Governor Isaac Stevens' Territorial Library Collection
History of the Territorial Collection
The Washington Territorial Library was established by the Organic Act, which created Washington Territory in 1853. Section 17 of the Organic Act provided $5,000 for a Washington Territorial Library.
The Territory’s first governor, Isaac Stevens, used that money to purchase and ship some 2,000 volumes and reference materials around the Horn of South America. He also asked for documents and published archives from the executives of each state and territory of the United States and from a number of learned societies. These items made up the original Territorial Collection.
Most of the first books arrived in the new Territory before its governor did in 1853. One month before he arrived in the Territory, 1,850 books had already been placed on the shelves.
The books were Governor Stevens' attempt to civilize the frontier. The Territorial Collection laid the foundation for what would later become the Washington State Library.
Titles from the Territorial Collection are listed in the Library's online catalog.
Guidelines for Use of the Collection
Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877. Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition : during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Also known as the "official edition."
By act of Congress, Aug. 26, 1842, this edition of the U.S. Exploring Expedition's narrative was limited to 100 copies. Mr. Wilkes, however, secured copyright on his Narrative on the expedition, and under that privilege published an edition of 250 copies, of which the government received 100 copies. (T OV 910 UNITED. Map detail shown above.)
Digitized Titles in the Territorial Collection
Several items in the Territorial Collection have been digitized. To see the works, click on the links below:
- Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, ...under the command of Major Stephen H. Long. From notes of Major Long, Mr. T. Say, and other gentlemen of the exploring party. Compiled by Edwin James, botanist and geologist for the expedition.
- An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi. By Major Zebulon M. Pike; illustrated by maps and charts.
- Adventures on the Columbia River, by Ross Cox ; in two volumes.
- Course of the History of Modern Philosophy. By M. Victor Cousin; translated by O. W. Wight.
- Democracy in America. By Alexis de Tocqueville; translated by Henry Reeve.
- La Florida del Inca. Historia del adelantado, Hernando de Soto, governador, y capitan general del reino de la Florida...hasta en el año de 1722. By Garcilaso de la Vega
- History of Rome. By Thomas Arnold.
- History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, ...by order of the government of the United States. Prepared for the press by Paul Allen, Esquire
- The Mother at Home. By Rev. John S. C. Abbott.
- Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811, 1812, 1813 & 1814. by Gabriel Franchere; translated and edited by J.V. Huntington.
- Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition during the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. By Charles Wilkes.
- Oregon Missions and Travels over the Rocky mountains, in 1845-46. By Pierre-Jean de Smet.
- A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean...in His Majesty's ships the Resolution and Discovery; in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780. Vol. I. and II. written by Captain James Cook ... Vol. III. by Captain James King