About the Archives & Special Collections

General Overview of the Archive

The contents in the Archives & Special Collections include materials related to the WSU Vancouver campus, the history of Clark County and Pacific Northwest region, rare books and unique items or collections donated to the library.

The Archives & Special Collections has over 200 books, over 6,000 photographs, negatives and slides as well as hundreds of documents and manuscripts.

The Archives & Special Collections also participates in the creation of digital collections and provides online public access to these collections through a ContentDM database. Digital collections feature local and regional historical materials that were selected in collaboration with state and local historical societies. Further digitization of photographs and documents pertaining to the history and culture of the WSU Vancouver campus are currently being pursued.

Descriptions of Featured Manuscript Collections

James E. Carty Collection

James E. Carty was the son of former Washington State Representative William Edward Carty and his wife Mary E. Fitzpatrick. The Carty family was among the first families to settle in Clark County. The James E. Carty Collection includes ledgers and letters pertaining to the Carty property in Woodland, Washington and the family’s early history in the area.

James E. Carty graduated from Ridgefield High School and attended Washington State University before receiving his law degree from Duke University in 1952. For over twenty years Carty served as city attorney for Woodland, Washington and later became prosecuting attorney for Clark County. During his career as attorney, Carty formed a decade long friendship with the 1930's gangster Al Karpis. The collection includes over ten years of correspondence between the two men. Contents relates to Carty’s efforts as a parole attorney, narratives by Karpis describing his role as a criminal and his life in Alcatraz.

Carty was also politically active in the Democratic Party, becoming a party chairman for both Cowlitz County and Clark County. Several documents and editorials written by Carty relating to his political views and campaign work are included in the collection.

Following his retirement in the 1980s, Carty began doing historical research on the Northwest, writing a series of essays, a book and giving presentations and lectures to the local community. Both published and unpublished materials are featured in the collection.

Vancouver Historical Reserve Commission Collection

The collection includes records documenting the process, organization and success in establishing the Vancouver National Historic Reserve during the 1990's. Among the items in the collection are field reports, comments and essays on the history of Vancouver, political editorials and meeting minutes. The commission records cover the particular interests of institutions established within the historic reserve including Pearson Airpark, Ft. Vancouver, the Center for Columbia River History and the Vancouver Barracks.

Lynn Degerstedt Collection (Copies)

The collection contains the personal papers of Lynn Degerstedt documenting the implementation of the Southwest Washington Joint Center for Education. The collection includes newspaper clippings, personal correspondence between community leaders, assessments of educational needs in Clark County, brochures for courses, photographs and the items documenting the early history of the WSU Vancouver branch campus. Materials in the collection are digital copies and photocopies of the originals.

Daniel M. Ogden, Jr. Collection

The collection is an accumulation of political campaign materials from U.S. presidential and congressional contests from the 1950’s to 1978 and some material from the 1996 Democratic convention. Materials from both Democratic Party and Republican Party campaigns are represented. The collection includes strategic and organizational materials from the 1960 John F. Kennedy presidential campaign. Contents also include campaign items from Ogden’s own run for a congressional seat in Colorado in 1976. The collection contains political essays and course materials created and organized by Ogden for Political Science classes he taught at Washington State University.

Other contents in the Ogden collection features Dan Ogden’s dissertation including several boxes containing information and documents concerning public utilities and in particular the Bonneville Power Administration in the 1950’s, which he specifically used in his research.

Descriptions of Featured University Archives Collections

WSU Vancouver Salmon Creek Campus Building Planning Documents (Phase I-IV)

The collection consists of records used in the building planning for the first four buildings constructed on the WSU Vancouver Salmon Creek Campus between 1988 and 1994. The collection features committee minutes, notes, research reports, master plans and interim drafts, revision drafts, predesigns, architect communications, proposals, consultations, space allocations for the Classroom, Library and Student Services buildings, review records, regional data and library planning documents.

WSU Vancouver Undergraduate Classroom Building Planning and Design Documents

Program development plans and design development for the Undergraduate Classroom Building at Washington State University Vancouver. The documents cover details in the construction of the building and include floor and ceiling plans. Four spiral bound publications, one three-ring binder and two bound design development plans.

WSU Vancouver Historic Photographs, Publications and Documents

The collection features photographs and negatives documenting graduation ceremonies, special campus events, construction of campus buildings, ground breaking ceremonies for Bauer Hall and the Salmon Creek campus, candid photographs of faculty, staff and students, and numerous visits from State dignitaries. Dates of photographs range from 1986 to 2003.

The collection also includes materials covering the marketing and publicity for the campus from 1989 to 2003. Includes course catalogs, brochures, course schedules, events flyers, newspaper clippings, planning documents for campus events and lecture series and campus news publications (i.e. the VanCougar, Community Reports).

Book Collection (Some Features)

  • WSU Vancouver historical publications and documents (master plans and environmental impact statements).
  • Rare books covering the local and regional history of Washington and Oregon.
  • Selections from James E. Carty's book collection with coverage relating to Northwest History and the Oregon Trial.
  • Rare books donated to the library including literary classics and biographies of political figures.
  • Local publications

Digital Collections

Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive (CRBEHA)

Over 1,000 historical photographs, manuscripts and ephemera items from ethnic groups in the Columbia River Basin are contained in this digital archive. The materials were collected from the Clark County Historical Museum, the Oregon Historical Society, the Washington State Historical Society, the Idaho State Historical Society and the Manuscripts, Archive and Special Collections of WSU Pullman. The materials are dated between 1860 and 2006 and feature the history and contributions of ethnic groups in the Columbia River Basin. The collection includes a recent contribution of the Vancouver Branch of the NAACP documents from the Clark County Historical Museum.

Clark County Historical Museum Photograph Collection

The collection includes over 15,500 photographic images from the main photograph collection at the Clark County Historical Museum. The collection features images from Clark County's history as a community based on trade and agriculture during the nineteenth and early twentieth century as well as its growth in industry and commerce through the post World War II era.

Clark County Historical Museum Newspaper Archive

This collection includes issues of historical newspapers from Clark County featuring the Vancouver Independent, one of the first newspapers published in the Washington Territory. Issues of the Vancouver Independent begin in January 1876. The Clark County Historical Newspapers Archive is an ongoing project. Check back often for more additions.

WSU Vancouver Historic Photographs and Documents Collection

The digital collection is comprised of samples from university archives collections. Materials featured in this digital collection are from 1983 to 1997. Over 500 digital images have been indexed, including photographs, commencement programs, campus publications, documents and ephemera. Further items are added periodically.

Contact the Archives & Special Collections

Robert Schimelpfenig
Archives Specialist
schimo@vancouver.wsu.edu
(360) 546-9249