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October 17th, 2013

For twenty years, Steve McQuiddy has been uncovering the story of a conscientious objectors camp on the Oregon coast that plowed the ground for the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

OSU Press is pleased to announce that his long-awaited book, Here on the Edge, is now available. HOTE cover

The author will present a slideshow and talk at Powell's Books on Burnside on Wednesday, October 23, 7:30 pm. and at the UO's Knight Library on Wednesday, November 6, 7 pm.

At Civilian Public Service Camp #56, located just south of Waldport, pacifists and political objectors spent their daylight hours planting trees, crushing rock, building roads, and fighting forest fires—fifty hours a week, for now pay. At night, they published books, produced plays, and made art and music—all during their limited non-work hours, with little money and resources. They were the Fine Arts Group at Waldport, and their focus was not so much on the current war, but on what kind of society might be possible when the shooting finally stopped.

“Nearly all the great social movements in history can be traced to small groups working in obscurity, sometimes for years,” McQuiddy observes. “It can be very useful for people to actually see the evidence of how small actions really can make a big difference.”

The talented group included poet William Everson, later known as Brother Antoninus, “the Beat Friar”; violinist Broadus Erle, founder of the New Music Quartet; fine arts printer Adrian Wilson; Kermit Sheets, co-founder of San Francisco’s Interplayers theater group; architect Kemper Nomland, Jr.; and internationally renowned sculptor Clayton James.
 
Other notables published by or involved with the Fine Arts Group include artist Morris Graves, poet William Stafford—OSU Press reissued his classic book, Down in My Heart, which recounts his experiences as a conscientious objector—fiery antiwar poet Kenneth Patchen, and iconoclastic author Henry Miller. After the war, camp members went on to participate in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance of the 1950s, which heavily influenced the Beat Generation of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, who in turn inspired Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, leading the way to the radical upheavals epitomized by San Francisco’s Summer of Love.

Explore research materials and photographs from the camp and read the author's blog at his website.

Read about Steve McQuiddy's experiences while researching and writing the book at The Oregonian.

See what Bob Welch has to say about Here on the Edge in the Register-Guard.

 

September 26th, 2013

Today we're pleased to welcome creator of the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project, author, and all-around cheese wiz Tami Parr as our guest blogger. Tami's new book, Pacific Northwest Cheese: A History, was released in September by OSU Press. Tami will be a featured author at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association conference in Portland next month.

PNW Cheese cover

I KNEW THAT if I wrote a history of regional cheesemaking, readers were going to want to know who was the region’s first cheesemaker. But in the early stages of research, I worried over how I could possibly sort out the answer to that question. After all, there were hundreds of dairy farmers that came to in Oregon Country in the nineteenth century and any one of them could have been “the” one. Worse, the moment would probably not have been recorded. How would we ever know?

As it turned out, the answer to the question “who was first?” came much easier than I thought. In fact, it turned out to be one of the easiest research problems that I solved while writing this book.

The answer came in several steps. In thinking about dairying in the Pacific Northwest I first considered that the native populations of the region lived off of the land and did not keep domesticated animals for food consumption. So clearly there were no cheesemakers among the Native American populations of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, dairy animals—cows, sheep and goats—were brought to the New World, and the Pacific Northwest, by Europeans. So I knew that elusive first cheesemaker would be found among the earliest Europeans who came to the region.

What next? We know that thousands of people came to the Pacific Northwest over the Oregon Trail during the mid- to late-nineteenth century, so it was tempting to look among those early homesteaders to find the earliest dairies and cheesemakers.

Fast forward for a moment to the twenty-first century…. if you’ve ever been to Vancouver, British Columbia you may know the Hudson’s Bay Company as a big department store on Granville Street, but in fact it’s one of the oldest corporations in existence. First founded, or “chartered” as they liked to say, in 1670, HBC was a global fur trading concern during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many different countries were vying for control of the region we now call the Pacific Northwestern United States. HBC fur trappers were among the first Europeans to reach the region and they established Fort Vancouver in present at Fort Vancouverday Vancouver, Washington in 1824-5. What I hadn’t realized prior to doing research for this book is that, in addition to fur trapping and trading, the Hudson’s Bay Company also conducted extensive farming operations at Fort Vancouver and other sites around the Pacific Northwest in order to support its trading operations. HBC grew wheat, barley, peas as well as keeping large herds of cattle, sheep and goats.

