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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...? is a fantastic website for learning about the History of People of African Ancestry! 
University of Washington Professor, Dr. Quintard Taylor, Jr., coordinates this amazing resource, which includes an e-newsletter and a section expressly for educators!
Check it out here!
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!

To date we've covered
Speaking of Records Management, Training Opportunities for State & Local Government are available.
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History Fun Quiz! 

What did Seymour Wetmore trap in his backyard in February 1870?
A. Sasquatch
B. Rabbits
C. Cougar
D. Black Bear

Visit to find out!
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Banner Image: George Washington, 1952, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990, Washington State Archives.

February 2015
Lawmakers Honor former Governor Daniel J. Evans 

Contributed by Benjamin Helle, Washington State Archives, Olympia Regional Branch
The Washington state Legislature honored Daniel J. Evans on January 14, marking 50 years, plus a day, since he was sworn in for the first of three terms as Washington state governor, on January 13, 1965. During his tenure as governor, Evans created the nation's first Department of Ecology, a number of councils to address issues important to women, Native Americans, Asian Americans, energy policy, thermal power plant siting, mental health services, and the prevention of drug abuse. Senator Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, and Senator Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, co-sponsored a Senate resolution honoring Dan and Nancy Evans for their lifelong public service  For more images, including some great historic campaign materials, visit the Archives' Flickr page here.   
Register of Marriage, the first in Seattle 
Contributed by Midori Okazaki, Puget Sound Regional Archives

The first couple married in Seattle was pioneer David Denny and Louisa Boren, married on January 23, 1853, at the home of Arthur Denny.  The ceremony was performed by DS "Doc" Maynard.  Their marriage is documented by an entry in the Record of Marriage Certificates and can be viewed on the Digital Archives.  Their story is full of familiar names and tales of adventure in the Pacific Northwest.  Read here to find out why Louisa was called the "Sweetbriar Bride," and here to find out why she cried upon reaching her new home in the Oregon Territory in 1851.  Louisa's image comes from "Pioneer Days on Puget Sound," by Arthur A. Denny.    
Notorious Confidence Man Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith Makes Appearance in Spokane, 1896

Contributed by Amber Raney, with additional contributions by Jeff Smith, great grandson of Soapy and Author of Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel

It is not unusual to have research requests come through that lead to fascinating tales of family intrigue and scandal.  The request for a date on a Polk Directory listing for Spokane Falls was no exception.  Jeff Smith wrote in asking for a year associated with a listing for a Jefferson R. Smith living in Spokane Falls.  As it happened, I was able to find the information for him.  It was 1896, and Jefferson was listed as being in mines and mining and rooming at the Grand Hotel.  Jeff's response to this information came in the form of a thank you email with this blog post attached.  His great-grandfather, Jefferson R. Smith, is none other than the notorious Soapy Smith--confidence man, gambler, and all-around bad man who would eventually find himself on the receiving end of a bullet in Alaska during the Gold Rush.  If you've never heard of Soapy (or if you have!), you will definitely want to check out this website.  A fascinating piece of "wild west" history finds its way into the Washington State Archives!
Port of Olympia Collection Online  

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

Want to see some spectacular views of Olympia from the sky?  Check out the Port of Olympia Commissioners Photograph Collection, which is now online accessible here.  The collection includes 109 photographs taken between 1946 and 1974 and was collected by the Port of Olympia Commissioners.  The majority of these images are aerial photographs, and include the Port and City of Olympia, Tumwater, and the Olympia Regional Airport (which was purchased by the Port during the 1960s).

Early images show a strikingly different landscape around Capitol Lake, and many buildings that have been removed or replaced throughout the city.  Later images show impressive growth through Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey.  Some  images were shot on clear days and include breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood.

Click here for larger versions and detail of the images shown. 

Bonus Port of Olympia Quiz! 

In the photograph above (top right) there is a strange orb in downtown Olympia at Columbia and Thurston Streets, roughly where Gardner's restaurant is today.  What can it be?  We'd love to hear your ideas!  Click on the image to the right to view the record and see a bigger version of the photograph.  Email us here with your guesses and visit our Facebook page.  We'll post some of the best comments in next month's newsletter.

Get to Know Archives Staff! 
People come to the Archives in many ways.  This month's Employee Spotlight -
Maggie Cogswell

Maggie works for the Washington State Archives, Olympia Branch in Research Services.  Tracy Rebstock recently sent Maggie a series of questions ranging from educational history to favorite type of food.  Maggie was a good sport and answered them all!  Read her responses here, and find out how she helped out with the Oso disaster and what Maggie claims is her "super power."  You'll want to know...she can help you!
Enjoy Washington history every time you use your computer!
These images, from the collections of the Washington State Archives, capture historical moments from across the state.  Click on the image, or visit the Washington State Digital Archives homepage here to download the screen saver and start enjoying pictures of Washington's past today!
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