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History

Spring 2003

Letters from Vladivostok

“This is the best research project I’ve ever had. It’s invaded my life in a very good way.” So says Birgitta Ingemanson, associate professor of Russian at Washington State University, about her current project transcribing and editing more than 2,100 letters written by an American woman, Eleanor Pray, in Vladivostok between 1894 and 1930.

The collection consists primarily of letters written by Pray and her sister-in-law, but also includes hundreds of photos taken by Pray of Vladivostok before the Russian Revolution and World War I. The array of letters and photographs provides glimpses of the city’s culture, politics, and merchant life from an American woman’s … » More …

Summer 2004

All that Remains

Nearly two-thirds of the Lewis and Clark Trail is under man-made reservoirs. Another one-quarter is buried under subdivisions, streets, parks, banks, and other modern amenities. Almost none of the original landscape is intact. No one appreciates this contrast like author and historian Martin Plamondon II, who has reconciled the explorers' maps with the modern landscape.

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Spring 2004

Late history professor, chairman was popular with students, faculty peers

Raymond Muse became a teacher at the urging of his father, a farmer in the Ozarks, who didn’t want to see his son spend the rest of his life “looking at the hind end of a team of mules.”

During more than three decades at Washington State University, the history professor earned “favorite teacher” status from thousands of students. Faculty peers praised his leadership. His tenure as chairman was the longest in the department (1956-79).

Muse died October 28, 2003 in San Diego after a long illness. He was 88.

His teaching career began at age 18 in a rural one-room school, not far from … » More …

Winter 2005

Being Sacagawea

For the past two years historian Jeanne Eder has been traveling in Sacagawea’s footsteps. Donning a traditional dress as well as another woman’s persona, Eder has toured the West performing her interpretation of an older and wiser Sacagawea who, years after the Journey of Discovery expedition, has time to reflect.

Eder (’00 Ph.D. Hist.) teaches at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. A Dakota Sioux who grew up on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana, she researches the lives of historic Native American women and portrays them in Chautauqua-style performances.

Playing the most famous woman of the 1800s has its challenges, says Eder. “People … » More …

Fall 2009

“They are all Red Out Here”: Socialist Politics in the Pacific Northwest, 1895-1925

"They are all Red Out Here": Socialist Politics in the Pacific Northwest, 1895-1925 book cover

Jeffrey A. Johnson
University of Oklahoma Press, 2008

Few if any aspects of the Northwest’s political and labor history have been so thoroughly documented as the region’s most radical era, from the 1890s to the First World War. Books and articles have highlighted such topics as the rise of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg’s … » More …

Fall 2009

S.R. Martin Jr.—A life in the West

“Rudy” Martin started out with a plan to collect the history of his family from its Texas roots to his home in Washington. It was at first a project for himself and his children. But the American studies scholar yearned for context, color, and regional history. He had to build a more complete story. He sought out distant family members, dove into ancient county records, and culled through population research in his quest to understand how he and his family have been shaped by race, religion, and, most importantly, place.

His book, On the Move: A Black Family’s Western Saga, is not simply a memoir, … » More …

Fall 2007

Celebrating a century at Seattle's liveliest landmark

It started a century ago, on August 17, 1907, when a small group of farmers set up stalls at the corner of First and Pike in Seattle and sold their produce right on the street. They claimed their little city-sponsored market experiment was born out of need. The local brokers had been price fixing, so farmers were being underpaid for their eggs and vegetables. Furthermore, consumers were paying high prices for food that was often old, bruised, and wilted.

The little corner market changed all that. Offering some of the most affordable fresh food in Seattle, it grew quickly and flourished through the Great Depression. … » More …

Winter 2007

WSU's rarest book? Frederick Meserve's Historical Portraits

One of the great joys of my job at Washington State University is the time I spend in the rare books vault in Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections. “Rare books vault” is a romantic way to describe two large, secure, climate-controlled rooms located on the ground floor of the Terrell Library, but it’s fitting, given the treasures held within.

I’ve been aware for years of our 28-volume set of Frederick Hill Meserve’s Historical Portraits, a terrific source for locating photographs of leading Americans of the Civil War era. The collection’s gilt-tooled, crimson, Morocco-leather spines cry out “open me.” In addition to its beauty, the set … » More …