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George F. Thompson on the E. O. Wilson Boardwalk along
the Tensaw River in Mobile, Alabama. (Photograph: David Skolkin)

George's essays:
"A Different Kind of Earth Day"
"Still Learning"
"Connecting the Dots"
"Connecting to the Larger World"

"Capturing the South" by News Leader (click here for the full article and slide show of the GFT office in a historic Staunton building)
(Photograph: Katie Currid)

Remembering Bloody Tuesday on its 60th Anniversary: June 9, 1964 (interview)

Embracing Our Diverse Reality, Publishers Weekly interview, Nov. 2021

Life-Lens: A Profile of George F. Thompson
by Ross Ritchell, 2020

George's interview with Martha Woodroof
of "The Spark" on WMRA

George F. Thompson Publishing continues the longstanding efforts of George to advance our understanding of the places and spaces—urban, rural, social, and wild—that surround us and influence us in fundamental ways through well-conceived, smartly written, elegantly designed, and beautifully produced books. Fundamental to the GFT book program is the unwavering belief that books matter and endure as gifts to civilization and our personal enlightenment.

Books developed by GFT since 1984 have helped to establish new fields of publishing in geography and landscape studies, environmental and planning history, architecture and photography, garnering widespread attention worldwide and winning more than 140 editorial awards and prizes. These include multiple "best-book" honors in 35 academic, artistic, and professional fields, among them awards from the American Historical Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Association of American Geographers, Association of American Publishers, Environmental History Association, International Latino Book Awards, New York City Award for Cultural History, PEN Center U.S.A. West, Pioneer America Society, Society of American City and Regional Planning History, Society of Architectural Historians, Society for the History of Technology, and Vernacular Architectural Forum.

In addition to the books that appear under the GFT imprint, some book projects are developed by GFT and published by or in association with partner presses and nonprofit organizations. These include Liveright/W. W. Norton, Radius Books, and numerous university presses as well as the American Land Publishing Project, Denver Art Museum, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Foundation for Landscape Studies, Furthermore (a program of the J. M. Kaplan Foundation), Hubbard Foundation, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Scanlan Foundation, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and University of Baltimore Foundation, among others.

George was educated at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Wisconsin-Madison, and he began his career as a professional bookman in 1984, when he joined the Johns Hopkins University Press as an acquisitions editor. In 1990, he founded the Center for American Places, a nonprofit organization which he directed and served as the publisher until 2010. In 2006, George was recognized by pdn (Photo District News) magazine as one of eight "players of the year" in the world who are "supporting innovation and bringing fresh perspectives to photography." He has also received lifetime achievement awards and commendations from the American Association of Geographers, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and Vernacular Architecture Forum.

George is an author and editor of eight books, including Nature and Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Design and Planning, with Frederick R. Steiner and Armando Carbonell (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2016), which was designated a Best Book of 2016 by the American Society of Landscape Architecture, Ecological Design and Planning, with Frederick R. Steiner (John Wiley, 1997; 2007), and Landscape in America (Texas, 1995), which was designated a Notable Book of 1995 by Harper's magazine. George was also a founding editorial member of the Black Warrior Review at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and the first book review editor and editorial assistant for Landscape Journal: Design, Planning and Management of the Land (University of Wisconsin Press).

Born in Colorado and raised in Connecticut, in 1978 he married Cynthia Roberts Thompson, a choreographer, performer, and teacher who retired in 2021 as a distinguished Professor of Dance Emerita at James Madison University. They have lived in the Shenandoah Valley since 1983. Their daughter, Haley, is an RN in the Adult Trauma Unit of the ER at Wake Medical in Raleigh, NC, her husband, Davis, is currently a project manager for Clearly Trained, an e-learning specialty company, and their sons, Coleman and Lucca, are enjoying life as six- and one-year-olds.

To view George's vita, please click here (pdf).




