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April 25th, 2016

The Oregon Historical Society has named author Michael Helquist the recipient of the 2016 Joel Palmer Award for the best article published in the previous year. Helquist’s article, “”Criminal Operations”: The First Fifty Years of Abortion Trials in Portland, Oregon,” appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly. The annual prize carries with it a $300 award which will be presented during the annual meeting of OHS on May 21.

“Criminal Operations” presents original research that documents every abortion trial conducted in Portland and reported in the Oregonian from 1870-1920 (27 in all). Helquist’s study reveals two significant factors that hindered prosecutions and thwarted convictions: a lack of sufficient evidence peculiar to abortion cases and the ambiguities of the abortion law itself. Prosecutors obtained convictions in only 7 of the 27 cases.

Helquist remarked in an interview, “Oregon’s anti-abortion law thrust into the public realm an inherently private and personal matter involving a woman and her provider. It was seldom a good mix for anyone involved.” He noted that physicians were reluctant to cooperate with the law, concerned with their professional prerogatives; prosecutors wrestled with the “intent” of providers and of patients; and women feared the public humiliation that might result from a trial.

One of the few doctors to provide abortions in Portland was Marie Equi, whose skill and discretion prompted other doctors to refer their patients to her (and allow her to assume the risk). Oregon State University Press published Helquist’s biography of Equi, “Marie Equi, Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions,” in September 2015. Her efforts for women’s rights and the struggle to obtain reproductive services are featured in the biography. The American Library Association named Marie Equi a 2016 Stonewall Honor Book for Non Fiction.

Helquist’s full article about “Criminal Operations” is available here: http://www.ohs.org/research-and-library/oregon-historical-quarterly/joel-palmer-award/upload/Helquist_Criminal-Operations_OHQ-116_1_Spring-2015_p.pdf

The OHS 2016 Joel Palmer Award announcement is available here: http://www.ohs.org/research-and-library/oregon-historical-quarterly/joel-palmer-award/2016-joel-palmer-award.cfm

April 20th, 2016

In her new book, Holy Moli, Hob Osterlund details the lives of albatross on Kauaʻi and her connection to them as her ‘aumakua, ancestors often manifested as sacred animals. Hob expresses her experiences with death, grief, and healing from the loss of her mother at a young age, while relating her stories to those of the albatross she serves. With a powerful bond to the albatross she quickly grew to love, Hob reveals the personal lives of moli. In Part 1 of the second OSU Press podcast, George P. Griffis intern Liz Pilcher spoke with Hob Osterlund over the phone to discuss Holy Moli.

Listen here!

April 6th, 2016

OSU Press, Oregon Wildlife Foundation, and the Greenbelt Land Trust present Wild in the Willamette.

Wild in the Willamette is a guidebook to the natural treasures of the mid-Willamette Valley, extending far beyond the familiar 1-5 corridor. This reading and presentation by contributors to the book will describe a range of outings at different levels of challenge. Families with young children, day hikers, long-distance backpackers, kayakers, canoeists, bird watchers, and cyclists alike will find ideas for spending a satisfying afternoon or venturing outside for a multiday trip This reading and presentation will feature Henry Hughes, Abby Phillips Metzger, Michael Pope, and more. Part of our Authors Across Oregon reading series, this event is open to the public.

Tickets are $5, or $3 for students, seniors, and Oregon Wildlife Foundation members and are available through Oregon Wildlife Foundation’s website here.

Thursday, April 21, 6:30-8:00pm

Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center, Ecotrust Building

721 NW 9th, Portland, OR

To learn more about the editors of Wild in the Willamette and the inspiration behind the book, you can read the guest posts on the OSU Press Blog here: Part 1 and Part 2.

March 8th, 2016

March 8th marks the day we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the world: International Women’s Day! According to the United Nations, International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the 1900’s.

The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28th, 1909. That date was designated in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York where women protested against working conditions.

In 1910, International Women’s Day was established to honor the women’s rights movement and to build support for achieving universal women’s suffrage. This proposal was greeted with unanimous approval from 100 women from 17 countries attending the Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen. However, during this time, no set date was selected for observance.

