Linda Carlson researches, writes and speaks on regional social history and avocationally pursues textile art and surface design.  

Carlson's Company Towns in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press), based on more than one hundred Washington, Oregon and Idaho employer-owned communities during the twentieth century, now has a new introduction and an expanded gazetteer.

First published in 2003, when it was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards, Company Towns has been cited in the New York Times, USA Today and the International Herald Tribune and resulted in Carlson being interviewed by the London Daily Telegraph. She was also featured in the documentary Home, about the long-lived Oregon timber community, Valsetz. Copies of the 2017 update are available through any retailer who carries new books (by special order if not on the shelves), from the publisher and at

Extensively reviewed, Company Towns prompted such comments as "A generously illustrated book that meticulously surveys more than 100 mining towns, timber camps and government-owned communities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho..." and "...fascinating, authoritative study" in the Seattle Times as well as:

"Entertaining and readable and should appeal to a general audience."—Harvard University Business History Review

"...Carefully researched work on company towns in the Pacific Northwest. The most significant aspect of this work, perhaps, is that it extends an analysis of an institution to the Pacific Northwest that had primarily been confined to the Appalachian coalfields. To give one example of the extent of her research she includes one hundred ten towns in Oregon, Washington and Idaho in a Gazetteer at the end of her book. Included is a thumbnail sketch of each town with some population numbers and other information. Whether this list is exhaustive, or not, it goes beyond anything that exists in terms of coal company towns in the East."—Economic History Association 

"Your research is impressive...Congratulations on your fine work, preserving history,"  wrote one reader, the child of a 1930s company-town minister.

Humanities Washington

The research done for Company Towns resulted in Carlson serving four years on the Humanities Washington speakers bureau, which provides speakers to community lecture series, historical associations and schools. Her topics: “Company Towns: How Women Shaped Employer-Owned Communities,” “Company Towns: Their Importance in the Modern West,” and “Speeders, Galloping Geese and Doodlebugs.” These presentations, each approximately an hour in length plus time for questions, are available for your group on a fee basis.

Other Projects

Carlson's first book, The Publicity and Promotion Handbook: A Complete Guide for Small Business (John Wiley, 1982), outlines how businesses can handle publicity, advertising, and sales promotion on tight budgets and with in-house staff. A case analysis of marketing in an architectural practice was first published by the Harvard Business School and then appeared in Services Marketing (Prentice Hall, 1984).

Her newest publication is Upscale Retailing in Wartime: Seattle Department Stores and the Challenges of World Wars I and II, now available from's Kindle store. This excerpt from a longer manuscript (as yet unpublished) describes how Seattle's grand old department stores created social, educational and cultural opportunities for women in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and how the stores can be credited with developing a strong downtown core that still exists today.  Upscale Retailing provides a directory of the most important department stores in Seattle in the era 1914-1946, explains how Seattle's retail district moved from Second Avenue up to the Pine Street corridor, and discusses the challenges the stores faced, especially during World War II, including merchandise shortages, rationing, personnel turnover, price ceilings, high sales taxes, ever-changing regulations on sales prices, and the significant difference in wages for department store employees vs. those in defense plants. 

Carlson's textile art and origami projects are displayed in exhibits organized by Peninsula Fiber Artists (PFA). This includes "Fiber & Beyond,"  at the Latimer Quilt & Textile Center in Tillamook OR in summer 2022, which resulted in "Sunrise" (the fabric collage below) being featured on the cover of the Winter 2022/23 issue of Needle Arts. PFA also maintains a walk-by exhibit in Port Townsend to which Carlson occasionally contributes (see "Current Exhibits" on for information on the walk-by exhibit and gallery shows). 

For more information:

Linda Carlson

182 Shepherds Way

Sequim WA 98382

lindacarlson @

University of Washington Press

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