Dr. Amanda Laugesen is Lecturer in History and American Studies at Flinders University, Adelaide. She completed her Ph.D in the History Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. Her publications include Diggerspeak: the Language of Australians at War (2005), and Convict Words: Language in Early Colonial Australia (OUP Australia, 2002) and many journal articles in Australian and United States History.2006 0-7734-5622-8
This book is a study of the establishment and development of historical societies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century American West. It concentrates on the people who created the historical societies of Kansas, Oregon, and Wisconsin, from the first charter generation through to the first generation of professional historical society workers. Through museums, libraries, involvement in historical celebrations and the making of monuments and markers, historical societies played a critical, and hitherto unexamined, role in shaping public historical consciousness in the American West. While the development of professional history in the United States at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century has been closely examined, few studies have adequately considered the role of those outside the academy in the process of history-making, and none have properly examined the role of the state of historical societies – this study fills in an important gap in our knowledge.