Mary Randlett Portraits: Exhibit & Book Talk in Odegaard

Join us for a book talk on Mary Randlett Portraits with author Frances McCue on Thursday, November 20 at 5:00 pm in Odegaard Undergraduate Library Room 220.  View the exhibit celebrating the newly released book in which McCue shares stories of Northwest artists, writers and arts advocates, gleaned from long conversations with Randlett and research in Special Collections.

Mary Randlett Portraits by Frances McCue (UW Press 2014)

The exhibit  (October 20-January 20 in the Odegaard Library galleries) features Mary Randlett’s black-and-white photographic portraits of artists Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, Theodore Roethke, Jacob and Gwen Lawrence and George Tsutuakawa; writers Tom Robbins, Henry Miller, and Colleen McElroy; arts patron Betty Bowen and many more.  The portraits are selected from Randlett’s life work of approximately 70,000 photographs held by University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.  Randett, known for both her landscapes and portraits, began documenting iconic Pacific Northwest artists in 1949. In 1963, Theodore Roethke asked her to photograph him in his Seattle home; hers were the last pictures taken of the poet before his death, and they garnered international attention.

McCue is an award-winning poet, essayist, and arts administrator. She is founding director of the Richard Hugo House and currently teaches writing and literature as a writer-in-residence at the University of Washington’s Undergraduate Honors Program.

Libraries Special Collections purchased the Mary Randlett Photograph Collection in 2003 through generous donor support.  In honor of Randlett’s 90th birthday this year, a major effort is being made to complete an access project for the collection. Supporters can give online to the Randlett Photography Project.


Courage in Action – Day of Remembrance Symposium on Gordon Hirabayashi


Join us for the 2014 Day of Remembrance, Saturday, February 22, 2014 to honor the life and legacy of civil rights icon Gordon K. Hirabayashi.  The symposium (free and open to the public) from 1:00 to 5:00 in Kane Hall on the UW campus will feature lectures, performances and remembrances by the Hirabayashi family, and the presentation of Hirabayashi’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded posthumously to Hirabayashi by President Obama in 2012.

The medal will be part of the Gordon K. Hirabayashi papers in Special Collections.  His journals, photographs, letters and legal papers were donated last year by his family and many items are on display in the Allen Library North Lobby in an exhibit titled “Civil Disobedience!”  The exhibit ends February 28.

There also will be book-signing in Kane Hall’s Walker Ames Room from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. by Lane Hirabayashi, co-author of the 2013 University of Washington Press book “A Principled Stand: The Story of Gordon Hirabayashi.”

In a related event, a play by about Hirabayashi titled “Hold These Truths,” by Jeanne Sakata, featuring actor Greg Watanabe, will be given a staged reading at Theater Off Jackson, Feb. 22 and 23.

Exhibit on Gordon Hirabayashi

Civil Disobedience!
The Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi

Exhibit from University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Pacific Northwest Collection

Date: February 3 through 28, 2014

Allen Library North Lobby

1940_GKH_Portraitcropped       2012 hirabayashi-medal-1

During World War II, 24 year-old University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the United States order for Americans of Japanese ancestry to leave the West Coast for concentration camps.  He turned himself in to the FBI and was tried and convicted in the Federal District Court of Seattle. The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court where it was upheld.  After the war, Hirabayashi completed a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Washington, and went on to teach at American University in Beirut, American University in Cairo, and at the University of Alberta in Canada.

It was some 40 years later that Gordon Hirabayashi’s wartime conviction was overturned in an extraordinary case that exposed the suppression and alteration of evidence by the government.  Gordon’s principled stand to uphold the Constitution for all Americans is a legacy to be preserved. The story has  been documented in dozens of academic publications, documentaries, and theater productions.  Gordon dedicated his life to keeping the story of the injustice of Japanese American incarceration alive.  In May of 2012, five months after his death, he posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2013, the personal papers of Gordon Hirabayashi were donated to the Pacific Northwest Collection of the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.  They join a growing collection of papers, oral histories, and photographs that help document the Japanese American experience in the Pacific Northwest.  This exhibit features items from his papers, including his prison diaries and photographs documenting his life.   The Gordon K. Hirabayashi Papers will be open for research  on February 24, 2014 in Special Collections.

