Showing 71 results

Authority record

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.

Royal Gove

  • 6.1.2
  • Person
  • 1856-1920

Royal Amenzo Gove (1856-1920) was an early Tacoma physician, city council member, and public health officer. He was born in Vermont and raised in Minnesota. After studying medicine and surgery in Chicago, Louisville, and Iowa, Dr. Gove practiced medicine in Minnesota before moving to Tacoma in 1890 to start a new practice. In April 1892 and again in 1894, he was elected to the Tacoma City Council. Dr. Gove also served on the Washington State Board of Examiners. An active Mason, Dr. Gove was Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge of Washington in 1908 and 1909. He was a member of the Evergreen Lodge, Tacoma chapter; Royal Arch Masons; Scottish Rite; the Grotto and Eastern Star; and the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He was variously President and Treasurer of the Pierce County Medical Society, which he helped to found, and was also a member of the State Medical Society, the American Medical Society, and the Tacoma Commercial Club. He died in Tacoma on January 21, 1920 after a three month illness.

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.

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.

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.

Puyallup Valley Japanese American Citizens League

  • 3.3.1
  • Organization
  • 1930-

The Puyallup Valley Chapter (PVC) of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) was established in 1930,(1) but first appeared in newspapers on November 18, 1937, hosting a "bazaar" at the Fife High School auditorium, featuring prizes and a 26 pound turkey feast.(2) According to PVC member and Fife mayor Robert Mizukami, this type of event was typical of the group's social orientation during the pre-war period.(3) The fairs were intended as a means of "acquainting the public with the citizen's group and it's activities," which included ceremonial dancing, traditional dress and promoting the Japanese language schools that operated in neighboring cities of Fife, Firwood, Sumner and Tacoma.(4) The JACL consisted of Nisei, or second generation, Japanese Americans, rather than their parent Issei generation.(5)

On June 18, 1938, PVC president Dan Sakahara hosted an event introducing the editor and publisher of the all English language Japanese-American Courier in Seattle and national chairman of the JACL James Y. Sakamoto.(6) The difference between these two speakers was representative of the economic and educational rift between chapter presidents and JACL leaders. While Sakahara was successful, he sustained his family through farming on Vashon Island, just outside of Tacoma.(7) In contrast, Sakamoto made his living by skillfully navigating between Japanese and American language and culture.(8)

George M. Egusa (9) was elected president in 1939 followed by Lefty (Saturo) Sasaki of Orting, from 1940 through 1942.(10) Throughout this period the organization continued to hold public events demonstrating Japanese culture alongside patriotic adherence to American values. In a press photo from August 1941 at the National Bank of Washington, Lefty Sasaki is shown posing with PVC Secretary and Publicist Tadako Tamura and other group leaders around a banker's desk to invest in defense savings bonds.(11)

By that year, the JACL had grown to 55 chapters across sixteen states with Los Angeles holding a regular Nisei Week annual event.12 On October 30, the PVC hosted an event supporting National Defense Week to help unify efforts between the 250 Nisei soldiers active at the Fort Lewis Army base and Caucasian soldiers.13 The evening included an informal dinner with Issei family members, dancing and singing the American national anthem, "marching forward, arm in arm with their fellow young Americans." (14)

This purpose was expressed on a larger scale by JACL National Secretary and Field Executive Mike Masaoka earlier that month in a series of public letters to President Roosevelt and US Senators. Masaoka, a twenty six year old veteran and former professor of rhetoric at the University of Utah, (15) was asserting the patriotic loyalty of the JACL amidst rumors that the organization was acting as a fundraising branch of "Japan's war chest," and demanded "an investigation to prove our loyalty." (16)

Following the PVC's National Defense Week celebration at the Odd Fellow's Hall, soldiers from Fort Lewis turned out in droves at the Puyallup Valley Chapter's annual winter event on December 2, 1941 the largest in the organization's history. Over 1,500 visitors poured into the Fife High School gymnasium to celebrate the organization's "social, cultural and civic activities."(17) Five days later, the Japanese government attacked the American military base Pearl Harbor, which led to America entering WWII, causing a nearly immediate shift in the JACL's function up to that point. Four days after the bombing, Mike Masaoka issued his Japanese-American Creed, a policy of "unswerving loyalty" to the United States. In it, he pledges:

"to support her constitution; to obey her laws; to respect her flag; to defend her
against all enemies, foreign or domestic; to actively assume my duties and
obligation as. a citizen cheerfully and without any reservations whatsoever, in the
hope that I may become a better American in a better America." (18)

