Showing 66 results

Authority record

Frederick W. Keator

  • Person
  • 1855-1924

Frederick W. (William) Keator was a bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Olympia from 1902 until his death in 1924. During these years he resided in Tacoma where he was active in fraternal lodges and many clubs and societies, and served as president of the Tacoma Public Library board from 1907 to 1910 and 1912 to 1923. His tenure on the library board included chairing the statewide Washington campaign to raise funds for the American Library Association’s Library War Service effort during World War I. Frederick W. Keator was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania on October 22, 1855. He entered Yale University in 1876 where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1880 and a Bachelor of Law in 1882. After practicing as a lawyer in Illinois for several years, he became interested in church work. He graduated from the Western Theological Seminary of Chicago in May of 1891 and was ordained an Episcopal priest later that year. He married Emma Victoria Lyon of Chicago in 1894 and they had one son, Frederic, born in 1896. He was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of Olympia on January 8, 1902 and arrived in Tacoma on January 25th. He soon became involved in many civic causes and organizations not directly related to his church position. In addition to his service on the Tacoma Public Library Board and many other posts, he served as president of the board of trustees of Annie Wright Seminary, was an overseer at Whitman College, and served on the board of Tacoma General Hospital. Frederick W. Keator died of a heart ailment on January 31, 1924 in New Haven, Connecticut while visiting his son who was an assistant instructor in electrical engineering at Yale University.

George M Miller

  • 3.2.2
  • Person
  • 1889-1964

George Miclea Miller was born in Palos, Romania on October 5, 1889. He immigrated to the United States and lived in Ohio before relocating to Tacoma in 1923. He worked as a longshoreman and checker for 32 years. He served eight years as President of the Local 38-97 International Longshoreman's Association (ILA), five years as the President of the Washington State Maritime Trades Group, and five years as President of the ILA District Council. Miller represented the longshoreman during the Streamline Strike of 1936 and helped lead a demand for higher wages for Pacific Coast longshore workers in 1940. He died in November 1964 at the age of 75.

George O. Swasey

  • 6.3
  • Person
  • 1868-1958

George O. Swasey was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1868. He was a graduate of Exeter Academy and Harvard University. He arrived in Tacoma around 1907 to begin a law practice and was active in the Tacoma Elks Lodge, the Tacoma Bar Association, Sons of the American Revolution, and the Unitarian Church. At the time of his death in 1958, he resided at 4622 North 28th Street. Swasey bequeathed $110,000 to the Tacoma Public Library to establish the George O. Swasey library branch.

Gerald Davis

  • 2.3.1
  • Person
  • 1926-

Gerald Davis was born in England and moved with his family to Seattle in 1937. In 1941, his father Norman purchased Heidelberg Brewery and the family relocated to Tacoma and lived at 424 North D Street. Davis attended Stadium High School and began working at the brewery in the bottle shop warehouse. He joined the Navy in 1948 and attended the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. He then attended the University of Louvain in Belgium where he studied the chemistry of brewing. He then worked as an apprentice at Cardinal Brewing Company in Fribourg, Switzerland. He then returned to Heidelberg Brewery to work in marketing and advertising. The company was sold to Carling Brewing Company in 1958 and Davis joined Carling as Assistant to Director of Marketing.

Grit City Magazine

  • 5.6.1
  • Business
  • 2017-

Grit City Magazine was founded in 2017 by Sierra Hartman, Sara Kay, and William Manzanares IV. The project began as an online only publication. The first print edition was issued in September of 2018. The magazine is produced quarterly with new issues released in March, June, September, and December.

