Welcome to Gibbs Smith Education. We are the nation’s leading publisher of state history programs. Each state in our Union is unique, and our programs are no different. Starting with your state’s standards, we craft our state history programs from scratch, ensuring alignment is always 100%. Written by local historians, edited by experienced history editors, and supported by teaching materials assembled by veteran curriculum writers, Gibbs Smith Education sets the standard for how state history should be done. This is State History Done Right.

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Teaching Resources

  • Deadly, Destructive Natural Disasters

    Tell your students that their challenge will be to find the 10 worst natural disasters in US history. You can also include world history, depending on what your class is studying—though this activity will focus on US history. Students will need to do online research to make their lists.

  • Chocolate: From the Maya to Milton Hershey

    Part I: Milton S. Hershey If possible, do this activity on September 13. Begin by distributing Hershey’s Kisses to your students. Explain that September 13 is Milton Hershey’s birthday (1857–1945). Read all or part of James Buckley’s book Who Was Milton Hershey? to your class. Point out that Hershey’s first two businesses failed, but he […]

  • John Muir and Our National Parks

    As summer begins, it’s a good time to appreciate our national parks and those who founded them. Put the following facts on the board or pass them out to your class and see if students can guess the name of the person they describe:   Who is He?   Born in Scotland, where he used […]

  • Women’s History Month: Women Scientists

    Ask your students to name some famous scientists and put the names on the board. After 5–7 names, see if any of them are women. It’s quite likely that there aren’t any on the list. Ask your students to name famous women scientists. Marie Curie might be the only name they can come up with. […]

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About Us

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    Careful History Research

    Our work begins with the Student Edition, a textbook written by a team of historians, including experts in the state’s history and geography. From there it is polished by a Gibbs Smith editor who has an academic speciality in history. Before going to press, the edited manuscript is also sent to a committee of reviewers from the state who are educators and history specialists for their feedback.


    At Gibbs Smith our goal is to describe the events of history accurately and objectively. We make every effort to acknowledge the challenges faced by different groups of Americans and to show the changing perspectives and cultures that have shaped this nation and each of its states. Our writers and editors check history facts using multiple well-respected sources to be sure we are presenting the best information available on any given event or topic.


    State Social Studies Standards

    Each state has its own set of social studies standards, usually focusing on key historical events and figures and on topics such as geography, economics, government, and civic engagement. We tailor each book specifically to match the state social studies standards—and we contact specialists at the state level to answer any questions we may have. Although events from state history may be framed by major events of US history, our primary emphasis is the state.


    Common Core and Other Literacy Standards

    The Common Core standards have been adopted by many states seeking to strengthen student literacy. States not using the Common Core often have comparable language arts standards. At Gibbs Smith Education, we believe history and literacy go hand in hand. Our instructional materials offer many activities and assessment options that strengthen student literacy. Most notably, each lesson includes a reading comprehension activity and a writing project. Today’s busy teachers can use our materials as part of their language arts programs—especially in support of standards for reading informational text.


    Strong Instructional Support

    Our programs provide a variety of lessons, activities, and options that can be adapted to meet the needs of each teacher and class. The Teacher Guide includes anchor activities supported by Student Guide (activity book) pages—among them a comprehension strategy assignment and a writing project—as well as chapter resource lists, optional activities, discussion questions, and three types of assessments. The Student Edition further provides lesson and chapter review activities along with critical thinking questions. In addition, each program includes a special guide for teaching English Language Learners.


    Gibbs Smith Education emphasizes giving students access to important primary source documents and artifacts. Also, in keeping with today’s high-tech culture, our programs require students to conduct library and online research and to incorporate the latest technology into their classwork and presentations. We also provide a variety of digital materials online.


    To Enrich and Inspire

    The company motto here at Gibbs Smith is “To enrich and inspire humankind.” We believe that history and social studies programs can teach children to appreciate their heritage, help them learn from the lessons of the past, and show them what people are capable of accomplishing in this world. It’s an honor to be part of the process of educating your students.

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      Jared Taylor

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      Jeff Whorley

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      Liz Wallace

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      Michelle Terry

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      Bart King

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      Michelle DeVries

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      Amy Taylor

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      Diane Collett

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      Donny Jennings

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      Courtney Thomas

    Always intrigued by people and the story of the past, Gibbs Smith dreamed of becoming a history professor. His vision took him to Berkeley for grad school in the late 1960s, where he wrote his master’s dissertation on Joe Hill, the American labor martyr, proletarian folk hero, and songwriter. His dissertation was published as a book and informed the production of a movie. Produced by Swedish filmmakers, Joe Hill won the Jury Prize at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival.


    Building on his success and his love of history, Smith and his wife, Cathy, decided to start a publishing company. Their first office was their studio apartment in Santa Barbara, and they published four supplementary history textbooks for college classrooms with only $12,000 of seed money.


    The Barn

    The company grew, relocating to Utah in 1973. Gibbs and his wife poured their profits back into the business and lived on savings. They spent that first summer converting an old barn (built in 1916) on the Smith family farm into offices. They managed to publish their first state history textbook, Utah’s Heritage. With no sales force or distribution network, the couple packed up their truck and traveled throughout the state to sell the textbook to as many schools as possible. Their perseverance and the quality of the book paid off.


    Smith will never forget sharing the barn with cows those first few years. “You could hear them mooing through the walls,” he says with a smile. “People could hear them over the phone, too.” When he would explain the ruckus, the response on the other end of the line was always the same: “You do what? From where?”


    Today, the Barn is home to three sheep—Wilma, Mabel, and Frannie, a few hens, and a menagerie of cats. There are also a few editors who produce beautiful books for our trade department. Among the books published by our trade side are design, craft, cooking, how-to, outdoors, regional interest, home reference, and children’s literature.