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History

Spring 2010

Women’s Voices: The Campaign for Equal Rights in Washington

womens_votes

Shanna Stevenson
WSU Press, 2009

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in Washington state. As the fifth state in the Union to allow women to vote, Washington’s landmark was more than a half-century in the making. In fact, in 1883, when Washington was a territory, woman did win the right to vote. Then, just five years later, the right was revoked and they had to campaign all over again.

In her latest … » More …

Winter 2009

Old News

Just as several of Washington’s newspapers have vanished from the landscape, librarians and volunteers are bringing our state’s near-forgotten newspapers to light. Through a project in the Washington Secretary of State’s office, library employees and about 15 volunteers are digitizing the Washington State Library’s extensive newspaper collection to make it accessible to teachers, students, and the general public. In addition, WSU’s own Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections division recently assumed responsibility for an aging newspaper collection in the Holland library that contains Pacific Northwest papers dating back to 1851 as well as Colonial America papers dating to 1728.

Both … » More …

Winter 2003

New Deal at the library

The Works Progress Administration (WPA), established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as part of his New Deal reforms, was designed to put Americans back to work at a time when the country was suffering massive unemployment from the Great Depression. Now the results of one WPA program can be found on Washington State University’s Web site.

Historians working for the WPA in the 1930s and 1940s clipped and archived more than 300,000 newspaper articles dealing with issues and events in the Pacific Northwest from the 1890s to 1940. But it was the inspiration of Ingrid Mifflin, system librarian with the WSU Libraries, … » 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 …

Dragon Slayers of Medieval Times

Excerpted, by permission, from Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History, by Paul ’55 and Karin Johnsgard.

One of the earliest known dragon slayers was the warrior Siegfried (in the Teutonic version), or Sigurd (Scandinavian version), who lived so long ago that the facts of his dragon-battle are greatly muddled. Some people believe that he slew the dragon Fafnir to rescue a captive maiden; in other accounts he was simply looking for treasure. Some centuries earlier, in England, Beowulf took on a similar dragon but was fatally wounded in the resulting battle. Clearly, the weapons and methods used by these early warriors were not always equal … » More …

Fall 2006

The memories of a queen

Before there was Wisteria Lane, there was the French royal court at the Palais du Louvre in Paris. It was a place of forced marriages, lovers and infidelities, imprisonments and poisonings, sword fights and murders. And all that was just within the castle walls.

A little bit of that past is hidden in Washington State University’s archives, in a delicate book with a yellow leather cover. It is a firsthand account of life there with details of some of the greatest scandals and intrigues of French history.

The 378-year-old vellum-paged book holds the memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, also known as Queen Margot. She was … » More …

Spring 2007

Just like it was yesterday

“We were living a good life,” said Albert Redstarr Andrews in a meditation concluding the second Plateau Conference, “and we were disturbed.” What might be taken as gracious understatement also resonated with profound loss.

In spite of a generally liberal sensibility and Native great-grandmother, I confess there have been times upon hearing Native Americans speak of the injustices of manifest destiny and conquest, I’ve wondered when they will finally accept, no matter the past injustice, that this is simply the way things are. Having attended the conference in October, however, I find I am still capable of learning.

The focus of this year’s conference was … » More …