library during its stay at the Temple. In February of 1933 State Librarian Mildred Pope established an official Legislative Reference Service. In 1939, portions of the Daughters of Pioneer Collection were relocated and housed at the Washington State Library, including the McCardle index.  In 1941 the Washington State Library Commission was created.  It had five members:  four appointed by Governor, with the Superintendent of Public Instruction as the fifth. In 1944 legal responsibility was vested in the Library Commission, which adopted a Statement of Policy on January 20, 1944.  In 1948 the Washington Library Association wrote a proposal for an Institutional Library Program for Washington State Institutions.  This proposal advanced the idea of a cooperative arrangement between the Department of Institutions and the Washington State Library for reading and reference services.  For many years the proposal would be discussed without any concrete partnership materializing.  In 1951 the library also partnered with the State Archives to initiate the microfilming of archival newspapers and manuscript files. By March 2, 1953, the library’s 100th anniversary, 271,700 volumes were listed in the collection.  Though it was cramped for space and the collections were in serious peril, the library put on a brave face; celebrating its centennial with a tea and open house for dignitaries.

Note: The Washington State Library was a division of the Department of Education at one time.

In 1955 The Tacoma News Tribune described the legislative treatment of the library as akin to being the “stepchild of state government.” It reported on the inappropriate quarters and the neglectful condition of the library.  What follows is one passage from the article:

Housed in congested quarters in the basement of the Temple of Justice at Olympia is the Washington State Library which has become a maze of confusion because of lack of space. Irreplaceable books and papers are in danger of destruction because they cannot be given proper care…rare historical documents and newspaper files share space with office files under steam and water pipes.  Much of this material is deteriorating faster than staff members can repair it. … No public reading space is available, books are piled high and narrow aisles are often completely blocked.

Despite the dire conditions and poor public perception, a glint of optimism was in the air.  A new library bill garnering strong political support from members of both major parties was introduced that year.  The proposal was to create a separate and dedicated building as part of the Capitol Campus.  This building would be funded from the state building fund, which received money from the sale of timber on state-owned lands, removing the need for new taxes to be raised.

More information on the history of the State Library can be found on our website and in the book Dynamics of Change, by former State Librarian Maryan E. Reynolds (also pictured above).

The Public Library as an Institution

Monday, January 14th, 2013 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »


West Valley Branch Computers

 “The library, like other institutions, is not an isolated and independent structure. It is organically related to the rest of society and, therefore, it is influenced by many social forces, including the distribution of the population, wealth, economic trends, taxation methods, trading areas, improved communication and transportation, the increased mechanization and the resulting leisure, and the trend toward regionalism. The development of the library as an institution appears meaningful only when its development is related to the impact of these social forces…” 

“If the effectiveness of the library as a social institution is to be increased, library development in the future must be planned along the lines indicated by the social trends which are now apparent.”

“As a whole, the modern library is conceived by the professional librarian predominantly as an institution serving a group rather than a storehouse of books. That is, the stress is on use, rather than on keeping and preserving material.”

If you guessed that this was written about the modern library in the digital age you would be wrong. Credit must be given to June Voss Strother who in 1938 included these words as part of the introduction in her Master’s Thesis, The Development and the Adequacy of the Library as an Institution in the State of Washington in fulfillment of the Masters of Arts at the University of Washington.

I would agree that the public library then and now is about much more than being a storehouse of books and of keeping and preserving materials. The public library is integral to its community and the people living there. The public library is there to serve the needs of residents and must adapt to changes in information and society if it is to remain relevant.

Jeff Martin
Acting Library Development Program Manager
Washington State Library

Looking for Pacific Northwest Native Resources?

Friday, November 16th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Tribal | 1 Comment »


Washington State Library Pacific Northwest and Special Collections compiled a selection of resources on the language, culture and intercultural connections of the first peoples of the Pacific Northwest, as part of the Washington State Heritage Center’s exhibit “We’re Still Here: The Survival of Washington Indians.”  In honor of the federally recognized Native American Heritage Month 2012, the State Library is highlighting this list in hopes that it will stoke your interest in the diversity of native peoples hailing from the State of Washington.

“We’re Still Here” is display at the lobby of the Office of the Secretary of State, inside the Washington State Legislative Building, until April of 2013.  Supported and vetted by many Washington Indians, this exhibit displays colorful artifacts to tell compelling and personal stories. Artifacts include rare baskets, tools, feather hats, ceremonial colorful clothing and drums.

View/Download the resource list: Washington State Library, First Peoples of Washington State: Selected Resources*

Read more on the exhibit: We’re Still Here: The Survival of Washington Indians

 

* The resource list has been published using Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF); you will need the free Adobe reader in order to read it, available for download at get.adobe.com/reader.

Beriah Brown and the Puget Sound Dispatch

Friday, October 19th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, News | No Comments »


The Puget Sound Dispatch, published in Seattle from 1871 to 1880, has been added to the Washington State Library’s Historic Washington Newspapers Online.

