WA Secretary of State Blogs

Horrible Murder!! – The Case of the Aged Bride

Friday, July 24th, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | 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.

Great news for Washington Digital Newspapers!

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized | No Comments »


The Washington State Library has been awarded a Veridian Newspaper Conversion Grant to process and present up to 10,000 newspaper images from our Historic Newspapers Collection.  In March we competed against other national and international academic, public and special libraries with digital collections for the opportunity to have the Veridian software company convert our metadata and cloud-host a full-text searchable collection for two years.

We will have new features to explore, such as advanced search techniques, improved search results, comment opportunities and personal search lists! By converting our keyword, subject-based collection of historic newspapers to METS/ALTO metadata standards, a standard approved by Library of Congress for newspapers in their Chronicling America program, this grant will enable us to capture the text from news articles in a form that allows researchers to use advanced search techniques such as proximity search, exact phrases and date ranges to find their favorite topics. It also encourages users to help improve search results with crowd-sourced correction features when poor Optical Character Recognition (OCR) resultKeepLightBurning_Stars occur from smudged or blurry originals.

 The Washington Digital Newspapers program has the largest collection of Washington state and territorial newspapers in the world, but we are still quite shy of having as extensive a digital collection as we have on microfilm. There are also plenty of community newspapers ready to be digitized across the state. This grant will help us compare the best online software features available for newspapers and we will use this experience to determine the future growth of our online newspapers collection for the residents and researchers of Washington.

Progress for Digital Newspapers!!


DL Consulting provides Veridian Software

Here are some examples of their work:

Newspaper collections from our NDNP partners

Library of Virginia

California Digital Newspaper Collection

Non-newspaper collections

Princeton University




From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer- Washington Digital Newspapers Coordinator

In search of the Eatonville Dispatch

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | 1 Comment »

From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer & Washington Digital Newspapers.

EatonvilleDispatch_Msthd_09011916Though the Eatonville Dispatch began as a weekly newspaper in 1893, known available issues begin in 1916, stored on microfilm and carefully protected print copies in archival boxes located at the Eatonville Public Library. It’s still a weekly publication, now known as the Dispatch, printed and available online by the Pacific Publishing Company . We first became aware of the interest in digitizing older issues of this paper when one of the long time publishing families contacted us through Cindy Dargan, managing librarian of the Eatonville Library, to ask how to go about this digitization project. Floyd Albert and Georgina Larkin ran the paper from 1950-1962 and then brought in their son, Floyd Ames, who ran it with his mom until the early 1970s. Last year in 2014, the family decided that the best use of remaining estate money from those publishing years would be best spent converting the full run of the paper to a digital collection and displayed to the public.

It’s a great idea and Floyd Ames’ brother, Bob Larkin, initiated the move to make it happen. Now, the first challenge begins. After 1922 all public works fall under copyright protection and all the publishers and descendants of the publishing families will need to be contacted for permission to scan and display the newspaper pages they published over certain dates. There were 12 different publishers between 1893 and 2010. Where are they now? Who can still be contacted if they have passed away? Where do we start?

Eatonville Public Library

Eatonville Public Library

The process of “discovery” began with a few trips to Pierce County libraries to determine the condition, format and completeness of the collection. My first stop at the South Hill Library branch revealed a beautiful, neat and clean building, but with the construction dust and disruption of the re-model, they decided to store the microfilm at the Lakewood branch, the largest branch in the Pierce County system which had more room to hold the film. Since I had just come from that area a visit would have to wait till the next day. So, a further excursion down Hwy 161 to meet Cindy at the Eatonville Library would reveal the carefully saved issues of the original print. As I gingerly handled the crumbling pages of the earliest issues in a nearby room, I could hear the library staff connect with their patrons. “Aren’t you supposed to be in school today? Oh, it’s in-service day.” Two grade school boys giggled from the nearby computers where they were engaged in a game. “I saw your Mom in the grocery store last week. I haven’t seen her in a while, glad she’s doing better” was directed to another patron. It was a busy day at the library in Eatonville and the staff is obviously an important part of that community.