Helen Stafford

  • 3.4.2
  • Person
  • 1899-2002

Helen Cecile Beck Stafford (1899-2002) was a long-time community and civil rights advocate in Tacoma. She was born on November 15, 1899 in Wamego, Kansas, the tenth of eleven children born to a formerly enslaved father. In 1920, she graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in home economics and a minor in sociology. She taught in Kansas schools before moving to Tacoma in 1926 where she met and married her husband, Wendell P. Stafford. Openly denied a teaching position in Tacoma because she was Black, she later became the first African-American case worker for what was then the Tacoma Department of Public Assistance. During her years in Tacoma, Helen Stafford was a community leader and actively involved in many local civic and cultural organizations. In 1927, she organized the Matron’s Club, a social gathering of young Black married women who were mothers. In the early 1930s, Stafford helped to organize the Tacoma chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and served as its president. She organized the first Pacific Northwest chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, as well as the Tacoma chapter of The Links. She was involved with the Tacoma Urban League, and served on the board of the YWCA and the Tacoma Colored Woman’s Club. She was also an active member of the Allen AME Church, where she sang in the choir and was the long-time superintendent of Sunday School. After retiring in 1970, Stafford remained active in numerous local organizations, and in 1971 she was named the State Woman of Achievement by the Washington State Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Association, becoming the first African-American woman in the state to receive the honor. She received many awards, including the Finer Womanhood Award from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Tacoma Municipal League, the Tacoma NAACP Service Award, and the YWCA Woman of the Year Humanitarian Award. In 1986 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Puget Sound for humanitarian services, and in 1987 she returned to Kansas State University to receive the Alumni Medallion, a lifetime achievement award. On November 15, 1999, when she turned 100 years old, the Tacoma City Council declared the day “Helen Stafford Day.” She died on August 27, 2002 in Tacoma.

Honor L. Wilhelm

  • 5.5.2
  • Person
  • 1870-1957

Honor Wilhelm was born in Shiloh, Ohio in 1870. He graduated from Wittenberg College in 1894 and apprenticed in a law firm. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1897. Later that same year, he relocated to Seattle. He began writing for a weekly Presbyterian newspapers, The Daysman, and writing two serials, "Musing of Maffy Moore" and "Scenes in the Sunny South." Through local printer H.L. Pigott, Wilhelm became aware of the recently founded magazine "The Coast," which was struggling financially. Wilhelm purchased the magazine and credited its founders by saying that the two women who started it in 1900, "...deserve praise for the perseverance and pluck with which they met adverse and discouraging conditions." While editing "The Coast," Wilhelm traveled around the northwestern United States. He wrote articles, took photographs, edited manuscripts, and sold advertisements and subscriptions. He sold "The Coast" in 1911 and became an ordained minister. He served congregations in Black Diamond, Sedro Woolley, Auburn, and Seattle. He later led a church service broadcast. He died in 1957 at age 87.

Illahee Study Club

  • 3.7.1
  • Organization
  • 1915-1977

The first and final published meetings of the Illahee Study Club were June 16, 1915 and March, 6, 1977. The first recorded president of the Club was Mrs. C.O. Lynn and the final president was Mrs. Clyde Henderson. The club colors were pink and green, the club flower was the test-out rose and their motto was, "the desire for knowledge increases ever with the acquisition of it."

Illema Club

  • 3.7.1
  • Organization
  • 1901-1977

The Illema club was organized in 1901 by Mrs. Edwin Sharpe, Mrs. Frank LaWall, Mrs. J.W. Clare, Mrs. Stanton Warburton, Mrs. John L. Mills and Mrs. W.B. Coffee. The name Illema is taken from the first letters of all of the founding members' first names, although they kept this a secret in initial appearances in the Tacoma Daily News. The group met biweekly at rotating houses around Tacoma. The group appears to have always had a literary focus rather than social or philanthropic. The final recorded meeting was on September 25th, 1977. The club colors were green and white and the club flower was the white carnation.

J. W. Roberts

  • 6.1.3
  • Person
  • 1836-1912

J. W. Roberts, born July 17, 1836 in Hollingworth, England, was a farmer and early pioneer in Spanaway, Washington. He was born to Elizabeth Wilson and Samuel Roberts and had four siblings: Matilda, Jane, William and George. In 1843 the Roberts family emigrated from England to the United States. Census records show that the Roberts family lived in Wisconsin (1850) and Illinois (1860), but in 1860 J. W. Roberts was no longer living with his family and had presumably headed west. The year when J. W. Roberts arrived in Washington is unknown, though his papers indicate he was living in Pierce County as early as 1866. Other family members, including his parents, brother, and niece eventually moved to Pierce County and purchased land near J. W. Roberts' claim at the southwest side of Spanaway Lake. Through inheritance and investment, J. W. Roberts continued to obtain and lease land in Spanaway and parts of South Tacoma. At the time of his death in 1912, J. W. Roberts was a wealthy land owner, landlord and farmer who had lived in Pierce County for over 40 years. Between 1868 and 1912, J. W. Roberts recorded his daily work on notebooks, loose papers, account books and pieces of cardboard. The journal entries average only a line or two a day and give accounts of details such as the weather and his daily work: tending to livestock, planting, clearing land, and various household tasks. He describes trips to Tacoma and other nearby areas to purchase or sell goods, and visit family. J. W. Roberts’ journals and correspondence also illustrate his family’s movements in Pierce County. His parents settled in Steilacoom in 1870, and his brother George Roberts lived in South Tacoma and ran Roberts Granite & Marble Works at 5304 South Alder St. In the last month of his life, J. W. Roberts’ journal entries made mention of “akes & pains,” swollen ankles, and being “verry sick.” According to his obituary, J. W. Roberts died May 12, 1912 at his brother George Roberts’ home in Tacoma. On May 14 his funeral was held in the Merrow & Storlies Chapel in South Tacoma. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery. J. W. Roberts died a wealthy man without a wife, children or a will. After his death there were several claims on his sizable estate, estimated at the time to be worth between $70,000 and $90,000. Claimants included his great-grandnephew Charles Larson who petitioned on behalf of himself and his siblings, and a woman named Marguerite Clark Mulroy Snyder of Rockford, Illinois who declared herself a long-lost granddaughter. Both petitions were eventually rejected by the courts, and the claim by Mrs. Snyder declared grossly fraudulent. Included in these papers is a full record of this court case which made front page news and attracted considerable attention in both Tacoma and Rockford, Illinois. In the end, half of J. W. Roberts’ estate was awarded to his only surviving brother George Roberts, and the other half was split between two nieces, Elizabeth Beck and Catherine Rossiter.

