The core of the Northwest History Database is composed of roughly 100,000 newspaper clippings from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Clippings Collection. These newspaper articles were collected and organized in the 30's by dedicated historians working for the Works Progress Administration. The office was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in May of 1935 to help provide work and relief to an impoverished economy. Before it was closed down in 1943, it was one of the largest employers in the country and, generally, the largest employer in most states. The process of organizing the mountain of newspaper clippings was supervised by Dr. Herman Deutsch, a WSU professor.
There are an estimated 400,000 newspaper clippings stored in roughly 400 shoe-sized boxes in WSU's Holland Library. The database has grown so much since its creation in 2001, that the original database was filled to the point of breaking and a second database was needed to be created to help store the information.