Showing 71 results

Authority record

Alpha Study Club

  • 3.7.1
  • Organization
  • 1905-1980

The Alpha Study Club was organized in 1905 and federated in 1914. The group was originally created only for women of Tacoma's south side, and admitted no more than 20 members at any time. The focus of the group was primarily on the cultivation of its members, although there were minor philanthropic efforts following WWII. The last published record of an active meeting was on May 4, 1980. Club colors were pink and green, the club flower was the carnation and their motto was "in great things unity, in small things liberty, in all things charity."

Ancient Order of Vikings, Ship Tacoma No. 1

  • 3.3.3
  • Organization
  • 1892-1955

The Gamle Vikingers Forbund, or Ancient Order of Vikings, Ship No. 1 was created in 1892 as an extension of The Haabet (Hope) Literary Society, which had been active in the Tacoma community since 1890, providing an “English school for newcomers.” The organization, whose motto was “Brotherhood, Protection and Charity” included the founding members: Chas. Evans, Engvald Haug, Chas. Woog, Severin Haug, Ole Moen, Dirk Blaauw, G.O. Sande, C. Knutson, N.L. Ormsrud, Haakon Bader and Tom Knudson.

The society first appeared in newspapers in 1895, holding their annual celebration of Norway’s May 17th Constitution Day, which would frequently be attended by Tacoma political figures, including Mayor George P. Wright and accompaniment from the Walhalla Military Band. The organization also held annual Christmas celebrations which featured both Christian and Norse ceremonies, including a “representation of the ancient offering of sacrifice to Odin and Thor.”

In 1905, the society reserved a special train for members to visit Portland’s Lewis and Clark exposition together. In 1908, the 220 member organization purchased three acres in the north side of Fox Island at the entrance of Hales Passage for a lodge and picnic grounds for $50,000. The Ancient Order of Vikings eventually sold this property in order to invest in the Normanna Hall building at 1502 Martin Luther Way.

In 1941, the society donated their “Viking Library” to the Pacific Lutheran University, which included items which dated back to the Haabet Literary Society. Although the organization seems to have waned and revived on multiple occasions, a typed note within Log Book Six written by historian Hjalmer Jensen describes the final meeting of the order taking place on February 2nd, 1955.

Anderson Family

  • 6.2.3
  • Family

Anderson, Ada Woodruff

Ada Woodruff Anderson was a Pacific Northwest writer and early resident. Born in San Francisco on July 4, 1860, her family moved to Shanghai, China, when she was three months old. She arrived in Tumwater, Washington, in 1865 after her father died. There her family lived with her mother’s brother, Nathaniel Crosby, grandfather of Bing Crosby. She attended high school in San Francisco, California, and returned to Washington around 1875. In 1879 she began teaching at a one-room pioneer school in Thurston County near Yelm. She married Oliver Phelps Anderson in 1882 and they had three children; Alice Woodruff (1882-1972), also a writer of short stories, Maurice Phelps (1888-1970), and Dorothy Louise (1893-1912).

While still in high school, she entered a story writing contest sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle at the urging of a friend and won second prize. In 1899, her husband began to produce photographic essays for magazine publication and asked Ada to write the accompanying copy. She began to produce short stories which were published in a variety of magazines, and she considered her best work during this period to be “The Man Who Knew Bonner” (Harper’s September 1902).

She drew upon her early teaching experience in her first novel, The Heart of the Red Firs (1908). Her second novel, The Strain of White (1909), is set in Washington Territory in the 1850s during the time of the treaty councils. The Rim of the Desert (1915) interwove settings in Alaska, Seattle, and Wenatchee, including the historical 1910 Wellington disaster, when an avalanche swept away two trains in the Cascade mountains.

She apparently ceased writing for publication afterward, lived on Bainbridge Island, and assisted with the family business, the Anderson Supply Company. She died March 23, 1956 in Port Blakely, Kitsap County.


