Humboldt County Historical Society

Publish Your Story

Submitting to the Humboldt Historian

Thank you for your interest in the Humboldt Historian. We at the magazine, which is published quarterly by the Humboldt County Historical Society, welcome the generous and enthusiastic participation of our readers. Below are the guidelines for submitting material to be published in the Historian. These guidelines take into account that the vast majority of our contributions do not come from professional writers or professional historians. Please keep in mind that the goal of the Humboldt Historian is to present enlightening, informative material in an accurate and entertaining format. Scholarship - in accuracy of detail as well as conclusions - is critical; research information, in the form of footnotes and bibliographies, as well as credited photographs, maps, diagrams, and other supporting materials will considerably increase the value of the contribution.

Equally important is the relevance of the material to the reader; for example, every family has its unique story - what makes a family story a Humboldt Historian story is the greater light (the light of insight, not of pre-eminence) that it shines on the community's shared past.

 Humboldt Historian EDITORS


Wendy & Suzanne.jpg

The Humboldt County Historical Society is proud to welcome Wendy Platt Hill as the new editor of its quarterly flagship publication, the Humboldt Historian!

Wendy Hill, a former superintendent and high school English teacher based in Humboldt and surrounding counties is also a business woman with 15 years of experience as a desktop editor and publisher. "Becoming the editor of the Humboldt Historian is the perfect meld of my past careers with my passion for history," Hill remarked. "I look forward to continuing the legacy of excellence in bringing our local history alive."

Hill is already off and running with what will be her first issue of the magazine, the Fall 2019 Historian, with a feature article on the infamous 1896 collapse of the Mad River Bridge, the worst land-based transportation calamity of the era.

"I could not be more pleased than to be passing the baton to Windy Hill," says outgoing editor Suzanne Forsyth, who has produced the Humboldt Historian for the past 13 years, since 2006. "She has the necessary editing and technical skills, and holds a broad vision of humanity and history, all of which will enable her to produce a first-rate historical publication." Forsyth's final issue of the Humboldt Historian comes out on June 1, with a piece on the history of mercantile beer brewing in Humboldt County from 1857 to the present by Mike Berry, and a history of Holmes by Jerry Rohde.

"Stepping down from a job I have loved for so long was a difficult decision to make," said Forsyth, "but when Wendy Hill arrived, peace of mind followed: I knew the magazine was passing into the best of hands."

The following details how to submit material, and what you can expect after your material is submitted.

  1. All submissions to the Historian will be reviewed by the editor and either accepted, provisionally accepted, or declined. This will happen in a timely fashion; unless the submission happens to occur in the last two weeks of an issue's print deadline, you will hear from the editor within five days. The Editor will not accept manuscripts that have been submitted to another publication for consideration, but with the permission of the copyright holder may accept manuscripts that have been published elsewhere.

  2. Material should be submitted as an attachment in e-mail to the Editor - the preferred method - or as hard-copy, printed and double-spaced. Historical submissions from journals and diaries may be submitted in any form available, but please take care to see that photocopied material is readable. We urge you, whenever possible, not to submit the original copy of historical material. Submissions sent through the mail should be addressed to: Editor, Humboldt Historian, 703 8th St., Eureka, CA 95501.

  3. A submission that is declined for publication with your permission may be preserved in the files of the Historical Society for research purposes; you will retain the publication rights to such material, and the Society may not publish such submissions at a later time without contacting you (or your heirs) for permission. The Editor will contact you to discuss this option.

  4. "Provisionally accepted" means that a submission has merit, but that it does not meet all the requirements for publication. The Editor will return such submissions with requests and suggestions for changes and additions that will, if made, render the piece acceptable for publication.

  5. If your submission is accepted, you will be contacted for your biographical information, availability of photographs, illustrations, maps, etc., and other supportive information that would add to the interest in the piece. We will work with you on finding this material; the acceptance of a manuscript rarely depends on the author supplying such information.

  6. Accepted submissions will be published in the Historian at the discretion of the editor. This is important to remember. While we make an effort to be specific about an issue date, we do not guarantee publication in a certain issue. The reason for this is a magazine is constricted not only by length, but by breadth and depth...we must have a mix of subject matter, style, geography, historical eras...and we may have to make last-minute adjustments to achieve that mix. We do, however, make every effort to publish the submission as soon as possible and certainly within four issues (one year) of acceptance.

  7. Contributors should expect that all submissions are subjected to line-and copy-editing; these edits are made, at the sole discretion of the editor, for purposes of clarity, readability, and length, and are not subject to contributor review. Professional writers with samples of published work may negotiate to review edits, but the decision of the editor is final in all cases.

  8. The length of a submission is a critical factor in selecting a piece for publication. Please note that the Humboldt Historian offers many opportunities to submit material of differing lengths. Material that is submitted for one section may, for reasons of length and subject matter, be more appropriate for another section. When a submission is accepted, we will discuss how it is to appear in the magazine.

  9. Some guidelines on length:

    • Letters to the editor should not exceed 500 words.

    • Feature articles should not exceed 2,500 words. (For longer pieces, please consult with the Editor.)

    • Columns and department contributions should not exceed 1,500 words.

  10. When your material is published, you will receive two complimentary copies of the issue in which your material appears. Additional copies of the issue may be purchased for $8 per copy from the offices of the Historical Society. Contributors who wish to purchase more than 10 copies should, if possible, notify the Society in advance of the issue's press run.

  11. There are several ways to contribute to the Humboldt Historian:

    • Correspondence: need not refer to previously published material. Correspondence may share a new anecdote or comments.

    • Feature articles: We welcome full-length features. Please follow the professional writer guidelines, however, and query the editor before submitting the manuscript. (see 12, below)

    • Obituaries: We try to include as many as possible of the life stories of Historical Society members who have recently died. We are interested in highlighting the major events of the life of the deceased and/or anecdotes that represent the character of the person. Please refer to the obituary section in the current issue of the Humboldt Historian to understand the type of information and story that we prefer.

  12. Professional writers wishing to submit manuscripts should query by e-mail the Editor with a brief narrative of the idea, including person to be interviewed, research hooks, and the "why this story is different from all others" pitch. Please attach writing samples. A response can be expected within 30 days.

  13. Finally: while we do have the resources to check some information, we do not have the staff to do a thorough fact-checking of every submission. Therefore, we depend on the thoroughness of our contributors (and the "corrections department" of the entire readership!) for accuracy. Please include references and bibliography, where necessary, as well as telephone numbers for any living people who are quoted. Again, thank you for your interest in the Humboldt Historian. We look forward to working with you.