Beaverton Papers Now Available!

Thanks to the funding and partnership of the Beaverton Library Foundation and the Beaverton Historical Society, the Beaverton Owl and Beaverton Times are now available on Historic Oregon Newspapers online.

Quick history of Beaverton

Beaverton is a community to the west of Portland, Oregon. Its name comes from beaver dams that could be found in the formerly marshy country; in fact, the area had been named Chakeipi, place of the beaver, before settlers arrived. The town was incorporated in 1893 with a population around 400. Today, Beaverton has around 93,542 people.

Historic Papers in Beaverton

The Beaverton Owl and the Beaverton Times began as the Beaverton Reporter in 1909, before being bought by Earl E. Fisher and changed to the Owl.

You Will Like Beaverton

The Owl has the creative feature of having a unique tagline above the masthead in each issue. Often, the sayings are enticing people to visit or enjoy the town of Beaverton. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088375/1914-05-16/ed-1/seq-1/

We have issues of The Beaverton Owl from July 20 1912 to May 16, 1914.  You can easily access these issues in the Historic Newspapers Calendar View. Additionally, you can easily search the title for terms.

Fishing Poem - Times

A paean to fishing in The Owl, a hobby particular to the creeks and streams of the Northwest where trout run on the Willamette and Columbia watersheds.

Like the Report before it, the Owl was succeeded by The Beaverton Times in 1914 after being purchased by Hicks & Davis.

Historic Oregon Newspapers online now has weekly coverage of The Beaverton Times from August 19, 1915 – June 9, 1922.  Browse the issue calendar, or search the paper.

1919 - BT - Roads Grow

Clippings from the Beaverton Times in 1919 speak to the city’s rapid growth and modernization in connection with the growth of the metropolitan region. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088374/1919-08-01/ed-1/seq-1/

Find even more interesting stories from Beaverton and all around the state at Historic Oregon Newspapers online.

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The Aurora Borealis Now Online!

Thanks to a partnership with the Aurora Colony Historical Society and Museum of Aurora, Oregon, issues from May-December 1908 of the town’s historic newspaper, The Aurora Borealis, are now available for keyword searching and browsing at Historic Oregon Newspapers online!

Clipping shows masthead from the Aurora Borealis

The Aurora borealis. (Aurora, Or.) 19??-1909, May 28, 1908, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088477/1908-05-28/ed-1/seq-1/

Founded as a Christian communal colony in the 1850s, Aurora was populated by several hundred members of the Bethel Colony in Missouri, mostly German and Swiss immigrants, led by founder Wilhelm Keil across the Oregon Trail. Despite hardships in the new frontier, Aurora colonists thrived until Keil’s death in 1877 and the subsequent dissolution of the colony, which is now incorporated as the City of Aurora.

Clipping reads: "Aurora is conceded by all to be one of the prettiest residence towns in the Valley. Surrounded by the finest farming country in Oregon, and populated with as good people as you can find anywhere, why shouldn't it be desirable to locate in?"

The Aurora borealis. (Aurora, Or.) 19??-1909, August 13, 1908, Image 2. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088477/1908-08-13/ed-1/seq-2/

Content from The Aurora Borealis can be browsed by issue date via the website’s calendar view, and keyword searches of the title can be performed on the Search page by selecting “The Aurora Borealis” on the “Select Newspaper(s)” list. The paper covered news at all levels, including world, national, state, and of course local:

Clipping from the "Personal and Local" section of the paper reads: "The Wilsonville baseball nine will play the Sherwood WhiteSox at Wilsonville on Sunday, June 21. The occasion will be the celebrated German picnic, where everybody in attendance is expected to enjoy themselves to the limit. Frank Miller went to Portland on business Wednesday. Miss Mary Schuman of San Francisco is visiting relatives in Aurora and vicinity. Otto Blosser had the misfortune to mutilate his finger while working on a buggy at Sam Miller's livery stable last Thursday, making it necessary for the doctor to lance it. He is unable to do any kind of work as a result. COW FOR SALE - One fresh milk cow. E.W. Smidt, Aurora, Oregon, R.F.D.3."

