Washington on the Western Front

Armistice Day Parade, Puyallup, November 11, 1918
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW28295z.

The exhibit Washington on the Western Front: At Home and Over There  is on display in Special Collections at the University of Washington (UW) through January 31, 2017. In the Spring of 1917 when the US declared war on Germany and became involved in the Great War, now known as World War I, the UW campus wasn’t yet a quarter of century old. In 1893 the Legislature approved the purchase of 350 acres for a new campus. Early buildings such as Denny, Lewis, Clark and Parrington Halls were later by augmented by the ephemeral buildings leftover by the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.

President Henry Suzzallo saw the war as a way to bring national distinction and growth to the University. The campus was quickly swept up in the war effort with the formation of the Student Army Training Corps and the creation of a naval training ground on the site of the Medical Center. Local physicians – commanded by Dr. James Eagleson – formed Base Hospital 50, which served under the banner of the UW, and Professor of Hygiene and Student Health Center Director Dr. David C. Hall formed Ambulance Corps 12.

The UW transitioned to a quarter system so the curriculum could adapt quickly to the need for new courses in support of the war effort. Food rationing, Red Cross drives and knitting all became a part of campus life. Following the declaration of war, students withdrew from classes in droves to enlist. Fifty-eight students and alumni lost their lives to the war and the Spanish Influenza epidemic which followed. Join us on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, for a special opportunity to visit the exhibit and learn more about the impact of World War I on the UW at an Open House from 1:00-5:00 p.m. All are welcome and parking is free!

New History Resource on LGBTQ Activism in Seattle

Advertisement for UW Gay Students Association dance, ca 1971-1974

This week marks the launch of a new UW online project: the LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project.   Part of the larger Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, this effort “details and documents the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activism in Seattle with a narrative history, photos, oral histories, a timeline and catalog of LGBTQ activist organizations.” The resource was compiled by UW History doctoral student Kevin McKenna and features many materials from the Libraries Pacific Northwest Collection.

The site is celebrated by the campus community and activists and members of the LGBTQA community.  Kevin McKenna, who is currently teaching at Lewis and Clark in Portland, talked about the project, the oral history interviews, and the work that still needs to be done to document and bring awareness of the history and legacy of LGBTQ activism to new generations.  Kevin stated “the launch of the online project as part of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is just the beginning.”

Take time to read through the website, view the digitized materials from our many collections, and watch the oral history interviews.

The PNW Collection’s LGBTQ materials continue to grow.  Visit this PNW guide to explore the LGBTQ collections (archival collections, published works, websites, and photographs) in Special Collections.

Anne Jenner
Pacific Northwest Curator


Labor Archives Collection Highlights: Instructors’ Association records

Faculty unions and professional organizations advocating for equitable workplace practices have existed at universities for decades. Take for instance the Instructors’ Association at the University of Washington. Ninety seven years ago in October of 1919, the Instructors’ Association was founded by University of Washington faculty after recognizing the need for a dedicated organization to investigate workplace issues directly affecting university instructors. The association conducted studies on a variety of issues and also acted as a liaison between faculty, including members of the American Federation of Teachers Union Local 401, and the university administration.

You can get an inside look into the activities of the association at the UW Labor Archives of Washington. Spanning the years 1919-1947, the Instructors’ Association records contain correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, resolutions, financial records, and other textual material created or kept by the association. Major issues discussed in the records include faculty salary, health insurance, sabbatical leave, tenure, teaching load, and university policies. One file in particular even discusses a former policy that prohibited married faculty to both teach at the university, resulting in the dismissal of a female faculty member in 1937.[1] Although created many years ago, these records remain relevant to the struggles of today’s faculty and academic staff, showing not only the progress made from those that came before us but also where further change is needed.

Interested in learning more about the Instructors’ Association? Their records are publicly available for research in the Special Collections Reading Room during our open hours. Click here to view the updated finding aid with a full inventory for the collection on Archives West. Other related collections include the records of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 401 and the papers of UW faculty member Garland O. Ethel, former secretary of Local 401.

For more information about our location and hours, click here. For specific information about the Labor Archives of Washington, including other labor collections, visit www.laborarchives.org. We look forward to seeing you soon!

