As we shared in March, the Washington State Archives received a historical bonanza in the form of 40 scrapbooks covering the long career of iconic Washington statesman Dan Evans. The scrapbooks cover a political career starting when Evans was a state representative from Seattle in the 1950s and early ‘60s, followed by his 12 years as governor from 1965 to 1977, and capped by his five-plus years as a U.S. senator in the 1980s.
A crew at the Archives’ Olympia headquarters just finished digitizing its first Evans scrapbook. You can view it here. The 307-page volume mostly covers 1964, the year Evans successfully ran for Washington governor, defeating incumbent Democrat Albert Rosellini. It includes many newspaper clippings about Evans during a 1964 gubernatorial campaign that saw the young Republican rise from semi-obscurity outside Olympia and his legislative district to topple a two-term Democrat in a year when the Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, was trounced nationally (and in Washington state) by incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.
The scrapbook includes several 1963 items, including a type-heavy (remember, graphic artists weren’t around then) Legislative Bulletin from then House Republican Floor Leader Evans that gave details on the special legislative session that was under way. Also found are Evans’ five-page summary of the ’63 legislative session; a 1963 story by writer Emmett Watson in the (Seattle) Argus (“the Pacific Northwest’s Independent Magazine of News, Comment and Opinion”) that gauged Evans’ chances of winning the guv’s race; and a few editions of The Evans Letter that detailed his gubernatorial campaign.
Especially worthwhile to read is a copy of a campaign speech Evans gave in Lynden on Aug. 18, 1964. The opening paragraphs:
“I believe a good governor, for this state or any other state, must bring to the people five essentials of character. He must bring foresight – a commitment to the future, an understanding of the problem, a measure of their scope.
“He must bring judgement – the ability to weigh and choose, to separate the important from the unimportant and the necessary from the expedient.
“He must bring courage – courage to take responsibility, to make unpopular decisions, to take risks in the public interest.
“He must bring personal and political responsibility and finally he must bring leadership.
“There is one thing I have left out purposely until now. And that is my unshakeable conviction that a governor must also bring a demonstrated ability to govern.
“Those of us in the State of Washington – you and I together – are facing a great challenge. In September – and again in November – we are going to make a decision which will have a lasting effect on our lives, an effect which will go far beyond the four year term of office.”
State Archivist Steve Excell said he expects the next digitized Evans scrapbook will be ready for public viewing in the next month or two. All 40 volumes should be online before the end of the year.