658 Francisco Ct.
Walnut Creek, CA
Hardscratch Press is named for an
early-1900s family codfishing station on Unga Island in the
Shumagins, easternmost group in the Aleutian Islands. The first
author we published was Ralph Soberg, who wrote about his life on
the island, about his roots in Norway, about his brief career as a
bootlegger and his lifelong passion, building bridges and roads for
the Alaska Road Commission ... and who was the publisher's dear
stepfather. "We" refers to editor-publisher-sometimes writer Jackie
Pels and designer David R. Johnson, whose work has won awards and
applause since Ralph Soberg's first book in 1990.
"... Hardscratch Press of
Walnut Creek, a small publishing house known for its fine-crafted
books ..." ―
The Independent (Livermore, Calif.)
30th year ...
... and Anne Marshall Homan's 4th book!
Chapter titles hint at a
spirited girlhood: "Blossoms & Bicycles." "Admiral Anne & Miss Mary
Mack." "Nawakwa & Jolly Acres," where we encounter Slinky, Anne's
4-foot pilot black snake, which when not entertaining her young
charges at one or another summer camp does indeed live under the
family piano. In "Generations" we meet her parents, and theirs, and
theirs, not as mere names and dates but as personalities. In "The
Neighborhood" and affectionate vignettes throughout, we meet
Baltimore. (Not wanting to give too much away, it can be noted that
the final chapter, "A Broken Ring," closes on a happy note.)
Anne Marshall of Baltimore
is 6x9 inches,
134 pages, with many photos. ISBN: 978-1-7330729-1-5. $17. (See
Anne's award-winning histories of Livermore, California, below.)
"It was more than a day's
journey by dogsled from Wales to Teller. . . . How far in advance of
my birth Mom traveled to Teller is unknown, but at 12:30 p.m. on
March 16, I was born at Teller Mission hospital. A nurse named Anna
M. Huseth signed the birth certificate. The name I was given at
birth was Sylvester David Kiyonuk Mazen. Sylvester David Mazen
honors my parents and all that being their son would come to mean.
Kiyonuk, spelled Qayuanaq in today's modern writing system,
means 'like sand' in the Inupiaq language of the Bering Strait area.
I've been told it was given to me because my hair was the color of
sand. It honors my birth state and what it means to me to be Alaskan
born and raised. . . . " —From Chapter 2, "Cape Prince of Wales."
The back cover notes that
after decades away -- military duty in the Aleutians, a fulfilling
career as teacher and counselor -- Sandy Mazen returned to Alaska.
The word "sailing" hints at the focus of a second book soon under
way. Stay tuned.
KIYONUK is 332 pages, 6x9
inches, with many photos, extensive References, and a full index.
ISBN: 978-0-9838628-9-5, $20.
The 50-Year Summer,
by David Leuthe.
"Alaska became a state in 1959, and I became 21," the
book begins, and soon three "university chaps" (see the Table of
Contents) are camping their way up the Alaska Highway, hoping for
summer work to see them through another year of college in
Wisconsin. Author David Leuthe didn't know that his job at a
shipyard in Juneau would lead to a lifelong love affair with the new
state, but acceptance at law school and a stint at a Seattle bank
weren't tempting for long.
On the second summer's trip to Alaska, after a
discouraging search for any sort of job around Anchorage, he and his
younger brother, Craig, happened upon two fishermen working on their
nets at a cannery in Kenai. "We watched for a long time," he writes,
"marveling at how fast those guys were able to knot the web to the
lines. To us it appeared an impossible task and also something from
the distant past, maybe a scene from Ten Years Before the Mast.
... I probably
decided then and there to become a fisherman, but I was too
practical to admit it, even to myself. It took me years to work up
the courage to say, 'I have to do this.'" Till then it was cannery
life, rough and demanding, that drew him. He has written with
impressive recall about his seasons on Cook Inlet plus Bristol Bay
and Astoria, Oregon, always centered on fishing—the people, the
process, the highs and lows.
The 50-Year Summer
is 384 pages, 6x9 inches, with original photos and a full index.
ISBN: 978-0-9838628-8-8. $22. For further information contact
Hardscratch Press (details at left) or Lynne Leuthe via email,
Framed by Sea & Sky:
Community art in Seward, mural
capital of Alaska
"... is an invitation
to stroll the town where Alaska's flag was born and discover murals,
and more: Homage to the Iditarod Trail and the annual run up Mount
Marathon. Friendship across water. Founders and fishermen, the
glacier and the fjords. Dumpsters with a conscience. A mysterious
... And along the way, encounter a community."
treat," said the Seward Journal, "full of pride for the
people and the place. ... You have to love the flag on the roof of
the Seward Public Works building, the Alice Pickett Memorial Animal
Shelter, the stories of the murals and Seward's sister city. ..."
978-0-9838628-7-1, 188 pages, full-color throughout, $24. Notes and
references. 8.75x6.375 inches. Back cover: Detail from "Tribute to
Commercial Fishing," 2003; master muralist Tom Missel.
