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”

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. Continue reading “New Digital Collection Highlights Lives of Seattle Pioneers”

New to our digital collections: Seattle’s Town Crier Newspaper

We’ve just added over 1,200 issues from Seattle’s local arts periodical, The Town Crier, to our digital collections. The Town Crier was a weekly magazine focusing on Seattle’s news, arts and culture between 1910 and 1938. Over its lifetime, the paper included coverage of the work of individuals such as Frank Kunishige, Edward S. Curtis, Ella McBride, Kenneth Callahan, Mark Tobey, Roi Partridge, Imogen Cunningham and more.

Every year, the paper produced a lengthier Christmas edition with a cover designed by a local artist featuring holiday articles, reproductions of photographs and artwork from local names, and lengthier features on topics such as Seattle homes, industries and history.

Continue reading “New to our digital collections: Seattle’s Town Crier Newspaper”

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”

Celebrating the Lake Washington Ship Canal Centennial

Did you know the Ballard Locks turns 100 this year? In recognition of the anniversary, we’ve combed through our archives and digitized some of the most interesting maps, photos, postcards, correspondence, and more related to the history of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. You can find the collection at www.spl.org/shipcanal. Continue reading “Celebrating the Lake Washington Ship Canal Centennial”