Monthly Archives: July 2022

Public Program: Writing and Revising Narrative History

Sunday, August 21, 2:00 pm, Public Program. view a video of this presentation here.

Writing and Revising Narrative History
A Presentation by Megan Kate Nelson

Join the Mechanics’ Institute and the Institute for Historical Study for this exciting talk about writing with historian Megan Kate Nelson who left academia in 2014 to become a full-time writer.

Read more ›



California and the West Events

Fall 2020: Revealing San Francisco’s Hidden 19th-Century Black History: A Tour of California Historical Society Artifacts, lecture by Susan D. Anderson, SF History Days (video here)

Summer 2020: Harlem of the West: The Fillmore Jazz Era and Redevelopment, online lecture by Elizabeth Pepin Silva

Fall 2019: An event-filled two-day excursion to Sacramento

Fall 2019:  Tour of Marin Civic Center and presentation by member Bonnie Portnoy on The Man Beneath the Paint: Tilden Daken

Summer 2019: Reading of Judith Offer's play, Scenes from the Life of Julia Morgan

Fall 2018: Public Program, "South Asians in the South Bay: The Privileged Immigrants"

Spring 2018: Excursion to Niles area of Fremont with historic train ride and silent film museum

Spring 2018: The California and the West study group initiated the two public programs on "The Future of the Past in the Digital Age" and Benjamin Madley's talk on An American GenocideThe United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846–1873.

Fall 2017: Martinez Adobe Fandango; Public Program: “Siberia and California: Connections During the Russian Revolution and Civil War”

Fall 2016: Amador County

Summer 2016: San Francisco Presidio

Winter 2016: Berkeley History Center

Spring 2015: Sonoma Plaza

Winter 2015: San Francisco Public Library

Summer 2014:  Red Oak Victory and World War II Homefront National Historic Park, Richmond

Spring 2014:  Los Gatos History Museum, "American Bohemia: The Cats Estate in Los Gatos”

Winter 2014:  Tour of California Historical Society exhibition on Juana Briones, January 25

Summer 2013:  Green Gulch Farm Zen Center visit, August 15

Spring 2013: Visits to Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum and the McCune Collection at the Vallejo Public Library, April 13

Writers Group Upcoming Meetings

Sunday, December, 1:30 pm, via Zoom. Esther Mordant will present.

Public Programs

Sunday, August 21, 2:00 pm, Public Program via Zoom.
Writing and Revising Narrative History
A Presentation by Megan Kate Nelson
Join the Mechanics' Institute and the Institute for Historical Study for this exciting talk about writing with historian Megan Kate Nelson who left academia in 2014 to become a full-time writer. During this Zoom event, she will offer advice for writers who want to publish trade history books and other pieces for general readers. Dr. Nelson will talk about how to make the transition from academic to narrative history writing, how to revise manuscripts for trade publication, and how to pitch articles and Op-eds to newspapers and magazines.
Megan Kate Nelson is a historian and writer, with a BA from Harvard and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa. She is the author of four books: Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America (Scribner 2022); The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West (Scribner 2020; a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in History); Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War (Georgia, 2012); and Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp (Georgia, 2005). She writes about the Civil War, the U.S. West, and American culture for The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, and TIME. Before leaving academia to write full-time in 2014, she taught U.S. history and American Studies at Texas Tech University, Cal State Fullerton, Harvard, and Brown. She grew up in Colorado but now lives in Boston with her husband and two cats.

Next Monthly Program

Sunday, December 18, 2:00 pm, Monthly Program via Zoom.
The Genocide in California’s Closet
A Presentation by Robeert Aquinas McNally
Most Californians are unaware that in the second half of the 19th century their state sponsored and funded a campaign to exterminate its Indigenous peoples — a mass atrocity known under contemporary international law as genocide. This presentation explores what happened in California between 1846 and 1900, looks at how a democracy orchestrated a crime typically associated with dictatorship, and points to the ways the genocide continues to shape this state.
Author and presenter Robert Aquinas McNally first confronted the California genocide when he was researching The Modoc War (Bison Books/Univ. of Nebraska Press) and discovered that the conflict’s true narrative was something other than the cowboys-and-Indians plot he expected. The book went on to win a Commonwealth Club gold medal as the year’s best on California. He is now completing Cast out of Eden: The Untold Story of John Muir, Indigenous Peoples, and the American Wilderness, also for Bison Books. The presentation will be recorded, and the question-and-answer part will be posted on YouTube for IHS members only. If you don’t want to be on the recording, just make sure your video is off. And please remember to mute your microphone!

About Us

The Institute for Historical Study is a community of researchers, writers, and artists. Our common bond is a devotion to history in its many forms. Through wide-ranging programs, we share research, ideas, and practical advice and provide a public forum for the discussion of history. 

Read More...


We Promote:

  •  the study and discussion of history outside the traditional classroom setting
  •  research, writing, performances, exhibitions, and other expressions of historical study
  •  non-traditional and interdisciplinary areas of study as well as traditional approaches to history

 

 

Member News

Members' Recent Activities:

Chris Webber writes: “There’s a new hymnal out there for folk who like to sing—and for people who care about justice and peace. World Library Publications (a division of GIA Publications) has published my collection of over a hundred hymns titled Songs of Justice, Peace, and Love: The Sharon Hymnal. Set to music by contemporary composers, as well as to traditional and familiar tunes, the texts center on a wide range of subjects from Advent to Easter as well as hunger and homelessness.

