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Washington State University Libraries
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Pullman, WA 99164-5610 USA
(509) 335-6691

Cage 656
Westin Hotels & Resorts
The J. Wm Keithan Archives, 1905--2004

The records of the Westin Hotels and Resorts were transferred to the Washington State University Libraries in 1997 by the Company. The records had previously been managed as the Westin Archives, a project of J. William Keithan, the Westin Vice-presid ent who founded the corporate archives in 1975 and who was instrumental in arranging the transfer to the University Libraries. After transfer of the archives, the University Libraries maintained the practices of arrangement and order as had been used to t hat time. Additional unsorted material was arranged and added, and the entire archives reboxed and refoldered as necessary. This processing was completed by John Mann in 1997 and 1998. In 2005, a printed report was added reflecting history of properties and management progression; in 2008, a more complete report was added (see Series 14).

Number of containers ---- 513
Linear feet of shelf space ---- approximatley 500


The firm known today as Westin Hotels and Resorts was formed in 1930 under the name Western Hotels, Inc. The idea for the company was conceived at an informal meeting in Yakima, Washington, between hoteliers Severt W. Thurston and Frank Dupar. Creati ng a management company to oversee the operations of all of their hotels, they reasoned, would help the hotels address Depression-era business conditions more effectively. Thurston and Dupar approached Peter and Adolph Schmidt, who operated five hotels in the Puget Sound area, with the idea, and the three groups agreed to pool their resources.

In 1930, Western Hotels operated seventeen hotels, all but one of them, The Boise, in Washington State. The firm expanded rapidly, however, to more accurately reflect its name. In 1931, Western Hotels ventured into both Vancouver, British Columbia, a nd Portland, Oregon. By 1941, Western had expanded into both Alaska and California. A decade later, Montana and Utah were added to the list of states served by Western Hotels. By then, a subsidiary company, Western Service and Supply Co., had been created to facilitate the operation of the growing number of Western Hotels.

Through the 1940s and most of the 1950s, Western Hotels remained focused primarily on management, supervising the policies and operations of its various hotels, but also emphasizing their individuality. Each hotel retained its own corporate and finan cial structure, and the notion of a "chain" of hotels was de-emphasized in advertising. Increasingly, however, the company began to wield greater influence on its properties, and in 1958, a decision was made to merge the better producing propert ies into a strong equity company. Western continued to expand not only in the western United States, but abroad as well, necessitating a name change in 1963 to Western International Hotels. In the mid-1960s, the capital structure of the firm was broadened , and Western International became a publicly-held company with its shares traded on the American Stock Exchange.

In 1970, Western International entered into a merger with United Airlines, Inc. Western International continued, however, as an autonomous, wholly-owned subsidiary of UAL Inc., with management and headquarters remaining in Seattle. During its associa tion with UAL Inc., Western simplified its name to the current form: Westin. The partnership with UAL Inc. came to an end after a failed attempt to unify Westin, United Airlines, Hertz, Hilton, and other travel-related companies as a one-stop travel compa ny under the name Allegis Corp. Subsequently, Aoki Corp., of Japan, purchased Westin in 1988 and sold it, in turn, to Starwood Capital Group, L.P. and Goldman, Sachs, and Co. in November 1994. In 1998, Starwood Capital assumed full ownership.


The archives of Westin Hotel and Resorts consist of reports, company documents, legal records, photographs, motion pictures and recordings, publications, advertising matter and objects assembled by the company archivist from sources inside and outsid e the firm. Materials fall into two types of record series: one is matter relating to the operation of Westin and its predecessors ("corporate" documents), the other is materials related to the various hotels owned or managed by the firm (" properties" documents).

Arrangement of the Westin Archives is based on a system installed in the early years of its existence, with modifications made at the Washington State University Libraries. Corporate documents are arranged largely by along the lines of the administra tive organization of the firm. Documents associated with properties are in alphabetical sequences based on the names of the hotels. This system is repeated for information files, photographs, projection slides and publications, resulting in a partial syst em of arrangement by form. Separate series of financial reports, news clipping, and menus were with the archives; these have been left as stand-alone record series. In addition, the Washington State University Libraries has emphasized the many record seri es included in the Archives, while relying less on the larger system of arrangement or filing for finding purposes.

Almost all film and video in the Westin Archives is located with Record Series 1.12 -- Marketing. The great majority of films and videotapes do relate to marketing matters and undoubtedly such was the original rationale for arranging them in that manne r. Films and videos of other subject content are included in the archives, nonetheless, and arranged with the marketing material. Past practice has been continued to the present time, although a more-clearly identifed sequence for film and video may be es tablished in the future.


In 2009, the Westin Alumni Association funded a comprehensive preservation project for the Memorabilia series. Lucas O'Brien conducted an assessment of the entire series for preservation needs, and treated items when needed. The entire series was re-housed to insure long-term stability and to facilitate access. Some damaged or unstable materials (primarily liquids such as toiletries) were discarded after being photographed and documented.