(Photograph: Anton Brkic)


David Skolkin
Art Direction and Book Design

David Skolkin began his career in New York City, where he was born, working in the studio of Betty Binns, then one of the top book designers in the publishing industry. Over the course of his career David has designed and served as art director for book projects and exhibitions on behalf of major art book publishers, museums, and art institutions in New York City and the U.S. He has received multiple design awards, including the American Institute of Graphic Arts 50 Books/50 Covers Competition, American Association of Museums Publications Competition, BookBuilders West, and Publishers Association of the West, among many others. David is a co-founder of Radius Books (, a founding partner of Skolkin + Chickey Studio (, a multi-disciplinary design firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. David is also the art director of the Museum of New Mexico Press.



(Photograph: Jana Soroczak)


Mikki Soroczak
Assistant to the Publisher

Mikki Soroczak was born and raised in Florida, later moved to Virginia as a teenager, and has called the Commonwealth home ever since. She earned her B.A. in English from American Public University and, since 2007, has been a freelance editor, proofreader, and virtual assistant for various businesses and business consultants. Finding that editing suited her love of the written word and her relentless perfectionism, she was delighted to join the GFT team in 2012, initially as an editorial assistant and later as an assistant to the publisher.



(Photograph: Michael Asmar)

Morgan Pfaelzer
Website Design

Morgan Pfaelzer grew up in rural southeast Ohio and earned her B.F.A. in painting at Ohio University in Athens. After moving to New York City, she developed her design skills working for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Parfums Givenchy, and the Women's City Club of New York, among other nonprofit and advocacy organizations. In 2007, she moved to Colorado and served as the Associate Director of Marketing for the Fort Collins Museum of Art. Morgan currently resides in Colorado Springs and operates her freelance graphic and web design company ( specializing in customized, affordable design for artists and non-profit organizations. Her clients include the Association of American Publishers, Association of University Presses, Center for the Study of Place, and local Colorado artists. Her husband is a supervisor at the downtown Pikes Peak library and they have two beautiful children.



(Photograph: Jennifer Johnson)


Joanna Hurley
Publishing Partner and Packager/Agent

Joanna Hurley is the president of HurleyMedia, LLC (, which agents, packages, and promotes books of fine-art and photography. She is a co-founder of Radius Books ( and the president of the Board of Directors of CENTER (, a nonprofit organization in Santa Fe that supports and provides opportunity for gifted, committed photographers. Previously, she was the publicity director of Vintage Books in New York City and the marketing director of the University of New Mexico Press. Over her long career she has worked with a variety of writers and photographers, including Richard Ford, Kazuo Ishiguro, Mark Klett, Richard Misrach, Joan Myers, Irving Penn, Eliot Porter, and Richard Russo, among many others. Born and raised in Connecticut near New York City, she has lived in Santa Fe since 1994.



(Photograph: Justine Johnson)


Ernest L. Toney
Marketing Consultant

Ernest Toney was raised in central Virginia and earned a B.S. in Kinesiology and M.S. in Sports Management at James Madison University. During graduate school, he was the Chelsea Miller Goin Intern at the Center for American Places (now known as the Center for the Study of Place), assisting George F. Thompson with marketing and advertising on titles that were published under the Center's imprint. In 2007, Ernest moved to the Sonoran Desert and became the marketing director at the Northwest YMCA-Pima County Community Center, prior to joining the Arizona Diamondbacks as a sales consultant.

In 2011, Ernest relocated to Denver, Colorado and spent the majority of the decade managing events and programs at USA Ultimate – the national governing body for the sport of Ultimate (Frisbee). In 2018, he transitioned to the cannabis industry to manage global marketing and partnership initiatives for Marijuana Business Daily, the leading business (B2B) news publication for the cannabis industry in North America.

Amidst the social justice movements of 2020, Ernest founded BIPOCann (, a national association that advances diversity and equitable representation for minority entrepreneurs and professionals in the cannabis industry. Through this work, he built relationships with business, political, and media stakeholders across the country to create platforms for underrepresented people to increase their entry, growth, and visibility within the industry. Ernest served on the Marketing & Advertising Jury for the 2021 Clio Cannabis Awards, and he is a sought-after speaker and consultant for marketing and DE&I initiatives.




