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Find Your Regional Branch!
Votes for Women 
in Washington
in the 1880s!

The Washington Territorial Legislature passed an Act on November 23, 1883 to amend the voting rights of its citizens.  Click here to see an example from the digital collections and to learn more!
We want to hear YOUR stories from the past 125 years!

Washington became a state on
November 11, 1889. 

Is your community planning events celebrating Washington's birthday?  If so, let us know!  Need suggestions for ways to commemorate the anniversary?  Find out what was done for the Centennial Celebration in 1989 here.

For more information, visit Washington 125
or contact
Shanna Stevenson here by email or at 360-586-0171.
Are You An Archives Detective? last edition's photo was too easy for folks living in Thurston County, for sure.  He was, in fact, Samuel Thurston.  So here's another photo from the Susan Parish Collection at the Washington State Archives.  Do you recognize that fantastic 'stache?   If so, send us an email!

Calling All Genealogists!
Genealogists know the importance of archival records, but did you know that you can schedule group workshops at the regional branches? Click here to read about a recent day of researching bliss held for the EWGS folks at the Eastern Regional Branch in Cheney.
Speaking of Genealogy...

Last edition we featured George and Kathleen Clarke.  For a year and a half, the Clarkes worked at the Archives imaging records for FamilySearch.  These images will eventually end up online at and at the Washington State Digital Archives.  They digitized over 1.2 million records - a truly amazing feat!

In March, they returned to their home in Idaho Falls, ID, to rejoin their family and friends.  On their last day, a luncheon was held in their honor.  Assistant Secretary of State Ken Raske presented them with a special certificate of appreciation, and State Archivists Steve Excell presented them with a coffee table book of historic Washington photos. (See photo)

The Archives staff has enjoyed working with George and Kathleen and are forever grateful to them for their many hours of volunteer work!
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March/April 2014
The Lost Art of Fruit Crate Labels
A Hammer & Rooney production

Archivists Mary Hammer and Molly Rooney bring you an exhibit about the lost art of Washington's fruit crate labels beginning in April at the State Archives in Olympia! Before mass production of cardboard boxes, fruit growers, packers, and shippers would attach their own labels to wooden crates for shipping.  These label's colorful artwork illustrate the character and identity of Washington's fruit companies.  This display showcases a variety of styles and artists, covering the mid 1920s through the end of the 1950s.
Archive's collection of original and authentic lithographed labels were donated by Thomas P. Jacobsen. Jacobsen collected fruit labels for over 30 years, had a business in label art, and wrote several historical books and collector's guides about labels.
For more information and examples of these beautiful and historic works of art, click here.
Archives Space Crunch Gets Temporary Relief

The main State Archives building in Olympia has been full since 2005.  The State Records Center facility in Tumwater is expected to become full sometime later this year.  The space crunch was on the verge of becoming very serious.

Fortunately, on March 13th, when the Legislature adjourned, the "go home" Supplemental Operating Budget funded the leasing of temporary storage space for the State Archives.  Whew, temporary relief arrived in the nick of time!

Both the House and the Senate proposed funding a "pre-design study" to determine the future space needs of the State Archives, State Library and the State Records Center--kicking off the planning process for a new building.  In the final days of the legislative session, the decision was made not to pass any Supplemental Capital Budget.  "No Capital Budget" meant no approval nor funding for a pre-design study.  Secretary of State Kim Wyman and State Archivist Steve Excell remain committed to preserving our State's history for future generations, and planning for a new building that meets that goal.  The issue will be before the Legislature again in the 2015 Session.

News from the Center of our State

Contributed by Brigid Clift, Regional Archivist--Central Branch

You are looking at a photograph of President Kenedy at the groundbreaking of the last Hanford nuclear reactor built which was called "N Reactor," in 1963.  This reactor produced plutonium and electricity until 1987.  This photograph is part of a collection that now resides at the Central Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives.  Check out more of the story here.
If you haven't explored the wide variety of documents and photographs our branches have to offer, you should!  Washington is a big state, and we do our best to keep information close to where it was created.
Butch Cassidy in Washington State?  
An Archives, of course, is a great place to find answers to outstanding questions.  Still, not all questions can be answered.  For instance, did Robert LeRoy Parker, aka Butch Cassidy, die in Bolivia during a 1908 shootout, in Vernal in the 1920s, Oregon in the 1930s, or Spokane, Washington in 1937?

This story as well as eight others are detailed in Amazing Stories: Legends, Liars, and Lawbreakers: Incredible Tales from the Pacific Northwest, by Valerie Green.  Published in 2004, this book takes a look into the lives of individuals that pushed the limits of acceptable society.  Read about one such man, Henry Ferguson (pictured here), aka Jack the Flying Dutchman, here and learn about how this "Water Pirate" avoided capture in Washington State. 

Find out how his, and many others' stories can be pieced together through documents found in the Washington State Archives in this first edition of articles highlighting books written from primary source research conducted in Washington State.  Read more here.
State Archivist finds a treasure for the Eastern Regional Branch, closing historical gap in Spokane history 
Contributed by Lee Pierce, Regional Archivist--Eastern Branch

In 1910, the population of the City of Spokane was 104,402.  There were 49 townships in the county, including 25 unincorporated towns in addition to the 10 that had incorporated.  In that year, Auditor's Recording Fees brought in a total of $55,158.25.  

This information comes courtesy of an Annual Report of the Spokane County Auditor's Office, but until very recently this information was unavailable to researchers.  

Read here how the watchful eye of State Archivist Steve Excell led to the discovery of this resource that will undoubtedly be used by researchers for years to come!
Botched Hanging - Cowlitz County, 1900-1901
From the on-going "Adventures in Research" Series
by Tracy Rebstock

Follow Tracy through another exciting discovery from the holdings of the Southwest Regional Archives.  This time she finds murder, a phantom state prison, an execution gone very wrong, and a case of "small world amazement," as she attempts to unravel another mystery for a researcher.  Click here to learn more about the case of Martin Stickle from Cowlitz County.
Talcott Family Donates Tools Used to Create State Seal to be displayed permanently in the Office of the Secretary of State

by Steve Excell, State Archivist

A short time before Washington became a state in 1889, a committee asked Olympia jeweler Charles Talcott if his jewelry store could engrave a State Seal in time for the meeting of the first Legislature in November of that year. George Talcott cut the die with an image or George Washington and Grant Talcott did the lettering.

Almost 125 years later, the Talcott Family has generously donated the tools used to create the first State Seal to the Office of the Secretary of State. The tools will be on permanent display in the front lobby.  At the exhibit unveiling, Richard Talcott explained the history behind the design of the State Seal, and Secretary Kim Wyman thanked the Talcott Family for preserving such an important part of Washington's history and for making such a generous gift.

View more history here.
News from the OSOS Blog
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.

We hope you've enjoyed this edition of
"Out of the Archives!"

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