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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.

Life in Colville 1907-08

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


From the desk of Marlys Rudeen:

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

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

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

Nov. 9, 1907

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

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

 Nov. 16, 1907

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

 Nov. 30, 1907

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

 Dec. 7, 1907

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

 Dec. 14, 1907

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

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

 Jan. 4, 1908

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

Jan. 25, 1908

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

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

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

 

TENDERLOIN CELEBRITIES IN THE TOILS

Thursday, June 5th, 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:

Found at random in the Sept. 12, 1905 issue of the always entertaining Seattle Star:tenderloin

TENDERLOIN CELEBRITIES IN THE TOILS

Seattle’s three municipal problems, Annie Rooney, “Prof.” Price and “Yankee Frank,” are again guests at the taxpayers’ expense.

 Officers Brafford and Mayou gathered in the notorious trio Monday evening while patrolling their tenderloin beat. As usual, Annie Rooney went along with sprightly step. Annie expected to be sent up to headquarters in the hurry-up wagon, as she had been out of jail for at least two weeks. “Yankee Frank,” however, did not take things so phlegmatically. He protested in terms both emphatic and lurid. Frank is a well-known tenderloin character. At one time he owned a very profitable second-hand business and was held in respect by both the police and his many acquaintances. His business failed and he rapidly developed into a shiftless n’er-do-well.

 But–

 When the redoubtable “Prof.” Price, the “Cockney Kid,” self-appointed champion pugilist of the tenderloin, artistic poser, terpsichorean star and vaudeville headliner felt the brawney hand of Officer Brafford on his shoulder, he scorned armitices and peace treaties, and–

 Showed fight!

 Then it was that the spectators were treated to a pretty set-to between the “professor” and Patrolman Brafford. The latter did not resort to his club, but met the reknowned “professor” at his own game. There was no sparring for wind, no breaks to cover. Brafford sent a right to the head and planted a hard one on the point of Price’s jaw. Inasmuch as there was no rope to hold on to, Price grabbed the edge of the bar in the saloon where the arrest was made, and all the efforts of the policeman to dislodge him were in vain. Finally Brafford “swat” him another mighty one, and the “professor” hurled himself into the fray, only to be the receiving station of a third hearty jolt.

 Finally, with Annie on one arm and Price on another, Brafford started for the patrol box, where he met Officer Mayou with “Yankee Frank” in tow.

 The arrests created much talk in the tenderloin, many of the folk there claiming that the trio were harmless and should have been left alone. Annie, Price and Frank are tenderloin charges. They live through the charity of the men and women who make the underworld either their home or business address.

Annie Rooney was no stranger to Seattle headline writers. Born around 1868-1870 in New York, she was raised in Michigan as the second daughter of a wealthy doctor. She was said to have attended the Boston Conservatory of Music and was regarded as something of a musical prodigy. In the early 1880s she toured the Massachusetts entertainment circuit as one of the feature acts for the Bennett & Moulton’s Juvenile Opera Company under her birth name, Florence Story.

When Florence was about 16 she fell in love with a fire-eater and variety theater entertainer named Del Bartino. The two married, much to the disapproval of her parents, and headed to Seattle in 1886. They opened in box house theaters, which is to say they were saloons with a space dedicated for shows and other activities, to put it politely. The Bartinos worked with the legendary theater man John Cort, as well as Tacoma’s “Boss Sport,” Harry Morgan.

In Eugene Clinton Elliott’s A History of Variety-Vaudeville in Seattle from the Beginning to 1914, a playbill for Morgan’s Theater is reproduced, dated October 1, 1887. Florence is now called Flora Story, “a dashing little artist” and “the queen of the African harp.”

Everything came apart for Florence in 1889. Seattle’s business district burned down, wiping out every theater in town. And her marriage to Bartino crumbled. According to legend, she dressed as a boy and ran away to sea for a time. When she returned to Seattle she had become Annie Rooney, notorious drunk.

She might have borrowed the name from the title of a popular song of the era. She became such a celebrity problem in Seattle’s tenderloin district that at one point in March, 1903, the local police put her on a steamer with a one-way ticket to Whatcom.

But she came back.

