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Title: Interview with Henry Kotkins - #2
Original format: VHS
Item Id.: spl_ds_hkotkins_01_02
Description: This is part 2 of 2 of an interview with Henry Kotkins. This interview was conducted by Donald Schmechel on July 16, 1986 at the Skyway Luggage Company.
Henry Kotkins was a native Seattlite, a Port of Seattle Commissioner and the founder of Skyway Luggage. Kotkins attended Garfield High School and the University of Washington. Kotkin’s father started the Seattle Suitcase, Trunk and Bag Manufacturing Company in 1910. Kotkins took over the business after his father’s death in 1936, when the Great Depression was threatening to shut it down. He turned the business around and changed the name to the Skyway Luggage Company, introducing innovations like wheeled suitcases in a variety of colors beyond black and brown. Kotkins served on the 1962 World’s Fair Committee and was a Port of Seattle Commissioner during the 1970s and 1980s. Kotkins was also a member of the Rotary Club of Seattle, the Corinthian and the Seattle Yacht Club. During the interview, Kotkins discusses his family, schooling, career and interests.
This interview is part of the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection. Don Schmechel, who was a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board, began this project with Seattle Public Library in 1984, with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) brought on board as a partner in early 1985. Schmechel himself worked to raise the funding for the project, and volunteered his time to manage the project, and to conduct interviews along with a crew of volunteers. Originally titled the Videotaping Historic Figures (VHF) Program, the project interviewed 91 people, with a portion of the interviews entering the collections of the Seattle Public Library and a portion of them going to MOHAI.The interviews conducted with these Seattle civic, business and cultural leaders are valuable first-hand accounts that provide insight into developments taking place in the mid-twentieth century.
Digitization of this videotape material has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.