The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a free resource that allows users to search through millions of records at dozens of contributing institutions simultaneously.
Instead of having to search individual collections at museums, institutions, and academic libraries, researchers can conduct one search and find relevant material from any contributor. With a recent update, the North Olympic Library System and the Washington Rural Heritage Collection (WRH) are now included in DPLA.
The WRH is managed by the Washington State Library, overseen by the Office of the Secretary of State, and provides one-stop access to digitized materials held by small and rural libraries and partner institutions throughout the state. The North Olympic Heritage collection is primarily made up of the Kellogg Collection, a collection of about 5,000 photographs collected and donated by Bert Kellogg, which document the history of Clallam County, the Olympic Peninsula, and the Pacific Northwest. Also included in the North Olympic Heritage collection are “Listen Up!” stories, oral histories recorded by NOLS featuring local residents’ experiences on a number of topics.
Regional portals like the WRH and international portals like DPLA allow users to find content quickly and easily — including content they didn’t even know they were looking for.
Someone researching historical reports on mountain goats in Olympic National Park might never consider searching the catalog at the University of Georgia — but a DPLA search leads to a 1987 document held in the UGA Map & Government Information Library, digitized and available online, titled “Management of Mountain Goats in Olympic National Park: Some questions and answers,” which isn’t owned locally.
A local researcher will find a wealth of materials about the Elwha River at NOLS and other area institutions, but they won’t find “Mountain Park Project, Elwha River amendments and Recreation Management Act amendments,” a 1995 publication from the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources which records changes to the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992 — but by searching DPLA, the researcher will find this document through the Boston Public Library.
Clallam County researchers can find locally-relevant material at far-flung institutions using DPLA regardless of how many — or if — NOLS resources are searchable, but adding Kellogg images to DPLA contributes to scholarship around the country, and particularly in other areas of the Pacific Northwest.
While the bulk of the Kellogg Collection shows life and events in Clallam County and, to a lesser extent, other areas of the Olympic Peninsula, a smaller number of photographs display scenes from farther afield — logging in Arlington and Seaside, Ore.; crowds and buildings at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in Seattle in 1909 and other Seattle people, street scenes and parks; panoramas, ships and activities in Alaska; and more.
Photos like those in the Kellogg Collection add context and depth to research efforts. A scientist may use a photo of the Taku Glacier in 1915 to illustrate a report on current conditions in the Taku Inlet. Researchers studying reforestation can identify trees and estimate their size in photos showing loggers standing on springboards and creating undercuts to bring down area cedar, fir, and other trees. Many people came to towns and wilderness areas along the Strait to try their hand, but were unprepared for the difficult conditions of remote subsistence farming.
Genealogists may find subjects who lived on the Olympic Peninsula only a few years, never long enough to appear on a census, but captured in a local photo, while other photo subjects visited the area as tourists: Phyllis H. Walton Anderson Young, shown on the porch of Humes Ranch (pictured on the right), mostly lived in the Seattle area before moving to Pend Oreille, but lived in Port Angeles for a few years as a teen. Turnover among early settlers around Lake Ozette was exceptionally high, with few lasting more than a few years.
Additionally, portraits and slices of life in Clallam County can be used to exemplify and illustrate styles and events from around the country — from the excitement of the first car, train or airplane in the county to fashion trends of the 1890s, 1900s or 1910s; from working conditions at logging camps, mining operations and canneries to America’s past-time and small-town musical and cultural events. Although considered remote at the time, early Clallam County experienced many of the same highs and lows, trends and booms, as other places around the state and around the country.
NOLS is proud to take this next step in making the Kellogg Collection available to researchers, and excited to support ongoing scholarship. The Kellogg Collection was digitized in the 2010s with several grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (imls.gov) and with special funding from the Port Angeles Friends of the Library.
Cataloging and record remediation are ongoing, and information about specific photos — particularly names, dates, or photographers — are always welcome. For more information about the Kellogg Collection, visit the NOLS website at nols.org or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reproduce Kellogg images in news articles, book chapters, documentary films, interpretive signs, artwork, business décor or any other public publication, submit the Bert Kellogg Collection Terms and Conditions of Use to email@example.com.
Sarah Morrison is a librarian with the North Olympic Library System.