Black Diamond City: The Victorian Era is the first book in Jan Peterson's trilogy on the history of Nanaimo. Peterson traces the evolution of the city from its First Nations history to its coal industry to its becoming a diversified Victorian-era community. Using original diaries, journals, letters, ships' logs, government records, maps, archival photographs and her own drawings, Peterson vividly brings to life both the historical events that shaped Nanaimo and its people.
Born and educated in Scotland, Jan Peterson immigrated with her family to Kingston, Ontario, in 1957. In 1972, she moved with her husband, Ray, and their three children to Port Alberni. With a lifelong interest in painting, writing, and history, she is recognized for her many years of involvement in the arts and community service. As a reporter for the Alberni Valley Times, she won a Jack Wasserman Award for investigative journalism. Jan and Ray retired to Nanaimo in 1996, where she continues to research and write. She is the author of nine previous books, including Hub City: Nanaimo 18861920 and Kilts on the Coast: The Scots Who Built BC.