Top Strategies for Searching for Your Ancestor by Name–from

Check out this great blog post from about searching for name variations in digitized newspapers!

Posted in Uncategorized

New Content: The Turner Tribune

Please welcome The Turner Tribune to Historic Oregon Newspapers!

The City of Turner, Oregon, was incorporated in 1905 and by 1920 publisher Pearl P. Hassler had already established a newspaper for this new Marion County municipality. Each Thursday, The Turner Tribune brought four (or more!) pages of world, national, state, and local happenings to Turner’s nearly 300 residents.

The oldest issue of the Turner Tribune in Historic Oregon Newspaper’s database was published on August 18, 1921; the most recent issue is from July 30, 1931. That’s ten whole years of news captured in 456 issues of the Turner Tribune.

Many thanks to the organization, Yesterday in Turner, for sponsoring this digitization.


Posted in Uncategorized

Around the O article highlights new, diverse papers coming to Historic Oregon Newspapers website

An article highlighting ODNP work was recently published in AroundtheO. Thank you to Jason Stone in University Communications for the article titled:

New collection helps preserve the legacy of a civil rights trailblazer.

This article discusses the six new titles coming to ODNP, including the Advocate, a Portland-based, black-owned newspaper edited by the renowned civil rights activist, Beatrice Morrow Cannady. The Advocate is the first of the new titles available on the Historic Oregon Newspapers site— that’s nearly 3,000 pages of journalism from a leading African-American newspaper!

We are very grateful for the anonymous donation that is making the addition of these six new, diverse titles possible.


Posted in Uncategorized

Historic Oregon Newspapers advocate Bert Dunn focuses on Coquille’s history

Bert Dunn— Historic Oregon Newspapers advocate and history buff— describes his new book and his important fundraising work for digitization of Coquille newspapers.

Can you tell us a little about your project and yourself?
Working with my coauthors we have completed a photographic history book on Coquille, Oregon.  The book titled Coquille was published by Arcadia Publishing within their Images of America series. I am retired and living in Springfield but Coquille is my hometown.  My coauthors were Andie Jensen of Coos Bay and Yvonne-Cher Skye of Coquille.

What led you to Historic Oregon Newspapers?
I was always curious about Coquille history but become more interested after using the ODNP website to access historic newspapers for prior projects. These projects included completing an exhibit for the Springfield Museum and assisting another author on his book.

The ODNP website proved so useful that I began raising money to digitize historic Coquille newspapers. The results have been amazing; 35 years of newspapers have been completed and another 17 years are being funded. Vast amounts of new historical information are now easily accessible and searchable by the public.

How did you use Historic Oregon Newspapers online and which titles were useful to you?
The ODNP online historic newspapers were an extraordinary source of valuable information for our book.  I was able to search many papers simultaneously.  I found relevant information in many papers including the Coquille, Bandon, Roseburg, Coos Bay and Portland papers.

Where can we purchase/access your book?
The book is available through national retailers as well as numerous outlets in southwest Oregon including the Coquille Valley Museum.

What’s your next project?
I will continue to work on raising money to put Coquille newspapers online as they effectively support future research of many people including authors, teachers, students, genealogists and general history buffs.  I will also be an ongoing advocate and coach for new users of the ODNP website.


Blog post compiled and edited by Jes Sokolowski
Posted in Uncategorized

Author Rediscovers Portland’s History Through ODNP!

Dr. Tracy J. Prince shares how she takes advantage of the sources available on Historic Oregon Newspapers to uncover forgotten histories of Portland.

Can you tell us a little about your publication(s) and yourself?

I’m a Professor at Portland State University’s American Indian Teacher Program (in the College of Education) and the author of Portland’s Goose Hollow and Culture Wars in British Literature: Multiculturalism and National Identity and co-author of Notable Women of Portland and Portland’s Slabtown. Fellowships and teaching opportunities have taken me to Malta (as a Fulbright Senior Specialist), France, England, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Turkey, but Oregon has been my home since 2001.

What interested you in this topic?