(Photograph: Marcia Scofield)


Randy Jones
Editorial Consultant

Randy Jones was raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. He was an adjunct writing instructor at VCU before joining the Center for American Places, where he worked from 1996 to 2004 as the associate editorial director and publishing liaison. From 2005 until his retirement in 2022, he worked at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources as a public relations, publications, and Web manager. Randy also has worked as a freelance writer, editor, and Website consultant for authors, publishers, and nonprofits from his home in Harrisonburg.




Michael Innis-Jiménez
Associate Professor of American Studies and Director of Graduate Studies University of Alabama

Michael Innis-Jiménez, a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, earned his B.A. in history at Columbia College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in history at the University of Iowa. He has served the governing boards of the Southern American Studies Association, Labor and Working Class History Association, Immigrant and Ethnic History Association, H-Net Academic Discussion Lists, and Conference on Latin American History. In addition, he has served on award or standing committees for the American Studies Association, Latin American Studies Association, Organization of American Historians, Southern Historical Association, Southern Labor Studies Association, and Urban History Association. His books include Steel Barrio: The Great Mexican Migration to South Chicago, 1915–1940 (NYU Press, 2013) and a forthcoming book tentatively titled Interwar Food, Culture, and Belonging on Chicago's Mexican Boulevard. He is also working on a book manuscript putting the contemporary Latino/a South into historical perspective, and his book chapters have appeared in Chicago Environmental History (University of Pittsburgh Press, forthcoming), Frictions of Daily Life: Class, Community, & the Challenge of Engaged Scholarship (University of Illinois Press, 2016), The Latino Midwest Reader (University of Illinois Press, 2017), and More Than Just Peloteros: Sport and U.S. Latino Communities (Texas Tech University Press, 2015).



  Lucy R. Lippard
Writer, Curator, and Arts Activist

Lucy R. Lippard, born and raised in New York City, is the author of twenty-one books on contemporary art and cultural criticism, including Down Country: The Tano of the Galisteo Basin, 1250-1782 (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2010), The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society (The New Press, 1998), and On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art, and Place (The New Press, 1997, 1999). She also has been a columnist for The Village Voice, In These Times, and Z magazine. She has curated more than fifty exhibitions and is the cofounder of Printed Matter, the Heresies Collective, Political Art Documentation/Distribution, Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America, and other artists' organizations. The recipient of eight honorary degrees in fine arts, she lives off the grid in rural Galisteo, New Mexico, where she is involved in local county politics and for fifteen years has edited the monthly community newsletter, El Puente de Galisteo.


  Richard Longstreth
Professor of American Studies and Director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at George Washington University

Richard Longstreth is a past president of the Society of Architectural Historians and a past vice president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum who has written extensively on the built environment and its preservation in the United States. His books include The American Department Store Transformed, 1920-1960 (Yale University Press, in association with the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2010), The Drive-In, the Supermarket, and the Transformation of Commercial Space in Los Angeles (The MIT Press, 1999), and Mall: Architecture, the Automobile and Retailing in Los Angeles (The MIT Press, 1997). Edited volumes include Housing Washington: Two Centuries of Residential Development and Planning in the National Capital Area (The Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2010), Cultural Landscapes: Balancing Nature and Heritage in Preservation Practice (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), The Charnley House: Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Making of Chicago’s Gold Coast (University of Chicago Press, 2004), and The Mall in Washington, 1791-1991 (The National Gallery of Art, 1991, 2002). He also has been involved in preservation activities.


  Eric Paddock
Curator of Photography and Media Arts, Denver Art Museum

Since 2008 Eric Paddock has been Curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Denver Art Museum. Prior to that appointment, he spent twenty-five years as the first Curator of Photography and Film at the Colorado Historical Society. Originally from Boulder, Paddock completed his B.A. in photography at Colorado College and his M.F.A. in photography at Yale University. Paddock has also taught art history and photography as a visiting professor for several leading Colorado institutions, including the Colorado Historical Society, University of Denver, University of Colorado at Denver, Colorado College, and Arapahoe Community College’s study abroad arts program in Aix-en-Provence, France. He is the author of Belonging to the West (The Johns Hopkins University Press, in association with the Center for American Places, 1996).



