Category Archives: Highlights

Posts that highlight the content of the historic newspapers and demonstrate how they can be used for research.

Warm Springs’ Spilyay Tymoo now online, 1986-2005!

Spilyay Tymoo, the current newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, is now available from 1986-2005 on the Historic Oregon Newspapers website, thanks to a partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, with funding from University of Oregon Libraries donors. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, located in Central Oregon, is a federally recognized Indian Tribe made up of Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute Tribes.

Masthead from the Spilyay Tymoo shows an illustration of a desert mountain scene with a coyote howling.

Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) May 23, 1986, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93050507/1986-05-23/ed-1/seq-1/

The Spilyay Tymoo has been in publication since 1976, and continues on a bi-weekly schedule today. While the University of Oregon Libraries has the earliest issues of the paper available in Special Collections, only the issues published between 1986 and 2005 have been microfilmed, and were thus the first to be scanned and made available online. This 19 year span of local, regional, and national Native American news can be keyword searched, via the Historic Oregon Newspapers’ Search page, and the paper’s Calendar View makes it easy to browse issues by date.

Photograph of two men in a boat on a river. Caption reads: "Gathering data chilly job. Warm Springs tribal biologist Mark Fritsch and John Ogan from the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife brave the cold while they collect data. By taking an inventory of native fall chinook carcasses tagged earlier in the year at Sherar's Falls, biologists are able to make population estimates.

Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) December 29, 1989, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93050507/1989-12-29/ed-1/seq-1/

The most recent issues of the Spilyay Tymoo can be viewed on the Warm Springs News website, and more information can be found on the Spilyay Tymoo Facebook page.

Clipping shows a photograph of several people sitting inside a longhouse structure, with test that reads: "Celilo Village welcomes new longhouse"

Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) August 04, 2005, Image 11. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93050507/2005-08-04/ed-1/seq-11/

Content from the Spilyay Tymoo, and all newspaper content on Historic Oregon Newspapers that was published after 1922 is available online through a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0 license. Many thanks to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, for partnering with the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program to make the Spilyay Tymoo available to the public online!

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Smoke Signals and Chemawa American Now Available at Historic Oregon Newspapers Online!

Thanks to collaborations with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and funding from University of Oregon (UO) Libraries donors, three new important titles are now available for searching and browsing on Historic Oregon Newspapers online:

Smoke Signals masthead features the title, Smoke Signals, in bold, followed by text that reads: "A publication of the Grand Ronde Tribe, www.grandronde.org. Umpqua, Molalla, Rogue River, Kalapuya, Chasta

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) July 15, 2013, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93050714/2013-07-15/ed-1/seq-1/

Weekly Chemawa American masthead

Weekly Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) December 30, 1910, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/ca15001324/1910-12-30/ed-1/seq-1/

The Chemawa American masthead

The Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) April 01, 1915, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2003238611/1915-04-01/ed-1/seq-1/

This content is now available online in addition to the Klamath Tribune, which was published from 1956-1961 and documents the termination of the Klamath Tribes. (See our blog post from last spring for more information on the Klamath Tribune.)

Smoke Signals, the current newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, is now available for searching and browsing online with issues dating from 1978-2013. Smoke Signals started off as a monthly tribal newsletter in the 1970s as the Tribes were organizing to restore their tribal status, which had been terminated by the federal government in 1954. The U.S. Congress passed the Grand Ronde Restoration Act in 1983, restoring federally recognized status to the Tribes.

