Digital Updates

Digital Updates

From the desk of Judy Pitchford

Volume 4, #2 November 2009 for Digital Updates

Historical Newspapers in Washington – 1 new title.

The years 1861-1864 have been added to the Puget Sound Herald in Historical Newspapers in Washington online project, which now covers six years of Steilacoom pioneer news, from 1858 to 1864.

Classics in Washington History

We have added a new category – 20th Century Events – to our Classics in Washington History.  This category currently contains the Works Progress Administration Papers and, new to the collection, papers by the War Relocation Authority on the Japanese Internment :

The Community Analysis Report concerns how authorities should “deal” with the Japanese and Japanese American people they have incarcerated through an understanding of their customs and cultural background. Causes of social unrest, segregation, education, Buddhism and labor relations are topics covered within these papers.

The Community Analysis Notes “reveal the life experience and viewpoints” of the incarcerated Nisei. Why did many young men say “no” to two questions on the Army registration form? How did the Japanese deal with engagement and marriage in the camps? How did it differ from pre-internment days? How did they adjust to life in the camps?

The Project Analysis Series analyzes various events that occurred during the relocation project. What happened at Tule Lake in November 1943? Why did it happen? What was the reaction to opening Selective Service to Nisei? What are the motives behind Nisei requesting repatriation?

Other additions to Classics in Washington History are :

Reminiscences of Washington Territory by Charles Prosch

The editor of the Puget Sound Herald, Charles Prosch,  recounts his memories and opinions feely on such subjects as newspapers, the army, churches, and doctors in the early days of Washington Territory.

Seattle General Strike

Account of the Seattle general strike from the point of view of the unions, written by the History Committee of the General Strike Committee.

F. A. Chenoweth letter to Gov. McMullin

This Letter to Gov. McMullin from F. A. Chenoweth, a justice on the Territorial Supreme Court, concerns his role in and opinions on the controversy over the proclamation of martial law by the previous governor, Isaac I. Stevens.  He outlines his disagreements with Stevens and explains his actions during the events and his disapproval of the arrest of Judge Landers.

Oregon: the claim of the United States to Oregon

This small book contains the diplomatic correspondence between the U.S. and England regarding the claim of America to the Oregon Territory. These arguments and counter-arguments were part of the negotiations leading to the Treaty of 1846 and the establishment of the border between the U.S. and what is now Canada.

The Whitman Massacre of November 29, 1847 provides a painful window into a time of conflicting cultures, priorities and prejudices.  The State Library has added two works to the Digital Collections that further illuminate this painful event.

Authentic account of the murder of Dr. Whitman and other missionaries by Fr. J.B.A. Brouillet

For decades after the tragedy at the Whitman Mission, writers, preachers and others sought to place blame for the event itself and for the underlying causes.  Resentments against the Hudson’s Bay Company and religious prejudices often colored narratives, and led to charges of cowardice or malice.

One viewpoint comes from Fr. Brouillet, the Catholic priest who first discovered the massacre and helped to bury the dead.  His brief book, published in 1869, attempts to refute Rev. Henry Spalding’s accusations that the Catholics fomented resentments against the Whitmans among the Indians.  He does this by gathering statements and letters from people present in the territory at the time and involved in the events, and by trying to analyze the underlying causes.  See an Authentic account of the murder of Dr. Whitman and other missionaries in Classics in Washington History.

Journey across the plains in 1836 by Narcissa Whitman

This work contains three separate sets of letters from Narcissa Whitman to her friends and relatives, both back east and in the Oregon Territory. The collections include several letters from Marcus Whitman as well. The letters were published as part of the proceedings of the Oregon Pioneer Association, and the speeches and committee reports of the Association are also included, as is a separate essay on “The Schooner ‘Star’”.

The letters reveal a woman who is determined to live up to her religious ideals.  She accepts the loss of home and her extended family.  She accepts her husband’s frequent absences and the physical hardships of frontier living.  Yet, she continually begs her family to write more often, and is without any letters from home for two years due to long distances.  She is never quite at home with the Indians and has difficulty learning the language.  There are hints in her narratives about the tensions among the missionaries and the discouragement when few others arrive to join the mission effort.  The letters, though relentlessly optimistic, create a portrait of an intensely social and conventional woman laboring in isolation and surrounded by a culture that remains foreign to her.

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