The Aurora borealis. (Aurora, Or.) 19??-1909, June 18, 1908, Image 3. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088477/1908-06-18/ed-1/seq-3/

Explore the many articles, advertisements, and other interesting tidbits that The Aurora Borealis has to offer, and discover Oregon’s history at Historic Oregon Newspapers online.

 

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Hillsboro Now Represented on Historic Oregon Newspapers Online!

Several historic newspaper titles from Hillsboro, county seat of Washington County, Oregon, are now available for keyword searching and browsing online at Historic Oregon Newspapers, thanks to a partnership with the Hillsboro Public Library! The following titles can be found listed in alphabetical order on the Historic Oregon Newspapers Titles page, and they can be selected for title-specific keyword searching on the Search page:

Washington Independent

Masthead from the Washington independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 1874-18??, September 21, 1876, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84022654/1876-09-21/ed-1/seq-1/

Washington County Independent

Masthead from Washington County independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 18??-188?, January 17, 1881, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93051620/1881-01-17/ed-1/seq-1/

The Independent. A Government of the People, for the People, and by the People.

Masthead from The independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 188?-189?, April 26, 1888, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93051621/1888-04-26/ed-1/seq-1/

Hillsboro Independent

Masthead from Hillsboro independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 189?-1932, September 08, 1893, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088159/1893-09-08/ed-1/seq-1/

The Argus

Masthead from The Argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1894-1895, August 09, 1894, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088160/1894-08-09/ed-1/seq-1/

The Hillsboro Argus

Masthead from The Hillsboro argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1895-current, August 15, 1895, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84006724/1895-08-15/ed-1/seq-1/

Here are just a few clippings from these titles that we found to be interesting, but there are countless more headlines, articles, advertisements, images, and other curiosities just waiting to be discovered in these Hillsboro newspapers!

Photo of a street, with caption: "street scene in Hillsboro"

Hillsboro independent. (Hillsboro, Washington County, Or.) 189?-1932, February 08, 1907, Image 8. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088159/1907-02-08/ed-1/seq-8/

Article from the Hillsboro Argus states: "Washington County, the county bountiful of Oregon. By virtue of location alone, Washington County is most favored. Being just a short run from Portland, the business center of the state, furnishes opportunity for the farmer to go there, dispose of his products and return home the same day. This is, of course, always a most valuable phase of the situation, for many people of means desire to live within comparatively easy access to a metropolis, and when the projected electric road is complete, Hillsboro will be an ideal spot for the country homes of Portland business men who can go to and from the city with promptness and comfort."

The Hillsboro argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1895-current, February 07, 1907, The Resources of Washington County, Image 5. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84006724/1907-02-07/ed-1/seq-5/

Clipping shows photo of an older couple with text that reads: "Sixtieth anniversary. There are few couples who live to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary, but Hillsboro has one. Mr. and Mrs. J.Q. Adams, of Seventh Street, were wedded sixty years April 18, and all the living sonds and daughters were in attendance excepting Charles E. who lives in Texas, and Mrs. Chas Coffin, of Todd, Alaska. Twenty-seven grandchildren were in attendance. A splendid time was enjoyed by the descendants of this worthy couple. The Argus joins in wishing Mr. and Mrs. Adams many more anniversaries."

The Hillsboro argus. (Hillsboro, Or.) 1895-current, June 03, 1920, Image 5. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84006724/1920-06-03/ed-1/seq-5/

 

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Klamath Tribune Broadens Scope of Historic Oregon Newspapers Online

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP) is pleased to announce the addition of the Klamath Tribune to the Historic Oregon Newspapers online keyword-searchable database! Published in Chiloquin, Oregon from 1956-1961 by the Klamath Information and Education Program (a facet of the Oregon State Department of Education), this is the first newspaper solely covering Tribal issues that we have digitized and added to the website, in partnership with the Klamath Tribes and a generous University of Oregon Libraries donor.

