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. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088088/1888-04-07/ed-1/seq-1/

Polk County Observer clipping

Polk County Observer (Dallas and Monmouth, Oregon) April 7, 1888, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088088/1888-04-07/ed-1/seq-1/

Polk County observer (Dallas and Monmouth, Or.) April 7, 1888, page 1.
https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088088/1888-04-07/ed-1/seq-1/

Polk County observer (Dallas and Monmouth, Or.) April 7, 1888, page 3.
https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088088/1888-04-07/ed-1/seq-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

New Title from Falls City!

Falls City News masthead

Falls City news. (Falls City, Or.) April 22, 1911, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088056/1911-04-22/ed-1/seq-1/

Thanks to the generosity of the Dallas Public Library, new content is now available! The Falls City News has been digitized and is currently available on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website.

The new content for the Falls City News spans from August 4, 1909 to June 27, 1918. According to the United States Decennial Census, during this time period the population of the town was just under 1000 people. Small glimpses of small town life in Falls City, Oregon can be seen throughout this newspaper. For example, check out these snippets from the newspaper found below:

Clipping from Falls City News

Falls City news. (Falls City, Or.) January 10, 1914, page 3. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088056/1914-01-10/ed-1/seq-3/

Clipping from Falls City News

Falls City news. (Falls City, Or.) January 10, 1914, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088056/1914-01-10/ed-1/seq-4/

To learn more about Falls City and see more from Falls City News, 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. Take advantage of these free public services offered by the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program!

Clipping from Falls City News

Falls City news. (Falls City, Or.) February 12, 1916, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088056/1916-02-12/ed-1/seq-4/

References:

“Census of Population and Housing” United State Census Bureau. The United States Government, https://www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html#y1920. Accessed 20 Aug. 2018.

Posted in New Content

Many New Titles from Deschutes County!

The Deschutes Echo title

The Deschutes echo. (Bend, Or.) August 30, 1902, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088231/1902-08-30/ed-1/seq-1/

The Deschutes echo. (Bend, Or.) September 12, 1903, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088231/1903-09-12/ed-1/seq-1/

We were recently able to digitize and add more newspapers from Deschutes County, Oregon! Thanks to the generosity of the Deschutes County Historical Society, we’ve added issues from The Deschutes Echo, La Pine Inter-Mountain, Laidlaw Chronicle, and Redmond Spokesman. The Deschutes Public Library has also provided support, allowing us to also digitize issues of the Abbot Engineer. Check out this recent article in the Bend Bulletin for more behind-the-scenes details about how this project came to be. Of all the issues added, The Deschutes Echo covers the earliest period going back to 1902, while the Abbot Engineer covers the latest period from 1943 to 1944.

 

The Deschutes Echo technically predates Deschutes County, as it was published in the town of Deschutes, a part of Crook County at that time. It had a relatively short run, starting in June of 1902 and going until 1904, at which point it merged with the Bend Bulletin. Before this consolidation, though, there was a little bit of a rivalry between the two newspapers, with The Deschutes Echo on at least one occasion accusing the Bend Bulletin of misleading its readers.

Laidlaw Chronicle title

Laidlaw chronicle (Laidlaw, Crook County, Or.) November 17, 1905, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071143/1905-11-17/ed-1/seq-1/

Clipping from Laidlaw Chronicle

Laidlaw chronicle. (Laidlaw, Crook County, Or.) November 17, 1905, page 2. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071143/1905-11-17/ed-1/seq-2/

In 1905, not long after those two newspapers merged, the Laidlaw Chronicle was founded in the nearby town of Laidlaw, later known as Tumalo. This weekly paper was edited and published by A.P. Donohue, who anticipated that Laidlaw would be a growing town. Unfortunately, Bend would be the one to reap the benefit of a nearby railroad in helping it grow. Eventually, publication of the paper was stopped in 1911, though our coverage only goes to 1908.

Around this time in 1911, E.N. Hurd created the La Pine Inter-Mountain. At the time, La Pine was a town of only 40 people, but this modest newspaper still manage to reach a circulation of over 600 by being, as its tagline said, “the only newspaper within an area of a thousand square miles.” It balanced news from the surrounding areas with tidbits about locals in La Pine and neighboring towns. If you wanted to know what was going on with your neighbor down the road, this was like reading a version of today’s Facebook news feed back then. This kept the paper running until 1934.

