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Connecting curious minds with uncommon, undeniably Northwest reads

“Waterlogged” helps bridge knowledge gaps in wet-site archaeology

Wood stake features on Vancouver Island beach

On the Northwest Coast in antiquity, people made an estimated 85 percent of objects entirely from wood and other plant materials that normally do not survive the ravages of time. Fortunately, wetlands, silt-laden rivers, high groundwater levels, and abundant rainfall have provided ideal conditions for long-term preservation of waterlogged wood. Although few intentionally search for wet sites, every Northwest Coast archaeologist may encounter waterlogged cultural remains on beaches and eroding riverbanks, at the bottom of an excavation trench, or even inland, away from the coast. Those who investigate such places can uncover artifacts, structures, and environmental remains that are missing from the usual reconstructions of past lifeways.


Recent copies of “Sagebrush Homesteads” missing pages

A thoughtful reader recently alerted WSU Press to missing pages in her copy of Sagebrush Homesteads. We narrowed the cause to a scanning failure that created a deficient printing file. Unfortunately, although older copies are intact, this means that all the copies from our most recent print run—about 500—have the issue. Please accept our deepest apologies for the error.

If you have purchased a flawed copy, please contact us for a free replacement. We will provide a new print copy, and/or a complete PDF. For your convenience, the six missing pages are available to read and view below, and as a free download (select the missing pages option under FORMAT) on the Sagebrush Homesteads product page.


“Interwoven Lives” destroys stereotypes, exposes lasting influence of Puget Sound’s cross-cultural marriages

Oil painting of Mt. Rainier by artist James Tilton Pickett

In the past, many historians chose to ignore the historical significance of indigenous wives during the birth of Bellingham Bay communities, typically mentioning only the first white women. Yet these mid-1800s alliances played a crucial role, with the women serving as cultural interpreters and mediators, aiding settlement, and reducing regional conflict between native peoples and newcomers. The newest book from Washington State University Press, Candace Wellman’s Interwoven Lives: Indigenous Mothers of Salish Coast Communities, depicts the lives of four of these intermarried Native women.


A life-altering event leads to book on Seattle

Jean Godden standing in front of a structure

In December 2015, columnist and newly-retired politician Jean Godden suffered a heart attack. Reflecting during her recovery, she realized she had never told the hidden account of Governor Dixy Lee Ray and the deadly 1980 volcanic eruption. She had not written about Mayor Charley Royer’s initial response when a Greek freighter rammed the West Seattle Bridge, gubernatorial candidate Norm Rice’s battle with a false rumor, or the party staff held the night the Seattle Post-Intelligencer moved to the waterfront. And, she had never fully confided why she decided to leave what she calls, “the best job in the world,” and run for office. It is these stories and others that now—released from the aroma of hospital disinfectants and the tether of IV tubes—she was eager to tell, and she lets them loose in the newest title from Washington State University Press, Citizen Jean: Riots, Rogues, Rumors, and other Inside Seattle Stories.


A flashback to 1962 Seattle landmarks as seen from the official fair guidebook

  Photo of ad for a Monte-Copter Triphibian from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair guidebook

Dinner (including a cocktail) at the top of the brand new Space Needle averaged $7.50

The text reveals that the Space Needle soars to a height of 606 feet. Three curved steel legs, 500 feet high, support a circular, glass-enclosed observation deck and revolving restaurant served by two high speed elevators walled in clear plastic on the outside of a triangular core. In the center, two 832-step stairways zigzagged to the top.


New book reveals stories behind Seattle statues, memorials, and markers

Picture of artist Alonzo Victor Lewis in studio, including several busts and a model military statue

Monumental Seattle cover

Beginning with the 1899 installation of a Tlingit totem pole in Pioneer Square and stretching to Safeco Field’s 2017 Ken Griffey Jr. sculpture, Seattle offers an impressive abundance of public monuments, statues, busts, and plaques. Private donors and civic groups commissioned works by prominent national sculptors, as well as local artists James A. Wehn, Alonzo Victor Lewis, and others, to represent diverse perspectives and celebrate a wide array of cultural heroes, dozens of firsts, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, aviation, and military and maritime service. Whether cast in bronze or carved in granite, their longevity is not guaranteed. The newest book from Washington State University Press, Monumental Seattle: The Stories Behind the City’s Statues, Memorials, and Markers, offers Seattle residents and visitors a historical narrative of these public remembrances—accounts that often take unexpected twists and turns.


How curiosity led to a book

Statue of Reverend Mark Matthews in Seattle's Denny Park
Have you ever wondered why authors write the books they do?

For Robert Spalding, it was a robust sense of curiosity. Driving past Denny Park, he noticed a statue he had seen before, but this time decided to take a closer look. Aware of the park’s name and the Denny family’s significance in Seattle history, he assumed the sculpture would memorialize either Arthur or David Denny. To his great surprise, it didn’t. The bust was of a person Spalding had never heard of—Reverend Dr. Mark Matthews. The incongruity piqued his interest, and he began researching monuments and markers scattered throughout the city.

For three years, Spalding spent his lunch hours at the Seattle Central Library, diligently researching the city’s heritage markers. What he learned—starting with the original totem pole installed in Pioneer Place in 1899—was fascinating. Writing in his spare time for another three years, he completed his manuscript—one that included the story of Reverend Dr. Mark Matthews—and became Monumental Seattle, his second book—available in bookstores soon.

WSU Press title recognized as the best of scholarly nonfiction for women’s stories set in the American West

Author Candace Wellman  Peace Weavers cover

PULLMAN, Wash.—Women Writing the West has announced Bellingham, Washington, author Candace Wellman’s Peace Weavers: Uniting the Salish Coast Through Cross-Cultural Marriages as the 2018 WILLA Literary Award Winner. A team of professional librarians, historians, and university affiliated educators selected it as representing the best of 2017 published scholarly nonfiction for women’s stories set in the American West. Wellman and her book will be honored in Walla Walla, Washington, October 25-27, 2018, at the organization’s 24th annual conference.


WSU Press book by University of Idaho cultural anthropologist wins prestigious Evans Handcart Award

Carry Forth the Stories cover

PULLMAN, Wash.— Author and ethnographer Dr. Rodney Frey has won the Evans Handcart Award for his book, Carry Forth the Stories: An Ethnographer’s Journey into Native Oral Tradition published by Washington State University Press. Recently announced by Utah State University’s Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, the prize recognizes the best of research and writing in biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs focusing on stories of people who have shaped the character of the Interior West. “The high quality and diversity of submissions made it a challenge for the regional and national juries to select only two winners,” said Evelyn Funda, director of the Mountain West Center.


Prominent political authorities probe Washington State political trends

Governing the Evergreen State: Political Life in Washington front cover

Washingtonians sanctioned the first voter-approved state Equal Rights Amendment, and they were the first to elect a woman and a Chinese-American as governor. In this state full of political mavericks, split tickets are a source of pride and independent voters currently outnumber Democrats and Republicans. Sam Reed, Secretary of State from 2001 to 2013, explains in his foreword that voters participate in the most open primary system in the nation—a reflection of Washington’s Populist and Progressive era roots—a heritage that drives its citizens and elected officials to remain a powerful center of regional and national legislative change and policy innovation.