Anderson, Oliver Phelps

Oliver Phelps Anderson was an early Seattle, Washington mapmaker, surveyor, photographer, and owner of a photographic supply business. Born in Lexington, Illinois in 1859, his family had moved to Oregon by 1869, where his father, Alexander Jay Anderson was Dean of the Academy at Pacific University in Forest Grove. He had an eclectic early education, studying bookkeeping, chemistry, and the pharmaceutical business, in Portland, Oregon. From 1878-1880, he attended the University of Washington, where by this time his father had been appointed President (1877-1882). He established a mapmaking business in Seattle and was an early adopter of the cyanotype photographic process to quickly produce maps and blueprints. He founded the Anderson Supply Company in his mapmaking offices in 1898 and it moved to 111 Cherry St in Seattle by 1899.

He married Ada Woodruff on January 4, 1881. He produced photographic essays for publication, one on Kwakiutl basketmakers of Vancouver Island, and at least two on scenic views of the Cascade mountains, and asked her to write accompanying descriptions. He died April 15, 1941 on Bainbridge Island


Anderson, Maurice Phelps

Maurice Phelps Anderson was the second child and the only son born to Ada and Oliver Anderson on June 9, 1888. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1910 with a degree in naval architecture. He kept a diary of his experiences in the US Army in WWI, where he served in optical supply procurement for the Ordinance Department. He wrote short stories and novels, possibly never published

He and a partner, Fred Norton Hallett, were granted a patent in 1926 for a lens system. He worked at the Anderson Supply Company, becoming president around 1913 and continuing in this role until the company closed in the late 1950s.


Anderson Supply Company

Anderson Supply Company was a photographic supply business in downtown Seattle. It was founded in 1899 by Oliver Phelps Anderson in his map-making offices and moved to 111 Cherry St in 1900. Along with photographic supplies and lenses, it sold scenic photographs of the Northwest. Both Ada Woodruff Anderson and their son Maurice Phelps Anderson were employed there in various capacities. Maurice took over as president in 1913 and remained throughout the existence of the business, which ended in the late 1950s.


McGrew, J. E.

J. E. McGrew is thought to be James E. McGrew, a Seattle attorney. He was born in Iowa in 1858 and had arrived in Seattle by 1892. His connection to the Anderson family is unknown.

Arthur J. Miller

  • 3.2.3
  • Person

Arthur J. Miller was a lifelong labor and civil rights advocate, born in San Diego but primarily active in the Puget Sound region after 1989. In 1967, he became involved in the anti-war movement and was allied with the Black Panther Party in the late ’60s. He made a career as a pipefitter in shipyards across the United States, joining the Industrial Workers of the World in 1970 at the suggestion of an I.W.W. member. His contributions in distributing radical leftist literature for the Panthers, and later his own publication Bayou La Rose, made him the target of disruption efforts of local and federal authorities. Arthur Miller passed in 2021.

ASARCO

  • 2.4.1
  • Business
  • 1888-1993

In 1888, Dennis Ryan built a smelter on the Tacoma Waterfront of what would become the town of Ruston. Under the leadership of William Rust, the smelter, called the Tacoma Smelting & Refining Company, processed lead. Ran successfully by Rust until 1905, the smelter changed ownership and names when it was sold it to the Guggenheim brother’s company ASARCO (American Smelting and Refining Company) for $5.5 million dollars. In 1912, ASARCO transformed the plant from lead to primarily copper smelting and refining. ASARCO received a lease from the Port of Tacoma in the 1920’s to expand the plant, which contained multiple processing buildings and the smokestack.

The smokestack, an integral fixture in Ruston’s landscape, transformed over the years. In 1905, it measured at 307 feet tall, and following complaints, was raised to 571 feet in 1917 to disperse smoke higher in the air in order to mitigate its impact to the surrounding area. Ruston’s smokestack was the tallest chimney in the world at the time. However, in 1937, following damage from an earthquake, the stack measured 562 feet tall.

