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”

20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 1: History.

Here at the library, we’re often asked by old timers and newcomers alike, “What are must read books for people living in Seattle?” While others have offered intriguing suggestions, librarians aren’t really big on shoulds and musts, knowing how readers have such diverse tastes, moods and motivations. That said, we thought we’d venture a little list of titles that capture essential aspects of this place, its history and culture. In today’s post, we look backwards in time.

Skid Road First EditionThere’s ample reason that Murray Morgan’s Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle has been the most popular work of local history for sixty-five years running: it is as entertaining as it is informative. There are more detailed and objective histories available (check out Richard Berner’s multi-volume look at Seattle in the 20th Century), and folksier books too (see Sons of the Profits, by beloved local raconteur Bill Speidel). But Morgan hits the sweet spot, combining a good basic outline of how this city got here with a diverting and often wry look at opportunistic settlers who kicked of a cycle of boom and bust that continues to this day. Continue reading “20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 1: History.”

Yuletide Cheer from the Archives

~posted by Jade D.

In the library’s digital collections, we have a wealth of materials (from photographs and postcards to artwork and newspapers) which give a glimpse into Christmas celebrations of the past. Continue reading “Yuletide Cheer from the Archives”

A Taste of Turkey from the Seattle Room Menu Collection

~posted by Jade D.
Melody Lane menu, 1951
Looking for inspiration for your Thanksgiving menu? Take a look at our Seattle Room Menu Collection to start gathering ideas for your turkey dinner from some of Seattle’s historic restaurants. Continue reading “A Taste of Turkey from the Seattle Room Menu Collection”

To the Polls! The Municipal News and Historic Seattle Elections

Municipal News Masthead, 1943

~posted by Jade

Just in time for election season, we’ve launched our Municipal News Digital Collection featuring nearly 100 years of issues from 1911 to 2010. Produced by the Municipal League of Seattle, the news provides insight on hot button civic issues of the day such as prohibition, dance halls, desegregation, the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the “Mercer Mess.” Continue reading “To the Polls! The Municipal News and Historic Seattle Elections”