While I wasn’t able to find any mention of making cheese (or eating cheese, for that matter) in the letters of John McLoughlin, Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver, a number of visitors to Fort Vancouver in the 1830s and 1840s mention the large on-site dairy and cheesemaking operations (very helpful for later research, thanks Narcissa Whitman!). 

One of the fun things about doing research on the Hudson’s Bay Company is that they kept meticulous records. I spent many hours at the Fort Vancouver research center combing through microfilm of nineteenth century inventory records, which list numbers of animals kept at every HBC establishment in the region. These records confirm the presence of dairies and dairy equipment at the Fort, as well as its satellite dairy operation on Sauvie Island.

If you’ve ever delved into your family history you already know that historical research is part detective work, part futility, and you’re often crossing your fingers hoping you will find that one bit of information that leads to something interesting. In this case, I’m thrilled that I was able to put a few pieces of information together and come up with an answer to a very important question!

Tami Parr, author of Pacfic Northwest Cheese: A History—Tami Parr, author of Pacific Northwest Cheese: A History

 

 

September 5th, 2013

A Facebook friend writes of spotting “thousands of red dragonflies at a beach south of Seal Rock, Variegated Meadowhawk obliskingall heading south and none stopping for anything.” In recent days, similar sightings have been reported in Cannon Beach, Neskowin, and other locales, from southwest Washington to the central Oregon coast. Dragonfly migration is underway.

Less heralded than the annual migrations of gray whales along the Oregon coast—a phenomenon that now has its own trademarked web site (Whale Watching Spoken Here) and a corps of hearty volunteers—dragonfly migration is no less spectacular. Timing and numbers vary year to year, but 2013 appears to be a major migration. At the onset of fall cold fronts, the main species involved, the Variegated Meadowhawk, seems to funnel to the coast and head south. But beyond that, little is known about these fall migrants.

“This is not only an amazing spectacle to witness but a great mystery even to scientists,” says Cary Kerst, co-author with Steve Gordon, of Dragonflies and Damselflies of OreAuthors Steve Gordon and Cary Kerstgon, the definitive field guide to the subject. “We don’t know where they are coming from or going or what prompts them to start moving.”

Scientists have tried various methods of tracking dragonfly migrations with little success. Now, a partnership has formed to solicit the public’s help to better protect and sustain this phenomenon. The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership offers an opportunity for people to collect and record dragonfly migration observations. Citizen scientists monitor the timing, duration, and direction of travel of migrating dragonflies, and note any additional behaviors observed in migratory flight such as feeding or mating.

Learning to identify the main migratory species of dragonflies is an essential first step in migratioDragonflies covern monitoring, and for Oregon there’s no better place to start than the Kerst and Gordon guide. It includes full color photographs of all species found in the state, along with helpful illustrations and charts showing important identification characteristics. The book also features descriptions of the thirty best sites in Oregon to observe these amazing insects, a useful tool for viewing uncommon species in spectacular settings.

With sufficient participation in migration monitoring, it’s not hard to imagine a future in which volunteers line Oregon dunes each fall wearing “Dragonfly Watching Spoken Here” t-shirts and introducing curious onlookers to the wonders of dragonfly migration.

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Images
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Variegated Meadowhawk oblisking (top), photo by Cary Kerst
Authors Steve Gordon and Cary Kerst (middle)

July 11th, 2013

We're pleased to present our fall catalog. catalog cover Please send an e-mail if you'd like to receive a print copy, and please read on for a preview!

PNW Cheese cover
Tami Parr
's engaging history shows how regional cheesemaking found its way back to the farm. Pacific Northwest Cheese: A History begins with the first fur traders in the Pacific Northwest and ends with modern-day small farmers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Along the way, Parr tells some untold stories: about the cheese made along the Oregon Trail, of the region's thriving blue cheese and swiss cheese makers, and about the rise of goat's milk cheese.

Salmon cover

Jim Lichatowich's new book, Salmon, People, and Place: A Biologist's Search for Salmon Recovery, is "essential reading for anyone hoping to understand salmon in the Northwest," according to author John Larison. Drawing on more than forty years as a Pacific salmon researcher, manager, and scientific advisor, Lichatowich exposes the misconceptions underlying salmon recovery plans and presents a strategy to heal the catastrophic decline of salmon in the Northwest.

