WA Secretary of State Blogs

Announcing the winners of our 3rd Annual Zine contest!

Thursday, March 1st, 2018 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Announcing the winners of our 3rd Annual Zine contest!

Picture of two Zines stacked on top of eachother.How many of us remember sitting through dry history classes in school?  And yet history done right is a fascinating and important subject.  Here at the Washington State Library we take history seriously.  One of our strategic goals is to “Preserve and share Washington’s stories.” We have several paths to achieving this goal. There are our historic digital newspapers, the digitized “Classics in Washington History” collection, our collection of Historic maps, and the  Washington Rural Heritage Collection.  But making the resources available is only one part of the process.  We also want them to be found and used.  Our historic digital resources are an opportunity to wake up and engage those history classes.

Three years ago Judy Pitchford had an inspiration, and along with other partners began what is now our 3rd Annual Zine contest.  Do you know what a zine is? “Zines (pronounced “zeen”, like “bean”) are self-published – often via a photocopier – magazines with limited print runs. They can be on any topic or many, are usually written by one person or a few individuals, and typically provide an individualistic or alternative point of view.” (adapted from “Stolen Sharpie Revolution” by Alex Wrekk).  The zine contest requires the use of historical materials from the collections of the Washington State Library, the Washington State Archives or the Timberland Regional Libraries. Unpacking the entries as they arrive is a delight as we get to see people engage with primary resources and make their slice of history relevant to their life.

Today we are happy to announce the winners of the 2017’s Historical Zone Contest.  The winner in the Youth category is Mia Widrow, Grade 5. Mia titled her zine   Hanford : The complex legacy left behind. The adult winner is Lisa Oberg,  who entered, Answering Columbia’s Call : Seattle’s War Relief Bazaar of 1917. Click on the links to the zines themselves and you’ll see not only a great example of a zine but a cross-discipline art/history project that makes history come alive.

Both Mia and Lisa received a $75 prize and their zines will be added to the Washington State Library Manuscript collection.

Washington State Library Digital Collections – Historical Maps

Thursday, July 14th, 2016 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Washington State Library Digital Collections – Historical Maps

From the desk of Jeff Martin

The State Archives and the State Library hold extensive map collections dealing with the Washington State and the surrounding region. This new blog post shows two more examples. The first map shows military stations occupied and abandoned as of January 1881; railroads existing and projected; wagon roads, and lighthouses. The map has been reduced in size for presentation.

map 1

Symons, T. W. (Thomas William), 1849-1920.
Title Map of the Department of the Columbia / projected and compiled at the Engineer Office, Department of the Columbia, by Lieut. Thomas W. Symons, Corps of Engineers ; assisted by Alfred Downing and C.C. Manning, topographical assistants, U.S. Army ; drawn by Alfred Downing, topographical assistant.
[Washington, D.C. : Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army], 1881.
Note Electronic data.Relief shown by hachures. Includes list of sources consulted in compilation.  Shows military stations occupied and abandoned as of January 1881; railroads existing and projected; wagon roads, and lighthouses.
“Brevet Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton, commanding Department.”
“Prepared and published under the direction of Brig. Gen. H.G. Wright, Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army.”

The next map shows an emigrant wagon road to California in addition to selected features of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.




Author Mitchell, S. Augustus (Samuel Augustus), 1792-1868.
Title Map of Oregon, Washington, and part of Idaho 
Imprint [Philadelphia] : S. Augustus Mitchell, [1863], c1860.
Description 1 map.
Note Relief shown by hachures.
“Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860 by S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the U.S. for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.”
Prime meridians: Washington and Greenwich.
In right margin: 44.

WSL and the “Declaration of Learning”

Friday, February 8th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Technology and Resources | Comments Off on WSL and the “Declaration of Learning”

Declaration-of-LearningThe Library of Congress, along with 12 other governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the American Library Association and the  Institute of Museum and Library Services, have recently created the Declaration of Learning.  This document “formally announces their partnership as members of the Inter-Agency Collaboration on Education”.  Each organization involved pledges to utilize its historic artifacts and institutional expertise to create interactive digital media, apps, and websites.

