Pearl Anderson Wanamaker collection
Scope and Contents
This collection holds materials relating to the professional life and accomplishments of Washington state educator Pearl Anderson Wanamaker. Materials include photographs, diplomas and honorary degrees, academic robes, and commencement ephemera. Please note that this collection has been renumbered from M-001 to TCCA-005.
- Wanamaker, Pearl Anderson, 1899-1984 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
There are no access restrictions on these materials.
Conditions Governing Use
Use is governed by Tacoma Community College's Creative Commons Copyright policy requiring attribution and share-alike intentions.
Pearl Anderson was born on January 18, 1899 on Camano Island, Washington. She attended the University of Washington and the Bellingham Normal School, obtaining her teaching degree from the former in 1922. During World War I, she taught and served as a principal at several island schools.
She married Lemuel Wanamaker in 1927. They had three children, Robert (1932), James (1933), and Joanna (1934).
In 1923, Wanamaker was elected Island County Superintendent of Schools, making her the youngest in comparable roles throughout the US. In 1928, she was elected as the House representative of the 38th District. After a brief pause, she served again in the House in 1932, where she supported the building of the Deception Pass Bridge. In 1936, she was appointed to the Senate after losing an election attempt that same year.
In 1940, she was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. In this role she pushed for the centralization and consolidation of school districts, reformed teaching certification requirements, the creation of community colleges, promoted special education, and pushed for federal education aid. In 1946 and 1950, Wanamaker was appointed by General MacArthur to a group that traveled to Japan to study the country's education system and make post-war recommendations for reorganization.
Wanamaker became a target for conservatives due to several actions over her career, most notably her reinstatement of Margaret Jean Schuddakopf to her job with Tacoma Schools after Schuddakopf elected to not respond to questioning by the House Un-American Activities Committee regarding her alleged involvement with the Communist party. In 1956, she lost her reelection bid to a conservative challenger.
After her sixteen years as Superintendent, Wanamaker continued to serve on numerous educational advisory groups both locally and across the country. According to a former Tacoma Community College faculty member, Wanamaker's stance on the Schuddakopf controversy and her support of the establishment of a community college in Tacoma led founding President Tom Ford to dedicate the college's library to Wanamaker. The dedication of the Pearl A. Wanamaker Library was held on December 7, 1966.
Wanamaker died in 1984.
Source and more information:
1.5 Linear Feet (3 flat oversize boxes)
Language of Materials
This collection holds materials relating to the professional life and accomplishments of Pearl Anderson Wanamaker, including awards, academic robes, photographs and degrees.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Judge Jim Wanamaker, Pearl Wanamaker's son, 1996.
The Tacoma Community College will retain all Pearl Anderson Wanamaker materials in their entirety. Mixed materials and artifacts in the collection capture specific elements of the early campus life and culture of students, staff, and faculty at Tacoma Community College during this time period.
No accruals anticipated.
Existence and Location of Copies
Some materials from this collection have been digitized and are available on the TCC Digital Collections site: Pearl Anderson Wanamaker collection.
- Guide to the Pearl Anderson Wanamaker Collection
- Tacoma Community College Archives
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard, 2nd Edition
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
- Edition statement
- Finding aid corrected, updated, and revised by Archivist M. Offtermatt (1/2020); latest revision by A. Demeter (7/2023).