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Red cross volunteers joined in Pullman's celebration of Armistice Day in 1918, wearing masks.
Winter 2020

Stories from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

It’s just a small part of the transcript. But it’s stuck with Washington State University archivist Mark O’English.

He’s listened to dozens of hours of the tapes. And Helen McGreevy’s short discussion of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and her beloved George at Washington State College always gives him pause.

“There’s just something in her voice when she talks about him,” he says.

McGreevy was 77 in 1978 when she was interviewed for the Whitman County Historical Society’s oral history project.

She talks about her beau George like this: “One young man that I had gone with quite a bit, the young (Wieber) boy, had the flu and died … » More …

Spring 2015

A Nagasaki letter

Minutes before the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the crew of the accompanying B-29 released a canister holding testing equipment. A letter was Scotch-taped inside. The canister fell on the outskirts of the city and its contents withstood the second and, to date, last nuclear attack in a war.

The letter, addressed to “R. Sagane, Imperial University, Tokyo,” was an appeal from three Manhattan Project physicists to fellow physicist and former colleague Ryokichi Sagane. They asked Sagane to confirm the power and devastation of the nuclear attack to the Imperial Japanese government, and to urge Japan’s surrender.

» More …

Narcissa Whitman's hair
Winter 2014

Hair and history

On the first day of class this semester, Kristine Leier, a senior majoring in history and anthropology, returned one of the more macabre items owned by the WSU Libraries: a lock of hair from the murdered missionary, Narcissa Whitman.

Hair is not something we at WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections still collect. And how it came to be here, and where it has been for the last half century, turned out to be an intriguing story.

Narcissa Whitman’s name is familiar to many in the Northwest. She and her husband, Marcus, established their mission to the Cayuse Indians near Walla Walla in 1836. … » More …

Mark O'English with Extension bulletin
Fall 2014

The ultimate DIY source

Maybe you’re wondering how to build a wooden hoop silo; perhaps you’re curious about canning meat or making wine at home; how about pruning a pear tree?

There’s a state college bulletin that says just how to do it.

Since 1892, our land-grant school has been advising Washingtonians on topics ranging from canning jams to breeding cattle. Thousands of paper bulletins have carried the expertise of faculty and extension agents to the far corners of our state. They tackled everything imaginable: talking to your teen, creating a budget for your farm, or figuring annual losses from ground squirrels. The earliest editions delivered essential information to … » More …

Fall 2013

A fitting business

Growing up, Loralyn Young ’62 heard different versions of her Grandma Lucy, her grandmother’s mother. She was a Pennsylvania-born girl from a large family and for some time was apprenticed to a tailor. She married a homesteader more than 30 years her senior, and was widowed in Kansas with a young child at the age of 35. She later married Civil War veteran John Stevenson and started her second life. Then they moved to Washington where, at the age of 60, Lucy opened her own hat and dressmaking business in Issaquah. From some accounts, she was clever and hardworking. From others, precise and demanding.

“My … » More …