Klamath Tribune Masthead

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, February 01, 1960, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1960-02-01/ed-1/seq-1/

The Klamath Tribune was published in the wake of the U.S. Congress’ 1954 decision to terminate federal recognition of the Klamath Tribes, which include the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Band of Paiute Indians. The decision was controversial, given that an official report from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) stated that the Klamath Tribes did not meet the criteria for termination, and there was major opposition from Tribal members. The Klamath Termination Act, otherwise known as Public Law 587, was framed in the context of helping the Tribes, but the effects of termination were overwhelmingly negative. (More information can be found online at The Klamath Tribes’ website.)

Clipping reads: "It is the purpose of this article to explain to the Klamath people the methods we intend to use and the objectives of the informational program as authorized under section 26 of Public Law 587. Public Law 587 provides for the ending of federal supervision over the property and income of the Klamath Indians, both as a tribe and as individuals. This means that under the law as passed, individual members of the tribe will no longer be subject to Federal control over their property and income as of August 13, 1958."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1956-11-01/ed-1/seq-1/

The Klamath Information and Education Program was created to help Tribal members assimilate into Anglo-American culture. Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Klamath Tribune appeared in November of 1956 as a means of communication with Tribal members in preparation for termination and to inform them of educational opportunities available to them under Section 26 of the termination law, which stated that:

Sec. 26. Prior to the issuance of a proclamation in accordance with the provisions of section 18 of this Act, the Secretary is authorized to undertake, within the limits of available appropriations, a special program of education and training designed to help the members of the tribe earn a livelihood, to conduct their own affairs, and to assume their responsibilities as citizens without special services because of their status as Indians. Such program may include language training, orientation in non-indian community customs and living standards, vocational training and related subjects, transportation to the place of training or instruction, and subsistence during the course of training or instruction. For the purposes of such program the Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts or agreements with any Federal, State, or local government agency, corporation, association, or person. Nothing in this section shall preclude any Federal agency from undertaking any other program for the education and training of Indians with funds appropriated to it. Approved August 13, 1954."

Section 26 from Public Law 587, “An Act to provide for the termination of Federal supervision over the property of the Klamath Tribe of Indians located in the State of Oregon and the individual members thereof, and for other purposes.”

The Klamath Tribune included:

Tribal news, with a focus on education-related news items and individual achievements:

Photo of two young women working with test tubes and other scientific equipment, with caption that reads: "Helen Nelson Now Studying Medical Technology At O.T.I. Under Klamath Education Program."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, February 01, 1958, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1958-02-01/ed-1/seq-1/

“Q&A” sections about the Termination law (otherwise known as “Public Law 587″):

Clipping reads: "Public Law 587 Information Given; Questions Raised by Tribal Members. Following are some of the questions concerning public law 587, which have been asked most often by members of the Klamath Tribe with the answers to those questions. General: 1. Question: If a member of the tribe elects to withdraw under the termination law or decides to sell his allotted lands, must he leave the reservation? Answer: No, as a citizen of the United States he is free to live anywhere he chooses. However, if he sells his land to another person, he can no longer live on those lands without the new owner's permission. 2. Question: Under Public Law 587, at what point will cash payment be made to those who wish to withdraw from the tribe? Answer: Under section 5 a (3), it is provided that whenever funds from sale of tribal property have accumulated in the amount of $200,000 or more, such funds shall be distributed equally to the members electing to withdraw. Thereafter distribution shall be made any time such funds total $200,000 or more until all the property set aside for sale has been sold and the funds distributed. Guardianships: 1. Question: What is section 15 of Public Law 587 and what is its purpose? Answer: Section 15 relates to guardianships for tribal members who need guardians. Section 15 was included to make sure that the money and property of minors and persons adjudged to be mentally incompetent by a state court are protected. Section 15 also deals with persons who for other reasons need help in handling their money and other property. 2. Question: Were guardianship law established for the Klamath Indians only? Answer: No, section 15 conforms to existing laws in Oregon requiring that guardianships be established to protect the property of minors and others in need of protection. The property of any child in Orgon, Indian or non Indian, can not be handled by another person without the establishment of a guardianship. 3. Question: What are the steps in setting up a guardianship in Oregon?"

