If you’ve spent any time on campus, you’ve definitely noticed the incredible view we have of Mount Rainier. The Mountain that was “God” (being a little book about the great peak which the Indians named “Tacoma” but which is officially called “Rainier”) by John H. Williams was published in 1911, and features a lot of very attractive photography of our beloved mountain. The language in this book is extremely Romantic, though a little beyond its time. It features many of the legends that surrounded the mountain at the time of its publication, and waxes poetic about the peak: “It is an inspiration and yet a riddle to all who are drawn to the mysterious or love the sublime.” Though with all the talk of legends, of course there is also a venture into describing the native populations, which at most points is painfully problematic.
While I’m not sure if I would recommend it as a source if you’re writing about the history of Mt. Rainier, I’d definitely recommend it for the amazing amount of photography included in it. The book itself is filled with black and white photos and a handful of color photos, and even has some newspaper articles pasted in at the front (which on one hand, makes my skin crawl, but on the other hand, they’re cool to read). The stories about the business and exploration are definitely worth a read, though.
The Archives & Special Collections is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00-3:00 p.m. or by appointment.
By Morgan Ford