Josh Garrett-Davis

man with beard in blue suit
H. Russell Smith Foundation Curator of Western American History
Department: Library, Curatorial Department (626-405-2203)

Josh Garrett-Davis oversees some 400 manuscript collections that pertain to the American West, along with hundreds of thousands of printed and graphic items, including photographs and maps, as well as rare books, ephemera, and other related materials.

Garrett-Davis is part of a curatorial team of 14 responsible for organizing, interpreting, and stewarding some 12 million items, and making them available to researchers, as well as developing exhibitions and other forms of public outreach showcasing their significance in history and relevance to current issues, events, and diverse communities.

Garrett-Davis earned a B.A. in American studies from Amherst College, an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Princeton University.

He has written about the American West and Native America for scholarly and popular audiences. He is the author of two books: What Is a Western? Region, Genre, Imagination (The University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), which won the Outstanding Western Book award from the Center for the Study of the American West; and Ghost Dances: Proving Up on the Great Plains (Little, Brown, 2012), a personal geography of his home region (he was born and raised in South Dakota). Garrett-Davis is currently finishing his third book, Resounding Voices: A History of Native American Sound Media (under contract with Yale University Press), based on his doctoral dissertation.