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 3. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1956-11-01/ed-1/seq-3/

Recommendations for agriculture, ranching, and home-keeping practices:

Clipping shows an illustration of an alfalfa plant, and says, "Alfalfa has a deep tap-root system. Because of this characteristic it does not do well on soil that has a hardpan near the surface. Often subsoiling or chiseling is only of temporary benefit, but it will help the roots to penetrate into the subsoil. Good drainage, both surface and sub-surface, are necessary for a thrifty alfalfa stand. During winter when the plants are dormant they may withstand several days of flooding, but during the growing season one day of flood may harm them greatly."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1956-11-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Information on water rights, and other political, economic, and environmental issues:

"Water Use Increases Crop Production, Protects Water Rights. Will you have any water rights after termination? You can greatly strengthen your right to the use of irrigation water by developing it before termination. The time to start that irrigation system is right now so it can be used this year."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, April 01, 1957, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1957-04-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Although Tribal perspectives were included, the paper was primarily dedicated to persuading Tribal members to actively learn and participate in the dominant Anglo-American culture and way of doing things:

Advertisement says "Have You Registered to Vote? Deadline for registration in Oregon is October 7, 1960...For the City of Chiloquin election register at the Chiloquin City Hall. Register, then vote. Power in a democracy springs from the People." Illustration shows a line of different people waiting to go to the voting booth, with a stereotypical-looking Native American, labeled "Ed Chilquin", at the end of the line.

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, September 01, 1960, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1960-09-01/ed-1/seq-4/

The last issue of the Tribune was published in July of 1961. By 1986, the Klamath Tribes were successful in restoring their federally recognized tribal status through the Klamath Restoration Act. The addition of the Klamath Tribune to the Historic Oregon Newspapers database is a crucial step towards representing the full range of Oregon’s history and cultural heritage in our online newspaper collection. Go check it out, explore, and see for yourself! You never know what you might find in the newspaper pages of the past.

Sources:

Robbins, William G. “Subtopic : People, Politics, and the Environment Since 1945: Termination.” The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/narratives/subtopic.cfm?subtopic_ID=171&gt;

The Klamath Tribes. “History.” The Klamath Tribes. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <http://www.klamathtribes.org/history.html&gt;

The Klamath Tribes. “Termination.” The Klamath Tribes. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <http://www.klamathtribes.org/background/termination.html&gt;

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Copyright and Historic Newspapers

If you have used Historic Oregon Newspapers online or the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website, you might have noticed that most of the newspapers that are freely available for keyword searching and browsing were published before 1923. Why this seemingly arbitrary cutoff date, you might wonder? The answer is both simple and complex, and can be summarized in one word: copyright.

Public Domain

In the United States, anything published on or before December 31, 1922 is considered to be in the Public Domain, which means that it is not protected under copyright, and no copyright permission is needed to copy, digitize, or use the publication in any way. With the wealth of newspapers published before 1923, we have focused our digitization efforts primarily on Public Domain content first, making as much of this content available as possible while avoiding the extensive research that’s often needed to determine the copyright status of post-1922 publications.

Traditionally, works fall into the Public Domain 75 years from the first date of publication. However, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 essentially froze the Public Domain cutoff date at Dec. 31, 1922 until 2019, at which point works published in 1923 and beyond will start to fall into the Public Domain on a rolling basis. So, newspapers published in 1923 will be in the Public Domain in 2019, papers published in 1924 will join the Public Domain in 2020, and so on. (That is, unless another Act is passed freezing the cutoff date yet again…)

Creative Commons

Any content that you might find on Historic Oregon Newspapers that was published after 1922, has been made available to the public via a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0 United States License. For example, for Ashland High School’s Rogue News, which is available online from 1929-1973, we obtained permission from the publisher to digitize and make these pages available through Creative Commons. Under the Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0. license, users can “share, copy, re-distribute, remix, transform, and build upon the material, but appropriate credit must be given with a link to the license, and users must indicate if changes were made, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use” (creativecommons.org). Any post-1922 content on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website may not be used for commercial purposes.

Copyright Status Research

Copyright status becomes a bit more complicated for newspapers published after 1922. Luckily there are several online resources available to help guide and assist this process, such as the American Library Association’s Digital Copyright Slider or the U.S. Copyright Office’s Circular 22: How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, which will help you figure out where to start. Cornell University’s Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States page also provides a very clearly defined guide for identifying general copyright status based on year of publication and other factors.

