Washington State Historical Society

Curtiss Hill Memorial Lectures


Each year, the Washington State Historical Society bestows awards honoring the work that advances the Society's mission "to make the study of history in Washington illuminating and inspiring." The Annual Meeting includes the Curtiss Hill Memorial Lecture, a presentation by a selected historian. The Curtiss Hill Lecture series is made possible by a memorial gift to the Society presented by Dr. Frank de Milt Hill.

This collection provides audio recordings of selected lectures.

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Digital Publications

Book cover, 100 Years, 100 Women.
Book cover, 100 Years, 100 Women.

The Washington State Historical Society has received permission to digitize and present a number of written publications on the WHC web site, gathered together in this collection. The books, theses, and articles in the collection cover a wide variety of topics, including women's clubs, pioneer life in Washington Territory, biography, women in politics, women's suffrage, and temperance.
Browse Collection



Medora Espy Diaries

Medora Espy diary, Jan. 3-Feb. 9, 1915
Medora Espy diary, Jan. 3-Feb. 9, 1915.

Medora Espy (1899 – 1916) was the oldest daughter of Harry Albert and Helen Richardson Espy of Oysterville, Washington. The collection includes eight diaries and a scrapbook from the Medora Espy papers. Medora kept the diaries during her time as a school girl in Olympia, as a boarding school student at the Portland Academy in Portland, Oregon, and during her summer vacations until her unexpected death at age seventeen. The diaries reflect the activities and interests of a teenage girl in the early 20th century, including school work, daily activities, sewing and clothes, boys, relationships, social activities, outings, dances, and parties. Medora's scrapbook documents her visits to the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California.
Finding Aid

Laura E. Peters Materials

Laura E. Peters. From Seattle Times obituary, Jan. 29, 1902
Laura E. Peters. From Seattle Times obituary, Jan. 29, 1902.

Laura Hall Peters was a long-time proponent of equal rights for women. She served as the president for the Port Angeles Equal Suffrage Club, and traveled the state lecturing and organizing Equal Suffrage Clubs in other communities. In 1896, 1898, and 1900, Laura served as the Clallam County delegate to the Populist state convention, fighting for women's suffrage amendments to be considered or passed. Peters was a founding member of the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony, a utopian society based in Port Angeles. The articles, diaries, scrapbooks, and speeches gathered here document Peters' life and her struggle for women's equality.
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White Ribbon Bulletin

Ad for White Ribbon Shoes, 1907, White Ribbon Bulletin 6 (10), pg. 7
Ad for White Ribbon Shoes, 1907, White Ribbon Bulletin 6 (10), pg. 7.

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union was established in 1874 as a vehicle for women to combat the effects of alcohol on the family and society. The WCTU continues to exist today and is the oldest continuing non-sectarian women's organization worldwide. Women in the WCTU abstain from alcohol and define temperance as "moderation in all things healthful; total abstinence from all things harmful." The WCTU led the campaign for prohibition, and organized for other social issues like labor, public health, and suffrage. The organization's symbol, the white ribbon bow, was selected to symbolize purity. The monthly White Ribbon Bulletin was "the official organ of the Western Washington W. C. T. U." The collection runs from Volume 1, Number 1 (January 1902) to Volume 9, Number 12 (December, 1910). Scans were created from microfilm of bound periodicals.
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Women of Ellensburg

1977 IWY Ellensburg Friday Night Plenary. All rights reserved
1977 IWY Ellensburg Friday Night Plenary. All rights reserved.

The Washington State Historical Society's Women of Ellensburg collection consists of donated materials from participants of the 1977 Washington State Women's Conference and the 1989 Ellensburg Revisted Conference. The collections currently includes photographs from the Ellensburg Conference by Charlyn Adams, conference ephemera from Senator Karen Fraser and architect Elaine LaTourelle. In early July 1977 the pro-ERA and anti-ERA movements met up at the 1977 Washington State Women's Conference held in Ellenburg, Washington. The events which transpired at the Ellensburg conference shaped the admistration of Governor Dixy Lee Ray in many ways. Governor Ray, Washington's first woman governor, dissolved the Washington State Women's Council in September of 1978, following the will of the voters. The 1977 November elections included Referendum 40, a movement to dissolve the Washington State Women's Council.
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Women's History Collection

The Waitresses Association of Seattle participates in the 1905 Labor Day parade in Seattle
The Waitresses Association of Seattle participates in the 1905 Labor Day parade in Seattle.

The Washington State Historical Society's Women's History collection contains images, ephemera, documents, buttons, and diaries covering diverse topics relevant to women's history in Washington state. Topics include women's suffrage, the Equal Rights Amendment, Tacoma legislator Lorraine Wojahn, women's clubs, temperance, women at work, and daily life.
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Additional Materials


View a list of articles pertaining to women's history that appeared in COLUMBIA magazine.

NEH Grant Finding Aids

Development of these finding aids was funded through a National Endowment for the Humanities "We the People" grant for Washington Women's History to the Washington Women's History Consortium, a part of the Washington State Historical Society. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dorothy Young Sale Papers
Jackie Griswold Papers
Janis Bianchi Papers
Lesbian Resource Center Papers
Akitsa Club Papers
Women's History & Culture Center Papers

Finding Aids

Women's History Finding Aids



Susan Rohrer
WHC Coordinator

Street Address

Washington State Historical Society
1911 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98402