Items from other collections featured in the exhibit are:

The Ring Family Papers, Acc. 4241, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.  Many letters from this collection are digitized and available online.

The S. Frank Miyamoto Collection, Acc. 2485, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections

Other Events:

The exhibit is in coordination with the upcoming symposium entitled Courage in Action:  A Symposium on the Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi,  for 2014 Day of Remembrance, February 22, 2014.  More information online here.

Hold These Truths, a play by Jeanne Sakata. Solo staged reading at Theatre off Jackson, concurrent with the SPF 8 Solo Performance Festival. Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. $15 general admission/$10 seniors and students.
Tickets and information available here.

Special Collections Photos in Ballard

Flier for show at Ballard's Aster Coffee Lounge

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Why not take in the Second Saturday Art Walk in Ballard?

This coming Saturday, April 10, 2010, is the opening and reception for a display of images from the University of Washington Special Collections at the Aster Coffee Lounge.  The show has been organized by CSS Photography, which assists with the photographic needs of the UW community and beyond.   This event is a rare opportunity to look at our photographs while drinking coffee (or even wine or beer)!  Read more here.

Name Those Men!

James E. Bradford with two unidentified men

With our own Flickr Commons site still in the offing, what better way to while away a Friday afternoon than to try to identify who is in this photograph and what are they doing?

Since another election day is just around the corner (remember to vote!), here is one of the eight loose photographs we discovered while cataloging the James E. Bradford scrapbooks last fall.  If you compare the image from his election flier, you will see that one of these men is an older version of Bradford (sorry for the low resolution scans).  The rest is up to you!

Mystics among us

A few months ago, Nicolette Bromberg (Visual Materials Curator @ UW Special Collections) brought in a collection of photographs from Richard M. Kovak of the Nile Shrine Center in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. The collection documents the membership and activities of Seattle Shriners (members of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Nile Temple).

According to the history on the Nile Shrine website, the AAONMS (an offshoot of Freemasonry) was “originally established [in 1872] to provide fun and fellowship for its members.” The Nile Temple of Seattle was formed by splitting off from the Afifi Temple of Tacoma in 1908; the following photograph was probably taken around that time.

Nile Shrine officers, circa 1910
Officers of Seattle

In elaborate costumes, these Shriners certainly appear to be enjoying fun and fellowship!

A major portion of the collection consists of member portraits, many of them identified. In most portraits, the member wears a fez hat which is decorated with the title of that member’s role or office, such as “Recorder” and “Potentate.” There is also a series of panoramic group photographs which show how membership and customs changed over the first half of the twentieth century.

Later snapshots collected in photo albums show the Shriners’ social and community activities, such as their participation in the children’s hospitals they fund, visits to schools, and their appearances in local parades, often dressed in homemade costumes of “Disnay” characters like Pinocchio and Mickey Mouse.

The collection is unprocessed and unsorted, but a preliminary finding aid is available.

Book Signing Tonight

Picturing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition dust jacket cover
Picturing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition dust jacket cover

If you are looking for something to do this evening, why not head over to the University Bookstore?  At 7:00 pm, the Special Collections Division’s own Nicolette Bromberg will be on hand to discuss and sign copies of her new book, Picturing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.  This lavish volume features the Visual Materials Curator’s own selection of documentary photographs by AYPE official photographer, Frank Nowell, as well as recent photographs from a project led by John Stamets in which University of Washington students rephotographed various sites of the 1909 exposition on the current UW campus.

You also can see some of Nowell’s images for yourselves at the previously mentioned installations in the University of Washington Libraries and in glorious large-scale format at Picturing the Fair, the exhibition at the Museum of History and Industry.