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Archives Month is here! ?>

Archives Month is here!

If you’re into horse thievery, prison mug shots, bootlegging and finding out more about Washington’s rich and interesting history, this month is for you.

For the sixth straight year, the State Archives is celebrating Archives Month throughout October in Washington.

This year’s official theme is, “LAW & ORDER IN THE ARCHIVES: Crooks, Cops and Courts.”

There’s a cool new Archives Month poster that ties in with this year’s theme. The posters are available for pickup, thanks to a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The posters will be available by the second week of October in the Office of Secretary of State, located on the second floor of the Legislative Building in Olympia, and at the State Archives Building, located at 1129 Washington St. SE in Olympia. The posters also will be found in the Regional Archives branches in Bellevue, Bellingham, Cheney and Ellensburg. Supplies are limited, so if you want one, don’t delay.

The State Archives and its branches throughout Washington are planning various workshops, open houses and other free events. Go here to learn more about these Archives Month events, and to view the Archives Month poster online.

And who are some of Washington’s more notable or famous criminals and events? (more…)

Hooray for Digital Archives! ?>

Hooray for Digital Archives!

Congratulations to our Digital Archives for making Family Tree Magazine’s “101 Best Websites of 2012.”

Secretary of State Sam Reed said it’s a great honor for the Digital Archives team.  The Digital Archives, housed on the campus of Eastern Washington University in Cheney, was one of earliest and best digital archives in the country and frequently gets visitors from around the world. The facility opened in 2004.

Jerry Handfield, the State Archivist, called the shout-out “a testament to the passion of every memeber of the Digital Archives team, the decision of Archives and Records management and staff, the cooperation of our local government partners and contributions from our many volunteers.”

Family Tree,  considered one of the most popular genealogy magazines, says in the  September edition:

 “A digitization pioneer, this superb state website lets you search nearly 30 million records by names, keywords or any combination of record series, county and title. Among the total of 100 million genealogical and historical records here are indexes to 347 cemeteries, vital records, censuses, naturalizations and land records” (page 23).


Hard Times in Washington: Hunger March ?>

Hard Times in Washington: Hunger March

Photograph courtesy of the Washington State Archives, Susan Parish Collection and Vibert Jeffers.

On January 16, 1933 hundreds of people gathered on the State Capitol steps in Olympia for a “Hunger March” to demand food, shelter, relief and programs to create jobs for the unemployed throughout Washington State.

October is Washington Archives Month, and this year’s theme is Washington’s struggles and setbacks over the years and how the people of this state have overcome them.

Hard Times in Washington: Old State Capitol Fire ?>

Hard Times in Washington: Old State Capitol Fire

Photograph courtesy of the Washington State Archives

In September 1928, fire broke out on the 3rd floor of the old State Capitol Building,  destroying the decorative, 150-foot-tall octagonal clock tower.  Olympia and Tacoma firefighters quickly doused the fire out.  The building itself was soon-after repaired, but the clock tower, deemed unsafe, was never replaced. 

October is Washington Archives Month, and this year’s theme is Washington’s struggles and setbacks over the years and how the people of this state have overcome them.

Hard Times in Washington: Great Seattle Fire ?>

Hard Times in Washington: Great Seattle Fire

Washington might not be as old as most other states, but we’ve had our share of challenging moments, and we’ve shown courage and resilience in getting back on our feet.

October is Washington Archives Month, and this year’s theme is Washington’s struggles and setbacks over the years and how the people of this state have overcome them.

This photo from the State Archives’ State Library Collection shows a scene from the Great Seattle fire, taken at First Avenue and Madison. The fire destroyed the entire central business district on June 6, 1889.

If you haven’t heard of  the State Archives or explored all of the interesting photos and documents that it maintains, this is a great month to do it!

Didyaknow…? ?>


Archives note cards 2

… Washington-themed note cards are being sold for bargain prices through the Secretary of State’s Office!?  The Archives Division recently slashed prices for three separate packages of note cards:

Early Statehood note cards are scanned images of Washington trademark designs from 1892 and 1895; this pack includes eight cards and envelopes for $3.

The Salmon Run note cards feature salmon trademark designs from1982 and 1897; eight cards and envelopes are being sold for $4.

And, the Asahel Curtis note cards display beautiful scenes of Washington landscapes taken in 1925. Twelve cards and envelopes for $5.

Proceeds go to fund Archives programs and services. To take advantage of these low prices by visiting the Secretary of State’s online store, stopping by the Archives building, or sending an email to

Unraveling the “Ruddell Riddle” ?>

Unraveling the “Ruddell Riddle”

UPDATE: Sorry! Due to a large number of RSVPs for the event, we are now at capacity and no longer accepting registrations. Please e-mail our development team if you would like to be part of events like these in the future. Ruddell Riddle Logo

If you live in the Olympia area, chances are you’ve driven on Ruddell Road. But do you know the history behind the Ruddell name? On Saturday, January 30, you can find out.

Come to the “Ruddell Riddle,” a free event that sheds light on one of Thurston County’s prominent pioneer families. Dozens of Ruddell family descendants have indicated they’ll attend, and we’re encouraging them to share stories and photos. (more…)

Hat’s off to State Archivist ?>

Hat’s off to State Archivist

Jerryhandfield2Washington State Archivist Jerry Handfield is a nationally renowned expert in his field, with more than 20 years of experience in archives, history and records management, including service as State Coordinator for the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

So it was great news – though not surprising – that Handfield recently was appointed to the NHPRC. He will represent the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators on the commission, which meets next on November 20 in Washington, D.C. Handfield replaces a retiring commissioner from South Carolina, whose term ends in late 2012.

“As a member of this commission, I’ll work with the other members to formulate strategy, policy and approve grants that will help guide states and local governments preserve, maintain and highlight their legal and historical records, photos and other documents,” Handfield said.