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Professors' New Books Explore Influence of Historic People, Events

Mark Matthews was no ordinary preacher. A Southerner by birth, he was pastor of Seattle's First Presbyterian Church, a leader of the Social Gospel movement, an important figure in American Presbyterianism - and something of a showman, who loved the excitement of heated public debate. Dale Soden, history professor and director of the Weyerhaeuser Center for Chrisitan Faith and Learning at Whitworth, chronicles the life of Seattle's "reverend of righteousness" in his book, The Reverend Mark Matthews: An Activist in the Progressive Era (University of Washington Press, 2000).

"I wrote the book in part because so little had been written about this person who clearly was a major figure in Seattle history," Soden says. "And what had been written seemed terribly caricatured, simple, and skewed. I wanted to present him in a much more complex way."

Historian Ferenc Szasz of the University of New Mexico says of the book, "As Dale Soden shows, the Reverend Mark Matthews' concerted efforts to create a 'righteous community' out of wide-open Seattle led to over three decades of religious/political jousting. This balanced biography of one of the most colorful clerics of the early 20th century provides a welcome addition to both religious history and the history of the Pacific Northwest."

History Professor Corliss Slack researched centuries-old documents for her newly published book Crusade Charters (from the series Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Arizona State University). The charters mentioned in the book's title were written by crusaders heading off to battle. They were meant, says Slack, "to cover 'what should happen to my stuff if I don't come back.' The point of looking at the documents was to figure out why people went on crusade."

History Professor Arlin Migliazzo's Lands of True and Certain Bounty: The Geographical Theories and Colonization Strategies of Jean Pierre Purry (Associated University Presses for the Susquehanna University Press), due out in fall 2001, explores the life and influence of Jean Pierre Purry, a Swiss Reformed civil servant, businessman and entrepreneur known as the founder of Purrysburg Township, S.C. "His written work gives us insight into the state of geographical knowledge of the day as well as into the perceived relationship between the Old World and the New," Migliazzo says.

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