Arlene Spencer is a Staff Writer for Global Maritime History a professional historical publication founded in 2013 by Oxford University Bodleian Library Manager, naval historian, and art historian, Dr Justin Reay; and Dr Samuel McLean, graduate of the Department of War Studies, King’s College of London who is also a Canadian Nautical Research Society Councillor.
Though right now it is on hiatus, Arlene has regularly contributed to the Grand Coulee, Washington State based history publication, Them Dam Writers. Them Dam Writers began in 1985 to specifically promote and share Grand Coulee regional history. The Editor is on sabbatical, completing work on his forthcoming book. Arlene remains eager to continue writing for Them Dam Writers.
These two publications publish and market her writing and research to the reading consumers geographically located in and interested in the historical periods and places in which her research subjects lived. Her contributions to each of these publications increases her readership where her books are the most likely to sell to readers most likely to purchase them.
Since 2010, from her home office in Seattle she’s researched three subjects full time. Arlene has unearthed historical details about each of her subjects and all of her articles that were lost to time and otherwise unknown. Her findings about Richard Williams alias Cornish for her historical non-fiction book about Cornish will add to what is currently understood about Cornish, the earliest English settlement in America, early 17th century English merchants, and the importance of the merchant class to early British colonization.
She has completed research for her two other historical non-fiction books: one about James Dillman a sheep man, blacksmith, and trapper, who was an Oregon pioneer and a survivor of the violent Range Wars; and the other about Catherine Northrup who survived a particularly lethal sortie against newly settled homesteaders during the Nez Perce War but was, ten years after, murdered.
No books have been published about any of her subjects.
In 1992 Arlene earned her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology at Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg, Washington. After, she surveyed two Pre-Contact Native American sites and two historical sites in Washington State while working for an archaeology firm. In 1998 she returned to CWU and completed two years of study in the Resource Management Masters of Science program, where she focused on the Cultural Resource Management (Archaeology) track.
Arlene attended Central Washington Archaeological Survey (CWAS) Field School during summer, 1991. As a CWAS student she surveyed, mapped, recorded, and excavated a pre-contact hunting and kill processing site in the Yakima River Canyon. Two descendants of those hunters, Yakama Nation Elders Bill Yallup and Johnson Meninick, were invited to the CWAS class to discuss their experience of non-Native archaeological field work on their traditional and ceded lands. While explaining the importance of the interactions between humans nature and the site’s historical usage, the Elders conveyed the difference between others excavating ceded Yakama land and their tribal members excavating and interpreting the Yakamas’ historical past. It was among the most lasting lessons of the field season. Their candor and points remained with her; after grad school she chose to research history rather than continue in archaeology, in part because of what Yallup and Meninick said.