In November, 1903, while in an extended stay at Western State Hospital, Annie had the experience of reading her obituary in several newspapers. “Nobody,” said WSH Superintendent C.M. Parks, “enjoyed those stories of her death more than did Annie Rooney herself.”

By 1905, when the above article was published, Seattle’s Tenderloin district was being pushed south as the downtown real estate became more valuable with the expansion of the city. The “Golden Age of Vice,” and the reign of characters like Annie Rooney, were coming to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newspaper Discussion: Preservation and Access Issues

Monday, April 22nd, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


From the desk of NDNP Coordinator, Shawn Schollmeyer:  In our NDNP Office located in the basement of Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington we share this insight into the world of newspaper digitization and preservation by guest writer Casey Lansinger. Casey participated as an intern in our program and will be graduating with an MLIS in June 2013.

iphonephoto_CaseyLansinger2

In July of 2012, I left my sunny and dry hometown of Denver, CO for wet and green Seattle. I  suddenly found myself in a world where drivers are uncomfortably polite, the coffee is understandably strong and where this Colorado girl had to buy her first raincoat and pair of galoshes (yet still manages to get dripping wet with or without them). In Seattle, I would finish up my third and final year at University of Washington’s iSchool, where I am pursuing a Masters in Library and Information Science. My life in Denver, however, was all about journalism and writing. Prior to the big move I had spent the last five years at The Denver Post as an editorial assistant and occasional freelance writer. The connection here is a life-long infatuation with the written word. I’ll admit I did what we were all advised not to do on a Library School application: I explained that part of my wanting to become a librarian is because I am in love with books. They accepted me anyway.

From an early age, I’ve digested everything I could get my hands on; books have introduced me to characters that felt like friends; countless hours have been spent with my nose stuck in anything from embarrassingly trashy tabloid magazines to fascinating social justice articles from Mother Jones; and, of course, newspapers have opened my mind to what really matters to me. I like to highlight favorite passages in books and later transfer those passages to a journal. Or, in an act that tells me I’m turning more and more into my mother, I rip out articles from magazines or newspapers and stow them away for future reference. A big part of the connection for me is the tactile experience of handling the medium in which the written word is upon. I love taking an old book off of a shelf and smelling its musty pages; and, although I hated when it got on my clothing, I secretly loved the charcoal stain newsprint left on my hands while working at the Post. All of these experiences led to my involvement with the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) through the Washington State Library.

When I first heard about NDNP, I envisioned an experience in which I could marry my two career interests: journalism SeattleStar_CSarticleand library science. The obvious draw was the word ‘Newspaper’; the word I was hesitant about, however, was ‘Digital’. Don’t get me wrong, the practicality of digitizing content has not been lost on me, nor has the reasoning behind some news sources going completely digital for that matter; but this doesn’t mean I haven’t been without concern for my beloved “old-fashioned” mediums. However, as a budding librarian in an environment that is experiencing sweeping change, I knew that being a part of NDNP would be an invaluable learning experience for me. I knew there was an entire conversation about digitization that I was missing out on; and here was my chance to be a part of that conversation.

NDNP is a country-wide initiative to digitize historic newspapers between the years 1836 and 1922. The Library of Congress (LOC) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) partnered together to make this project possible. Each state chooses one institution to apply for a grant to be a part of the program; after a grant is awarded, this institution can partner up with other institutions in the state to complete the digitization process. Each state is also responsible for selecting its own newspaper titles. In Washington’s case, Washington State Library and University of Washington have taken the reins. Additionally, such agencies as The Association for African American History and Preservation Research, Seattle Public Library, Washington State University History Department, Everett Public Library and Central Washington University have had representatives on the advisory committee for Washington State. Washington became involved with NDNP in 2008 and, as March, 2013, has contributed over 200,000 pages of historic newspapers to the Library of Congress digital repository that houses the newspaper pages: Chronicling America (chroniclingamerica.loc.gov). Currently, 22 states have contributed newspaper pages to the repository.  At the fingertips of the public (Chronicling America is an open-access repository – meaning free) is news, as it was unfolding, on the sinking of the Titanic, the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 or – a personal favorite – the first Carnegie Library. Or you can read about historic individuals such as Chief Seattle, Buffalo Bill or the Flapper girls. Stories come alive and context is created from these vessels of information.