Collared cover

Aimee Lyn Eaton takes us from meeting rooms in the state capitol to ranching communities in Oregon's rural northeast corner in her forthright and balanced account of the passionate debate over the storied presence of wolves in the state. Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon's Wolf Country introduces readers to the biologists, ranchers, conservationists, state employees, and lawyers on the front lines of the controversy.

Our list this fall also includes:

• the story of a group of conscientious objectors on the Oregon Coast who, at CPS Camp #56, took art and peace from the margins to the mainstream

• a personal account of the history and healing of the Willamette River, once a rich network of channels and sloughs

• an environmental journalist's insightful and revealing history of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Act

• a new Horning Visiting Scholars publication that is part food history lesson, part editorial about our use of packaged foods, part call to arms—of the kitchen variety

• a collection of writings from geographers exploring collaborative work with Indigenous communities around the globe

• an invaluable collection of writings that reveal the day-to-day reality of implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

NAGPRA

DeeperBridgingGrow FoodMeander cover

Here on the Edge cover

June 6th, 2013

Could California condors once again take to the skies in the Pacific Northwest?

The iconic California condor was once at the brink of extinction; at their nadir only 22 birds remained in captivity. However, conservation efforts have shielded the birds from complete extinction; 234 condors live in the wild, and another 170 survive in captivity.  

A timely new OSU Press book on condors, out this month, is already generating wide attention. California Condors in the Pacific Northwest by Jesse D'Elia and Susan Haig documents the condor's history in the region and explores the challenges of reintroduction.

Crosscut.com columnist Knute Berger described the book as "an in-depth look at the history of the condor in the territory ranging from the Redwood coast to the Gulf Islands in British Columbia… D’Elia and Haig attempt to lay out a complete record of the condor here, from the fossil records to eyewitness accounts to Native American stories and practices.”

Katy Muldoon of The Oregonian called the book, "a fascinating blend of science, culture and natural history." 

Interviews with Susan Haig are available for reading: visit Oregon State University's news release and CNN's Light Years. Haig discusses the challenges of recovery in a Tedx DeExtinction talk: "Bringing Back the Birds of Our Dreams." Jesse D'Elia writes about the book and the implications of its findings on the USFWS Pacific Region blog.

We're pleased today to share Noel Snyder's Foreword to the book.

Foreword

Presently the largest and most astonishing bird in the skies of North America, the California Condor was one of our most highly endangered species by the 1980s, when it persisted only in a region just north of Los Angeles. By the late 1980s it endured only in captivity, but it has since been returned to the wild in selected regions. Fossil evidence from Pleistocene times shows that it inhabited not only California but a continent-wide range stretching from northern Mexico to Florida, New York, and the Pacific Northwest.

The condor was likely a breeding bird in most regions where its fossils have been found, but so far, breeding has been confirmed only in California, Baja California, and Arizona. In Arizona, paleontological research has revealed that the species once nested in caves perforating the many formations of the Grand Canyon and, following releases begun in 1996, it has again returned to nest in these sites. Whether the species ever nested in Oregon and Washington, however, has been a subject of controversy. It was frequently reported seen in this region in the nineteenth century, starting with the epic journey of Lewis and Clark in 1805, but no one has ever documented a contemporary or historic condor nest north of California. This book discusses suggestive evidence that condors were indeed breeders in the Northwest and presents a careful analysis of causes of disappearance of the species from this region by the early twentieth century—efforts that serve as a prelude to a potential program to revive a wild population in the region.

Should a consensus develop that the condor was indeed once a full-time resident and breeder in the Northwest, and should agreement be achieved that the past and present causes of the species’ decline in this region have been reliably identified and countered, it may well prove feasible to reestablish this species as a wild creature in the region. This book goes a long way toward justifying such an effort, although it also thoroughly discusses the information gaps and resistance factors still remaining that could prevent success in such a project.

