Here’s a look at two collections at Washington State University Libraries. Housed at the Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), they are just a couple of the many treasures at WSU Pullman.

On a mission

Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker established a mission in 1839 at present-day Ford, Washington, closing it a decade later following the Whitman killings in Walla Walla. When she died in 1897, Mary was the last of the 13 original members of the Old Oregon Mission. One of the books in the collection still has a portion of her homemade deerskin book cover attached. Two books in the collection are signed “Dr. Whitman.”


The 1872 Boston fire. The 1889 Johnstown flood. The 1876 Ashtabula railroad bridge collapse. Books in this collection detail all of these disasters and more. Titles range from 1850 to 1925 and cover everything from cyclones and sinking ships to railroad disasters and a yellow fever epidemic. There’s the 1903 Chicago theater fire, 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and 1912 wreck of the Titanic. “This is how people would memorialize disasters,” Trevor Bond says. “They didn’t have the Internet or television. They had newspapers, but maybe the newspapers didn’t have many photos or testimonials.”

Browse all the collections at MASC.


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The MASC collections

Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s books at MASC