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August 27th, 2015

Wednesday marked the ninety-fifth anniversary of the 19th Amendment, a monumental change to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote.  For almost a century, American women have had a voice in the political arena. To celebrate, we created a list of OSU Press titles showcasing the strength and indomitability of Pacific Northwest women. These literary ladies have spunk—and they’re ready to share it!



Yours for Liberty

Selections from Abigail Scott Duniway’s Suffrage Newspaper YoursforLiberty

Jean M. Ward and Elaine A. Maveety


She was egged. Hung in effigy. Despised for her beliefs. And yet, Abigail Scott Duniway—women’s suffrage activist and Portland newspaper editor—continually combated social injustices with tenacity and wit.


“When women’s true history shall have been written, her part in the upbuilding of this nation will astound the world.”



Remembering the Power of Words

The Life of an Oregon Activist, Legislator, and Community Leader RememberingthePowerofWords

Avel Louise Gordly with Patricia A. Schechter


The first African-American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate, Gordly was no stranger to prejudice or adversity. From her childhood in a predominately white Portland to her political career, Gordly shares her story with refreshing frankness.


“Growing up, finding my own voice was tied up with denying my voice or having it forcefully rejected ... To this day—and I am today a very experienced public speaker—preparation to speak takes a great deal of energy.”



With Grit and By Grace

Breaking Trails in Politics and Law, A Memoir WithGritandByGrace

Betty Roberts with Gail Wells


Returning to college as a 32-year-old wife and mother, Roberts made challenging convention a lifelong habit. From teacher to lawyer, state legislator, and eventually Oregon’s first female Supreme Court Justice, Roberts simply didn’t take no for an answer.


“In today’s world, every woman should be able to explore her own life, discover her own uniqueness, break her own trails, and pioneer her own destiny.”



Up the Capitol Steps

A Woman’s March to the Governorship UptheCapitolSteps

Barbara Roberts


One of only two women ever elected to the Oregon governorship, Roberts shares the complex life of a woman in power. Driven into public service by a deep passion for the rights of children with disabilities, Roberts poignantly demonstrates how professional and personal lives rarely fall into the tidy compartments we so often wish they would.


“I know from experience that women leaders are held to a different standard, a higher standard… Gender too often defines leadership. This remains an unfinished equity agenda.”



Marie Equi

Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions MarieEqui

Michael Helquist


Helquist’s highly-anticipated book introduces readers to the fiercely independent Marie Equi: activist, doctor, and one of the first well-known lesbians in Oregon. Equi lived boldly, standing by her convictions even as they cost her great personal sacrifice.


“[Marie Equi was] the most interesting woman that ever lived in this state, certainly the most fascinating, colorful, and flamboyant.”



A Hunger for High Country

One Woman’s Journey to the Wild in Yellowstone Country HungerforHighCountry

Susan Marsh


Marsh’s work chronicles her career working for the United States Forest Service. Pitted against opposing ideals in a male-dominated field, Marsh struggled to reignite passion for her work and find a place she called home.


"Like the topography she traverses, Marsh delivers a trail of personal highs and lows. Cheryl Strayed doesn’t have anything on Marsh as far as real, authentic, informed passion for the wild." --Todd Wilkinson, Jackson Hole News & Guide



Shaping the Public Good

Women Making History in the Pacific Northwest ShapingPublicGood

Sue Armitage


Much as Abigail Scott Duniway predicted, the Pacific Northwest was indeed built upon the sacrifices and choices of women. In her new book, Armitage shows the lasting impact of women upon society and culture; even before we could celebrate “National Women’s Equality Day,” women have worked quietly to assure the stability and security of their families and communities.

August 20th, 2015


The arrival of a new book always spurs excitement around the office, but the appearance of Michael Helquist’s fascinating work was especially thrilling. Following the life of one of the West’s first well-known lesbians, Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions fills a startling gap in the lexicon of Oregon history. Helquist joins us today to discuss the extraordinary Dr. Equi and what drove him to share her story.




What first drew you to Marie Equi?