Ellen Griffith Spears
Associate Professor, New College and Department of American Studies,
University of Alabama

Since 2009, Ellen Griffith Spears has taught environmental history in the innovative interdisciplinary program in New College and the Department of American Studies at the University of Alabama. Her research interests combine environmental history and the history of social movements with studies of science, technology, and public health. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she received her B.A. from the College of William and Mary and M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University. Before coming to Tuscaloosa, she spent many years in Atlanta working for social justice nonprofits. From 1991 to 2002, she served first as the communications director and then as the associate director at the Southern Regional Council and was managing editor of the Council's quarterly, Southern Changes. She has taught environmental studies and Southern history at Emory University and Agnes Scott College. Her book, Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town (University of North Carolina Press, 2014; paperback, 2016) explores key questions faced by communities that seek to address systemic class and race inequalities and to tackle toxic pollution. Baptized in PCBs received the 2015 Francis B. Simkins Prize from the Southern Historical Association, the 2014 Arthur J. Viseltear Award for Outstanding Contribution to the History of Public Health from the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association, and the 2015 Reed Environmental Writing Award, from the Southern Environmental Law Center. Her new project examines the history of U.S. environmentalism post-1945.


  Seetha Srinivasan
Director, Emerita, University Press of Mississippi

Seetha Srinivasan is Director Emerita of the University Press of Mississippi. She joined the press in 1979 as its first acquisitions editor and advanced to become the director in 1998, from which position she retired in 2008. Srinivasan played a major role in putting the press on a firm footing with a well-recognized publishing program. Throughout her publishing career Srinivasan was active in the Association of American University Presses, often in leadership positions, including service as the president of the AAUP in 2003-2004. In 2002, she received the association’s Constituency Award for her “outstanding service to the university press community.” Srinivasan has lived in Jackson since 1969. She has headed civic and arts organizations there and writes occasional columns for Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger, which is distributed statewide. She serves as chair of the Women’s Fund of Mississippi (2011). In 1998, Millsaps College presented her with the Jim Livesay Service Award.

  John R. Stilgoe
Robert and Lois Orchard Professor of the History of Landscape at Harvard University and Fellow of the Society of American Historians

John R. Stilgoe is the author of numerous acclaimed books, including Train Time: Railroads and the Imminent Reshaping of the United States Landscape (University of Virginia Press, 2009), Landscape and Images (University of Virginia Press, 2005), Lifeboat (University of Virginia Press, 2003), Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places (Walker & Co., 1999),  Alongshore (Yale, 1994), Shallow-Water Dictionary: A Grounding in Estuary English (Exact Change, 1990), Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene (Yale, 1983), and Common Landscape of America, 1580 to 1845 (Yale, 1982), for which he won the Francis Parkman Medal. He lives on Brookside Farm, in Norwell, Massachusetts, where he was raised.


  Denis Wood
Editorial Consultant

Denis Wood was born in 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio, where he passed his childhood along the Cuyahoga River. He received a B.A. in English from Western Reserve University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in geography at Clark University. From 1974 to 1996 he was a professor of design at North Carolina State University, where he taught environmental psychology and landscape history. Since 1996 he has been an independent scholar and writer ( His books include Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, Second Edition, with John Krygier (Guilford, 2011), Rethinking the Power of Maps, with John Fels and John Krygier (Guilford, 2010), Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas (Siglio, 2010), Five Billion Years of Global Change: A History of the Land (Guilford, 2004), and Home Rules, with Robert Beck (The Johns Hopkins University Press, in association with the Center for American Places, 1994). Dr. Wood resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.


  William Wylie
Photographer and Commonwealth Chair of Art at the University of Virginia and Director of the Studio Art Program

William Wylie was born in Harvey, Illinois, in 1957, and he received his M.F.A. in photography from the University of Michigan in 1989. He has worked extenisvely on the concept of place, from the American West to Europe. Wylie's photographs have been widely exhibited and may be found in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, St. Louis Art Museum, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and Yale University Art Museum, among others. In 2005, Wylie was awarded a John Simon Guggenhiem Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography. His books include Route 36 (Falcon, 2010), Carrara (The Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2009), Stillwater (Nazreli Press, 2002), and Riverwalk (University Press of Colorado, 2001), which won the Colorado Book Award. Wylie taught photography at Colorado State University for ten years until 2000, when he joined the Department of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.


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