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. Publishers or authors should submit a letter of nomination and a copy of the book to each member of the award committee listed below.

2017 Committee

Cecilia Tsu - Chair

Department of History

University of California - Davis

1 Shields Ave
Davis, California 95616

David Igler
Department of History
University of California, Irvine
200 Krieger Hall
Mail Code:3275
Irvine, CA 92697

Joshua L. Reid
Department of History
University of Washington
318 Smith, Box 35360
Seattle, WA 98195-3560


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 Winners

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). Click here to read more.

Sponsors and Partners

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.

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The Western History Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.