[1] This relates to the Lea Puymbroeck Miller case. For more historical context, see: Palay, Claire, “Lea Miller’s Protest: Married Women’s Jobs at the University of Washington,” The Great Depression in Washington State Project. Retrieved (October 10, 2016) from http://depts.washington.edu/depress/women_uw_lea_miller.shtml

Labor Archives of Washington’s New Television Segment Airs This Weekend on KOMO TV (Seattle), Streams online Thereafter

banner-testThe Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections,  is pleased to announce the first episode of our new segment on the news magazine show UW360. The multi-episode segment will highlight the UW Libraries, Special Collections, and the Labor Archives’ collections, researchers, and community supporters. The segment will air on KOMO TV on Sunday, October 2 at 5:30 PM and stream on various media platforms including YouTube, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, thereafter. The rest of the episodes of the series are in production and will air over the next year.
Here’s the direct link to the Labor Archives segment: http://uwtv.org/series/uw360/watch/kfs6VK-HpS4/
Here’s the link to the entire episode:

National History Day Students Win 2016 Regional Video Contest Employing Labor Archives of Washington Collections and Staff Interviews

Every year,  Special Collections and the Labor Archives of Washington works with National History Day students on their projects. This year, students Ashley Luty, Ananya Jain, and Eileen Zhang placed 1st in Washington State for the Junior Group Documentary category for their film “A Wave of Change: The 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike.” The documentary employed the Labor Archives’ collections and included interviews with LAW Labor Archivist Conor Casey.

This wasn’t the first award-winning National History Day film to win: in 2013, student Heni Barnes won the National Competition with her film “Striking A Turning Point: The 1917 Pacific Northwest Lumber Strike”, which included Labor Archives collections and interviews with LAW staff as well.

New episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s radio segment on Filipino American author, poet, labor activist Carlos Bulosan streaming online

The latest episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s regular segment on the KSVR radio show We Do the Work is now streaming online via KSVR and Public Radio International’s Exchange.

The interview will be with Conor Casey, Labor Archivist at the Labor Archives of Washington, and Evangeline Urcia, great-grandniece of Carlos Bulosan. This ‘Learn Yourself’ will be about the life of Carlos Bulosan, a Filipino American activist, poet, writer, and worker. For more information, go to www.laborarchives.org or email cmcasey@uw.edu

The regular segment, called “Learn Yourself”, features Labor Archivist Conor Casey (Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections) being interviewed about a history topic by host Mike Dumovich with an emphasis on archival collections and secondary sources related to the topic in the hopes that it will inspire people to learn more about labor history on their own.

Links to Other Episodes in the Series:

  1. Labor Archives of Washington Overview
  2. Everett Massacre, also called Bloody Sunday, where a confrontation caused 7 to 12 people to be murdered on November 5, 1916.
  3. Filipino American Cannery Workers’ Unionism and the Murder of Domingo and Viernes
  4. Farmworkers’ History: The Chateau St. Michelle Grape Boycott and the Labor Archives of Washington’s second annual event Preserving Solidarity Forever: Washington State Farmworkers’ Struggles.
  5. Images of Labor and Social Justice: The Life and Art of Richard V. Correll
  6. Author, Poet, Worker: Carlos Bulosan’s Collections at the Labor Archives of Washington and Eva Urcia’s Quest to Uncover and Preserve Bulosan Family History

À la Carte ~ Crowdsourcing historic PNW menus ~ We need you!

How did restaurants handle the coffee shortage during WWII?
When did the beverage sauerkraut juice disappear from menus?
What was the price of caviar in 1911?

These are some of the questions we need your help to answer!

The University of Washington Libraries Special Collections has launched À la Carte, a project to crowdsource the transcription of the data contained in our historic menu collection.   Special Collections holds more than 700 menus from Seattle and the Pacific Northwest of interest to historians, economists, chefs, scientists, and everyday food enthusiasts.  The trouble is, the menus are very hard to search for the greatest treasures they contain: specific information about dishes, prices, and all the stories they tell about food history and culture.


To aid in the discovery of these tasty tidbits of history, we’re working to improve the description of the menus in the collection by transcribing the menus, dish by dish.  Doing this will dramatically expand the ways the collection can be researched and accessed.  We built a website that will make this big job pretty easy to do.  This is where you and your friends, who also love food, become part of this crowdsourcing effort.  We depend on you (the crowd) to visit the website, look at a menu, and using the tools on the website, tell us what you see on that menu.  Dishes, prices, menu section, ingredients, and geographical location are the types of information you will be helping us uncover.

Interested? Contact info@uwmenus.org or visit the project website to complete the contact form. We’ll email you with further information about the project and optional summer meet up opportunities.

Don’t miss your chance to take part in this exciting new UW project!


Project staff:
Anne Jenner, Pacific Northwest Curator
Ann Lally, Digital Curator
Sarah L. Ketchley, Digital Humanities