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Laura Laffrado & Ella Higginson

Posted on: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 11:03am

Topic(s): Event - Library Sponsored, Resources

The Beginnings of PNW Literature

Laura Laffrado, an award-winning Professor of English at Western Washington University, will discuss her recent research project focused on early-twentieth century author Ella Higginson on Tuesday, October 27th,  from 4:00pm-5:30pm in Special Collections at Western Libraries.


During this presentation, Laffrado will explain how her project to recover the fascinating writings of forgotten Pacific Northwest writer Ella Rhoads Higginson began in Western Libraries Heritage Resources’ collections and ultimately led to the publication of her recent book, Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature.


Noted writer and Washington state Poet Laureate Ella Higginson (1861-1940) moved to the town of Sehome (now Bellingham) in 1888, at which time her writing career began to flourish. Higginson was deeply concerned with community and civic affairs, including issues affecting women such as female education and the institution of marriage, and she helped establish Bellingham’s first public reading room and library.


Higginson’s poetry and short stories were published nationally by journals including McClures, Harper's Monthly, and Colliers, and her best known work, a poem entitled "Four Leaf Clover," was published by West Shore Magazine in 1890. Laffrado’s book shines a spotlight on this once widely-known and celebrated author, helping to restore Higginson as a significant voice in American Literature.  


This special talk is being offered as a “Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers” program. These quarterly events are free and open to the public, and  feature presenters who are authorities in their respective fields who have used Heritage Resources collections significantly in their research.


For more information about this event, please contact Western Libraries Special Collections Manager,

New Exhibition: Canada's Arctic

Posted on: Monday, September 21, 2015 - 3:42pm

Topic(s): Exhibits - Art or Displays

Canada's Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving

Canada’s Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving, a traveling exhibition of contemporary photographs of the Canadian Arctic, is now open at Western Libraries. This unique exhibition offers audiences a brief glimpse into the lives of Northerners, while showing a perspective of the environment and activities that help shape and influence this vibrant region.


Canada’s North is a region as vast as it is diverse. Modern conveniences exist alongside thriving traditional cultures in a region that faces both challenges and opportunities. Canada and its partners in the Arctic Council face the challenge of trying to ensure sustainable economic and environmental development throughout the circumpolar region with lasting benefits to the health and well-being of Northerners and Northern communities. 


The exhibition is open for public viewing Monday through Friday (excluding holiday closures) from 11:00am to 4:00pm in Western Libraries Special Collections (6th floor Wilson Library) from now through December 11th. A special selection of maps related to this region will also be on display in Western Libraries’ Map Collection (1st floor Wilson Library).


Exhibition sponsors are Western Libraries Heritage Resources, Western Washington University’s Center for Canadian-American Studies; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.


For more information about this exhibition, contact Western Libraries Special Collections Manager,; (360) 650-3193



TLA begins October 7th & 8th

Posted on: Monday, October 5, 2015 - 8:30am

Topic(s): Event - Library Sponsored, Resources, Updates

Fall Quarter 2015 TLA

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA), the campus-wide dialogue forum to study and enhance the learning environment at Western Washington University, begins Wednesday, October 7th.  TLA welcomes faculty, staff, students and community members and offers four dialogue group options to accommodate busy schedules: Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1:20pm or from 2pm to 3:20pm.

Dialogue groups begin meeting Oct. 7th or 8th and then meet every other week in the Learning Commons (Wilson Library 2 West) for a total of five times during the quarter. Fall quarter is when TLA designs its BIG question to study for the rest of the year, so it’s a great time to participate.

While the sessions last officially for 80 minutes, attendees are welcome to come for whatever time they have available. Many faculty and staff, stay for the first 50 minutes as there is a logical break then.

Participants report that the TLA is a great place to connect with others outside their departments and to learn more about Western’s teaching and learning culture. Many say it also gives them a chance to take a breath and just listen to what others (especially students) really think. Others report delight in being able to advance real action steps in making Western an even better place to teach and learn.

