Sally and Ken Owens Award

The Western History Association announces the Owens Book Award given annually for the best book on the history of the Pacific West, including Alaska, Hawaii, Western Canada, and the U.S. Pacific territories. The Award is $500 to the author and a certificate to the publisher. The award is supported by the Sally and Ken Owens Trust and administered by the Western History Association. 

Publishers may submit more than one title each year. All submissions must have a 2019 publication date. While the formal process requires presses/journals to submit the work of their authors, the WHA strongly recommends that authors check with the award committee chair a week before the deadline to see if they received a copy of their work. Presses should submit nominations and a copy of the book to each member of the award committee listed below. 

-2020 Awards Cycle opens January 25, 2020

-2020 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: April 15, 2020


The WHA office sends award notifications in August. View a list of past recipients.


Clifford Trafzer, Chair

University of California Riverside


University of California, Riverside
1212 HMNSS

Riverside, CA 92521
clifford.trafzer@ucr.edu


Joy Schulz
Metropolitan Community College, Nebraska


8425 South 101 Street

La Vista, NE 68128
jschulz@mccneb.edu


Coll Thrush

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia
Buchanan Tower 1876 E.
Mall Room 1222 V6T1Z1
Vancouver, BC, Canada
coll.thrush@ubc.ca

Sally and Ken Owens

Life-long residents of the Pacific Northwest, Sally and Ken Owens met and married while attending Lewis and Clark College. Subsequently they moved to Minneapolis, where in 1959 Ken completed his Ph.D. in western history at the University of Minnesota.  They then moved to DeKalb, where he taught at Northern Illinois University.  Following the birth of their two daughters, Sally began grad school at NIU in microbiology.  In 1968 Ken took a position at California State University, Sacramento. Sally finished her microbiology Ph.D. at University of California, Davis, in 1974, and she too then became a member of the CSUS faculty. They remained at CSUS until retirement, Sally in 1996 and Ken in 2000.

Past Recipients

2019 Beth Lew-Williams, The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America (Harvard University, 2018)

2018 | Joy Schulz for Hawaiian By Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific (University of Nebraska Press, 2017)

2017 | John W. Troutman for Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music (University of South Carolina Press, 2016).

2016 | Joshua Reid for The Sea is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs (Yale University Press, 2015)

2014 | David Igler for The Great Ocean: Pacific Worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold Rush (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). 

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Western History Association

UNO History Department

6001 Dodge Street

Omaha, NE 68182   (402) 554-5999

wha@westernhistory.org 



The WHA is hosted on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and benefits from the generous support of the College of Arts and Sciences and UNO Department of History. The Western History Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.