SSAWW NW Meeting in Seattle, November 13, 2010


Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 13th!

Women Writers and the Settlement of the Pacific Northwest: The Cultural Legacy of Emily Inez Denny’s Blazing the Way, Or True Stories, Songs, and Sketches of Puget Sound and Other Pioneers (1909)

Join other colleagues around the region for a daylong dialog about the legacy of Emily Inez Denny’s written account of early Puget Sound-area pioneers. In a similar fashion to other narratives of settlement, Denny’s book demonstrates the incredible cultural influence of certain non-fiction narratives. Denny utilizes themes found within many frontier narratives (threat of Indian attack, virgin lands, exaggeration of pioneer activities, etc.), and these themes helped to pave the way for the development of the region. The group will focus on various approaches to the study of Emily Inez Denny’s Blazing the Way and examine secondary sources that offer supplementary information about early Seattle history and the literary and cultural significance of Denny’s book.

In addition to engaging conversation about scholarly and pedagogical approaches to Blazing the Way, the group will also visit the Museum of History and Industry to examine the visual representations of Seattle’s early history.  The museum visit will take place in the morning from 10-11:30, and the cost will be minimal ($8).  If we have enough confirmed participants, we can also request a group discount.

For the fall meeting, the group will meet at Seattle University, located on Capitol Hill and near downtown Seattle.   Please RSVP to Christina Roberts ( by Oct. 29th.

Please RSVP by Friday, October 29th

Suggested Primary Readings

Denny, Emily Inez. Blazing the way, or True Stories, Songs and Sketches of Puget Sound and Other Pioneers.  Chapters 3, 4, and 7. (available online as Google book and as .pdf document)

Klingle, Matthew.  Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle. Chapter 3, “The Imagination and Creative Energy of the Engineer: Harnessing Nature’s Forces to Urban Progress.” (excerpt available as .pdf. document)

Thrush, Coll.  Native Seattle. Chapter 2, “Terra Miscognita.” (excerpt available as .pdf. document)

Suggested Secondary Readings

Carlson, Lucile. “Duwamish River: Its Place in the Seattle Industrial Plan.” Economic Geography. 26.2 (April 1950): 144-154.  (available through JSTOR)

Merchant, Carolyn.  American Environmental History. Chapter Six, “Urban Environments, 1850-1960.” (excerpt available as .pdf. document)

O’Brien Jean.  Firsting and Lasting: Writing Native Americans Out of Existence in New England. Introduction, “Indians Can Never Be Modern.” (excerpt available as .pdf document)

Thrush, Coll.  “City of the Changers: Indigenous People and the Transformation of Seattle’s Watersheds.” Pacific Historical Review. 75.1 (Feb. 2006): 89-117. (available through JSTOR)

PDFs of the readings and additional information available at

Directions to Seattle University

Visitor parking is available at the 12th Ave & E. Marion parking lot.

Campus map

Airport and Hotel

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the main airport for the greater Seattle area.  There are numerous transportation options to get from the airport to downtown Seattle, and there are many wonderful attractions that change frequently.  Check out additional information at, where you can also find hotel discounts and other offers.  The Silver Cloud Hotel ( is the closest to Seattle University, and the website offer a small discount if booked online in advance.


9-9:30am                     Continental breakfast and introductions

Meet on 5th floor of Casey building

9:30-11:30am              Shuttle Van. Visit MOHAI and other relevant Seattle-area landmarks

11:30-12:30                 Lunch at Seattle University

12:30-4pm                   Afternoon sessions

  • Discuss readings

o       Emily Inez Denny and pioneering families

o       Klingle’s environmental history of Seattle

o       Future of (bioregional) scholarly discourse?

  • Break w/beverages and light dessert
  • Share pedagogical strategies

o       Academic service learning

o       Community-based research

o       Other authors to include – goal will be to compile research/teaching bibliography that can be mailed to regional group.

  • Business

o       Spring meeting logistics

5pm                             Dinner at local restaurant


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