For more information, see For more information or to sign up for a regular dialogue group, email

Special Collection Donated to Western

Posted on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 4:00pm

Topic(s): Feature Story, Updates

New Collection Features Doris Burn Artwork & Manuscripts

Siblings Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn introduce Librarian Sylvia Tag to a portfolio of Doris Burn's drawings that now form part of the collection donated to Western Libraries.


Western Libraries has received a new collection of materials from noted children’s author and illustrator Doris Burn. A long-time resident of the San Juan Islands, Doris (Wernstedt ) Burn authored and illustrated the 1965 classic Andrew Henry’s Meadow, which won the Washington Governor’s Art Award. Burn also wrote The Summerfolk and The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon, and served as illustrator for a range of children’s works that are included in and documented through this donation.


Examples of some of the books and materials that are now part of the new collection.


The collection is a gift from the Burn family to Western Washington University via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC, and contains first-edition copies of children’s works written or illustrated by Burn, manuscripts and original artwork prepared for titles including Andrew Henry’s Meadow, and a number of unpublished and hitherto unseen manuscripts and drawings.


“This donation allows us to preserve the work and legacy of a noted children’s author and illustrator,” said Archivist Ruth Steele. “These materials are an important addition to the unique and rare collections held by Western Libraries.”


Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn share memories of their mother's work with librarian Sylvia Tag and Archivist Ruth Steele.


These materials help document the cultural and artistic history of the Pacific Northwest region and were created by an artist and writer who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests, and creativity of a younger audience. Burn’s work continues to speak to readers of all ages, and since her death in 2011, Andrew Henry’s Meadow has been reissued by Penguin’s Philomel Books. The title has also been published and is presently available in translation in Korea, China and Japan.


The collection of materials from the Burn family will be preserved and made available for research and use through Western Libraries Heritage Resources, in association with the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection, and is a valuable addition to the Libraries’ holdings. The Libraries promotes active use of these holdings by faculty, staff and students and also welcomes community members who may be interested in exploring these and other collections.

2016 James W. Scott Research Fellowships

Posted on: Monday, August 10, 2015 - 10:07am


2016 James W. Scott Research Fellowships

Western Washington University’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies welcomes applications for the James W. Scott Regional Research Fellowships, established to promote awareness and use of archival collections at Western and to forward scholarly understandings of the Pacific Northwest. The fellowships are awarded in honor of the late Dr. James W. (Jim) Scott, a founder and first Director of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, and a noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region. The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies is a program of Western Libraries Heritage Resources, located in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building.

About the Fellowships

Up to $1000 funding is available in 2016 to scholars who propose to undertake significant research using archival holdings at CPNWS. The number and size of awards granted annually will be determined by the application review committee. Applications are accepted from individuals in graduate programs (and/or who are new to the field of historical research and writing) as well as those individuals who have finished the Ph.D (and/or are published authors). 

Fellowship Requirements

  • Fellows will be expected to spend at least one week examining CPNWS holdings in support of their research, and to be in residence prior to October 31, 2016. Additional information about CPNWS collections is available at
  • Fellows will be asked to give a presentation about some aspect of their research during the course of their scheduled visit. The audience will vary depending on the time of the year, but may include Western students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the general public.
  • After completing their residency, Fellows will be asked to provide a brief (300-500 word) written statement describing their research and use of CPNWS holdings to support scholarly understandings of the Pacific Northwest. This statement may be quoted from and/or otherwise published by Western Washington University.

Application Information

To apply for Fellowship funds, please submit the following information by October 31, 2015:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research plan outlining on-site use of CPNWS holdings and proposed presentation topic
  • Two letters of recommendation

To apply via email, please send application materials to and enter “Scott Research Fellowship Application” in the subject line of the message. To apply by postal mail, please send materials to Ruth Steele, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Libraries Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, 516 High St. MS 9123, Bellingham, WA 98225-9123.

Applications will be reviewed in November and awards will be announced by December. Funds will be awarded after a Fellow(s) has conducted their research at CPNWS, and delivered their presentation and written statement. Fellowship awards may be subject to taxation in accordance with the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and applicants are advised that they may need a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (i.e. SSN or ITIN) to receive funds.


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