SendThemRightUp_20150129While checking for condition, missing issues and pages I found some other interesting artifacts of a bygone newspaper era. A princess from the Middle East came to visit Eatonville in 1917. An early pioneer, born in the 1880s and a well known citizen in town had just passed away in the early ‘20s. And what is this in the bottom of the box? Thick, pulpy printing mats embossed with text and ads from the Tacoma Daily Ledger, February 2, 1913, which were originally used on rotary printers for fast production of the daily paper. An early Bell Telephone ad, pictured here, states “Will You Send Them Right Up?” as the man pictured makes a quick call for shirts before he leaves on the evening train. A few of these old print mats from the rotary printing days had been stashed in the archival boxes as a nod to a by-gone era.

But there are also missing artifacts…. Where are some of the issues from the WWI and WWII? More sleuthing will be needed to track down pages that were filled with draft notices, war news and return heroes. More attempts to track down missing pages leads to yet another trip. A short visit to the busy Lakewood library, a two story, urban branch filled with computer users, parents and children. The helpful staff had not unboxed all the South Hill microfilm yet, but made and extra effort to search for the Eatonville film, but they didn’t have the missing issues we were seeking. Off to the University of Washington (UW) to see what they might have in their collection to fill in the gaps.

A visit to the UW campus on a sunny day is always a treat. Even in February there are camellias and hellebore blooming outside the stately Suzzallo Library. Inside the MicNews department, filled with six-foot-plus tall horizontal sliding walls of microfilm and many rows of newspaper racks I grabbed a few film reels for more review. Yep, I found a few of the missing date ranges that we will need and UW has a large collection of master film negatives, our preferred format for scanning. We partnered with UW and made use of their great collection during our participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program. It’s great news for us that we can work with them again on our new project.

shawnThere are still a few challenges yet to solve to make sure that we have the most complete, fully searchable, and clean digital collection. Choosing the best scanning vendors for a reasonable price; pursuing a few more elusive issues; finding the descendants of the early publishers. All are important details that will need to be addressed before scanning and generating files and sharing them with the world.

Over the next few months, Bob Larkin will be helping us to track down permissions to digitize from fellow publishers; we’ll be working with imaging vendors to scan as many pages this year as we can; and then we’ll be partnering with University of California, Riverside to add page numbers, dates, OCR and essential metadata, using the latest newspaper digitization software to make the collection compatible with national standards.

As you can see, there are many steps to wrangling a detailed project such as this, but also a satisfying job to bring this treasure to the world of the internet. Take a look at our online newspaper collection to-date from across the state: .

The Killing Season

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection | No Comments »

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

“One of the lusty, colorful eras in the history of the Pacific Northwest,” writes Jim Gibbs, “centered around the pelagic sealing industry. It gained great proportions by the 1890’s when every year more than 100 small schooners, propelled only by canvas, set sail from Victoria, B.C. and Puget Sound ports fanning throughout the North Pacific, in the harsh open seas of the Bering Sea, and often into Siberian and Japanese waters.” Supposed dead sailor

Pelagic sealing was a brutal, dangerous and cruel method of hunting seals for their fur. After decades of hunting by Russian, Japanese, Canadian, and American sealers, the Northern Fur Seal population had declined at an alarming rate. The American government had begun the process of regulating the industry as far as it could in the mid-1890s, so to get around these laws many U.S. sealers worked on Japanese schooners with an international crew, frequently breaking various laws in order to score a large harvest.

The following is a tale of what happened to a group of sealers who gambled and lost when they attempted to harvest seals in a war zone, when men were engaged in killing each other rather than seals. In this case the international battle was the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the first real industrialized conflict in the northern hemisphere in the 20th century.

By coincidence, this seal-hunting episode took place at the same time Jack London’s Sea-Wolf was published, a novel partially based on the life of contemporary sealer Alex MacLean.

The article found at random that led to this tale turned out to be rife with major factual errors, but it did lead to other sources, and they in turn were rife with major conflicting facts. This is an incident that could keep professional historians busy for a long time as they attempt to confirm the data. A little lesson on accuracy and rumors. What follows should be considered a best guess of what happened.

