New to our Digital Collections: Early Seattle Glass Plate Negatives

Curious to explore rarely seen photographs from the life of a Seattle family from over 100 years ago? Now you can with 184 photographs from our Early Seattle Glass Plate Negative Collection, recently digitized and added to our online offerings.

The collection features images of Seattle homes and buildings, the town of Index, the Cedar Falls Power Plant, and the Sunset Mine from about 1909 to 1912. All the images are housed on fragile glass plates which required careful handling to be scanned. The collection appears to be the work of at least two photographers. From captions provided with the negatives and some extra research work, we believe at least one of the photographers was Walter F. Piper, son of A.W. Piper, an early Seattle pioneer. (We actually have another photo of A.W. Piper with Walter when he was a boy in our digital collections.) The photos taken by Piper offer a rare detailed views of his home, family, friends, and business.

Continue reading “New to our Digital Collections: Early Seattle Glass Plate Negatives”

New to our Digital Collections: Seattle Mail and Herald

Want to explore Seattle headlines from over 100 years ago? Take a look at our new Seattle Mail and Herald digital collection. The Mail and Herald was a weekly paper discussing the city’s news, politics, society events, entertainment and more. The paper included articles on topics such as Seattle’s regrades, the Alaskan Gold Rush, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and the proliferation of crime and vice under Seattle’s “Open Town” policy. Issues often include portraits of prominent Seattleites and visiting entertainers along with photographs of buildings and scenery in Seattle, Washington State and Alaska. Continue reading “New to our Digital Collections: Seattle Mail and Herald”

Home for the Holidays

Have you ever wanted to explore the history behind some of Seattle’s unique bungalow homes? This month we launched a new digital collection featuring the iconic Bungalow Magazine that lets you do just that.

Bungalow Magazine was published in Seattle between 1912 and 1918 and features homes constructed in the Puget Sound region and other west coast locales. The founder and editor for the initial years was an entrepreneur named Jud Yoho. Yoho also served as the architect behind some of Bungalow’s featured designs. This magazine popularized the bungalow house form and the aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts Style as it was interpreted in the Northwest. Articles about particular houses in Seattle were regular features as well as measured drawings for inglenooks, sideboards, stools and other furniture. Some issues also include photographs taken by Webster and Stevens, a prominent local photography firm. Continue reading “Home for the Holidays”

Billy Bloch and the Germania Café

~posted by Jade D.

Did you know October is Archives month? In a belated nod to German-American Day (October 6) and the various Oktoberfests (and Booktoberfests) happening this month, we decided to highlight some recent German-flavored additions to our digital collection.

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Now a part of our Seattle Historic Photograph Collection, these photographs depict the life of William Bloch, a German immigrant who came to Seattle in 1889 (arriving just before the Great Fire which destroyed a large portion of downtown). After the dust settled, Bloch opened the Germania Café, a restaurant, bar and social club located at the corner of Second and Seneca which specialized in German delicacies and imported beer. With the advent of the Klondike Gold Rush and Seattle’s booming prosperity, the Germania became a popular spot for both visitors and locals. Bloch himself became a well-known figure on the Seattle scene. Often referred to as “Billy” by friends and customers, he was known for his gregarious nature, jovial hospitality, twinkling eyes and rotund build. In 1908, Bloch used his newfound wealth from the Germania to construct a large family home at 1436 E. Prospect near Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill where he lived with his wife, Minna, and two sons, William Jr. and Frank. Continue reading “Billy Bloch and the Germania Café”

How I Learned to Love My Kindle (with a little help from my friends)

Ok. Ok. I’m a laggard. Now, I don’t consider myself to be a Luddite, but I’ve been hanging on to print for dear life. But, the 13 hour flight to New Zealand loomed ever closer. Was I really going to lug all of that paper with me? Of course, it wouldn’t have been just one book. The idea of being trapped with a book that I didn’t like has always propelled me to bring a variety of reading matter on my travels, from old New Image of a Kindle Touch courtesy of welle23 via FlickrYorkers (judiciously saved) to the ever growing pile of books from one too many trips to Powell’s. It was time to commit. I did have to make some serious choices. Would it be a Touch or a Fire? I had already given up on my heart’s true desire, an iPad, as too pricey. No wannabe me, I bought the Touch.

Was it easy to set-up? Yes. Was it easy to read the font? Yes. Did the Library’s downloads work? Like a charm (with some fabulous directions). It even saved me from blindness as the booklight on my Kindle’s case illuminated the text despite the crazy angle of the plane’s overhead spotlight. Even so, did it drive me absolutely crazy? You bet. Where were the page numbers? And that Touch control left a lot to be desired. Either I landed up poking the screen at multiple points to turn the page, or worse yet, I suddenly found myself pages ahead or behind myself. Now don’t get me started on bookmarks. If you don’t bookmark that important passage, you know, the one that identifies all of the valets and ladies maids in that English house mystery, how are earth are you supposed to find the right page in Chapter 1? And the worst of all was that I couldn’t get rid of other readers’ highlighted passages. Now, what are friends for but to explain patiently about the menu options which change depending on your screen location. Even then, it was hard to find the settings option.

Reading an eBook in flight courtesy of diane cordell via FlickrBut persevere I did. And, as I flew many thousands of miles over the Pacific, I did manage a few good reads. The valets and ladies maids did ultimately straighten themselves out in Anne Perry’s Ashworth Hall. And then there was The Best American Crime Reporting, a wonderful catalog of depravity and weirdness. Most delightful of all was The Hare with Amber Eyes (not available as an ebook from The Library). I learned about netsuke and the amazing journey of a family’s collection from Belle Epoque Paris to wartime Vienna to postwar Japan.

I guess I’m hooked, at least for my next set of travels. But meanwhile, I’ll return to that pile of books by my bed.