Special Collection Donated to Western

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

Topic(s): Feature Stories, 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by Burn, manuscripts and original artwork prepared for titles including Andrew Henry’s Meadow, and a number of unpublished and hitherto unseen manuscripts and drawings.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.

Heritage Resources contributes to "Grit" exhibit at Seattle's Wing Luke Museum

Posted on: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 11:42am

Topic(s): Exhibits

Western Libraries Heritage Resources is pleased to be a Project Contributor on a new exhibition from the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, WA. The exhibit, entitled Grit: Asian Pacific Pioneers Across the Northwest, “uncovers the true stories of the men and women who migrated to the region from the Asia Pacific,” and “reminds us of Asian Pacific Americans’ long history of fortitude and resilience as they established communities in the Pacific Northwest.” One of the featured stories is that of Lummi/Hawaiian fiddler Charley Kahana and the exhibit includes images of Kahana drawn from the Howard E. Buswell collection at Heritage Resources’ own Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.

Grit poster

Grit opened on December 12, 2013 and runs through October 19, 2014. The Wing Luke is a Smithsonian Affiliate in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution

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.


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