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Research Guides

Pacific Northwest Collection: About the PNW Collection

Archival collections and library materials relating to the history, culture, and people of the Pacific Northwest.

Castle Peak Pinnacle Peak Mount Rainier National Park

Printed Materials - Books, serials, maps, brochures, and other printed matter. Search the UW Library Catalog.

Archival Materials - Unique materials. Personal and family papers or organizational and corporate records - letters, diaries, writings, oral histories, scrapbooks, photos, recordings, and other unique matter. Search the Special Collections findings aids database


The Pacific Northwest Collection has thousands of archival collections and library materials documenting  the people, history, and culture of the region. 

Areas of collection strength include:

Indigenous Pacific Northwest
Colonial Exploration
Overland and Pioneer Narratives
Early Settlement
Ethnic, Gender, and Religious Communities

Civil Rights and Protest
Arts & Cultural Organizations
Conservation and the Environment
Linguistics and Anthropology
Literature and Poetry
Political Papers

History of the PNW Collection

The Pacific Northwest Collection began in 1905 with a distributed leaflet by University Librarian Henry Canby Coffman requesting the donation of books, manuscripts, maps, pamphlets and other materials which illustrated the history and present condition of Washington State and the broader Pacific Northwest region.

The Pacific Northwest Collection includes the geographical area lying north of California and west of the Rocky mountains, including the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, together with British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon.

The Collection is substantially built on the generous material and monetary donations of people such as Edmond Meany, Manson Backus, Edward W. Allen, Robert Hitchman and many others.

Today, there are over 44,000 volumes cataloged in the library collection and over 44,000 linear feet of archival materials.

Curator of the Pacific Nothwest Collection

Profile Photo
Anne Jenner
Special Collections
Allen Library South, Lower level
(206) 685-2856

Special Collections is the UW Libraries' major resource for rare and archival materials covering a broad range of topics, formats, and periods. The Special Collections reading room, located on the lower level of Allen Library South, is open to the public on weekdays

Major collecting areas are overseen by curators/archivists.

Pacific Northwest Collections
University of Washington Archives
‚ÄčLabor Archives of Washington
Book  Arts & Rare Books
Digital Collections
Historical Visual Materials
History of Science and Medicine