Archives Spotlight: How fire shaped Washington’s city growth

Archives Spotlight: How fire shaped Washington’s city growth

Some of Washington state’s most prosperous cities were, at some time in the past, nearly destroyed by fire. In 1887, a fire reduced half of Walla Walla to ash. In 1889, Seattle, Spokane, and Ellensburg all experienced conflagrations that changed each city’s developmental trajectory. Most of that era’s residential and commercial structures were wood-framed, which even with stone or brick cladding made them vulnerable to fires. Also, nineteenth-century firefighters’ training and equipment were far below modern standards, which made it…

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Check out Washington state parks via a library visit

Check out Washington state parks via a library visit

March 2019 marks the launch of a pilot project called Check Out Washington at four Washington public libraries. With Check Out Washington, library users can check out a backpack kit that includes a Discover Pass for free access to Washington state’s recreational parks and lands for up to a week. The project’s goal is to encourage new users to go outdoors to enjoy the natural and cultural riches of Washington’s public lands. In addition to a Discover Pass, each backpack…

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Archives finds tooth in zoological catalog

Archives finds tooth in zoological catalog

The University of Washington Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture has been collecting zoological specimens for more than 130 years to help document critters from Washington state and around the world. For months, Burke staffers have been preparing for a move into a new building. The Washington State Archives digitized three volumes of Zoological Catalogs dating back to collections from the 1890s to help preserve these unique books. The catalogs include species from land, air, and sea, with scientific…

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Archives Spotlight: The World’s Largest Inaugural Cake

Archives Spotlight: The World’s Largest Inaugural Cake

This 1933 photo features the cake for Washington Governor Clarence Martin’s inauguration to his first term in office. From the Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990. Clarence Martin was born and raised in Cheney, where the Eastern Regional Branch Archives and Digital Archives offices are now located. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1906 and joined his father in running the Cheney Grain and Milling Company. From 1928 to 1933 Martin was the mayor of Cheney. While still in…

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Archives Spotlight: The Washington Senate Committee on Public Morals

Archives Spotlight: The Washington Senate Committee on Public Morals

Years ago, the Washington state legislature included a Senate Committee on Public Morals. According to Sine Die: A Guide to the Washington State Legislative Process, the committee lasted from “1909 through 1954,” but there’s evidence it was around in the 1890s. Perhaps there was a hiatus between the 1890s and 1909. It is unclear what the committee met about, since its files were not retained in the State Archives. Do any of you around the Legislature know some of the…

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State and federal agencies promote National Consumer Protection Week

State and federal agencies promote National Consumer Protection Week

National Consumer Protection Week 2019 runs from March 3-9, and Consumer Protection Washington offers Fraud Prevention Fairs and Expos all over the state, bringing information and resources, free of charge, to Washington citizens to help them protect themselves and their loved ones from becoming a victim of fraud. The Office of the Secretary of State, Department of Financial Institutions, Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General’s Office, Utilities and Transportation Commission, Department of Revenue, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Department of Labor…

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Archives spotlight: Notorious Spokane criminal shot dead in 1918 at state penitentiary

Archives spotlight: Notorious Spokane criminal shot dead in 1918 at state penitentiary

Gunshots rang through downtown Spokane in a firefight between Fred “Tiger” Johnson and the police as Johnson attempted to flee across Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railway yards. After he robbed a streetcar, he attempted to avoid arrest but was outgunned by law enforcement. Tiger was shot twice, then booked by the Sheriff’s Office on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, highway robbery, and first-degree assault. This punched Tiger’s (sometimes known as Louis Coynt) ticket to the Walla Walla…

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Celebrating Black History Month with Federal Publications

Celebrating Black History Month with Federal Publications

February is dedicated to honoring African-Americans and their contributions to our country’s history. As a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program, the Washington State Library receives publications produced by the federal government. This collection contains a wealth of resources for exploring the rich history of African-Americans in the United States. This blog post will highlight some of the available material. Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 provides a biography of the 121 black members of Congress over the 137 years…

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Remote Braille Proofreading Succeeds at WTBBL

Remote Braille Proofreading Succeeds at WTBBL

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) Braille Production Department has been increasingly busy in the past several months with new local books being transcribed, proofread, and made available to library patrons. A big part of this is due to WTBBL’s stellar volunteers, who are flexible and willing to explore new ways to improve the braille production process. In fall 2018, WTBBL launched a pilot program to test the feasibility of having volunteer teams perform offsite proofreading. The first…

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Archives spotlight: Dan Evans’ keynote speech at the 1968 Republican National Convention

Archives spotlight: Dan Evans’ keynote speech at the 1968 Republican National Convention

Borrowing from the title of Legacy Washington’s current exhibit, 1968 was “the year that rocked Washington.” From the civil rights movement to Vietnam and to growing concerns about the environment, it was a turbulent era in our history. With a passion for these issues and many more, Dan Evans went to Miami in August 1968 to deliver the keynote address of the Republican National Convention, at which Richard Nixon accepted the party’s nomination for president. Evans, who was in his…

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