New Award: 2022 Donald J. Sterling, Jr., Senior Research Fellowship in Pacific Northwest History

I learned this week that I’ve been awarded the 2022 Donald J. Sterling, Jr., Senior Research Fellowship in Pacific Northwest History. The fellowship, given by the Oregon Historical Society, will fund research in the OHS archives for my next book (a biography of a prominent NW figure–details to come) and 1-2 articles for publication in the Oregon Historical Quarterly.

I’m extremely grateful to the people at OHS for this very welcome encouragement as I move more fully into writing history.

New Post: Nature, Stereotypes and the White Default

Fishing, ca. 1920, Asahel Curtis, General Subjects Photograph Collection, 1845-2005, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,, accessed: 11-4-21

The photograph here is the illustration for my second post on the new website, The post is called, “Visions of NW Writing: Nature, Stereotypes and the White Default” and addresses the relative lack of writing by people of color in what we think of as “Northwest writing.”

You can read it by clicking here:

“Visions of NW Writing: Nature, Stereotypes and the White Default”

Wisdom from the First Female Mayor of an American City

Bertha K. Landes, Seattle mayor 1926-1928

In doing research for a new project, I came across this quote from Bertha K. Landes, who was elected mayor of Seattle in 1926, becoming the first female mayor of any major American city:

“I threaten to shoot on sight, without benefit of clergy, anyone calling me the mayoress instead of the mayor. Joking aside, I am fighting for a principle in taking that stand. Let women who go into politics be the real thing or nothing! Let us, while never forgetting our womanhood, drop all emphasis on sex and put it on being public servants.”

Although Landes cleaned up the city and had the support of important elements such as the Seattle Times, she was defeated in her reelection bid. The man who beat her, a political neophyte named Frank E. Edwards, did all he could to make the election about whether the city wanted to be led by a woman or a man. Sadly, his cynical approach worked, even among women.

I’m happy to say Seattle has a strong female mayor again (the first since Bertha)–and I hope that after November, we’ll have many more female public servants across this country. God knows we’ve had enough men who don’t know the meaning of “public” or “servant.”

Should We Worry About Making Too Many Ventilators?

B-17s in production during World War II.

The recent back-and-forth over making ventilators, and the expressed fear by some that we might overproduce them, caused me to research the production and supply of warplanes during WWII. Here’s what I found:

The US produced close to 300,000 warplanes during WWII and had approximately 150,000 surplus after the war. One out of two. There was no fear we might overstock.

“What happened was that the whole nation came together for a single purpose, and successfully committed itself to doing all that was necessary,” writes Bill Yenne, author of The American Aircraft Factory in World War II (Zenith Press, 2006).

Here’s an interesting site about what happened to all of those planes after the war:…