New to the PNW Collection

A new year has begun, and we welcome three new graduate student assistants to the PNW team: Amanda Demeter and Erika Kerr are both first-year students in the iSchool, and Jen MacDowell is a first-year Museology student. Their work includes assisting to accession and process manuscript collections and to process new books and serials. Each student will join me in new efforts to promote the materials in our collection.

To start with we bring you some new titles being added to the collection. These books—some that are newly-published, and some just new to us—fall into a wide range of categories, from regional non-fiction to the outdoors and the environment, and from anthropology to poetry. Come by Special Collections to look at these new titles (some may be in the Libraries general collection, or add one to your own collection!


People of the Middle Fraser Canyon by Anna Marie Prentiss and Ian Kuijt

A study of archaeological sites in the Middle Fraser Canyon in British Columbia enables Prentiss and Kuijt to tell the history of the St’át’imc, or Upper Lillooet, people from 8000 years ago to the present.

They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School by Bev Sellars

Xat’sūll chief Bev Sellars, as well as her mother and grandmother, attended the St. Joseph’s Mission at Williams Lake, British Columbia, where they were forced to conform to an unfamiliar culture.

White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy: Learning to Be Indian by Lawney L. Reyes

A blend of history and autobiography, this is the story of the author’s early life in the Indian village of Inchelium, which was destroyed by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam.


Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox

Drawn from the journals and letters she kept during her time in prison, Knox shares her story in this new memoir.

Outdoors and the Environment

Full Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest by Sandi Doughton

Scientists predict that the next big earthquake in North America will happen here—and that this earthquake might be long past its anticipated date.

Home to the Nechako: The River and the Land by June Wood

The Nechako River has transformed drastically due to the construction of dams and other environment-altering projects. Wood tells about the land and the communities that were affected by the river’s change.

Land Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest by Thomas E. Burke

This book has been called “the definitive and comprehensive guide to the snails and slugs of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana.”

Northern Exposure: An Adventuring Career in Stories and Images by Jonathan Waterman

Praised as “a call to action…to protect the North,” this book of striking images and engaging stories transports the reader to the Northern wilderness.

Oil and Water by Mei Mei Evans

This novel about an oil spill of the Alaskan town of Selby is influenced by the author’s own experience during the Exxon Valdez oil spill.


To Curve by Michael Daley

This book of poetry moves seamlessly between the past and the present.

Regional Non-Fiction

Boom Towns & Relic Hunters of Washington State: Exploring Washington’s Historic Ghost Towns & Mining Camps by Jerry Smith

Visitors to Northeastern Washington can find themselves traveling through long-lost and forgotten ghost towns and historic sites that were once home to miners, prospectors, and pioneers.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

In 1936, the University of Washington’s crew team—composed of nine working-class boys—drew new attention to the sport as they competed to win gold at the Berlin Olympics.

Douglas County Chronicles: History from the Land of One Hundred Valleys by R.J. Guyer

This collection of stories tells the rich history of the communities in Douglas County, Oregon.

Ghost Towns of the Pacific Northwest by Phillip Varney

The maps, histories, photographs, and detailed directions included in this book will help readers plan a trip to these towns throughout Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

Journal of Everett and Snohomish County History, Winter 1982

This special issue features an index of Everett photographers from 1890 to 1935.

Murder and Mayhem in Portland, Oregon by JD Chandler

This book tells the gritty details behind many of Portland’s infamous crimes.

The Last Great Stand: Some Interesting Sidelights on the Pacific Northwest Lumber Industry

Facts about the logging in the Pacific Northwest fill this 1922 publication.

Vacation Land: The National Forests in Oregon produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, 1919

Be inspired to visit Oregon’s National Forests as your read how they were described almost one hundred years ago.

Washington: Our Home published by Gibbs Smith Education

Learn about the history of Washington and its people, both past and present, with this textbook.


Jen MacDowell with Anne Jenner, PNW Curator


History, Theatres, and Libraries

Historic Theatres Library interior

Image courtesy of Seattle Theatre Group

Recently, on a cold and rainy Monday, a few of us from Special Collections took a trip downtown to the Paramount Theatre for a tour of the new Seattle Theatre Group (STG) Historic Theatres Library. The library, which opened in March, is devoted to collecting, cataloging, and preserving historical material from the Paramount, Moore, and Neptune Theatres.

On the 4th floor of the Paramount Theatre Office Tower, we met Marian and Lynn Thrasher, the driving force behind the installation of the library. Both longtime volunteers with STG, the Thrashers first dove into the history of the Paramount while developing a student-tour program for the theater. Inspired by its considerable history, Lynn decided to write a book on the Paramount and in the process, rediscovered a storage space overflowing with historical materials. While Lynn uncovered the material, it was Marian who woke up one morning and said, “We’re going to make a library out of this.” With the help of many volunteers, it took the Thrashers about 4,000 hours before the library was ready to open. The collection now includes binders containing a multitude of items from playbills to newspaper articles, all kinds of memorabilia on display, and even CD/DVDs of Paramount performances.