And so, every Thursday and Friday morning you can find me in the basement of Suzzallo Library (on UW’s Seattle campus) where I perform a small, albeit important, part of the work-flow process in which newspaper pages are taken from microfilm all the way to what the end user sees on the Chronicling America website. I perform processing tasks on the newspaper pages, such as verifying page numbers (VPN) and optical character recognition (OCR) results. OCR consists of scanning the original newspaper page and converting the text to machine-encoded text, so that original pages can be archived as accurately as possible. The processing tasks must adhere to LOC standards and each state must follow very specific technical guidelines for processing pages. Not all of my work has been technical, however; a large part of my involvement with NDNP has been as an active participant in the access vs. preservation debate, a hot topic in the library field right now.

Do we preserve historic newspaper pages or do we digitize them? Who gets to decide what gets saved in its original form and what is discarded? Are people actually accessing original historic newspapers? These are just some of the questions I asked myself as I entered the preservation vs. access debate.  As I first approached the conversation, what I saw was a very black and white issue. I read essays from those that were strictly in favor of preservation, arguing that we have already lost so many valuable historic newspapers therefore making it our duty to preserve those that remain. But then, there is the argument that newspapers take up space and are becoming increasingly inconvenient and expensive to house, making access the most practical solution. One of the reasons this debate is so tricky is that at the heart of the matter is a medium that was never intended for preservation, or access for that matter, in the first place. Publishers in the late 19thand early 20th century certainly didn’t think that librarians in 2013 would be taking efforts to preserve their newspapers; this is evident right down to the medium itself: it tears easily, yellows over time and generally makes for difficulty in preservation.

PullmanHeraldDamage

One of the first questions it is important to pose when discussing this debate is why, with technology available to digitize historical documents, would we want to preserve historic newspapers in the first place? As expressed by my experiences with books, magazines and newspapers, I think there is a certain intrinsic value that can only come from interacting with an original document. An article I read on the subject described it like this: the extrinsic value of a historic document, such as the Declaration of Independence, exists in the information recorded on it; the intrinsic value, however, is the original format independent of the information recorded on it.  Imagine if the Declaration of Independence were somehow damaged or destroyed. The impact would be profound and Americans might feel some sort of personal loss with such destruction. Sure, what is recorded on the Declaration of Independence would never be lost –as it can be found in any history book or through a quick Google search – but the value of the original would be gone forever. I believe the same case can be made for historic newspapers; imagine holding the original paper that contained headlines about the sinking of the Titanic. You could run your fingers over the headline and turn the pages in the very spot where someone in 1912 turned the pages. You can see the pictures and details on the page and could be transported to that day in April of 1912. Does a computer screen provide that?

Having worked in print journalism, I witnessed many news sources switching to an online only format; the reality being that it is possible (though it pains me to say) that future generations will grow up in a world where they’ll have no exposure to printed newspapers. These generations need to know about the advent of the printed newspaper and how this medium swept the nation and created context for the way news is reported today. Shouldn’t we preserve historic newspapers for those generations?

Conversely, while those who are pro-access certainly see the value in historic newspapers, they also see the logistical challenges that preserving newspapers creates: whose responsibility is it to decide what gets saved in original form and who pays the rising costs of doing so? Furthermore, as mentioned above, newspapers pose storage challenges for libraries that, more often than not, have budget and space issues to consider.