ASARCO owned and operated the smelter until 1985, when it shut down the Tacoma smelter due to the falling price of copper. The smelter played an important role in the economy of Ruston and the South Sound area. Tacoma News Tribune reports that, “the Asarco plant had employed more than 1,300 workers at its peak” [1]. and the Tacoma Daily Index reports that “for most of its years in operation, it provided about 40% of Ruston’s tax revenues” [2]. Additionally, the operation of the smelter created unique environmental impacts in the surrounding areas. Throughout the years of operation, the smelter emitted arsenic both into the air and the soil, and the refining process included pouring molten slag into commencement bay. This resulted in the smelter being designated as a federal superfund site in 1987 [3]. The Washington Department of Ecology explains, “In the mid-1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required Asarco to start cleanup work in the Ruston/North Tacoma Study Area under the Superfund program” [4]. The process of this clean-up included demolishing the old smelter buildings, alongside replacing and capping the soil in and around the smelter site.

In January of 1993, in front of a crowd of nearly 100,000 onlookers, the smokestack was demolished with dynamite. The Tacoma News Tribune reported that, “The 75-year-old chimney was dropped in its tracks Sunday by strategically placed explosive charges that knocked away its underpinnings. Crushed by its own weight, the stack crumbled into a 250-foot-long pile of bricks, interspersed with metal bands and a few chunks of masonry up to 15 feet across” [5]. The demolition of the smokestack changed Ruston’s landscape as ASARCO continued the government-mandated clean-up process that would continue on for years. The Tacoma News tribune reports that, “In 2004, workers demolished the last building and finished burying the worst of the contaminated materials in a huge pit” [6]. Additionally, throughout this time, the neighborhoods and public parks in proximity to the smelter were being offered both soil testing and replacement. The Tacoma News Tribune reports that, “from 1993 to 2011, Asarco and the EPA lab-tested 3,570 properties’ soils for pollution, and 2,436 of them had at least a section of soil replaced” [7].

In addition to cleaning up yards, construction began in 2006 on the emerging commercial and residential hub of Point Ruston. Cleanup continued of the surrounding area, and Washington State received a settlement of $188.5 million from ASARCO’s bankruptcy claim in 2009, with $95 million initially set aside for the continued clean-up of the smelter [8]. In 2013, $5 million of these funds were put towards the Metro Trails Project, allowing for the contaminated soil to finish being capped, and the opening of the Dune Peninsula of Point Defiance Public Park opening in July 2019. Today, Point Ruston consists of restaurants, shops, residential facilities, and a walking path alongside Commencement Bay.

Astoria Iron Works

  • 2.6.1
  • Business
  • 1880-1930

Astoria Iron Works was a canning machinery company started in 1881 in Astoria, Oregon by John Fox. In 1906, he was joined in the venture by Nelson Troyer, formerly associated with the American Can Company at Astoria and Portland, Oregon. In 1913 the company opened a large factory in Seattle and became the Seattle-Astoria Iron Works. In 1928 the name changed to the Troyer-Fox Manufacturing Company and the company was bought by the Continental Can Company, Inc. In 1932, Troyer-Fox Manufacturing Company and the Continental Can Company, Inc. of Washington were both dissolved and their assets taken over by the Continental Can Company, Inc. of New York.

Aubrey F. Andrews

  • Person

Aubrey F. Andrews (1906-1950) was a World War II veteran, librarian, and director of the Tacoma Public Library from 1946 to 1950. A native of Escanaba, Michigan, Andrews received a Bachelor of Arts in Library Science from the University of Washington in 1935 (1). He interned at the Joint Reference Library in Chicago, and after graduation held various library positions around the United States. He worked in the order department of the Oregon State College Library, was a Reference Assistant at the Technical Library in Knoxville, and a Community Librarian in Norris, Tennessee. He was later appointed as Chief of the Chattanooga, Tennessee Branch Technical Library, and in 1941 became Administrative Assistant at the Buffalo, NY Public Library. During World War II Mr. Andrews served in the Navy aboard the USS Hickox in the Pacific and kept a diary recording his experiences. He was discharged from the Navy at the conclusion of the war and appointed director of the Tacoma Public Library in 1946. One of his immediate major responsibilities was advocating for and planning a new main library building. In 1949 Aubrey Andrews was elected to a two-year term as president of the Washington Library Association. Andrews was also a member of the Tacoma Rotary Club, the Washington State Historical Society and the Tacoma Lodge No. 174 of the Elks. Aubrey Andrews died in Tacoma on November 8, 1950.