After exploring the library and perusing its contents, the Thrashers took us on an extensive tour of the Paramount. Beginning with the stage (empty after the recent departure of Wicked), we took a winding route along the back of the theater. As we were walking through hallways filled with decades of signed posters, dressing rooms (of both the stars and supporting cast), and the Ernestine Anderson Room – the Paramount’s “green room”, Marian and Lynn provided what seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of Paramount stories, information, and legends.

The Historic Theatres Library is open to the public, free of charge, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For the whole Paramount experience, private group tours of the library and theatre can be arranged by contacting Marian Thrasher at

A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk / Along the briny beach

Man harvesting oysters; J.J. Brenner Oyster Co.

It may not be an ‘r’ month, but we recently dug up the Oyster industry scrapbooks from the J.J. Brenner Oyster Co. in Olympia.  These scrapbooks are full of clippings and advertisements, recipes and pamphlets, as well as a few photographs, letters, and posters. They also contain numerous clippings and letters concerning water pollution in the South Sound and its effects on native Olympia oysters.  Oyster growers’ fight with Rayonier, which had a pulp mill  dumping “sulphite waste liquor” in the South Sound during the 1950s, is particularly well-documented. There is also a plethora of oyster advertising, including a World War II era poster urging people to contribute to the rationing of meat by eating oysters instead. My personal favourite, however, may be the ‘diet’ which involves consuming nothing but oysters and alcohol with the promise of becoming the best-looking alcoholic around. There’s nothing like a little truth in advertising.

The Oyster industry scrapbooks consist of four volumes dating from the early 1920s through the 1980s. The first three volumes, with materials from the 1920s through the 1960s, appear to have been compiled by Earl G. Brenner, J.J. Brenner’s son. As part of Washington Sea Grant’s ‘100 Years of Oyster Culture’ celebration, these three volumes were copied into Washington Oysters: A Scrapbook. The fourth volume, clippings from the 1980s, appears to have been the work Brenner’s son Earl R. Brenner.

Image Credits:

J.J. Brenner Oyster Co., Oyster Industry Scrapbooks, vol. 1.

Vaudeville in Seattle – the Orpheum Theatres

Moore Theatre - Orpheum Circuit, Oct. 1922

Before television and the internet, there was vaudeville.  Seattle, like much of the rest of the country, had several competing vaudeville theaters throughout the early twentieth century, including a string of Orpheum Theatres.  Carl Reiter, manager of Orpheum Theatres in Seattle, as well as in Omaha and Portland, kept scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and ephemera, like the program below,  from and about the theaters he managed. He included reviews, interviews and stories about the Orpheum’s and its competitors’ acts, including such luminaries as Sarah Bernhardt, Harry Houdini, and Marie and Alice Lloyd. There are also advertisements, programs, notes (in both English and Chinese) in the margins, and other ephemera.

Orpheum Circuit News and Program, Sept. 1916

Reiter’s  Orpheum Circuit Scrapbooks, sixteen volumes in all, date from 1904 to 1924.  Clippings about Seattle’s Orpheum, Moore, and Alhambra Theatres, are predominant, but there are a couple of volumes dedicated to the Orpheum Theatres of Omaha and St. Joseph, Nebraska and Portland, Oregon.

Image credits:

  • Moore Theatre, Orpheum Circuit Advertisment, October 4, 1922, Orpheum Circuit Scrapbooks (PN 1968.W2 .R45 1904), vol. 15.
  • Orpheum Circuit News and Program, September 1916, Orpheum Circuit Scrapbooks (PN 1968.W2 .R45 1904), vol. 11.

Bridges and Bradford

Birds-eye view of Harbor Island and the East Waterway, Seattle, circa 1915

Robert Bridges and James E. Bradford were Seattle activists and politicians in the first decades of the twentieth century. Bradford was a Progressive; Bridges was a Democrat and later a Populist.  Both were strong advocates of government ownership of public utilities.

Bradford was a lawyer who became the city’s Corporation Counsel in 1911. In addition to being a proponent of the municipal ownership of utilities, he tried to enforce the minimum wage, which seems to have made him rather unpopular with the Seattle business interests. He fought and lost a hard election with Hugh Caldwell, who later became the mayor of Seattle, for the position in 1916. The same year he ran for governor on the Progressive party ticket, and two years later he ran for mayor of Seattle. Bradford later returned to his legal practice, and, among other things, acted as counsel for the Port of Seattle. During the Great Depression, he held state directorships for several New Deal programs.