Anyway, here’s the brief news piece that got me started, from the Dec. 6, 1905 Morning Olympian:


Aberdeen. Dec. 5–The sealing schooner Chas. Grant, recently returned to Victoria, B.C. after escaping from Russia through the intervention of the British government, reports that the officers and crew of the schooner Diana, mourned as dead since the summer of 1904, are still alive, immured in a Russian prison on the Amoor.

 It transpires that the Danana [sic] did not go down in a storm as was supposed, but was sunk by the Russian cruiser Lena last August, after the removal of the crew. That the Diana was lost and its crew drowned has been so generally accepted that the life insurance of several of them has been paid, and it is said that the wife of one of the crew has married again and lives in Aberdeen.

OK, where do we start? For openers, the Victoria Daily Colonist had reported the lost crew was alive and in a Russian prison about six months before this Dec. 1905 “breaking news” appeared.

Chas. Grant was not a schooner, he was a human being working as a sealer. Along with a fellow Victoria resident named Robert Finlay, they had been part of the crew of the Hokusei Maru, a Japanese sealing ship that had been seized and sunk by the Russian cruisers Gromoboi and Rossia.

Grant and Finlay told reporters they had been kept in a POW camp with 1500 Japanese, including some sealers who had been aboard the Diana. The Japanese prisoners reported to Grant and Finlay that the Diana crew had not perished at sea, and the North American prisoners had been taken to another facility. “Rather odd, isn’t it?,” Finlay told the Bellingham Herald  (Dec. 7, 1905), “to be delighted to learn that your friends are in prison?”

The prisoners Finlay was making reference to were identified as Capt. T.R. Thompson, Edward McNeill, George McCamish, Joseph Knapp, and a mysterious character we’ll call Joseph Vollo for now.

Next, the Diana was not really the Diana. The schooner had left the Victoria fleet and was registered in Japan. It was now called the Kyoichi Maru. The schooner flew under different flags, including Norway, Britain, and Denmark, as a blind.

In early August 1904 the Kyoichi Maru crew had somehow gotten into a quarrel with four other schooners as they descended upon Robben Island to slaughter seals at a rookery there. This small patch of land is now called Tyuleniy Island. At the time it was in Russian territory, but from 1905-1945 belonged to Japan. Somehow the four schooners conspired to block the Kyoichi Maru from participating in the carnage, so the ship waited until the others departed and then returned to start clubbing whatever seals were left. On Aug. 16, 1904, after killing over 200 seals (the previous four ships had killed almost 2000 seals each), they were discovered by the Russian auxiliary cruiser Lena (one version says it was the cruiser Gromoboi).

The Kyoichi Maru was then stripped and, depending on what account you believe, was sunk on the spot or scuttled at the mouth of the Amur River. The Japanese crew members were hustled off to a POW camp, but the five remaining crew members were given what could be called in charitable terms, “special treatment.”

These five were held in detention until Jan. 1905, when they were tried in Russian court and found guilty– of poaching, one would guess. They were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. By the time they were released, Robben Island had become part of Japan.

T.R. Thompson was the main focus of the Russian’s ire. Based in San Francisco, Thompson was well known to his keepers. As the Nov. 29, 1905 Victoria Daily Colonist explained: “The Russians were greatly interested in Capt. Thompson, who was formerly in the employ of the Russian fur company, which leased the rookery on Robben Island, he was mate on the guard steamer Kotick, which was captured by the Japanese lying in Yokohama, when the war began, and while in the employ of the Russian company, he had learned of the customs of the fur company, of how it placed its guards, etc. information, which came useful when he took charge of a Japanese sealing schooner.”

Thompson was given the harshest sentence of the crew. His manacles were welded on and he was kept in chains for months– to the point where he was unable to walk under his own power for a spell. A cartoon he had sketched had somehow made the Russians suspect he was a spy.

Edward McNeill of Victoria had alerted the press that the Kyoichi Maru was not lost at sea when he wrote to his parents in Victoria in early 1905.