Bertha Snell

  • 2.5.1
  • Person
  • 1873-1957

Bertha Marguerite Denton Snell was a lawyer in Tacoma in the early 20th century. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, she was the first woman to be admitted to the bar in the state of Washington. Born in Ottawa, Illinois in 1873, she was soon sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Galway, Saratoga County, New York. Her uncle, the Honorable Patrick H. Meehan, ran a law office and post office in Galway. Bertha graduated from the Teachers’ Institute at Saratoga in 1888. In 1889, she moved to Washington where she worked as secretary to the governor of the newly established State of Washington, Elisha P. Ferry. She also served as a legislative intern. In 1893, she married Tacoma attorney Marshall King Snell. In 1899, Bertha Snell passed the bar and became the first woman lawyer in Washington State. She became a partner in her husband’s firm and together they built a successful practice. They first operated out of the Equitable Building and then relocated to the Puget Sound National Bank Building. Among their cases were suits dealing with land in Pierce and Whitman counties, and a controversial irrigation and water rights suit in Idaho (Nelson Bennett & Co. vs. Twin Falls Land & Water Co., 1906). Marshall and Bertha Snell helped develop the town of Ewan, Whitman County, Washington, where they owned property. They also owned property in Spokane, North Puyallup, and elsewhere in Pierce County. The Snells had a personal interest in history and supported the establishment of the Washington State Historical Society. The Snell Law Office drew up the Constitution and by-laws for this organization in 1898, and Marshall Snell served as an early trustee. Marshall K. Snell died in Tacoma on April 19, 1939. Bertha Snell continued to practice law until 1953. She died on October 20, 1957.

Bill Baarsma

  • 1.2.3
  • Person
  • 1943-

Bill Baarsma was born in Tacoma in 1943. He attended Stadium High School and the University of Puget Sound (Class of 1964) where he studied political science. He obtained a master's degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where he served as a clerk for Senator Henry M. Jackson and as a White House Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. From 1968 to 2001, Baarsma taught political science, business management, and public administration at the University of Puget Sound. In 1991, he was elected to City Council and, in 2001, he became the 38th Mayor of the City of Tacoma. During his two terms as Mayor, Baarsma was involved in the development of the Click Network, the largest municipally owned telecommunications system in North America.

Byrd Family

  • 6.2.2
  • Family

Adam Byrd was born in Ohio in 1796. He and his wife had nine children. They relocated to Illinois first and then moved again to Richland County, Wisconsin where Adam operated a grist mill. In April 1852, the family acquired a team of oxen and embarked on a six month journey on the Oregon Trail. The family arrived in Vancouver, Oregon Territory. Adam continued on with Lieutenant A. Slaughter further north and selected a site at the head of Chamber Creek for a mill. Adam returned to move his family to the site in February of 1853. They stopped at Judge Thomas Chambers' mill on the way where Adam Byrd died on April 26, 1853. Adam's sons Andrew, Marion, and Preston constructed a grist mill and saw mill on the site their father had selected. George Byrd, the youngest son of Adam Byrd, attended the first school session held in Pierce County in 1854. In 1865 George married Mary Ellen White of Olympia who had crossed the Oregon Trail in 1851. George operated the mill until 1868. He later devoted the surrounding land to raising hops. In 1885, he represented Pierce County in the state legislature and served as Justice of the Peace in 1890. George and Mary Ellen had nine children. George was active in the Fern Hill area. He donated the land and financed the construction of the Methodist Episcopal Church and parsonage in Fern Hill and help establish school district number 23. He donated several lots and gave other incentives to encourage the street car to run through Fern Hill. He died June 17, 1915.

Cavanaugh Family

  • 6.2.5
  • Family

Cecil C. Cavanaugh (1902 - 1980) was a life-long resident of Tacoma. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1920. He served as President of Tacoma’s Young Men’s Business Association, the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce and the Tacoma Broadcasting Company, which worked to bring the radio station KTBI to the city. He was on the Board of Directors of the Lumberman’s Club and of the Camp Six Logging Museum at Point Defiance. He had an interest in promoting traffic safety and was active in St Patrick’s Catholic Church. Cavanaugh was an amateur historian of lumber operations in Tacoma. As part of this hobby, he built a collection of 600 historic photographs depicting logging, lumber milling and lumber shipping operations in Tacoma and Pierce County which he donated to the Washington State Historical Society.

