Archival Photos Document Lower Baker River Dam Construction

Posted on: Friday, August 10, 2012 - 4:03pm

Topic(s): Updates

The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies is delighted to make available a collection of almost 1500 images documenting the construction of the Lower Baker River Dam north of Concrete, Washington. See here for online images.

downstream face of Lower Baker RIver Dam 1925Downstream face of the Lower Baker River Dam, December 6, 1925. (#LBDC1576)

Completed in 1925, the dam is part of the Baker River Hydroelectric Project that formed Baker Lake and Lake Shannon and which is operated by Puget Sound Energy (The Upper Baker Dam lies nine miles upstream, and was constructed in 1959).

The original photographs, transferred to CPNWS in February 2012, are well-traveled. They were shot by the superintendent of the construction project, George P. Jessup, and document the day-to-day process of construction on the dam during 1924 and 1925. Jessup and his family later moved across the United States as he worked on other engineering projects, and the collection traveled with them. The images were eventually donated by Jessup's daughter, Nancy Underwood, to the Coffee County Historical Society in Manchester, Tennesee, whose staff took steps to research and transfer the collection back to its origins: The collection was delivered first to the editor of the Concrete Herald, and then to the custody of the Concrete Heritage Museum Association.

Museum Board members pursued a successful collaboration with Puget Sound Energy (present owners of the dam), who funded a project to catalog, preserve and create digital copies of the images. Reference copies are now available for visitors to the Concrete Heritage Museum. The original images and digital copies are now housed and accessible at WWU's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Emma Darmody, an intern and graduate student in WWU's Archives and Records Management Program, readied content for this digital collection hosted on the ContentDM platform.

Related holdings at CPNWS include records of the Puget Sound Power and Light Company (and over 50 subsidiary and predecessor companies that pre-dated Puget Sound Energy).

CPNWS is a program of Western Libraries' Heritage Resources, and is located in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building at WWU.

Guide to Aerial Photograph Collection Available

Posted on: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 9:55am

Topic(s): Resources, Updates

Among the wealth of historic photographs available through Western Libraries’ Heritage Resources is the collection of over 30,000 aerial images archived at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Ranging in date from 1935-2001, these images were generated through numerous aerial surveys around the region, including the northwest counties and National Forest lands of Washington State. Formerly housed at Huxley Map Library, these valuable resources were transferred to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS) in 2011.

Following extensive work by Eric Mastor to further organize and describe the collection, a detailed guide to available flight indices and accompanying sets of images can be accessed online. CPNWS staff welcome inquiries from the public about access and use of the collection, and recommend that interested researchers contact us for an advance appointment to view materials at the archives.  

Stereoscope used to view aerial flight images.

A stereoscope, as pictured above, provides a means to view overlapping, vertical images and obtain a magnified, 3D effect (useful for assessing the depth of terrain). Stereoscopes are available at CPNWS for use by researchers.

The majority of photographs in the collection result from aerial surveys conducted by US government agencies, including the USDA Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources. These include coverage of Whatcom County, the Mt. Baker National Forest and other National Forest and Parks lands in Washington. The collection also includes some coverage of other Washington counties and U.S. states. For example, a small group of images document survey work conducted for the Alaska-Canada Highway during the 1930s. The collection is a valuable resource for researchers interested in environmental history and change (including forestation, glaciation and waterways), and supports fields of inquiry relating to habit restoration, urban growth studies and property history. All are welcome to contact or visit CPNWS to find out more.

"Accessing Primary Sources through Western Libraries' Heritage Resources Programs" web tutorial now available online

Posted on: Monday, June 4, 2012 - 1:13pm

Topic(s): Resources, Updates

Do your studies at Western require you to conduct research? Does some of that research involve using primary sources? Did you know there are places right here at Western where you can find and work with original primary source documents?

Check out this online tutorial for locating and accessing unique, archival material on campus through Western Libraries’ Heritage Resources programs. You may also use these handy, subject-based research guides to find additional primary source material available at Western and beyond.

Heritage Resources programs include the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and the University Archives and Records Center, who work together to document the culture and history of Western, the local community and Pacific Northwest, and to promote public and scholarly access to holdings.

Celebrating Pride Month

Posted on: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 2:20pm

Topic(s): Resources

Did you know? June is Pride Month, designated in 2000 by President Bill Clinton to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York. 

Western Libraries and its Heritage Resources programs provide access to wide variety of resources relating to LGBTQ h(i/er)story, activism and experience here on Western’s campus and beyond. These include:

To find out more, visit this research guide at http://libguides.wwu.edu/lgbtq_research or contact Libraries’ staff for more assistance. A selection of LGBTQ-related materials from Western Libraries Heritage Resources collections will be on display throughout June next to the Libraries’ main Reference Desk in Haggard Hall.

         Poster for a Gala Ball hosted by Fairhaven College and the Gay People's Alliance, 1975. From the Robert Ashworth Collection, CPNWS.

 Left: Poster advertising a 1975 Gala Ball at Western's Viking Union, sponsored by Fairhaven College and the Gay People's Alliance [Robert Ashworth Collection on the Union of Sexual Minorities Center]; Below: Buttons from the Hands Off Washington (Whatcom County Coalition) Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Washington University. 


Images of buttons from the Hands Off Washington (Whatcom County Coalition) Records.

Back to the Future – Historic Films Capture Century 21 Exposition

Posted on: Monday, March 12, 2012 - 10:00am

Topic(s): Updates

2012 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Century 21 Exposition (Seattle World’s Fair) of 1962. Held on the site of the present-day Seattle Center, the Fair’s theme and exhibitions emphasized the role of science and technology in paving the way to an improved future way of life. Among the notable attractions were the newly-constructed Space Needle and the Alweg monorail.  

Although the Space Needle frequently dominates memories of the Fair, visitors were presented with many and varied spectacles, including exhibitions of science, commerce, industry and art. Among the less orthodox and more adult attractions was Gracie Hansen’s “Paradise International Club” featuring Las Vegas style revue shows.  In an August 1962 interview with KVOS-TV (see footage below), Hansen described her “pet theory that science will never replace sex or cotton candy,” and subsequent journey to the stage at the Century 21 Exposition.

Clips from this KVOS interview (archived at WWU’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies) will appear in a new KCTS 9 documentary about the history and impact of the Exposition, entitled “When Seattle Invented The Future” (air-date March 24). Footage from the same “Girls, Glitter and Gracie” interview is also featured in an online trailer for Don Horn/Triangle Production’s musical “Gracie,” opening in Portland, Oregon in the Spring.

For more information about World’s Fair related materials available through Western Libraries and its Heritage Resources programs, please contact us and/or visit this online research guide at: http://libguides.wwu.edu/worldsfairs. A selection of KVOS Channel 12 Films (including “Girls, Glitter and Gracie” and an earlier Jack Webster Report about the 1962 Exposition) can be accessed online as part of Western Libraries’ Digital Collections.


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