Clipping reads: "Grand Ronde's Restored! They say it was the strongest Restoration Bill ever presented to Congress! WIth fifty-seven letters of support and no opposition, our Bill was passed in the House on November 7, 1983, sponsored by Congressman Les AuCoin, D-Ore. 'This is a day of celebration,' said Rep. Les AuCoin, 'The Grand Ronde are a determined people who have earned the dignity of being called a Tribe once more.' On Nov. 11, 1983, Senator Hatfield presented it to the Senate where it passed without going through Committee. THis was a unique situation and was an important factor in its swift passage in the Senate. With this accomplished in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate; both of our Congressmen then pushed for the signing by the President; he signed it on Nov. 22, 1983, making our restoration Bill, H.R. 3885 (Union Calendar No. 276) into LAW! We are, and will ever be, grateful to Congressman AuCoin for introducing our Bill, Sept. 14, 1983; and, for his support and able-assistance throughout this entire legislation. Also, we are thankful to Senator Hatfield for his interest and staunch support which was the factor in the Senate's passage too. We are now looking forward to working with them, especially Congressman AuCoin, during the next two years on our Reservation Plan. We are now planning to have a Restoration celebration tentatively, sometime during the early part of 1984. We will have a notice in the newsletter when all plans are finalized. -Kathryn Harrison, Community Org."

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) November 01, 1983, Image 3. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93050714/1983-11-01/ed-1/seq-3/

In 1995, the paper started appearing twice a month, and in 2005, Smoke Signals became part of the Tribes’ Public Affairs Department. During its lifetime and through numerous staff changes, Smoke Signals has won many journalism awards from the Native American Journalists Association and Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

Clipping shows an image of two children in traditional regalia, dancing inside a gymnasium. Clipping reads: "Tribe Celebrates Restoration. Members unite to give thanks, recognize effort and achievements. Celebration - Tribal members Melissa Biery (left) and Shasta Wilson fancy shawl dance for an admiring crowd at the Annual Grand Ronde Restoration Day Pow-Wow, held in the new gymnasium at the Tribe's Education campus."

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) December 01, 2002, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93050714/2002-12-01/ed-1/seq-1/

The majority of issues from Smoke Signals were scanned from microfilm negatives at the University of Oregon (UO) Libraries, but the Tribe scanned and provided several early issues that were missing from the UO Libraries’ microfilm collection.

The Weekly Chemawa American, available online from 1901-1910, featured news articles, literature, and photographs by students who were attending a journalism class taught by staff of the Chemawa Indian Boarding School. The paper covered school news, student achievements, and events, and reported on interesting articles and topics found in various newspapers, such as the Oregonian, in addition to student editorials. By late 1914, the publication shifted to a monthly schedule, dropping “weekly” from the title to become The Chemawa American, now available online from 1914-1915.

Clipping from the Chemawa American reads: "Oregon Rural Schools: our system attracting attention everywhere. That the people living in rural districts of Oregon care more for their schools, are working harder to give their boys and girls a practical education, and have made a greater advance than any other state, is clearly proved by the reception which has been given the rural school  exhibit at the Panama Pacific International Exposition."

The Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) December 01, 1915, Image 10. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2003238611/1915-12-01/ed-1/seq-10/

Chemawa Indian Boarding School is the oldest continually operating Indian Boarding School in the United States, established in 1880 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Forest Grove, Oregon, and then moved to Salem in 1885. The school has hosted students from throughout the western United States, including special groups of Alaskan natives, Navajo Indians, and in the earliest years, primarily students from Oregon’s tribal reservations. The school is still in operation today under management by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Image from the Weekly Chemawa American shows a fence and gate with a sign that says "Indian Training School" surrounding a yard with two trees and a building in the distance. Children are standing around the scene, with one child on a bicycle. Image is on the front page of Vol. 6 issue 8, dated November 14, 1902. Caption reads "Main school entrance."

Weekly Chemawa American. (Chemawa, Or.) November 14, 1902, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/ca15001324/1902-11-14/ed-1/seq-1/

All issues of the weekly and monthly Chemawa American were carefully scanned from the original paper documents, borrowed from the Cultural Exhibits and Archives program of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, where they are housed as part of the Charles Holmes collection. Charles Holmes was a teacher and the student newspaper advisor at the Chemawa Indian School from the 1950s – 1970s, and the collection includes thousands of photographs, correspondence, media, and other documents. Students at Willamette University have been working to catalogue and archive the many photographs from the Chemawa Indian School that are part of the Charles Holmes collection, led by archaeology professor Rebecca Dobkins in collaboration with the Tribes (read more about this project at http://www.grandronde.org/news/articles/dobkins-tells-chemawa-indian-school-stories-at-salem-library/).