Cavanaugh was founder and President of the Cavanaugh Lumber Company, which operated in Tacoma from 1930 to 1982. In its first 10 years his lumber company was destroyed by fire twice and severely damaged by Puyallup River flooding. Each time, Cavanaugh rebuilt. Tacoma’s growth and development necessitated two relocations of his business.

Cavanaugh’s relatives were active in the 10th (Steilacoom) Chapter of the Daughters of the Pioneers. Cavanaugh and his wife Mary Geiger Cavanaugh had two daughters, Cathleen Jarman and Mary Frances and two sons James and Lawrence.

C.E. and Hattie King

  • 2.1.4
  • Business

C.E. (Charles) and Hattie King were photographers in Tacoma in the latter part of the 19th century. Charles King was hired by Northern Pacific in the 1870s to photograph land where the tracks were to be laid between Livingston, Montana and Tacoma. In the 1880s, Charles and Hattie were hired to photograph local churches, residences, and ships. Charles was known for being one of the earliest photographers to capture an image of Mount Rainier. Charles King would go on to serve as a Tacoma Police Captain.

Charles Carson

  • CAC1002
  • Person
  • 1970-

Charles Carson, MA, was born on October 25, 1970 in the Eastside of Tacoma. He and his siblings were raised by a single mother in an environment of alcoholism and violence. At age 12, Carson was arrested for theft and sent to Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center. Before the age of 17, he was detained at the detention center a total of 18 times. As his mother’s alcoholism worsened, Charles would frequently be kicked out of his home and spend the night in abandoned buildings. He began selling crack/rock cocaine and became addicted. During his teen years, he was a frequent witness to deaths, gun violence, and overdoses. In February of 1988, Charles was beaten and shot during a drug-related incident. After being released from the hospital, he moved in with his best friend's family. His friend's mother, Ramona Bennett, a Puyallup tribal leader, activist, and mentor, became a surrogate mother to Charles, encouraging him to quit drugs and return to school. With her support, he enrolled in an alternative high school and completed four years of coursework in just 18 months. Over the next year, Charles was awarded the Boys and Girls Club’s Youth of the Year Award and selected to attend the Washington Leadership Institute. In 1989, he was recruited by the Safe Streets Campaign to support at risk youth impacted by drugs and violence in Tacoma. On March 15, 1991, he founded the Late Nite program in collaboration with the Tacoma Center YMCA. The program has since expanded across Pierce County and has been implemented in other cities across the United States. He has received dozens of national awards and recognitions for public service, including being honored by Vice President Al Gore for his work with Late Nite. Charles went on to earn an Associate’s Degree from Tacoma Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree from Evergreen State College, and a Master’s degree from the University of Washington. He has spoken extensively at colleges, detention centers, and churches. He now works as a musician and author and operates Beautiful Birds Family Services, a foster/adoption agency that helps find homes for children.

Children's Industrial Home

  • 4.3.2
  • Organization
  • 1900-2013 (?)

The Children’s Industrial Home was founded by a group of Tacoma women in 1890. First organized as the Women’s Lend a Hand League, then renamed the Woman’s League in 1892, it was incorporated as the Children’s Industrial Home in 1908. According to records in this collection, the organization’s stated purpose was to “find orphan, destitute and ill-treated children, receive them into legal custody and care for them until they are placed into approved and suitable homes or legally adopted; and further, for the protection of children who have lost one or both parents.” In 1904, the organization acquired six acres of property, including an orchard and a three-story house suitable for 30 children. Soon a nursery building was added to care for children under three years old. Eventually, as many as 72 children at a time lived in the large home. Due to its size and location at the top of a hill, the building quickly became known in Tacoma as the Home on the Hill. From its beginnings, the Children’s Industrial Home was supported almost entirely by private citizens in Tacoma. When possible, parents of children in the Home provided funds to assist with their care. The Home on the Hill housed children between the ages of birth and 14 years old. In 1926, Mrs. Jessie Dyslin donated land and funds to establish the Jessie Dyslin Boys’ Ranch as a home for boys who were over age for the Home on the Hill. Around the same time, the Children's Industrial Home opened a Girl’s Club as a residence for girls of high school age who needed a home while finishing school. In 1944, a furnace explosion extensively damaged the Home on the Hill and the building was demolished. The nursery building was used as a temporary home until a new home was completed in 1950. In the mid-1990s, the Children’s Industrial Home was renamed Gateways for Youth and Families.

