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Writing a History of Seattle

Professor Roger Sale of the University of Washington,
reads from his book in progress
1970 - 1971

Seattle Past to PresentIn the Acknowledgements to his "Seattle Past to Present" Roger Sale writes of the period 1969 to 1970 "That year was indispensable. I did not finish the project then, as I had originally hoped, but the year was time enough to do a great deal of legwork and to give the book its essential shape." So, by July 1970, when he started what eventually became a twenty-one part radio series of readings from a book in progress and reflections on the creative process, he had steeped in its details for a good time.

The series was first broadcast from Jul 1970 to the beginning of summer 1971. With some revisions it was rebroadcast in 21 parts from Dec 2, 1971 to May 4, 1972, and again Jul 8, 1975 to Dec 23, 1975. We will do our best to present these programs in the order in which they were broadcast.

During the heyday of Seattle basketball, Roger Sale and Norm Arkans produced a program of commentary and analysis of Sonics games with "On the Foul Line."

Seattle Past to Present is available from UW Press

Problems listening, or comments? Email: KRABarchive


Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 1 - Jul 23, 1970

Tape labelTape label description: Dr Roger Sale, of the English Department of the University of Washington, in the first of a series of programs about Seattle, from a non-anecdote point of view.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, unknown

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 1 - KRAB Jul 23, 1970 (32:04)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 2 - Aug 6, 1970

Guide description: Professor Roger Sale, of the Department of English, OW, working out the details, extrapolating the meaningful, and coagulating the flow of events which have made Seattle what she is today.

Note: Sometimes the descriptions in the guide were written prior to the recording of the episode and are a bit vague as to the content of the program. In this episode, it is almost as if Professor Sale has been listening to another KRAB commentator, Alan Watts, as here, in discussing what he intends to explore in the book and these readings, he talks about ways of "seeing Seattle", and takes as a topic "Seattle was a place where God had done everything right, and Man had done everything wrong."Tape label

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Aug 6, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 2 - KRAB Aug 6, 1970 (27:53)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 3 - Aug 20, 1970

Guide description: Professor Roger Sale with notes and details on where this old Queen City came from.

"On Nov 13, 1851, the steamer Exact, on its way from Portland to the Queen Charlotte Islands, stopped at Alki Point in what is now West Seattle, and twenty-two people, ten adults and twelve children, disembarked." Thus begins Roger Sale's third episode of Writing a History of Seattle. Here is the arrival of Denny party.Tape label

For the first 90 seconds, the audio is a bit unpleasant, as if someone is stepping on the microphone cable, but it soon gets better.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Aug 20, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 3 - KRAB Aug 20, 1970 (32:18)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 4 - Sep 3, 1970

Tape labelGuide description Dec 23, 1971 rebroadcast: About the character of Arthur Denny, the main force in the founding of the area.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Sep 3, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 4 - KRAB Sep 3, 1970 (32:18)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 5 - Sep 17, 1970

Tape labelGuide description: Professor Roger Sale of the University of Washington, refreshing us on the days when Denny worked for Yesler.

Tape label description: Fifth in a series by Dr Roger Sale of the Univ of Wash English Dept.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Sep 17, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 5 - KRAB Sep 17, 1970 (30:20)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 6 - Oct 1 or 15, 1970

Guide description, Oct 15, 1970: with Prof. Roger Sale examining the Oriental "problem" from both sides during 1885-1886 , as it happened hereabouts.

Tape labelWe don't know if this was the program intended for Oct 1st, because the program guide of that date is missing, but number 6 in the series is indeed about the years 1885 and 1886 and discusses incidents and the treatment of Chinese living in the Seattle area. The italicized text here comes from the guide description for Oct 15, 1970. On the other hand, the Seattle Times has a vague description for the Oct 1st program: "Prof Roger Sale looks at the days of Denny and Yesler", which would be more accurate for the Sept 17 program. Go figure.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Oct 1, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 6 - KRAB Oct 1, 1970 (33:56)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 7 - Oct 29, 1970

As with the putative Oct 1st broadcast, the program guide for Oct 29 is missing so we lack a guide description, but the tape box label tells us that this is part 7, first aired on Oct 29, 1970. And if the documentation is lacking, or vague, here Professor Sale comes to the rescue in the opening sentences of the broadcast: "Tonight, we come to the last of a three part series on the anti-Chinese agitation of 1885 and 1886." What exactly this means regarding the numbering of the tapes, and the dates of broadcast is unclear, but it seems as if there may be a tape missing between our number 6 and number 7, but as has been previously mentioned, this was a work in progress and revisions were frequent.Tape label

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Oct 29, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 7 - KRAB Oct 29, 1970 (35:05)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 8 - Nov 12, 1970

Guide description: Professor Roger Sale on the aftermath of the 'Chinese Problem' of the 1880's in the Queen City.

