Civil Service Commission Scrapbooks, 1934-1947

Overview of the Collection

Seattle (Wash.). Personnel Dept.
Civil Service Commission Scrapbooks
1934-1947 (inclusive)
3 volumes
Collection Number
Three scrapbooks of newspaper clippings relating to employment with city government, 1934-1947, including information about civil service exams, employee training, job reclassification, salary changes, and retirement.
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2062337807
Fax: 2063869025
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Civil Service Commission was established in 1896 to oversee the Civil Service Department, which administered the City's personnel system, including the fire and police forces, laborers, inspectors, and clerical, electrical, and library workers. The commissioners classified city services and employees, coordinated and administered physical, medical, and competence examinations, dealt with appointments, promotions, and removals, and conducted investigations in the event of an employee appeal. The years brought new employment issues, including those of wartime employment conditions and women in the workforce.

During the Commission's early years, it faced some opposition; in 1912, charged with wastefulness and inefficiency, the Commission underwent an investigation by the City Council. Subsequently, a 1917 report reclassified city services and employees. Other difficult times in the Commission's history included the first and second World Wars, as well as the Great Depression; budgets were often tight, and many city employees joined the armed services or found business opportunities in other industries. In 1937, the City's services were again reclassified.

In 1979, the City's personnel system was reorganized with the creation of a Personnel Department independent of the Commission. The Commission was reorganized with jurisdiction to hear employee appeals relating to demotions, terminations, suspensions, certain lay-offs, and violations of personnel rules. Three members, serving staggered three-year terms, comprise the Commission. One member is appointed by the mayor, one by the City Council, and one is elected by City employees.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of three scrapbooks of news clippings, compiled by the Civil Service Commission on subjects relating to employment with city government during the Depression until just after World War II. The clippings provide information about civil service exams, employee training, job reclassification, salary changes, and retirement. The activities of particular jobs and changes in their requirements are covered, including police, firemen, nurses, lifeguards, and transit workers. Activities of the city are reflected through information on the City Council, elections, city budget and taxes, Charter Amendments, and Resolutions. The articles also reflect wider historical events of the times. During the Depression, city jobs were receiving hundreds of applicants. Articles during World War II show issues were job security for those drafted, a shortage of workers, and an increasing number of women in the work force.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date], Civil Service Commission Scrapbooks, Record Series 6000-09. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Container(s) Description Dates
1 Scrapbook 1
News clippings from the New York City Civil Service Leader, 1940-42. Included are articles on jobs, draft, retirement, tests (physical exams) and training, city and state civil service lists opened to fill federal positions, reclassification, transit jobs, postal jobs, police, firemen, nurses, temporary employment, clerk jobs, Ramspeck Law, and salaries. Also includes clipping from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1942) on life guards. Photo: people sorting paper.
2 Scrapbook 2
News clippings from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Times, and Seattle Star,1945-47. Includes articles on selection of new police chief, police activities, policewomen, City Council, firemen, city pension plan, elections, pay raises, city budget/taxes, transit system, training, effects of World War II (population growth, end of war, public works program), City Charter, minimum wage for women and minors, and Skagit dams.
3 Scrapbook 3
News clippings from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Times, Seattle Star, and Public Service Journal , 1934-1946. Includes articles on Civil Service tests, bus jobs, policewoman test, defense construction, jobs open, job applicants, Municipal Railway, police retirement, Ruby Dam, City Light, pay classifications, union protests, popularity of Skagit tours and necessity of guides, city budget, park employee’s wage suit, police retirement, proposed ban on wives working, Charter Amendments, Resolutions, civil service jobs held for servicemen’s return, offices moved for Army Air Corps, traffic problems, meat inspector position, women lifeguards, worker scarcity, civil service exams halted for war, transit, police activities, taxi cab regulations, and City Council.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Civil service--Examinations--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Depressions--1929
  • Municipal officials and employees--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Women--Employment--United States--History--20th century
  • World War, 1939-1945

Corporate Names

  • Seattle (Wash.). Civil Service Commission

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)--Politics and government

Form or Genre Terms

  • Clippings