All of my research has focused on what has been overlooked in previous histories and trying to uncover and tell those stories in my books. Growing up in the South, in poverty, in a family that had hidden most of its racial history—I’ve always had a lot of questions about race, gender, and social equity issues in history. In my three Oregon history books, I dove deep, trying to understand the lives of women, blue-collar immigrants, and people of color—stories that weren’t considered significant in earlier histories of Portland.

What resources did you use for your research?

The Historic Oregon Newspapers online was my most important source. I also researched at many archives, including: Oregon Historical Society, City of Portland Archives, Portland State University Archives, OSU and U of O Archives, State of Oregon Archives, Oregon Jewish Museum archives, Portland Art Museum, and many others.

What did you use in Historic Oregon Newspapers online? How did you use the site and which titles were useful to you?

I focused my search on Portland resources including: The West Shore, Oregon Daily Journal, Oregonian, Morning Oregonian, and Sunday Oregonian.

Historic Oregon Newspapers online was life-changing for my research! Back in the olden days, in 1997, when I received my Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, research had to be conducted in the library, holding a book, journal, or newspaper in my hand or scrolling through microfiche or microfilm. The miracle of Historic Oregon Newspapers online was being able to do key-word searches in historic newspapers to try to understand what was happening in Portland in the 1840s to 1910s. While writing most of my books, my children were small, so I did a lot of my research online, after I put my kids to bed. Using Historic Oregon Newspapers online, I read most mentions of the word “Indian” from the 1840s-1870s in Portland. I looked for mentions of Chinese vegetable gardens and black pioneers and women pioneers.

My three Portland history books could not have happened without the fantastic Oregon Digital Newspapers resource! Here are some of the discoveries I made in my digital newspapers research:

My Portland’s Goose Hollow book (2011, Arcadia), explores the history of Native American, Chinese, Irish, German, and Jewish residents of one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods and the now-buried Tanner Creek that carved out the gulch giving Goose Hollow its name.

Thanks to Historic Oregon Newspapers online, I was able to uncover lots of forgotten information about Tanner Creek and the Tanner Creek Gulch before the creek was buried; how the gulch was infilled and turned into sports fields for the Multnomah Athletic Club (now Providence Park-where Elvis once performed) and Lincoln High School; and the hundreds of Chinese gardeners living and working in Goose Hollow.

My two most surprising discoveries were finding digital newspaper articles about Native Americans living near the Chinese gardeners in the gulch and finding the original 1870s Oregonian article “A War About Geese” describing the incident where Goose Hollow first got its name after women fought over geese and assaulted a police officer who responded to the ruckus. This article has never been seen in any other Portland history book and took hundreds of hours of research to find. These Native American and Goose Hollow origin stories would’ve been impossible to find without the fantastic resource of Oregon’s digitized newspapers.

My Portland’s Slabtown book (2013, Arcadia, co-authored) covers northwest Portland (from the Willamette River to the Tualatin Mountains), much of which was once called Slabtown. Thanks to searching Historic Oregon Newspapers online, I was able to uncover a forgotten Native-American village in northwest Portland in the long-forgotten and infilled Johnson Creek Gulch. This was a stunning find, as I read an Oregonian interview with a pioneer who was reminiscing about a Native American village and sweat lodge near NW 19th and Overton. I just about fell over as I read the newspaper article online. Other digitized articles helped me uncover much more extensive Chinese vegetable gardens than previously known; stories of Chinese and Native people speaking Chinook Jargon (also called Chinook Wawa) to each other; stories of Native Americans returning annually to northwest Portland’s Wallace Park for seasonal trading encampments (until at least the 1930s); and many stories about the buried creeks, lakes, and gulches of northwest Portland. Most of this incredible history would remain unknown today if Oregon’s Digitized Newspaper project did not exist.

In my Notable Women of Portland book (2017, Arcadia, co-authored with Zadie Schaffer), my research uncovers the almost completely forgotten presence of Native Americans in Portland history and other complex ethnic and blue-collar stories that are often overlooked, with chapters on Native and pioneer women, Progressive Era women, women of WWI, WWII, and post-war, women in the arts and women in politics. Oregon’s Digitized Newspapers allowed me to:

-Uncover a more complex history of Native American women in early Portland than any other historian has covered (including the pervasive use of Chinook Jargon).

