WA Secretary of State Blogs

Washington State Library honors Hispanic heritage / Biblioteca del Estado de Washington rinde homenaje a la herencia hispana

October 14th, 2016 Rand Simmons Posted in Articles, Federal and State Publications, For Libraries, For the Public, Institutional Library Services, Public Services, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library No Comments »


Información en español

Need assistance finding information? Why don’t you Ask WA?

“Ask WA,” you say.

Ask-WA is a cooperative of more than 60 libraries throughout Washington State, both public and academic, that provide online reference services through chat, email, and instant messaging (IM). This statewide network is tied to a global network that provides access to online reference service, 24/7.

So, when you enter the Ask-WA portal, no matter the day or time, you should readily find help.

If you are a Spanish speaker there is a Spanish portal for you.

Ask-WA es un servicio de chat en línea que lo pone en contacto con un bibliotecario, tanto a nivel local como mundial. En inglés, éste servicio es disponible 24/7 utilizando una red mundial de bibliotecarios profesionales. En español, el servicio no es 24/7, a pesar de una extensa red de bibliotecarios de habla hispana que ofrece asistencia durante la mayor parte del tiempo, especialmente durante la semana.

Para saber si un bibliotecario está disponible para chatear en vivo, por favor, llene el formulario de chat en español de Ask-WA.

Si un bibliotecario no está disponible, usted puede enviar su pregunta por correo electrónico, usted recibirá una respuesta dentro de 48 horas (probablemente mucho antes).

Fiestas Patrias 2016

Fiestas Patrias

Recently staff of the State Library’s Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) staffed a table at this year’s Fiestas Patrias  held at the Seattle Center. State Librarian Cindy Aden was on hand to greet people.

The festival celebrates the independence of  Latin American countries. Belizeans, Brazilians, Chileans, Costa Ricans, Salvadoreans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Mexicans, and Nicaraguans from all over the Pacific Northwest to gather and enjoy great food, dance, and music.

Fiesta Patrias was a wonderful opportunity for people to become acquainted with the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. We, in turn, learned more about the communities we want to serve — individuals needing reading and information in non-English languages.

State Librarian Cindy Aden stated, “We take the motto of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, “That All May Read,” seriously. We know that having reading material and information in multiple languages is crucial in our diverse society. I am proud of the efforts of  Washington Talking Book & Braille Library to reach out to the Hispanic community and to have published its first Spanish-language audio book. The State Library has also provides Spanish language support for our AskWA virtual reference service. We are always looking for more ways to make a difference, and we support and  encourage other Washington libraries to do the same”.

WTBBL services are available to all Washington State residents who are unable to read standard print due to one or more of the following conditions:

  • Legal blindness
  • Visual impairment
  • Physical disability causing an inability to turn pages or comfortably hold a book for extended periods of time
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Reading disability due to organic dysfunction

Read more about the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library.

Las bibliotecas de prisiones

Our branch libraries in nine state prisons provide library and information services to inmates many of whom are non-English speakers. In 2014 the Prison Policy Initiative reported that Hispanics made up 14% of the inmates in Washington State prisons and jails. The State Library provides Spanish language material for those for whom English is not their native language. Our branch libraries are “public libraries” for the incarcerated.


Publicaciones federales en español

Federal and state publications are published in Spanish and other languages although the majority are published in English. For example, many of the tax materials published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are published in Spanish and material for kids such as El Club de los Dos Bocados (Two Bite Plate) published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service.

Sigue a Will y Anna a probar dos bocados de cada grupo alimenticio y de como se convierten en el Club de los Dos Bocados! Este libro muy colorido introduce los cinco grupos de alimentos de MiPlato a niños pequeños y los motiva a probar alimentos de cada grupo alimenticio. El libro que tiene actividades interactivas tales como narración optional, realce de texto, juegos y activades interactivas, cetificados y páginas para colorear ayudaran a los niños a aprender acerca de MiPlato y una alimentación sana al mismo tiempo que mejora sus abilidades de lectura.

You can borrow the book from the State Library or other federal depository libraries, read it on line, or download it.

Need assistance finding state or federal publications in Spanish? Contact our Ask a Librarian service. We can help you find resources such as these: America’s PrepareAthon! Materials in Spanish from FEMA.

