Let’s get digital

The Special Collections Department  has added three new digital collections to our resources in the past year.  Going digital takes a great deal of effort but makes these collections available to a much larger audience and also makes them more accessible because of their searching capabilities.  The easiest way to get to them is to go from the home page to Library Collections and look for the Special Collections tab near the top on the right side of the page. Or, you can follow this link and bookmark the page. 

 The Alaska -Yukon – Pacific – Exposition Collection was the first of group of material digitized because of the centennial celebration of the AYP in 2009. The AYP was a turning point for Seattle and the entire region and as many people said, “put Seattle on the map”. Over three million people came to the event which was held at what is now the University of Washington. In fact, many of the buildings built for the AYP served (and some still do) as UW buildings.

Having gotten our first digital collection on board, we proceeded to digitize the Seattle Public Library Northwest Art Collection. The Seattle Public Library owns a collection of art from many important Northwest artists: Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, Helmi Juvonen, Robert Cranston Lee, Fay Chong and Guy Anderson, to name just a few. We digitized a selection of 85 prints, drawings and paintings from the collection. Mark Tobey’s “Illustrations for lecture, Feb 26 1948” and Stuart Morris’ line are representations of people using the library itself. In conjunction with the launch of the Northwest Digital Art Collection, we’ve mounted an art exhibit of the Library’s artwork on Level 8 at the Central Library.

And, last but not least, we began to digitize the Seattle Historical Photograph Collection. The collection contains more than 1100 images of Seattle’s early history. There are street views from the 1870’s, photographs taken during, before and after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889,  portraits of important and everyday Seattleites from her early beginnings. There are photographs of buildings, waterfronts, railroads, schools, ships and more.  We’ve begun with over 100 photographs and will be adding to the digital collection through the year, so keep an eye out for the updates.

One thing to remember: Not everything is digital.  We have a treasure trove of resources in Special Collections (and other departments) that are not online and not  in the catalog. Going digital takes time. Don’t miss out on the treasures we have now. You never know just what you might find!~Carol L, Central

Seattle’s Coming Out Party

Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition According to Paul Dorpat, Seattle’s iconic historian, in the introduction of the wonderful new book by Alan Stein and Paula Becker, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific-Exposition A Timeline History (published by Historylink),  Seattle caught a lucky break back in 1907 when Jamestown, Virginia claimed that year for their tercentenary celebration. The event Seattle had planned to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Gold Rush (in 1897) was delayed and morphed into a much grander spectacle. Two extra planning years and a far more robust economy helped propel the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition into a rousing success for the nascent boomtown. Our city’s first world’s fair brought people from all over the world and as nearly every account mentions, “put Seattle on the map.”

Stein and Becker will discuss their new book at our Microsoft Auditorium on June 13, from 2-4 p.m.  Historylink.org is the invaluable online encyclopedia for Washington State started by the late Walt Crowley, also a noted Seattle historian. The book is dedicated to Mr. Crowley. Continue reading “Seattle’s Coming Out Party”