Once I read about Marie Equi as a slight 21-year-old who horsewhipped a Baptist minister in Marie Equithe center of The Dalles, Oregon, I wanted to know more. The minister was also a school superintendent who had refused to pay Equi’s girlfriend her full teacher’s salary. Equi was tired of urging him to cooperate, and she grabbed a horsewhip in frustration. The incident received notice throughout the West that summer of 1893. The notorious episode was the first public recognition of Oregon women in a lesbian relationship, and newspapers throughout the state and in California covered the story. One newspaper account stated that Equi’s feeling for her girlfriend “amounts to adoration.”  Another described the two women’s intent to remain “indissoluble friends whom nothing can separate."*


This exposure of same-sex love, along with another in 1906 in Portland, was sensational then and intriguing now. But these occasions also offer a glimpse into what people knew about sexuality and how they discussed intimacy and sex. This was a time when the new fields of psychology and sexology argued new understanding of sexual expression and sexual identity. We have very little information about how West Coast people reacted to these reports.



Considering the time and effort required of such an undertaking, why did you find it important to write the biography?


I became intrigued with the question of whose story gets told. For a very long time, marginalized people – women, racial minorities, the working class and poor people, political radicals, and LGBTQ people – seldom had their stories told. With their absence, we’ve lost an essential part of our history. As an historian, I wanted to help counter that trend.


Marie Equi was a ready and willing protagonist. She made an impact on many political and social issues. Imagine someone today who fights on the front lines for voting rights, reproductive rights, a livable wage, affordable housing, and an overhaul of the criminal justice system. Equi did all that nearly 100 years ago.


Equi’s experiences expand our understanding of how some women adopted a more radical strategy for fighting injustice. Her insights reveal what it meant to be an activist then and how to deal with the repercussions of standing firm with your beliefs today.



Did you run across any surprises during research?


Sometimes I wanted to shout out loud in a library or reading room when I came across new MarieEquiBookdiscoveries. One time I was scanning old newspapers on microfilm in the New Bedford Free Public Library, and I found a feature on Marie Equi’s 1914 visit there, her hometown. In an interview, she warned of an uprising if jobless men and women were not given jobs and food. The article gave me a sense of how Equi was received once she had adopted more radical politics.


I also learned from other new sources how vulnerable Equi felt behind much of the bombast of her actions. She undertook risky, dangerous protests, even when she knew she would probably be physically attacked as a result. She suffered trauma from the beating and third degree the police delivered after her arrest for joining a strike in 1913. Then she felt betrayed by her government for sending her to prison for sedition when she had spoken against World War I.   



What did you find most difficult when writing the biography?


Finding my writer’s voice for this project vexed me for a long time. I wanted to write intriguing history for a general audience, but also to produce a work with scholarly significance. That balance is difficult to maintain.



Do you have a favorite quote of Marie Equi’s?


I have two. In 1913 Equi picketed with women cannery workers who protested their very low wages and deplorable working conditions. The Oregonian newspaper described her as “dangerously insane” for fighting off the police. Equi retorted:


“It was beyond the imagination of these people who repeatedly attacked me, that a professional woman of established practice and reputation, of some money and high standing in the community could set these aside and get out and work for her unfortunate sisters and brothers – therefore I must be insane.” 


And another. In the midst of the West Coast maritime strike of 1934, Equi left her sickbed to visit the local union office. She wanted to “do something for the boys,” she said, and she donated $250 for men wounded during the strike. A reporter was surprised by her generosity, but Equi replied, “Young man, money is a thing despised. I claim no honor or glory in giving this sum. If I had my name in the paper every time I gave away money, I’d look like a daily feature.”




Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions is now available for purchase. Place an order today by calling 1 (800) 621-2736 or paying here online. You may also find a copy at your local bookstore.


*Photo to the right found on MichaelHelquist.com, attributed to Oregon Historical Society #23496.

August 13th, 2015

There’s a new face in the office! Freshman Heather Bennett has joined our team as the newest student worker. We’re proud to welcome another member to the OSU Press family and are excited to have her on board. Studying business management and marketing, she’s lively, well spoken, and … loves Corvallis salsa? Read the interview below to see how Heather found her place in the OSU Press office.


TH Tori Hittner, marketing intern

HB – Heather Bennett, student worker and office assistant




TH: I know you recently graduated from Canby High School, Heather, but I remember you mentioning you also received your associates degree in a dual enrollment program?


HB: Yes, I got my associates from Clackamas Community College. It’s an ASOT transfer degree.



TH: So then what led you here to this position, and to OSU in general?


HB: I was torn between OSU and the University of Idaho, and Idaho was a little far away for my first year away from home. My sister goes here, so it was kind of a comfort thing. I just kind of grew up around business; my mom owned her own business, so it was natural. Before I moved here, I had an assistant-type position and was against working in fast food or retail. I wanted to stay in an office environment since that’s what I would like to do in the future. I thought it would be better to stay on that track and get this experience.



