Visiting Writers Series

About the Writers

Ray Raphael

Over the last decade Ray Raphael has emerged as one of our leading writers on the birth of the United States. In 2001 his acclaimed People’s History of the American Revolution widened history’s lens to include those not generally present in tales of our nation’s founding. In 2002 The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord led to marked rethinking about the Revolution’s beginnings in academic circles. In 2004 Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past established new standards for future renderings of our nation’s birth. In 2009 he incorporated his work into an original synthesis featuring seven diverse characters, Founders: The People Who Brought You a Nation, and in 2011 he was asked to create another broad synthesis for a different audience: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Founding Fathers and the Birth of Our Nation. Also in 2011, with Gary B. Nash and Alfred F. Young, he co-edited a book of biographical essays from 22 noted scholars, Revolutionary Founders: Rebels, Radicals, and Reformers in the Making of the Nation. Recently he has focused on the historical context of the Constitution. Mr. President: How and Why the Founders Created a Chief Executive was published in 2012 and Constitutional Myths: What We Get Wrong and How to Get It Right in 2013. He coauthored his latest book, The Spirit of’74: How the American Revolution Began, with his wife Marie, a fiction author.

Before turning his attention to the American Revolution and the founding of the nation, Raphael published books on subjects as diverse as male initiation rites, education, regional history (Northwest California), and timber politics. His first book, An Everyday History of Somewhere, won the Commonwealth Club award for the best book of the year about California. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Reed College, he holds masters degrees from the University of California at Berkeley (Political Philosophy) and Reed College (Teaching Social Science and History). In addition to teaching at Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods, he has taught all subjects except foreign languages at a one-room public high school in his remote community. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow with Humboldt State University, working full time as a researcher and writer. He writes frequently for the online Journal of the American Revolution (he is also an associate editor there) and occasionally for History News Network and American History. He lives in northern California, where he hikes and kayaks.

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Jerry Rohde

Jerry Rohde was born amidst the orange blossoms of Redlands, California, in 1946. He spent his childhood in the San Bernardino Mountains, learning about their history and geography whenever he could. His first paid job as a writer came in the early 1960s when he sent in reports of his high school’s football games, for which he was paid $1.00 each.

Jerry began writing in earnest in the early 1990s when he and his wife, Gisela, created a series of three guidebooks to various state and national parks. In 2000 he and Ben Bennion co-edited, and with dozens of their HSU geography students, co-wrote, Traveling the Trinity Highway, a guidebook to the western part of Highway 299. Jerry and Gisela then wrote a volume about Redwood National and State Parks for the Mountaineers Books’ “Best Short Hikes” series. In 2014 Jerry completed Both Sides of the Bluff, a place-based history of over 30 locations in the Table Bluff area. It is the first of a four-volume series that will cover all of Humboldt County. It is also the second volume in the Writing Humboldt History Project, of which Ray Raphael’s Two Peoples, One Place was the first.

Jerry is a past-president of the Humboldt County Historical Society and is a Research Associate for Humboldt State University’s Cultural Resources Facility. He works part time as an ethnogeographical and historical consultant, teaches about 10 courses a year for HSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and provides an annual series of about 20 free lectures at local granges and museums. He and Gisela have lived in Humboldt County since 1979 and can frequently be found hiking the trails of the local parks.

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