Schwantes, Carlos A(rnaldo) 1945-
SCHWANTES, Carlos A(rnaldo) 1945-
PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "swan-tess"; born March 7, 1945, in Wilmington, NC; son of Arnaldo (a translator) and Frances (Casteen) Schwantes; married Mary Dassenko, September 4, 1966; children: Benjamin, Matthew. Ethnicity: "Euro-American." Education: Andrews University, B.A., 1967; University of Michigan, M.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1976. Politics: Republican. Religion: Seventh-day Adventist. Hobbies and other interests: Photography.
ADDRESSES: Office—8001 Natural Bridge, 154 University Center, University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO 63121-4499. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Walla Walla College, College Place, WA, from instructor to professor of history, 1969-86; University of Idaho, Moscow, associate professor, 1984-87, professor of history, 1987-2002; University of Missouri, St. Louis, St. Louis Mercantile Library Endowed Professor of Transportation Studies and the West, 2002—. Visiting lecturer at University of Oregon, 1981; shipboard lecturer for Lindblad Expeditions, beginning 1990; train lecturer for the American Orient Express Railway Company, beginning 1995.
MEMBER: American Historical Association (president, 1999-2000, and member of council, Pacific Coast branch), Organization of American Historians, Mining History Association (founding member).
AWARDS, HONORS: Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, 1994; faculty award for research excellence, University of Idaho, 1994; award of merit, American Association for State and Local History, 1996; Take Pride in Idaho Media Award, 1999; Joan Paterson Kerr Award for best illustrated book on the American West, Western History Association, 2001.
Radical Heritage: Labor, Socialism, and Reform in Washington and British Columbia, 1885-1917, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA) 1979.
Coxey's Army: An American Odyssey, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE) 1985.
(Editor, with G. Thomas Edwards) Experiences in a Promised Land: Essays in Pacific Northwest History, foreword by Robert E. Burke, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 1986.
(Editor) The Pacific Northwest in World War II, Sunflower University Press, 1986.
The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1989, second edition, 1996.
In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1991.
(Editor, with assistance of Tom Vaughan) Bisbee: Urban Outpost on the Frontier, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1992.
Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 1993.
(Editor, assisted by Evelyne Pickett) Encounters with a Distant Land: Exploration and the Great Northwest, University of Idaho Press (Moscow, ID), 1994.
Hard Traveling: A Portrait of Work Life in the New Northwest, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1994.
So Incredibly Idaho!: Seven Landscapes That Define the Gem State, University of Idaho Press (Moscow, ID), 1996.
Long Day's Journey: The Steamboat and Stagecoach Era across the Northern West, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 1999.
(And photographer) Columbia River: Gateway to the West, additional photography by Steve Eltinge and Ralph Lee Hopkins, University of Idaho Press (Moscow, ID), 2000.
Vision and Enterprise: Exploring the History of Phelps Dodge Corporation, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 2000.
Going Places: Transportation Redefines the Twentieth-Century West, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2003.
Contributor to Washington: Images of a State's Heritage, Melior Publications (Spokane, WA), 1988. Member of editorial advisory board, Journal of the West, 2001-04.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Workers on the Anvil of Adversity: American Labor and the Phelps Dodge Copper Strike of 1983, for University Press of Kansas.
SIDELIGHTS: Carlos A. Schwantes is a history professor who has published books of scholarly and general interest that reflect his knowledge of labor and economic history, modes of transportation, photography, and the Pacific Northwest. His first book, Radical Heritage: Labor, Socialism, and Reform in Washington and British Columbia, 1885-1917, is a study of how the industrialization of the Pacific Northwest gave rise to multiple labor union movements and socialist activism. Labor History reviewer Ann Schofield credited the author with the "unsatisfactory" finding that "the American tradition of liberalism was antithetical to socialism," but valued his bibliography and the interest he created about "the function of myth and ideology in different political cultures." According to Hugh T. Lovin in the American Historical Review, Schwantes became "the first to tap a rich lode of archival material" on the subject, and that as a result "we now have a reliable history of pre-1917 Northwest unionism."