In the spirit of this declaration, Washington State Library would like to highlight some of  our digital services and activities that also share this pledge.

Washington Rural Heritage

Washington Rural Heritage is a collection of historic materials documenting the early culture, industry, and community life of Washington State. The collection is an ongoing project of small, rural libraries and partnering cultural institutions, guided by an initiative of the Washington State Library (WSL). The initiative provides the infrastructure and training to both digitize and serve unique collections to a widespread audience.

Classics in Washington History

The State Library is delighted to present Classics in Washington History. This digital collection of full-text books brings together rare, out of print titles for easy access by students, teachers, genealogists and historians. Visit Washington’s early years through the lives of the men and women who lived and worked in Washington Territory and State.

Special Collections of the Washington State Library

 The Special Collections of the Washington State Library collect and preserve rare and archival materials that enrich research in the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest.
The geographical region comprises the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho in their entirety; the province of British Columbia; and western portions of the State of Montana.  Alaska and Yukon Territory materials are also acquired selectively when they relate to the Pacific Northwest region.

These non-circulating collections are comprised of historic and unique books, pamphlets, maps and manuscripts that are made available for research in our reading room.

Historical Maps

The State Archives and the State Library hold extensive map collections dealing with the Washington State and the surrounding region. Maps for this digital collection will be drawn from state and territorial government records, historic books, federal documents and the Northwest collection.

Genealogy at the Washington State Library

Washington State Library has Wide array of genealogical resources both online and on site, including biographies, bibliographies, vital recordscemetery inscriptions, City and County histories, directories, Immigration records , military records and more.

Historic Newspapers in Washington

Washington State Library’s newspaper collection includes current issues on paper and historic newspapers on microfilm with some searchable online. We subscribe to about 125 daily and weekly newspapers throughout Washington, plus a few out-of-state papers. The microfilm collection consists of over 40,000 reels of newspapers dating from the 1850s to the present.

Amazing Map Collection Discovered

Monday, November 26th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on Amazing Map Collection Discovered

Librarians love stories like this. A real estate agent is engaged to clear the junk out of an old house so that it can be sold. What does he find? Thousands upon thousands and more thousands of maps. Maps stashed EVERYWHERE in the house, “stuffed in file cabinets, crammed into cardboard boxes, lined up on closet shelves and jammed into old dairy crates.”

He can’t bear to just throw this amazing collection away, so he calls the local map librarian, having recently and fortuitously read an article in the Los Angeles Times about the city library’s map collection. Said the librarian, once he had seen the maps himself: “This dwarfs our collection – and we’ve been collecting for 100 years.”

It took 10 people several hours to box up the entire collection and haul it away. It’s expected to take over a year to catalog the collection, and in the end, it will give the Los Angeles Public Library one of the country’s top map collections, right after the Library of Congress, and public libraries in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, according to the librarian.

I might not have taken the trouble to blog about this interesting story here, if one of the pictures hadn’t been of an old Tacoma, Washington street map, which provides a tiny bit of local color to the story. Read the entire story of the incredible find in this Los Angeles Times article.

New Classics in Washington History

Monday, November 15th, 2010 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | 2 Comments »

pugetsoundargus From the desk of Judy Pitchford

Volume 5, # 2 –  November 2010


Historical Newspapers in Washington


The Puget Sound Argus of Port Townsend (1882-1883) has been added to Washington State Library’s Online Historic Newspapers, available at http://www.sos.wa.gov/history/newspapers_detail.aspx?t=44. The collection now includes approximately nine years of Port Townsend newspapers, ranging from 1875 to 1883. The collection also contains newspapers from ten other Washington cities.

Additional newspapers will be added as soon as indexing is completed. Our volunteer indexers are currently hard at work on the Walla Walla Statesman (1873-1884) and Seattle’s Puget Sound Dispatch (1871-1880). To see our entire Online Historic Newspaper collection, go to http://www.sos.wa.gov/history/newspapers.aspx.




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