Local Happenings column

La Pine inter-mountain. (La Pine, Or.) April 28, 1921, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2012260095/1921-04-28/ed-1/seq-1/

Redmond Spokesman fire

The Redmond spokesman. (Redmond, Or.) February 29, 1912, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2012260095/1921-04-28/ed-1/seq-1/

Of this batch of newspapers, the Redmond Spokesman is the only one still in publication today. It was started in 1910, and the issues made available here go through 1914. During this time, the paper had two in-town competitors: Oregon Hub and the Redmond Enterprise. The Spokesman soon bought both of them out in 1914, allowing it to continue to grow into the newspaper it is today. However, it almost never made it past 1912 due to a fire that took out their publishing plant. Thanks to help from the Oregon Hub and the Bend Bulletin, though, they were able to release a special “Fire Edition” and continue printing until their new equipment came in.

The final paper in this batch is the Abbot Engineer, which is unique in that it was the newspaper for the combat engineers training at Camp Abbot, located in what is Sunriver today. The Engineer offers great insight into the lives of G.I.s in the camp and is a great resource for those researching World War II. The paper’s run ended with the close of the camp and the move of the forces to Fort Lewis.

Free Dance Tonight! news clipping

Abbot engineer. (Camp Abbot, Or.) May 28, 1943, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088227/1943-05-28/ed-1/seq-1/

Swimming hole news clipping

Abbot engineer. (Camp Abbot, Or.) June 17, 1944, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088227/1943-05-28/ed-1/seq-1/

 

To find out about other aspects of life in central Oregon in the early 1900s, browse through issues of each of these newspapers on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website. Each issue of The Deschutes Echo, Laidlaw Chronicle, La Pine Inter-Mountain, Redmond Spokesman, and Abbot Engineer can be browsed and searched by keyword, thanks to optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

References:

George S. Turbull. History of Oregon Newspapers. Binfords & Mort Publishers, Portland, Oregon. 1939.

Posted in New Content

Con-man Edgar Laplante’s Oregon connections discovered in new publication

King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age’s Greatest Impostor will be released on August 7th! Read more about the Oregon connections author Paul Willetts discovered while researching below:

Copyright Doralba Picerno.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

I’m a U.K.-based writer of nonfiction, most of which has focused on true stories set against a twentieth-century London backdrop. Probably the best-known of these in my home country was a book called Members Only, which has adapted into The Look of Love, a lavish and quite stylish movie starring Steve Coogan.

My books are often described as “novelistic.” Without embellishing the verifiable facts of a story, I try to shape my research into a dramatic narrative that conveys a strong sense of place, character, and period. I suppose I’m instinctively drawn to tragi-comic stories, to stories that give us an insight into the wider society in which they took place. That’s certainly true of my latest book, King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age’s Greatest Impostor—which is the first of my books to be published in the U.S.A. Spanning the period between 1917 and 1929, it’s about Edgar Laplante, a handsome and extraordinarily charismatic Rhode Island-born vaudeville singer and con-man, who was a bit like a cross between Jay Gatsby and Tom Ripley (with a dash of David Bowie’s blurred sexuality and shapeshifting theatricality).

In search of attention and acclaim, Laplante reinvents himself as Chief White Elk, leader of the Cherokee nation. He ends up traveling to Europe to meet the British king. While he’s there, he captivates a pair of fabulously rich Austrian countesses who bankroll his “royal tour” of fascist Italy, where he becomes a darling of Mussolini’s regime, routinely greeted by thousands of adoring fans.

But this isn’t a straightforward con-trick story. Over just a few months, Laplante gives away his ill-gotten-gains—equivalent to as much as $58 million in 2018 currency!

What interested you in this topic?

Absolutely everything—the period; the intriguing and very strange personality of the man at the center of it; the various settings, which range from First World War-era America to 1920s Paris and the French Riviera. Immediately I came across the Edgar Laplante saga, I knew I had the ingredients of a book that’d generate a good advance from a U.S. publisher and that would, more to the point, be fun to research and write. Edgar Laplante’s often absurd antics certainly kept me entertained.

