Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Melanie Holmes  

Pen Name: 

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: Chicago, IL 1962

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Illinois Connection

Holmes wrote the biography of Dr. David A.Johnston who was raised in Oak Lawn, IL,attended University of Illinois, and fillowed his dream of becoming a volcanologist, only to die in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The book is rich in history of a generation of young men who dealt with anxities of the cold war and the violence of the 1960s social movements and the Vietnam war. Holmes also has written a pictorial history of Manteno, IL; the site of a large mental institution as well as the backdrop for Elizabeth Packard's fight for married women's property rights in the mid to late 1800s.

Biographical and Professional Information


The Female Assumption , Global Media Award 2014

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes. Holmes has done several talks for Women's History Month. She also presents on the science of volcanology in lay terms, linking it to the life of an Illinois man who died in pursuit of advancing the science.

Selected Titles At Your Library

A Hero on Mount St. Helens: The Life and Legacy of David A. Johnston
ISBN: 9780252084317. OCLC Number: 1100767589

University of Illinois Press. .

Serendipity placed David Johnston on Mount St. Helens when the volcano rumbled to life in March 1980. Throughout that ominous spring, Johnston was part of a team that conducted scientific research that underpinned warnings about the mountain. Those warnings saved thousands of lives when the most devastating eruption in U.S. history blew apart Mount St. Helens, but killed Johnston on the ridge that now bears his name. Melanie Holmes tells the story of Johnston's journey from a nature-loving Boy Scout to a committed geologist. Blending science with personal detail, Holmes follows Johnston through encounters with Aleutian volcanoes, his work helping the Portuguese government assess the geothermal power of the Azores, and his dream job as a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Interviews and personal writings reveal what a friend called the most unjaded person I ever met, an imperfect but kind, intelligent young scientist passionately in love with his life and work and determined to make a difference.

Manteno; Images of America
ISBN: 9781467104487. OCLC Number: 1121082849

Arcadia. .

The Female Assumption: A Mother's Story, Freeing Women From the View that Motherhood is a Mandate
ISBN: 9781500933050. OCLC Number: 900476011

KDP. .