The depression of 1893 is the setting for Schwantes's narrative presentation of the mostly unsuccessful march of unemployed men on Washington, D.C., that was led by Ohioan Jacob Coxey. Coxey's Army: An American Odyssey is based on research into the extensive news coverage drawn by this event. "Mr. Schwantes describes the affair very well indeed, with sympathy and a skillful use of the mass of detail recorded by the contemporary press," remarked critic Phoebe-Lou Adams in the Atlantic. K. Austin Kerr commented in the Business History Review that the study reflected "prodigious research in newspapers," but he also warned that "the author's narrative approach serves him well for explaining the dimensions of the protest but limits a full analysis of its significance." However, the book was the first study to appear on the subject since 1929, and Labor History's Andre G. Kuczewski considered it to be "a most thoughtful study which should remain the definitive account for many years to come."
Beginning with the first contact between whites and native Americans in the region, Schwantes offers an economy-based history of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History. Key topics include early use of the area's natural resources, the development of urban areas and industry, and the later growth of environmental awareness. In the American Historical Review, John L. Allen called the book "an intriguing and complete examination of the Pacific Northwest" in which "it becomes less and less clear whether the author is producing a historical geography, an economic history, or a political history of the region." Library Journal critic Stephen H. Peters judged that "the analysis is generally careful and the writing clear."
Schwantes offers a regional history of rail transportation in Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest. Combining essays with hundreds of period photographs, posters, and other graphic materials, he details the development of railroad companies and their economic impact on logging, mining, and agriculture. It is "a graphic tour de force," according to Kevin P. Keefe in Trains Magazine. "Schwantes has infused his narrative with the human aspects of Northwest railroading," he said; "the lessons here apply to all of railroad history." In the Business History Review, W. Thomas White called the book "a fine, well-informed survey that specialists and lay persons alike will enjoy." And a writer for American History Illustrated recommended it as a "pathbreaking history of railroads" with exceptional photographic reproductions.
Photographs are also central to Hard Traveling: A Portrait of Work Life in the New Northwest, in which Schwantes depicts working life from the 1890s to the early twentieth century. This includes events such as the 1885 Rock Springs Massacre of Chinese miners and a 1910 accident on the Great Northern Railroad, as well as everyday scenes of timber, fruit, shipping, and fishing workers. Alun C. Davies wrote in History that the "context … is expertly provided by Schwantes" in a book that was "an important contribution to the history of American photography." Labor History writer James N. Gregory also said, "It is hard to imagine a more vivid introduction into a region's industrial and labor history."
In Long Day's Journey: The Steamboat and Stagecoach Era across the Northern West, Schwantes returns to transportation history and discusses the pre-railroad era of travel in the Northwest. He recounts how entrepreneurs looked for ways to travel east from the Pacific coastline and west across the Continental Divide, attempting dangerous and sometimes impossible plans. Reviewers welcomed the volume as an important companion to Long Day's Journey. Finding "a touch of the coffee-table book about it," Geographical Review writer Thomas Frederick Howard advised that "the reader must work to keep from being distracted by all the interesting details." Choice critic M. J. Butler called it "a truly epic account" and credited the author with "a deeply personal, human insight." And Patrick Dunae reflected in BC Studies that the author "says relatively little about attempts by the state to exert political or cultural hegemony in the northern west" but concluded: "Make no mistake; this is a formidable piece of scholarship."
Schwantes worked with corporate archives and sponsorship to write Vision and Enterprise: Exploring the History of Phelps Dodge Corporation. His history of the world's largest publicly traded copper company begins in the 1820s and includes controversial events such as the Bisbee deportation of 1917 and the 1983 copper strike. Reviewer Christopher J. Castaneda did, however, see evidence that this was a "friendly history" of the company. In his review for the Public Historian, he commented that it was significant that the author did "not address the significant environmental problems related to many facets of mining," yet he judged Vision and Enterprise to be "a wide-ranging history of an important company." According to Pacific Historical Review writer Albert Churella, Schwantes "superbly integrates the entertaining and colorful history of western mining with a serious historical analysis of a complex and diverse corporation."