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Tale of a torn wagon cover

October 12th, 2016 Evan Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public No Comments »

Steamboat_theCOLUMBIA Magazine contributor Lionel Youst recently contacted us to identify a ca. 1901-1905 photo of a covered wagon (at right). The wagon is depicted aboard the Columbia River steamboat Charles R. Spencer. This badly-faded albumen print is from the Stevenson Community Library’s Skamania County Heritage digital collection (click image to see full record). Despite the photo’s poor condition, Youst spotted something about the wagon’s canvas cover—a large tear. It made him recall a detail from the reminiscences of his grandfather. Here’s what he told us:

“My grandparents, Frank and Alice Youst sold their homestead in Woods County, Oklahoma Territory and headed toward Centralia, Washington on August 22, 1903. [Their family of five] stopped and worked the horses at railroad construction and mining jobs on the way out. The canvas sheet [on the family’s wagon] was badly torn when it tipped over trying to go around a slide on the road over the Rocky Mountains. Dad said it was too hard to sew, and it remained torn all the way out to Centralia. I think what we see on the left side bottom of the sheet is a tear—bigger than I thought it would be, but that could be it.”

SK0228-Edit-Grayscale With a bit of assistance from his friend Shirley Bridgham, Youst was able to tease a bit more detail out of the faded photo—click on the image at left to see a full-sized version of the optimized photo.

In addition to the tear, other details about the photo line up with Youst’s grandfather’s recollections.

“The last leg of the journey was from Tonopah, Nevada where Grandad was hauling ore. They came up through Eastern Oregon to Prineville and Madras, and on to The Dalles where they took passage on a steamboat with the three horses, the wagon, and the family, down through the Cascade Locks to Vancouver. They arrived in in Centralia, Washington on June 26, 1904, after 308 days on the road, a family of five living out of that wagon. They certainly boarded the steamboat at The Dalles on or about June 20, 1904—give or take two or three days.”

While we don’t have an exact date for the original photo, we do know that this photo was very likely taken at Cascade Locks (across the Columbia River from Stevenson), between 1901 and 1905, and that the Charles R. Spencer was one of the two steamboats running The Dalles to Portland/Vancouver route at that time.

So is it his grandparents’ wagon?  According to Youst: “If it isn’t…it’s close enough!” For a detailed account of Youst’s family’s journey, see his upcoming article in COLUMBIA: The Magazine of Northwest History.

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The river of the west: life and adventure in the Rocky Mountains and Oregon

October 10th, 2016 Jeff Martin Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

Joseph L MeekFrom the desk of Jeff Martin

The river of the west: life and adventure in the Rocky Mountains and Oregon

By: Frances Fuller Victor, 1826-1902

Hartford, Conn: Columbian Book Company

Publication Date: 1870

“Mr. Meek was born in Washington Co., Virginia, in 1810, one year before the settlement of Astoria, and at a period when Congress was much interested in the question of our Western possessions and their boundary. ” Manifest destiny” seemed to have raised him up, together with many others, bold, hardy, and fearless men, to become sentinels on the outposts of civilization, securing to the United States with comparative ease a vast extent of territory, for which, without them, a long struggle with England would have taken place, delaying the settlement of the Pacific Coast for many years, if not losing it to us altogether. It is not without a feeling of genuine self-congratulation, that I am able to bear testimony to the services, hitherto hardly recognized, of the “mountain-men” who have settled in Oregon.. Whenever there shall arise a studious and faithful historian, their names shall not be excluded from honorable mention, nor least illustrious will appear that of Joseph L. Meek, the Rocky Mountain Hunter and Trapper.”


There sinks the sun; like cavalier of old,
Servant of crafty Spain,
He flaunts his banner, barred with blood and gold,
Wide o’er the western main ;
A thousand spear heads glint beyond the trees
In columns bright and long,
While kindling fancy hears upon the breeze
The swell of shout and song.

And yet not here Spain’s gay, adventurous host
Dipped sword or planted cross;
The treasures guarded by this rock-bound coast
Counted them gain nor loss.
The blue Columbia, sired by the eternal hills
And wedded with the sea,
O’er golden sands, tithes from a thousand rills,
Rolled in lone majesty-

Through deep ravine, through burning, barren plain,
Through wild and rocky strait,
Through forest dark, and mountain rent in twain
Toward the sunset gate;
While curious eyes, keen with the lust of gold,
Caught not the informing gleam,
These mighty breakers age on age have rolled
To meet this mighty stream.

