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Stories from the Archives...

The Office of the Secretary of State routinely updates a blog entitled "From Our Corner,"  in order to provide from-the-source information about important state news and public services.  Often, stories of note from the Archives are included on this page.

Did You Know...?

An exhibit
Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails and the Year of Statehood
is now in the capitol!  Learn more here , or view the entire exhibit online.
Myths in Records Management

As business becomes increasingly digital and amasses ever-increasing numbers of records, the tasks before our records managers seem daunting.  Our team of experts can make these seemingly overwhelming tasks much more manageable!

Speaking of Records Management, Training Opportunities for State & Local Government are available.
both voted best in Washington for state genealogy websites
Time to Think About National History Day

National History Day is a fun event that encourages students to become historians by developing research, analysis, presentation and social skills. Working individually or in groups, junior (grades 6-8) and senior (9-12) division students select a topic related to an annual theme.

Visit the Washington State Historical Society's Washington History Day page to learn more and see how you can get involved.

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Title photo: Ice Skaters on a pond in Ellensburg, ca. 1905, by Mary Rowland Mires, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, Washington State Archives (see "Wintry Scenes" article below for more information)

January 2015
Party Like It's 1989!

Contributed by Debbie Bahn, Electronic Records Archivist, Digital Archives and Collections Manager, Eastern Region Branch
Happy 2015!  New Year's Eve evokes visions of revelers in party hats, but the celebratory head-wear shown here were created for a very different affair.  Read here to find out their origin...and to see the word "frippery" used in a sentence!
"Pressing On," the latest book from the Secretary of State's Legacy Project, traces the history of two exceptional family-owned newspapers, The Seattle Times and The Wenatchee World The Times is the sole surviving large-circulation daily in one of America's most wired cities.  The World is a small daily with a remarkable reach.

Read more about this fascinating story here, and plan to come hear author John Hughes share more details at the e-book release at the State Reception Room, 3rd floor of the Legislative Building at 5:00 p.m.on February 3.
Wintry Scenes from Central Washington 

Contributed by Mary Hammer,
Digital Projects Archivist, Washington State Archives

The banner photograph for this newsletter comes from the Susan Parish Collection at the Washington State Archives, and was taken by talented amateur photographer Mary Rowland Mires (1862-1944).  Her collection gives us an intimate look at pioneer, family, and Native American life in central Washington  Read more about this lesser-known collection and see more of her amazing photographs here.

"We're Still Here" Exhibit Travels to a New Home to Help Nooksack Students Celebrate Their Culture

With contributions by Victoria Mayers, Nooksack Way of Life Education Specialist, Nooksack Indian Tribe

Legacy Washington partners with the Washington State Archives and State Library to tell Washington State's stories through exhibits displayed in the lobby of the Office of the Secretary of State.  These exhibits then travel around the state where they are capable of reaching a wider audience.  "We're Still Here: The Survival of Washington Indians" acknowledges the early and continuing story of Native Americans in four major themes and is supported and vetted by many Washington Indians.  Currently on display at Nooksack Middle School, the exhibit is helping the school district create an atmosphere where the Native American students feel that they are represented.  The day the exhibit was opened, a traditional Totem pole was dedicated by the Nooksack tribe.  Read the story published in The Bellingham Herald here, and see how this event brought the two cultures together to celebrate the students in the community.  Thanks to Victoria Mayers for her contribution to this story through photos and words.
Election Results...1988 Style

Contributed by Amber Raney, Historical Records Project Coordinator

What do the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington have to do with News Election Service and voting results?  That was what Dave Sullens wondered as he worked on processing the collection.  Turns out, we don't really know who was responsible for this interesting piece of history.  But in this age of instant news and election results, it was fun for us to take a look back at how things were handled when Bush and Dukakis went head to head in 1988.  Take a look at what Dave uncovered here
Treasures of the Archives:

Originally contributed December 16, 2013

This amazing photo shows Walter Gonnason (ca. 1950), explorer and mountaineer, rappelling from Pinnacle Peak with Mt. Rainer framed perfectly in the background. Gonnason, a Seattle native, made many expeditions to peaks and glaciers around North America. He also played a small role in a long-fought controversy over the credibility of one of America's most famous explorers.

What controversy?  Read more here. 

Get to Know Archives Staff! 
Meet Ann Elkin, officially a Library and Archives Paraprofessional 4, but really--she's the Security Microfilm Czar.  It's a title she's proud of, if she didn't initially claim it.  No one knows more about the microfilm in the Archives' holdings!

Ann has worked for the OSOS for 12 1/2 years.  She is responsible for preserving security copies of microfilmed records created and sent in by a variety of government agencies across Washington.  She identifies the film, keeping an accurate inventory of all transmittal forms and at the same time keeping the agencies informed as to the condition of their film by providing inspection results for each reel.  Ann helped to compile an inventory of nearly 400,000 rolls of microfilm according to agency of origin.  The variety of machines and gadgets in her office is worth the price of the tour to see.

Ann's work ensures that agencies can recreate their records if all else is lost.  Ann loves keeping her customers happy, and believes in what she's doing.  She firmly believes that it is the best way to preserve historical records.  With microfilm, all you need is light source and a magnifier to read it.  As Ann puts it, "Microfilm is MAGNIFICENT!" 

When not putting her heart and soul into security microfilm, Ann can be found fishing, crabbing, camping and traveling with her new husband.  She is a huge Seahawks fan and loves watching football in general.  "My grandchildren are my heart, my soldier son is my hero,"  Ann proudly shares.  And one last genealogy-related tidbit about her--"My mother's maiden name was changed because her ancestors were pirates and they did not want the family name affiliated with that."

Next time you're in Olympia, schedule a free tour of the Washington State Archives!  You'll find Ann there...and she'd be thrilled to share her passion with you! 
Appraisal Required

Contributed by Brigid Clift, Central Regional Branch Archivist

Of all local government records created, only a small fraction are considered to be archival, or have historical significance.  And there are many records that are listed as "appraisal required."  Archivists make determinations about what should happen to these documents.  This process is one of Brigid's favorite parts of being an archivist.  You never know what you will find!  Read here to find what Brigid has to share this month!  What hidden gems are lurking in your collections?
We hope you've enjoyed this edition of
"Out of the Archives!"

Steve Excell, Washington State Archivist | |
Telephone: (360) 586-1492
1129 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98504-0238
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