This same day the Tacoma News Tribune released a statement that there was a "flood" of applications for birth certificates amongst the Nisei community to establish their US citizenship. (19) Just as the organization had helped the community attain their driver's license registration in the past, (20) Lefty Sasaki of the PVC and leaders of the Tacoma chapter offered to help process these requests from many of the estimated 8,882 Nisei living in Washington as of the 1940 census. (21) This seems to be the inciting incident which caused some Japanese Language schools to reopen as headquarters for civilian defense, as was the case in Tacoma's Japanese Language School becoming the Japanese Community Center.(22) Schools that were not converted to these functions were shuttered by a resolution from James Y. Sakamoto on grounds that they would arouse "misunderstanding of the loyalty of Japanese in America." (23)

When Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, authorizing the forced "evacuation of all persons deemed a threat to
national security from the West Coast to relocation centers further inland," (24) these makeshift community centers across Washington became registration stations, which would facilitate the US government to route citizens to camps. JACL members also organized these efforts independent from the US government. As Seattle JACL secretary noted "We don't know where we're going- or when we are going but we do know we are going. The United States government has complete information about us, but we want our data, too." (25)

In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the JACL leadership established working relationships with the FBI and naval intelligence officers to pinpoint "subversive Japanese organizations on the west coast." Recorded informants include JACL leaders Saburo Kido, Ken Matsumoto and previously mentioned Field Executive Mike Masaoka. (26) Masaoka maintained a working correspondence with Milton Eisenhower, the head of the War Relocation Authority (WRA), beginning in March of 1942, sending recommendations for how to operate the camps, which both parties attest to influencing later designs.(27) Masaoka also worked with the US government to indict possible Japanese American subversives in court (28) as well as before War WRA committee hearings. (29)

In early March 1942, Seattle JACL leader James Sakamoto spoke publicly about having an "intelligence unit" which collaborated with the FBI and explained how this
relationship could be used as a means of avoiding forced removal, suggesting that the Issei could be placed under custody of the Nisei. If the Issei generation didn't report twice a week to the Nisei, "the league's intelligence unit would inform the FBI." (30)

Soon after, Sakamoto's longtime newspaper competitor Dick Takeuchi, editor of The Great Northern Daily News in Seattle, submitted their final issue on the topic of expulsion, before Takeuchi himself was incarcerated at the Minidoka War Relocation Center. (31) The Great Northern's final issue was one page of English and seven pages of Japanese, consisting of the latest news and illustrated maps of the newly developed concentration camps, (32) including Camp Harmony in Puyallup, WA, where Sakamoto was elected Chief Supervisor on the 24th of April. (33)

"Camp Harmony" or the Puyallup Assembly Center, was really the Washington State Fairgrounds, converted into a series of barracks with a central mess hall over the course of 14 days. (34) Camp Harmony was staffed entirely by Japanese Americans, under the direction of the US military, so they might "resume their activities in Puyallup with as little inconvenience as possible." There is little hard evidence that this staff was made up of the Seattle JACL members that Sakamoto led, but some appointed staff, such as the Seattle Hotel Building Cooperation's William Y. Mimbu indicates that administrative positions were assigned to prominent figures in Sakamoto's political orbit. (35)

The Puyallup Valley Chapter leaders are nowhere to be found on this staff list, and at least one leader was incarcerated there. League Secretary and Publicist Tadako Tamura wrote this testimony for the Tacoma News Tribune just after arriving in Camp Harmony:

"At this time, we don't believe it necessary for us to leave a message of farewell
to this part of America. Or many Caucasian friends have bade us the most
reassured goodbyes 'for the duration.' The soil we worked... has become too
much a part of us to leave so easily. We hope the valley which was, and which is
our home, will continue to yield." (36)

In an account the following month, the Tacoma News Tribune caught up with Tamura building a small flower garden outside of her barracks in Area C, where other former
residents of the agricultural towns Fife and Orting had settled. This drive to get back to farmland and out of the camps was capitalized on by the US government who coordinated "emergency harvest camps" and "victory vacations," where young Japanese Americans were allowed out in order to compensate for the nation's recent agricultural vacancies. (37)

The article goes on to note an American flag floating over the entrance of Area C, which had recently been raised in a patriotic ceremony where Sakamoto was the main speaker. (38) This event was typical of the camp's emphasis on "the spirit of Americanism and democratic process," suggested by Masaoka in his April 6th letter to WRA director Milton Eisenhower. (39) While Masaoka's suggestions are generally concerned with education and maintaining civil liberties under incarceration, there is a dissonance in Masaoka's direction that "no intimation or hint should be given that they are in concentration camps or in protective custody, or that the government does not have full faith and confidence in them as a group and as individuals." (40) Masaoka indicated repeatedly throughout the 18 page letter that camps were intended to prove Japanese American loyalty, when their very existence demonstrated a government who strongly believed the contrary. In addition, demonstrating proof of innocence becomes exponentially more difficult from behind bars.

