To the Polls! The Municipal News and Historic Seattle Elections

Municipal News Masthead, 1943

~posted by Jade

Just in time for election season, we’ve launched our Municipal News Digital Collection featuring nearly 100 years of issues from 1911 to 2010. Produced by the Municipal League of Seattle, the news provides insight on hot button civic issues of the day such as prohibition, dance halls, desegregation, the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the “Mercer Mess.”

I voted, did you, Municipal News, March 8, 1952

I Voted…Did You? Municipal News, March 8, 1952

During every election, the News produced a special election issue, evaluating Seattle candidates and their record of service. To mark the upcoming August primary, we’ve hunted for the reviews for notable politicians and included them below.

Hiram Gill, who had already served as mayor and been recalled from office in 1911, earned what is perhaps one of the most scathing reviews. The February 17, 1912 entry in the News read “We regard the candidacy of Mr. Gill as fraught with the gravest danger to the city […] It would be most wholesome for the city if Mr. Gill could be entirely eliminated from the finals.” Gill lost the election but ran again in 1914 and won.

The April 8, 1922 review of Bertha Landes, who was running for a City Council position at the time, notes she is “taken a prominent part in the women’s activities of the city” and  “Those desiring women on the city council can do no better than to vote for Mrs. Landes.” Landes would go on to become Seattle’s first (and only) female mayor.

On February 20, 1932, mayoral candidate Victor Meyers received the following indignant review: “He has provided the comedy for the mayoralty campaign, offering humorous and grotesque statements of his plans after election to office. […] He has treated his campaign as a joke and there is no reason to consider it otherwise.” Among Meyer’s campaign tricks: dressing up in a sheet and parading a goat through downtown and hiring an actor to appear for him and scandalize “a stuffy women’s club, whose members weren’t going to vote for me anyway.” Meyers went on to be both Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State.

Myrtle Edwards Campaign Billboard, 1960, Werner Lenggenhager Photograph Collection

Myrtle Edwards Campaign Billboard, 1960, Werner Lenggenhager Photograph Collection

In her 1956 review, Myrtle Edwards (for whom the waterfront park is named) is deemed an effective candidate for city council with “good knowledge and understanding of city problems.” The January 22, 1962 rating of Wing Luke, also running for city council, declares that he is an “Above average candidate—shows promise of becoming a competent official. Well informed.” (Luke served on the council for three years before his untimely death in a plane crash in 1965.) On September 19, 1989, soon to be Seattle Mayor Norm Rice was given a rating of “Very Good,” one notch down from a rating of “Outstanding” which he received while running for a Freeholder position in 1974.

Interested to see more of the News? You can search the full collection here or take a look at our Neighborhood History Project where you can search articles by neighborhood (along with other items from our digital collections.)

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Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Comic Fantasy, All Pratchett

~posted by David H.

If there has ever been a king of comic fantasy, then that crown was worn by the late Terry Pratchett. And in that crown, the shining jewel is the Discworld series. Published in 37 different languages with over 80 million books sold, Pratchett is second only to J.K. Rowling as the best-selling British author to date. And with forty novels published, and a forty-first to be published shortly, it’s one of the longest series of fantasy novels ever. Which gives new readers a bit of a problem: Where do you start?

The Color of Magic in the SPL catalogWhile each Discworld novel is a self-contained story, beginning and ending in that book, many follow a set of story arcs, each featuring a distinct group of characters. The first two novels, The Colour of Magic & The Light Fantastic, follow the adventures of the worst wizard on the Disc: Rincewind. Barely tolerated by his colleagues at Unseen University, the cowardly Rincewind finds himself dragged into adventures across the land, managing to survive while somehow saving the world in the process. The series includes several Rincewind adventures, with Interesting Times & The Last Continent among the best. Continue reading

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Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Comic Fantasy

~posted by David H.

Much like its sister genre science fiction, funny isn’t the first word that springs to mind when people think of the fantasy genre. The straight-faced seriousness of early fantasy authors like J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and Robert E. Howard (Conan), and contemporary ones like Robert Jordan (The Eye of the World) and George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones), could lead you to believe that fantasy worlds are pretty dark places. But the truth is that the fantasy genre (prompted perhaps by the overly serious nature of many authors) features more than its share of funny business.

 Find Topper in the SPL catalogOne of the earliest creators of comic fantasy is Thorne Smith, a jazz age writer who filled his books with ghosts, Roman Gods, shape-changers, and beautiful witches who continuously get into comic escapades, all while roaring drunk. His most famous novel is Topper, a novel about respectable banker Cosmo Topper who becomes the target of two ghosts, George & Marion Kerby. Deciding that Topper needs to live a little, the two proceed to make a shambles of Topper’s quiet life. In the sequel, Topper Takes A Trip, Marion decides that the best way for Topper to be truly happy would be to make him a ghost, setting in motion a plot to murder their hapless friend. Smith’s novels read rather like P.G. Wodehouse with a fantasy bent, giving them a unique quality unmatched by any other author. Continue reading

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The Lost Cause

lost cause

The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War on the Confederates

~posted by Carl

The Confederacy and its long shadow has been in the news in 2015 following the Charleston church shootings and the subsequent removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol building in Columbia, South Carolina. Is that flag a symbol of the honored heritage of valiant defenders of Southern soil, or one of the oppression of a people? Continue reading

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Have an Art Affair!

~posted by Library Staff

There’s nothing like a good book on a cool and cloudy day to lay the foundation for a foray into the art world. Year round, all over the city there’s more art than can meet the eye, but summer is the season to have an art affair! Now, I’m not just Playing to the Gallery.  Art moves people! Continue reading

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Future Books about Seattle’s Past (and Present)

~posted by Frank

From history and science to food and music, there are a bounty of books about our fair city and environs being published over the next few months. Here are a dozen of the most noteworthy titles.

Classical Seattle: Maestros, Impresarios, Virtuosi, and Other Music MakersProfiles of 35 musicians and arts leaders who have made Seattle a world-class city for classical music. Continue reading

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Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Gaslamp Fantasy

What exactly is Gaslamp? Think of it as Regency-era steampunk, flavored more by magic than machine oil. It’s a genre that invites readers to take a stroll with lady detectives, or sip tea in the receiving rooms of alternate universes.

House of Holmes: Gaslamp Detective Stories

The Eterna FilesThe Eterna Files
Rival teams in Victorian-era London and New York are searching for the secret to eternal life when a deadly force overcomes researchers on both sides of the Atlantic. Suspicions fly madly between the Empire and the New World, both whodunit and on whose orders. Continue reading

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