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Tacoma Community History Projects: 1998

A guide to oral history projects compiled by students in Professor Mike Honey's "Doing Community History" course. Projects date from 1991.

Project Descriptions

History of Murray and Rosa Morgan, The - Call # 1998#04

In the spring of 1939, two people sharing a love for the Northwest and common interests in writing, research, and adventure were married. Little did anyone know then that this union between Murray and Rosa Morgan would have such an effect on Northwest history. For over sixty years, Murray has been a journalist and historian, writing articles, books, and doing radio broadcasts covering a world-wide range of subjects, although mainly concentrating on issues in the Northwest. His works are especially relevant to Tacoma, where he is known as the expert in the city's history. Rosa has been a constant throughout as a researcher, editor, photographer, and proofreader. Their enthusiasm for their work has produced beautifully written narrative histories that allow the reader to easily imagine what life was like in the past. Together Murray and Rosa Morgan, doing what they love and do best, have changed the way we feel about the Northwest through their research and Murray's writings. The interviews were taped the afternoon of November 10, 1998 at Murray and Rosa's house near Trout Lake. There are also several appendices included to learn more about the Morgan's lives and work through primary sources. -Amy L. Adams

Peter C. Stanup: A Leader among the Generous People - Call # 1998#03

Peter Stanup's body was found in the Puyallup River in May of 1893; he was 35 or 36 years old. Some people think this leader of the Puyallup tribe was murdered, while others think he drowned accidentally. His death happened at a time when Native Americans had suffered and lost much at the hands of the white settler - and it was still happening. Peter diagreed with the decision by the Federal Government placing limits on how the Indians could sell their land. Did alcohol and disease contribute to his early death? Was his drowning accidental or was he murdered? The conflicting reports are many. This project includes conversations with Lena Laundry, an elder of the Puyallup Tribe who recalls her parents' conversations about Stanup; Judy Wright, an historian of the Puyallup tribe; and Charles Thomas, the great grandson of Peter Stanup. -Darlyne Reiter

Then and Now: Women Legislators in Washington State - Call # 1998#02

The era of civil rights and women's liberation fundamentally changed society, in part by breaking the tight grip men held on political power. One aspect of this fundamental change included the election of women to public office in growing numbers. I spoke with two women who were first elected to the Legislature during the era of women's liberation: Senator Shirley Winsley of Fircrest, a Republican first elected in 1976; and Senator Lorraine Wojahn of Tacoma, a Democrat first elected in 1969. Their thoughts on the Legislature, then and now, reflect how greatly this august body has evolved. Lorraine Wojahn and Shirley Winsley are two women from different parties, but similar backgrounds. Both learned to be independent and self-sufficient at a young age. Neither became involved in political affairs until after their children had been raised. On many issues, regardless of their party's platform, they hold similar convictions. These women illustrate the fundamental changes that the inclusion of women has brought to representative politics. Both have seen the evolution of issues and protocols that resulted from women being elected to representative positions. -Joy Adam

Woman of Firsts, A: Nelda Jaeger-Kraemer - Call # 1998#01

After an extended honeymoon beginning in Columbus, Ohio, Herman and Lina Jaeger arrived in Tacoma, Washington and chose to travel no further. Neither wished to journey back to Columbus by any means of transportation available in 1885. The family lived the majority of their Tacoma residency in a Victorian house on a lot at 303 S. G. Street directly across from Wright Park. Nelda Jaeger-Kraemer, Herman and Lina's middle child, and the lot that they called home are the focus this project. Nelda was the first woman appointed as a Police Judge in the City of Tacoma (1912). In talking her daughter-in-law, Betty Jean Kraemer, and her only grandchildren Renee Kraemer-Rhoads and Robert Richard Kraemer Jr., we are introduced to the rich growth of Tacoma over a ninety-year period. We will also see the changes that have dictated the future of Tacoma. You will investigate the life of a woman struggling through the movement in the early 1900s and the impact the family feels to this day. Appendixes of this report contain legal descriptions of property owned by the family, family photos, and newspaper clippings that show the events that affected not only the Jaegers, but all citizens of Tacoma. The goal in producing this oral history is to reclaim Nelda Jaeger-Kraemer's rightful place in Tacoma's history. She was an important force in the Women's Movement as it played out in Tacoma, Washington. -Kathryn S. Held