Library unveils historical collection

94-year-old’s memorabilia spanning more than a century on public display

Virginia Warren, 94, is a 1944 Camas High graduate who has been collecting pieces of Camas-Washougal history since her high school days. Warren recently donated her memorabilia to the Camas Public Library.

One of the three scrapbooks filled with Camas-Washougal history sits inside a wood and glass case at the Camas library.

Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brent Erickson (right) asks Virginia Warren to be the 2019 grand marshal of the 2019 Camas Days Grand Parade while Camas Mayor Shannon Turk looks on.

Virginia Warren, 94, greets a crowd gathered at the April 26 unveiling of Warren's extensive Camas-Washougal memorabilia collection, which she gifted to the public library.

Virginia Warren (left) talks to Camas Mayor Shannon Turk (right) at the April 26 unveiling of the Virginia M. Lethlean Holland Warren Collection at the Camas Public Library.

A crowd of Camas luminaries and history lovers gathered April 26 at the Camas Public Library for the unveiling of the new Virginia M. Lethlean Holland Warren Collection.

Donated by Camas native and historian Virginian Warren, 94, the collection includes three giant scrapbooks containing photos, brochures, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia from the Camas-Washougal area that Warren has been collecting since the 1940s.

“People were always asking me about Camas, and I decided these needed to be preserved,” Warren told the Post-Record on April 26.

An alumna of Camas schools — she attended first through sixth grades at the old Camas Central Elementary School, seventh through ninth grades at the former Camas Junior High and graduated from Camas High School in 1944 — Warren said some of her favorite parts of the historical collection include photos of Camas-area school buildings.

“I also love the old styles, the overall bibs and photos from the schools,” Warren said.

The public can request to view two of the scrapbooks at the library. A third book will remain in a special wood and glass display case and library staff will flip to a new page in the book each day. The library staff will rotate all of the scrapbooks through the case, so the public will have a chance to view the entire collection first-hand inside the library. The scrapbooks are not available for out-of-library checkouts.

“I may have to come visit every day to see it,” said Camas City Administrator Pete Capell as he peered into the glass case at a page in the scrapbook containing a photo of Richard and Betsy Ough, an English seaman and his wife, a princess of the indigenous Cascades people, who are thought to be the first permanent settlers in Washougal.

“We are immensely fortunate to have a resource like Ms. Warren in our community,” said Camas Library Director Connie Urquhart. “Now we will be able to share her memories of Camas with generations to come.”

Camas Mayor Shannon Turk, who brought her 16-month-old grandson, Taven, to the April 26 unveiling, agreed.

“This is such a valuable donation for future generations,” Turk told the Post-Record after the unveiling. “It’s an absolutely amazing collection and I’m so happy someone took the time to keep all of these things safe. (Warren) has gone almost back to the beginning of Camas with this collection.”