WWII Medals

Distinguished Service Medal (US Army) (front)
While processing the Hays Family Papers, we learned that one of the Hays family members served in WWII and received the following medals. More information about the veteran will be provided as the collection is fully processed but for now, check out these medals! [Read More]

Glossary of Quechua, Spanish, and English Languages

Diverse Collections

Quechua, Spanish, and English languages
This week’s edition of Diverse Collections features a (mostly handwritten) glossary of Quechua, Spanish, and English languages from 1940. According to the Penn Language Center, “Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire and still spoken by approximately 8 million people throughout the Andes, is the most spoken indigenous language in... [Read More]

Other Faces, Other Lives - Asian Americans in Idaho

Diverse Collections

"Other Faces, Other Lives: Asian Americans in Idaho"
This week’s edition of Diverse Collections features the VHS documentary, “Other Faces, Other Lives: Asian Americans in Idaho.” In this documentary, eight Asian American families (specifically Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino) were interviewed and asked how they or their families came to Idaho. They were also asked about their experiences living... [Read More]

History of Gambling in Idaho

"Poker Club" book
In the Idaho Territory days of the mid-1800s, gambling was prominent in parts of Idaho.1 As the area inched closer to statehood, however, local officials began to crack down. In 1889, the original state constitution was written and ratified. Article III, Section 20 was noticeably vague about the legality of... [Read More]

Pride Month Display

LGBTQ+ Pride display [1]
The Library has a new Special Collections display on the first floor outside the Reading Room! To honor LGBTQ+ Pride Month this June, we’re showcasing some of our archival collections that relate to LGBTQ+ history in Idaho! [Read More]

Mortar Board

Diverse Collections

Mortar Board women at table
This week’s edition of Diverse Collections features our collection of Mortar Board Records. Mortar Board, Inc., is a national honor society of college seniors, which recognizes in its membership the qualities of superior scholastic ability, outstanding and continual leadership, and dedicated service to the college or university community. [Read More]

Lily Wai

Wonder Women

Lily Wai [1]
Lily Wai was born in Hangzhou, China on 29 September 1939. In 1946, her parents and three siblings moved to the village of Wu-er in Taiwan. In 1961, Wai moved to Kansas for graduate school and met her husband Chien. They married in Los Angeles in 1965. [Read More]

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

Diverse Collections

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission letter head
This week’s edition of Diverse Collections features the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Records, 1979-1988 collection. Special Collections houses 4 boxes of meeting minutes, agendas, reports, and supporting documents relating to Native American fisheries, distributed to Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission members and collected by Robert Strom, commission member representing... [Read More]

Sunshine Mining Company annual reports

Sunshine Mining Company Annual Report [6]
Sunshine Mining Company was located between Kellogg, Idaho and Wallace, Idaho and was one of the most successful and highest-producing silver mines in the United States and the world. “By 1931, the Sunshine mine was the second largest silver producer in the United States. In 1937, the Sunshine was the... [Read More]
Tags: mining reports

Grace Fenton

Wonder Women

Grace Fenton
Grace Fenton Roberts was the first woman to graduate from the College of Engineering at the University of Idaho, graduating in 1938. Unfortunately, not much is known about her exact degree program or what she went on to do with her degree. [Read More]

Japanese American Contributions to Idaho's Economic Development

Diverse Collections

Japanese American Contributions to Idaho's Economic Development
This week’s edition of Diverse Collections features the book, Japanese American Contributions to Idaho’s Economic Development by Robert C. Sims. This book discusses how “Japanese, like other early Idaho pioneers, came to the Gem State in search of economic opportunity. Through their efforts, they not only achieved many of their... [Read More]

Idaho Trout

Postcard of oversized fish [1]
Today we have some fun fishing facts from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game! There several reasons why Idaho is a great fishing destination: Idaho has over 26,000 miles of rivers and streams Idaho has over 3,000 natural lakes Idaho has over 42 game fish species to catch1 Fishing... [Read More]

Physical Education Classes

Women's Recreation Wednesday

Rhythmic Gymanstics
This week’s photos are from Women’s Recreation Association Physical Education classes on campus. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Physical Education classes for women, there’s a great book titled “Active Bodies: A History of Women’s Physical Education in Twentieth-Century America” by Martha H. Verbrugge! [Read More]

Oh Dam!

