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Primary Sources at the Seattle Municipal Archives

The documents available in our Digital Document Libraries and online exhibits are just a few examples of the wide variety of primary sources available for research at the Seattle Municipal Archives. Our holdings include approximately 6,000 cubic feet of textual records; 3,000 maps and drawings; 3,000 audiotapes; 1,000 videotapes and reels of motion picture film; and over one-and-a-half million photographic images of City projects and personnel. These records document the history, development, and activities of the agencies and elected officials of the City of Seattle. Special strengths of the records include photographs, especially of public works projects, records on the City's parks, records of City Council from 1985 to the present, and those relating to work by the Engineering Department.

  • For an overview of records, see the Guide to the Archives. The Guide provides descriptions of record groups in the Archives and links to folder lists.

  • Over 110,000 digital images are available on the website, searchable by neighborhood, time period, and subject. Students and teachers should contact the Archives with any questions about holdings, access, or use.

  • The Archives also holds maps of the City of Seattle and property owned by the City dating from 1890 to the present. Digital copies are available online for about 75% of the maps.

The holdings of the Archives are public records and are managed in accordance with the Revised Code of Washington public records law and public disclosure law.