Jacki Skaught

  • 1.6.1
  • Person

In 1979, the City of Tacoma voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bond issue to build a sports and convention center, originally conceived of as a “Mini Dome.” The city decided to apply a “Design-Build/ no bid” process for selecting architects and contractors. This was such a unique process at the time that Washington State legislation had to be altered in order to allow it to proceed. The central concept of the Design-Build process is that project initiators have a set monetary figure in mind, and will only accept a favorable proposal from a design team willing to work within these parameters. A Jury of Recommendations was officially created by the city council to help make decisions in every aspect of the planning and designing phases of the building. This team consisted of seven members representing expertise in building management, construction, downtown area business, architecture, athletics, education, and the interests of the citizens of Tacoma. Jacki Skaught, the donor of this collection, was the official “Citizen at Large.” Jacki, a former children’s librarian, came into this position with a strong background in city development and government. She was a member of the League of Women’s Voters and had held positions on the Tacoma City Council. As such, she had worked closely with city management. For three years, the Jury worked diligently creating a plan for selecting the site, choosing the design and functions of the building, requesting construction proposals, developing timetables, and interviewing construction team applicants. Part of the Jury’s work involved travelling to other cities to view structures similar to the designs they had envisioned. Although it was not the jury’s role to make any authoritative decisions themselves, the well-researched proposals they presented before the mayor and City Council were the guiding factors that shaped the design of the Tacoma Dome we know today. Jacki describes the planning and building of the Tacoma Dome as a true “grass roots” project. The Jury of local representatives worked well together, the public and local government were tremendously supportive, and the final accepted proposal was from a local design team- the Tacoma Dome Associates. The building was constructed on time and under budget, and featured the world’s largest wooden dome (made from trees blown down during the eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s), and state of the art acoustics. The work of the jury proceeded with a few glitches: residents of a house that had to be removed from the building site held out for some time, and there was a heated public dispute (that continued on through 1984) concerning the selection of Dome art for the building’s roof. The Tacoma Dome opened to the public April 21, 1983. A VIP Grand Opening Gala was held the evening before, and the ribbon cutting was the next day, followed by three days of festivities planned by Jacki and the other Jury members. Although the jury’s work was officially done following the acceptance of the proposal, they continued to work together throughout the building construction, selection of vendors and sports teams, and other pre-opening activities. Jacki was actively involved in planning the opening week festivities, selecting the first manager of the Dome, and is credited with shooting the first basket on the basketball court. The jury was never officially dismissed, but they were officially reconvened briefly in 1985 to review issues related to the Dome after two years of operations. The jury informally disbanded after 1985, although individual members, such as Jacki, continued to participate in Dome related events and issues. For example, Jacki oversaw the planning of the 10 and 20 year Dome anniversary celebrations, and helped lobby for a 2005 bond issue for Dome improvements, which failed. Following her official work on the Jury, Jacki has remained active in Tacoma Dome events and has held other positions with the city of Tacoma. She served as an Economic Development Specialist, concentrating on tourism, business recruitment and retention, marketing, special events and international trade relations. She also was employed as a city film commissioner, promoting the Tacoma area for film companies.