(Out of print at present,
with the possibility of an updated edition. Seward's artists have
Too Close to Home?
"drill, baby" on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
Autumn Jackinsky's Russian-Alutiiq great-great-great-grandparents
were among the founders of Ninilchik village on the Cook Inlet side
of the Kenai Peninsula. As a longtime Alaska journalist she has
reported on the oil and gas industry from several perspectives. Now,
with what author-activist Adam Briggle calls "an all too
rare open-mindedness," she has interviewed families affected pro or
con by the industry's presence in the area, as well as civic
leaders, alternative energy advocates and others. In four unsparing
chapters woven through Too Close to Home? she
also tells her own family and personal story, on the way to a
decision about oil and gas exploration on her inherited three-acre
share of Jackinsky land.
400 pages, $24.50, 6x9. Extensive bibliography and full index. As with all Hardscratch Press books, standard bookstore discounts apply, as well as a
courtesy discount for libraries.
Celebrating our 25th anniversary
"As native son Manuel
Gonzales shows in this excellent and evenhanded history," Gerald
Haslam writes in the Foreword to Mendota: Life and Times of an
Emerging Latino Community, 1891-2012, "the Great Valley remains
one of California's economic engines and one of its tragedies."
Historian Lea Ybarra, author of Vietnam Veteranos: Chicanos
Recall the War and other works, notes "the extensive interviews
of Latinos in the book. ... Kudos to Dr. Gonzales for giving them a
voice, and weaving their stories into the fabric of America." Jim
Story, another native son now a member of the Columbia University
history faculty, says, "Mendota not only plumbs the depths of
many individual lives—those
who flourished and those who didn't—but
sets them in the context of the surrounding agricultural community.
... I am grateful to Professor Gonzales for his meticulous research,
cogent analysis and storytelling skills."
978-09838628-5-7, 7x10, 360 pp., dozens of period photos, full
index, $24. (Mendota
is back in print! Contact the publisher at
Freedom Here: My 100 years in Alaska,
by the late Patricia Ray Williams, whose memoir is also a
lively history of the town of Seward, on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.
Her mother first visited Resurrection Bay in 1901, two years before
the town was founded; her father established his law practice there
in 1906, and their daughter was brought home to Seward as an infant,
in 1910. Her stories, accompanied by dozens of photos and
illustrations from early newspapers, are by turns poignant and
earthy, always well told.
It's a great honor for Hardscratch Press
to have been chosen to shepherd this book. A second printing has
been arranged by the author's daughter, Pat Erickson, who can be
References, full index,
6.5x9.25 inches, 360 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9838628-4-0. $20.
Sideways Rain: 20 years of medicine, music, and
good-luck landings in the Aleutian and Pribilof
Islands of Alaska. Besides her work as a
dedicated and resourceful medical practitioner, Nancy Elliott Sydnam,
M.D., is a pilot and a poet, a hunter and gatherer, and an
empathetic observer of human nature. In journal entries, letters and
poems she writes with deep affection about the landscape, both bleak
and beautiful, and the people she encountered on her hazardous
routes—often with her cello or her Labrador retriever, first Tigger,
then Vita, along for the ride. Included are photos and other
illustrations as well as a map of the islands and an index of names.
Direct queries to the publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org. When
available, books will be sent with an
invoice for the cover price of $20 per book plus postage. Standard
bookstore discounts apply, as well as a courtesy discount for
(Another feather in
designer David Johnson's cap: Sideways Rain's award at the
43rd annual book show of Publishing Professionals Network [formerly
^ ^ ^
We marked our
20th anniversary in 2010 with two new books plus three awards from the Bay Area
Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) and one from Bookbuilders
"Best Cultural History," for
Life Story of Henry Ramsey Jr.;
"Best Regional History," for Family After All: Alaska's
Jesse Lee Home;
"Best Memoir," for Autumn Loneliness: The
Letters of Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi
from BAIPA); plus
"Recognition of Merit," for
Vasco's Livermore 1910
(Bookbuilders West). Book
And as if that weren't heady
enough, 2011 brought two new honors: BAIPA's "Best Local
History" for Vasco's
Livermore 1910, and
"Best Migration Memoir" for
Homesteaders in the
Homesteaders in the Headlights:
One family's journey from a Depression-era
New Jersey farm to a new life in Wasilla, Alaska,
by George Harbeson Jr. (ISBN: 978-0-9789979-8-4, 6x9, 312 pages,
many photos, index of names, 2nd printing, $18).
"Best Migration Memoir,"
2011 BAIPA award.
life—cut short at age 64—is the perfect illustration of how one
person can make a difference in the life of a community.
Congratulations to George Jr. for writing this meaningful tribute to
both his parents." —From the Introduction by noted Alaskan Katie Hurley.
