The Hubert C. Blonk photograph collection includes over 400 images, primarily documenting the construction of Grand Coulee Dam and other dams in the Pacific Northwest. These include black and white negatives, black and white prints, and color prints. Black and white negatives include 35 mm and 120 roll film, and 4 x 5 sheet film.
The photographs in this collection are primarily from two sources: Photography which Mr. Blonk did himself to support his work as a newspaper reporter, and photographs supplied by government agencies documenting projects undertaken for these agencies. Most of the photographs contained in the Blonk papers are either those taken by Hubert Blonk, or supplied by the United State Bureau of Reclamation to document the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. A small number appear to be the work of commercial photographers who were hired to document events associated with the project, mostly Charles Libby & Son, of Spokane, Washington.
Hubert C. ("Hu") Blonk was born in Holland on March 7, 1909. His parents emigrated to Canada, and later moved south to the United States, settling in Auburn, Washington. After graduation from high school, Hubert Blonk attended the University of Washington, where he obtained his first experience in journalism. In 1933, at the depth of the Depression, Blonk graduated from the University of Washington.
Blonk was employed briefly by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, then took a job with the Grand Coulee Record in the boom town being built to serve the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. The Record was short-lived, and Hubert Blonk moved on to the Wenatchee Daily World. He covered the construction of Grand Coulee Dam for the World, and moved up in the organization, serving as the paper's Managing Editor. In 1974 Mr. Blonk retired from the Wenatchee Daily World. He passed away on March 17, 1995 at the age of 86.
The Archival Collection
The Hubert Blonk Papers were donated to Eastern Washington University by Mr. Blonk's daughter, Julie Yeager, in 2006. The collection consists of 2.0 cubic feet of manuscript material, newspaper clippings, photographs and research notes created and maintained by Mr. Blonk during his career as a journalist. They focus on the development of dams, hydro-electric generation, and irrigation in the Pacific Northwest, especially Grand Coulee Dam, in central Washington state. The finding aid for the collection is available online.