We can’t let March and Women's History Month pass without highlighting some remarkable books that unveil and celebrate women’s experiences in the West.
In her 2011 WILLA Award winning memoir, To the Woods, Evelyn Searle Hess describes the challenges and lessons of building a new life in the wild foothills of Oregon’s coast range. An elegant tour of the natural history of place through the seasons, To the Woods is also an exploration of sustainable living and the joys of simplicity.
Peace at Heart, an Oregon Book Award finalist, also celebrates the everyday gifts of rural life in Oregon. In it, poet and teacher Barbara Drake reflects on ten years spent birthing lambs, raising geese, and making wine on a farm in Yamhill Valley.
Ana Maria Spagna delves into the nature of community in her newest collection of essays, Potluck. Her earlier collection, Now Go Home, takes the reader on her journey from her childhood home in California to a new chosen home in the Pacific Northwest's North Cascades.
Louise Wagenknecht describes life in a remote logging town as a teenager in the 1960s in her new memoir, Light on the Devils. She shares her unique perspective as a longtime Forest Service employee and “takes an unflinching view backward at the complicity of well-meaning government in the excesses of industrial forestry,” notes author Robin Cody.
In another childhood memoir, Child of Steens Mountain, Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker paints, with her collaborator Barbara J. Scot, a vivid portrait of her girlhood in eastern Oregon.
The stories of three prominent Northwest women—Betty Roberts, Avel Louise Gordly, and Barbara Roberts—are preserved thanks to the Women and Politics in the Northwest series, edited by Portland State University's Melody Rose.
You'll find additional materials about Oregon women online at the Oregon Historical Society. Check out the display and Flickr set at the Oregon Multicultural Archives, which features Erlinda V. Gonzalez-Berry and Deanna Kingston, along with other amazing women from OSU.