-Correct the record and find more information on Black pioneer Sydna Francis’s family. She wrote for Frederick Douglass’s newspaper and was prominent in New York abolitionist activism before moving to Portland in 1851. I found advertisements for the store on Front Street that she and her husband ran. Oregon histories refer to her brother-in-law (a Portland merchant) by the incorrect name of O.B. Francis. Digitized newspapers allowed me to find an 1852 Oregonian ad from his store to prove that his name was I.B. Francis.

-Find photos of Oregon women in WWI and WWII, including newspaper articles about women heading off to join the Yeomanettes or to be a Red Cross nurse at the Presidio.

-Learn more about women working in Portland’s shipbuilding industry

-Find a previously unknown illustration of the Oregon Camera Club where Lily White and Sarah Ladd were prominent members.

-Find an image and biography of Capt. Minnie Hill, the only woman riverboat captain west of the Mississippi.

-Find an article where Tolstoi praised the metaphysical writings of Lucy Mallory.

Where can we purchase/access your work?

The books are available at Powells, most Portland bookstores, many libraries, Amazon, etc.

What’s your next project?

I’m constantly researching for these future books. For all but the last one, I’m again relying heavily on Historic Oregon Newspapers online:

-Native American Art of Oregon

-The Forgotten Native American History of Portland

-Chinese Vegetable Gardens of the West Coast

-Might Oughta Keep Singin’ (about race and music in the American South told through four generations in Arkansas).

Meeting a kindred soul:

At every talk I give around the state, I mention how grateful I am to have the Historic Oregon Newspapers online resource, how it has allowed me to uncover a much more multicultural history than is ever taught in histories of Portland, and how researching online allowed me to research at home when I had two small children and couldn’t’ve spent hours at the library. I also tell people what a wonderful resource this is for ancestry research. After one of my talks, a woman came toward me with a big smile and told me that she couldn’t believe she was in the audience as I told this story, since she and her late husband David Arlington were some of the early donors to the effort to digitize Oregon’s newspapers. I was so excited to shake Andrea Arlington’s hand and thank her, to tell her how much their contributions meant to my research, to tell her how my research on Oregon’s multicultural history is now being used in many public schools, to tell her how life-changing this resource has been to my work! What a wonderful gift to give generations of researchers, to help tell the complex histories of Oregon that earlier historians didn’t think to focus on. I encourage folks to dig in and see what you can uncover.


Posted in Uncategorized

1 million pages online!

Happy New Year from the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program!

As of today, January 11, 2019, the ODNP website has surpassed 1 million pages online! Only a handful of statewide newspaper digitization and preservation programs have over 1 million pages and we are happy to be in their ranks.

2018 has been an exciting year for the Program. We accomplished the following:

… and more!

As always, thanks to all of our newspaper digitization enthusiasts for supporting the Program. Without outreach and advocacy, we would not know about all of the users and interesting research that is done with the website!

Most importantly, thanks to the past and present ODNP team who do all of the work to digitize and preserve the newspapers, and keep the website up and running.

2019 is looking exciting. Please reach out if you want to get involved and add your local newspaper title to the website.

Image from

Posted in Uncategorized

More Heppner Gazette-Times!

Heppner Gazette-Times titleThanks to the generosity of the Morrow County Heritage and Agricultural Museums, our website has new content for the Heppner Gazette-Times! Issues from 1987 to 2014 were recently added to our preexisting online collection of issues for this title. Since this addition coincides with the Halloween season, check out how the local community of the Heppner area has celebrated Halloween over the years.

Throughout the years the small town of Heppner has celebrated Halloween in a variety of ways. Scarecrow making contests have been enjoyed by the residents of Heppner along with hunting for the homes of scarecrows.

Clipping about scarecrow contest.

Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) October 25, 2000, page 1.

Take a look at the “spooktacular” carnival hosted by Heppner Elementary School almost twenty years ago!

Clipping about a haunted carnival event

Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) October 27, 1999, page 1.

Along with scarecrows, carnivals, and pumpkin carving, Heppner also participated in other fun Halloween activities, such as guessing the weight of a gigantic pumpkin to win it. There was also a “Guess the Ghoul!” contest where pictures of employees from local businesses dressed up in costumes were displayed in the paper for the townspeople to guess which “ghoul” belonged to which business in order to be entered to win a gift certificate.

