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: 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”

Black History in Seattle

~posted by Abby B.

At the library, every month is Black History Month. We get questions and requests for African American history, culture and fiction throughout the year. In honor of the nationally recognized celebration, we’re shining a spotlight on Black History in Seattle. Here are some great resources to explore if you want to learn more about African American experiences in the Emerald City from the Victorian era to the present day.

Seattle’s Black Victorians, 1852-1901 by Esther Mumford. Mumford’s landmark history provides a window into the lives of some of Seattle’s earliest African American citizens. Mumford is a leading authority on the history of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest and one of the founders of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State. Continue reading “Black History in Seattle”

Postmarked with Love

~posted by Jade

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the spirit of sending messages to loved ones, I’m sharing a couple of fun postcards from our online Historic Seattle Postcard Collection. One of my favorite parts about this collection is finding postcards that include messages between friends and family. These brief notes can reveal some unexpected stories about the senders and recipients and offer a small snapshot of history. Continue reading “Postmarked with Love”

Fountain of Wisdom

tsutakawaAs a student in the University of Washington’s Library and Information Science Program, I have been helping digitize photos from the Library’s Seattle Historical Photograph Collection. I’ve discovered a lot of interesting photos, but one of my favorites is a photo of the library’s Fountain of Wisdom with the artist just peeking out from behind it. The fountain, created by George Tsutakawa, is tucked against the low ferns and foliage at the 4th Avenue entrance of the Central Library. Even though it is dry and quiet during the winter, it still makes a warm welcome to the library. Continue reading “Fountain of Wisdom”