The last wild condor in the remnant historic population in California was trapped into captivity in 1987, joining twenty-six other condors taken from the wild as eggs or otherwise trapped from the wild. Captives have bred readily, and the total captive population, now maintained in part by the Oregon Zoo, has increased rapidly. Numbers of birds have been sufficient to allow the initiation of release programs to the wild in several locations in California, Baja California, and northwestern Arizona. These release populations, which now collectively include several hundred individuals, have been maintained in part on subsidies of carrion food and have all initiated breeding activities. However, none of these populations has yet attained demographic viability because of a variety of problems, the most important of which has been poisoning stemming from the birds feeding on carcasses of hunter-shot game containing lead ammunition fragments.

California passed legislation outlawing the use of lead ammunition in the condor’s range in 2007, but the poisonings in this state continue because of difficulties in enforcing the legislation and the wide availability of lead ammunition across the country. It seems likely that an effective solution to the lead-poisoning problem may necessitate national legislation that truly removes the sources of lead ammunition and substitutes other equally effective ammunition that is nontoxic. As lead ammunition also contaminates humans to some extent, especially through ingestion of hunter-shot game, such legislation would also be a significant benefit for human health, to say nothing of the benefits to wildlife species other than condors that also suffer from lead poisoning. The insidious sublethal effects of lead contamination on our own species have already led to a banning of lead in paints, gasoline, and plumbing.

Thus, success in reestablishing condors in the Northwest may well depend on success in national efforts to solve the lead contamination problem. But it will also presumably depend on the development of effective solutions to other problems considered in this book. Success in such efforts will surely demand a continued commitment toward conservation of the species by the public and on well-conceived research and management programs to overcome resistance factors.

The re-creation of a viable population of condors in the Northwest would constitute an achievement of substantial importance, not just for those with a special interest in birds, but perhaps especially for the many Native Americans living in the region, whose cultural traditions have always honored this species as a supreme master of the skies.

—Noel Snyder, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist in charge of condor research in the 1980s and lead author of The California Condor: A Saga of Natural History Conservation


—by Brendan Hansen, George P. Griffis Publishing Intern, OSU Press

May 16th, 2013

We’re pleased today to share an excerpt from R. Gregory Nokes' new book, Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory. We invite you to join the author at upcoming author events in Portland and beyond, including this Sunday, May 19 at the Oregon Historical Society; June 4 at Powell's Books; June 13 at Broadway Books. For a complete event list, visit www.breakingchainsbook.com.
 

Breaking chains cover
First Slaves

There are two versions of how Robin and Polly Holmes, both Missouri slaves, came to Oregon. One, told by Robin Holmes, is that his owner, Nathaniel Ford, persuaded him to come in exchange for his freedom. The other, told by Ford descendants, is that Holmes begged to come and Ford brought Holmes—and Holmes’ wife and children—against his better judgment.

Whichever version is correct, and certainly Holmes’ version is most believable, the family of slaves joined a wagon train of fifty-four wagons in 1844 for an eight-month journey along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri. It was among the first emigrant wagon trains to leave for Oregon, and Robin and Polly Holmes would be among the first African Americans to live in Oregon.(1) They brought their three small children, and settled with the Ford family in what is now Polk County.

Years later, Holmes and Ford would face each other in a landmark court case that would help shape Oregon’s policy toward slavery and slaves.  The case was a habeas corpus suit brought by Holmes against Ford in 1852 seeking custody of his children, who Ford tried to keep. A remarkable feature of the case is that it provides a rare written record of the relationship between a slave-owner and a slave—from the slave’s point of view.

Just as remarkable is the fact that a former slave managed to hold his own in a fourteen-month legal battle, which no judge seemed to want to decide. Holmes patiently stood his ground as the proceedings plodded through several Oregon courts before four different judges, at least one of whom appeared biased in favor of Ford. Holmes would demonstrate during the court battle—and also in his later life in Salem—a determination to struggle for personal justice in the face of overwhelming odds.

Like most slaves, Holmes was unable to read or write—it was against public policy in Missouri and throughout the South to educate a slave.(2)  Nevertheless, aided by sympathetic attorneys, Holmes mounted a credible case against Ford, one of Oregon’s first settlers, who was prominent in Oregon politics. Ford served in the territorial legislature and was appointed the region’s chief judge in 1845, although he declined the office. Moreover, Holmes faced the added burden of taking on a slave owner in a farming community known to be sympathetic to slavery, and at a time when Oregon’s own position on slavery, while technically outlawed, was still in flux.