Guide description Feb 3, 1972 rebroadcast: Postscript to the Anti-Chinese affair, including comments on Seattle's early self-reliance and on various railroads (Like The Northern Pacific and The Great Northern) with their respective effects.

Tape labelOnce again, we have an inconsistency: The date of the original broadcast on the the tape label is shown as Nov 20, 1970, but the program guide does not show Professor Sale as scheduled for that date. He is scheduled for Nov 12.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Nov 20, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 8 - KRAB Nov 12, 1970 (31:26)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 9 - Nov 26, 1970

Guide description: Roger Sale, one-half of the 'Foul Line' team, here talking about Seattle before the Sonics.

Tape labelTape label description: Continuing turn of the century, Nature of the City; Statistics; the differences betwen Seattle, Tacoma and Portland with Seattle becoming dominant. Comparing economics.

The labels of both tape 10 and tape 9 have been altered at some point making the ordering of 9 and 10 uncertain.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Nov 26, 1970

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 9 - KRAB Nov 26, 1970 (29:04)

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Program 10 of 21 is something of a mystery. The tape labelled "10 of 21" seems to contain a program that is out of squence from the rest, and it has been placed between programs 19 and 20.


Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 11 - Dec 10, 1970

Guide description: Roger Sale with: Downtown buildings and a residential survey of the city at the turn of the country.

Tape label description: Beginning a residential survey (geological) in 1897 at the time of the death of Arthur Denny; especially downtown.

The program Guide description and tape label are surprisingly consistent. Yes, it does indeed say "turn of the country". Was it a typo? Did they intend to write "turn of the century"? Feel free to correct as you see fit.PA0465

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Dec 10, 1970

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 11 - KRAB Dec 10, 1970 (30:18)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 12 - KRAB Dec 24, 1970PA0466

Tape label description: A Residential Survey (geological) in 1897 at the time of the death of Arthur Denny; especially downtown. 1897:Skidroad Area.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Dec 24, 1970

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 12 - KRAB Dec 24, 1970 (30:18)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 13 - KRAB Jan 7, 1971

PA0464Tape label description: How the weather and the wilderness would affect the residents at the turn of the century and a look at the geography which was outside of Seattle (including the tideflats, greenlake, university, etc).

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Unknown

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 13 - KRAB Dec Jan 7, 1971 (30:18)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 14 - KRAB Jan 21, 1971

PA0464Tape label description: Writing a history of Seattle: This program, Roger Sale's fourteenth, begins his analysis of the turn from the city of the 90's through the first decade when the city became what it now is: sophisticated, aware, but also lazy and willing to sell short rather than sell long. He discusses what he sees as the good, the dangerous and the crucial of the times and concludes that ". . . nothing has happened in Seattle since 1915." This is the thesis for most of the rest of this series. This program deals mainly with the parks of the city, beginning with the major acquisitions of the pre-twentieth century: volunteer and woodland parks.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Unknown

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 14 - KRAB Jan 21, 1971 (30:18)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 15 - Feb 4, 1971

PA0464Tape label description: The Career of R. H . Thompson: Reginald H Thompson (b. 1856), was the City Engineer from 1892. Roger Sale describes him as a ". . . combination of David with his slingshot and the little red hen." He was a man who hated haff-baked schemes and sloppy work; who planned well, was patient and not seeking a fortune for himself. He was out to change the city from what he called a "pit". To do this he fought vested interests to make major contributions to the future of the city: he was key to the success of the (his) sewage plans, the ship-canal, Harbor Island, the dredging of the Duwamish and the regrading of the downtwn hills.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Feb 4, 1971

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 15 - KRAB Feb 4, 1971 (29:44)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 16 - Feb 18, 1971

PA0464Tape label description: Sale presents "George Cotterill and the demise of urban populism. Cotterill's career is a kind of mirror of the various reform movements in Seattle during its boom and crisis years - he was deeply involved in the creation of municipal corporations to operate the natural monopolies, in prohibition, in fighting 'the interests'. What happened to Cotterill is in a sense what happened to the whole city between 1895 and 1930.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Feb 18, 1971; Oct 28, 1975

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 16 - KRAB Feb 18, 1971 (26:52)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 17 - Mar 4, 1971