Age after age these noble hills have kept,
The same majestic lines;
Age after age the horizon’s edge been swept
By fringe of pointed pines.
Summers and Winters circling came and went,
Bringing no change of scene;
Unresting, and unhasting, and unspent,
Dwelt Nature here serene!

Till God’s own time to plant of Freedom’s seed,
In this selected soil ;
Denied forever unto blood and greed,
But blest to honest toil.
There sinks the sun; Gay cavalier no more
His banners trail the sea,
And all his legions shining on the shore
Fade into mystery.

The swelling tide laps on the shingly beach,
Like any starving thing;
And hungry breakers, white with wrath, upreach,
In a vain clamoring.
The shadows fall; just level with mine eye
Sweet Hesper stands and shines,
And shines beneath an arc of golden sky,
Pinked round with pointed pines.

A noble scene! all breadth, deep tone, and power,
Suggesting glorious themes;
Shaming the idler who would fill the hour
With unsubstantial dreams.
Be mine the dreams prophetic, shadowing forth
The things that yet shall be,
When through this gate the treasures of the North
Flow outward to the sea.”

Excerpt by Frances Fuller Victor

Washington State Electronic State Publications – The river of the west

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North Cascades National Park – National Park Service – Celebrating 100 Years of Service

August 29th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections Comments Off on North Cascades National Park – National Park Service – Celebrating 100 Years of Service

Cascades pass, view of the mountains, blue sky with cloudsThe last of the three great National Parks we are featuring this month is Washington’s North Cascades Park.  It is also the last of our parks to be designated as such, with park status only coming in 1968 with the passing of the North Cascades National Park Act.  The park along with two “National Recreation Areas”, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan, and all are managed as the North Cascades National Park Complex.

However long before it became a National Park this area was well known for its beauty and ruggedness.  One of the chief missions of the Washington State Library is to “Collect, preserve, and make accessible to Washingtonians materials on the government, history, culture, and natural resources of the state.”  In other words, for anything to do with Washington State history, we are a great place to start.

While we do not have a primary source record from the Native American viewpoint we have information about the native cultures of the area.

Mierendorf, Robert R, and Kenneth C. Reid. People of the North Cascades. Seattle, Wash: National Park Service, Pacific Northwest Region, 1986. I 29.2:C 26/6 c.2

Smith, Allan H. Ethnography of the North Cascades. Pullman: Center for Northwest Anthropology, Washington State University, 1988. WA 378.5 Un3eth n 1987

Early settlers to the region also kept accounts of their travels and discoveries. Three books immediately jump to the head of the line.

Küster, Heinrich, and Harry M. Majors. Discovery of Mount Shuksan and the Upper Nooksack River, June 1859. Seattle, Wash: Northwest Press, 1984.  NW 979.5 Northwest 1984

Küster, Heinrich, and Harry M. Majors. First Crossing of the Picket Range 1859. Seattle, Wash: Northwest Press, 1984.  NW 979.5 Northwest 1984

Ross, Alexander, Thomas J. Dryer, and Adella M. Parker. The First Crossing of the North Cascades. Seattle, Wash: Northwest Press, 1980. NW 979.95 Northwest 1980

But what if you wanted to learn about contemporary park management or the environmental aspects of the park?  We not only collect Washington State Documents but as a Federal Repository we collect and provide access to federal documents about the park.

Lesher, Robin. Botanical Reconnaissance of Silver Lake Research Area, North Cascades National Park, Washington. Portland, Or: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, 1984.

North Cascades: A Guide to the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, Washington. Washington, D.C: Division of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1986.

General Management Plan and Environmental Assessment: North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. , Washington, D.C: Division of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1987

Ecological Effects of Stocked Trout in Naturally Fishless High-Elevation Lakes, North Cacades National Park Service Complex, Wa, USA. Seattle, Wash.: National Park Service, Pacific Northwest Region, 1999.

Mountain Lakes Fishery Management Plan: Environmental Impact Statement. Sedro-Woolley, WA: North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 2008. Volume 1, Volume 2

What about just the pure pleasure of visiting the park?  Well we’ve got you covered there too.