TH: I know you’ve only been here in the summer, but do you have a favorite part of campus or Corvallis as of yet?


HB: I haven’t been around [campus] too much yet. But I do love the new business building. And I also love the marble steps in the MU and all the big trees. That’s part of the reason I chose this school; I love all the old trees here. And as far as Corvallis, I haven’t spent much time exploring it yet. Most of my [spare] time has been spent in my apartment. Oh, and searching for salsa at the farmers’ market.



TH: Searching for salsa?


HB: There is the best salsa in the world there! The first time I looked for it was a struggle; my sister just told me it was near the water. So I walked through the whole place looking for a single salsa stand. But no, it’s in a vegetable stand: Gathering Together Farms.



TH: Well, now I feel like I need to go hunt this famous salsa down.


HB: Yes, you do!



TH: So you’ve been braving the warehouse here lately …


HB: Oh yes—the spider-infested warehouse!



TH: Ick! Do you want to talk a little about the kind of work you’ve been doing around the office?


HB: Most recently, I’ve been organizing all the books here and alphabetizing all the boxes. I haven’t spent that much time in the warehouse yet, but inventory is a main focus here. Working upstairs for Don [Frier] has involved a lot of miscellaneous items.



TH: Okay, I have to ask. Do you have a favorite, or most memorable, book?


HB: The most memorable book, for me, would be Where the Red Fern Grows. Every time I read that book, I cry. I have a passion for animals, so it’s sad. But I like it because it’s a romantic kind of sad.



TH: E-book or hard copy?


HB: Hard copy! I like holding out my hands and being able to flip a page. I don’t like staring at a computer screen; I do it all day with my phone and everything else. For a book, I’d rather just look at a piece of paper.



TH: I completely agree. Okay, last part of the interrogation, I promise. How do you see your work here affecting later career goals?


HB: I enjoy having my own office space and having to stay organized. The office environment is what I want. Well, eventually I’d like to have the fancy, closed door, but … I’m working my way up to that! I won’t necessarily be working with books, but I’m getting the practice of building relationships.



TH: So do you have a dream job?


HB: My dream job is somewhat uncertain. I fell in love with the marketing position I used to have in my hometown. That interested me mainly because it’s business, but it’s also artsy and I like that side of it. It’s a relaxing thing for me. I like the feel of a small business, but I’ve also always pictured myself working for a larger company. I’m kind of torn between those. I like the family aspect of a small business, though. It’s like one large, dysfunctional family.




Sounds like Heather will fit right in with our own business family.

August 6th, 2015


Behind every incredible book is a hardworking author. The kind of author who is willing to trek into fields every morning, or take their dinner amidst a stack of books. These writers pour passion into their work, attempting to convey via pen or keyboard a revelation that they simply need to share with others. And while we as readers certainly enjoy the end product of their labors, rarely do we discover the people behind the pages.

So, before you’re able to delve into our forthcoming fall list, we thought a brief introduction was in order. Readers, meet our Fall 2015 writers:



Author: Michael Helquist Helquist

Book: Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions

Release Month: September

Website: http://www.michaelhelquist.com/

Occupation: Historian, journalist, editor, and activist

Quick Fact: Helquist’s interest in the project stemmed in part from the modern relevance of Equi’s struggles. “How Equi fought for justice makes her life story compelling to general readers and scholars interested in the issues of her day and to anyone committed to similar challenges today,” he explains on his blog.



Author: Max G. Geier Geier

Book: The Color of Night: Race, Railroaders, and Murder in the Wartime West

Release Month: October

Website: http://www.wou.edu/~geierm/

Occupation: Professor of History, Emeritus

Quick Fact: Geier’s areas of scholarly specialization include public history, environmental history, and North American history. He is the author of two books on the history of forest science research in the Pacific Northwest.



Author: Sue Armitage Armitage

Book: Shaping the Public Good: Women Making History in the Pacific Northwest

Release Month: October

Website: http://libarts.wsu.edu/history/faculty-staff/emeritus.asp

Occupation: Emerita Professor of History and Women’s Studies

Quick Fact: Armitage has coedited three collections of work by and about western women. Her forthcoming book focuses on women—famous and little-known alike—who helped shape Pacific Northwest society.