Tadako Tamura surfaces again in October 1942 as a contributing artist for The Minidoka Irrigator, the six page weekly newspaper for the 10,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Minidoka War Relocation Center, founded by displaced Seattle newspaperman Dick Takeuchi. (41) The first two volumes traveled back to Seattle describing Minidoka as "a vast stretch of sagebrush, stubble and shifting, swirling sand... the sort of place people normally would traverse only to get to another destination." Throughout the course of 1942, the JACL lost favor within the community for failing to push back against the US military, deporting potential rivals and removing Japanese language reading materials. (42) Another issue which emerged over time was incarceration leading to seized property and land that the Issei had devoted their lives to developing. While these actions were brought on by major increases of Alien Land Law prosecutions, archaic legal holdovers from the nineteenth century which prohibited Issei citizens from owning property, very often, land titles were lost due to the chaotic nature of displacement. (43)

Faced with incarceration, former PVC president Dan Sakahara, who introduced James Sakamoto at a league event earlier, leased his farm on Vashon Island to Deputy Sheriff Finn Shattuck before he and his family were eventually moved to the Tule Lake Relocation Center in Northern California. Despite continued requests through 1944, Finn Shattuck sent no money for the crops harvested on Sakahara's land. When the family was freed, Dan Sakahara did not legally pursue the funds he was owed for his farmland, the largest acreage on Vashon Island, and instead chose to begin a new life in St. Louis. (44)

Following the repeal of Executive Order 9066 in 1946, the Puyallup Valley Chapter went dormant, not surfacing in newspapers again until 1958.45 According to future PVC president Robert Mizukami, (46) the reason for this was a scarcity of potential members. (47) This scarcity was described by Mike Masaoka, who emerged back into the public sphere in 1947 as the Washington D.C. Legislative Director of the Antidiscriminatory Committee for the JACL. In the article, Masaoka detailed the current state of Japanese American displacement. "Approximately 60 percent of the West Coast Japanese evacuated in 1942 have returned to the area... 15 percent have permanently settled in the East and Midwest and the other 25 percent are in a state of flux." (48)

This scarcity led to the Puyallup Valley Chapter and the Tacoma chapter combining members to reform the organization, with Kaz Yamane as PVC president and weekly meetings at the Tacoma Buddhist Church. (49) The group's ideology and mission changed in the chapter's reactivation. As Mizukami notes in an oral history conducted by the Densho Digital Archive, "it became more of a civil rights group than we were before. I think, like I said previous, prior to the war, it was more of a social group that did all these other activities. So since the war, I mean, its purpose has changed a little."

One of the most significant impacts that the organization made was the repeal of the Alien Land Law, which PVC president Dr. Sam Uchiyamo made a "prime objective" of the Northwest Council of the JACL beginning in 1960.50 After an extensive grassroots campaign organized by the Seattle JACL and defeated twice by referendums, (51) the law was finally repealed in 1966. (52) The repeal of the law wasn't publicly celebrated by the PVC, then led by Frank Mizukami. Instead, the league president appeared in newspapers donating copies of America's Concentration Camps, marking the 25th anniversary of the event,53 holding piano recitals for elementary school children54 and highlighting his expansive primrose greenhouse located in Fife. (55)

Since this accomplishment, the Puyallup Valley Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League has remained an active member of the Puget Sound community, contributing to a scholarship fund, (56) hosting historical programs for adults as well as school children (57) and continuing to host their annual cultural outreach events featuring ceremonial dance and traditional dress in Fife High School, just as they had in 1937. (58)

National League for Woman’s Service

  • Organization
  • 1917-1918 (?)

The National League for Woman’s Service was a volunteer service organization created in 1917 from the Woman’s Department of the National Civic Federation's readiness and relief activities. In conjunction with the Red Cross, the NLWS offered classes in subjects such as sales, office work, and truck driving to train women to fill men's jobs while the men served in the military during World War I.