To say Oregon came close to becoming a slave state would be an exaggeration. But not a wild one. There were influential leaders who wanted Oregon open to slavery. And there were those like Ford who wanted to, and did, keep slaves.

An early nineteenth century historian, Walter Carelton Woodward, concluded that slavery posed "an actual menace to Oregon" prior to the Civil War. Writing in a 1911 issue of Oregon Historical Quarterly, Woodward said:

At this distance it may seem almost inconceivable that there was any basis for such agitation [for slavery]; that there was any danger of Oregon's (sic) becoming a slave state. Whatever may be the mature conclusions on this point after the lapse of a half century, the fact remains that there was apparently very serious danger at the time.(3)

The writer of a 1970 thesis, citing newspaper coverage, was led to remark, "The pro-slavery element was sufficiently vocal that the imporession was gained in the terriroty and throughout the nation that Oregon was about to apply for admission to the Union as a slave state."(4)

There were probably never more than fifty slaves in Oregon, a number that pales in comparison with Missouri’s total of 114,965 slaves in 1860, and the national total of 3,949,557.(5) And, in Oregon, slaves had an opportunity to gain their freedom, an opportunity denied them in slave states. Still, many may be surprised to learn there were slaves in Oregon at all.

...

I learned of the Holmes family while researching the background of another Missouri slave, known as Reuben Shipley. I had recently discovered in a long-unread family genealogy that I am a shirttail descendant of the man who “owned’’ Shipley and brought him to Oregon.(8) I was less than pleased to learn of this, and sought to know more. I was soon to discover that Reuben Shipley put his own important stamp on race relations in present-day Benton County, where, after receiving his freedom, he owned a farm near the small town of Philomath.

The lives of Reuben Shipley and Robin Holmes would intersect in later years, another of the several compelling stories involving these two former slaves, both unschooled, both of whom signed their names with X’s.

Notes 
1 The first known African American in the Oregon Country was believed to be Marcus Lopez, a native of the Cape Verde Islands and a cabin boy on Robert Gray's Lady Washington. According to Elizabeth McLagan in A Peculiar Paradise, the ship dropped anchor on August 14, 1788, near Tillamook. While ashore on August 16 to get provisions, Lopez was killed in a dispute with Native Americans. The second African American was believed to be York, a black slave who traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805. Others had come too, including several with the Peter Burnett wagon train in 1843.

2 An 1847 Missouri law was typical. It assessed a penalty of up to $500 and six months imprisonment for anyone who who would "teach or keep any school for the instruction of any negroes or mulattoes in reading or writing...." Trexler, Slaves in Missouri, 1804-1865, 83-84.

3 Woodward, "Rise and Early History of Political Parties in Oregon III." Oregon Historical Quarterly, 145.

4 Schneider, Black Laws of Oregon, 31. Schneider based his judgment in part on editorials in newspapers throughout the country as reported in the Oregon Statesman on June 8, 1857, 2-3. The New-York Tribune, described by the Statesman as a "frantic abolitionist sheet," said in an undated editorial: "We have a number of letters from Oregon, by the last mail, containing the startling information that this Territory hitherto sat down as a certain for Freedom, will, in all probability, present herself to the next Congress for admission into the Union with a constitution legalizing slavery."

5 Trexler, Slaves in Missouri, 4. Also the 1860 U.S. Cenusus, which listed no slaves in Oregon, overlooking local census takers who officially listed at least three slaves; other known slaves were idenitfied as laborers or servants, or not listed at all.

8 Junkin, The Henckel Genealogy, 359.

Greg

 

R. Gregory Nokes is the author Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory and Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon, an Oregonian Pacific Northwest “Top 10” book. He travelled the world as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press and The Oregonian. He is a graduate of Willamette University and attended Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow. He and his wife, Candise, live in West Linn, Oregon. 

April 19th, 2013

The Willamette Valley is bursting with green growth and spring blossoms. And Monday is Earth Day. We can't resist sharing a few arrivals, perfect for the occasion.HOldfast cover

The newest addition to our Northwest Reprints series is naturalist, philosopher, and essayist Kathleen Dean Moore's Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World. Moore has written a moving afterword for this edition exploring the new responsibilities of nature writers as the world faces the consequences of climate change. 

