Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 17, 2008

Whitworth Professor's New Book Tells Story of Washington State through Historic Photographs

Washington State has been an integral part of the fabric of United States history. The state's story, which reflects both a united and progressive spirit and a unique culture, has been newly documented in the book Historic Photos of Washington State. The book features fact-filled photo captions and chapter introductions by Whitworth Professor of History Dale Soden and provides a compelling visual record of the state's past through nearly 200 rare photographs from the Library of Congress and the Washington State Historical Society. The photographs include images by two of Washington's best-known photographers, brothers Edward and Asahel Curtis.

Historic Photos of Washington State depicts the lives of common people, particularly in the early 20th century, and reveals how the state evolved from a land primarily populated by Native Americans to one where agricultural enterprises dominated small towns and rural communities. According to Soden, the photographs also reveal the tremendous impact of the arrival of the railroad as well as the importance of timber, fishing and agriculture to the state.

"These photos help one appreciate more of the struggles that everyday people experienced in their attempt to build railroads, mine coal, and construct cities," Soden says. "They also help people appreciate the Native American culture that once existed in the Pacific Northwest."

Historic Photos of Washington State
is part of Turner Publishing's Historic Photos book series, which highlight the histories of great cities, pivotal events, and legendary figures across America. Historic Photos of Washington State can be purchased in Spokane at the Whitworth Bookstore and at bookstores including Borders. The book can also be purchased online at www.turnerpublishing.com or www.amazon.com.

Dale Soden has taught at Whitworth since 1985; he specializes in American intellectual history, Pacific Northwest history, and American religious history. He holds a Ph.D. in American intellectual history from the University of Washington and an undergraduate degree in history from Pacific Lutheran University.

Soden has written extensively about various aspects of the history of the Pacific Northwest. His publications include the books The Reverend Mark Matthews: Activist in the Progressive Era (2000) and A Venture of Mind and Spirit: An Illustrated History of Whitworth College (1990); a book chapter, "Contesting for the Soul of an Unlikely Land: Mainline Catholics, Protestants and Jews Who Have Shaped the Pacific Northwest," in Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest: The None Zone (2004) and a chapter on the Women's Christian Temperance Union in the Pacific Northwest in Gender and the Social Gospel (2002).

Soden has also served as executive consultant and historical consultant for In Time of War, a documentary about Japanese-Americans during WWII, and served as humanities advisor for a Whitworth-produced audio documentary, Shaping Youth, Sustaining Life, about the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Dale Soden, professor of history, executive assistant to the president, and director of the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith & Learning, (509) 777-4433 or dsoden@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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