Employee housing 1940 (Employee housing)
We’re starting a new series, Oh Dam! This series will feature photos and information about hydraulic dams in the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Washington, and Oregon). Each week, the series will oscillate between information about a dam that exists in the PNW and information about how dams are built! We hope... [Read More]

Series End

Logging Lessons

Sawmill Watercolor Card
That’s a wrap on our series, Logging Lessons, featuring images and history from the Potlatch Lumber Company in North Idaho! At the beginning of this series, we discussed how early logging companies in Idaho felled trees - with a crosscut saw. Then, we discussed different methods of transporting logs from... [Read More]


Logging Lessons

Longest Logging Train
Last week, we learned about using the powerful forces of water to transport logs from a central point to the lumber mill. This week is light reading - trains were one of the most popular methods of transporting logs to lumbers, as they could transport large quantities of logs relatively... [Read More]
Tags: logging


Logging Lessons

Logging Steamboat
Last week, we learned about tractors as a form of transporting logs from the forest to the railroad track or water formation (such as a river or flume). Once the logs have been transported to the railroad track or water formation, a few options remain for getting them to the... [Read More]
Tags: logging


Logging Lessons

Caterpillar Logging
Last week, we learned about jammers. This week, we’ll learn about the tractors that largely replaced other forms of transporting logs, including manual horses and steam donkey engines (which we covered in previous weeks!). These tractors were colloquially referred to as “crawlers,” “cats,” and “caterpillars.” [Read More]
Tags: logging


Logging Lessons

Potlatch Jammer [1]
Last week, we learned about using steam donkey engines to transport logs from the forest floor to a central staging area. This week, we’ll learn about a railroad staging area and the use of ”jammers” or ”loaders” to load logs onto railroad cars. [Read More]
Tags: logging


Logging Lessons

Skidding Logs [1]
Last week we learned about the science behind felling trees with crosscut saws. Over the next few weeks, we’ll learn about the variety of ways that the Potlatch Lumber Company transported logs once they had been cut and cleared! [Read More]
Tags: logging

Welcome to Logging Lessons!

Log Building
We’re starting a new series featuring one of our strongest collecting areas: logging in North Idaho. We’ll be focusing on one lumber company in particular, the Potlatch Lumber Company, which is extremely well-documented within our collections and an important part of logging history in North Idaho. It was operational from... [Read More]
Tags: logging

Environmental Impacts

Mining Monday

Tiger Poorman Mill, Burke (Idaho), 1906
Today, we take a closer look at the environmental impacts of underground metal mines. While underground metal mines, like the mines that operated in north Idaho for decades, results in many beneficial materials that are used to build and power technological advancements, there are also damaging effects to mining raw... [Read More]

Abandoned Mines

Mining Monday

Mining photo [10]
All of these mining photos may have inspired you to explore an abandoned mine but BEWARE! Just on federal land alone, there are 510 abandoned mine sites in north Idaho and there could be many more on private land. However, most of these abandoned mines are dangerous and deadly because... [Read More]
Tags: mining


Mining Monday

Mining photo [8]
Last week, we learned about smelting ore into base metals for the purpose of building technology, including the many devices that we rely on every day. This week, we’ll take a closer look at the automation side of underground metal mines. Machines, railways, hoists, and ore carts on tracks are... [Read More]


Mining Monday

Ore grinding mill
Last week, we learned about extracting raw mineral ore. This week, we’ll learn about the process of milling, which is the first of two steps required to take raw mineral ore and turn it into a usable product (the second of which is smelting, which we’ll explore next week!) [Read More]
Tags: mining


Mining Monday

Mining photo [3]
Last week, we learned about the dangers posed to an underground metal miner. This week, we’ll focus on the process of mineral extraction, which is what mining is all about! Extracting raw materials from the Earth supports much of our economic and social infrastructure (smartphones, for example, are made of... [Read More]
Tags: mining

Potato Commentary

Potato facts on postcard
Today is #PotatoPoTuesday and we have the back of a potato postcard from the 1980s: “The Idaho Potato is featured on the menus of the swankiest supper clubs of the land, yet it is the favored and most thrifty food of the modest. Idaho now devotes 242,500 acres to produce... [Read More]
Tags: potatoes

Welcome to Mining Monday!

Mine rescue crew [1]
We’re starting a new series featuring one of our strongest collecting areas: mining in north Idaho. North Idaho mines began operation in the late 1800s and were shut down and abandoned around the mid-20th century and were primarily underground metal mines that extracted mineral ore such as lead, zinc, silver,... [Read More]
Tags: mining

Stranger Archives

Hercules Mining Company
It’s been exactly one month since Stranger Things 3 came out and these mining photos of a hoist room and ore grinding mill from Hercules Mining Company in North Idaho look strangely similar to the giant laser that the Russians use in Stranger Things 3 to reopen the gate to... [Read More]

Potato (the best vegetable)

Oversized potato postcard [3]
Today, we have some fun health facts for you courtesy of the Idaho Potato Museum! Did you know that potatoes are roughly 80% water? Or that a cooked 8-ounce potato only contains 100 calories? How about the fact that potatoes are naturally 99.9% fat free?1 Just a few reasons why... [Read More]
Tags: potatoes

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to

Oversized potato postcard [1]
Today’s post features a humorous postcard from the 1980s. Although Idaho doesn’t actually grow gigantic potatoes (sadly), it does produce about 13 billion pounds of potatoes each year, supplying roughly one-third of the United States potato crop! We love potatoes so much that Idaho even has a Potato Museum! [Read More]
Tags: potatoes