Browse special collections items from the Seattle Room online through our digital collections. Explore the history of the city through postcards, photographs, periodicals, maps, menus and more.
Seattle Culture & Local History Resources
A Gourmet’s Notebook Collection
Find reviews published betwen 1977 and 1991 for popular Seattle restaurants such as Canlis, the Dahlia Lounge and Ivar’s Acres of Clams.
Alaska Yukon Pacific Digital Collection
Seattle’s first World’s Fair, the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, made Seattle a Pacific Rim gateway. View materials from SPL and the Museum of History and Industry in this collection.
Arthur C. Pillsbury Collection
See photographs of the Klondike Gold Rush, California, Oregon and Washington taken by Arthur C. Pillsbury (1870-1946) between about 1896 and 1900.
This early 20th century magazine celebrated Seattle’s popular bungalow houses with photographs and architectural plans of selected homes. Use our map to see featured bungalows that still exist today.
Century 21 Digital Collection
Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair showcased Seattle as a space-age city. See photos, brochures, postcards and other items related to Seattle’s 1960s vision of the future.
Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection
Watch oral histories with prominent figures in the Pacific Northwest including artists Jacob Lawrence and Kenneth Callahan; Governors Albert Rosellini and Dixy Lee Ray and Reverends David Colwell and Samuel McKinney.
Edward S. Curtis Digital Collection
Photographer Edward S. Curtis devoted two decades to making “The North American Indian,” an early 20th century photography and text project studying Western tribes.
Frank A. Kunishige Collection
Study the 56 images by internationally recognized Seattle Camera Club member Frank Kunishige, whose artistic work includes images of flowers, landscapes, cityscapes and nudes.
George Gulacsik Space Needle Photograph Collection
The Space Needle’s construction during the early 1960s was an epic feat of architecture and design. George Gulacsik chronicled the project with over 2000 photos. Browse through our timeline to see the Needle’s construction milestones.
Jack Large Photo Collection
This collection of nearly 1,200 photograph slides documents the adventures and counterculture lifestyle of photographer Jack Large and his artist friends through the late sixties in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
This newspaper covered local news from Seattle’s Jewish community as well as international reporting on events like World War II and the settlement of Israel.
Maps and Atlases Collection
See maps and atlases depicting the changing landscape of Seattle and other areas in the Pacific Northwest. Take a look at our historic map resources page to browse maps by location.
The Municipal News, a civics publication dating back to 1911, offers information about the social, political and economic history of King County.
Northwest Art Collection
Prints, drawings and paintings by artists Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, Helmi Juvonen, Robert Cranston Lee and others celebrate the Northwest. Many pieces hail from the 1934 Public Works of Art Project.
Northwest Subject Index
Browse the index to find citations for books, newspaper and magazine articles related to local topics such as Pioneer Square and the Lake Washington Ship Canal.
Pacific Builder and Engineer
Read digital editions of this weekly Northwest construction and engineering publication from 1906-1910. Issues document notable construction news in the Pacific Northwest.
Parker McAllister Collection
Seattle Times staff artist Parker McAllister’s vibrant watercolors dating from the 1950s celebrate settlement of the Northwest, with images of ships, tribes and historic events like the search for the Northwest Passage.
Peter Steinbrueck Pike Place Market Collection
Seattle’s Pike Place Market became a historic district in 1971, the result of grassroots organizers led by Victor Steinbrueck. This collection features blueprints, posters, articles and papers related to the market.
Seattle City Directories
Genealogy and history researchers can search this collection to find information about Seattle residents, businesses and organizations.
Seattle Genealogical Society Bulletin
Dig into five decades of the Seattle Genealogical Society Bulletin for information about local families. This collection is available via partnership with the Seattle Genealogical Society.
Seattle Historic Postcard Collection
Highlights of early 20th century Seattle, as depicted through our historic postcards. Cards include images of buildings, attractions and events from the 1900s to the 1960s along with messages between friends and family.
Seattle Historical Photograph Collection
More than 2,000 images reveal Seattle’s evolution. Early photos capture Seattle’s pioneers, the Great Fire of 1889 and the Denny Regrade along with historical buildings, streets and landmarks.
Seattle Jazz Archive
Explore oral histories of important members of Seattle’s rich jazz community. The collection includes interviews with Seattle musicians, singers and community members who performed and experienced the city’s jazz scene.
Seattle Mail and Herald
This early 20th century newspaper reported on topics such as the Alaskan Gold Rush, the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and included with portraits of notable Seattleites.
Seattle Neighborhood History Project
Use our research portal to view items related to your neighborhood’s history available at the library and other archives. Photos, historical articles and documents tell tales from the past.
Seattle Regrade Photograph Collection
Seattle’s massive effort to regrade and flatten much of the city’s hilly landscape is documented in this 1905-1908 photo album. Explore our map to see the modern day photo locations.
Seattle Room Finding Aids
Find inventories for the Seattle Room’s archival collections including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Library Collection, the Seattle World’s Fair Collection, the Congress for Racial Equality Collection and World War II posters.
Seattle Room Menu Collection
This collection contains of hundreds of menus collected over several decades, each revealing the food tastes of Seattle diners and prices paid for fine and casual dining around town.
This collection presents some of Seattle's historical "sawdust"- unique and interesting materials from The Seattle Public Library's Seattle Collection.
Seattle’s early arts, music and culture scene are chronicled in this weekly publication. Our digital collection includes issues published from 1912 to 1938
University District Oral History Project
University of Washington Museology Graduate students conducted these oral history interviews in an effort to chronicle life on the University District neighborhood known as “The Ave.”
Werner Lenggenhager Photo Collection
Seattle streetscapes and architecture are captured in the images shot by Werner Lenggenhager, a hobby photographer who gave nearly 30,000 prints to the library, many of which are digitized here.
Sign up for our email newsletters
Get the latest about Library events, new programs and services and other Library news delivered to your inbox.