New Digital Collection Highlights Lives of Seattle Pioneers

This month we’ve launched a new digital collection which reveals a glimpse into the personal lives of some of Seattle’s early pioneers. The Lu Jacobson Collection of Latimer and Denny Family Material includes materials focusing on Alexander Latimer, his wife Sarah Chesney Latimer and their five daughters: Narcissa Latimer Denny, Eliza Alice Latimer Fowler, Harriet Ellen Latimer Stephens, Clara Latimer Bickford, and Emma Chesney Latimer Reynolds.

Narcissa, Alice, Hattie, Clara, and Emma Latimer, circa 1880.

The descendants of the Latimer family played a significant role in the founding of Seattle. Alexander Latimer’s sister, Sarah Latimer, married her first husband, Richard Boren in 1822. Their children, Mary Ann Boren Denny, Carson Dobbins Boren and Louisa Boren, were in the group of Seattle’s first settlers who landed at Alki on November 13, 1851. They were accompanied by Arthur Armstrong Denny (husband to Mary Ann Boren Denny) and David Thomas Denny (soon to be husband to Louisa Boren). Arthur and David were the sons Sarah Latimer’s second husband John Denny from a previous marriage.

Orion and Narcissa Denny Home, circa 1890

Further cementing the links between the two families, in 1889, Alexander’s daughter Narcissa Latimer married Orion Denny, the son of Mary Ann and Arthur Denny and the first white child to be born in Seattle. The collection includes their wedding invitation along with photos taken by Orion Denny.

Other items in the collection include portraits of members of the Latimer family, photographs of early Seattle and Washington scenes, and correspondence between the Latimer daughters and their parents.

My favorite item in the collection is a scrapbook which includes a collection of photographs of family members taken in and around Seattle. Some of the photos are taken at the Seattle home of Narcissa and Orion Denny at 1108 Seneca St. Other shots include Seattle spots such as the West Point Lighthouse, Ravenna Park, Woodland Park, Green Lake and Lake Washington. Photographs of other locales such as Monte Christo Peak, San Juan Island, and Snoqualmie Falls are also included.

Group including Narcissa Denny in parlor at 1108 Seneca Street, circa 1895

This collection and many more can be found through our Special Collections Online website.

     – posted by Jade D.

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