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Trevor Bond

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 …

Winter 2006

When trash reveals history

From October 2005 through March 2006, I worked with ephemera in one of the great libraries of the world, the Bodleian at the University of Oxford. A cheeky person might say that “ephemera” is just a fancy term for trash. However, given the passage of time, even trash can become terribly interesting.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ephemera as something that has a transitory existence. Printed ephemera may be items, such as broadsides, chapbooks, bus tickets, menus, playbills, and lists, to name just a few categories, that were not intended survive their immediate use. As most printed ephemera were not saved, what does remain can … » More …

Winter 2007

WSU's rarest book? Frederick Meserve's Historical Portraits

One of the great joys of my job at Washington State University is the time I spend in the rare books vault in Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections. “Rare books vault” is a romantic way to describe two large, secure, climate-controlled rooms located on the ground floor of the Terrell Library, but it’s fitting, given the treasures held within.

I’ve been aware for years of our 28-volume set of Frederick Hill Meserve’s Historical Portraits, a terrific source for locating photographs of leading Americans of the Civil War era. The collection’s gilt-tooled, crimson, Morocco-leather spines cry out “open me.” In addition to its beauty, the set … » More …

Spring 2008

Vanished places: Tanglewood and Silver Lake

Imagine having a campus lake to skate on in the winter or, in fairer seasons, to picnic by. Washington State College had one: a small man-made pond in the area now occupied by Mooberry Track and the Hollingbery Field House. Officially called Silver Lake, it was informally known as Lake de Puddle.

Silver Lake became part of the College in 1899 as part of six acres purchased for $275. The school used the low-lying area to carve out a 1.6-acre water feature. Our earliest photographs of Silver Lake, such as those in President Bryan’s Historical Sketch of the State College of Washington, show the pond … » More …