Western Washington Lumbering Photo Album, circa 1890s

Overview of the Collection

Western Washington Lumbering Photo Album
circa 1890s (inclusive)
0.25 Linear feet of shelf space, (1 Box)
Collection Number
PC 198 (collection)
A photo album of 69 images of lumbering in western Washington, likely circa the late 1800s.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

While commercial lumbering by white settlers in the Pacific Northwest dates at least to the construction of their first northwest lumber mill in 1828, the industry boomed first in the 1850s after the discovery of gold in California, and again in the 1880s when technological improvements such as railroads and steam donkey engines improved the ease of logging of more than coastal areas. Though lumber remains an important northwest industry, since World War II the industry’s prominence in the region’s economy has strongly declined.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collections consists of a single black photo album, containing 69 black and white photographs of logging, each glued onto individual pages. Two of the 69 images are postcards, identifying the images as being from Washington. The location is unspecified beyond that, though moss quantities clearly put it in western Washington, and the presence of a river large enough to host a steamboat might also provide a clue. The Olympic Peninsula or Grays Harbor areas seem likely possibilities. The images are similarly undated, but based on dress are probably circa the 1890s. A significant number of images focus on a steam donkey and the processes of moving it, but the album also includes traditional ax and saw tree-cutting; moving logs by river, including one image with a steamboat in the background; lumber camp scenes, including at least one family; and camp office scenes.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. As an apparently unpublished work, of unknown authorship, images were likely in copyright until 120 years from their (currently unknown) date of creation.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]

Western Washington Lumbering Photo Album, circa 1890s (PC 198)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The scrapbook is maintained in its original binding and order.

Acquisition Information

Jenelle Gilbert Bartlett of Mt. Pleasant, MI, donated this album to the Central Michigan University library in 2020, but as it was considered out of scope for their collections they in turn, with the donor’s approval, transferred it to WSU MASC in June of 2021, where it was retained as UPC-2104. Ms. Bartlett had found it in the possessions of her father, Delbert Paul Gilbert, but he had never lived further west than Michigan, and no family connections to Washington could be determined. How, why, or where he acquired it are all unknown.

Processing Note

University Archivist Mark O’English processed this collection in August of 2021. The 77148 penciled on the back page was a Central Michigan University accession number.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Forests and forestry -- Washington (State), Western -- History -- Photographs.
  • Lumber trade -- Washington (State), Western -- History -- Photographs.
  • Lumbermen -- Washington (State), Western -- History -- Photographs.