Stuff in the ‘Theresa Kaminski’ Category

3 November, 2015


Theresa KaminskiTheresa Kaminski, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has concluded her Philippines trilogy with Angels of the Underground, to be published by Oxford University Press in December 2015. Her fascination with the experiences of women living under an enemy occupation stretches back to 8th grade English class where she first read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.

Years later, Theresa was captivated by the Masterpiece Theatre drama, A Town Like Alice, which centered on British women caught in Malaya by the Japanese occupation during World War II. After receiving her Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Theresa developed an interest in telling the stories of little-known American women as a way of illuminating major themes in American history. This led her to write about the American women who were caught in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and Prisoners in Paradise was published in 2000. That book contained the stories of many Angels of the Undergroundfascinating women, and one in particular stuck in Theresa’s mind. In crafting a historical biography of Ethel Thomas Herold in Citizen of Empire, Theresa explored why an “ordinary” American woman supported and participated in American imperialism in the Philippines, and how this led Ethel to endure three years in an Japanese internment camp.

Theresa thought she was finished with the Philippines at this point, and although she began researching a new, unconnected project, she could not forget the American women Margaret Utinsky and Claire Phillips who evaded internment during the war and did what they could to thwart the Japanese occupation of Manila. An out-of-the-blue e-mail from Jacqueline Flynn who asked, “Have you ever thought about writing….” launched the Angels project. Theresa continues to seek out the stories of the never famous, almost famous, or used-to-be famous American women to provide readers with unusual, fascinating glimpses into under-examined corners of history. She does this while teaching American history, watching lots of t.v. and Netflix, readings volumes of historical fiction, and occasionally walking her recalcitrant basset, Hugo.

Check out Theresa’s blog on her website and follow her and on Twitter @KaminskiTheresa


15 March, 2015

Where I Write: Theresa Kaminski

Theresa KaminskiThis edition of “Where I Write,” our series in which authors share their favorite writing spots, is from historian Theresa Kaminski.

“While I was growing up, this secretary was in the corner of my parents’ dining room, and my father used it as his home office.  With six people crowded into a small ranch house, it was the only available space.  I have the secretary now and it is in the corner of my dining room, which I have chosen as my work space because it is open and airy, with great window views of the neighborhood.  The secretary reminds me every day of my father, who went to the Philippines with the U.S. army after World War II, and passed along his interest in the islands to me.” — Theresa Kaminski

Theresa’s latest book Angels of the Underground about American women who were active in the resistance against the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during WWII will be published by Oxford University Press in Spring of 2015.

Follow Theresa on Twitter to learn more about her and her work.