Browse Exhibits (6 total)

Silence Speaks: The Quiet Power of Wordless Novels

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An online exhibition of books from Archives & Special Collections
Western Washington University Libraries

Introduction

The American novelist John Steinbeck once said that “A man without words is a man without thought.” Wordless novels, a genre of visually rendered narratives that were forerunners of today’s graphic novels, challenge this idea. Pioneered in 1918 by Frans Masereel, a Belgian artist who inspired a generation of illustrators (including the first female wordless novelist), the books’ uncaptioned, mostly black-and-white images express the artistic, social, and political turmoil of the years between the First and Second World War. More broadly, they raise timeless questions about the complex relationship between power, knowledge, and silence.

Lack of words, contrary to Steinbeck’s assertion, does not always mean lack of thought. Sometimes, in fact, our minds are at their busiest in moments of quiet, and you only have to turn on today’s 24/7 news networks to realize that endless words are not necessarily a sign of deep understanding. For all their power to expand knowledge, words can also confine and even inhibit it. Think, for example, about how hard it can be to break free from cherished myths, enshrined in textbooks and other published histories, that have shaped our national and local consciousness, or about how some written forms of communication, such as scientific journals, shut out indigenous ways of knowing. Of course, words can also give the illusion of communication. Stripping them away completely is one approach to encountering truth and unshackling the mind. As Francis Bacon observed long ago, “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.”

This online exhibition introduces major wordless novels in Special Collections at the Western Washington University Libraries. The materials are on display in the Special Collections exhibition gallery on the sixth floor of Wilson Library from September 22, 2021 through June 10, 2022.


Credits

Exhibition curated by Michael Taylor, Special Collections Librarian

Content warning

This exhibition contains images that some viewers may find disturbing. Western Libraries' Division of Archives & Special Collections aims to foster academic dialogue and contextualize its collections of historical material in a respectful manner. We welcome feedback on any issues of concern. Please contact us at speccoll@wwu.edu.

"Plenty of Things To Do"

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"Plenty of Things To Do": The Work of Northwest Children's Author and Illustrator Doris Burn

This online exhibit explores the work and legacy of award-winning twentieth century children's author and illustrator Doris Burn (1923-2011). Burn was a self-taught writer and artist who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests and creativity of a younger audience. Her work has proven beloved across generations, with titles published originally in the 1960s and 1970s now reissued in translation and legacy edition. This exhibit draws on rich collections of Burn’s artwork, manuscripts and family papers donated to Western Washington University from the Burn family. We invite visitors and readers of all ages to consider and enjoy the ways in which Doris Burn’s creative output – forged in the San Juan islands of Northwest Washington – continues to connect and inspire as classic children’s book writing and illustration.

Bellingham Centennial : Exploring the Foundations of Our Community

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This content of this exhibit was developed in 2003-04 in conjunction with the Bellingham Centennial celebrations, to provide teachers and students an opportunity to examine primary sources related to the history of Bellingham. Drawn from the archives of WWU's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, these primary sources include photographs, maps, and documents that provide a firsthand sense of life in Bellingham a century ago. 

The website presents these materials in four sections:

  • Towns
  • Industries
  • People
  • Schools

This site also presents suggested lesson plans. Educators may wish to use the website for putting together materials for use by students in class; alternatively, teachers may want the students themselves to explore the website, and put together their own materials. 

Exploration & Escape: The Frank L. Waynewood Underground and Alternative Comix Collection

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An online exhibition presented in conjunction with Silence Speaks: The Quiet Power of Wordless Novels, currently on display at Special Collections, Western Libraries Heritage Resources, Western Washington University.

Introduction

Portrait of Frank L. Waynewood

Displayed here are selections from the underground comic book collection of Frank L. Waynewood (pictured at right), donated by his wife, Catherine R. Tate, in 2017. This unique collection of nearly 1,200 titles documents the 1960s-1970s underground comix scene as well as the emergence of the Pacific Northwest as a hub of alternative comics in the 1980s and 1990s.

Frank Louis Waynewood (1937-2016) was born on November 15, 1937, in Abilene, Texas, where he was raised by his mother, Louise Burns. Before moving to Seattle in 1961, Waynewood was enrolled in the first integrated class of the University of Texas. Frank Waynewood spent a career in public service with the City of Seattle, State of Washington, and King County METRO. In his personal life, he was an enthusiastic traveler, and a passionate collector. In their journeys together, said Catherine Tate, Frank was easy to spot. Just go to the nearest used bookstore or antique shop and you’d find him sitting on the floor, paging through the comics.

“Frank loved mainstream comics,” explained Tate, “But he came of age with Mad Magazine. In particular, he loved the tiny drawings in the margins. That’s what really led him to underground comix: it was the stuff you had to work at, to decode.”

This online exhibition introduces the Waynewood Underground and Alternative Comics Collection in Special Collections at the Western Washington University Libraries. The materials are on display in the Special Collections research room on the sixth floor of Wilson Library from September 22, 2021 through June 10, 2022.

Content Warning

This exhibition contains images that some viewers may find disturbing. Western Libraries Heritage Resources aims to foster academic dialogue and contextualize its collections of historical material in a respectful manner. We welcome feedback on any issues of concern, and you can write to us at speccoll@wwu.edu.

Through the lens of Wallie V. Funk

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Welcome to this special digital exhibit page, created as an accompaniment to the display to be hosted in Western Libraries Special Collections during Winter Quarter 2015. 

This site features a range of photographs taken by noted and prolific photojournalist Wallie V. Funk, who co-owned the Anacortes American, the Whidbey News-Times, and the South Whidbey Record.

During his career, Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including several U.S. presidents, the Beatles’ and Rolling Stones’ concerts in Seattle, the 1970 Penn Cove whale capture, community events, and military activities on Whidbey Island.

The images shown here are a small sample from a far larger collection of papers, prints and negatives donated by Wallie V. Funk to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in 2003. 

To the Mountaintop: A Social History of Mountaineering

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Mountains are as much a part of the human psyche as they are a part of the landscape. In his last speech, Martin Luther King spoke of having “been to the mountaintop” and seen a land of greater promise, and Americans proudly sing the lines, “From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” Literally and symbolically, mountains are a source of liberation. But in helping some reach new heights, mountains have also been the backdrop to past and present struggles.

This online exhibition features rare books, historical photographs, and manuscripts that are a starting point for exploring the complex relationship between our love of high altitudes and issues of gender, race, and class. Drawn from the Division of Archives & Special Collections at the Western Washington University Libraries, the materials were originally displayed in the Special Collections exhibition gallery at WWU from September 26, 2018 to March 22, 2019.

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Credits

Exhibition curated by Michael Taylor, Special Collections Librarian, Western Washington University Libraries

Online exhibition designed by Anais Avila

Cover photo: "Mount Baker panorama, undated" courtesy of the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Henry C. Engberg Photographs