Orpheus Club of Tacoma

  • Organization
  • 1903-1990s

The Orpheus Club of Tacoma was formed as a chorus that would offer both musical fellowship for its members and provide public concerts for the community. The club was founded on May 4, 1903 when a dozen men met at St. Luke's parish house and formed a temporary organization. Later that year the permanent organization was officially established. Members began practicing once a week in January 1904 under the direction of Keith J. Middleton, conductor and founder. The Orpheus Club's first public concert was held at the Masonic Temple at 734-36 Saint Helens Ave. on June 20, 1904. At the height of its membership from the 1930s to the 1950s the club consisted of over 70 singing or active members. Members sang at the opening of Stadium Bowl in 1910 and for the opening of the Camp Lewis Theater in 1918, and performed with the Seattle Philharmonic orchestra and the New York Symphony at the Tacoma Theatre. In addition to concerts, the club provided services to organizations such as hospitals, schools and retirement homes. Members from all walks of Tacoma's business and civic communities were long-time members of the club, such as Judge Hal Murtland, architect John Richards, grocer Iver Belsvig, early pioneer and wholesale supplier Frederick Mottet, and former mayor W. W. Seymour. From its founding until it was disbanded in the 1990s, the chorus performed two concerts a year and practiced once a week September through May.

Tacoma Centennial Committee

  • Organization
  • 1968-1969

The Tacoma Centennial Committee was organized to plan and oversee all aspects of the city of Tacoma’s centennial celebration in 1969. The celebration included parades, productions, and many other large-scale events.

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.

Sallie Shawl

  • 3.4.1
  • Person

Sallie Shawl of Lakebay, Washington, has been active in local social justice causes since the 1970s. Born to a Jewish family in San Francisco, Shawl became involved in activism after seeing images of peaceful civil rights protesters being attacked by dogs in the mid-1950s. She attended UC Berkeley before moving to New York City to work with the National Council of Churches. After relocating to Lakebay in 1976, Shawl worked in Tacoma at Associated Ministries and the YMCA Women’s Support Center.

She joined the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and staged regular protests against the presence of the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bremerton. She was arrested multiple times for acts of civil disobedience. In 1988, she and Renee Krisko, of Poulsbo, were sentenced to six months in jail for blocking a train carrying missile fuel to the Trident base.

In 1991, she began managing the Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful project which organized volunteers crews to paint the homes of low income Pierce County residents. She founded the Tacoma chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace and was a leader in People for Peace, Justice and Healing, Palestinian-Israeli Peace Endeavors, Tacoma Arabs, Jews, and Others for Peace and Occupy Tacoma. In 2013, she was awarded the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize.

Stallcup Smith Family

  • 6.2.1
  • Family

The Stallcups moved from Denver, Colorado to Tacoma, Washington in 1889. In Tacoma, they lived at 317 South G St. The family included Judge John Calhoun Stallcup, Mary Shelby Stallcup, and their children: John C. Stallup Jr., Evan Shelby Stallcup, and Margery B. Stallcup.

John Calhoun Stallcup (1841-10/21/1915) Practiced law in Denver Colo. and served as justice of the supreme court of Colorado from 1887 until 1889. In 1889 he came to Tacoma with his family. He was elected to the superior court bench in 1892 on a non-partisan ticket and held the position for four years. From 1897-1900 he served on the state board of audit and control, having received the appointment from Gov. Rogers. For his last five years, he had been a member of the Tacoma Public Library board. He also authored an essay titled "Refutation of the Darwinian Theory" which was published in Tacoma in 1905.(1)

Mary Shelby (Prindell) Stallcup (1846-10/21/1916), a native of Lexington, Kentucky, married Judge Stallcup on Nov. 2nd, 1880 in Kirkwood, Mo. She held office in the Mary Ball chapter of the D.A.R. and was active in the parish, guild, and auxiliary of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. (1) (2)

Evan Shelby Stallcup (1888 -1938) A graduate of the old Tacoma High School and entered Stanford University on his 17th birthday. After two years at Stanford, he entered Columbia University where he completed his Law course then returned to Tacoma to work with his father in his law office. He served in the 91st Division in World War I. After the war, he moved to Phoenix where he became involved in city government. He held the position of City Manager and head of the water department.(3)

Margery B. (Stallcup) Smith ( ?-1946) was admitted to the bar in 1909 (4). Secretary-treasurer of the Buckeye Realty Company in 1910 (5). Married Fredrick A. Smith in 1918 (6). She was a member of the 50 year club, on the board of the American Association of University Women and one of the founders of the Woman's Council for Democracy (7).

John C. Stallup Jr (1886-1920)

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.