Please join us in celebrating the re-release of Holdfast with the author and special guest, concert pianist Rachelle McCabe, on Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. Moore and McCabe will explore the music of words and the words of music at this free event, sponsored by Grass Roots Books & Music, The Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, The Spring Creek Project, and OSU Press.

Ellies' Log cover

Our new children's book, Ellie's Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell, has arrived just in time for springtime tromps through the forest. Author Judy Li and illustrator M. L. Herring will talk about creating the book and its companion Teacher's Guide at a workshop for educators this weekend. Then on Friday, May 3 at 2:30 pm,  they'll be the special guests of the The Kid's Book Club at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, where they'll share the book and show everyone how to create a field logbook. All kids are invited to attend!

Nature lovers of all ages are invited to celebrate the book's publication at another event with Judy and Peg on Monday, May 13, 7 p.m. at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. This book launch celebration is sponsored by Grass Roots Books & Music, OSU Libraries and Press, the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, and the Corvallis-Benton County Library.

To learn more about Ellie's Log, check out our very first book trailer, created for Ellie's Log by our Griffis Publishing Intern, Brendan Hansen. Watch an interview with the author on KVAL. And visit the companion website for more resources and information about Ellie's Log and the natural world.

In another book that's just reaching bookstore shelves, John Reiger shares his journey from a troubled childhood to a rich career as an environmental historian and sportsman-conservationist, Escaping Into Nature: The Making of a Sportsman-Conservationist and Environmental Historian.

Condor hatchlings at the Oregon Zoo were in the news this week, and we're anxiously anticipating the publication of California Condors in the Pacific Northwest later this spring.

We just received an advance copy of Land Slugs and Snails in the Pacific Northwest—it's beautiful and will arrive soon!

The OSU Press shelves, past and present, are heavy with books on the environment. We encourage you to explore!

Escaping cover         Condors cover         Land Snails

 

 

March 14th, 2013

Today we're pleased to share a preview of Robert and Martha Manning's new book, Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary Peoplejust announced as a finalist for a Book of the Year Award. This essay, adapted from the book, was originally published in the Chronicle Review on December 10, 2012.

Walking Distance coverLong Walks, Deep Thoughts

One of my favorite parts of the day is the half-hour walk between my home and campus, when I reflect on my teaching and research. Lately I've been walking farther, hiking some of the world's great long-distance trails—across England, around Mont Blanc, along the coastlines of North America and Australia, among the world's iconic mountains, including the Appalachians, Rockies, Sierra Nevadas, Alps, and Andes. Every day on the trail is an adventure that engages me both physically and intellectually.

There has been a long and productive association between walking and thinking. Some scholars believe that relationship can even be traced to human evolution. The paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, for example, suggests that bipedalism freed the hands of protohumans for toolmaking and other advantages, and that the brain expanded exponentially to meet that opportunity. Walking and thinking are defining characteristics of what makes us human.

Moreover, walking is a miracle—a biomechanical marvel. Most of us take it for granted—it's "pedestrian." But it's a symphony of moving parts involving our highly developed nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems and both the balance and the strength to hold ourselves upright on two relatively small feet, all while moving one foot in front of the other for miles on end, over varied terrain, without falling, and doing so with little conscious thought.

The aesthetics of walking entered the popular imagination in the 1880s with the publication of Eadweard Muybridge's photographic "motion studies," which used a battery of linked cameras to record the act of walking. Geoff Nicholson writes in his book The Lost Art of Walking that for him, those "walking pictures reveal the magical nature of something we take so much for granted."

Whether or not walking contributed to the development of our brains, there's no question that it has stimulated our thinking. Aristotle walked as he thought and taught in the Lyceum of ancient Athens, founding the Peripatetic school ("peripatetic" meaning "one who walks"). Recent examples include the philosophers and writers of the Romantic movement in the 18th and 19th centuries. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau set the stage for Romanticism by questioning Western society's march toward increasing industrialization and urbanism. In his book On Foot: A History of Walking, Joseph Amato calls Rousseau "the father of Romantic pedestrianism." Rousseau's principal works, The Confessions and Reveries of a Solitary Walker, encouraged readers to return to nature and simplicity and were informed by his own long walks. "There is something about walking that stimulates and enlivens my thoughts," he wrote. "I can only meditate when I'm walking. ... When I stop I cease to think; my mind works only with my legs."

