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 2021 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. 

-2022 Awards Cycle opens January 25, 2022

-2022 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: April 15, 2022

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

Coll Thrush, Chair

University of British Columbia

103 - 1930 West Third Ave.

Vancouver, BC, Canada V6J 1L1

Genevieve Carpio

University of California, Los Angeles

330 De Neve Dr. #8379

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Mark Padoongpatt

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dept. of Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Box 445027
Las Vegas, NV 89154

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

2021 | Aaron Goings, The Port of Missing Men: Billy Gohl, Labor, and Brutal Times in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press, 2020)

2020 Genevieve Carpio, Collisions at the Crossroads: How Place and Mobility Make Race (University of California Press, 2019)

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 (Oxford University Press, 2013). 

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The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas.

The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860