With a grant from 4Culture, onetime Auburn resident, disc jockey, poet and intellectual Paul Nelson organized his radio programming into a cohesive archive and donated it in its entirety to Auburn’s White River Valley Museum.

Nelson’s extensive archive dates from 1990 to 2005.

It has:

  • Approximately 360 radio programs
  • About 1,000 unique interviews including poets Allen Ginsberg, Wanda Coleman, Diane diPrima, Sam Hamill
  • Lummi spiritual leader Beaver Chief [Fred Jamison]
  • Yogi Bhagavan Das
  • Priestess Phyllis Curott
  • Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard
  • Historian Kenneth Davis
  • Activist Bill Moyer
  • Aired as public affairs programs distributed regionally and nationally on KING-FM, KZOK, KMTT, KJR AM / FM, KGON-Portland, KISM-Bellingham and many other stations

At the height of Nelson’s syndication his program aired on as many as 18 radio stations weekly. Nelson lived and worked in the Auburn from 1992 to 2009, a significant portion of his professional life. Nelson’s non-profit organization, It Plays in Peoria Productions, was founded at his home in Auburn. In 1999 he built a sound studio and poetry center in Auburn. He prided himself as an Auburn community supporter and interviewed many local residents including:

  • Community historian Mae Yamada
  • Author Stan Flewelling
  • Museum director Ron Chew
  • Mayor Chuck Booth
  • County executive John Ladenberg
  • Farmers Greg & Lorna Lynn
  • Community activist Lee Valenta

“I remember Paul as a goateed intellectual with a wily smile,” recalls Museum Director Patricia Cosgrove. “He has a perfect radio voice and using that he brought both the Auburn community and a much larger audience a wide variety of intellectual, poetic and thoughtful discussions.”

In addition to being an active poet, Nelson founded various organizations and projects, including: SPLAB (Northwest Spoken Word LAB, now known as Seattle Poetics LAB), Global Voices Radio, It Plays in Peoria Productions and Auburn Community Radio. Among his published works are the epic poem A Time Before Slaughter which documents the pre-history and early history of the town once known as Slaughter and since renamed Auburn.

Curator of Collections Hilary Pittenger is excited to begin work with these treasures. “While it may take a few years, we plan to fully catalogue this collection, create digital copies and make them accessible to Museum patrons and staff for research and programs, and host them on our website, accessible to researchers around the world.”

About the White River Valley Museum:
The White River Valley Museum creates an exciting and educational experience for visitors through a series of award-winning exhibits and programs on regional cultures, arts and history. The Museum’s artifact collections focus on Puget Sound history, Northwest Native culture, Japanese immigration and the Northern Pacific Railway.

The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. On the first Thursday of each month the hours are extended from 6 to 8 p.m. It is located at 918 H St. S.E. in Auburn.

Regular admission is $5 adults, $2 seniors and children, children 2 years of age or younger are always free. Admission is free for everyone all day on the first Thursday and the third Sunday of every month.

Call 253-288-7433 or visit www.wrvmuseum.org for event information.

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...