  • Published between 1923 and 1963

An investigation will need to take place to determine the copyright status of works published between 1923 and 1963, since these publications may or may not be protected under copyright. During this time period, all publications containing a copyright notice were required to renew their copyright 28 years from the date of publication in order to protect all past issues and guarantee copyright protection for the following 67 years (for a total of 95 years from date of publication). For example, a newspaper first published in 1920 would have to renew copyright in 1948 in order to keep all past issues protected and to remain protected until 2015. However, if the paper did not renew copyright in 1948, all past and future issues would fall into the Public Domain. If a publication was printed without a copyright notice during this time, it is also now in the Public Domain.

Luckily, the U.S. Copyright Office’s Catalog of Copyright Entries books have been digitized and are available for viewing online. These books can be viewed by year, from 1891-1978, and by type of publication (newspapers are classified as Periodicals), and reveal whether or not and when copyrights were registered and renewed. Some of the books are keyword searchable, and others are currently being indexed. The University of Pennsylvania has put together a guide with links to each of the digitized books by year.

  • Published between 1964 and 1977

Anything published during this time period without a copyright notice is in the Public Domain. If a copyright notice is present, the publication is protected for a flat rate of 95 years, with no action needed for renewal. A paper published in 1964 with a copyright notice will not move into the Public Domain until 2059, so if you want to use or digitize material published during this time period containing a copyright notice, copyright permission will definitely be needed.

  • Published between 1978 and present

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “A work that is created and fixed in tangible form for the first time on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death.” If the author is unknown, works published during this time period are guaranteed protection for 95 years. From 1978 to present, the Catalog of Copyright Entries can be accessed as an online database.

Additional Resources

Is It In the Public Domain? A Handbook for Evaluating the Copyright Status of a Work Created in the United States Between Jan. 1, 1923 and Dec. 31, 1977 and accompanying Flowchart Visuals – by Menesha A. Mannapperuma, Brianna L. Schofield, Andrea K. Yankovsky, Lila Bailey, and Jennifer M. Urban of University of California, Berkeley, Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic

How to Determine Whether a Work is in the Public Domain – by Dennis S. Karjala, Professor of Law, Arizona State University

Public Domain – Creative Commons Wiki

Library Digitization Projects and Copyright – Part 1 (Introduction and Overview) – by Mary Minow, Library Law Consultant, LibraryLaw.com

Library Digitization Projects and Copyright – Part 2 (Expiration of Works into the Public Domain) – by Mary Minow, Library Law Consultant, LibraryLaw.com

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Gold Rush Era Exhibit Features Oregon Free Press!

Here at the ODNP, we’re always thrilled to hear about or see how Oregon’s historic newspapers are being used. The weekend of March 14, 2014 marked one of these instances right here in our hometown of Eugene, where a Lane County Historical Museum exhibit titled, “Women of the Gold Rush West” debuted to hundreds of community members in the lobby of the Hult Center, in conjunction with the Eugene Opera’s performance of Puccini’s “The Girl of the Golden West.”

Images features an advertisement for Eugene Opera's "Girl of the Golden West," a "Western" with love, redemption, an unforgettable heroine, and thrilling music! March 14 and 16 at the Hult Center.

Advertisement in the Eugene Weekly for “The Girl of the Golden West.”

The exhibit, which included women’s clothing from the 1850s, an antique saloon sign, a gold dust bag, and other items that would typically have been found in a Gold Rush Era saloon, was created and coordinated by Dorothy Bayern, a graduate student in the University of Oregon’s Folklore program, as part of her terminal project for her Master’s degree.

Photograph of the exhibit shows a woman's dress and shawl from the 1850s, a crystal decanter and glasses, antique ceramic jugs, a tobacco storage container, rolling papers, and other items from the Gold Rush time period.

“Women of the Gold Rush West” exhibit display case at the Hult Center in Eugene.

