News and announcements pertaining to the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections and the Digital Initiatives Program.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Photographs and drawings of folk costumes from former Yugoslavia and surrounding regions.

Photographic prints, pattern drawings, watercolor paintings, and postcards that former UW faculty-member Blanche Payne collected or created on her research trips to the former Yugoslavia and various other countries during 1930 and 1936-1937.

Blanche Payne's travel photographs capture a time between World War I and II where regional folk costume was being replaced by Western fashions for everyday wear and became relegated to use in festivals and dances. 

Through studying Yugoslav museum collections, travelling to remote villages, markets, and festivals, and studying and collecting regional costume, Payne was able to record the distinct differences in costume that arose from both regional differences and cultural symbolism. 

Her pattern drawings are a resource to anyone who wants to study and recreate these regional costumes, while her collected postcards and paintings allow the viewer to view these costumes in vibrant color. 

Some of the photographs depict Blanche Payne’s costume design students modeling the costumes she brought back from her trips.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More Photo Albums added to Mountaineers Collection

The Mountaineers is an outdoor club, founded in 1906, to promote the discovery, conservation and documentation of the "mountains, forests and watercourses of the Pacific Northwest". There were 151 initial charter members, one of whom was the renowned photographer, Asahel Curtis.

These albums depict some of the first major expeditions of the Mountaineers including the first major outing to Mt. Olympus in 1907. Other areas represented in the collection include Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker/Glacier Peak, Mt. Stuart/Mt. Daniel, Mt. Adams, Canada, Montana and various locations in the western United States.

Climbers on top of Cowlitz Chimneys

Visit the digital collection to see what albums are available online!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

J. Willis Sayre Photographic Collection – now online

The J. Willis Sayre Photograph collection documents the performing arts in the United States from the late 1800s to the 1950s. The collection of more than 24,000 images is especially rich in photographs of vaudeville performers and their acts.

J. Willis Sayre donated the collection to the UW Libraries in the 1940s. He amassed a significant collection of photographs through his work as a drama critic and show business promoter. This notable figure in Seattle history actively promoted and documented almost every aspect of the performing arts in the city as a critic, historian, and participant.

Visit the online collection at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Many Paths, Many Voices: Oral Histories

The University of Washington Special Collections began collecting oral histories in the 1960s as part of an effort to document the history and culture of our regional ethnic communities. Oral historians recorded interviews with members of the Scandinavian American, African American, Japanese American, and Jewish communities in Seattle and Washington State. Later, this effort broadened to document the Northwest arts community and spawned new projects such as the North Cascades History Project. Today, these oral histories represent the bulk of an ever-growing collection and stand as a rich resource for researchers from a variety of fields.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Roots and Reflections: South Asians Map the Pacific Northwest

Amy Bhatt, Assistant Professor of gender and women's studies at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and Nalini Iyer, Professor of English at Seattle University, worked with the University of Washington Press on a manuscript based on the South Asian Oral History Project.

The book, entitled "Roots and Reflections: South Asians Map the Pacific Northwest," uses oral history to show how South Asian immigrant experiences were shaped by the region and how they differed over time and across generations. It includes the stories of immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka who arrived from the end of World War II through the 1980s. 

Media Coverage includes:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013