Spring, Ira, and Harvey Manning. 100 Hikes in Washington’s North Cascades National Park Region. Seattle, WA: Mountaineers, 2000. NW 917.9773 ONE HUN 2000  

Dietrich, William, Craig Romano, Gary Snyder, Christian Martin, and Richard Louv. The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby. , 2014 NW 508.797 DIETRIC 2014 

Bake, William A. Stehekin: A Wilderness Journey into the North Cascades. Washington, D.C.: Division of Publications, National Park Service, 1977  RARE 917.9759 BAKE 1977

And finally for those of you who stuck with me to the end of this post, I saved the best for last with the prize for most original chapter title being “Run hippie run! Rednecks gonna get ya!”

Harrison, Buckwheat” B. Hippie Tales of the Northwest Woods. Minneapolis: Mill City Press, 2014.  NW 305.568 HARRISO 2014  

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Classics in Washington History – Army letters from an Officer’s Wife, 1871 – 1888

August 26th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections Comments Off on Classics in Washington History – Army letters from an Officer’s Wife, 1871 – 1888

From the desk of Jeff Martin Frances M.A. Roe

Army letters from an Officer’s Wife, written by: Frances M.A. Roe

Appleton And Company, New York and London

Publication date: October 1909

Note: In 1871, Lieutenant Colonel Fayette Washington Roe (1850-1916) was sent to Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory. His wife, Frances M.A. Roe, describes their experiences while stationed at the fort in this collection of letters.

“It is late, so this can be only a note to tell you that we arrived here safely, and will take the stage for Fort Lyon to-morrow morning at six o’clock. I am thankful enough that our stay is short at this terrible place, where one feels there is danger of being murdered any minute. Not one woman have I seen here, but there are men any number of dreadful-looking men each one armed with big pistols, and leather belts full of cartridges. But the houses we saw as we came from the station were worse even than the men. They looked, in the moonlight, like huge cakes of clay, where spooks and creepy things might be found. The hotel is much like the houses, and appears to have been made of dirt, and a few drygoods boxes. Even the low roof is of dirt. The whole place is horrible, and dismal beyond description, and just why anyone lives here I cannot understand.”

Excerpt by Frances M.A. Roe

Washington State Library Electronic State Publications – Army Letters From An Officers Wife, 1909

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2nd Annual Zine Contest

August 26th, 2016 Judy Pitchford Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public Comments Off on 2nd Annual Zine Contest

2nd Annual Zine ContestDo you like history? Do you enjoy creative projects? Well, do we have something for you!

Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, is sponsoring the 2nd Annual Historical Zine Contest with co-sponsors Washington State Archives and Timberland Regional Library. Participants are asked to create a Zine about some aspect of Washington History.

Washington residents from 4th grade and up (yes, adults, too!) are asked to participate.

Don’t know how to make a zine? Visit our Zine webpage and watch a video that shows how.

All three sponsors have a multitude of resources that can provide fantastic material to use in the creations of participants.

  • Washington State Library has many online resources that include books, maps, newspapers and photos. You can also find featured images from these digital collections on their Pinterest and Flickr pages. And don’t forget that you can visit the library to see some resources in person!
  • Washington State Archives has an extensive print collection, as well as many images at the Digital Archives.
  • And you can visit the Timberland Libraries to explore their NW Reference Collection, Zine Collection and Zine Resource Collection.

Entries will be accepted from September 1, 2016 – December 15, 2016. So start creating!

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Mount Rainier National Park – National Park Service – Celebrating 100 Years of Service

August 23rd, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, Federal and State Publications, For Libraries, For the Public Comments Off on Mount Rainier National Park – National Park Service – Celebrating 100 Years of Service

Skiing at Mount Rainier National Park

For many people when they think of Washington State the first thing that comes to mind is Mount Rainier. The tallest peak in the state, at 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier dominates the landscape on both the east and west side of the state and all Washingtonians feel that it is “their mountain.”

On March 2, 1899, Mount Rainier was established as the fifth national park, named so by William McKinley.  The park is a veritable year round wonderland for those who love the outdoors. Possibilities range from fishing, bike riding, hiking, camping, and climbing in the summer, to skiing, tubing and snowshoeing in the winter. For those who like to just sit and admire the scenery, Longmire and Paradise each has a beautiful old inn. Also within the park boundaries are 228,480 acres of wilderness.

