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”

Three Views of Seattle

Seeing your city through different eyes can be revelatory, bringing to the fore details you may not have noticed. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life, just moved in, or are somewhere in between, pick up one of these books for a new lens on Seattle.

Seattle Walk Report
Exploring 23 Seattle neighborhoods, Seattle Walk Report uses charming comic book-style illustrations to highlight landmarks, history, and the quirky people, places and things she’s seen on her walks since 2017. How many people did she see jaywalking in Ballard? What did she observe in the span of five minutes on the corner of 8th Ave S. and S. King St.? Who is Ernestine Anderson? What are the top three poses you can strike in front of the Gum Wall? Read this book and you’ll know.
— The artist behind Seattle Walk Report will be in conversation with Paul Constant (co-founder of Seattle Review of Books) at the Central Library Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 7pm. Continue reading “Three Views of Seattle”

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”

Mayor Jenny Durkan on the Book that Made the Difference

This past November, Seattle swore in a new Mayor and City Councilmember, and we here at ShelfTalk thought this would be a great opportunity to continue our series of posts in which we invited your representatives to share books that have meant a lot to them. This time, we asked them “What book was most influential in your life or career and why?” Mayor Jenny Durkan reflects on a book that has had a powerful influence on so many readers, herself included.

“What book was most influential in your life or career and why?”

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

I have read this book many times, and each time I am struck by something new.  Two scenes were particularly influential on my career. The most significant is Atticus’ closing arguments, in which he refers to the courts as the “great leveler”. To him this means every person has a right to justice, regardless of race, personal circumstances, station in life, or background. This view of justice has inspired me to work on issues of inequality and discrimination. While we have not achieved Atticus’ vision of universal justice, I have fought to realize this goal for my whole career. Continue reading “Mayor Jenny Durkan on the Book that Made the Difference”

City Council Reads – Teresa Mosqueda, Citywide Position 8

This past November, Seattle swore in a new Mayor and City Councilmember, and we here at ShelfTalk thought this would be a great opportunity to continue our series of posts in which we invited your representatives to share books that have meant a lot to them. This time, we asked them “What book was most influential in your life or career and why?” Next week we’ll feature Mayor Durkan’s response, but let’s start things off with Seattle’s newest City Councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda

Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle CIty Council Position 8, Citywide.

“What book was most influential in your life or career and why?”


Sickness and Wealth: The Corporate Assault on Global Health, edited by Meredith Fort, Mary Anne Mercer, and Oscar Gish.

Continue reading “City Council Reads – Teresa Mosqueda, Citywide Position 8”