Other writing

Review: Deb Vanasse, Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Gold Rush, Fairbanks, University of Alaska Press, 2016, in Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 107, no. 4 (2016): 199.


EPB PNQ cover.square


“A Storied Woman: Harriet Smith Pullen and the Klondike Gold Rush,” Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 106, no. 2 (2015): 55-65.

This article, the cover story, outlines the path that Harriet Smith Pullen’s story has taken from the turn of the twentieth century to today and considers how storytellers can make a story more compelling and sometimes “get it wrong.”





Contributing author. When Modern Was Contemporary: Selected Works from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection. Tracy Fitzpatrick, editor. Purchase, NY: Neuberger Museum of Art, 2014. Museum website.

Among the four dozen works discussed in the catalogue are Brackbill’s essays on:

Richard Diebenkorn, Girl on a Terrace, 1956
An example of the artist’s figurative work, which he developed in late 1955 after he abandoned abstraction. In this painting, a solitary figure gazes at the wide vista of an empty northern California landscape.

Arthur Dove, Holbrook’s Bridge to the Northwest, 1938
This abstracted image of a covered bridge was one of Roy Neuberger’s favorite paintings: “An impeccable picture, close to being absolutely perfect. . . it has usually been in my sight and always in my consciousness,” he once wrote.

Jack Levine, The Banquet, 1941
Before he had even finished this painting, the artist, aptly called a “satirical scold,” referred to it as a “testimonial banquet consisting of a fat young politician orating between . . . grizzled old ward-bosses.”

John Marin, Sea and Rocks, Mount Desert, Maine, 1948
An Acadia National Park view informed by the smells, the sounds, the shifting winds, the surging tides, and the constantly changing sky. Marin often signed his letters in the 1940s, “the Ancient Marin-er.”

Ben Shahn, Blind Accordion Player, 1945
Inspired by topical images in the news media and his collection of his own photographs, Shahn here created an allegorical statement about human grief and mourning.

Brackbill’s complete essays on these works can be found in When Modern Was Contemporary: Selected Works from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection.




“The Westchester County Parkway That Never Was.” Hudson River Valley Review 24 (Autumn 2007): 38-58.

This article examines the decade of interstate building in Westchester County, New York, and its origins in highway construction dating back more than 200 years.





16.Westchester Hist


“Isaac Gedney and the Neutral Ground.” The Westchester Historian 81 (Spring 2005): 36-57. Society website.

This article discusses an ordinary New York farmer, who during the American Revolution, made the fateful decision to side with the British and found himself literally between the two armies in the middle of the Neutral Ground, territory far from neutral.






Writing Through the Arts: A Guide to the Program and Its Implementation. Purchase, NY: Neuberger Museum of Art, 1997, editor.

This guide presents ways that an art museum can be the locus of a high school writing program with the art serving as starting points for various kinds of writing.