The Art of Local History

Research Resources & Library Handout


Researching History is a difficult and time-consuming pursuit. Be sure to read as much as you can contextually. If you’re interested in Entertainment, for example, read about it in context. Are you thinking about 1920 or 1950 or 1890? Think of “when.” Then read as much as you can, even if it’s not focused specifically on Olympia. A little background reading will help you determine when and what and who, for your focused research.

Spend time in the library!




KEYWORD SEARCHING:  Look up books by topic using a keyword search in either the TESC catalog or Summit, the catalog that searches many academic libraries in Oregon and Washington and Idaho. Use keyword first and then explore the subject headings after you a find a book that meets your needs or comes close.


BOOKS ON RESERVE: Look through the books on reserve for our program at the TESC library. Many will offer contextual background research for your topics.


JOURNAL ARTICLES: Use the library’s journal databases for full text and references to articles about Pacific Northwest History.




Washington State Archives:

State records—state agencies, treaties and some photos. Weird, but worth looking at if you have an interest that translates into state government (fishing, civil rights, land use, treaty rights, state law, past and present). Go to “Search the archives” link on the left column and see what comes up! Write down potential leads.


Southwest Regional Archives:

Access to county and municiple records for South Puget Sound. Mainly local government, but facilitated by very friendly and helpful historians who will help you find photos and resources. Located on the Capital campus, below the state archives.



Washington State Library in Tumwater:

The state library has newspapers, files of news clippings and records related to state history, including special collections of individuals and subjects by topic “vertical files.”. See here for description of their newspaper collections: Newspapers:


About the Spar Café: see here for into information. The rest will be found in newspapers and in private collections and at the Washington State Library:


Indian Shaker Church:

Brief overview of the history of the church. Not complete. See:

John Slocum and the Indian Shaker Church / by Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown ; foreword by Richard A. Gould, University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.


Talk with Liza, Ed Echtle and with reference librarians about your research questions.