James R. Merritt

  • 2.2.1
  • Person

James R. Merritt, a native of Tacoma, graduated from the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning in 1970. He became a registered architect with the State of Washington in 1973. In 1975, he co-founded Glassie-Merritt where he was as a principal architect until 1979. He then went on to hold this role with several other firms including Tsang-Merritt (1979-1984), Merritt Associates (1984), Merritt + Pardini (1984-1998), Merritt + Pardini/PMX (1998-2001), and Merritt Arch (2001-present). He and his firms worked on a number of projects across Tacoma and the broader northwestern United States including the restoration of the Tacoma Union Station, the Pinkerton Building, and the Rialto Theatre.

John Boynton Kaiser

  • Person
  • 1887-1973

John Boynton Kaiser (1887-1973) was the director of the Tacoma Public Library from 1914 to 1924. During his time in Tacoma he was also a member of the Washington State Library Commission, the Washington State Library Advisory Board, the American Library Association Committee on Enlarged Program, and the Justice to the Mountain Committee, which attempted to change the name of Mount Rainier back to Mount Tacoma. Kaiser left Tacoma in 1924 to become director of the University of Iowa Libraries. In 1927 he took a position as director of the Oakland Public Library, and in 1943 he became director of the Newark Public Library. He retired from Newark Public Library in 1958. Kaiser was also a library educator and taught classes in library administration at the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, UC Berkeley, and Columbia University. In addition, Kaiser served as president of the Pacific Northwest Library Association, the California Library Association, the New Jersey Library Association, and the New York State Library School Association. He was vice-president of the American Library Association, and executive director of the American Documentation Institute. In 1908 Kaiser received a B.A. from Western Reserve University, and B.L.S. (1910) and M.L.S. (1917) from New York State Library School. In 1960 he was given an honorary degree from Rutgers University for his contributions to the library profession. Kaiser authored numerous publications, a list of which may be found in "Annotated bibliography of the writings of John Boynton Kaiser, published 1911 to 1958; prepared on the occasion of his retirement as director, April 15, 1943-July 2, 1958, of the Newark Public Library" (1958, Newark Public Library).

Joseph Seto

  • 3.3.2
  • Person
  • 1925-2021

Joseph "Joe" Seto was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1925 to Toraichi and Kiyo Seto. In 1942, Joe and his family were forced by the US Government to report to an incarceration camp in central California. They were then transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Camp in northern California. As part of a wartime labor program, Joe was temporarily released from Tule Lake to harvest sugar beets in Montana. He then joined his brother Matthew in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There he worked a variety of jobs before enrolling at Augsburg College. He completed a BS degree at the University of Minnesota. He then completed a Masters and PhD in Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin. In 1957, he completed his postgraduate doctoral studies at UCLA where he studied the Influenza virus under Professor Fred Rasmussen. He became a member of the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church where he met Grace Keiko Nakano. Joe and Grace married in August 1959. They then moved to San Francisco where Joe began teaching at California State University San Francisco. The following year, Joe joined the Department of Microbiology at California State University Los Angeles. He taught, conducted grant funded research, served as Department Chair, and managed the Public Health Program. He took four sabbaticals in Germany where he conducted research at the Institute of Virology at the University of Giessen. The Seto family, including his children Susan and Steven, joined him in Germany. He continued collaborating with his colleagues in Germany after retirement, traveling there annually until the 2010s. In 1998, he retired as Professor Emeritus. Seto died in 2021 at age 96.

Karen Vialle

  • 1.2.4
  • Person
  • 1943-2019

Karen Vialle was born in Tacoma in 1943 to Leo and Arline Ristvet. She graduated from Wilson High School in 1961 and from the University of Puget Sound in 1963. In 1988, she launched her first run for office and was elected to the Tacoma City Council. In 1990, she became the first woman elected Mayor of Tacoma, serving in the role until 1994. She was elected to the Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors in 2011 and 2017. She also served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Puget Sound, a consultant for the Puyallup and Muckleshoot tribal school systems, a substitute teacher, executive director of Centro Latino, assistant director of the State Budget Office, and deputy chief for the State Insurance Commissioner. In 2019, former Mayor Marilyn Strickland credited Vialle for making it possible for other women and diverse candidates to run for office in Tacoma. As Mayor, Vialle arranged for the purchase and cleanup of the Foss Waterway and led urban renewal and mass transit projects.

