Arthur C. Pillsbury Photograph Collection

Interested in seeing panoramic photos of Seattle and Alaska at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush? We recently digitized 197 photographs taken by Arthur C. Pillsbury between approximately 1896 and 1900, documenting the Gold Rush and scenes from California, Oregon and Washington. The collection includes a mixture of photograph sizes, many of them panoramic images that measure nearly three feet in length.

Pioneer Square, Seattle, 1899

The majority of the photographs in the collection show scenes from the Klondike Gold Rush. Pillsbury first traveled to Alaska in 1898, shortly after his graduation from Stanford University. (By this time, his interest in photography was already well established. To help fund his education at Stanford he operated a combination bicycle and photography shop and for his senior project at the University, he invented the first circuit panorama camera.) His father accompanied him on his travels and the two men experienced a fair share of adventure on their journey.

After setting out from Seattle and traveling hundreds of miles up the coast, they wrecked their small boat in a storm near Cape Fox, Alaska. Miraculously, neither Pillsbury’s camera nor his camera supplies (which were in airtight metal canisters) were damaged in the wreck but they did lose their maps and navigation charts. Once ashore, Pillsbury and his father created a temporary shelter from the boat’s wreckage and Pillsbury walked ten miles to a Tlingit village (which he remembered being marked on the now lost maps) for help. Continue reading “Arthur C. Pillsbury Photograph Collection”

Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection

October is American Archives Month and we are celebrating with the completion of a new digital collection: the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection.

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Donald Schmechel was a Seattle Public Library board member who, in the 1980s, created a project to interview prominent figures in Pacific Northwest History. Schmechel raised funding for the project, volunteered his time to manage it, and conducted interviews along with a crew of volunteers. The resulting oral histories were divided between the Seattle Public Library and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). Continue reading “Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection”

The Space Needle: A 21st Century View

How many times have you gauged your location or some necessary distance by that 605 foot spinning top of a landmark? Long after March 1962, the centerpiece of Seattle Center has evolved just as the campus it towers over continues to morph and change with the ever-growing city surrounding it.

The future is here! Built in record time, the Space Needle went from being a doodle of an idea, on a napkin, to an iconic landmark. Once the largest structure west of the Mississippi, the Space Needle is now dwarfed by buildings that soar over the 605 foot tower. Continue reading “The Space Needle: A 21st Century View”

Three Views of Seattle

Seeing your city through different eyes can be revelatory, bringing to the fore details you may not have noticed. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life, just moved in, or are somewhere in between, pick up one of these books for a new lens on Seattle.

Seattle Walk Report
Exploring 23 Seattle neighborhoods, Seattle Walk Report uses charming comic book-style illustrations to highlight landmarks, history, and the quirky people, places and things she’s seen on her walks since 2017. How many people did she see jaywalking in Ballard? What did she observe in the span of five minutes on the corner of 8th Ave S. and S. King St.? Who is Ernestine Anderson? What are the top three poses you can strike in front of the Gum Wall? Read this book and you’ll know.
— The artist behind Seattle Walk Report will be in conversation with Paul Constant (co-founder of Seattle Review of Books) at the Central Library Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 7pm. Continue reading “Three Views of Seattle”

Seattle Rep’s TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS: Beyond the Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Nia Vardalos, adapted from the book by Cheryl Strayed from May 17 to June 23, 2019. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and films to enhance your experience of the show.

Before she wrote a runaway bestselling memoir of solo hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, before she was portrayed on the big screen by Reese Witherspoon, Cheryl Strayed gave advice to strangers. From 2010 to 2012, she wrote an anonymous advice column, Dear Sugar, for the online magazine The Rumpus, which was collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar in 2012.

Strayed’s book inspired actor and playwright Nia Vardalos’ adaption of the same name which opens at the Rep next week. You may be familiar with Vardalos from her sleeper hit 2002 film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But you may not know that she’s also written a funny and poignant memoir about her experiences as an adoptive parent, Instant Mom.

 For more suggested reading and viewing before the play, check out this resource list.

~posted by Abby B.