Who was Jack W. Swanson?

Jack W. Swanson loved book publishing and railroads. After retiring as Secretary to the Board of Norwest Bank in Denver he and his wife Doris moved to Ouray, Colorado and began traveling North America by rail. In 1982 they started a regional publishing house called Rail Ventures Publishing.

Jack served as the Treasurer of Rocky Mountain Book Publishers Association, precursor to PubWest, from 1986 to 1990. His big book was Rail Ventures, a mile-by-mile travelogue of every major passenger rail route in North America. The seventh and last edition of Rail Ventures was published in 1996 by Travis Ilse Publishers. Jack was also an investor in the Sierra Madre Express that goes from Tucson to the Copper Canyon in Mexico.

Jack died in 1997 but his work lives on through this scholarship and as part of a website called Vacations by Rail (www.vacationsbyrail.com) that bought the rights to Rail Ventures and incorporated some of Jack’s work into their website.

The Jack W. Swanson scholarship was established in 2013 to bring book publishing interns or first or second-year publishing house employees to a PubWest conference. The scholarship is funded from the sale of the rights, by royalties from Rail Ventures, and by private donations from PubWest members who wish to encourage the next generation of book publishers.