What Immigration Brings

These are the members of the Swedish Mustache Club of Tacoma about 1903. You may ask yourself when did facial hair become hipster ironic? Well the answer (in Tacoma anyway) is about 1903 when a bunch of guys kept a straight face in chefs hats and sailor suits while having their picture taken. Is that an accordion playing in background?

moustache club

Not to be outdone, there are the these hipster girls from 1924. Some historians are sour on the 20’s but some aspects are just so sweet. Like whatever craze got into the heads of these four girls. It seriously reminds me of an Arlo Guthrie song about “just wanta ride my motorsickle”.

Pickle girls

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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

1 comment

  1. Interesting! If you see an accordion, you see better than I do! 🙂 I love how the girl second left, has her hand flung mop-like, over her friend’s shoulder..
    Thanks Michael!


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