PA0464Tape label description: "George Cotterill and the demise of urban populism between 1900 and 1915." Says Roger Sale, "as reform becomes respectable, it becomes bourgeois, prohibitionist, staunch for clean government, afraid of the Skid Road, political reformers are driven left, and the near right is taken over by the flag waving Colonel Blethen of the TIMES. Blethen, Mayor Cotterill, and the Socialist Hulet Wells all get wonderfully entangled in a 1912 battle.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, unknown; Nov 4, 1975

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 17 - KRAB Mar 4, 1971 (29:05)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 18 - Mar 18, 1971

PA0464Tape label description: The Potlatch Riots of 1912 and their aftermath. These incidents, though in themselves mostly funny by now, make a neat comparison with the anti-Chinese riots of 1885 to show how Seattle was losing control of itself, resorting to distrust of self and others to extricate life from its disappointments. Patriotism as a badge of paranoia. Presented by Roger Sale.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Mar 18, 1971; Dec 2, 1975

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 18 - KRAB Mar 18, 1971 (30:37)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 19 - Apr 1, 1971

Guide description: The Wonderful 1909 Blue Laws and the almost equally wonderful anti-saloon and prohibition campaigns in Seattle and in the State of Washington between 1910 and 1917: "The one recorded period in history where a large group of people sold their souls and were unable to get drunk when they realized what they had done."PA0464

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Apr 1, 1971; Dec 9, 1975

Ends with a station ID and the first bars of Part IV of the Dahomey Suite by Mieczyslaw Kolinski.

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 19 - KRAB Apr 1, 1971 (32:28)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 10 - Apr 15, 1971

Guide description: "Sag and Withdrawal on the Right: The Defeat of the Bogue Plan. Virgil Bogue's Plan of Seattle is a direct outgrowth of the Olmstead boulevard system and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition of 1909; it is also the most intelligent plan of Seattle ever done, representing the immense practical grasp of a civil engineer, the dash and verve of a man who believes in elegance, and the vision of a first-class dreamer. The moneyed people who backed Bogue originally continue to support him, but half-heartedly, and the voters defeated the proposition, signaling the beginning of a long night, from which the city has not yet really awakened."PA0464

The tape label, which has been altered with "white-out" paint, indicates that this is number 10 of 21, but that appears to be incorrect, as the subject matter is the Bogue Plan, which Sale did not take up until much further along.

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Unknown

Listen now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 10 - KRAB Apr 15, 1971 (27:06)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - Apr 29, 1971

Guide description: The Rise and fall of the Seattle Star, the city's progressive tabloid, as an index of the impact of World War I on Seattle. There were immense and defeating contradictions in the involvement of the U.S. in the Great War, and it was the task of all good patriots to try to cover these up or deny their existence . Stupid men and institutions are always capable of genuine self-delusion; the pathos of the Star is that it was not really stupid, and so it was forced to set loose really large and thick smoke screens to keep the truth from itself.

No audio available


Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 20 - May 13, 1971

Guide description: Roger Sale presents a review of other books written on Seattle, or involving its citizens; done at this time because the affairs of the left up to and including the General Strike of 1919 are the best reported and recorded of all those that ever happened in the city. Murray Morgan, Anna Louise Strong, the biography of George Vanderveer and the autobiography of Hulet Wells, Norman Clark's work on Prohibition and the Everett Massacre, Bill Speidel, novels which use Seattle as a background, etc.PA0464

Instead, Sale begins the broadcast explaining that this is not what he intends to do tonight. Instead On May 13 (tonight) and May 27 will be a two-part discussion on "the crisis of the city."

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, Jun 13, 1971 - this is a typo: the broadcast was on May 13 and there was no "History of Seattle" on Jun 13

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 20 - KRAB May 13, 1971 (32:28)

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Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - part 21 - May 27, 1971PA0464

Guide description: We are a bit confused as to where Dr. Sale is in the glowing history of the Queen City. Thus, this program will either be what was listed for the last program (and thus, you should consult Thursday, May 13 listings) or, it will be the first of a two-part program on the General Strike of 1919.

As we mentioned above, Sale had previously announced that this would be the 2nd part of his analysis of "the crisis of the city".

Broadcast dates, according to tape label: First, May 27, 1971; Aug 17, 1975

Liseten now Listen now - Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle part 21 - KRAB May 27, 1971 (29:46)

PA0475


Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - Jun 10, 1971

Guide description: The last two programs until next Fall will concern the Seattle General Strike of 1919 . Part two of Roger Sale's Strike news will be heard on June 24.

No audio available


Professor Roger Sale with Writing a History of Seattle - Jun 24, 1971

Guide description: Part two of Roger Sale's programs on the Seattle General Strike of 1919.

No audio available



Recordings courtesy of Jack Straw Foundation


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