International Women’s Day was marked on March 19th in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland in 1911. Over one million men and women attended rallies on this day.

Between 1913-1914, International Women’s Day became a mechanism for protesting World War I. On the last Sunday of February, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day as part of the peace movement. In Europe, around March 8th women held rallies to protest the war or to express solidarity with the other activists.

Women in Russia began to protest and strike for “Bread and Peace” on March 8th, 1917. Four days later, the Czar abdicated and women were granted the right to vote.


To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’d like to announce the event Shaping the Public Good: How Women Made History in the West, a book talk by Sue Armitage. This book talk will be presented at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland, in the Buchan Reception Room, on Tuesday, March 8th at 7p.m. Attendance is free.

Here is a short list of books you can read in observance of International Women's Day:

Shaping the Public Good by Sue ArmitageShaping the Public Good

In this lively survey of women as history-makers, Sue Armitage explores the story of women’s lives from the earliest inhabitants to yesterday’s newest migrants, told within the larger framework of the changing Pacific Northwest – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, and British Columbia. Showcasing both the variety and commonality of women’s activities and values, Armitage provides an ongoing context for women’s lives and shows how their activism on behalf of families and communities has made our regional history. Shaping the Public Good’s narrative encompasses women of all races and ethnicities – the famous, the forgotten, and the women in between – and provides an accessible introduction for general readers and scholars alike.


Marie Equi by Michael HelquistMarie Equi

Marie Equi is a finely written, rigorously researched account of a woman of consequence, who one fellow-activist considered “the most interesting woman that ever lived in this state, certainly the most fascinating, colorful, and flamboyant.” This biography will engage anyone interested in Pacific Northwest history, women’s studies, the history of lesbian and gay rights, and the personal demands of political activism. It is the inspiring story of a singular woman who was not afraid to take risks, who refused to compromise her principles in the face of enormous opposition and adversity, and who paid a steep personal price for living by her convictions.



A Force for Change by Kimberly MangunA Force for Change

A Force for Change is the first full-length study of the life and work of Oregon’s most dynamic civil rights activists, African American journalist Beatrice Morrow Cannady. Between 1912 and 1936, Cannady tirelessly promoted interracial goodwill and fought segregation and discrimination. A Force for Change illuminates Cannady’s important role in advocating for better race relations in Oregon in the early decades of the twentieth century. It describes her encounters with the period’s leading black artists, editors, politicians, and intellectuals, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, A. Philip Randolph, Oscar De Priest, Roland Hayes, and James Weldon Johnson. It dispels the myth that African Americans played little part in Oregon’s history and enriches our understanding of the black experience in Oregon.


With Grit and By Grace

With Grit and By Grace by Betty Roberts with Gail Wells

With Grit and By Grace follows Betty Roberts’ rise from a Depression-era childhood on the Texas plains to become a teacher, lawyer, state legislator, candidate for governor, and eventually Oregon’s first woman Supreme Court Justice. In this memoir, Justice Roberts reflects on her role as a mother, wife, and political trailblazer. Her story is important to the history of women’s struggles to challenge prevailing stereotypes, but it is also a deeply personal story of a life sometimes stark, sometimes humorous, often exhausting, and always brightened with friendships and family.



Yours for Liberty written by Jean M. Ward and Elaine A. MaveetyYours for Liberty

Between 1871 and 1887, Duniway, a leader in the woman suffrage movement, chronicled this “true history” in the pages of The New Northwest, one of the few newspapers in the nation devoted to woman’s advancement. With its motto of “Free Speech, Free Press, Free People,” Duniway’s weekly reform journal aimed to expose and combat social injustice of all kinds. Yours for Liberty, the first published volume of Duniway’s writings from The New Northwest, provides a vivid portrait of this pioneering suffragist and her work. The collected essays, news reports, and editorial and travel correspondence reveal her strong, often controversial convictions. Together, the nearly three hundred selections chronicle a fascinating and turbulent era when traditional social attitudes and institutions were being challenged, both in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation.

March 3rd, 2016