The Jane Karl collection

Scanned ImageWe are so delighted to bring you the newly-digitized Jane Karl Mid-century Modern Architectural Rendering collection, now available on the Arizona Memory Project! This collection has been so much fun to work with, not only because it is so visually stunning, but because it has given us a chance to collaborate with lots of great colleagues, historic preservationists, and the artist’s son, Phil Karl.

Scanned Image

Last year, some historic preservation friends put us in touch with the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office. Because they work so much with the architectural and historic preservation community in Phoenix, they were alerted to a wonderful collection that needed a home – the Jane Karl collection. Jane Karl and her husband Walter owned an architectural renderings studio, and did work for noted architects such as Del Webb and John F. Long. Unable to house the collection there, they were delighted to connect us with Phil Karl, the artist’s son, who donated the collection to thScanned Imagee archives in May.

This collection is preserved and accessible thanks to the work of so many friends and collaborators! The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office was great to put us in touch with the artist’s son. Phil Karl was so generous in not only donating the collection, but working with Alison King of to provide robust descriptive information on the collection. Richard Prouty helped us with getting the collection online, and you can see a great cross-section of the collection here: Scanned Image


Arizona’s Veterans through the Eyes of History

When: Friday, November 14, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Where: The Polly Rosenbaum State Archives Building, 1901 W. Madison 

Join us for a celebration of Arizona’s Veterans through the eyes of history.  America’s servicemen and women have long been an important part of Arizona history.  Starting in the territorial days when soldiers were stationed here to ensure the safety of Arizonans, followed by Frank Luke Jr.’s heroic military efforts during World War I, and the state’s significance as a training base for World War II soldiers and aviators.

On Friday, November 14, the State Archives will host an exhibit of unique and interesting military records that are part of the State Archives’ collections.  Archivists will be on hand to talk about these collections and discuss research interests you might have.

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On display will be an 1864 Map of the Military Department of New Mexico (which includes Arizona), the U.S. War Department – Military Map #1, a collection of letters written by Private Austin Seavey while he was stationed in Arizona from 1876 to 1881.  Photographs of military encampments during the territorial era will also be on display.  Selected examples of letters written by soldiers returning to Arizona after World War II to Governor Sydney Osborn describing the hardships they faced trying to reintegrate into civilian life will be available for the public to read.

Indian Scouts

These items are just a fraction of the material relating to veterans in the State Archives.  Collections include Veteran’s Association periodicals, lists and maps of military posts, General Orders, naturalization papers of World War I veterans, and photographs and documents from the Frank Luke Jr. collection.

To learn more about the official archives for Arizona’s state and local government permanent records, visit Archives and Records Management, a branch of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, collects, preserves and makes available public records, historical manuscripts, photographs, newspapers and other materials that contribute to Arizona’s history.

Happy Election Day!

Happy election day! We hope you have a chance to get out and vote today, if you haven’t already! Election day is not just an important day to practice your civic duty, it’s also an opportunity to recognize historic events that got us here. Today marks 100 years since women were first able to vote in a statewide election. We hope you’ll stop by today or in the next few days to check out some of the wonderful resources we have here at the State Archives related to the struggle for women’s suffrage.

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Arizona became a state in February 1912.  Prior to statehood, while writing the state’s new constitution, the issue of women’s suffrage came up.  Influential politician, George Hunt, who was president of the constitutional convention, decided not to support women’s right to vote, in part because he was concerned that the President of the United States would deny our request for statehood if we included suffrage in our constitution.  Also, at the time, a lot of men were concerned about the strong support many women had towards temperance.  These men feared that if women could vote they would back candidates that supported prohibition.