But before Mount Rainier became a national park there was of course a long history to the area including Native American legend.  One of the missions of the State Library, that we take very seriously, is to preserve the history of our state. We have many books in our catalog but for this blog post the focus is on our Digital Collections.  In order to make our materials easily accessible, we’ve been working for many years to digitize public domain books and journals in our collection.

When it comes to Mount Rainier, one of the best historic resources is Edmond Meany’s “Mount Rainier: a record of exploration”. This book is a collection of essays about the mountain including its discovery by George Vancouver, the story of the first accent by Hazard Stevens, the natural history of the mountain and an essay on the creation of the park.

Another source for history is our digital newspapers collection.  In the early days of our state Mount Rainier was often called “Mt. Tacoma” or “Mt. Tahoma”, the Native American name. This fact is acknowledged in Meany’s book and born out in the controversy over the name of the new national park.
In the March 7th Seattle Post Intelligencer an article titled “An insult to Tacoma” heatedly defends the name Rainier. “Some foolish people, including the Ledger, past and present, have tried to change the name of Rainier to Tacoma, but they have failed… If Mount Rainier is worthy of the distinction of a national park, the park should bear the name of the mountain.”Mount Rainier ad

Over the years Mount Rainier remained newsworthy, with articles such as the May 12, 1916 Washington Standard’s “Mt. Rainier’s Flowers – Unequaled in Beauty, Number and Luxuriance, says Uncle Sam” .  In 1910 The Walla Walla Evening Statesman proposed regulating automobiles in the park, however by December 7, 1920 an article in the Seattle Star instead proposed new roads to increase access and travel to the park.

As a Federal Depository the State Library also holds electronic federal documents for the state.  A search of our catalog unearthed “WONDERLAND: An Administrative History of Mount Rainier National Park” by Theodore Catton. This book records the history of the park from the days before it’s designation as a national park  through the end of the 20th century.

Having a national park in Washington also generated a lot of tourist interest and tourist dollars.  The early newspapers show evidence of efforts to take advantage of this.  You find advertisements for tours and postcards, even gasoline to get you there.  Today Mount Rainier continues to be a centerpiece of our state with an average of 1-2 million people visiting each year.  Have you visited lately?

Image sources:

“Gorgeous Mt. Rainier.” Pullman Herald 10 June 1921. Web. 14 July 2016.

Skiing at Mount Rainier National Park

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Bet you didn’t know!… Special Collections in Washington State Libraries – Abby Williams Hill Collection

August 19th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public Comments Off on Bet you didn’t know!… Special Collections in Washington State Libraries – Abby Williams Hill Collection

AWH Portrait041

Abby Williams Hill who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century (1861-1943) was a remarkable woman for her time.  She was a painter and a social activist, a brave woman who did not let much stand in her way.  She was the founder of the Washington State Congress of Mothers which eventually became known as the PTA.  She was a supporter of early childhood education.  Visits to the Tuskeegee Institute and the Flathead reservation made her a champion of equal education for all. However despite these accomplishments, she is best known for her landscape paintings of the American West.

In the early 1900s Hill was commissioned by the Great Northern and later the Northern Pacific railway to produce paintings to promote tourism in the area.  Leaving her husband behind in Tacoma but taking her four young children, one son and three daughters, Hill camped and painted 22 paintings in 18 weeks. Instead of a salary the railroad gave her tickets for a 1000 mile long journey for herself and her children.  This allowed her to keep rights to her work and later she negotiated to have the paintings returned.  The experience of producing these paintings created in Hill a lifelong love for the outdoors.  Later in life, concerned by the threat of commercialism, Hill traveled for 7 years in the 1920s and produced a series of National Parks paintings to document what she viewed as disappearing landscapes.

Mt. BookerThe painting which illustrates this post exemplifies Hill’s character.  When she painted the mountain, it was unnamed, and the US Geological Survey let her name it.  She named it Mount Booker, after Booker T. Washington, the famous African American educator that she came to know at Tuskegee. As you can imagine, it was controversial in the early 1900s for a white woman to be naming a mountain after a black man however Abby stood her ground.

