We want to help readers find new heroes, connect with their past, and enhance their understanding of the present. Our passion is telling unique, focused stories of the Northwest—lesser-known yet fascinating accounts of people, places, and events that matter in the region’s history or culture and are part of the broad picture of Western expansion.
Like how a Walla Walla, Washington penitentiary made national news and changed prison reform. Or what happened after the military selected an isolated Columbia River community for a critical, secret, military operation. Or how a determined engineer with a wagon-sized odometer opened up the Northwest, and why deep-seated bitterness still lingers in parts of central Washington.
We love our rural location and being so close to the stories we publish. The land grant school now known as Washington State University opened on a frigid winter morning in January, 1892. Many students came from farms and were deeply grateful for the opportunity to receive any higher education. The institution grew and added a scholarly publishing division in the 1920s, primarily to distribute faculty research.
Harnessing a vision of revitalization and expansion in the late 1980s, the re-launched press began releasing titles centered on regional history. One of those, Renegade Tribe, was the first major work published on the Palouse Indians, and received the Washington State Book Award. Since then, Washington State University (WSU) Press has published close to two hundred titles.
Even though our books often focus on the past, we are excited about our future. We plan to continue publishing eight to ten books each year, and through a new series and partnerships, preserve and enrich the history surrounding the Hanford nuclear site.
A Green Approach to Printing
We are probably the only university press in the U.S. to print and warehouse most of our books right across the hall from our editorial offices. WSU was the nation’s first higher education institution to acquire a Hewlett Packard Indigo 10000. Its cutting-edge digital printing technology provides significant flexibility in page counts and use of color while reducing overall material waste. To minimize adverse effects of chemicals on the environment, we choose recycled paper and ozone-friendly inks and solvents.
These thoughtful, often surprising vignettes by one Hanford’s early environmental engineers recall challenges and sites he worked on or found personally intriguing.
Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker experienced staggering success in hops. A risk taker on a local and global scale, this remarkable entrepreneur transformed the landscape, economics, and politics of Puget Sound.
Ethnologist Alice C. Fletcher helped write the Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887 and became one of the first female federal Indian agents.
Detailing one of the most bizarre chapters in American prison history, this is the explosive story of failed reform at a legendary Washington State penitentiary and its return from chaos.
In an era of grand risk, fur moguls vied to command Northwest and China markets, gambling lives and capital.
Enhanced with family photographs and skillfully edited, this delightfully candid record describes the travails of taking an uncommon route to the Yukon.