Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Independent Scholar/Consultant
Website URL
California, Local history, American West, Arizona, Dude ranching, Tuberculosis sanatoriums, Women, American art pottery, Denim, Jeans
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Lynn Downey is a widely-published historian of the West, with degrees in history and library science from San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley.

She was the Historian for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco for twenty-five years. Her biography of the company’s founder, Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2016, and won the 2017 Foreword Reviews silver INDIE award for Biography.

Her next book, Life in a Lung Resort, is the history of an early 20th century women’s tuberculosis sanatorium in California.  In 2012 she received a Charles Donald O’Malley Short-Term Research Fellowship from the Special Collections Division of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied the history of tuberculosis treatment.

Lynn now works as a historical/archival consultant and is also a board member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Marin County Civic Center Conservancy in San Rafael, California. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West and PEN America.

Recent Publications

Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World. University of Massachusetts Press, 2016.

“Living the Outdoor Life in Fairfax.” Marin County Library newsletter, January 26, 2018.

“Jack London: For Love of the Land.” Kenwood Press, April 15, 2016.

“Women and the White Plague.” We’re History, February 23, 2016.

“‘Suma-ip’: In Remembrance of Those Before Us. History Lessons from the Chemehuevi Archives.” California Territorial Quarterly, Fall 2014.

“My Adventures with Denim: Glimpses into Arizona’s Fashion History from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives.” Journal of Arizona History, Spring 2013.

A Short History of Sonoma. University of Nevada Press, 2013.






Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Libraries & Archives, Local & Regional, Medicine, Public History, Women