About the Authors of
A Picture History of New Bedford, Volumes I & II
Joseph Thomas co-founded Spinner Publications in 1980, and in 1981 orchestrated the publication of Spinner's first book, Spinner: People and Culture in Southeastern Massachusetts, Volume I. Since that time, he has served as Publisher and Executive Director of the organization, overseeing the production of more than 50 books and numerous calendars, booklets and other works that document the history and culture of southeastern Massachusetts, particularly the City of New Bedford. He has served as co-author and editor of 35 books, and as art editor and designer of nearly all books and calendars. Joseph’s responsibilities includes photography and art selection, layout, design, typography, and contributing photographer.
A native of New Bedford and lifelong resident, Joseph Thomas studied Literature, writing, Sociology and Liberal Arts at Providence College and UMass Dartmouth before graduating from the Art Institute of Boston in Graphic Arts. He has exhibited photographic work at galleries throughout the region and produced multimedia presentations for educational and private purposes. As Executive Director of Spinner Publications he makes the top managerial and editorial decisions and guides the company full time. Joseph also contributes in grant writing, fundraising, marketing, public relations and community networking. He has organized art and photographic exhibitions for Spinner contributors and local artists, and implemented cultural programs throughout the community. He is a founding member of AHA! Night in New Bedford and has served on various Boards of Directors and Steering Committees. In the field of education, he has developed and directed a local history curriculum, History Spoken Here, for the public schools, and worked with various groups to develop community-based projects for the young, the elderly, the disadvantaged and the community at large.
Alfred Saulniers has more than 35 years’ experience in analyzing, teaching about and solving economic problems related to developing countries. He has particular expertise in the fields of public enterprises, contract programs and privatization, including defining privatization policies, implementing privatization programs and evaluating public policies on public enterprise performance. He has also examined regional issues from the perspective of central government and, most recently, from the viewpoint of policies to foster local growth. He has worked in more than 10 countries of Africa and Latin America with public enterprise executives, central and local government officials, and academics. He has also examined regional issues from the perspective of central government and, most recently, from the viewpoint of policies to foster local growth.
Al received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin Madison and an A.B. in Mathematics from Boston College. With Spinner Publications, Al is involved in another project: Archival and field research as part of a team writing about the experience of the French in New Bedford for the forthcoming book, French New Bedford: An American Story. Over the past two decades, Al has worked in archival and field research and writing on carpets and textiles from a small Moroccan rural commune done in Bouchaouène, Rabat, Paris, Boston, and Islamabad. It resulted in a book, book review, conference papers, articles, online exhibits, and lectures. The research aims at developing demand for the area’s textile production, giving new economic alternatives to an isolated commune whose first paved road dates from 1998.
From 1987-1997, Al served as senior technical adviser to the Ministry of Privatization, Rabat, Morocco, funded by the USAID and the World Bank. He worked closely with the Minister on various policy-implementation issues, liaised with donors, international and Moroccan bankers, brokers, analysts, and government agencies. Al has also worked with the Harvard Institute for International Development, the Institute of Latin American Studies at University of Texas at Austin, and the Center for Research on Economic Development at the University of Michigan. He is the author, editor or compiler of eight books including: Aït Bou Ichaouen: Weavings of a Nomadic Berber Tribe, [with Suzanne S. Saulniers] and Public Enterprises in Peru: Public Sector Growth and Reform, 1988. He was a Fulbright Professor at the Universidad des Pacífico in Lima, Peru in 1985-1986.
A journalist for more than a dozen years with The Standard-Times, Natalie White has contributed to several past Spinner projects. During her time as a city reporter, she wrote about the city’s waterfront and fishing industry, health issues and the environment. Her work has won several awards, including several from the New England Press Association.
She now works as a freelance writer and editor, and her articles have been published in various publications including the Boston Globe, the Hartford Courant, Cape Cod Magazine, Lawyers Weekly USA and the UMass Alumni Magazine. Ms. White also teaches creative writing at local schools.
She is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she studied political science and Russian civilization. Ms. White grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts and lives here with her husband and three children.
As Senior Editor of Spinner Publication since 1984, Marsha’s task is to work closely with writers to develop their work. She consults with staff on the editorial and inter-community direction of the organization. Marsha began working at Spinner in 1982 and has contributed to over 20 books and publications throughout the years. Her novella, “The Woman Behind the Counter,” is featured in Spinner, Volume IV. Marsha is also the author of Not Just Anywhere: The Rescue of New Bedford’s Historic District, published by Spinner 1994. She is contributing author and editor to A Picture History of Fairhaven (Spinner, 1985) and Branded on My Arm and in My Soul: The Holocaust Memoir of Abraham Landau (Spinner, 2011).
Marsha is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and studied English literature for a year at the University of Bristol, England. As a Standard-Times columnist for over two decades, she twice won national awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. She also received a commendation from the National Society of Newspaper Editors for the writing of history, in particular, for a feature story she wrote on the revolutionary changes in the lives of women in the twentieth century. She has conducted hundreds of interviews—oral histories of older people, working people and immigrants which have found their way into a multitude of Spinner books.
Marsha is on the board of Pastoral Care and Counseling Center of the Inter-Church Council, and an active member of The New Bedford Women’s Center, New Bedford Art Museum, The New Bedford Whaling Museum, Rotch Jones Duff House, Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE (WHALE), Gallery X, ArtWorks! and Friends of Buttonwood Park.
Jay is in charge of Spinner’s photographic archives—scanning images, managing the database, researching and cataloging subjects, archiving original and electronic media, and making the collection available to the public. Jay also assists in layout production of books, calendars and all publications. Jay began at Spinner while still a sophomore in high school and quickly learned the art of electronic imaging and graphic design and has taken charge of Spinner’s photographic archives. An Honors graduate from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, Jay also networks with outside cultural organizations. For example, he is scanning, editing and archiving all of the photographic holdings of the Millicent Public Library (Fairhaven), New Bedford Fire Museum, New Bedford Free Public Library and WHALE (Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE). He has assisted the Rotch Jones Duff Museum, the Friends of Buttonwood Park, the New Bedford National Park and WHALE on some of their exhibitions. In this way, Jay is a liaison for Spinner’s collaborative efforts with community cultural organizations.
Jay Avila is native and lifelong resident of New Bedford. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New Bedford Fire Museum and WHALE. He is a recent recipient of the Sarah R. Delano Award for archiving the New Bedford Fire Museum documents and photos, and the New Bedford Preservation Society’s Elm Award for recording the historical documents of the New Bedford Fire Museum. During Jay’s time with Spinner, the organization has won several awards or commendations for design and presentation. Though he is not credited specifically for many of Spinner’s graphic design awards, he is largely responsible for the clean design and sharp look that marks all of Spinner publications.