This spring, Special Collections will transition its findings aids from our locally-hosted XTF site to Archives West, formerly known as Northwest Digital Archives.
Archives West, a program offering of the Orbis Cascade Alliance since 2007, provides access to descriptions of primary sources in the western United States, including correspondence, diaries or photographs. Institutions in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and Utah have loaded descriptions (finding aids) of their collections to Archives West. In some cases, digital reproductions of the materials are linked directly from the finding aids.
A finding aid is a detailed guide or inventory of the contents of a manuscript or archival collection. The guide provides a gateway to the collection because it allows researchers to identify the boxes or folders they will need for their research. A typical guide also provide biographical or historical information on the person or organization that created the material, an overview of the collection, and how it is arranged plus a detailed container list and any use restrictions.
What will Archives West add to the user experience?
It provides access to all of our finding aids. Our old site is no longer being updated, so use Archives West to find the most current descriptions of our collections.
It allows searches across regional repositories. You are likely to find related collections held by other repositories in the Northwest.
It creates an updated search environment that will more readily display digitized content and enhance our collection descriptions with more search terms.
What can you expect in the coming months?
We invite our researchers to try the new site now.
A cut-off date for the current XTF site this summer (date to be announced).
Take the Archives West User Survey to win an Amazon gift card!
Archives West is conducting a two-part assessment of the recent redesign until April 15, 2016. They are looking for people who use Archives West to fill out a survey and to potentially answer some follow-up questions on how successful the redesign of the site is. If you are interested in being part of this effort, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LFVBR6B. A few individuals will be selected for follow-up questions – those selected will receive $10 Amazon.com gift cards.
This Thursday, March 3, the will mark the official launch of a new web archives documenting the historic $15 an hour minimum wage campaigns in SeaTac and Seattle in 2013-2014.
The project, a collaboration between the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the Labor Archives of Washington at the University of Washington Libraries’ Special Collections, focuses on the SeaTac and Seattle victories, ensuring that scholars, activists, journalists, and students can learn from the minimum wage campaigns well into the future. The SeaTac/Seattle Minimum Wage History Project is a digital repository of close to oral history interviews (videos, audio, and transcriptions) with key players, along with rally signs and campaign website captures. New sections of analytical essays, a timeline of wage increases nationwide, and other interview and digitized records will join the archives over time.
Guest blogger Conor Casey, Labor Archivist
UW Special Collections, Labor Archives of Washington
What do these three men have in common? In addition to being pioneer settlers of the Oregon Territory all three were also physicians. From the days of its earliest exploration, the Pacific Northwest has been shaped by pioneering physicians. The original culture of enterprise continues to this day as local physicians continue to make groundbreaking discoveries.
By the time the Denny party landed at Alki Point in West Seattle on November 13, 1851, physicians had already been active in the Pacific Northwest for years. John McLoughlin first arrived in Vancouver in 1824 as Superintendent of the Columbia District, establishing fur trade and overseeing operations of the Hudson Bay Company. Marcus Whitman founded the Whitman Mission near Walla Walla in 1843 and his treatment of Native Americans contributed to his eventual death at the hands of Cayuse Indians in 1847, along with his wife Narcissa and eleven others.
University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections. Photo Collection 563.
David Maynard, better known as ‘Doc’, traveled across the Oregon Trail originally settling in Olympia. In April of 1852 he laid claim to a section of 640 acres and moved his general store north at the behest of Seattle, chief of the Duwamish tribe, where he became the first physician to practice medicine in the burgeoning city. Because of his strong relationships with area tribes, Maynard put forth the name of Seattle for the young settlement, successfully convincing his fellow settlers it was a better choice over its original name Duwamps. This was the first of many innovations attributed to Maynard.
Maynard’s accomplishments have become both embellished and diminished by time as the result of Bill Speidel’s ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’ approach to history and Maynard’s early death in 1873 when Seattle was still getting its footing. Consequently, Maynard’s legacy was left to be told by the other members of the Denny party — conservative and teetotaling, two things Maynard was not — and, as a result, his name slipped from the early historical accounts of Seattle.
Yet Maynard has a long list of firsts attached to his name including the founding of the
The Seattle Gazette (Seattle, Washington Territory), 10 December 1863, pg. 2.
Seattle’s first hospital. The two-room facility, in what is now Pioneer Square, failed because white settlers refused to use the hospital after Maynard insisted on serving Indians, as well. Maynard was also the first Indian agent — appointed by Governor Isaac Stevens — because of his good relations with the local tribes. At various times Maynard served as a notary public, clerk of the court and school superintendent, in addition to platting one of the first maps of Seattle on May 23, 1853. He was admitted to the bar in 1856 after the only lawyer in town drowned. He also served as a Justice of the Peace, marrying early settlers David Denny and Louisa Boren — the first marriage in King County — on January 23, 1853.