The UW Special Collections Division has collections of Bradford’s letters and scrapbooks. Most of these materials are from his time as Corporation Counsel. They include newspaper clippings, election ephemera, as well as drafts of speeches, articles, and letters about women’s suffrage, minimum wage, the Municipal League of Washington, and public utilities.

Bob Bridges was a Scottish miner, turned shop-keeper, turned farmer, turned politician. A union organizer during his stint in the coal mines of Black Diamond, Bridges remained adamantly pro-labor and highly controversial.  He was a stout proponent of the public ownership of rail and harbor facilities throughout his political career.  Bridges was elected the state’s Land Commissioner in 1896 after turning down a free ticket from the railroads and walking to Ellensburg for the convention. He became a Port Commissioner when the Commission was formed in 1911.  Like Bradford, he was unpopular in many quarters.  He earned a great deal of enmity for his unwavering opposition to the Harbor Island scheme.  This plan involved the construction of a large harbor terminal to be operated at a profit by a private company using a mix of public and private funds.  Bridges opposed the project so vehemently that he refused to certify Port decisions in the matter, and had to be removed from his office as the Port Commission’s Secretary, according to then Port President Hiram Chittenden (of Ballard Locks fame).  The Seattle Times and the P-I vociferously criticized the Commission and called for Bridges’ resignation. Unfortunately for the plan’s backers, the plan fell apart, since the man claiming to represent the company that was to build and manage the terminal had only just managed to quit before he could be fired.  After Bridges resigned from the Commission in 1919,  he unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1920, as part of the newly formed (and seemingly short-lived) Farmer-Labor party.  Bridges died a year later.

We have four scrapbooks from Robert Bridges. The Bridges scrapbooks include newspaper clippings from his time in politics, which refer to him, public utilities, and harbor facilities. One of his scrapbooks was made out of an old business ledger, sections of which are still visible.

Submitted by Jessie

Image credits:

Bird’s eye view of Harbor Island, Seattle postcard collection (PH Coll 798); Digital Collections order number SEA2156

Election ephemera, circa 1912, James E. Bradford scrapbooks (F899.S453 B73 1899), Box [3], Folder 2

Letter of recommendation from Bradford in support of Robert Bridges as Collector of Customs, 1914, Seattle Port Commission records (Acc. 4230-001), Box 4, folder30

Scrapbook Project to Begin

We are about to embark on the unknown.  Next week we will launch a project to begin to create catalog records for the Pacific Northwest Collection’s scrapbook collection.  The momentum for this project really began when local hero, Mark Carlson, was able to convert the data from the html table listing the (mainly uncataloged) scrapbooks on the current Special Collections Web site into MARC format.

Next week, new iSchool volunteer for Special Collections, Mahrya Carncross, will begin to take these very basic (and sometimes problematic records) and start the painstaking (but fun?) process of turning all of them (approximately 170) into acceptable minimal level records to be loaded into WorldCat.  As time allows, we hope that she also will be able to fully catalog selected scrapbooks as well.  (I’ll try to explain the distinction some other time to all of you non-catalogers out there).  Which means you shouldn’t be running into stuff like this:

040  WAU ǂc WAU
090  ǂb
049  WAUW
1102 Salmon
24510Salmon scrapbook, ǂf 1914.
300  1 ǂf volume
5202 Clippings and menus about salmon.
506  Open to all users.
540  Some restrictions may exist on duplication, quotation, or publication. Contact the repository for details.
655 0Scrapbooks.
9451 ǂl scsbf ǂt 7 ǂs – ǂy In process record; contact repository for up-to-date information

I know I’m intrigued!  We hope to be able to share some of our sure-to-be-exciting discoveries in the scrapbook collection in the coming months.

P.S. The image above does not come from the Pacific Northwest Collection (and it could depict an Atlantic salmon for all I know).  Just a shout out to our friends back East. It is a digital image of a cigarette card in the George Arents Collection, New York Public Library from the always useful and easy-to-search NYPL Digital Gallery.  Full info here.

Image credit: The Salmon, Arents cigarette cards 869, NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID 1570301

New MLIS student tour of Special Collections – success!

Nicole Bouche, Pacific Northwest Curator, lead a tour of 44 new Master’s of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students through Special Collections. Not only was the turn-out larger than anticipated, but the group was enthusiastic and had some great comments and questions.

One of the questions was, “What is the oldest thing in your collection?,” to which Nicole answered, “We have Medieval manuscripts, but the Buddhist texts may pre-date those.” Stay tuned….maybe we’ll get a firm answer from Rare Books Curator, Sandra Kroupa.