At that time I was keen to find a specifically American story and use that as a means to switch to a U.S. publisher, partly because your country has a stronger tradition of novelistic nonfiction, and partly because I love American books. Not just the contents, but the way they’re designed and produced. To me, they always feel far superior to their British counterparts.

One of the lovely things about writing nonfiction is that you learn so much when you’re working on it. As with my previous books, I’ve gone to great lengths to comprehend the world within which my protagonist pulled his various cons. Understanding the nature of communications between cities at that time was key to understanding how an impostor like him could keep conning people and then just moving on to another city.

What resources did you use for your research?

I drew on a vast amount of material that generated about half-a-million words of notes. The central thread of the story relied upon old files from Scotland Yard and the Bureau of Investigation (the precursor of the F.B.I.); letters held at Washington State University; a smattering of obscure memoirs; along with a staggering number of newspaper and magazine stories published in America, Canada, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the U.K. I was pleasantly surprised at how these enabled me to put together such a detailed portrait of the life of someone so transient.

For my depiction of the countless places through which Laplante moved, I used vintage travel guides, newspapers, photo archives, architectural floorplans, and the work of recent historians. I have, of course, done my best to synthesize this into a book that aspires to be as readable and entertaining as possible. Whether I’ve succeeded, though, isn’t for me to say…

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

I mainly used your digital newspaper collection, which features eight stories about Laplante, a.k.a. Chief White Elk. These appeared in publications such as The Morning Oregonian between 1918 and 1920 when he made two forays into Oregon with his first wife—a genuine Native American, who is herself a fascinating character. Born Burtha Thompson, she was a bright and beautiful proto-feminist who styled herself Princess Ah-Tra-Au-Saun. That’s a name familiar to people who are interested in the pioneers of American photography, because she repeatedly modelled for the great portraitist, Emma Belle Freeman. But I digress…

Getting back to your original questions, your digital archive renders the research process much, much easier than it used to be. Paradoxically, this sort of digital technology makes it possible for writers like me to evoke the pre-digital world. For instance, I routinely use word-searches in order to obtain information about such things as weather, specific streets, and sartorial fashions. The only trouble is, such textural detail tend to lead misguided readers to assume I’m fictionalising the past.

Where can we purchase/access your book?

It’ll be available through Barnes & Noble and independent bookshops, as well as websites such as Amazon and Indiebound.

What’s your next project? I’ve just put together a proposal for a new book, though I haven’t yet shown it to either my U.S. or British agents. It’s for what could be described as a nonfiction thriller—a label that is, I know, frequently applied to books that are less than thrilling. Well, I hope this’ll buck the trend. Like King Con, it focuses on a bizarre and dramatic story that hasn’t, astonishingly, generated masses of previous books.

For more information about Paul and his work, visit www.paulwilletts.com.

 

Posted in Featured Users

Historic Murder Inspires New Novel

John Riha, Ashland-based author, discusses the historically-rooted inspiration for his latest novel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you tell us about your book?

The Bounty Huntress is an historical novel set in southern Oregon in the early part of the 20th century. It tells the fictionalized story of Iris Greenlee, Oregon’s first female bounty hunter. Iris is a young farm girl from the Applegate Valley whose father—a game warden in Jackson County—is murdered when she is very young. She grows up tough and rough-hewn, and learns many practical survival skills, including hunting deer in the nearby mountains. When she and her small family—her widowed mother and autistic brother—are nearly overwhelmed with setbacks, indignities, and the threat of the loss of the family farm, Iris is determined to make money by using her backwoods knowledge: She’ll hunt wanted criminals for money.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a longtime media executive from the Midwest with a professional history that includes writing and editing for many national publications. I was the Executive Editor of Better Homes and Gardens and the Editorial Director for Meredith Corporation’s Special Interest Media, a group of more than 120 magazines and seven websites. After raising our two boys in Iowa, my wife and I decided to move back to the West, to Ashland, where we had met in 1984. I now freelance write and edit for national magazines and websites, and I’m slowly turning my career toward writing books, especially historical fiction and humor.

What interested you in this topic?