Christopher Petrich

  • 2.1.5
  • Person

Christopher Petrich was born in Tacoma. He attended Bellarmine High School, Georgetown University, and the American University in Washington DC where he studied art, design, and art history. He also studied under fine art photographer Alan Ross. Petrich began his career at age sixteen as a Photographer and Lab Technician in the portrait studio of Bert Perler. In the early 1970s, he sold cameras at Barney Elliot's Camera Shop in downtown Tacoma. He was hired as a Photographer by the City of Tacoma where he worked with William Trueblood and Jerry Timmons to photograph city events. He worked on a number of aerial photography assignments in this role and performed darkroom lab processing for the City. He photographed notable Tacoma visitors including Leroy Ostransky, Jacques Cousteau, Bill Cosby, and Richard Nixon and he created visual documentation of the Hawthorne District which was removed during the construction of the Tacoma Dome. In 1985, Petrich and Jerry Timmons founded Image Market Studio on 6th Avenue. Over the course of his career, he was employed by the Weyerhaeuser Company, the Washington State Legislature, and Yuen Lui Studios. His work has been exhibited widely across Washington and shown in Colorado, California, and Vermont.

Cow Butter Store

  • 2.3.5
  • Business
  • 1892-1944

The Cow Butter Store operated in downtown Tacoma at or near the corner of Pacific Avenue and Jefferson Avenue for 52 years, from 1892 to 1944. The owner and proprietor, James A. Sproule (1865-1949), an immigrant from Ireland, arrived in Tacoma after having apprenticed in the grocery business in Liverpool, England. He was en route to Australia where his sister lived when he discerned the advantages of starting a business in Tacoma. In 1914 he leased his store for two years and traveled to New South Wales, visited his sister, and promoted Tacoma as a place name there.

Mr. Sproule was active in civic affairs and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1910. He belonged to many fraternal organizations, including Woodmen of the World and the Improved Order of Red Men. When the question of the 1885 Chinese expulsion from Tacoma was revisited in 1895, he served as one of three replacements in the Committee of Fifteen. He was president of the Mount Tacoma Club, which lobbied for changing the name of Mount Rainier, and summited the mountain in 1903. He served as vice president of the Washington chapter of the American Medical Liberty League, and maintained a stance against mandatory vaccination.

He was married in 1893 to Eliza Eccles (circa 1868-1928), and had two children. A daughter Eliza, known as Ella or Babsie (1895-1999), married F. Bernard Wright. He established Wright Western Marine, a marine supply business now known as Tacoma Propeller. His son Jasper Edward, known as Ed (1899-1960) operated Ed Sproule’s Butter Store from 1925-1936 at 1110-1114 Pacific Avenue.

Day's Tailor-D Clothing, Inc.

  • 2.9.1
  • Business
  • 1902-1973

Frank E. Day (1874-1947) arrived in Tacoma from Fayette, Iowa in 1900. In 1903, he and Frank L. Shull filed articles of incorporation to form Shull-Day and Company. The company quickly became known for its "Big 5" work overalls. In 1906, the employees unionized with the United Garment Workers of America forming Local 201. The slogan "Western Made, Union Made" began being used to advertised the company's products. The company was operated out of 100-108 South 29th Street and employed 100 people by 1908. By 1928, the company had changed its named to Day's Tailor-D Clothing, Inc. Frank's sons, Hollis and Judd, took over the company following the death of their father in 1947. The company grew rapidly and began offering casual and dress slacks and sportswear. They became well known for the "College Cords" and "San Juan Slacks." By the 1950s, Day's reported 400 employees and a payroll of a million dollars. They were one of the largest employers of women in the region. They began an affiliate company in Canada called CanaDay's and operated manufacturing plants, distribution centers, and retail stores across the United States. In 1973, the company merged with Warnaco Inc.

