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History

Spring 2007

With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture since 1830

For many years, the study of popular culture, like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, “got no respect.” Only with the vast amount of excellent, sophisticated research in the last three decades has the culture preferred by millions of Americans become serious history. LeRoy Ashby’s With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830 is the first book to synthesize hundreds of recent studies of specific aspects of popular culture into a single, sweeping story. Both in time frame—from the 1830s, when innovations in communication and transportation first made a truly mass, national culture possible, to the present era of proliferating new media—and in scope—including … » More …

Spring 2004

All Abraham's Children: Changing Conceptions of Race and Lineage

This thoroughly documented study of race and identity within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints unravels various ways Mormons have constructed and negotiated their identity throughout history. Armand Mauss, professor emeritus of sociology at Washington State University, makes the intriguing argument that Mormonism provides a unique case in which religious prejudice or particularism actually undermines secular prejudice. While Mormon relations with other races have not been without difficulty, documentation provided here demonstrates that in specific cases, Mormons hold less prejudicial attitudes than other white Americans.

This is due, according to Mauss, to a theology linking Mormon lineage with other ethnic groups. Believing Native … » More …

Winter 2001

The War Years: A Chronicle of Washington State in World War II

Most Washingtonians don’t realize that their state—with a wartime population of just over 1.7 million—did as much or more per capita than any other state to help win World War II, says James R. Warren.

The WSU alumnus (’49 Speech/Comm.) and Bellevue resident is author of a new book, The War Years: A Chronicle of Washington State in World War II.

The state’s 15 shipyards were busy building warships. Boeing turned out thousands of B-17 and B-29 bombers. Pacific Car and Foundry produced hundreds of Sherman tanks. And Hanford purified the plutonium for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan by B-17s. When the war started … » More …

Winter 2005

Sacajawea's People: The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country

In this year of 2005, the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, we are again reminded of the role Sacajawea played in that long journey westward. However, Sacajawea’s tribe of origin, the Lemhi, has gone largely ignored. Only recently have historians given any significance to what Native American history offers us past the late 19th century. It’s this oversight that John W.W. Mann (’01 Ph.D. Hist.) addresses regarding the Lemhi tribe’s heroic struggle to maintain its separate ancestry, cultural heritage, and identity during the 20th century in Sacajawea’s People: The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country.

It is, frankly, an excruciating and confusing … » More …

A new memorial in Neah Bay, built on land donated by Ed Claplanhoo '56, his wife Thelma, and two other Makah families, commemorates area veterans and the presence of Spain on the Northwest coast as early as 1774. Photo Zach Mazur
Fall 2008

A memorial and a blessing

At the western edge of the Makah Nation village of Neah Bay sits a tidy new park. It marks the spot where 216 years ago Spanish explorers built the first European settlement in the continental United States west of the Rockies and north of San Francisco.

Fort Núñez Gaona–Diah Veterans Park, dedicated in May, was built on property donated by Ed Claplanhoo ’56, his wife Thelma, and two other Makah families in a unique partnership amongst the Makahs, the state, and the Spanish government.

Claplanhoo, a former Makah Tribal chair, had known of the historic significance of his property for many years, even marking it … » More …

Fall 2003

Irrigated Eden: The Making of an Agricultural Landscape in the America

This gem of a book is actually about the gem state, Idaho—specifically, the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, where farmers, engineers, lawyers, bankers, and politicians have carved an agricultural landscape out of the parched and dusty sagebrush desert. With deft prose and engaging anecdotes, author Mark Fiege (’85 M.A. Hist.), a professor of history at Colorado State University, systematically traces the 100-year history of the creation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure that made farming possible in the Snake River plain. Praising it as “an ingenious, intricate, technological system,” Fiege nevertheless offers sober assessments of the economic inefficiencies, ecological losses, engineering foibles, and political … » More …

Fall 2006

Idaho's Bunker Hill: The Rise and Fall of a Great Mining Company, 1885

Bunker Hill finally has a book worthy of its story. BH, during its heyday, was one of the nation’s most important mining and smelting operations, and wielded unprecedented influence over Idaho politics. At the time it closed in 1981 it produced 15 percent of America’s silver and zinc, and 17 percent of its lead. Much has been written about BH. But this is the first book to encapsulate its entire history, from lode discovery to company closure.

Aiken weaves together many stories. Hers is one of the best tellings of the oft-romanticized origins of the mine that Noah Kellogg’s donkey might or might not have … » More …

Summer 2002

The Dynamics of Change: A History of the Washington State Library

Who better to write about the Washington State Library than Maryan Reynolds, state librarian from 1951 to 1974? She also played an important role in procuring the State Library building constructed in 1959 on the Capitol grounds in Olympia. The library moved to Tumwater and was opened to the public January 2, 2002 in its new location.

The Dynamics of Change is an original and valuable history of the Washington State Library from its territorial beginnings in 1853 to the late 1990s. Reynolds provides a personal account of the library’s expansion since the 1940s, when she joined the staff.

The author chronicles the development of … » More …

Fall 2008

During the War Women Went To Work

How often have you heard a group of women in their eighties reminisce about their service in World War II? My guess is—never. Out of all the interviews, books, films, and commemorations about World War II, female voices have seldom been heard. This video, funded by the Washington State legislature for use in the schools, and created by Bristol Productions under the direction of Karl Schmidt ’81, remedies this oversight. In it, more than 50 Washington women talk about their service in the state’s shipyards and aircraft factories, as WASP (Women Aircraft Service Pilots), in the Army (WACs), and the Navy (WAVES), as nurses, and … » More …

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 …