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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Constance Altshuler-Significant Arizona History Contributor

After a tumultuous year, you might say I'm "getting back to my roots," meaning once again digging into Arizona's history in conjunction with plotting my next novel.

It's like coming home. Months spent without reading about Arizona's past is like months spent staring at blank walls or empty canvas.

As I'm doing so, I'm revisiting historians' works who gave me a foundation on Arizona's history in various areas. One researcher/author I am especially grateful for is Constance Wynn Altshuler. Born in 1908, she moved to Arizona in 1948. She began digging into Arizona's history in the 1960's and specialized in the territorial Arizona years and military personnel and posts. Her works have been invaluable to me, as much of what I desire to write includes the military apparatus of the time.

It takes a considerable time commitment and a deep thirst for that special kind of knowledge to pursue it, knowing there are few accolades or remembrances for the authors behind these works. Case in point, it took me quite a bit of searching just to learn when Ms. Altshuler died (2000). That makes me sad. Oh how I wish I had arrived in Arizona much sooner. I think she would have been a delightful person to talk to.

If I could choose to do one thing, I too, would like to be a specialist in Arizona history, in particular the territorial years, which fascinate me endlessly. I hope before I kick the bucket I will have even a thimble-full of knowledge of Arizona's past that historians like Ms. Altshuler gained.

If you're ever in need of territorial Arizona military info, please see these works by Ms. Altshuler:

Cavalry Yellow and Infantry Blue: Army Officers In Arizona Between 1851-1886 (1991)

Chains of Command: Arizona and the Army, 1856-1875 (1981)

Starting with Defiance: Nineteenth Century Arizona Milirary Posts (1983)

Latest From Arizona!: The Hesperian Letters 1859-1861 (1969)

You will be very happy you did. 8-)

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