Clipping about ghoul guessing contest

Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) October 29, 1997, page 1.

The town of Heppner has been creative when it comes to decorating and dressing up for Halloween. To get a glimpse of even more spooky delights from Heppner, browse through other issues of the Heppner Gazette-Times found on our website. Thanks to optical character recognition, this title along with all other titles located on our website, can easily be browsed or searched using keywords. In addition to this, all of our content can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG and saved for future reference or research.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in New Content

Unearthing Submarine Cables in Oregon’s History

Hayley G. Brazier shares with us how she’s been using Historic Oregon Newspapers in her dissertation research!

Hayley G. Brazier

Hayley G. Brazier

Can you tell us a little about your project and yourself?

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Oregon. My primary research field is environmental history, which means I study the history of human exchanges with the environment in past times. We understand that all human history has an environmental context. I came to this field with a long-standing obsession with American history coupled with an environmentalist’s passion. For my dissertation, I am focusing on marine environmental history, in particular, how the development of deep-sea infrastructure has influenced larger stories of politics, diplomacy, and capitalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to my research, I currently work as the program coordinator for the Digital Humanities @ UO (, so incorporating digital research from Historic Oregon Newspapers into my dissertation is a nice marriage of both of my interests.


What led you to Historic Oregon Newspapers?

I am using Historic Oregon Newspapers to find any mention of the installation of submarine cables both in the Atlantic and the Pacific in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In those results, I am first looking for articles that provide historical data on which companies landed those cables, on which dates, and in which locations. Once I have collected that data, those names and dates can guide me to additional archival collections. Searching historic newspapers can be a great method for getting a sense of a historical topic and an important stepping stone for further archival research. I am also using Historic Oregon Newspapers to gauge how Oregonians, and Americans in general, felt about the deep sea and submarine technologies; were they discussing it? Was it part of a common imagination, like outer space came to be in the mid-twentieth century? So, Historic Oregon Newspapers is helping me gauge a regional interest in a larger American trend.


How do you perform research on Historic Oregon Newspapers?

Historic Oregon Newspapers is definitely one of the better databases I have used. Other digital newspaper collections can be difficult to access, particularly if you live in a different state and they require a library card. Also, many databases charge expensive subscription fees, and that’s a real difficulty for graduate students like myself who are usually low on funds. So, I really appreciate that there are no obstacles to begin researching on Historic Oregon Newspapers. I can see accurate search results within seconds of arriving to the site without logging in, submitting advanced search criteria, or choosing between various catalogues or collections.

Because Historic Oregon Newspapers encompasses articles from a broad date range (1846-2017), the database results can reveal interesting trends. For example, if I search “submarine cable” and get a ton of articles from the 1910-1930s, but almost no articles for the 1880s-1900s, then those result could indicate that submarine cables were finally becoming a household topic in Oregon by the 1910s-1930s, even if the first submarine cables were created in the previous century.

On Historic Oregon Newspapers, there is a keyword search function that very helpfully populates a list of pertinent articles and then highlights that word in red within the article (my goodness, what time saver!). From that list, I can choose the newspaper article that has the most highlighted keywords, which helps me narrow in on an article that will be most relevant to my research.  I have found this keyword highlight function to be good at catching words even when the original document’s text has faded with age. Another helpful feature the database provides is the option to save articles as a PDF, which I use often. I can save the PDF directly to my primary source folders in Zotero. This PDF functions eliminates the needs to take screen shots of the article.

Posted in Featured Users

Recently Added: Polk County Observer!

Polk County Observer title

Thanks to the generosity of the Dallas Public Library we have been able to add more issues from the Polk County Observer to our digitized collection! This new content ranges from April 7, 1888, when the Polk County Observer printed its very first paper for distribution to the general population, to February 15, 1889. The addition of this new content completes our collection of newspapers for this title.

Polk County Observer clipping

Polk County Observer (Dallas and Monmouth, Oregon) April 7, 1888, page 1.

Polk County Observer clipping

Polk County Observer (Dallas and Monmouth, Oregon) April 7, 1888, page 1.

Polk County observer (Dallas and Monmouth, Or.) April 7, 1888, page 1.

