Washington Archives and Libraries

Archives and Libraries provide large amounts of information for your research. The links below will provide you with some information and prepare you for a visit to a library.

Washington State Archives

Washington State Library

Washington Public Libraries

  • Dayton Memorial Library
    • Washington Rural Heritage
      Columbia County Heritage is a project of Washington Rural Heritage, a collection of historically significant materials residing in libraries, heritage institutions, and private collections throughout Washington State. The collection includes photographs, documents, and artifacts that tell the stories of Washington’s small and rural communities.
      • Columbia County Cemeteries Collection
        The Columbia County Cemeteries Collection contains a wealth of information that can be used by genealogists, families, and citizens of our community who are looking for information on their family ancestry. The collection contains cemetery information including headstone photographs and descriptions from the Starbuck Cemetery, Lot A from the Dayton cemetery, and eight county cemeteries including Bundy Hollow, Covello, Highland, Huntsville, Marengo, Pioneer Memorial, Smith Hollow, and Turner Cemeteries.
      • Early Columbia County School Photographs Collection
        This collection contains original photographs of early schoolhouses established by Columbia County pioneers. At one time, there were as many as 61 school districts with 54 of them having school buildings. Original photographs were provided by the Blue Mountain Heritage Society. The primary source of information about each of the schools was provided through the book “Early Columbia Schools” compiled by Charlotte Hutchens, or from the revised version, “History of Early Columbia County Schools” by Rachel Laberge and Patricia Schlacter. Please visit the Blue Mountain Heritage Society to view original photographs.
  • Seattle Public Library
    Dating from 1926, it is the largest and primary genealogy resource in Washington State. At the Central Library, you can search from among more than 45,000 items tracing the history of North American families and dating back to Colonial times. Read historical and census records, immigration lists, military records, genealogy guidebooks on various topics, and more. Genealogy librarians can help with your research.
  • Spokane Public Library
    • Ned M. Barnes Northwest Room
      Unique collections focusing on the history of the Inland Pacific Northwest
      • Biographical File
        For over 100 years, librarians at SPL clipped the newspapers for biographical information. These clippings include obituaries on pioneers, but they also contain all kinds of biographical information from papers in Spokane and around the Northwest.
      • Digitized Photo Archives
        These collections, available online, emphasize the most frequently requested subjects in the Northwest Room – the homes, buildings, streets and activities in and around Spokane.
      • Fuller Collection
        The Fuller Collection consists of rare materials relating to the history of writing and printing.
      • High School Yearbooks
        Several hundred Spokane high school yearbooks are now available online. You can view these yearbooks in your web browser without downloading any files or additional software.
      • House History
        Getting to know the history of your house can be a fun and fascinating process.
      • Northwest Map Collection
        Maps offer a whole different dimension to studying and understanding the history of the Pacific Northwest.
      • Northwest Room Photo Archive
        Spokane Public Library’s small, but impressive, photograph collection contains several hundred prints offering glimpses of life in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Tacoma Public Library
    • Image Archives
      A collection of over 50,000 digitized historical images (1870s-1980s) of Tacoma and surrounding areas, scanned from the Tacoma Public Library’s photography collections. Detailed captions accompany photos that vividly depict people, events, places, and snapshots of everyday life.
    • Local History & Biography Index
      Search by name or keyword to find references to articles, book chapters, and other resources containing information on the people and events that have shaped our local history. All sources referenced in the index are available in the Northwest Room at Main Branch.
    • Murray’s People
      A collection of essays about the fascinating people who explored, settled and developed Tacoma and the Puget Sound region. The stories were selected by librarian Gary Fuller Reese from more than 30 years of newspaper & magazine articles, books, radio broadcasts and other writings by the distinguished historian, author and educator Murray Morgan.
    • Northwest Postcard Collection
      A digital collection of postcards depicting scenes and slices of life from Tacoma and the Northwest. All original content has been transcribed, and both sides of the cards digitized. Browse by topic or search by keyword.
    • Tacoma-Pierce County Buildings Index
      Indexes home construction news in Tacoma newspapers from 1883 through 1950. Lists architects, contractor and building style, if known. Indicates whether architectural plans are known to exist. Includes many photographs and indexes over 200 books related to Tacoma architecture or history. Nearly 50,000 addresses included.
    • Tacoma-Pierce County Obituary Index
      An index of obituaries published in the Tacoma News Tribune / Morning News Tribune. (Microfilm of the original obituaries available at the downtown Main Library.) Complete coverage from 1980 to the present, partial coverage pre-1980.
    • Unsettling Events
      Earthquakes, riots, robberies, and murders – these are just a few of the terrifying events that have created panic in the streets of communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Pulled from the pages of materials held in the Northwest Room’s collections, these true-life tales chillingly capture the dark side of our state’s history.
    • Washington Place Names
      Learn the who, what, when and why about thousands of place names throughout Washington.
  • Pacific Lutheran University

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