Published Weekly from 1871 to 1880, the newspaper was launched by Beriah Brown and Charles H. Larrabee in December 1871. Brown, who also served for one term as mayor of Seattle in 1878, was known to be a strongly opinionated editorialist. So much so, that it is sometimes hard to distinguish between his editorials and the articles he wrote about everyday local occurrences. Since the newspaper was published during what is sometimes called the “railroad period” in the Pacific Northwest, he had much to say about the railroads and their officials, a truly hot button issue of the day.  But, as noted by an essay at Historylink.org, he also had strong words for a group of white parents complaining about “colored” children taking classes at the university. Brown wrote in the January 29, 1874 Puget Sound Dispatch that “Every child of African descent born in this country has the same right of access to our public schools as the children of the most privileged of Caucassian [sic] blood. No teacher or school officer has any more legal right to exclude one than the other”. He was opinionated and ahead of his time. Brown was also noted for composing his articles as he set them in type, rather than first writing them down on paper. Financial difficulties forced Brown to sell the paper and it was merged with the Daily Intelligencer, which later became the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Historic Washington Newspapers Online  project was purposely designed for students, genealogists, and historians to easily access historical information. It provides viewers with the ability to search by keywords, dates, subjects, and personal names. To view the newspapers, please visit www.sos.wa.gov/history/newspapers.aspx.

Western State Hospital Library takes a look at history

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Institutional Library Services | 2 Comments »


Western State Hosptial

Kathleen Benoun at Western State Hospital Library has done it again.  Not only does she keep the patients and staff happy in the libraryher love of history has drawn her to help create the historical museum on the grounds of Washington State Hospital.  Now that love of history and the library has combined to bring a great program to the hospital treatment centers.  This program is a great addition to the library services at Western State Hospital.  Check out the attached flyer to see how Kathleen showcases the hospital’s rich history.

Discover Olympia, Washington and its history through postcards.

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »


Olympia (Postcard history series). By Jill Bullock. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2010. 127 p.

Recommendation by:
Rand Simmons, Acting Washington State Librarian, Tumwater, WA.

This unassuming book of black and white photos with minimal text packs an amazing amount of history in its 127 pages. The history of my adopted town, Olympia, WA, is told through images of postcards collected by author Jill Bullock. Many of the postcards are, in the collectors’ vernacular, “real photo postcards” or RPPCs. Through these images we learn about steamboats, downtown Olympia, early public schools and businesses, the Capitol of Washington, the brewery that made Tumwater famous and the history of logging.

We also learn the place of Olympia in the State’s history. The territorial capitol, Olympia struggled to retain the same role when Washington gained statehood in 1889. The first vote failed and Olympia faced a second vote in 1890. “Fate intervened in the form of the great Seattle fire that threatened to consume the city. The Olympia city fathers were quick to act. They sent the town’s fine, new steam-pumper fire engine the Silsby to stricken Seattle on the fast steamer Fleetwood. In spite of grumbling amongst the townspeople, $500 of taxpayers’ money was also given to Seattle to aid in their recovery. Seattleites, feeling indebted, showed their appreciation by supporting Olympia as the site of a permanent state capitol.”

This is the kind of history that arm-chair historians like me enjoy, a quick easy read filled with photos. Thanks is given by the author to Mary Hammer and (recently-retired) Dave Hastings of the Washington State Archive for their assistance with the book.

ISBN-13: 978 0738580364

Available at the Washington State Library,  NW 979.779 BULLOCK 2010
Not available as an eBook, talking book, or as a Braille edition.

Washington State Civil War Veterans signed up for a return to Gettysburg.

Thursday, October 27th, 2011 Posted in Articles | 1 Comment »


The Washington State Special Collections contains nearly 600 distinct manuscript collections.  What unifies these collections is their focus on Pacific Northwest and Washington State history, but oftentimes the primary documents contained within each box has broader national or international appeal.

One example of this broader appeal is Washington State Library’s collection of Civil War veterans’ correspondence concerning attendance of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg reunion, 1913 (MS 115).  Consider the following description, taken from the catalog record:

“This is a collection of correspondence concerning the Washington State delegation to the reunion of Civil War veterans’ from the Battle of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, PA. In 1945, the Office of the Auditor of Washington State weeded their general correspondence file and found they had a file of correspondence from the reunion of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
 
In 1913, the Washington State Legislator passed an appropriation bill of about $15,000 to send the surviving Civil War veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg to Pennsylvania to attend the 50th anniversary reunion. It was a reunion of both Union and Confederate soldiers that fought and survived that Battle. The ceremonies were held on July 1-4, 1913 at the battlefield. Because the veterans of this battle were elderly and many financially unable to attend the reunion, the Legislature passed appropriations to pay for their trip.
 
It appears that all the procedures for determining who was eligible to attend were confusing. There are letters from some veterans requesting information about how to apply, what they need to do and what proof was required to prove their eligibility? Because the reunion was for both Union and Confederate soldiers, many of the Confederate soldiers questioned how they could prove their eligibility. It was difficult to prove their participation because they did not receive discharge papers at the end of the War. There is original correspondence from individual soldiers.”

This fascinating collection also contains correspondence from the railroads for proposals with quotes on the cost of the transportation and descriptions of what would be included in the trip, a copy of the itinerary of the special train to attend the celebration, a list of the veterans in the train program, and a typescript of all of the veterans with their addresses that made up the Washington State delegation that attended the reunion.  A few of the items are facsimiles of material kept at the Washington State Archives, but most of the collection is made of originals.

As our nation commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and approaches the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the State Library is taking special strides to provide access to our Civil War-related materials.  Want to get a better look at this collection, or learn more about what the State Library has to offer war researchers?  Feel free to contact the State Library Special Collections or use the Washington State Library “Ask-a-Librarian” service for further information. Too far away to visit?  The library has recently scanned much of the related material to make it more readily available to researchers.

The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was fought around July 1–3, 1863 and is considered by many the turning point in the Civil War.  For more information about the battle, the American Civil War, and Washington State’s Civil War veterans, please consider some of these links: