by Christina Trabant
How do you pack 90 years worth of Junior League of Seattle history into a timeline? How do you illustrate the changes our League has experienced during those 90 years? How do you digitally save the information while also creating a physical and movable representation that League members can view and enjoy? That was the task set before my Provisional Project group, as we took on the JLS Visual History Timeline Project.
The project was conceived by League staff member Courtney Laguio, who spent much of the past two years organizing and cataloguing the archives in the office. With the blessing of JLS President Rebecca Wilson, Laguio’s brainchild for a Provisional Project was green lit for the 2013-2014 year in advance of the anniversary celebrations.
During our group’s first meeting in September, we discussed a number of ideas for the timeline itself and a reveal party. We wanted to highlight the important dates as well as the projects and issues the League championed. We held work parties to pour over the archived photographs and read through the Annual Reports and Greenbooks. Of course any Junior League of Seattle timeline would be remiss without mentions of the Seattle Day Nursery, Braille Library for the Blind, The Wise Penny Thrift Shop, Puget Soundings, the Cookbooks and Northwest Art as well as our two Mary Harriman award winners, Dee Dickinson and Colleen Willoughby.
During our work parties, the group remarked about learning the smaller details the archives allowed us to uncover. For example: The amount of money the Wise Penny brought in during its inaugural year; the membership number flux over the past 90 years, particularly during World War II; the year that League members began being recognized by their own names instead of their married names; the evolution of the Madison Park office purchase and opening; and the first year the President-Elect position started. We also enjoyed viewing the varying member fashion over the years and seeing skinny jeans featured during a 1970s fashion show. As a Provisional, I was especially interested in the 1976-77 year, when the League began scheduling Provisional gatherings in the evenings to accommodate an increasing number of working women and the 1985-86 year, when Provisional Projects were added.
After gleaning the dates and data we wanted to include, Courtney Laguio used her graphic design skills to create the layout of eight distinct poster drafts. Each poster represents one decade, from the 1920s through the 1990s. We chose not to build a poster for the 2000s decade, as we are hoping League members will view the timeline and come forward with more archival information. Our group members had the opportunity to review and comment on the drafts via the GroupShare function on Digital Cheetah and the final posters were printed.
The timeline reveal party took place during the January edition of Bubbles & Bites, Monday, January 27th at the League office. In addition to showing off the final product of our Provisional Project, the party featured recipes made as part of a service shift from the League cookbooks. Even if you missed it, keep your eyes peeled at our upcoming 90th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, April 5th, where the timeline is scheduled to be on display.
To purchase tickets to the 90th Anniversary Celebration, please click the following link. Friends and family are invited!