Author: Ellen Eisenberg Eisenberg

Book: Embracing a Western Identity: Jewish Oregonians, 1849-1950

Release Month: October

Website: http://willamette.edu/cla/history/faculty/eisenberg/

Occupation: Professor of American History

Quick Fact: Eisenberg’s publication coincides with the Oregon Jewish Museum’s online exhibit and documentary centered around the Oregon Jewish experience. This title will be followed by a second book documenting the decades following 1950.



Author: Dale Soden Soden

Book: Outsiders in a Promised Land: Religious Activists in Pacific Northwest History

Release Month: October

Website: http://www.whitworth.edu/academic/Faculty/index.aspx?username=dsoden

Occupation: Professor of History

Quick Fact: Soden maintains a collection of historic photos of Washington state, most of which contain themes of power and transportation. You can view some of them here.



Author: Lawrence A. Landis Landis

Book: A School for the People: A Photographic History of Oregon State University

Release Month: October

Website: http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/staff/landisl

Occupation: Director of OSU Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives Research Center

Quick Fact: When visiting OSU’s archives, turn to Landis for help with OSU history, historic photographs, preservation of archival materials, digital collections, and historic preservation issues.



Editor: Lorraine Anderson, assisted by Abby Phillips Metzger WildintheWillamette

Book: Wild in the Willamette: Exploring the Mid-Valley’s Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas

Release Month: November

Website: https://www.facebook.com/WildInTheWillamette

Occupation(s): This guidebook was created via contributions from forty-plus outdoor enthusiasts and noted writers.

Quick Fact: All proceeds from Wild in the Willamette will be donated to Greenbelt Land Trust. The book was inspired by the passion and work of Gail Achterman, former director of the Institute for Natural Resources at OSU.



Author: George Moskovita (Introduction by Carmel Finley and Mary Hunsicker) Moskovita

Book: Living Off the Pacific Ocean Floor: Stories of a Commercial Fisherman

Release Month: November

Occupation: Commercial fisherman

Quick Fact: Moskovita made his living off the sea for more than sixty years. This new edition of his fascinating memoir includes an introduction and notes from Finley, an historian of science, and Hunsicker, an aquatic and fisheries scientist.



Editors: Scott Slovic and Paul Slovic Slovic

Book: Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data

Release Month: November

Websites: http://www.uidaho.edu/class/english/scott-slovic | http://psychology.uoregon.edu/profile/pslovic/

Occupations: Professor of Literature & Environment | Professor of Psychology

Quick Fact: The Slovics are a father-son duo whose work studies systemic problems within cultural patterns and societies that prevent individuals from fully processing numerical information.



July 31st, 2015


We all know the ABC’s are easy as 123. But when it comes to understanding the complex world of publishing? The answers are often far from simple. That’s why we’ve created a short guide that’s as accessible as the alphabet (and hopefully scintillating enough to get the Jackson 5 song out of your head).




Acquisitions: The press department that decides which books to publish.



Backlist: Older books still available from a publisher. At OSU Press, our backlist generally contains titles published more than one year ago.



Copyright: A tricky subject! Designates ownership of the book’s printed material. copyright



Distributor: A middle-man organization that sells to retailers as opposed to consumers. We at OSU Press use the Chicago Distribution Center to store and process most of our books and sales.



E-book: The digital version of a published work. We proof our e-books on both Kindle and iBooks formats.



Frontlist: Newer titles published a press. Given the definition of “backlist” described above, this generally includes titles published in the last year. For further clarification, browse our catalog to see how books have been divided.



Grayscale: OSU Press books that only contain black and white images are printed right here GrayscaleBooksin the United States. The printing process is faster (and more economical!) than that of books with color images.



Hardcover: Although some of our titles feature hardcover bindings, most OSU Press books are published in paperback.



ISBN (International Standard Book Number): Essentially the literary version of a Social Security Number. A 13- or 10-digit number that uniquely identifies a title.



Journals: Although many academic presses publish journals, OSU Press currently does not.



Knowledge: It’s power! And here at OSU Press, we try to bring empowerment of the lightbulbregional variety, focusing mostly on works that incorporate the history, culture, and environment of the Pacific Northwest.



Line Edits: Comments and corrections made by editors who focus on more than just grammatical errors. Overall tone and style are also considered, leading to more detailed and nuanced suggestions.



Mighty M’s: Mary, Marty, and Micki—the lovely ladies who keep OSU Press running and relevant!