The part of the story about the murdered game warden is true. I ran across one of those “100 Years Ago Today” articles in the Medford Mail Tribune about the crime, and I became intrigued. I was especially interested in the fact that the murderer was acquitted in a raucous trial, even though there was a reliable eyewitness to the crime. Also of interest was the fact that the warden had two small children at the time of his death—a four-year-old girl and two-year-old boy. Add to that the fact that the accused murderer himself was murdered 16 years later in an unsolved crime. I began to wonder, “What if those kids grew up and took their revenge?” That classic revenge theme was the genesis for the novel. The part about Iris Greenlee becoming a bounty huntress is fiction.

What resources did you use for your research?

The archives available through Historic Oregon Newspapers online were invaluable. In researching the murder, I was able to follow the crime from the shooting all the way through the trial in great detail. Many small observations and nuances noted in the historical articles were a great help in adding color and authenticity to the novel. I was able to corroborate facts in other local newspaper accounts and the Oregonian. Other period articles and even advertisements were extremely valuable in setting the tone and creating language appropriate to the period. I also spent many hours at the Southern Oregon Historical Society Library in Medford, researching details such as the construction and floor plans of the county jail and courthouse in Jacksonville, and viewing historic photos depicting the towns and rural locations of Jackson County.

Where can we purchase/access your book?

The Bounty Huntress is available through Amazon and any book store can order copies. Locally, it’s at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, rebel heart books in Jacksonville, and Reader’s Guide Books in Salem.

What’s your next project?

Travelling along the coast last year we stopped at the Coast Guard Lifeboat Station in Port Orford. Although it’s decommissioned now, they had an extremely treacherous and dramatic launch point for rescue operations in the 1930s. That definitely got me thinking, so we’ll see if that manifests into another book.

 

Posted in Featured Users

New content from Cascade Locks, OR!

Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle. (Cascade Locks, OR.) March 10, 1939, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071114/1939-03-10/ed-1/

The Historic Oregon Newspaper Program (ODNP) has recently been able to add exciting new content from Cascade Locks, Oregon. Now available online, issues from March 3, 1939 to September 1, 1939 of the Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle are ready for your viewing pleasure! Covering the period directly after the construction of the Bonneville Dam, this newly added content is a great addition to our already digitized issues of The Dam Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle, earlier papers published in Cascade Locks. This project was made possible by sponsorship from the Hood River Library.

More than just a wonderful addition to our previously digitized issues of the Bonneville Dam Chronicle, the Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle is actually continuation of that paper under a new name! An article published on March 3, 1939 explains that because the construction of the Bonneville Dam had reached its completion, the paper saw it fit to change its name to the Cascade Locks Chronicle, the town in which it was published.

Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle. (Cascade Locks, OR.) March 3, 1939, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071114/1939-03-03/ed-1/seq-1/

The addition of the Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Dam Chronicle to our digitized newspapers works as a bookend for our collection of digitized papers on the construction of the Bonneville Dam in Cascade Locks, OR. The construction of the Bonneville Dam was a momentous and important moment in Oregon’s history. When its construction finished in the 1930’s, it was the largest dam of its kind in the United States! Anyone looking to do further research on the Bonneville Dam can find a wealth of information and primary source material on the Oregon Historic Newspapers website. As of now, we have three different papers published about the Bonneville Dam digitized online. These papers are the Dam Chronicle (1934), the Bonneville Dam Chronicle (1934-1939), and the newly added Cascade Locks Chronicle and The Bonneville Chronicle (1939).

Doing research through ODNP is easy thanks to optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which allows our issues to be keyword searchable! In addition, these historic Cascade Locks’ titles, as well as all of our digitized newspapers, can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes. All these services are at absolutely no cost to visitors of Historic Oregon Newspapers so don’t wait, and take a look at Oregon’s historic newspapers today!

Posted in New Content

New content from West Linn, Oregon!

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program is excited to announce the addition of our first content from West Linn, Oregon! The Amplifier, now available for browsing on our website, was the school newspaper at West Linn High School. Able to claim an impressive publication record of nearly 100 years, The Amplifier has been up and running since 1921! Our added issues cover a date range from April 29, 1983 to April 1, 2011, and provide an inside look at the Oregon high school experience! This project was made possible by the generosity of the West Linn Historical Society.