WenatcheeDW_08281907_DavisTrial

I had the opportunity to talk to Kate Leonard, Conservation Supervisor in the Special Collections department at UW Libraries, about this conversation and she brought up a few points that allowed me to look at the debate from a different angle. Kate and I agree on the tactile experience and how it is such a profound part of interacting with a medium, however, she also pointed out this notion of finding historic documents through access that one would otherwise never find. Because some historic newspapers are rare and housed in research libraries across the country, I might not feasibly access an old copy of The Seattle Times in print were it not for digitization. By providing access, we expose individuals to information they may otherwise not have found or may have never even known was out there in the first place.  This aspect of the debate has personally affected me; as I perform my work with NDNP, making OCR corrections here and there on old issues of the 1908 edition of The Seattle Times, I’ve happened across articles about my new surroundings that have provided me with a rich layout of Washington State’s colorful history. I now know about Washington’s road to Statehood in 1889 or the Walla Walla Massacre of 1847 that later led to the Cayuse War between the Cayuse people and local Euro-American settlers. In fact, just the other day my colleague and I were saying that some articles we happen across make us feel like we aren’t so different than the men and women of the early 1900’s. There was an article about Seattle’s terrible traffic, written in The Seattle Time’s 1908 paper, and the last time I checked the traffic in Seattle was still terrible and a topic of constant conversation among residents. Or there are the same sensationalist stories that the media decides is newsworthy enough to devote their attention to over other – often similar – stories; such as the Davis barroom murder trial of 1907, covered extensively in the Wenatchee Daily World.

ReformersDawn_Nov1893Kate also brought to my attention an issue that came up recently in which The Reformer Dawn – the earliest known publication of what eventually became the Ellensburg Dawn, running from November 1893 to January 1894 – posed serious digitization issues. The paper is the size of a pamphlet and has been bound and stitched at the binding to prevent further damage to its already fragile pages and spine. The desire to digitize this paper proved to be dicey, as it would have required unstitching the binding to scan the pages. Thankfully those measures were not taken and Kate and her Special Collections team were able to take digital photos of the paper, which were later uploaded as TIFF files and added to the Chronicling America repository. The Reformer Dawn will also remain as a part of WSL’s permanent digital collection. Because The Reformer Dawn is in danger of being housed in “dark archives” (a dungeon-like place where historic documents go to spend the end of their lives) this is yet another example of access providing individuals a chance to interact with documents they may otherwise never have had the opportunity to do so with.

Given the evidence of both preservation and access providing rich educational experiences for all users, I began to wonder why some present the debate as so black and white. The way I see it, there is so much gray area; a gray area in which we can provide both preservation and access. Some librarians and archivists suggest a model in which responsibility for both original and surrogate documents is distributed among institutions. And isn’t this the very purpose of a library in the first place: to preserve documents that provide the public with lasting value so that future generations can access them, be it in its original or surrogate form?

All of this leads to an increasingly important question: if we know now how much we drastically want to save historic newspapers of the past, what steps are we taking to preserve digital information of the present? After all, building and maintaining a digital repository is a completely different ballgame than preserving old newspaper pages. Each medium has its own benefits and downfalls as it pertains to preservation techniques but, as opposed to newspaper print, building a digital repository is an area of preservation that archivists are still exploring and fine-tuning best practices. Similarly, a digital repository is much different to maintain because digital objects will always need a software environment to render it; newspapers, however, provide unmediated access to content. Important to consider is the way computer systems age much faster than data media; something new is always in the works and we are constantly upgrading.

Today, archivists are implementing a slew of preservation techniques for digital content. In the case of Washington’s involvement with NDNP, we are involved in a work-flow process that takes microfilm to transferable TIFF files and on through a series of processing tasks and quality control checks before we finally send the files, along with the microfilm, to Library of Congress. LOC then uploads these files and now users can access the newspaper pages on Chronicling America. During the processing and quality control checks, we are performing tasks such as text correction, cropping and de-skewing pages and other various measures that will enable the end user to more accurately access pages and read articles. Furthermore, Washington State Library will maintain all of the files we create in their digital collection; making Washington State residents aware of this expanding digital collection is yet another step the library is taking towards providing access.

While I’d certainly never call myself a Luddite, it was a rather big leap to immerse myself in the digitization world. When I approached the project, I wondered if digitizing documents would make originals, at least over time, obsolete; as it turns out, librarians don’t want that at all. They simply want to make access just as important as preservation; they want to provide entry to the all-important grey area: an area where users find both preservation and access. And though I’ll take sipping coffee and dropping muffin crumbs over a daily print newspaper, the efforts LOC and NEH are taking to make historic newspapers available is nothing short of amazing. It is our duty as information professionals to provide access to documents that are rich in value and history, such as newspapers. Just as we take effort today to save papers from the past, so too are we taking efforts to preserve the news we see today on our computer screen, for tomorrow.

Breaking News! New titles for Washington NDNP!

