The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

August 19, 2010

Some Newspaper That Shouldn’t Be Recycled

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 11:51 am

With the close proximity of my new apartment to the Bellevue Library and its extensive microfilm collection, I have been meaning to get over there more often to do some research and put up some more Recycled Newspaper posts.  Now it turns out that it may not even be necessary to walk the 2 blocks to the library.  Last week, I had a meeting with Nao Hardy of the Redmond Historical Society, where I was able to acquire a copy of her digital archives with all sorts of interesting historic photos and documents from Redmond’s history.  I still haven’t gone through all of this, but I expect that there should be a number of interesting items in this which will eventually find their way here.  Perhaps more interesting (to me at least) is this giant book, which I have been loaned:

This rather large book contains all of the 1979 issues of the Sammamish Valley News (Redmond’s former weekly newspaper) in bound form, and is one of several that were donated to the Historical Society by the King County Library System several years ago.  I haven’t had time to do a whole lot of looking through this, but given the fact that these are the original papers, there should be plenty of interesting material here.  Among the highlights from this year are a lot of coverage of the controversial Evergreen East mall proposed but never built on the site of what eventually became Microsoft campus (you can find some more info on this on this earlier Blog post,) the beginnings of what eventually became a fifteen-year fight over what eventually became Redmond Town Center, and a Mayoral election that ultimately resulted in three-term mayor Selwyn “Bud” Young being voted out of office.  In addition to this, there’s also plenty of the usual local interest stuff, the advertising and the aspect of inadvertent documentary that comes from the most mundane things. 

There is also some degree of responsibility that comes with this, as it needs to be handled carefully.  As far as I am aware, this may be the only physical copy of these papers remaining in existence (I’m not sure if the 1979 issues are in the microfilm) and although they aren’t going to crumble into dust if I look at them funny, I do need to exercise a certain amount of caution while dealing with them.  Pages need to be turned carefully to avoid ripping them (after all, even though it’s all in book form, it’s still newsprint.)  I am told that the binding of these papers is not archival, so at some point further preservation steps will need to be taken.  Ideally, the best way to deal with this would be to digitize it all, but even a single volume of this woud require a significant effort and probably more equipment than I have available.  I’m sure that someone will figure out some way to do this eventually, but for the time being, it looks like I’ll be doing my searching the old-fashioned way.  Naturally, you’ll be seeing the results of this appearing here soon.


  1. That’s a pretty great way to archive newspapers, in a hard-bound book. The bound volume of the Wenatchee World from April-May 1911 that I had has no covers and is crumbling to bits as well as collecting dust!

    Comment by Colin — August 19, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

  2. I’ve inherited* all of my dad’s archives and am busily trying to electronically preserve them before years and decades of poor storage does them in. He spent close to 50 years from the late 40’s through the real early 90’s as Seattle’s “greeter” for various dignitaries. (He welcomed every president from Ike to Reagan to Seattle, he was the voice and person behind the Welcome Lane that greeted 250,000 returning Korean War soldiers over several years, he was one of the founders of Seafair in 1950, was in charge of PR for Seattle Univ’s Sports (mostly basketball at the time) during their fabulous 50s, created and ran the Plaza of the States at Century 21 for Gov Rosellini, and on and on. (You can see the beginnings of what I’m doing at
    * Taken possession of would be a better selection of words as he’s still with us so I haven’t technically inherited them.

    It’s a real battle trying to get to the “important” stuff before nature takes her toll on the paper. Much or most is correspondence so it’s at least on somewhat higher quality paper, but there are lots of flimsy things like apparently random copies of the base newspaper from the Pasco Naval Air Base during WWII (he was the editor) that were folded in places they shouldn’t have been and then left in a file for 40 years. For instance, there’s one issue with a great picture of a 20-something Marv Harshman that is now creased across his goofy grin (and believe me, it’s a goofy grin)

    I don’t know how someone like Lileks can maintain, update, and increase his site so well, while still holding down a job. I get home at night and sit at my desk to organize and scan and start looking at stuff from 30-50 years ago and next thing I know it’s 90 minutes later.

    Oh heck… my intentions were to commiserate with you about preserving the paper and now I’m all over the place. I’m gonna go eat.


    Comment by John from Pomeroy on the Palouse — September 3, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

  3. The day domestic terrorism came to town was the singularly most dramatic incident in Redmond’s history, and yours in the definitive account.

    Comment by nao hardy — April 9, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

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