Joe Knapp had lived in Seattle and Bellingham prior to this adventure. Possibly born in 1877 in Nova Scotia, Knapp apparently had a second job as a waiter on an Alaska passenger ship during the gold rush. He appears in the Seattle 1897 city directory employed in the occupation of sealer.

“Joseph Vollo” has been described as being from Guam, Spain, or Mexico. His name changes in each news account, but all versions agree he was quite young.

George McCamish, although described as a Canadian by most news articles, was actually an American. He was born in San Rafael, California in 1865. His lineage traces back to early American Scot-Irish heritage and later to possible Mormon pioneers.

McCamish was no stranger to being arrested by the Russians. In 1903 he had been part of a trio convicted and sentenced for poaching seals in Russian territory.

The North American prisoners from the Hyoichi Maru were released in mid-1906, destitute and in broken health. Through the charity of English and German travelers, the crew were able to secure passage from Vladivostok to Kobe.

At this point the fate of “Vollo” vanishes into the haze of history. McNeill, Knapp, and McCamish, after arriving in Japan, joined the crew of the sealing ship Seifu Maru, commanded by Capt. Ritchie. Thompson took command of a new sealing ship, the Aitoku Maru. Later he became the skipper of the Matsu Maru.

Two years later McCamish was aboard the Kinsei Maru, again with Capt. Ritchie (aka Richardson) when the schooner was seized by the US cutter Bear while illegally raiding seals and trading liquor for pelts in the Pribilof Island area. The Kinsei Maru was infamous as a ship filled with desperate characters, almost like pirates, and was nicknamed “The Terror” by Alaska locals. It was even adorned with a paper mache funnel and painted to disguise itself to resemble a revenue cutter. I cannot verify if Knapp was also part of the crew of 30+ sailors.

Ritchie and McCamish were imprisoned in Valdez for a number of months. Ritchie withdrew from sealing after this episode and lived in retirement in Japan.

George McCamish died June 10, 1911 in the Philippines from meningitis.

Ed McNeill joined the crew of the Toyoi Maru, under the command of Harry Jacobson.

As far as the “widow” in Aberdeen, Washington is concerned, I am unable to ascertain the identity of either spouse. If this story is true, then we have the side love interest gone awry to complete a great historical novel.


Thursday, September 18th, 2014 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection | No Comments »

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

[The following piece of found-at-random news comes from The Tacoma Daily Ledger, although the story took place in New Whatcom (a town which later became part of the City of Bellingham).

The tale reads like a screwball comedy. Published on November 9, 1897, the headline writer very appropriately made a reference to characters from Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors]:tacoma ledger

Mrs. Woods of Whatcom Secures a Divorce From Her Absent Spouse and Claims the Husband of Mrs. Lewis as Her Own — Row in the Lewis Family — Lewis Disappears — Woods Returns; Then Lewis, and Mystery Is Solved.

 NEW WHATCOM, Nov. 8.–(Special)–A most remarkable romance has been sequelized by the recent return to this city of James A. Woods, laden with treasure from Alaska. Mrs. James A. Woods has been residing in this city for the past five years while her husband was hunting gold in Alaska. She kept furnished rooms for rent.

One day last summer a Mr. Lewis and wife arrived in the city from Montana and proceeded to hunt furnished rooms. Mrs. Lewis finally rented one of Mrs. Woods’ rooms and the Lewis’ moved in. Like as Two

When Mrs. Woods was introduced to Mr. Lewis she at once convinced herself that he was Mr. Woods, her husband. She applied for and secured a divorce from Mr. Woods. Being fully convinced of Mr. Lewis’ real identity, Mrs. Woods imparted the information to Mrs. Lewis. Then there was a storm, a terrible upheaval of family quietude, and finally about three weeks ago Mr. Lewis disappeared and no trace of him could be discovered.

Last Friday James A. Woods arrived in the city, stating that he had landed at Victoria from Alaska October 28. The city police spotted him and placed him under surveillance; they had little doubt that the smooth-shaven Woods was none other than the bearded Lewis; besides, a peculiar scar upon Woods’ left thumb tallied with a similar mark on Lewis’ thumb. What was still more remarkable was the fact that Mrs. Lewis believed the new comer to be Mr. Lewis, while Mrs. Woods knew him as the real Woods.