Eldred Welch

  • Person
  • 1872-1947

Eldred Newell Welch was born on July 24, 1872 in Cordon, Iowa to Rev. William M. and Mary Ann Welch. Although he did not spend much time in Pierce County, he often corresponded with his parents and other family members who lived in the Tacoma area until the 1940s. These letters contain information about everyday news and life in Tacoma, and regularly touch on subjects such as the weather, farm work, local church activities, politics, and various local area events. Eldred Welch lived for many years in Portland, Oregon, and died on January 13, 1947 in Orlando County, Florida.

Elizabeth Sale

  • 3.5.6
  • Person
  • 1886-1981

Elizabeth Sale (1886-1981) was a poet, novelist, and literary editor who spent her formative years in Tacoma, Washington. She was born Bettie Sale Clemmons June 26,1886, in Monroe County, Indiana. When she was three years old, her extended family moved to Tacoma, Washington, where her father and uncle worked as letter carriers. She married James Murdoch Stewart (1885-1956) in 1908 and they adopted a son, Harry Edward Skarbo (1908-1956) sometime after the death of his birth mother in 1911. Their second son, James Murdock Stewart, Jr., (1914-1999) was born November 24, 1914.

She was a charter member and the third president of the Tacoma Writers’ club, which was inaugurated in 1919. Her poetry was published in Washington State journals The Tacoman and Muse & Mirror, as well as syndicated in newspapers in the United States and Canada. She performed on KOMO radio in the late 1920s as “Aunt Missouri Jackson”, a Black “mammy” character in skits that she wrote every week. Her son Harry was to have his own fame in radio, nightclubs, and movies performing in Swedish dialect as “Yogi Yorgesson”, the Hindu mystic. By 1930, she was divorced and living in New York City. On April 14, 1931, she married Christoffer Fotland (1891-1972), a Norwegian sea captain, and had relocated to the Los Angeles area in California. She continued to be active in poetry circles in California and joined the San Pedro Writers’ Guild in 1936, of which she was later president.

She had begun writing her first novel as early as 1934, when she lived in Tacoma for two months while doing research. This year she began her collaboration with Virna Haffer (1899-1974) on a volume of erotic poetry and photographs, called Abundant Wild Oats. It was to be published by The Writer's Press in New York City in 1938, although it was never produced. A mock-up of the cover survives, along with a promotional brochure, a few poems, and a handful of Virna Haffer’s photographs. Her novel, Recitation From Memory (1943), was set in Tacoma and based on her early childhood experience. Her reminiscence continued through her second novel, My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair (1944), which followed her life up to her first marriage. For ten years (c. 1938-1948) she worked as poetry editor of Rob Wagner’s Script, a weekly literary and film magazine published in Beverly Hills. Two volumes of her poetry were published, The Field (1968), and Where Lies the Land (1974). She lived the last two years of her life with her son James in Grand Junction, Colorado, where she died February 5, 1981.

Erna Spannagel Tilley

  • Person
  • 1887-1982

Erna Spannagel Tilley (1887-1982) was a dedicated supporter of the arts and theater development in Tacoma, Washington. She moved to Tacoma with her husband, Homer Tilley, in 1917. She soon became very involved in helping to initiate and develop cultural and artistic organizations in Tacoma. She was one of the founding members of the Tacoma Drama League in 1918 and continued to be an active member for over fifty years. In 1935, she helped to organize the Tacoma Art Association and supported its activities for many years. Erna Tilley wrote several books chronicling the histories and activities of Tacoma organizations and people, including: The History of the Tacoma Little Theatre; Random Impressions of Early Days in Tacoma; Remembrances of Five Notables: Allan Clark, Joseph Washington Hall, Donald Benson Blanding, Thomas Schofield Handforth, Elsa Behaim Nessenson; and Resume: Early History of Tacoma Art Association.

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