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) April 29, 1989, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/1983-04-29/ed-1/seq-1/

Flipping through the digitized pages of The Amplifier, different facets of high school life fill the pages. These memories, perhaps some of which we never thought we would have to think of again (school lunch, the SAT and ACT, school dances, etc.), are presented with an authenticity only a student currently experiencing these events could provide.

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) April 29, 1983, page two. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/1983-04-29/ed-1/seq-2/

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) March 1, 2009, page four. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/2009-03-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Many of the titles the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program has available offer an incredible glimpse of life and nostalgia for the generations alive during their publication. The newly added Amplifier provides a unique opportunity for younger generations to look back on nostalgic events from their own adolescence.

The Amplifier. (West Linn, OR.) December 1, 2008, page six. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2017260114/2008-12-01/ed-1/seq-6/

If you want to learn more about what high school was like in West Linn, Oregon, or look back on your own high school experience, take a look at the digitized issues of The Amplifier on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website! Doing research through ODNP is easy thanks to optical character recognition (OCR), which allows all of our newspapers to be keyword searchable. In addition, The Amplifier, as well as all of our digitized titles, can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes. All of these services are free and fully available to the public, so don’t hesitate and take a look at Oregon’s historic newspapers today!

Posted in New Content

Five New Titles from Stayton, Oregon!

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program has recently been able to add five new historic newspapers to our website, all coming from Stayton, Oregon! Issues from The Stayton Sun, The Stayton Times, Stayton Siftings, Stayton Standard, and the Stayton Mail are now available online. This exciting new addition to our digitized titles provides a comprehensive look at Stayton, covering a time period from December 19, 1889 to May 25, 1916. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our donors, who make projects like this possible. This project was funded by grants from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the Pacific Power Foundation, Marion Cultural Development Corporation, and the City of Stayton Community Fund.

The Stayton Times. (Stayton, OR.) July, 21, 1893, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063613/1893-07-21/ed-1/seq-1/

The Stayton Times was established in 1890 and was the first newspaper in town. It was originally run by Walter Lyon, who had at one point been secretary to Governor Geer. Three years later, the paper was bought by Horace Mann, who when in February of 1896 refused to sell the paper to E. F. Bennet, the Stayton Mail was born.

Stayton Mail. (Stayton, OR.) December 17, 1896, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063609/1896-12-17/ed-1/seq-1/

 

Stayton Sun. (Stayton, OR.) December 19, 1889, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063612/1889-12-19/ed-1/seq-1/

E. F. Bennett began the Stayton Mail in 1896 after he was unable to take ownership of the Stayton Times. Along with his son, H. E. Bennett, he increased the size of the paper to eight pages and eventually sold it to H. E. Brown in 1900. Around this time a new paper, The Stayton Sun, was started by T. H. McGill. After operating as publisher for only a year, H. E. Brown sold the Stayton Mail to E. D. Alexander in 1901. Later, Alexander would start a new paper, the Stayton Standard, which would eventually consolidate with the Mail. During this period another paper was born, the Stayton Siftings, run by John Alden Seabury with the motto “Truth and Facts.”

Stayton Standard. (Stayton, OR.) March 29, 1916, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063610/1916-03-29/ed-1/seq-1/

 

Stayton Siftings. (Stayton, OR.) July 2, 1910, page one. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063611/

These newly added Stayton titles provide an example of the quick turnover time characteristic of Oregon’s historic newspapers. To find out about other aspects of life in Stayton from the turn of the century to WW1, take a look at these newspapers on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website. Each issue of The Stayton Sun, The Stayton Times, Stayton Siftings, Stayton Standard, and the Stayton Mail can be browsed and searched by keyword, thanks to optical character recognition (OCR) technology. In addition, these historic Stayton, Oregon newspapers can be downloaded as a PDF or JPEG file and saved for future reference or research purposes at absolutely no cost to visitors to Historic Oregon Newspapers. So don’t wait, and take a look at Oregon’s historic newspapers today!

This blog post was written in reference to:

George S. Turbull. History of Oregon Newspapers. Binfords & Mort Publishers, Portland, Oregon. 1939.

