If you’re searching for a photo of a long-lost college friend or you want to dig into the rich history of Washington State, visit the WSU Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collection’s website to browse WSU’s yearbook The Chinook up to 1986 and most issues of The Powwow, the alumni magazine from 1910 to 1969.
All texts are searchable and can be printed, shared online, or downloaded to your own computer. You can also browse the books online and let serendipity guide you to unexpected corners of the University’s history.
“You can find not only pictures of family or friends, but what they did and what they were like at college,” says University Archivist Mark O’English, who managed the digitization project. He says the ability to search the books quickly has already made his work as a reference librarian much easier, enabling him to more quickly answer several historical questions.
“The first day we put it live, someone came in and wanted to know how long we’ve had fencing at WSU,” he says. “We searched and found the first mention of fencing as a sport in 1906, so we could work back from there. Without that tool, how do you even start to answer that question?”
The Powwow can lead to fascinating bits of WSU and alumni history. A glance through a 1962 Powwow reveals that James Cairns ’59 and Billie (Larson) Cairns ’57 were among the first Peace Corps volunteers in India and met Jacqueline Kennedy there.
O’English says the Chinooks alone have almost 38,000 pages available. Many of the WSU football programs are also on the website, and O’English hopes to digitize departmental histories, HillTopics (WSU’s alumni magazine from 1970 to 2000), and The Daily Evergreen in the future.
Student Publications still sells volumes of The Chinook from 1986 to the present, if you are looking for those books.