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History

Spring 2004

Washington's Historical Courthouses

In Washington’s Historical Courthouses, Ray Graves (’50 Pol. Sci.) has compiled a wonderful pictorial survey of the proud cultural and architectural heritage of the state. It contains beautiful photographs by Erick Erickson, a thoughtful introduction by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, and a very interesting discussion of the historic development of each of the state’s 39 county seats and the architectural qualities of each courthouse built before 1930.

The book makes an important contribution to the history of the state’s cultural development, and it establishes a very useful typology of this prominent building type. It is amazing to review the variety and creativity of design in … » More …

Spring 2005

Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest

In Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest, Linda Carlson provides much insight into the rewards and trials of life in the small, isolated communities of a bygone Northwest.

A company town was generally a glorified camp established in the late 1800s by a logging or mining company. The company provided housing for its workers, and often mandated the school curriculum, owned the general store, and decided whether or not alcohol and gambling were allowed. A few paid their employees in scrip, the company’s own currency. There was no local government, as the company boss dictated just about anything he wanted. Nevertheless, Carlson ’73 defines these … » More …

Summer 2002

The Cayton Legacy: An African American Family

Set in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, The Cayton Legacy chronicles the evolution of a remarkable African American family. From the Civil War to the present, generations of the Horace and Susie Cayton family helped illuminate the black and white experience and the troubled course of race relations in the United States.

The Caytons sought to define themselves in relation to their family traditions and to society as a whole. In the process, the distinguished family attained financial success and influence, both regionally and nationally. Family members published newspapers, wrote books, and were elected to public office. They worked for civil and human … » More …

Summer 2008

Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America

Charles B. Kastner ’81
University of New Mexico Press, 2007

For generations, the 1920s have provided fodder for authors. The super-hyped sensationalism of those ballyhooed years seems a bottomless pool of entertaining topics. The decade of Lindbergh, Valentino, Capone, and Ruth, of flappers, Mah Jong, crossword puzzles, and marathon dances, also produced the Bunion Derby, a marathon footrace across America. It is to his credit that Seattle author Charles Kastner (’81 M.A. History) not only … » More …

Summer 2007

Domesticating the West: The Re-creation of the Nineteenth-Century Amer

In Domesticating the West, Brenda K. Jackson ’02, a Washington State University history Ph.D., explores the settlement of the West by the 19th-century middle class. Specifically, Jackson presents a dual biography of Thomas and Elizabeth Tannatt, middle-class migrants from Massachusetts to Washington Territory in the late 1800s. Jackson begins her book by examining the middle-class backgrounds of the Tannatts and their experiences prior to and during the Civil War. Jackson effectively demonstrates that both Thomas and Elizabeth grew up solidly middle class, in terms of relative wealth, status, and privilege, though Thomas’s situation was a bit more precarious. As a result, Jackson argues, “throughout his … » More …

Spring 2002

A salon of their own

Good conversation should bring about a transcendental melding of minds and dissolve class and ideological differences.

The funniest things Washington State University historian Steve Kale ran across in researching his latest book were the accounts of how much early 19th-century French women hated going to England. For England was much like the provinces. In other words, it was not Paris.

On social occasions, English men and women would eat dinner together, but not talk much. Afterwards, the men would retire to the salon, where they would smoke cigars and talk politics. English women would drink tea and chat. “The French women,” says Kale, “found it … » More …

Spring 2002

Feminae Romanae!

“. . . but Roman women rule the Romans”

Femina gladiatrix?  Femina medica?

Historians typically ascribe household or family roles to women of ancient Rome or ignore them altogether. Accounts of male emperors, male military leaders, male scholars, and male religious leaders traditionally shape the history of the Roman Empire.

However, by carefully scouring standard classical texts like Livy, Tacitus, and Cicero and sifting through archaeological records of inscriptions on tombstones, statues, and buildings, Washington State University history professor Kathryn Meyer and science fiction writer and former WSU librarian Mary Jane Engh have found examples of female counterparts to all those … » More …