In 1923, a Missouri lumber company built a town in northeastern Oregon named Maxville. Hundreds of loggers left Arkansas and Mississippi to live and work there. Many brought their families, and many were African Americans. While the town has long since disappeared, the Maxville story is still unfolding. The Logger’s Daughter follows Gwen Trice, an African-American woman who was born and raised in Eastern Oregon, as she sets out to explore her family’s past.
On April 1, 1908 Lola G. Baldwin was sworn in “to perform police service” for Portland, Oregon and became the nation’s first policewoman. As Superintendent of the new Women’s Protective Division, Detective Baldwin crusaded for the moral and physical welfare of young, single working women. Her goal was to prevent them from being lured into lives of prostitution and crime by offering positive alternatives and by making the city safe.
More than 30 years ago photographer Lloyd Smith bought a box of historic glass plate negatives at a garage sale. The box contained hundreds of photographs documenting rural life in Southern Oregon in the early 20th century. The images featured families posed in front of their homes, men and women working at everyday tasks, children at play, and just about all facets of rural life. Today, Smith has a collection of thousands of historic images, most from Southern Oregon dating from 1890 to 1910s.
Back in the early ‘60s, Russ Jackman, a retired OSU extension agent, and Reuben Long, a colorful Fort Rock Valley rancher, collaborated to create a book. The result, “The Oregon Desert,” was unique. It successfully blended natural science with cowboy humor and scholarly prose with casual meanderings. It was a celebration of rural Western storytelling, and over the years, it has become a Pacific Northwest classic.
Indigenous peoples have lived in the Columbia River Plateau region for thousands of years, negotiating and fostering relationships among themselves and with the ecosystems of their homelands. Beginning in the nineteenth century, they formed relationships with foreigners who arrived overland — first, the Lewis and Clark Expedition and, later, thousands of immigrants on the Oregon Trail. Scholars Bobbie Conner and Bill Lang will discuss with each other and with the audience the experience of newcomers entering and crossing those homelands, including how those events impacted life for Native people and how those foreigners’ experiences in the plateau contrasted with the goals they had set when leaving their homes.
In 1943, as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific, thousands of men and women from across the United States began arriving in a remote part of south-central Washington state. They knew very little about why the U.S. government had hired them — only that it was an important project to support the war effort. It was a project that would change the world forever.
From direct action to court action, women in Oregon used a variety of tactics to protest the state, and the status quo, in the early twentieth century. Women from diverse backgrounds protested as individuals and as members of political and labor organizations, seeking both personal freedom and justice for collective groups. They faced incarceration, harassment, and even physical violence as they worked to demand change. As historian Kimberly Jensen will demonstrate, their stories are important pieces of larger histories of citizenship, civil liberties, and dissent.