Another search was made for Lewis and that gentleman reappeared upon the scene Saturday. Now it is all settled that Woods is really Woods of Alaska and Lewis is the real Lewis of Montana, though the remarkable resemblance of the two men to each other in all prominent features except whiskers fully explains and warrants the confusion.

[This newspapers and many others are available on microfilm and can be circulated to your local library on request]



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

Monday, August 11th, 2014 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.

An MLIS student reports on her experience working on the National Digital Newspaper Program

Friday, August 1st, 2014 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | No Comments »

The Washington State Library participates in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress.  Shawn Schollmeyer, the NDNP coordinator for our state, has had the pleasure of working this past year with two recent MLIS graduate students at the University of Washington, Rachel Foshag and Loryn Lestz.

2013-14 NDNP Washington Contributors and recent UW MLIS graduates, Rachel Foshag & Loryn Lestz, outside Suzzallo Library and Mary Gates Hall.

2013-14 NDNP Washington Contributors and recent UW MLIS graduates, Rachel Foshag & Loryn Lestz, outside Suzzallo Library and Mary Gates Hall.

Over the last two years Loryn and Rachel worked on the evaluation of the newspapers for condition and missing pages as well as adding in metadata required by the Library of Congress before the pages could be exported and loaded onto hard drives to ship off to the Library of Congress. They were essential in preparing the materials for us and our collaboration with University of Washington Microfilm and Newspaper department also helped make the program a success.  As a final exercise Shawn asked if they would write a blog post about their experience.  We thank them for their hard work.

The following is written by Loren Lestz.

Working on Washington’s National Digital Newspaper Program has been a great way to expand my horizons and skill-set in the Library and Information Science field. Over the course of this past year, I had the opportunity to be involved in many of the steps in the process of taking our content from microfilm to online digital resource. That involvement gave me not only a broad understanding of NDNP’s domain, but also a deep appreciation for what the resources produced by this project offered to their future users.

Getting to be involved in so many different processes within the NDNP project also provided me with a high-level understanding of the importance of each step – no matter how simple it might seem at first glance. Working with the Washington Standard really emphasized this for me, as I was took part in every step we performed on that title in the UW office at one point or another. fashion

More recently, as our work has shifted from processing to promoting the collections, I have gained an appreciation of what it’s like to use the end products that I had been working so hard on. One of these projects has involved going through all of the titles contributed over the course of Washington’s three NDNP grant cycles to find illustrations and photographs highlighting themes from Washington’s early history to be added to Washington State Library’s Pinterest account. This process (while of course very fun) has been quite lengthy, but when I am able to do keyword searches that rely on the OCR I helped to correct it really makes me appreciate the work myself, the rest of the student specialists, and WSL’s volunteers have put into this project over the years. I’ve especially had fun filling up the fashion and bicycling boards – two hobbies of mine outside of work.

Serendipitously enough, I have also even been able to help form a connection between another digital humanities project and NDNP’s resources. In January of this year, I started working with the Early Seattle Theatre History project. ESTH’s goal is to help academic researchers from high school to graduate school to find connections between the various kinds of digitized resources relating to Seattle’s theatre history. theaterWhen I joined the team, ESTH’s existing team members had just begun exploring the ways in which they could connect researchers with digitized newspaper reviews in addition to the photographs and programs already in the ESTH collection. I was able to introduce them to NDNP’s resources, which have turned out to be perfect for what they needed to do.

Not only am I very proud of what I have helped to produce while at NDNP, I am also very grateful for the opportunities I have had to develop valuable skills that will serve me well as I start down my new, post-grad school career path. bicycleThe experience of working with the same set of content throughout a good chunk of its life cycle has given me insights that I know I will be able to draw on in future projects – both as best practices and as lessons learned.

As I wrap up my work on the project, I am both proud of what my co-workers and I have accomplished as part of NDNP and excited for the work that Washington State Library will be able to do with the rest of its newspaper collection as a result of our successes with NDNP.

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.


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

Monday, June 30th, 2014 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.