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Myths in Records Management

As business becomes increasingly digital (and amasses ever-increasing volumes of records), the tasks before our records managers seem daunting.  Fear not, however!  Our team of experts can help make the seemingly overwhelming task of caring for and disposing of records created during the daily activities of doing business much more...manageable!

So far we've covered the first two myths surrounding records management.

And check back next time for more good news from RM!

Washington archives, historical societies, museums, public libraries, and university special collections throughout the state will celebrate their rich heritage collections at a range of events during October's Washington Archives Month 2014 with the theme "125 Years of Making History." 

Archives Month is sponsored by the Washington State Archives, the National Archives at Seattle and the Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board.

There's much to more here!
Celebrate 125 Years of Washington State History!

Washington became a state on
November 11, 1889. 

Come be a part of history.  Find out what's happening this November 11 in Olympia  here.

For more information, visit Washington 125
or contact
 Susan Rohrer here by email or at (360) 753-2580.
News from the OSOS Blog
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. 

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Do you know someone who would enjoy reading this newsletter?  Why not send it on?

Make sure your name is on the list so that Out of the Archives lands in your inbox next month!

October 2014
Secretary of State Kim Wyman presenting the Roger Easton Award of Excellence to Rose Banks
Dedicated Volunteers Receive Recognition for Time and Talents

Contributed by Amber Raney, Historical Records Project Coordinator

Each year the Office of the Secretary of State says a big "thank you" to the hundreds of volunteers that devote their time and talents to making the divisions run more smoothly and efficiently.  This year's event was held in Ellensburg at the Western Village V.I.P. Room at the Rodeo Grounds.  Secretary Wyman was on-hand to personally thank the volunteers and pose for photos.  Rodeo City Bar-B-Q provided a delicious meal and guests enjoyed some classic, Western-themed entertainment including a Cowboy Poet.

Click here to read more about the day and to find out how you can be recognized next year!  Also, view photos from the event at the Washington State Archives Flickr page and read a blog post from the Washington State Genealogical Society.   
"1st Graduating Class from Cheney High School"

Contributed by Lee Pierce, Eastern Regional Branch
The photograph of the first graduating class of Cheney High School, 1909, was discovered in a folder marked "Commencement and Baccalaureate," in one of the 47 boxes of records transferred to the Eastern Regional Branch of the the State Archives in May of this year.  The collection of records includes budgets, board minutes, board resolutions, reports of various sorts, newsletters and staff bulletins, and records concerning the consolidation of numerous one-room school house districts into Cheney School District 360.

One has to wonder at the changes the graduates of Cheney High School in 1909 must have witnessed: the invention and spread of the  automobile, powered flight, space travel and moon landings and telecommunications.  The graduates would also likely live through some very hard times--the boom and bust of economic cycles, the Great Depression and two World Wars.   Click here to view a larger version of the image. 
Get to Know Archives and Records Management Staff! 
Meet Dave Sullens, Acquisitions Assistant for the Washington State Archives.  Dave picks up records from the 194 state agencies and their divisions located all across the state of Washington.  Dave says that the best part of his job is that it is never dull.  You may think he's referring to the fact that he is always bouncing around between facilities and never knows what he may be doing day to day.  But you would be wrong!  Dave Sullens not only accessions records, but his hyperosmia--or heightened sense of smell--saved the Olympia Branch of the Archives from a potential fire!

Dave noticed a strange smell when walking into the men's room--outside the normal range of odors--something stagnant or like something burning.  Sure that this was not a normal smell, he brought Benjamin Helle along to investigate.  Upon a slight tap to the side of the drinking fountain located outside the bathroom, sparks flew across the room.  A second slight tap produced the same effect.  Ben contacted the Department of Enterprise Services, who were, in Dave's words, "doused with a shower of sparks," as they tried to cut the power!  The situation could have easily been disastrous, as pallets and empty boxes were stored within inches of the drinking fountain.  A slight shift in supplies, and "Bam--disaster, trouble, danger."  Ben sent an email to staff alerting them of the averted disaster, adding "All praise to Dave Sullens for single-handedly saving all of our souls with his nose." 

When not saving the Archives from certain doom, Dave enjoys listening to music and watching sports.  He'll read just about anything and tries to keep up with current events.  And one lesser-known fact about Dave?  He climbed Mt. Lassen in just his shorts and shirt!  We're assuming that also included some kind of footwear. 
Graphic Heritage of the Port of Tacoma Transferred to the Puget Sound Branch Archives

Contributed by Mike Saunders, Puget Sound Branch Regional Archivist

From June to October of this year, the Port of Tacoma Department of External Affairs  transferred 136 cubic feet of photography and other graphic records to the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives in Bellevue.  This collection documents the Port from its formation in 1919 through the early 2000s, including the development of the first generation of Port facilities, the Puyallup Indian Tribe land claim in the late 1980s, and the development of large scale container terminals and the Frederickson Industrial Area. Click here to find out when and how you can take a look at this amazing new addition to the collections.
Unveiling of a New Exhibit at the Legislative Building 

Contributed by Laura Mott, OSOS Director of Development 

Legacy Washington unveils a new public exhibit that captures the life and times of the state's seminal year. Washington 1889, Blazes, Rails and the Year of Statehood, is a privately funded exhibition that walks visitors through the great fires that reduced urban centers across the Pacific Northwest to ashes, the battle to be named Washington's new capital city and the controversial issues debated at the Constitutional Convention.  All the while, scores of pioneers entered the Territory on the Northern Pacific Railroad that connected the distant West to the rest of the country.  Read more on the Legacy Washington webpage.
Digital Archives Turns Ten!

Contributed by Larry Cebula, Assistant Digital Archivist/Professor, EWU

The first built-from-the-ground up digital archives in the world opened its doors ten years ago this month.


The Washington State Archives, Digital Archives grew out of a pressing need to preserve our digital heritage. By the 1990s, many local and state government agencies were producing "born digital" records, from Excel spreadsheets to emails, that needed to be preserved. At the same time, falling costs for digital storage the growing ubiquity of the internet made some begin to think that a genuine digital archive was possible. Then Secretary of State Sam Reed pushed the state to provide funding, telling anyone who would listen that "If Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address on a laptop we may not have it today."


The Digital Archives has grown quickly. What began with a modest collection of marriage licenses from a few counties has grown to a collection of nearly 150 million digital records. Visitors to the website will find everything from nineteenth-century naturalization certificates to the preserved website of former governor Gary Locke. The DA (as we call it within the agency) also has tens of thousands of historic photographs, audio recordings of oral histories and legislative hearings, property records, muster rolls for militia units from the territorial period, and hundreds of other types of records. Our website also includes unique features, including the ability to keyword search through audio files.


You can keep up with what is new at the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives by following our Twitter feed, or by reading through the "Treasures of the Digital Archives" articles on our website. Or click on the "collections" tab and explore on your own.  Make sure you have the time, though--we have a lot of records!

Photo from the Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division, Lantern Slide Shows, 1908-1939
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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