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  • In Memoriam:Dr. James W. Scott
  • Todd Welch, Digital Access Librarian

James "Jim" W. Scott, (1925-2011) professor emeritus of geography at Western Washington University, died peacefully on July 20, 2011, in Bellingham, Washington. Born September 30, 1925, in Bootie, England, he received degrees in geography from Cambridge (St. Catherine's College) and Indiana University before obtaining an appointment as assistant professor at Western Washington State College in the fall of 1966. He completed his doctoral dissertation on The Metalliferous Mining and Smelting Industries of the British Isles, 1540-1640, but soon shifted his research interest from Tudor and Stuart Britain to focus on the pioneer settlement and economic development of the Pacific Northwest in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His professional publications included the Social Science Resource Handbook (co-authored by Raymond G. McInnis), Historical Atlas of Washington (Larry Delorme, co-author), Whatcom County Maps, 1832-1937 and Early Industries of Bellingham Bay and Whatcom County with Daniel D. Turbeville; and Washington: A Centennial Atlas—Western's principal contribution to the state centennial and for which he was awarded the Governor's Writer's Award in 1991.

In 1971, together with colleagues from the History Department, and with support from university administration, Dr. Scott founded the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. He became its first director and remained as director until his retirement in 1993, collecting and preserving important archival collections documenting the history of the Northwest and publishing a series of occasional papers on a variety of historical, economic, political, and literacy topics of the region. Among his most notable contributions was his long-term membership (1977-1993) on the Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board. He also served on the Washington Task Force on Newspaper Preservation and the Washington Resource Planning Advisory Board.

Professionally, Dr. Scott served as the editor of the Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers from 1980 to 1987, archivist for the association from 1981 to 1995, and as its president in 1992-93. He continued attending the APCG annual meeting long after his retirement from teaching [End Page 141] and was deeply gratified at receiving the association's Distinguished Service Award at the 1999 meeting in Reno. He was also founding member of both the Association of Washington Geographers and Northwest Archivists.

In the final days of his life, Dr. Scott relayed to those closest to him that he felt his greatest achievement and source of deepest satisfaction was his commitment to the education and development of his students. His involvement and dedication to teaching took on many manifestations, including advising graduate student research, serving on thesis committees, directing numerous field camps and conference proceedings. The reward: a career encouraging and guiding the intellectual and personal development of his students. The bonds that he formed with his students at Western lasted long after students graduated and his retirement began. He was a scholar, teacher, mentor, and friend. An individual of his generosity and caliber is incredibly rare. He will be missed! [End Page 142]

Todd Welch, Digital Access Librarian
Northern Arizona University
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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
pp. 141-142
Launched on MUSE
2012-08-11
Open Access
No
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