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By Lucile McDonald, Richard McDonald

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People confidently expected her to save buildings and rescue collections of photographs or documents. They wanted her to tell their family's story, or the history of their neighborhood. And she was eager to do those things. Her final book to be published while she was alive came out in 1990, when she was ninety-two. Making History: The People Who Shaped the San Juan Islands has all the strengths and weaknesses of a lifetime spent at popularizing history. Lucile Mc Donald wrote about state and local history for fifty years, and made old photos and maps, archaeology, and old-timer reminiscences available and interesting to ordinary people.

She made it plain that I was wasting my time in graduate school and should get an honest job. But she was clearly pleased that I was thoroughly familiar with her work. She invited me to her home and opened her files to me. I became one of her many acquaintances. Years passed, and we occasionally encountered one another at the archives. We didn't need to "catch up"all we knew about one another was our shared interest in local history, and that was Page x enough. So, in the fall of 1991, I felt comfortable dashing off a note to her, suggesting that she publish an index to her newspaper articles on Washington state history.

This unusual autobiography was originally written as two separate manuscripts. She finished the earliest in about 1975 and completed the later portion, covering her Seattle work, in 1980. Lucile died in 1992 at the age of 93. Until her last months she never stopped writing. Left behind were some 55 file drawers of papers which in large part are now at the University of Washington Library. In examining this huge volume, it's hard to imagine all was typed on a mechanical typewriter with flimsy carbon copies.

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