Posted in New Content

Tracing the History of Oregon Movie Theaters

Today’s guest blog post comes from Elizabeth Peterson, M.A., M.L.I.S., Humanities Librarian and Curator of Moving Images here at UO Libraries:

When the Oregon Digital Newspaper Project launched several years ago, I immediately saw its potential for researching local movie history. I am the subject specialist librarian for cinema studies, and I recently completed a second master’s degree in film studies. As part of my degree program, I did an independent study project on movie theaters in Eugene and Springfield during the nickelodeon era (1905-1919), which I turned into a website and an article in Oregon Historical Quarterly. My research could have been done using the microfilm of the local newspapers, but I definitely couldn’t have made anywhere near as much progress in a 10-week term as I did using the digitized newspapers. The ability to do keyword searching across multiple years of issues also allows for detecting larger patterns and trends over time, something that is much more time-consuming and labor-intensive with analog materials.

This nickelodeon period is named for the type of theaters that were common in the early days of commercial cinema, which were often small, storefront venues with fewer than 200 seats. Admission was often five cents, thus the name “nickelodeon.” Much of the scholarly research about this period of film history has been about large urban areas such as New York City, so many of our assumptions about theaters, audiences, and the experience of movie-going have come from this research. Although more research has started to focus on rural areas and small towns, very little has been written about Oregon, and nothing about towns outside of Portland. I wanted to see how these issues played out in two small neighboring cities in Oregon. How would local film histories align and diverge from the dominant histories of film exhibition?

Advertisement for Bell Theatre

The Lane County News. (Springfield, Or.) July 15, 1915, page 3. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1915-07-15/ed-1/seq-3/

The quantity of data presented by ODNP is pretty overwhelming, so I’ve only just started to document pieces of that question. The Bell Theatre in Springfield is part of that story, and the two Springfield newspapers in ODNP were essential to help me to begin to understand it. The Lane County News and Springfield News ran regular ads and news stories that tell some of the history of the Bell Theatre, including its ownership, programming, admission prices, promotional strategies, and even the names of the high school girls who were hired to play the piano to accompany the silent movies. The Bell opened on Main Street in 1912. It wasn’t the first theater to show moving pictures in the town, but it was a fixture of downtown and Springfield leisure activities for over two decades. Like many theaters during this era, movies were part of a variety of programming that could include vaudeville, live music, dance performances, minstrel shows, and live theater. This ad from 1915 promoted a Hawaiian singing group in addition to movies.

The Lane County News collaborated with the Bell Theatre to feature a serialized story with a movie tie-in. “The New Adventures of J. Rufus Wallingford“ ran as a weekly story in the newspaper, while audiences could “see this story picturized” several times a week at the Bell.

Movie theater advertisement

The Lane County news. (Springfield, Or.) December 13, 1915, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1915-12-13/ed-1/seq-4/

Ad for movies at Bell Theatre

The Lane County news. (Springfield, Or.) January 3, 1916, page 4. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1916-01-03/ed-1/seq-4/

This was a common practice to increase both newspaper readership and to sell movie tickets to audiences eager to see the next installment of the story. Thanks to the Oregon Digital Newspaper Project, we can see that “The New Adventures of J. Rufus Wallingford” appeared in newspapers and movie theaters all over Oregon including Portland, Pendleton, Bandon, and Grants Pass. These are the kinds of connections and trends that one can see easily in a digital database that would have been very difficult in the past.

Newspapers can tell us how movie theaters were situated within the cultural, economic, and social life of communities. The Bell served as a kind of community center, hosting lectures, political meetings, and fundraisers for local causes, such as an event for the Red Cross during World War I. It also hosted a presentation from the Oregon Social Hygiene society, for which the attendance gives a clue as to the number of seats in the theater. Three hundred men attended the lecture about the “four sex lies” and “what should be done in Springfield.”

Red Cross Benefit

Springfield news. (Springfield, Or.) June 25, 1917, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071003/1917-06-25/ed-1/seq-1/

Article about hygiene meeting

The Lane County news. (Springfield, Or.) February 3, 1916, page 1. https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071002/1916-02-03/ed-1/seq-1/

 

These are just a few details from one theater in one town in Oregon. Clearly, there are many more details about Oregon film history and local movie-going that can be excavated from this rich database.

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