Dorothy’s research focuses on “clothing traditions, and in particular how clothing in museum settings helps people connect to other cultures and historical periods,” so fittingly, the exhibit included an interactive “dress up” station, where people could don bonnets, cowboy hats, and other period clothing items and props, and then have their picture taken in front of a country backdrop. Of course, our favorite part of the display was a replica of the November 4, 1848 issue of the Oregon Free Press, printed from our Historic Oregon Newspapers website! The Oregon Free Press was published in Oregon City from April to November of 1848, at which point the paper was forced to suspend due to the outflow of subscribers to the gold mines of California. (Read more about the history of the Free Press here.)

Photo shows a close up of the Oregon Free Press replica paper.

Replica issue of the Oregon Free Press, created by Dorothy Bayern:
“I’m so glad that I found out about the ODNP’s scans of Oregon Free Press in time to include them in this exhibit. This funky little newspaper is part of Oregon’s gold rush era history, and made a great addition to the saloon scene.”

Nestled next to a Wells Fargo driver’s cap from the 1850s, the newspaper was a great fit for the exhibit! Dorothy explains, “Oregon and California were both on the American frontier in the 1850s. Many Americans left Oregon for the famous California Gold Rush, but Oregon had gold rushes too, which is why Lane County Historical Museum has artifacts like the gold dust bag on display, and mining equipment currently on display at the museum. This newspaper was the perfect final touch to connect the opera’s depiction of gold rush life to local history in Oregon.”

Hanging sign next to the exhibit explains each of the artifacts on display. Photo shows a closeup of the description for the Wells Fargo driver's cap: "In 1852, Wells Fargo and Company's Express was founded to provide banking to Gold Rush pioneers in remote California," and descriotion of the Oregon Free Press newspaper (replica): "This paper only ran from April through November of 1848, folding when its subscribers left for California gold mines." Credits at the bootom read: "Historical images and artifacts from Lane County HIstorical Museum, Newspaper courtesy of Historic Oregon Newspapers online, University of Oregon Libraries' Oregon Digital Newspaper Program, Text and Design by Dorothy Bayern."

Exhibit signage explains items on display, with credits to Lane County Historical Museum, Historic Oregon Newspapers online, and exhibit designer Dorothy Bayern.

This excellent exhibit is now available for viewing at the Lane County Historical Museum through the end of March, so go check it out if you can! Many thanks to Dorothy Bayern and the Lane County Historical Museum for including this unique Oregon newspaper in the exhibit! Very well done!

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The Curse of the Courier

The History page of Historic Oregon Newspapers online provides essays for each title in the collection describing the unique history, content and context in which each newspaper was produced. Several new essays, written by our ODNP Essayist and graduate student in the University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation program, Emily Vance, have just been added to the site, covering many of the Oregon City titles and others that have recently been added to the database. While researching the history of the Oregon City Courier, Emily began to notice an eerie trend amongst the paper’s many editors over time. In what seems to be the beginning of an “X-Files” of sorts for Oregon’s historic newspapers, Emily shares the secrets that she uncovered in her debut blog post, “The Curse of the Courier!”

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The Oregon City Courier has a long and intriguing history in the state.  We have the advantage of being able to look back at one of the very first issues in 1883 and follow the paper’s transformation over time, which was suspicious to say the least.  During its 67 years in print, the Courier changed names and editors perhaps a little too frequently.  From 1902 to 1919, when the turnover rate for the Courier was at its peak, the paper was replacing its editor about every two years.  Not long after leaving the paper, several of the Courier’s editors would fall victim to mysterious illnesses or bizarre accidents.  Suicide, social scandals and even exploding coffee pots seemed to be drawn to editors-past.  Perhaps it was being passed around so much, the ever-changing names and owners, that left the Courier feeling abandoned, unwanted and, ultimately, vengeful.  Perhaps it was the ghost of President William McKinley who came back to haunt the men who so harshly criticized him, hoping that maybe next time they’ll put the assassination of a president on the front page and not on page six, crammed between advertisements for Castoria Digestive Syrup and fur coats:

Clipping shows a brief mention of the assassination of President McKinley, on page six between advertisements for Castoria and Furs.

Hail to the Chief?
Oregon City courier=herald. (Oregon City, Or.) 1898-1902, September 20, 1901, Image 6. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063697/1901-09-20/ed-1/seq-6/

What was lurking in the pages of the Courier?  What could explain the mysterious circumstances surrounding the lives and deaths of the Courier’s editors in the early 1900s?

