Gary Greaves of the Greaves Collection. Photo courtesy of Frances McCue.

Gary Greaves of the Greaves Collection. Photo courtesy of Frances McCue.

The Greaves Interviews, one of the region’s largest collections of interviews done by one person, is given to UW Libraries and made available online.

In the early 1990s, Gary Greaves, a local activist who worked for homeless causes, peace advocacy and for the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, was interested in how Seattle had changed after the World’s Fair and he wanted to capture the stories of people whose vision made a difference in the city. He wanted to hear the stories not typically heard in the media. After Greaves’ death in 2009, writer Frances McCue, his widow, found the tapes of more than a hundred interviews in their basement. Startled by the extent of the collection, she worked with MOHAI’s director, chief historian and volunteers, the head of the Media Center at UW, UW Undergraduate and graduate students and an attorney to put the collection into shape so that it could be enjoyed by researchers and anyone interested in local history. The Greaves Collection has 129 interviews, including, Wes Uhlman, Aaron Dixon, Dorothy Hollingsworth, and Margaret Pageler.

While work was underway on McCue’s discovery, it came to light that Greaves had another collection—both video and audio—at the Museum of History and Industry. During his time as a volunteer there, he created another twenty-nine recorded interviews, including former mayor Norm Rice and Seattle architect Fred Bassetti. Realizing the importance of this unique collection, Frances McCue and MOHAI have joined forces and generously donated the interviews to UW Libraries. The audiotapes have been digitized by the UW Media Center and will be made available to everyone on the UW Special Collections website.

The project celebrated its launch with a party at MOHAI on June 8th.