Networking: Presses must interact and make connections not only among colleagues, but with manufacturers, retailers, publicists, and distributors, as well. OSU Press employees attend several conferences and trade shows each year to network.



Out of Print: A book is only labeled “out of print” once inventory is depleted and no republication plans exist.



Page Proofs: One of the final stages before publication! Page proofs show everything Proofsexactly how it will appear in the printed book, including layout, color, and page numbers. These are often used for creating finalized indexes.



Questions: As a press, we receive all sorts of questions from writers and readers alike. Authors have several resources available through the Author Marketing Guide, but where should readers go when they have pressing questions? Email us at osu.press@oregonstate.edu and we’ll get back to you in a jiffy.



Reviews: Before publication, we send review copies of the manuscript to respected peers within the author’s field of work. Just like a scientific study, it’s important that academic books be tested and studied by other professionals before being published.



Slush: Nope, nothing like the blue raspberry-flavored goodness you find at 7-11. This refers stacksofpaperto the batch of unsolicited pitches and manuscripts sent to our acquisitions department.



Trade: Generally referring to the non-academic side of publishing, which includes large publishing houses and literary agents (and staff lists many times the size of that at OSU Press!).



University Presses: Publishing houses directly affiliated with an academic institution that typically focus on scholarly works. 



Value: Myriad factors determine the end price of a book, including printing and transportation costs, as well as the amount of time spent on writing, editing, and design.



Website: Found a book you liked on our website? Simply click the “add to cart” bar and pay online for the quickest way to receive your purchase. And if you prefer browsing the aisles of a brick-and-mortar bookstore? OSU Press titles are sold in dozens of shops across the nation, including the world-famous Powell’s.



X-out: Need to cross something out of a draft? Simply draw a line with a loop to signal the EditMarksdeletion of a word or phrase. We use a bevy of special marks when proofreading and editing drafts.



You: As a reader, you’re the key to academic presses’ longevity and success! We exist to perpetuate and expand scholarly conversations; without interest from participants like you, our publishing houses would quickly become obsolete.



Zoo: Yup, sometimes the publishing world can best be described as a zoo (you should see us all together at the annual Association of American University Presses conference!). But despite the chaos of deadlines and challenge of evolving technology, we academic presses are here to stay. Someone has to build the Ark, right?




This blog post made with inspiration from AuthorHouse.

July 23rd, 2015

The New Yorker dubbed it the “really big one.” Geologists have heralded its imminent approach for years. Broadcasters and bloggers have facilitated dozens of heated discussions regarding its potency and approach. But just how big is this earthquake truly supposed to be and how can we best prepare for its arrival?


Located along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the Pacific Northwest is due for a devastating earthquake of epic proportions. After the social media explosion caused by Kathryn Schulz’s article in The New Yorker, the region’s residents have faced a deluge of information and speculation. Below is a list of resources from OSU Press and our friends at University of Washington Press to help explain the situation and filter fact from fiction.




The Next Tsunami TheNextTsunami

Living on a Restless Coast

Bonnie Henderson

ISNB-13: 978-0-87071-732-1

Oregon State University Press, 2014


The discovery of the Cascadia Subduction Zone didn’t happen overnight—and neither will a change in our infrastructure or political climate. Using the sleepy town of Seaside as a focal point, Henderson elucidates the charged intersection of science, human nature, and public policy.



Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest LivingwithEarthquakesinPacificNW

A Survivor’s Guide, Open Access Second Edition

Robert S. Yeats

ISBN-13: 978-0-87071-024-7

Oregon State University, 2004


An essential guide for anyone interested in understanding and preparing for the next big earthquake. Learn updated information about the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the forthcoming third digital edition.



The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 OrphanTsunami

Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America

Brian F. Atwater

ISBN-13: 978-0-29598-535-0

University of Washington Press, 2005


How can tectonic action along the North American coastline trigger an immense tsunami in Japan? Tug on your detective cap and delve into the primary resources and geological clues uncovered by Atwater.



Living with Thunder LivingwithThunder

Exploring the Geologic Past, Present, and Future of the Pacific Northwest

Ellen Morris Bishop

ISBN-13: 978-0-87071-748-2

Oregon State University Press, 2014


Stunning color photographs, maps, and charts introduce new readers to the field of geology. Written in an engaging and accessible manner, this beautiful book recounts the region’s past climate record and discusses implications for the future.