Schwantes once told CA: "I write only about subjects that interest me. Usually, writing about one thing causes me to become interested in a related subject. I want to write serious history that is accessible to any educated person. Transportation history is my primary interest, perhaps because the vehicles I write about are the tools of exploration of a larger world or era. My book on railroads in the Pacific Northwest is as much about the region itself, from the 1880s to the 1930s, as it is about railroad equipment and technology.
"I grew up fascinated by the trains that ran through my backyard in Greenfield, Indiana. The first subjects for my budding interest in photography were the tugboat crews in my grandparents' hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Heritage, April, 1994, review of Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest, p. 117.
American Historical Review, February, 1980, Hugh T. Lovin, review of Radical Heritage: Labor, Socialism, and Reform in Washington and British Columbia, 1885-1917, pp. 221-222; June, 1986, Stanley B. Parsons, review of Coxey's Army: An American Odyssey, p. 750; December, 1990, John L. Allen, review of The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History, p. 1641.
American History Illustrated, January-February, 1994, review of Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest.
Atlantic January, 1986, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of Coxey's Army, p. 95.
BC Studies, spring, 2001, Patrick Dunae, review of Long Day's Journey: The Steamboat and Stagecoach Era across the Northern West, pp. 98-100.
Business History Review, autumn, 1986, K. Austin Kerr, review of Coxey's Army, p. 497; spring, 1994, W. Thomas White, review of Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest, p. 152.
Canadian Journal of History, April, 1987, John N. Ingham, review of Coxey's Army, pp. 129-131.
Choice, December, 1989, M. C. Mangusso, review of The Pacific Northwest; March, 1994, H. R. Grant, review of Railroad Signatures across the PacificNorthwest; July, 1995, S. L. Recken, review of Hard Traveling: A Portrait of Work Life in the New Northwest; May, 2000, M. J. Butler, review of Long Day's Journey.
Geographical Review, October, 2001, Thomas Frederick Howard, review of Long Day's Journey, p. 741.
History, October, 1990, G. Martin, "Reviews and Short Notices: The Americas," p. 462; October, 1996, Alun C. Davies, review of Hard Traveling, p. 599.
History Teacher, February, 1990, Jeff Hickey, review of Experiences in a Promised Land: Essays in Pacific Northwest History, pp. 185-186.
Labor History, spring, 1983, Ann Schofield, review of Radical Heritage, pp. 310-311; fall, 1986, Andre G. Kuczewski, review of Coxey's Army, pp. 584-585; fall, 1996, James N. Gregory, review of Hard Traveling, pp. 561-562.
Library Journal December 1, 1985, Scott Wright, review of Coxey's Army, p. 106; May 15, 1989, Stephen H. Peters, review of The Pacific Northwest, p. 78; June 1, 1996, Joseph L. Carlson, "Book Reviews: Social Sciences," p. 136; March 1, 2003, Eric C. Shoaf, review of Going Places: Transportation Redefines the Twentieth-Century West, p. 108.
Oregonian (Portland, OR), December 26, 1999, Nicole Chvatal, review of Hard Traveling, p. R5.
Pacific Historical Review, February, 2002, Albert Churella, review of Vision and Enterprise: Exploring the History of Phelps Dodge Corporation, pp. 138-139.
Public Historian, fall, 2001, Christopher J. Castaneda, review of Visions and Enterprise, pp. 141-143.
Spokesman Review, May 20, 1999, "Take Pride in Idaho Awards Distributed," p. D5.
Trains Magazine, May, 1994, Kevin P. Keefe, review of Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest, p. 78.
Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 2000, "Notes on Current Books: History."
Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2003, "Bookmarks," p. W10.
Western Historical Quarterly, May, 1992, Ronald H. Limbaugh, review of In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho, pp. 257-258; August, 1993, Phil Mellinger, review of Bisbee: Urban Outpost on the Frontier, pp. 439-440; autumn, 1995, E. Richard Hart, review of Encounters with a Distant Land: Exploration and the Great Northwest, pp. 394-395.
Wild West, April, 2000, Alexander Cook, review of Long Day's Journey, p. 72.*