Polk County observer (Dallas and Monmouth, Or.) April 7, 1888, page 3.

The Polk County Observer served all of Polk County and its main recipients resided in Monmouth, Dallas and Independence, Oregon. However, the newspaper covered international, national, statewide, and local news.

International news covered by the Polk County Observer varied greatly. From an interesting law in Russia outlawing the use of exclamation points in newspapers, to news about beet sugar factories in Europe!

National news covered by this newspaper was just as interesting. As evidenced in the snippet from the newspaper located to the left, which reports of a one pound, one year old baby living healthily in Minnesota. A child of such size living for so long during this time period is remarkable!

Statewide news captured by the Polk County Observer was just as fascinating. For example, there is a report of a man from Douglas County, Oregon who killed an eagle with a seven foot span! Located just a few lines down is an announcement that patents for a car heater and for an apparatus to heat cars were awarded to two Oregonian men.

Finally, the local news reported by the Polk County Observer highlighted what life was like in the area, as well as any excitement that happened in the community, such as a runaway train.

To learn more about Polk County and see more from Polk County Observer, please feel free to browse other issues from this title found on our website. Thanks to optical character recognition, this title along with all other titles located on our website, can easily be browsed or searched using keywords. In addition to this, all of our content can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG and saved for future reference or research.

Posted in New Content

Women’s and Gender History in Oregon Newspapers

Today’s project highlight is on Kimberly Jensen and her research focus on women and gender in the early 20th century.

Kimberly Jensen in front of a bookcase

Kimberly Jensen

Can you tell us a little about your project and yourself?

I am Professor of History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University in Monmouth. My research focuses particularly on women and gender in the early 20th century United States, including Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War (2008) and Oregon’s Doctor to the World: Esther Pohl Lovejoy and a Life in Activism (2012). My current research investigates Oregon women, citizenship, civil liberties, and the surveillance state from 1913-1924. My work would not be possible without historic newspapers because those newspapers carried information about women’s activities and ideas not available in archival collections or other sources. Historic newspapers are research tools for my students examining the history of woman suffrage in Oregon with our community partner the Oregon Women’s History Consortium. I particularly want to thank my colleagues Jan Dilg and Linda Long, who serve with me on the OWHC board, for their support for the students and this project.


What interested you in this topic?

Anniversaries draw public attention and interest to historical events and processes. Oregon women achieved the right to vote in 1912. I was lucky enough to be part of a great group of scholars and activists who participated in Century of Action: Oregon Women Vote 1912-2012, a project of the Oregon Women’s History Consortium. Woman suffrage in Oregon is a topic I researched for my study of activist Esther Lovejoy, and my students at Western conducted additional research to create documents projects for the Century of Action website. The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which placed votes for women in the federal Constitution, will be August 26, 2020. Students at Western are again researching historic Oregon newspapers to provide materials for an online exhibit on the OWHC website related to Oregon2020.

What did you use in Historic Oregon Newspapers online? How did you use the site and which titles were useful to you?

In winter term 2018, students in my honors seminar at Western conducted research with Historic Oregon Newspapers online to examine what diverse Oregon women were doing in the period around 1920. They also investigated ideas about women, gender, and citizenship expressed by newspaper editors, editorial cartoonists, and reporters. They were able to narrow their searches to 1920 to hone in on specific events relating to the ratification. They also used the keyword search to examine articles relating to a particular activist or organization. Some students wished to search a particular city paper for events relating to that community. The student documents projects in the online exhibit feature context and analysis with the newspaper articles and editorials embedded for readers to examine. This introduces the public to the importance of historic newspapers in a direct, visual way. Students shared their research at a public event at the State Capitol on March 20, 2018. Western’s videographer Deborah Rezell interviewed them about the experience and featured highlights of the evening in a brief video.


What’s your next project?

This upcoming academic year 2018-2019, I will be working with students on two more elements of this online exhibit with the Oregon Women’s History Consortium. One group will research Oregon’s ratification of the 19th Amendment in the special state legislative session in January 1920. The other group will investigate Oregon suffragists who picketed the White House in 1919 and 1920 and were arrested for their activism.

Posted in Featured Users
Skip to toolbar