Other great walker-thinkers of the Romantic period include Words­worth, Thoreau, and John Muir. Wordsworth's colleague Samuel Coleridge estimated that Wordsworth walked 180,000 miles over his adult life. Wordsworth apparently had the ability to develop insights and compose poetry while he walked. Christopher Morley wrote, "I always think of him as one of the first to employ his legs as an instrument of philosophy." It's reputed that when a traveler asked to see Wordsworth's study at Dove Cottage, his home in the Lake District, his housekeeper replied, "Here is his library, but his study is out of doors."

Thoreau took up the Romantic mantle in America, walking throughout New England, especially around his home in Concord, Mass., and his retreat at Walden Pond. Eloquent (but often cranky), he advanced his transcendental philosophy, urging Americans to preserve remaining pockets of nature and to walk in the landscape to find manifestations of God and higher truths. In his essay "Walking," he wrote, "I think I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements." In his sometimes arrogant but endearing way, he claimed to "have met but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks—who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering."

John Muir carried the Romantic tradition westward, walking a thousand miles from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico as a young man, then hiking in the Sierra Nevada of California for much of his life. His walks offered him deep insights into our relationship with the natural world, and he used walking as a metaphor a year before he died, when he wrote that "I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out until sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."

The rich set of ideas associated with walking, along with the act of walking itself, has advanced an array of political causes. For example, the Romantic philosophy of Rousseau suggested an inherent value in the individual, which in turn offered a powerful argument against the tyranny of a wealthy minority. Those ideas helped inspire the Women's March on Versailles, in 1789, to protest the scarcity and price of bread—an important precursor to the French Revolution.

Other examples include Gandhi's 240-mile Salt March, in 1930, protesting British taxes; Martin Luther King Jr.'s 54-mile march, in 1965, from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., to protest unjust voting laws; and Cesar Chavez's 340-mile March for Justice, in 1966, to protest mistreatment of farm workers in California. It's no coincidence that the autobiographies of King and Nelson Mandela are titled Stride Toward Freedom and Long Walk to Freedom, respectively. Rebecca Solnit speaks to the power of walking in her book Wanderlust, where she writes that "walking becomes testifying."

One of the political causes closest to many walkers is conservation. It was the Romantics who sent legions of walkers out of their gardens into the wider, wilder landscape in search of beauty and solitude. Thus walking evolved into an activity in itself, not just a means to an end. Of course, that meant that walkers needed wild places to walk in. Walkers banded together in what have become powerful social forces for environmental protection, such as the Appalachian Mountain Club (founded in 1876) and the Sierra Club (founded in 1892).

Walking and conservation have a parallel track in cities as well as in wilderness. In fact, it's not uncommon to read about urban areas as wilderness of a different kind. Walking in cities also appeals to those with a sense of adventure. In Paris, it was the flâneur—literally a stroller—who, in the 19th century, became the archetypal bohemian, famously explored the city's nooks and crannies at leisure, and, in the words of Walter Benjamin, went "botanizing on the asphalt."

Charles Dickens may have been the ultimate urban walker, logging as many as 20 miles a day in his native London. Those rambles not only gave him welcome respite from his writing desk but also enlivened his work with the grim details of city life that made his novels famous. The literary critic Alfred Kazin's A Walker in the City (1951) is a classic portrait of the intellectual as a young man, making the literal and metaphorical journey from his working-class Jewish roots in Brooklyn to redefine himself in the wider world of Manhattan, standing in for an intellectual community.

Walking has a strong spiritual dimension as well, epitomized by the pilgrimage. Seekers have been walking for centuries for spiritual enlightenment. The oldest and largest pilgrimage is the hajj; all Muslims who are physically able and can afford to do so must travel to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lifetimes. More than a million pilgrims participate in the hajj every year. Some Muslims say ritual pilgrimages to Mecca originated in the time of Abraham.

Christians began making pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago, and other holy sites in medieval times. Such pilgrimages are experiencing a renaissance, and not just for Christians. Nor is walking meditation, in which the walker focuses "mindfully" on the experience of walking itself, just for Buddhists. There is even now a labyrinth movement; according to the Web site Veriditas, "Walking the labyrinth reduces stress, quiets the mind, grounds the body and opens the heart."