Oregon Geology OregonGeology

Sixth Edition

Elizabeth L. and William N. Orr

ISBN-13: 978-0-87071-681-2

Oregon State University Press, 2012


“Caught between converging crustal plates, the Pacific Northwest faces a future of massive earthquakes and tsunamis.” The future may be riddled with uncertainty, but the geologic features visible today may unlock the story of the past—and prepare us for what’s to come.



Living with Earthquakes in California LivingwithEarthquakesinCali

A Survivor’s Guide

Robert S. Yeats

ISBN-13: 978-0-87071-493-1

Oregon State University Press, 2001


California has climbed the ranks to become one of the world’s most advanced localities in terms of earthquake safety and preparedness. Yeats describes the state’s innovate approach, simultaneously offering a how-to-manual for life in earthquake country.



Browse the Association of American University Press's Books for Understanding website for more resources on current events and breaking news.

July 9th, 2015

“ … the power of citizen science is not going to be kept in a tidy box. The potential of citizen science will still surprise us.”

-Sharman Apt Russell


Power and surprise: two intriguing elements of any person’s life.  There are reasons why people revel in the unexpected and yearn for power; such heady feelings offer welcome interruptions to the repetition of daily life. And according to OSU Press author Sharman Apt Russell, the field of citizen science offers both.


The aforementioned quote appears in Russell’s provoking Diary of a Citizen Scientist, DiaryofaCitizenScientistpublished in 2014. A teacher and amateur scientist herself, Russell uses her own experiences to demonstrate the growing field’s immense personal and public benefit. Diary of a Citizen Scientist encourages readers to pursue their passions, all the while contributing to something bigger than themselves. Luckily for her readers, there is no dearth of diverse opportunities. In fact, a growing project facilitated in part by Oregon State University researchers centers around the very idea of “bigger.”


Introducing “the blob”: an abnormally warm section of the Pacific Ocean, located just off the western coast of the United States. Researchers at OSU and the University of Oxford believe the warmer water may correlate with current drought conditions and unusual weather patterns. Based upon the knowledge that ocean temperatures affect continental weather conditions, the scientists theorize that the blob and Oregon’s current heat wave are far from mutually exclusive. In order to prove—or disprove—their hypotheses, however, a computer model comparing historic data with present conditions must be run thousands of times. That’s where you come in!



The research team is looking for capable volunteers willing to download and run the climate model on their personal computers. The program, according to a report by the Oregonian, runs while the computer is not in use, but pauses automatically whenever the owner begins utilizing his or her device. Thanks to an accompanying set of detailed graphics, volunteers can watch the project and data coalesce instantaneously.


“People can watch the results unfold in real time,” Phil Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, told the Oregonian. “Volunteers can find out at the same time we do.”


To participate in the project, simply put on your citizen scientist cap and follow the instructions on www.climateprediction.net. Within minutes, you’ll be contributing to a study that may solve the mystery of western North America’s persistent drought.



GIF from www.climateprediction.net


Russell explains the prevalence and importance of such projects at the very beginning of Diary of a Citizen Scientist by noting that “citizen science projects are proliferating like the neural net in a prenatal brain,” completely reshaping the way research is conducted. Who knows: maybe it’s time for you to spark some synapses yourself and be a part of the research revolution.

July 2nd, 2015

Cultural traditions and customs permeate nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether at AttheHearthoftheCrossedRaceshome, in the workplace, or parked in front of the television, we all prescribe in some way to the social guidelines and expectations tied to our cultural identities. But what does “culture” mean and where does it originate? Dr. Melinda Jetté, associate professor of history at Franklin Pierce University, tackles this complex issue in her latest book, At the Hearth of the Crossed Races: A French-Indian Community in Nineteenth-Century Oregon, 1812-1859.


In her work, Jetté examines the community of French Prairie in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, adding depth and cultural diversity to the popular Anglo pioneer narrative of the region. An astounding mix of French and Native American culture formed the foundations of French Prairie—a tantalizing and often overlooked history unearthed by At the Hearth of the Crossed Races. Jetté joins us today to reveal the inspiration and passion behind her work.