Our story begins on April 15, 1904 when John H. Westover, after only two years at the helm of the Oregon City Courier, innocently sold the paper to Shirley Buck and Professor Henry L. McCann.  Westover had only just moved to Oregon and after resigning his post, immediately left the state for reasons unknown.  McCann and Buck remained for a very short time as well, and both left the paper in 1906.  In 1910, only a handful of years after leaving the Courier, McCann was found dead “by the side of a deserted cabin in a lonely canyon” a few miles outside of Condon, a gunshot blow to his head.  He had committed suicide after scandalous accusations arose while he was principal at Gilliam County High School, a post he had taken after leaving the Courier.  Rumors of McCann being “mentally unbalanced” surrounded his death, but no such charges of mental deficiency surfaced before his work at the Courier.

Erring Principal Committs Suicide. Discovery of His Unbecoming Conduct Too Much for H.L. McCann.

One editor’s unfortunate fate…
Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, June 01, 1910, Image 5. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025138/1910-06-01/ed-1/seq-5/

After McCann and Buck, editorship passed to Edward Brodie and A. E. Frost.  After hitting the two year mark, they, too, turned the paper over to the next unsuspecting editor, William A. Shewman, who took charge in 1908.  Shewman would remain at the Courier for three years – a year longer than most – which may have been his undoing.  Shewman left in 1911, at which point his health declined sharply.  Shewman would never recover after working at the Courier and passed away in 1913 after battling a long and serious illness.

W.A. Shewman's Death Peaceful. Well known publisher dies late Monday afternoon in Portland.

Morning enterprise. (Oregon City, Or.) 1911-1933, April 22, 1913, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063701/1913-04-22/ed-1/seq-1/

M. J. Brown replaced Shewman in 1911. Instead of resigning his post at the two year mark, the Courier had something else in store for Brown.  In 1913, Brown was indicted for criminal libel due to matters printed in the June 27th issue of the Courier.  The scandal involved Brown publishing allegations that several county officials rebated their own taxes.  Despite the rather unexciting criminal delinquency, Brown remained at the helm of the Courier until February 18, 1915, at which point he sold the paper – two years after his indictment.  His four years as editor is truly a remarkable feat but one which must have surely left him mad, since he immediately left town after selling the paper, never to be seen again.  Well, at least for several years.  More reliable sources indicate that he actually just moved to Corvallis to start a poultry farm.

Rebating their own taxes. In last month's county court expenses we find three interesting items under tax rebates: W.T. Mattoon...$20.20, N. Blair...$14.30, R.B. Beatie...$4.00. The above rebates are to the three members of the county court, audited by themselves.

Scandalous!
Oregon City courier. (Oregon City, Or.) 1902-1919, June 27, 1913, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063698/1913-06-27/ed-1/seq-1/

E. R. Brown, unrelated to M. J. Brown, purchased the paper in 1915 but, unsurprisingly, wouldn’t last a year in charge, and Cecil W. Robey was the editor and business manager in 1916.  By 1919 when the Courier was printing as the Banner-Courier, Fred J. Tooze and Halbert E. Hoss replaced Robey as editor.  Robey, however, wouldn’t get off that easy as the Courier was merely biding its time.  The year after leaving the Courier, Robey would fall victim to an “exploding coffee pot” while camping in Molalla country; a bewildering event.  The “air tight coffee pot filled with boiling coffee, and the force of the explosion caused the pot to fly into the air, the cover striking Robey in the face, while the hot coffee poured over his face and clothing.”  Robey, who was thrown “head over heels,” very nearly lost his sight  and suffered bad burns on his face and body.

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The Curse strikes again!
Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, June 09, 1920, Image 2. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025138/1920-06-09/ed-1/seq-2/

In 1924 Edward A. Koen purchased the paper.  E. A. Koen, along with his son Edward P. Koen, would edit and publish the newspaper for the next 26 years.  The name and editor wouldn’t change for decades.  This consistency seems to have appeased the Courier since, it would seem, no ill befell the Koens for decades.  It appears the Curse of the Courier is broken… for now.

–Written by Emily Vance

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