Maynard’s generosity was also his downfall and he made and lost several fortunes during Seattle’s early years. Pacific Northwest historian Thomas Prosch described him as “a man of marked individuality and richly endowed with good qualities. No one could be more liberal and kind than he” in his biography of Maynard.
Maynard’s story is just one of those featured in an exhibit, Pioneering Medicine: Milestones from Seattle’s First Century 1850-1950, currently on display in Special Collections at the University of Washington. Like Maynard, many of the physicians were also civic leaders, organizers and elected officials involved with many aspects of establishing Seattle as a city to rival any in America. Join us for two gallery walks scheduled for anyone interested in hearing more about some of Seattle’s early physicians and their contributions:
Travelers and adventurers today document trips with photographs and videos on social media, in published works, and in produced documentaries. The first travel writers to publish narrative accounts and visual depictions of the Pacific Northwest were eighteenth and nineteenth century maritime voyagers from Russia, Britain, France, Spain, and the eastern United States. Published accounts of their voyages were accompanied by illustrations depicting topography, people, crafts, and tools native to this region.
Illustrations of this time period started as sketches and became primarily copper engravings. These informative, decorative, and didactic illustrations were commonly printed along with maps and charts as plates in a folio-sized atlas. Atlases and exploration accounts were, in first printing, sold as a set, on a subscription basis. The publications offered never before seen views of far-away places and peoples.
UW Special Collections has an extraordinary collection of these travel accounts, including rare early editions. Our online research guide, Images of Exploration, Discovery, and Early Settlement in the Pacific Northwest, introduces you to this collection and the fascinating stories of artists who accompanied explorers on historic voyages. Like photographers and videographers today, these talented artists often wore more than one hat during the voyages, and some followed the project from start to finish. Their illustrations became the first published images of the land and people of our region.
John Webber Third voyage of James Cook, British (1776-1780)
John Webber, an Englishman of Swiss heritage, was the official expedition artist on Captain Cook’s third voyage from 1776 to 1780. Upon return, Webber was responsible for reducing his drawings and paintings to scale for engravers. The Admiralty also hired him as “art director” for the 1784 publication, the duties of which included supervising the engravers and the printing of the plates.
Lieutenant Blondela and Gaspard Duché de Vancy Voyage of Jean Françoise Galaup de la Pérouse, French (1785-1788)
Gaspard Duchè de Vancy, official artist of the voyage of Jean Françoise Galaup de la Pérouse, from 1785 to 1788, was raised in Vienna and exhibited artworks at the Salon of Young Artists in Paris in 1781 and at the Royal Academy in London in 1784. He was commissioned to execute several royal portraits including: Stanislaus of Poland, the secretary of the Kingdom of Naples, and Marie Antoinette.
A second artist, Lieutenant Blondela (first name unknown) was in the French military before joining the La Pérouse expedition. While not officially assigned as artist to the expedition, Blondela’s talents were a great asset to the voyage’s visual record. La Pérouse commented on Blondela in his journal, “he applies himself with a degree of assiduity, and executes with an intelligence, order and neatness, that are deserving of the highest encomiums
John Sykes, Harry Humphrys, Thomas Heddington, and Zachary Mudge Voyage of George Vancouver, British (1791-1795)
A gross oversight in Voyage of British explorer George Vancouver was the lack of an officially commissioned artist. Fortunately, there were four crewmen aboard skilled enough to provide sketches and drawings that could be transformed into illustrations for the publication. These men were John Sykes, Harry Humphrys, Thomas Heddington, and Zachary Mudge. John Sykes, a midshipman, was the most prolific artist. He created over 90 drawings throughout the voyage and his are the first depictions of the Puget Sound area. Artist, William Alexander, was hired later to redraw the sketches in preparation for the engraving.
Louis Choris Voyage of Otto von Kotzebue, Russian (1815-1818)
Louis Choris, official expedition artist on the Voyage of Otto von Kotzebue, was only 20 when he when the voyage began. Upon return, Choris solicited subscribers, who included the kings of France and Prussia, to enable publication of his Voyage.
Friedrich Heinrich von Kittlitz and Aleksandr Postels Voyage of Fedor Petrovich Litke, Russian (1826-1829)
Russian explorer Fedor Petrovick Litke hired artists and naturalists Friedrich Heinrich Baron von Kittlitz and Aleksandr Filippovich Postels, who both contributed to the artistic/scientific evidence of the voyage. Kittlitz’s job in accompanying Litke was to “hunt, collect, describe, and illustrate birds.”Returning from the voyage, Kittlitz spent time assembling materials for his own personal account of the voyage (published in 1858) as well as giving scientific lectures.
Postels is described in the crew sheet as Mineralogist and sketch-artist. He was key to the expedition, producing sketches of amphibians and fish, as well as recording botanical and ethnographic material.
