Book detailing Nevada City’s Pine Grove Cemetery wins national recognition

Nevada City was recently thrust into the national and international spotlight with the announcement of Independent Publisher’s annual “IPPY” book awards. Literary IPPYs are awarded in multiple categories each year, and “Their Spirits Soared” won two separate awards in the 2022 competition: Best Cover Design (Silver, Worldwide) and Best Regional Non-Fiction (Gold Medal, West -Mountain Region).

The Independent Publisher Book Awards recognize the best independently published titles from around the world. The awards aim to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, scholarly and self-published books published each year.

“Receiving not just one, but two awards – a silver and a gold – for ‘Their Spirits Soared’, brought me so much joy! says book author Brian Suwada. “And, he adds, drawing some attention to my book is a good thing; good for nevada city – good for living nevada city residents and spirits flew away.

About the book

“Their Spirits Soared: Nevada City’s Historic Pine Grove Cemetery” introduces readers to the notable residents of Nevada City and tells the story of the city through the lives of some of the early pioneers. You’ll meet veterans of various wars, members of Congress and other government officials, people who worked as servants, miners, drivers, and in the local sawmills and brothels; all of whom left this Earth between 1854 and 1961. Their stories are here, along with thousands of biographical sketches and over 140 photographs and other images.

The book includes a directory of the pioneers and early citizens residing within, a map of the cemetery, and discusses cemetery symbolism and death-related customs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Their Spirits Soared” can be purchased at select independent bookstores or ordered online from Banner Mountain Press (

About the Author

Brian Suwada is a retired librarian with a master’s degree in library and information science. He was born in Sacramento and has many relatives buried in Nevada City’s Pine Grove Cemetery. Feeling the magnetic pull of Nevada City all his life, Brian focused on uncovering the stories of those distant permanent residents who were once enamored with the charms of Nevada City.

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