As a youngster growing up in the Portland area during the 1970s, I imbibed a steady diet of popular culture through television, film, and radio. This included the great heyday of the American miniseries, musical variety shows, disco music, reruns of Star Trek, and the start of the Star Wars franchise. These pop culture creations were all quite interesting and exciting, especially when my siblings—following the interests of my mother—became involved in the theater. However, my own intellectual interests seemed to lie elsewhere: in the family stories recounted by my father about his French Canadian and Indian ancestors who had lived in and around Champoeg and St. Paul. And although we had some Anglo ancestors who came along later, our French-Indian forebears were apparently in the Willamette Valley prior to the Oregon Trail migrations of the 1840s. These family stories from my father, along with his own love of history, influenced my later decision to study French and history in college and then pursue graduate studies in history. I would often return to the intriguing, though largely undocumented, history of the French-Indian settlers in French Prairie. I would ask myself why their experience seemed less important than that of the Anglo-Americans emigrants who trekked to the Pacific Northwest on the Oregon Trail.


At the Hearth of the Crossed Races attempts to answer this question by placing the French-Indian community of French Prairie at the heart of a formative and tumultuous period in Oregon’s history: the Euro-American colonization of the Pacific Northwest that began with the fur trade, the mass migration of Americans to the region, Indian wars and forced removal, and the eventual incorporation of Oregon into the United States on the eve of the Civil War. The book’s multi-dimensional history of a bicultural community follows the lives of ordinary people facing extraordinary times—not only in relation to Native peoples and incoming American settlers, but also in relation to larger historical events and developments such as the transition to a modern, commercial economy and the institution of a civil society grounded in modern notions of racial separation, gender distinction, and social exclusion. What makes the story of French Prairie inhabitants so interesting is how their lives and decisions illuminate these changing times. In tracing the social history of the French-Indian community of French Prairie—warts and all—I have endeavored to dig deeper into Oregon’s history, to contribute to a more complex representation of the nineteenth century and to a more thorough understanding of the era’s ongoing legacy in the present. At the Hearth of the Crossed Races is the beginning of a lifelong journey to document the history of French North Americans in the United States. The next project awaits!




Melinda Marie Jetté maintains roots in the very community she studies. A native Oregonian, she is a descendant of the French Canadians and Native women who resettled French Prairie. Having received an MA in History from Université Laval and a PhD from the University of British Columbia, she now teaches as Associate Professor of History at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.


Dr. Jetté will make several appearances in the Pacific Northwest this summer. See her schedule below:


·       Wednesday, July 8 at 11:45 AMOPB Think Out Loud (Radio)

·       Wednesday, July 8 at 7 PM – Oregon Historical Society

·       Thursday, July 9 at 7 PM – Washington State Capital Museum

·       Saturday, July 11 at 1:30 PM – Benton County Historical Society & Museum 

·       Sunday, July 12 at 1 PM – Champoeg State Historic Area

·       Monday, July 13 at 12 PM – Chehalem Senior Center

·       Saturday, July 18 at 12-3 PM – Sons & Daughters of Oregon Pioneers (Champoeg State Historic Area) 

June 17th, 2015

Utopia (n.): a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions.


The definition of utopia itself is simple to comprehend. It’s the description of a perfect place to live, a locality where everyone coexists and acts in pursuit of collective security and benefit. It’s a worthy goal to strive for, something we as humans would all arguably enjoy. Yet no such utopia has ever existed for an extended period of time. Why? Because the implementation of such an idea is far from effortless.


Both our front and back lists contain titles which explore the pursuits of pure utopias. Each with a slightly different approach, these books comprise a fascinating narrative of coexistence, couched in the Pacific Northwest’s rich history as a haven for communal living.



Naked in the Woods

My Unexpected Years in a Hippie Commune NakedintheWoods

By Margaret Grundstein


In 1970, Margaret Grundstein abandoned an Ivy League education to follow her activist husband into the backwoods of Oregon. There, they lived with ten friends and a rotating cadre of strangers, building what they believed to be a version of utopia. Resources grew scarce and relationships frayed, leaving Grundstein faced with difficult questions of feminism, labor, and love. A gripping memoir, Naked in the Woods forces readers to explore the boundaries of their own human nature and societal expectations.



Eden Within Eden

Oregon’s Utopian Heritage EdenWithinEden

By James J. Kopp


Since the establishment of the Aurora Colony in 1956, Oregon has housed nearly three hundred communal experiments. Ranging from the religious and Socialist groups of the nineteenth century to the ecologically conscious communities of the current century, Kopp’s work serves as the first comprehensive source for the state’s rich utopian history. Eden Within Eden will intrigue readers with its rich detail and encompassing look at broader social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of Oregon’s history.



