New additions to the Watson C. Squire papers

Additions to the Watson C. Squire Papers, given by his granddaughter, complete his story as a Civil War veteran, Territorial Governor of Washington, U.S. Senator, and Seattle real estate developer. Watson C. Squire

The University of Washington Special Collections is delighted to announce the addition of three cubic feet to the Watson C. Squire Papers; a gift from his granddaughter, Mrs. R. Hugh “Dee” Dickinson in February 2009.

Watson C. Squire was Territorial Governor of Washington from 1884 to 1887, served as President of the Ellensburg Convention for Statehood in January 1889, and was a U.S. Senator from 1889 to 1897. Prior to his political career, Squire served in the Civil War and was later employed by the Remington Arms Company. Squire came to Seattle with his wife, Ida Remington, after purchasing lands from his father-in-law, Philo Remington.  Squire developed parcels of his land, notably, the Squire’s Opera House which became the New Brunswick Hotel.   In 1889, after the great fire swept through Seattle and burned the building, the Squire-Latimer building was built. In his political career, Squire declared martial law during the Anti-Chinese Riots in 1886, and during his Senate career, was instrumental in securing funds for the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Dee Dickinson, daughter of Shirley and Jeanne Deny Squire, generously gave the first set of Squire Papers, over nine cubic feet, in 1989. John W. Todd, of Shorey’s Bookstore, stated in his appraisal letter that “it was one of the most important, vital research collections that I have examined in over fifty years of appraising this type of thing.”

 Highlights of the recent additions include: a journal kept by Squire while he attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut ; a photograph of the Seventh Independent Company of Ohio Sharp Shooters taken at the Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 17, 1865; a two-leaf manuscript copy on parchment of the petition to the U.S. Congress for the admission of Washington Territory as a state (Special Collections holds only one other copy of this petition in the “Washington Territory Collection” but it differs slightly);  a 13-page manuscript eyewitness account of the Anti-Chinese Riots in Seattle by Squire’s wife, Ida, written on Occidental Hotel letterhead; and correspondence and other documents regarding claims of settlers against the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.


Live from RBMS in Charlottesville!

Past Chairs of RBMS pause for photoshoot
Past Chairs of RBMS pause for photoshoot

Nicole Bouche, the Pacific Northwest Curator, and Blynne Olivieri, a freshly graduated MLIS student and scholarship winner to attend the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RMBS) preconference 2009, are here in Charlottesville, Virginia for the 50th Anniversary of RBMS.

We are in the second day of the conference, and the picture above is from this evening’s reception at the beautiful Colonnade Club on the University of Virginia campus. Gary Menges, UW Libraries Preservation Administrator is in the photo, to your left of center in the navy sport jacket and distinguished gray beard.

What an incredible opportunity to commune with professionals in the field and learn about trajectories in Special Collections.

AYPE centennial exhibits throughout Suzzallo/Allen libraries

In celebration of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held on the UW campus in 1909, there are three stunning exhibitions in Suzzallo and Allen Libraries.

Admission tickets for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Washington, 1909. Photograph by Frank H. Nowell.
Admission tickets for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Washington, 1909. Photograph by Frank H. Nowell.

The biggest display is The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: When the World Came to Campus, in the Suzzallo Exhibit Room, 102. This exhibit was curated by Carla Rickerson, Head of Public Services in Special Collections. The unique photographs, ephemera, and documents, as well as the blow-ups of AYPE buildings mounted on the walls give viewers a sense of the beauty and bombast of the 1909 event.

Another exhibition, Women’s Work at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, is located in the lobby outside Special Collections in the south Allen basement. Michelle Dent, a visiting curator from New York University, examines  the role of women at the exposition, and features items from the Burke Museum which were originally on display at the AYPE.

Finally, the third exhibition,  Capturing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Frank H. Nowell, Exposition Photographer,  is located on the balcony above Allen North lobby. Nicolette Bromberg, visual materials curator in Special Collections, co-curated the exhibit with Rickerson.

Additional photographs of the AYPE by Nowell are mounted in Special Collections on the wall behind the reception desk. Also, soon to be on display in Special Collections is  a newly restored print of the AYPE bird’s-eye-view.

Come by and see the exhibitions! Feel welcome to ask Special Collections curators and staff about the AYPE. Challenge us!

Pacific NW Lesbian Archives – New Home in Tacoma

In archival news… Lisa Cohen, Founder/Co-Director of the Pacific Northwest Lesbian Archives (PNLA) recently announced that their collections have moved to the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) in Tacoma, Washington.

