It is likely no surprise that we have piles and shelves of WSU Press books all over our offices. So why this stack of clearly older titles we didn’t publish?

It all started with a manuscript submission from Wenatchee Valley College English professor Peter Donahue, just published as Salmon Eaters to Sagebrushers: Washington’s Lost Literary Legacy. A hybrid of literary criticism, history, and biography, the volume examines Washington State novels, memoirs, and poetry from the late 1800s to the mid-1960s, pairing reappraisals of more than forty works with short excerpts and author profiles.

Reading about these once best-selling writers and their work inspired us to begin our own collection of their vintage fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We didn’t have to look far, easily discovering several at our campus and community libraries as well as our local used bookstore. We hope our success inspires other readers to seek out gems from the past.

The pictured mass-market edition of Scarlet Petticoat contains a note from Nard Jones that we, given our focus on Northwest history, found immensely amusing:

“Readers unfamiliar with the early history of the Lower Columbia River may inquire, as is their right, which parts of the foregoing story are based upon historical fact. For the casual inquisitor, it will suffice to confess that Jane Barnes, Alexander Henry, Donald McTavish, Duncan McDougall, Doctor Swann, Chief Comcomly, La Blanche, Little Necklace, and others mentioned in the narrative, actually lived on the banks of the Columbia in 1813–1814.

For those who prefer history, a bibliography is appended—with the respectful warning that the contemporary historian of the nineteenth century, like that of the twentieth, was himself two-thirds novelist.”

For those who can’t wait to get started, below are links to public domain works by some of the Salmon Eaters to Sagebrushers authors. Enjoy!


Ella Rhoads Higginson

Works include:

A Bunch of Western Clover (1894)

The Flower That Grew in the Sand and Other Stories (1896)

A Forest Orchid and Other Stories (1897)

When the Birds Go North Again (1898)

Four-Leaf Clover: A Little Book of Verse (1901)

Mariella; of Out-West (1902)

The Voice of April-Land and Other Poems (1903)

Alaska, the Great Country (1908)

The Vanishing Race (1911)


Peter B. Kyne

Kindred of the Dust (1920)

Cappy Ricks Series


Mrs. Hugh Fraser

Seven Years on the Pacific Slope (1914)