Saturday, December 8, 2007

Finding the Inland Northwest in Unlikely Places

One of the great promises of digital history is the unexpected discoveries. As archives become widely accessible and keyword searchable, even a casual researcher can come across documents and images that were previously unknown. This is especially likely to happen with documents that are themselves in unexpected places, separated from their frames of reference by historical happenstance and lodged in some archive where researchers of the topic are not prone to look.

Consider for example this striking color image of Spokane Garry from the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery. I have often seen the black-and-white version but had no idea that a colorized version of the image existed. The NYPL page notes: "Published by EDW. H. Mitchell, San Francisco for G.M. Imlay, Spokane, Wash."

I discovered this with a NYPL search for "spokane" which revealed some other interesting historical images including some stereoscopic views of the falls and this commemorative menu of Columbus' 400th anniversary.

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