“Here was a glorious monument not made by the hand of man but carved by the Almighty.  What could be more fitting than to name it for one of the most truly great men of our times… When we look at Mt. Booker let us be thankful for Booker Washington’s life, for what he did to solve seemingly impossible problems… His influence like the stream from the mountain will go on through the ages to bless and help mankind.” (Newsclipping)

If you find yourself fascinated by Hill, a more thorough biography can be found here.

When Hill died in 1943 her children looked for a place to house the collection of her artwork and papers.  As she had spent much of her life in Tacoma, the University of Puget Sound’s Archives & Special Collections (UPS) was chosen as the site.  UPS’s Abbey Williams Hill Collection grew piecemeal over several decades.  The current collection consists of paintings but in addition there are letters and journals. Digitization of these materials is ongoing .  The majority of Hill’s personal papers are still only available in their original paper format.  She was a prolific writer and the bulk of this collection is from the early 1900s through 1910.  There is a collection of photos, both family photos and photos taken by Hill on her travels. Also included is ephemera such as old National Park passes and pamphlets. The collection is housed on the second floor of UPS’s Collins Memorial Library is available for research by appointment only. If you want additional information about the collection send an email to: abbywilliamshill@pugetsound.edu.



Fields, Ronald. “The wanderer, a portrait of Abby Williams Hill.” The University of Puget Sound. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2016

Newsclipping, “Mountain in State of Washington Named in Honor of Booker Washington by Mrs. Abby Williams Hill, Painter”, The New York Age, March 8, 1930, Box 17, Folder 15, Abby Williams Hill Collection, Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington.


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The Tale of the Washington State Bird, Volume 2: Emma Otis the Bird Chairman, and the Garden Ladies

August 19th, 2016 mschaff Posted in Articles, For the Public, Public Services Comments Off on The Tale of the Washington State Bird, Volume 2: Emma Otis the Bird Chairman, and the Garden Ladies

GoldFinch Read Volume 1 here

From 1943 until 1951, the matter of designating an official Washington state bird languished.  Legislators seemed reluctant to bring the matter to a vote and interested outside groups appear to have lost hope in forcing their lawmakers to act.  Finally in 1951, another wave of interest in making the willow goldfinch official broke ashore, courtesy of a group of determined women from the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs.

Enter Emma Otis, whose obituary caught the attention of our staff last October.  After Emma’s death, her granddaughter, Nancy Pugh, kindly shared with us some of Emma’s handwritten notes about her efforts to make the willow goldfinch Washington’s official state bird. Following some general observations about the goldfinch, its behavior and birdy character (“Responsibility seems to rest lightly upon the shoulders of the goldfinch”), Emma provided some context for these remarks:

This is the original script I used at a meeting of Capital District of Garden Clubs, when I was Bird Chairman for the District (Pierce & Thurston Counties). Concluded by saying that I hoped someday that this bird would be officially adopted as the State bird. The President asked if I would like to make a motion to that effect, which I did. Went something like this, “I move that the Capital District of Garden Clubs of WA go on record as favoring the adoption of the Willow Goldfinch as the official bird of the State of Washington and that it be presented to the State Federation of Garden Clubs for approval and an attempt be made to present it at the forthcoming meeting of the Legislature.”

The historical record is rather quiet on just when and how this was accomplished.  It is probable that Emma’s speech took place prior to the beginning of the 1951 Legislative Session, which convened January 8, 1951.  We consulted our collection of Olympia Garden Club manuscript materials, and unfortunately evidence to support Emma’s story was missing from the Olympia club’s 1950/1951 meeting minutes – probably because she spoke at a district meeting and not an Olympia club meeting.  The minutes do indicate there was some sort of state bird billboard campaign (no specifics provided) and it’s quite likely that the Federation of Garden Clubs encouraged its members to write letters petitioning their legislators.  Schoolchildren may again have been involved; a March 1963 Seattle Times article indicates that their vote in 1951 determined the fate of the state bird.  Again, evidence is not forthcoming regarding this claim.

The only other clear documentation of the leadership provided by the Federation of Garden Clubs on the GardenGate1951-excerptmatter of the state bird was a blurb that appeared in the March 1951 Olympia Garden Club newsletter, The Garden Gate.  Blanche Andreus and Gwen Hofer are specifically mentioned for their hard work in getting the “Bird Bill” passed.  As one might now expect, additional research into the background of these ladies and the work they did on behalf of the willow goldfinch was also unfruitful.

