Governor's messages give information about issues facing state government over more than 150 years along with the governor's plans for dealing with those issues. They include transcriptions of inaugural addresses and biennial messages to the legislature by the governor.
The topics include government finances, education, and public welfare, transportation, state buildings and the environment. For example, an 1880 message from Governor Thayer includes an appeal for providing a "hatchery" house for salmon along the Columbia River. Some subjects, such as recurring debates over prison labor, started in the 1800s and continue today.
The messages also include comments or observations on major national and regional events, such as the Indian wars, the Civil War, immigration reform and economic conditions. They are particularly useful for researchers tracing the development of many state institutions and programs.