Trying Home

The Rise and Fall of an Anarchist Utopia on Puget Sound TryingHome

By Justin Wadland


Structured around a series of linked narratives, Kopp’s work traces the history of Home, Washington, an anarchist colony founded in 1896 to promote freedom and tolerance in the midst of a rigid Gilded Age society. Over time, the community became notorious for its open rejection of contemporary values; members were arrested, sent to the Supreme Court, and even turned into private spies. More than a simple history, Trying Home offers insights and reflections from the author as complex as the community about which he writes.



Building a Better Nest

Living Lightly at Home and in the World BuildingaBetterNest

By Evelyn Searle Hess


Surrounded by ever-increasing levels of technology and modernization, how can we lead sustainable and responsible lives? Building a Better Nest delves into this question through the author’s own adventures in home construction.  Writing with unfailing wit and humor, Hess looks for answers in such places as neuroscience, Buddhism, and her ancestral legacy. Sustainability, she discovers, is all about cooperation. Well, that and active attention to the local watershed, and the widening income gap, and disappearing species, and overtaxed resources, and …  Suffice it to say, sustainable living requires a lifetime of cultivation. Follow Hess’s progress and method in Building a Better Nest.




Beginning definition taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

June 15th, 2015

Summer is nigh upon us, and do you know what that means? It’s time to hike—and walk, and run, and bike, and paddle—your way through the beautiful Pacific Northwest! But before you embark on any adventures, browse the books below to see which field guides and handbooks might serve as helpful companions.



Field Guide to Oregon Rivers

By Tim Palmer FieldGuidetoORRivers


Our most popular field guide profiles 120 Oregon rivers, offering a bevy of color photographs, history, and tips for all manner of outdoor enthusiasts. Described by WaterWatch of Oregon Executive Director John Devoe as “an essential tool for anyone who paddles, fishes, explores, and wants to understand the natural history of our rivers,” Palmer’s work serves as an unprecedented reference for Oregonians and visitors alike.



Field Guide to the Sedges of the Pacific Northwest

By the Carex Working Group FieldGuidetoSedgesofPacNW


This updated second edition offers a comprehensive look at the Pacific Northwest’s 169 Carex sedge species. Notoriously difficult to identify, sedges can be tackled using this helpful guide, which contains more than 650 color photographs and distribution maps. Learn the tricks of the trade employed by botanists and ecologists to use in your own gardening, landscaping, or citizen science pursuits.



Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon: A Field Guide DragonfliesandDamselflies

By Cary Kerst and Steve Gordon


Catered to naturalists, conservationists, and wildlife enthusiasts with all levels of experience, this companion guide includes stunning, vibrant photographs of Oregon’s Odonates and identification tips. Take the guide with you on any excursion to learn more about the distribution, habits, and natural history of the order.



Handbook of Oregon Birds: A Field Companion to Birds of Oregon HandbookofORBirds

By Hendrik G. Herlyn and Alan L. Contreras


The essential guide to Oregon ornithology, the Handbook provides a detailed field reference for birders interested in seasonal patterns, habitat information, and breeding and winter maps. Intended for more experienced birders, the guide includes specialized identification aids on such challenges as flying alcids and immature swallows.



Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest Macrolichens

By Bruce McCune and Linda Geiser


A useful guide for both beginners and specialists, this revised edition includes keys to 586 lichen species in Oregon and Washington and some parts of Idaho and Montana. With an emphasis on forested ecosystems, Macrolichens offers users an illustrated glossary, as well as ecological challenges like air quality currently faced by the species. The guide includes more than 240 color photographs for improved identification.



Handbook of Northwestern Plants HandbookofNWPlants

By Helen M. Gilkey and La Rea J. Dennis


Valuable to botany students and beginners, this revised handbook helps identify hundreds of plants found between the Cascade Mountains and Pacific Coast. Educational components include a glossary of botanical terms and a host of illustrations that highlight indentifying details. For years, The Handbook of Northwestern Plants has been widely used as the premiere guide for plants in western Washington and Oregon.



Land Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest LandSnailsandSlugs

By Thomas E. Burke


Turn to this field guide for the definitive authority on the animal kingdom’s second largest phylum. Browse its pages for information on the snails and slugs of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana.  As a reference, Land Snails and Slugs provides rich illustrations, characteristic traits, and biogeography details.




Still looking for more inspiration for your outdoor adventures? Look through our entire collection to learn more about conservation, ecological history, and the state’s best kept natural secrets.

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