What’s New

Sunday, August 14, 1:30 pm, Writers Group via Zoom. Katya Miller and Rose Marie Cleese will present.

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.

Member News

Members' Recent Activities:

Peter Meyerhof received the Campbell Augustus Menefee Scholastic Award from the Sonoma County Historical Society “in recognition for his many significant historical research projects and presentations about Sonoma County history.”
Carol Sicherman was invited to blurb Politics, Democratization and Academia in Uganda: The
Case of Makerere University (2021), an impressive analysis of efforts by academics to intervene in politics.
On March 25 Bert Gordon presented a paper, “Music, Power, and Tourism: Occupied France during the Second World War,” at the Tourism and Musical Imaginaries 2022 Conference, at the University of California Berkeley. Bert is also teaching an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute course at UC Berkeley: “The History of France: From Roman Gaul to the Present,” March 28 through May 16.

Kevin Knauss’ latest book, Amos P. Catlin, The Whig Who Put Sacramento On The Map, is now
available. See Kevin’s post about the book and Catlin’s life, including "a YouTube video where I
visit different places where Amos lived and worked.”

Margaretta (Gretta) Mitchell’s latest book is called Dreamscapes and Destinations. “This book was hatched in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Since travel was out of the question, I turned to pictures to return to various destinations, some of which live in my memory as dreamscapes — beginning with the Ancient Stone Circles in England and ending with the vast space of Death Valley, California.” Each
geographical section includes brief anecdotal introductions to the 93 black and white images.

Gretta has produced three “legacy” books: Iconographies (2015), Island Dreams (2017) and Secret Garden (2020) published by her imprint, Elysian Editions. Institute members have a $10 discount on book purchases: $30 will cover tax and shipping. Please send checks to: Margaretta Mitchell, 280 Hillcrest Road, Berkeley, CA 94705.

Marilyn L. Geary has published the book Miners, Milkers & Merchants: from the Swiss-Italian Alps to the Golden Hills of Australia and California. Based on letters of the Rotanzi family from the Vallemaggia in Ticino, Switzerland, the family biography also reflects the experiences of the multitudes who left Ticino seeking relief from poverty in the mid-nineteenth century. It is available for purchase at https:www.marilynlgeary.com.

Welcome to our newest members.

Lyndon Comstock has worked in the field of community economic development. Since retiring, he has
published books about Annie Clemenc and the 1913 Keweenaw copper strike, the early history of a Berkeley neighborhood, his grandmother in Salonica at the time of the Balkan Wars, and pre-abolition Black history in central Kentucky. Other historical research topics include: the United States Colored Troops at Fort Pillow; the community of Bolinas, California; Croatian partisans in World War II; Students for a
Democratic Society; and Chögyam Trungpa’s life in Tibet before 1959. Lyndon also served as a primary source for Cliff Rosenthal’s book about community development financial institutions.

Kieren McCarthy describes himself as “a journalist and writer based in Oakland. I’m from the UK but have been in California for over a decade now. I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering but went into journalism from university. I’ve written for a wide range of national newspapers and magazines, most in the UK. I wrote a book about the extraordinary battle for the internet address Sex.com. Currently I’m writing a book about John McLaren, the superintendent of Golden Gate Park from the 1890s to 1943 and have been digging into San Francisco and California history.”

About himself Michael Several writes: “Having never been an academic, I have had the luxury of learning about a great variety of subjects and taking my time to investigate each one at a leisurely pace. This life-long journey resulted in articles on empire building in ancient Egypt, public memory in Los Angeles, anti-Chinese racism in Redlands, and institutional and community formation of the San Gabriel Valley Jewish community. Currently I am researching the impact of the environment, the introduction of new communication technology, the advances in horticulture, and the completion of water and transportation projects on the development of the San Gabriel Valley between 1873 and 1886.”

Laure Latham describes herself as “a blogger, storyteller and lawyer,” holding a B.A. in religious anthropology from Paris Jussieu University and a B.A. in law from La Sorbonne. She has practiced law at the Paris Bar and has taught international tax at La Sorbonne. Her writings include articles on the environment as well as children and the outdoors. Laure coauthored George-Daniel de Monfreid: Ami et confident de Gauguin and is currently working on a fictional account of Russian America and Ohlone people taking place in 1839 California. She lives in London.

Esther Shallan is a philosopher (PhD in Philosophy from Oxford Brookes University and Mphil in the philosophy of psychology from Kings College London) with interests and research on the problem of evil, the nature of suffering, and personality traits. She is also a psychotherapist working in North London who specializes in bereavement, depression, and anxiety disorders. Esther is currently working on a book entitled "God, Good and Evil: The Problem of Moral Evil Re-evaluated.”

Congratulations to Our 2020 Mini-Grant Recipients:

Steven Levi for expenses of a visual presentation of his poem, “The Contract," about women's suffrage.
Pam Peirce for editing of her biography of Katherine Gibson Wicks.

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

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