In May Joe C. Miller gave his talk on women’s suffrage to the Canadian Women’s Club of San Francisco, “Wild Women Suffragists and their Reputation as Sex Radicals. “It was well received,” he writes. Joe has also developed a new presentation: “How Women’s Clubs Lost Their Moral Authority When Women Got the Vote.” He posits that during the heyday of American women’s clubs, 1890 to 1920, “whenever women’s clubs lobbied for the creation of parks, schools, libraries, or safe water supplies, people understood that they were doing it for the public good, whereas politicians and businessmen were often suspected of having selfish motives.” Joe intends to give the new talk to other groups. (He is among several speakers and performers listed on an interesting website: NationalWomensHistoryAlliance.org/California/.) Joe concluded his report with his appreciation of the financial support (mini-grants) he has received from the Institute.

Harvey Schwartz has a new book coming out this fall entitled Labor Under Siege: Big Bob McEllrath and the ILWU’s Fight for Organized Labor in an Anti-Union Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2022). Harvey and his coauthor Ronald E. Magden have written compelling stories and found forceful voices which “capture a tenacious union in transition. Big Bob—six-foot-four Robert McEllrath’s waterfront handle—was heralded for his powerful speaking style, charisma, unifying vision, and negotiating prowess. President of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for twelve eventful years, McEllrath retired in 2018 after nearly forty years as a union officer. More than just a telling of a storied career, Labor under Siege explores how the influential union persisted in an era when the US labor movement was under attack and seemingly in retreat.” (From the publisher’s flier describing the book.)

Sometime in Africa by Neil Dukas was published in May. “Convinced his college education was incomplete,” the nicely printed announcement reads, “Neil set out on an ill-considered 14,000 mile journey on the cheap across the length of Africa determined to address the shortcomings in his schooling and to experience, first-hand, some fragment of the developing world. The year was 1983, when Africa hovered between post-war decolonization and the advent of the internet. The author, dogged by a variety of ailments, stumbles from one self-inflicted near-death experience to the next. Yet surviving by the grace of the people he chances upon he filled three journals of priceless memories.” Neil’s third book can be ordered through Amazon.

Bonfire Saloon is Steve Levi’s latest publication. “I collected authentic names, events, cases, and incidents of the Alaska Gold Rush and condensed them into a single night, 3 December 1903, in a saloon in Nome. The book, which is history disguised as literature, in this case narrative poetry, gives a street level snap shot, an in-the-weeds look at the grit, grime and actual events in the middle of winter during the gold rush. (Winter lasts from mid-September to the first of June.) Historic photos illustrate this colorful period in Alaska’s history. For a glimpse of the contents see my short YouTube videos Connie the Wiggler and Marshal Jew Bob.” Bonfire Saloon is available for purchase at www.authormasterminds.com/steve-levi. Steve adds that a spoken-word overview of the Alaska Gold Rush, which he wrote and was funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum, can be found on YouTube .

After a seven-year sojourn researching and writing about a canyon in the wilds of Mendocino County,” Dot Brovarney reports, “I am now working with a Ukiah designer to produce a visually beautiful book. Mendocino Refuge: Lake Leonard & Reeves Canyon is a cultural and natural history of an upper Russian River watershed—home to hardy folk, ancient redwoods, a variety of wildlife, and the county’s largest lake, which Pomo peoples likely held as sacred space. The discovery of a trunk filled with family memorabilia led me down a number of fascinating and winding paths, including Native medicine traditions, two centuries of logging practices, and current conservation efforts in two watersheds. The 186-page book, with 200 images and maps, will be published through my business, Landcestry, in December of this year.

Welcome to our newest members.

Vince Emery created Vince Emery Productions http://www.emerybooks.com/
where he combines his skills as writer, literary detective, editor, and publisher, producing books and videos by and about established writers. “Our goal,” he writes, “is to give readers a deeper, closer connection with their favorite authors.” Dashiell Hammett, Harvey Milk, Jack London, and George Sterling are among the featured authors. Vince is currently working on “George Sterling's Greatest Hits,” “The Harvey Milk Letters,” and soon, “Writers of Carmel: An Anthology.”

Nathan Alexander Foxton is an artist living in San Francisco. Before moving here last year he had been working in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Harrison Center for the Arts (curator), at Ivy Tech Community College, University of Indianapolis, and Herron School of Art + Design (adjunct instructor). He’s a figurative painter, constructing space from a two-dimensional perspective. Nathan is interested in telling stories through his art about the soul of place and has a background teaching art history among other subjects. He has exhibited his work in group and solo shows.

John Hyde Barnard is a musician, writer, historian, and a retired Los Angeles City Librarian. He recently signed a publishing contract for “The Creole Incident: The Beginning of the End of Slavery,” a runner-up in the San Francisco Writers Conference Adult Non-Fiction Category (2021). “This historical narrative,” he writes, “details how the Union and the Constitution were saved, twenty years before the Civil War, by the actions of a few select members of the House of Representatives, led by the venerable John Quincy Adams, along with a handful of radical abolitionists and 19 enslaved individuals. The book is slated for release in late 2022.” John is still active as a musical arranger, director, publisher and performer and divides his time between Sausalito, Los Angeles and New York.

Members:  Please submit news of your history-related publications, lectures, awards, research finds, etc. to info@instituteforhistoricalstudy.org.

Join Us

We welcome all men and women who have a commitment to historical study, which may be demonstrated in one or more of the following ways...

Read More...

Contact Us

Institute for Historical Study
1399 Queens Road
Berkeley, CA 94708
info@instituteforhistoricalstudy.org

    Your Email:

    Your Message:

    Top