As Lisa states, “PNLA will scout out herstorical materials in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Southwestern British Columbia and make sure they are properly preserved and accessible for research and enjoyment at WSHS. When collections have been processed, an electronic record will be produced and available via the WSHS website telling you more about each collection in the Archives.”

The PNLA website and email contacts will continue to be up and running.  Contact them if you are interested in volunteering or in sponsoring the processing of a specific collection.

Congratulations on finding a home, PNLA!

Preserving maps at home

People are enchanted by maps. They love them!  I agree, maps are fabulous. They are functional, aesthetic, didactic. Some of you might have them at home, so here are a few tips for protecting their health and well-being:

Carte De L'Egypte De La Nubie De L'Abissinie by Guillaume de Lisle. 18th Century. Held by UW Libraries, Special Collections.

1) Be wary of folding . One fold of an oversized map is acceptable, but when a cross-fold is introduced, it creates a point of great vulnerability where the two folds meet. You’ve probably seen this. Exposed paper fibers and a hole at the meeting place.

2) Rolling is acceptable with caution. It is advisable to roll the map around an interleaving acid-free paper which is larger than the map. The outside paper will protect the map from dust and dirt and will also protect the outer edges.

3) If your map is framed, determine if the matting is acidic or if the map is directly against the glass. Both are bad situations. The acid from the mat will migrate to your map and cause deterioration of the paper that it is printed on. If the map is directly against the glass, with a little humidity, the surface could adhere to the glass and cause what we in the business call, “a loss of information.” Here is my suggestion: Call up your local frame shop, ask if they have a pen to determine acidity levels, and if they would test it for you. (Or buy an pH test pen yourself- they are cost under $10.) Have a new mat put in if it was acidic. If pressed to the glass, the ideal would be to take it to a conservator, but you could cautiously try to detach the map from the glass, stopping immediately if it is adhering anywhere. Ultimately, spacers would need to be put in.

In the ultimate preservation situation, such as we have here in Special Collections, rare maps (many of which are non-acidic since since they were printed on cotton rag paper, pre-1850s or so) are encapsulated in a 3 or 4 mil polyester sleeve, put in a large acid-free map folder, and then filed in a flat steel cabinet. Our cabinets are kept locked so that in case of an earthquake the drawers don’t open and cause spillage.  You might get a kick out of searching some archival product suppliers for these materials.

A final tip, keep your map out of the sun. Watercolors on rare maps could be fugitive. Also, keep your house at a steady temperature (ideally 60-65, but acceptable at 65-70) and make sure that it is kept in a low humidity area (aka not in the bathroom or a moist basement).

Let me know if you have comments or questions.

Phil Lelli papers, 1933-2004, bulk 1965-2002

Phil Lelli
Phil Lelli

If you are interested in labor history in the Pacific Northwest, then you will be delighted by the rich history of International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union  (ILWU), National and Local #23 (Tacoma), documented in Phil Lelli papers.

Lelli was president of the Local #23 for 17 years, from 1966-1969, 1971-1975, and 1977-1986. He attended his first ILWU Longshore, Shipclerk, and Walking Boss Caucus in 1966. He served on various ILWU committees, including the Coast Negotiating Committee (elected in 1989), and the Pacific Coast Safety Committee as a representative of the Washington area. He also served as an ILWU delegate to New Zealand and Australia in 1983.

The papers include nicknames from the Local #23, photographs of the Propeller Club (Port of Tacoma Chapter)  “Chowdown,” and a wonderful drawing of the Lelli grocery in the Edgewood area of Tacoma.

The link to the finding aid is:

Celebrating the Centennial of the AYPE

More than 20,000 electric light bulbs outlined the major buildings at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The photograph required a lengthy time exposure. Nowell X2246
More than 20,000 electric light bulbs outlined the major buildings at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The photograph required a lengthy time exposure. Nowell X2246

Carla Rickerson gave a fantastic talk today in the Allen Auditorium on the UW campus as part of the Organization of American Historians conference. The well-organized, richly illustrated, and humorous presentation discussed all aspects of the AYPE from funding to fun, and from architecture to Igorrote Village.

One of the most fantastic aspects, visually, to me was the massive illumination of the five buildings in the Grand Court. That must have been an incredible sight to see at night. I would have been right there with the crowd, singing Auld Lang Syne, on the closing night as the lights were shut down.

Thankfully, one hundred years later, we have many AYPE celebrations to look forward to!