In Memoriam: Peggy Pascoe

Peggy Pascoe

Peggy Pascoe, whose research and teaching focused on the history of race, gender and sexuality, was the Beekman Professor of Northwest and Pacific History and professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon. With family and friends at her side, she died from ovarian cancer on July 23, 2010, at home in Eugene, Oregon.

In May 2010, Pascoe’s book What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2009) received the Willard Hurst Prize for 2010 from the Law and Society Association given for the best work in sociolegal history. Pascoe’s book won two awards from the Organization of American Historians in March 2009 and two from the American Historical Association in January 2010. She was also the author of Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1939 (Oxford University Press, 1990).

Born in Butte, Montana, Pascoe said that the remarkable past of this struggling mining town spurred her interest in the history of the U.S. West. She graduated from Montana State University with a B.A. in history in 1977 and earned her M.A. in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College in 1980 and a Ph.D. in American history at Stanford University in 1986. She taught classes on U.S. women’s history and race, gender and sexuality at the University of Utah for the next ten years, where she won a University Distinguished Teaching Award. Pascoe moved to the UO in 1996. That same year, she received a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant.

Peggy is survived by her life-partner of 30 years, Linda Long, and their two daughters, Ellie and Joie Pascoe-Long; by her parents, Jane and Art Pascoe of Butte, Montana; and four siblings: Bill Pascoe, of Butte, Montana; Julie Pascoe, of Morgantown, West Virginia; Becky Cianca of Butte, Montana, and Jennie Macumber, of Denver, Colorado; her mother-in-law, Jessica Holliday, of Edmonds, Washington, as well as a close family of nieces and nephews. A brother, Robert Pascoe, died previously.

A memorial service for Peggy Pascoe will be held Saturday, September 25, 2010, from 2-4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Eugene at 477 E. 40th Ave. on the corner of 40th and Donald.

A fund in honor of Peggy Pascoe has been established through the University of Oregon Foundation to support graduate student research in the UO Department of History. In announcing the fund, UO History Department chair Ellen Herman and Stanford professor Estelle Freedman said: “We know that Peggy felt strongly about this purpose. She was a dedicated graduate student mentor and her profound commitment to her students’ work, creativity, and success are legendary. A fund to support such work in the future is the most fitting way we could think of to remember her, celebrate her life, and make sure that her legacy lives on.”

Contributions can be made to the UO Foundation:  University of Oregon Foundation, 360 E. 10th Avenue, Suite 202, Eugene, OR 97401-3273 or online at with note designating gift to the Peggy Pascoe Fund in History.