Vasco's Livermore, 1910: Portraits from the Hub Saloon,
by Anne Marshall Homan
and Richard W. Finn,
is a collection of
100-year-old portraits by Australian
caricaturist Vasco Loureiro, with stories
about each of the early
Livermore residents pictured (ISBN: 978-9789979-7-7, $24).
on community members ranging from an oil man to the ice man," says
Linda L. Ivey,
asst. professor of history at Cal State East
Bay. And Sam Viviano, art
director of MAD Magazine, writes, "Loureiro manages to make each figure
individual and unique,
which is no small feat." Winner of Bookbuilders West 2010
"Recognition of Merit" award; named BAIPA's 2011 "Best
About Anne Marshall Homan's earlier books:
already in second printing, is a generously illustrated and
impressively researched encyclopedia of facts, photos and artifacts.
"What a pioneering and useful work of scholarship she has
produced!" says Kevin Starr, professor of history at the University
of Southern California. In 2008, the Bay Area Independent Publishers
Historic Livermore A-Z
as "Overall Best
Book" (a tie)
plus "Best Interior"
− well-deserved honors for the author and for designer David
The Morning Side of Mount Diablo:
An illustrated history of the San Francisco Bay Area's Morgan
is also in second printing.
is $28.50, 256 pages, ISBN: 0-9678989-2-7;
is $34.95, 584 pages, ISBN: 978-0-9789979-8-9; both are 8x9 inches,
with full indexes. Queries on all of the inimitable Anne's books,
including the Baltimore memoir marking our 30th anniversary at the
top of this "page," may be directed to the publisher at
THE 2010 BAIPA AWARD-WINNERS ...
Life Story of Henry Ramsey Jr.,
of Rocky Mount,
N.C., and Berkeley, Calif., is 6x9 inches, 600 pages, soft-cover,
with many photos and a full index; $25.
ISBN: 978-0-9789979-3-9. BAIPA's 2010 "Best Cultural History."
Henry Ramsey's "frank and eloquent account of the journey from Jim Crow childhood to
a life of activism, public service, and high achievement will be
familiar to some, a revelation to others. The challenge he issues is
for all: Never forget our past. Never stop
working for our future. Always cherish our children."
president and CEO, NAACP.
Loneliness: The Letters of Kiyoshi & Kiyoko Tokutomi, July-December
translated by Tei Matsushita
Scott and Patricia J. Machmiller, is 368 pages, 6x9 inches, soft-cover,
with many photos, two glossaries, and an index of names; $27.50.
ISBN: 978-0-9789979-4-6. BAIPA's 2010 "Best Memoir."
story of healings, border crossings, cultural cross-breeding ... in the form of letters that are an intimate and moving
portrait of a marriage, as absorbing and delicate as a Japanese
novel or a film by Ozu." —Robert Hass,
U.S. poet laureate, 1995-1997.
Family After All: Alaska's
Jesse Lee Home has
been honored with the Alaska Historical Society's "Contributions to
Alaska History" award in addition to BAIPA's 2010 "Best
Regional History" recognition. Volume II of Family After All was also nominated for the Alaska Library
Association's "Alaskana Award." Click on images or see CATALOG for ISBNs and other details.
The Qutekcak Native Tribe
of Seward calls Family After All "a testament to the survival and persistence
of today's Alaska Native elders. [It] has brought history to life for our children. …"
NOTE: The Puyallup Tribe of
Washington state hopes to hear from people, including Alaskans, with
experiences in boarding schools and other vital history for tribal
archives. Details at
or call Amber Santiago at 253/573-7965.
^ ^ ^
This is not to forget two
remarkable nonagenarians (see CATALOG for cover images, ISBNs, and
other details of our earlier books):
Any Tonnage, Any Ocean: Conversations with a resolute Alaskan:
Walter Jackinsky Jr. of Ninilchik, Alaska, signed on at age 47 as an
ordinary seaman for the 1963 launch of the M/V Malaspina,
first of Alaska's famed marine highway ferries. Thirty-four years
later he retired as senior captain and honorary commodore of the
Any Tonnage, Any Ocean,
named "Best Memoir" in 2008 by the Bay Area Independent Publishers
Association, melds Alaska Native
history and family drama, zest for travel and deep roots in the home
is out of print for now.)
Fin, Fur & Fiber: The life and [fishing] times of a New England textile man,
antiques and art dealer Nelson F. Getchell tells his part of "a
broad stretch of history" with extraordinary recall and dry,
sometimes mordant New England wit, offset by the loving homage paid
his parents and grandparents. "My father saw the last days of
sailing ships; I am experiencing the last days of the American
textile industry," he notes with regret.
"Each of the memoirs published since Hardscratch's
in 1990 is handsome and meticulous in detail, illustrated with
carefully chosen photographs and hand-drawn maps. ... They ask
picked up and leafed through."
– Contra Costa Times
Delicious as ever:
The 2021 Farmers Market
Lovers Calendar, watercolors by
lively text by Lesley Stiles,
is due from the printer in early January. To order copies for
your own kitchen and for gifts, contact the artist at
the chef via
or the publisher at 925-935-3422
^ ^ ^