Walking is simple; it's analog in a digital world, as Nicholson writes. But it can also be profound. Walking celebrates our evolutionary heritage; it's a biomechanical and aesthetic triumph as well as a form of political expression. It stimulates art, deepens our understanding and appreciation of the natural and human worlds, and attunes us to our own spirituality. All while making us healthier and happier.

But above all, walking is a choice we must consciously make. In today's world it's easier, more convenient, to sit and ride. History suggests that long walks can lead to deep thoughts, but to be so enriched, we must "walk the talk."

—Robert E. Manning

Robert E. Manning is a professor at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources.

February 28th, 2013

Today, designated as Linus Pauling Day in Oregon by Governor Kitzhaber, we join our colleagues in celebrating the two-time laureate and OSU's most famous alumni. The public is invited to attend two campus events on Thursday, February 28: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) will offer a tour of the Pauling Papers from 11 am to noon on the 5th floor of the Valley Library, and a lunch and tour of the The Linus Pauling Institute begins at noon. For more details, read the coverage in The Oregonian and  Life@OSU.

Here at thHTLL covere Press, we're please to share three important Pauling books.

How to Life Longer and Feel Better, Pauling's classic prescription for healthy living, is one of OSUP's perennial bestsellers. In recent years, the book has been published in Czech and Chinese language editions.

Clifford Mead and Thomas Hager collaborated on Linus Pauling:Linus Pauling cover Scientist and Peacemakera "stunning tapestry of Pauling's life and work (Publishers Weekly)." The volume gathers photographs, drawings, and reproductions from the Ava and Linus Pauling Papers as well as words from Pauling and his contemporaries and students to paint a vivid portrait of a remarkable man. 

Mina CarsonAva Helen Pauling cover's long-awaited biography of the complex Ava Helen Pauling is an important addition to the literature on women's and family history as well as her famous spouse, Linus Pauling. Ava Helen Pauling: Partner, Activist, Visionary shares the fascinating history behind one of the great love stories of the twentieth century and the personal story of Ava Helen's own career as an activist first for civil rights and liberties, then against nuclear testing, and finally for peace, feminism, and environmental stewardship. Learn more about the book's development and watch Carson's Resident Scholar Lecture, "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Life of Ava Helen Pauling."

All three books are available for purchase online.

In addition, today the Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) announced the soft launch of a new documentary site in development: Linus Pauling and the Structure of Proteins.

To learn more about Linus Pauling, visit the Pauling Blog and Linus Pauling Online.

 

February 1st, 2013

We're pleased to share a preview of five more books coming this spring from OSU Press.

Land Snails coverLand Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest, the long-awaited, comprehensive guide to snails and slugs of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana, will finally be available to naturalists in need  of a definitive reference. Author Thomas E. Burke includes 280 full-color photographs by William P. Leonard, plus range maps, identification keys, and species accounts for most species.

With California Condors in the Pacific Northwest, Jesse D'Elia Condors coverand Susan M. Haig have created a vital reference documenting the iconic avian scavenger's history in the Pacific Northwest and exploring the challenges—and possibilities—of reintroduction. The book includes a foreword by leading condor researcher Noel Snyder and illustrations by Ram Papish.

Escaping coverIn his autobiography, Escaping into Nature: The Making of a Sportsman-Conservationist and Environmental Historian, wildlife conservationist and environmental historian John Reiger shares his story of finding a cause and a calling rooted in his love of angling and hunting. Reiger, who found solace in nature as a young boy in an abusive family setting, interrupted his career as an academic to serve as director of the Connecticut Audubon Society. His story illuminates an important aspect of the United States' history.

Philosopher Charles J. List examines whether hunting and List coverfishing—when understood and practiced in an ethical manner—lead to the development of environmental virtue in his new book, Hunting, Fishing, and Environmental Virtue: Reconnecting Sportsmanship and Conservation.

Holdfast coverAnd OSU Press is pleased to bring back into print Kathleen Dean Moore's classic collection of essays, Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World. Her new afterword to this edition makes an important statement about the new responsibilities of nature writers as the world faces the consequences of climate change. Join us for a celebration of the book on May 11, 2013, 7 pm, at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library's Community Meeting Room.

 

S13 Catalog cover

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