Alfred T. Agate and Joseph Drayton Voyage of The United States Exploring Expedition/Wilkes Expedition, American (1838-1842)
Alfred T. Agate, born in New York, executed most of the drawings in the Wilkes Expedition expedition report. Soon after the end of the voyage he died, at age 33, in Washington D.C.
Joseph Drayton, another of the expedition artists, saw the drawings through to publication. He made the engravings, oversaw the coloring of the illustrations, as well as the printing and binding. In addition, he made the paper on which the works, engravings, and charts are printed.
In Evergreen Boughs and Mince Meat Pie, Polly McKean Bell tells a grand story of her family’s 1881 Christmas celebration in Astoria, Oregon. The port city at the mouth of the Columbia River was newly incorporated (1876) with a population of nearly 2,000. The memoir details decorating Christmas trees at the church and the family home, baking sweets, hand-crafting gifts for and by all members of the family, and dressing in fancy new dresses and button boots to perform at the main social event, a program led by children at the church on Christmas Eve.
The climax of the holiday was the family visit on Christmas day to Aunt Eliza and Uncle H. (Hustler), a sea captain, whose life you can read about in this 1928 interview with his widow at age 94. The couple and their Chinese cook, Wat Sen, served a Christmas feast of shoal-water bay oysters with lemon and cayenne pepper, roast duck, apple sauce and cranberry sauce, small oval mince pies, oranges, hot-house grapes, and a gift box of litchi nuts and preserved ginger. The celebration culminated with presents of exotic toys and gadgets from faraway places. The girls received dolls, a miniature lacquer chest of drawers with metal pulls, a tiny lacquer work box with small compartments for a child size thimble and scissors. Her mother and father received a stereoscope with views from cities around the world and a barometer. Above is Polly’s older brother on his new velocipede – the very first in town.
Polly McKean Bell (center) was born in Astoria 1876, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Terry McKean Jr. Her grandfather, Samuel T. McKean Sr., had come to Oregon across the plains in 1848, when Polly’s father was 8 years old. She became widely known regionally for her writings and keen interest in historical affairs the area. Her article entitled “A Pioneer Woman’s Reminiscences of Christmas in the Eighties” was published in the Oregon Historical Society Quarterly in 1948. A decade later, she republished it as a small monograph shown here. Our copy came to us by way of the Stewart Holbrook papers. Polly inscribed the copy to Stewart – the two were likely well acquainted, as both were Pacific Northwest history authors in the Portland area. She died in 1964 in Astoria and is buried at Clatsop Plains Pioneer Cemetery in Clatsop County. The family papers are held by the Clatsop County Historical Society.
We are pleased to reintroduce the PNW blog with a new name and broader focus. Pacific Northwest Features is a blog about PNW history, culture, and people, featuring collections from all around the University of Washington Libraries.
The Pacific Northwest Collection documents the historic and contemporary life and culture of the region. We actively collect rare books, maps, ephemera and other published materials, as well as personal papers, digital records, and organizational archives, photographs, architectural drawings, recorded sound, and moving images. Major primary source collections include Labor Archives of Washington and the Washington State Jewish Archives. The PNW Collection began in 1905 as the Northwest Collection. Today it is part of Special Collections located on the UW Seattle campus in the lower level of Suzzallo/Allen Library.
There are dozens of other Pacific Northwest resources in the UW Libraries, found in departments in all branches and on all three campuses. We now invite librarians from all areas to share and promote Pacific Northwest titles and collections by becoming contributing authors to the blog.
Pacific Northwest Features shares stories about collections, events, exhibits, and our connections with other regional history collections and programs. Follow the blog by subscribing to email list to the left. Browse through earlier posts in the Collections Featured category, and visit Special Collections to explore our fascinating collections.
When our region was thrown into the global spotlight following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, the UW Libraries staff sprang into action collecting a wide variety of documents and ephemera. An all-call for materials was put out to the UW community and items poured in. Government reports, photographs, newspaper clippings, cartoons, tee-shirts, creative tributes in the form of poetry, jewelry made of pumice from the Mountain, and much more.
Materials were collected and organized by the University of Washington Mount St. Helens Action Group, who created a series list and painstakingly indexed the collection at item level! Collecting went on for years, long enough for the the group to document the UW Libraries Mount St. Helens 10th Anniversary Party.
The ash has settled and decades have passed. The document and ephemera collection was boxed, along with its meticulously typed index, and tucked away. The collection was unfortunately overlooked when we moved to an online finding aids database in the early 2000s. It remained hidden until this year during the Mount St. Helens 35th anniversary commemoration, when we stumbled upon the 22 boxes in our closed stacks. In the first box we discovered the type-written (pre-desktop computer) item level index! It has taken a while to key it in and do a physical check on each and every item, but with determination we have been able to reveal this hidden treasure before the end of the year!