However they accomplished it, the women of the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs put enough pressure on the Legislature that lawmakers were finally ready to act once they convened in 1951.  Senate Bill 318 was introduced by Senator Carlton Sears of Thurston County on February 15, 1951.  The stage was now set to get the willow goldfinch on the books as the official state bird.

Stay tuned for Volume 3 to see just how the Legislature responded to their call to action.

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Olympic National Park – National Park Service – Celebrating 100 Years of Service

August 16th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Federal and State Publications, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections Comments Off on Olympic National Park – National Park Service – Celebrating 100 Years of Service

a red canoe on the shores of Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park. Mountains in the distance.Washington is home to three National Parks (aren’t we lucky?)  Each park has its own unique features and opportunities for exploration and discovery.  As the state library we have a mission to collect, preserve, and make accessible to Washingtonians materials on the government, history, culture, and natural resources of the state.  As the national parks are one of our state unique treasures we have a variety of items in our collection that focus on Olympic, Rainier and the North Cascades National Parks.

Olympic National Park is on the Olympic Peninsula on the far western part of our state.  The park contains such a variety of landscapes, mountains, a temperate rain forest and wild coastlines. Activities include hiking, backpacking, beachcombing, fishing even a hot spring, your choices are endless. Olympic National Park is also home to several beautiful old lodges, Kalaloch and Lake Crescent lodges were built in the early 1900s and have all the beauty and character you would expect from this era.

If you choose to make a trip to the park what materials do we have at the state library to enhance your visit? A small handful are highlighted below, but if you check our catalog you will find a wide array of materials, from books, to maps, to state and federal documents.

Natural Wonders

Blau, S F, and Keith L. Hoofnagle. Exploring the Olympic Seashore. , 1980. Print.

Hanify, Mary L, and Craig Blencowe. Guide to the Hoh Rain Forest: An Interpretive Handbook. Port Angeles: PenPrint, 1975. Print.

Kirk, Ruth, Jerry F. Franklin, and Louis Kirk. The Olympic Rain Forest: An Ecological Web. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1992. Print.

McNulty, Tim. Olympic National Park: A Natural History Guide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1996. Print.

Stewart, Charles. Wildflowers of the Olympics: 100 Wildflowers of Olympic National Park. San Francisco: Nature Education Enterprises, 1972. Print.

Tabor, R W. Guide to the Geology of Olympic National Park. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975. Print.

History & Literature

Beres, Nancy, Mitzi Chandler, and Russell Dalton. Island of Rivers: An Anthology Celebrating 50 Years of Olympic National Park. Seattle, WA: Pacific Northwest National Parks & Forests Association, 1988. Print.

Brant, Irving. The Olympic Forests for a National Park. New York: Emergency Conservation Committee, 1938. Print.

Wray, Jacilee. River Near the Sea: An Ethnohistory of the Queets River Valley. Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, 2014. Print.


Camp Lightly Please: Backcountry Guide to Olympic National Park. Washington, D.C.?: U.S. Dept. of the Interior?, 1979. Print.

Molvar, Erik. Hiking Olympic National Park. Helena, Mont: Falcon, 1996. Print

Parratt, Smitty. Gods & Goblins: A Field Guide to Place Names of Olympic National Park. Port Angeles, WA: CP Publications, 1984. Print.

Steelquist, Robert, Pat O’Hara, Cindy McIntyre, and Keith D. Lazelle. Olympic National Park & the Olympic Peninsula: A Traveler’s Companion. Del Mar, Calif: Published by Woodlands Press in conjunction with Pacific Northwest National Parks and Forests Association, 1985. Print.

Perhaps you are a smartphone hiker?  Our Federal collection contains a lot of electronic information that could help you on your travels.  How about Forest Service Topo Maps for the Olympic National Forest?  Maybe you like to go off road the Motor Vehicle Use Maps show the roads, trails and areas that you can use.  Are you a birder?  The Great Washington State Birding Trail – Olympic Loop would be a wonderful companion on your trip.

And last but very much not least the Port Angeles Public Library located right at the foot of the Olympic National Park created a collection of oral histories from their patrons about their experiences visiting, living in and working at national parks throughout the U.S.  These recordings were funded with a grant from the WSL and hosted on the Washington Rural Heritage site. Have a listen and then go on out and create your own personal story at one of our state and country’s incredible jewels.

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