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections | No Comments »


From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer, NDNP Washington Coordinator

This week the Library of Congress uploaded the next set of our long awaited newspaper titles for the National Digital Newspaper Program. Historic Washington state newspapers can now be searched and viewed on the Chronicling America website.  The added benefit, besides being able to search early newspapers from Washington Territory and early statehood, is each title also includes publication information and a short essay about the paper’s history. Take a scroll through this example from the Aberdeen Herald

aberbeen masthead

Among the titles added this month:

Aberdeen Herald, W.T., 1890-1917                        Adams County News, Ritzville, 1898-1906,

Columbia Courier, Kennewick, 1902-1905                   Kennewick Courier, 1905-1914

Evening Statesman, Walla Walla, 1903-1910               Lynden Tribune, 1908-1922

Newport Miner, 1899-1922                                                Vancouver Independent, 1875-1910

Washington State Journal, Ritzville, 1906-1907        Wenatchee Daily World, 1905-1922

Seattle Star, 1899-02-27 1922-12-30

We are on the third and last grant cycle of this project, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress.  Approximately two thirds of the states across the country are now participating, contributing over

newspaper trio6 million pages of newspaper content to date. In the west Oregon and California are current participants and over the next few years we should be seeing the contributions of our neighbors, Alaska & Idaho.

Over the next two years we’ll be adding:

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1876-1900     

Seattle Star, 1918-1922

Morning Olympian, 1876-1922

These newspapers, all in the public domain (pre-1922), are free for public use. Educators, historians, genealogists, students and other members of the public are welcome to use these images for their primary research, history presentations, and educational tools. We encourage you to share the great history of Washington and learn about the development of civics and industry across the great Pacific Northwest.

To learn more about the NDNP program, popular topics, valuable teaching resources (check out NEH’s EDSITEment! page), podcasts and videos, start with a look at the http://www.loc.gov/ndnp website and click on “NDNP Extras.”

WSL and the “Declaration of Learning”

Friday, February 8th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


Declaration-of-LearningThe Library of Congress, along with 12 other governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the American Library Association and the  Institute of Museum and Library Services, have recently created the Declaration of Learning.  This document “formally announces their partnership as members of the Inter-Agency Collaboration on Education”.  Each organization involved pledges to utilize its historic artifacts and institutional expertise to create interactive digital media, apps, and websites.

In the spirit of this declaration, Washington State Library would like to highlight some of  our digital services and activities that also share this pledge.

Washington Rural Heritage

Washington Rural Heritage is a collection of historic materials documenting the early culture, industry, and community life of Washington State. The collection is an ongoing project of small, rural libraries and partnering cultural institutions, guided by an initiative of the Washington State Library (WSL). The initiative provides the infrastructure and training to both digitize and serve unique collections to a widespread audience.

Classics in Washington History

The State Library is delighted to present Classics in Washington History. This digital collection of full-text books brings together rare, out of print titles for easy access by students, teachers, genealogists and historians. Visit Washington’s early years through the lives of the men and women who lived and worked in Washington Territory and State.

Special Collections of the Washington State Library

 The Special Collections of the Washington State Library collect and preserve rare and archival materials that enrich research in the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest.
The geographical region comprises the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho in their entirety; the province of British Columbia; and western portions of the State of Montana.  Alaska and Yukon Territory materials are also acquired selectively when they relate to the Pacific Northwest region.

These non-circulating collections are comprised of historic and unique books, pamphlets, maps and manuscripts that are made available for research in our reading room.

Historical Maps

The State Archives and the State Library hold extensive map collections dealing with the Washington State and the surrounding region. Maps for this digital collection will be drawn from state and territorial government records, historic books, federal documents and the Northwest collection.

Genealogy at the Washington State Library

Washington State Library has Wide array of genealogical resources both online and on site, including biographies, bibliographies, vital recordscemetery inscriptions, City and County histories, directories, Immigration records , military records and more.

Historic Newspapers in Washington

Washington State Library’s newspaper collection includes current issues on paper and historic newspapers on microfilm with some searchable online. We subscribe to about 125 daily and weekly newspapers throughout Washington, plus a few out-of-state papers. The microfilm collection consists of over 40,000 reels of newspapers dating from the 1850s to the present.