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.

Thomas Handforth

  • 3.5.3
  • Person
  • 9/15/1897-10/19/1948

A native of Tacoma, Thomas Handforth won international acclaim as an artist, author, and illustrator. Born in Tacoma on September 19, 1897, Handforth attended Stadium High School (then Tacoma High School). There he created the art for the high school annuals. Post-graduation he attended the University of Washington then moved to New York for art training. During his service in World War I he drew anatomical drawings in Washington, D.C. After the war, he returned to New York and studied under Kenneth Hayes Miller and later with Mahonri Young. Later he trained in draughtsmanship and painting at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He won numerous prizes and became a member of various societies of etchers.
In 1927 he visited Morocco and in 1929 relocated to Mexico. Two years later traveled to China where he stayed until 1937. It was in China where he developed his skills with lithography. From China, he went to Southeast Asia (then Indo-China) and returned to the United States at the approach of World War II. He returned to service in the Army and after his release returned to Tacoma in 1944 and again in 1945 to make portraits of his many former hometown friends. Handforth is best known for his children's book "Mai Li", published in 1938, for which he won the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1939. The other books he illustrated include Sidonie, Totou in Bondage, and Tranquilinas Paradise. Handforth died at McCornak General Hospital in Pasadena. His death was attributed to acute coronary thrombosis.

Paul Jackson

  • CAC1001
  • Person
  • 1968-

Paul Jackson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 20, 1968. His mother, Vickie Cunningham-Jackson-Davis was born in Choopee, South Carolina. She was a twin and the oldest of ten children. She graduated from South Carolina State University and served as a civilian in the Army. His father fought in the Vietnam War. As a child, Jackson moved to Willingboro, New Jersey, a suburb 15 miles northeast of Philadelphia. The family purchased a home in the Levitt and Sons residential development, which had been successfully sued in the late 1950s for refusing to sell to Black families. While in grade school, Jackson lived in Fairfax, Virginia, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Cambridge, his mother attended MIT. It was there that Jackson saw his first computer when he was in the 6th grade. He played violin in the Cambridge Youth Orchestra and began playing guitar.

He attended Prairie View A&M University in Texas where he played bass in an award winning funk band. He received a National Science Foundation scholarship to obtain his PhD in computer engineering. His research focused on augmented and virtual reality within the aerospace industry. He completed three summer internships with Boeing and, after graduation, was hired full time and relocated to Seattle.

He has presented nationally and internationally on a range of topics including deep space exploration and digital media authoring. Jackson is the co-chair of the Swedish MS support group. He is a Chronic Disease Self-Care Manager and is certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid through the African American Reach and Teach Health Ministries. He and his wife, artist and educator Jasmine Brown, now reside in Tacoma.

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.

Richards Photography Studio

  • 2.1.1
  • Business

Turner Richards Studio was founded by Tacoma-born Turner Eugene Richards (1901-1968) (1). The Tacoma-based studio operated from 1919 through 1980 and its output included: moving images, portraits, industrial, society, business, advertising, news, and aerial photography.

The studio was first operated out of the Chamber of Commerce Building (2) where it provided both photograph and moving image services such as the recording of public performances and events for distribution with companies specializing in newsreels (3). One of these events filmed was a local parade staged for the opening of the 1920 film “Last of the Mohicans” that played before the film at the Victory Theater in Tacoma in 1921 (4).

In 1935 the studio moved its location into the Tacoma Hotel the same year the hotel caught fire (2). According to the Tacoma News Tribune, two policemen had to keep Turner Richards from entering his shop to save his expensive equipment. "He made several runs for the smoke-filled doorway but was stopped each time by the two policemen" (5). In the late 1930s, Turner Richards traveled to Hollywood to work as a photographer for Warner Brothers Studio (6). Richards also developed Technicolor and animated films later used in Walt Disney productions (1).

In the 1940s Richards expanded and opened Nancy’s Baby Portrait Studio located at 736 Pacific Ave in Tacoma (7). By this time Turner’s sons, Bob and Nelson, became the photographers at their main studio located at 734 Pacific Ave (8). Richards Studio expanded again in 1963 and opened another portrait studio at Villa Plaza, in Lakewood (9). On Sunday, February 18th, 1968 the Richards’ housekeeper found Turner Richards in his front yard and he is rushed to the hospital where he died. His death was caused by apparent suicide (10). The Studio was then run by Edmond Paul Richards (1905-1984) and continued to operate until 1980 when it closed (11) (12).

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.

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.

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