Kenneth G. Ollar

  • 2.1.3
  • Person
  • 1912-2007

Kenneth G. Ollar was born in Tacoma on April 29, 1912. He attended Stadium High School, University of Puget Sound, and Washington State University before beginning a career as a photographer. He served in the Signal Corps as Combat Photo Unit Commander for General Patton during World War II and continued to serve in the Army Reserve for 21 years. Between 1940 and 1977, Ollar was a staff photographer for Tacoma General Hospital where he started the Newborn Baby Picture Program. During his time at the hospital, he took over 80,000 photographs of newborns. He also worked as a Mount Rainier National Park Photographer and freelance photographer.

League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County

  • 3.4.3
  • Organization
  • 1920-

As the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was passed by Congress in 1919, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) reorganized to form the National League of Women Voters. Women in the Tacoma area had been active in statewide and national efforts to secure voting rights for women. Emma Smith DeVoe, of Parkland, served as President of the National Council of Women Voters which provided assistance and support to new voters in states where suffrage for women had been secured. In March 1919, DeVoe attended the NAWSA convention in St. Louis where President Carrie Chapman Catt began the National League of Women Voters. In January 1920, DeVoe and other local members of the National Council of Women Voters joined this national effort and converted to the state League of Women Voters in Tacoma. The Tacoma League began the Woman Voter newspaper in 1922 and took an active role in local politics. While the League became involved in work around restructuring city government as early as 1946, it wasn’t until the 1950s that membership expanded as a result of increased attention to local politics and restructuring efforts. By the end of the 1950s, there were 200 members of the Tacoma league. As more women joined from other areas of Pierce County, the League began to expand their focus to cover local issues outside of the City of Tacoma. In 1962, the group officially became the League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County to reflect their broader membership and scope. In 1974, the League dropped their requirement that members be women to join, allowing anyone with an interest in local political engagement to become involved. The group continues to produce and distribute The Voter newsletter. They also produce studies on a range of local and regional political topics and TRY (They Represent You) directories of elected officials in Pierce County.

Lewis Law Jr.

  • 2.1.7
  • Person
  • 11/22/1929-1/23/1998

Lewis Law, born to Viva Berg and Lewis Law Sr., was a graduate of Stadium High School and served as a US Army reservist. As a lifelong Tacoman Lewis' career at Tacoma City Public Works Department spanned 42 years. There he worked as a sidewalk inspector, principal engineer aid, and in the city's traffic signs department. An accomplished photographer, he was a division chairman and later vice president of the Tacoma Photographic Society. In these roles, he presented on photographic composition and shooting color film, among other photographic techniques. Lewis was also an avid traveler who photographed many of his trips throughout his life. He retired from the city in 1995 and passed away on January 23rd, 1998.

Marjorie Jane Windus

  • 6.3.2
  • Person
  • 3/29/1920-12/29/2013

Marjorie Jane Windus was born in 1920 to Louise and Harold Windus. Harold was a movie theatre organist in Seattle during the silent film era. Marjorie attended the University of Washington and after graduating moved to Chicago Illinois where she worked as a hostess/cashier at the Blue Note Jazz Club while pursuing a singing carrier. She returned to Washington where she received her master's degree in social work from the University of Washington. After graduating she became a social worker for the Pierce County Community Worker Unit. She developed the first community-wide resource directory in Pierce County. She also played a role in helping the Puyallup Tribe get possession of the building which would later become their community center (the former Cascadia Juvenile Diagnostic Center). She retired from the Department of Social and Health Services in 1983 and moved to San Francisco until early 2009 when she returned to Tacoma. Until her passing, she attended the Monterey Jazz Festival. She died in Tacoma after a brief illness.

Mike Parker

  • 1.2.2
  • Person
  • 1947-2019

Mike Parker was born in Renton, Washington on May 23, 1947. He became the youngest legislator in Washington state history when he was elected to the State House of Representatives at age 26. He ran for U.S. Congress in 1976, but lost to fellow Democrat Norm Dicks in the primary. The following year, he launched his mayoral campaign. On November 8, 1977, he defeated state senator Lorraine Wojahn to become the youngest Mayor ever elected in Tacoma at age 30. Parker is most known for his role in developing plans and gathering support for the Tacoma Dome. He also played a key role in establishing a Tacoma Police Department motorcycle fleet and successfully lobbying the state Department of Transportation to include Tacoma in signage and branding for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. After his term as Mayor, he ran to become the first Pierce County Executive, but lost to Booth Gardner. He went on to pursue a career in the broadcast industry. At the time of his death in 2019, he was survived by his wife Maria and children Michael, Jr. Jeffrey, David, Dianna, and Sara along with seven grandchildren.

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