However, the state constitution gave voters the right to amend the constitution through the initiative process.  The Arizona Equal Suffrage Campaign Committee was organized and collected the 3,342 male signatures required by law to get a women’s suffrage initiative on the November 1912 ballot.  This initiative passed and became part of Arizona’s constitution nearly 8 years before women were granted the right to vote in national elections.

urns out the saloon supporters were right. Temperance supporters circulated a petition to institute prohibition in Arizona and the majority of the signers were women.  In the 1914 election the Arizona prohibition initiative passed and we became a dry state in 1915.


This wagon was used to dampen the dusty streets of Phoenix with alcohol the day that prohibition went into effect.

To NDNP and Beyond!

By Eden Robins, ADNP project manager

                                        “Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.”                                                                       ~Tony Robbins

Dome Renovation

Once again I visited our nation’s capital to attend the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) awardee conference. This year, however, was a little different. As I arrived at my hotel, I saw that the capitol dome I had so admired during my last visit was surrounded by scaffolding; clearly in the midst of a major renovation. When I researched what was happening, I learned that the renovation was for the purpose of stopping the current level of deterioration in the dome’s cast iron. Doing so would protect and preserve the interior of the dome and the rotunda for the future.

During one of my walks around the city, I took a closer look and could still see the original dome beneath all of the scaffolding. It appeared strong and enduring, despite the work being done. As I noted this, I considered what renovations were being done and how that might change the dome. Would it look different, would it look exactly the same? Would it be stronger, better or more beautiful?

What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain. Change is on its way.

It was more than the dome, however, that was different this year. In addition to my regular conference, I attended a preconference entitled, Beyond NDNP, to discuss what states around the country were going to do once their digital newspaper grant work for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and Chronicling America had finished. For Arizona, that was coming up fast. At the end of 2014, Arizona’s funding to contribute newspaper content to the National Digital Newspaper Program would end.

Then what? How might things change? How would Arizona continue to document and preserve its history through digitized newspapers? Would things be completely different or look exactly the same? Would a program develop that was stronger, better or more comprehensive?

What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain:Change is on its way.

Beyond NDNP Forum

Beyond NDNP Forum 2014, rooftop of the Intercontinental Willard Hotel, Washington DC


And that’s exactly what the Beyond NDNP two day forum was all about. Nationwide, states creating these digital newspapers for public access were facing the same questions as Arizona, and trying to come up with solutions. So, in an effort to address change, transition and progress, about twenty five states met for the first time to discuss and think about how we might move forward together beyond the NDNP grant. In addition, representatives from organizations who understand the importance and historic relevance of the newspaper digitization work being done were there to offer their support.

The two day preconference meeting took place in the office complex of the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel in DC, overlooking the National Mall. This hotel, which dates back to 1818 has seen everything from Charles Dickens staying there in 1842 (and again in 1887), the Peace Convention being held there in 1861, Franklin D Roosevelt’s inauguration there in 1937,  Martin Luther King, Jr. finishing his I Have a Dream speech while staying there in 1963, to the George Bush Sr. Inauguration in 1989.

Willard Intercontinental DC

Willard Intercontinental, Washington DC

Despite its long and historic heritage, this iconic landmark is now transformed into one of the most eco-friendly hotels in DC and was, in fact, the first hotel in the city to be 100% wind powered. In light of that, it seemed fitting that our Beyond NDNP group had our inaugural forum there.

What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain. Change is on its way.

 Just as I’m hopeful that the capitol dome will transition from its renovated state into something stronger and better, I too hope that our Beyond NDNP group will weather this change as the Willard Intercontinental  has done, emerging into an era of newspaper digitization, preservation and public access that becomes a force which is both enduring and innovative.




Exciting News at the State Archives!

It’s an embarrassment of riches over here at the State Archives! 

We recently received an amazing collection of mid-century architectural renderings done by Ms. Jane Karl (pretty unusual for that period!), and we wanted to give you a preview of the collection! (Please click on the image below to view in greater detail). arc rendering copy

This scan was taken from an oversized drawing, and was made possible with our new scanner.

scannerFolks, meet the Map Master XL!

Stay tuned!