Series 1: Corporate.
   Subseries 1.1: Corporate governence and management.
      Chiefly records of meetings held by boards, committees, management conferences, etc., including corporate minutes.
Boxes 1-41
   Subseries 1.2: General Subjects and Information.
      Chiefly informational materials, memos, charts, manuals, etc. Arranged to reflect the offices and organizational structure of the firm.
Boxes 42-49
      Subseries 1.2.1: Corporate.
      Subseries 1.2.3: Corporate offices.
      Subseries 1.2.4: Corporate Planning.
      Subseries 1.2.5: Design and Construction.
      Subseries 1.2.6: Development.
      Subseries 1.2.7: Financial Service.
      Subseries 1.2.8: Food and Beverage.
      Subseries 1.2.10: Legal-financial.
      Subseries 1.2.11: Legal documents.
      Subseries 1.2.12: Marketing.
      Subseries 1.2.13: Operations.
      Subseries 1.2.14: Personnel.
      Subseries 1.2.16: Risk Management.
      Subseries 1.2.17: Rooms.
   Subseries 1.3: Offices and Departments, records.
      Bulletins and memoranda.
Box 50
   Subseries 1.4: Planning. (vacant)
   Subseries 1.5: Design and construction records.
      Studies and manuals.
Boxes 51-52
   Subseries 1.6: Development.
      Presentation materials, minutes.
Boxes 53-55
   Subseries 1.7: Financial services.
      Bulletins, manuals, training materials.
Boxes 56-57
   Subseries 1.8: Food and beverage.
      Committee meeting minutes, newsletters, bulletins, manuals.
Boxes 58-60
   Subseries 1.9: Growth Planning. (vacant)
   Subseries 1.10: Legal/financial.
      Contracts, agreements, corporate ownership and voting documents.
Boxes 61-69
   Subseries 1.11: Legal documentation. (vacant)
   Subseries 1.12: Marketing.
      Advertising, brochure, motion pictures, videos, bulletins news releases, records of marketing meetings/conferences, manuals. Some in large books.
Boxes 70-209
   Subseries 1.13: Operations. Bulletins and reports.Boxes 210-218
   Subseries 1.14: Personnel.
      Chiefly information folders concerning various Westin employees, many with pictures; also directories, and employee information.
Boxes 219-222
   Subseries 1.15: Real Estate. (vacant)
   Subseries 1.16: Risk Management. (vacant)
   Subseries 1.17: Rooms.
      Newsletters, bulletins, manuals of the Rooms Division.
Boxes 223-227
   Subseries 1.18: 2004 database project
      Printed reports from database of management progression histories.
Series 2: Project files.
   Development, design and construction files, arranged by properties, all concerning new construction of hotels.
Boxes 228-236
Series 3: Properties
   Subseries 3.1: General.
      Various papers re: specific hotels, by property.
Boxes 237-241
   Subseries 3.2: Marketing brochures.
      Advertising and marketing materials, by property.
Boxes 242-246
   Subseries 3.3: Advertising and marketing.
      Further advertising and publicity materials, by property.
Boxes 247-254
   Subseries 3.4: Marketing and general.
      Further advertising, along with other general descriptive material.
Boxes 255-260
   Subseries 3.5: Pre-Opening / Operations.
      Chiefly manuals and staff training documents.
Boxes 261-263
   Subseries 3.6: Oversize.
      Chiefly scrapbooks, with large format materials similar in content to Subseries 3.5.
Boxes 264-271
Series 4: Slides, negatives and transparencies.
   Subseries 4.1: Properties (slides). Boxes 272-275
   Subseries 4.2: Properties ("from binders" Additional slides). Boxes 276-279
   Subseries 4.3: Properties, Negatives and transparencies.
      Also negatives, transparencies by property; slides from Century Plaza, misc. interiors and exteriors, general corporate subjects
Boxes 280-285
   Subseries 4.4: Corporate (slides, etc.).
      Some of advertising, material for presentations, etc.
Boxes 286-289
Series 5: Photographs.
   Subseries 5.1: Properties --- Photo prints, by properties.
      Also "photos from binders"--USA, Canada, Far East, Central America, photo albums, and Oversize.
Boxes 290-307
   Subseries 5.2: Photographs -- Corporate. Conferences, meetings, events, staff and employees.Boxes 308-313
Series 6: Publications.
   Subseries 6.1: In house publications from properties.
      Newsletters from hotels, alphabetical by properties.
Boxes 314-317
   Subseries 6.2: In house publications-- corporate.
      Westin employee magazines, magazine for customers.
Boxes 318-325
   Subseries 6.3: Collateral material, in house publications.
      Mostly source material for Front, the company magazine.
Boxes 326-330
   Subseries 6.4: Other publishers.
      Mostly Westin customer magazines from UAL, Allegis, and Aoki.
Boxes 331-334
Series 7: Stock Certificates. Boxes 335-348
Series 8: Financial statements.
   Periodic and annual reports, reports to annual meetings, financial statement by outside accountants. Statistics.
Boxes 349-355
Series 9: Clippings.
   Subseries 9.1: Clippings -- Properties. Boxes 356-359
   Subseries 9.2: Clippings - Corporate. Boxes 360-362
   Subseries 9.3: Clippings -- Clipping scrapbooks. Boxes 363-365
Series 10: Restaurant Menus. Boxes 366-397
Series 11: Oversize documents. Containers OS1-OS9
Series 12: Personal Collections of Employees and Executives. Boxes 398-411
Series 13: Memorabilia (Objects). Boxes 412-509
Series 14: Westin Management and Property database project report, 2008. Box 510 (available as a digital resource here: