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Printed and archival materials relating to the history, culture, and people of the Pacific Northwest.
Last Updated: Jul 7, 2015 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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The Pacific Northwest Collection, comprised of printed and archival materials, documents the people, history, and culture of the region.

Areas of collection strength include:

  • Exploration & Discovery
  • Overland Narratives
  • Early Settlement
  • Ethnic, Gender, and Religious Communities
  • Labor & Civil Rights
  • Arts & other Cultural Activities
  • Conservation & the Environment
  • Recreation
  • Linguistics & Anthropology
  • Literature & Poetry
  • Political Papers

Carta Esferica en la Costa N.O. de America para la entrada de Juan de Fuca. Reducida por Pablo Barnet Y Roca, 1808
Carta Esferica en la Costa N.O. de America para la entrada de Juan de Fuca. Reducida por Pablo Barnet Y Roca, 1808.


History of the PNW Collection

The Pacific Northwest Collection began in 1905 with a distributed leaflet by University Librarian Henry Canby Coffman requesting the donation of books, manuscripts, maps, pamphlets and other materials which illustrated the history and present condition of Washington State and the broader Pacific Northwest region.

The Pacific Northwest region was defined by past University Librarian Charles W. Smith as “that geographical area lying north of California and west of the Rocky mountains, including the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, together with British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon.”(1)

The Collection is substantially built on the generous material and monetary donations of people such as Edmond Meany, Manson Backus, Edward W. Allen, Robert Hitchman and many others.

Today, there are over 44,000 volumes in the Collection, and over 44,000 linear feet of archival materials.

(1) Charles W. Smith, Check-List of Books and Pamphlets Relating to the Pacific Northwest. (Olympia, Wash.: E. L. Boardman, Public Printer, 1909), 3.


Types of Materials

The Pacific Northwest Collection contains printed and archival materials.

  • Printed Materials - Materials such as books, maps, serials, brochures, and other printed matter.
  • Archival Materials - One of a kind, unique materials such as personal and family papers or organizational and corporate records. Archives can include correspondence, diaries, literary manuscripts, oral histories, scrapbooks, photographs, audio recordings, and other unique matter.

Pacific Northwest Curator, Special Collections


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