Meet Archives Volunteer Donovan Wood

Like many archives, we rely on volunteers and interns to make our repository a more exciting and productive place. This week, we took a little bit of time to capture Donovan Wood on camera, and chat with him about how he found his way to the Archives, what he’s been up to, and where he hopes to take his history background in the future. Thank you, Donovan!! DonovanCropped

  1. Tell us a little about yourself

I had the privilege to grow up among the redwoods and vineyards of California’s Russian River wine country. As beautiful as the area is, when I first visited Arizona in 1988, I resolved that one day I would make it my home. After time spent in El Paso, Texas, and Lafayette, Louisiana, in 2005, I was accepted to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where I remained until I moved to Phoenix in 2011. I have two grown sons. My oldest, Zack, is a police officer in Arnaudville, Louisiana. My youngest, Eric, is a chef at Brix restaurant in Flagstaff. I have a passion for classic automobiles and am always on the lookout for an unexplored highway.

  1. What is your educational background? What was your research focus?

I hold a B.A. and M.A. in History from NAU. My graduate research focused on the emerging field of U.S. Borderlands history, 20th century cultural and labor history, and gender studies. What brought me to NAU in the first place was their Department of Applied Indigenous Studies. I especially wanted to be at an institution that offered a solid cross-disciplinary perspective of Native American topics. That, coupled with explorations of Chicano/a history, have provided me with a rich understanding of the region across time, space, and place.

  1. How did you become interested in history?

I’ve been interested in History since I was old enough to be interested in anything! In the third grade, I was fascinated (some family members might have thought obsessed) with the history of the U.S. Presidency. I could name them all in order, memorized the years they served and their birth and death years. After a visit to Ellis Island some years ago, I considered compiling a history of passenger steamship service full of arcane statistical data on age, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, etc. Pretty nerdy stuff! I’ve also been known to geek out on the history of regional urban development — roads, highways, neighborhoods, ethnic enclaves, etc. In addition to exploring broad, macrohistorical historical themes, I can also get downright microhistorical about investigating, say, the history of the eight-unit apartment complex I live in.

  1. Why did you want to come volunteer at the Archives?

My first visit to the archives was while I was still in grad school researching my thesis. While there, it began to occur to me that what I seemed to most enjoy about “doing history” was the hunt for evidence, while I found the actual production of history (the analysis and writing) quite frustrating. When I decided that I would forgo a Ph.D, I began to consider applying my education in the area of historical inquiry that I knew I had an interest in. To have marketable skills as an archivist, however, would mean more education. Before making that commitment, I wanted to spend more time in the professional environment of archivists to see if it really was a path I wanted to pursue.

  1. What is your favorite part of working with archival materials?

Archival materials are the tangible evidence of our past. They take my imagination places it can’t otherwise go. Like bibliophiles love the smell of an old book, I feel a very real connection to the past by handling these materials. It’s very similar to what so many find fascinating about coin or stamp collecting — that question of what an object might have been “witness” to. I also feel a great sense of satisfaction from being part of a process that makes the past accessible to future generations by providing a context for interpretation as well as an environment conducive to responsible preservation.

Donovan with Collection

  1. What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am working on inventorying an engaging collection of materials that scratches my itch for urban history. These materials were donated by the family of a woman who was in high demand as a commercial artist producing architectural renderings for several major real estate developers in the Valley. Once the material is processed, patrons and researchers will have a rich resource from which to learn about the mid-century development of the metro area. It’s also a chance to appreciate some first rate technical drawings purely for their artistic merit!

  1. What is your dream job?

I’ve come to value the role of a support player — someone who works behind the scenes on details that make others shine. As someone with significant research experience, I understand the value of having accessible archival materials. In this field, my dream job would surely involve the continuing development and population of virtual repositories that enable the broadest access possible. Of course, with my appreciation for strong historical analysis and interpretation, this would certainly include digital curation of exhibits. Or I could drive a truck.