Image shows a student with a yearbook and laptop, working at a desk. Caption reads: "Emilie Jensen, a senior at Willamette University in Salem, looks through a Chemawa Indian School yearbook from 1961 as she works on an assignment for her Native North American Cultures class in the college's archives on Thurs. Nov. 15. The yearbook is part of a collection that Chemawa industrial arts teacher and yearbook and newspaper advisor Charles Holmes had. The collection was donated to the Tribes after he walked on in 2011.

Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) December 01, 2012, Image 5. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn93050714/2012-12-01/ed-1/seq-5/

Special thanks to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, as well as Jennifer O’Neal, University Historian and Archivist at the University of Oregon Libraries, and David Lewis (CTGR Tribal Historian), for facilitating this significant digitization project!

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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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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.

seq-2

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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Morrow County now represented in Historic Oregon Newspapers online!

In partnership with the Morrow County Museum in Heppner, Oregon, several early newspapers from Heppner are now available for keyword searching and browsing online at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

Incorporated on Feb. 9, 1887, the town of Heppner has seen many years’ worth of historical events in the Northeastern region of Oregon. In 1885, Morrow County was created, carved from the already existing Umatilla County. In 1888, Heppner welcomed it’s first railroad line, which was a spur from the Columbia River. As more railroads and roads were added over the years, Heppner became a regional trade center. You can follow the community’s enthusiasm and the development of the railroad through these historic newspapers with a  search for “railroad,” limited to Heppner titles with results listed in date order. We found the following entries, but there are over 2,000 pages of Heppner newspapers that mention railroads, so you won’t be bored!

In June of 1888, there was much anticipation for the coming railroad as a contributor to economic boom:

Editorial from the Heppner Weekly Gazette reads: "The Gazette. Heppner, Thursday, June 14, 1888. Everyy inhabitant of these primitive Heppner hills looks with pride to our town which came into existence sixteen years ago, and has been growing steadily year after year without interruption ever since. It is to-day a rustling, bustling, wide-awake place, a counterpart of its inhabitants, who are people of broad, liberal views, kind-hearted and energetic and have never been known to shrink from putting up when the general prosperity of the community demanded it. With a railroad now building to Heppner, stage roads and tri-weekly mail routes being projected to reach out to Haystack and Camp Watson, Monument, Long Creek, Fox Valley and Canyon City, and every part of the country that demands such conviniences, places this town in a position to enjoy the fruits of past labors. Property is increasing in value in a manner that is encouraging to owners of real estate. Once piece of property that cost $800 a short time ago, sold recently for $2000; another was bought for $150 and sold for $300 in ten days, and we might name many other transactions of like nature. We have a boom and no mistake. To be brief, gentle reader, come and see Heppner. It is the coming railroad and educational town of Morrow Co. A few hundred dollars invested now, means thousands of clean cash right in your pocket, and in comparatively short time."

Heppner weekly gazette. (Heppner, Umatilla County, Or.) 1883-1890, June 14, 1888, Image 2. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071041/1888-06-14/ed-1/seq-2/

By late November of 1888, the railroad was complete, a cause for celebration:

Clipping from the Heppner Weekly Gazette reads: "One thousand people were present, among whom were many pioneers, who no doubt could hardly realize the change since 1872. At 3 o'clock, the last rail being laid, Mayor Henry Blackman made a short address, yet to the point, which is as follows: 'Fellow Citizens and Ladies: We have assembled here for the purpose of celebrating the completion of the railroad, which connects this city and surrounding country with the outer world. Those who are present among the pioneers who established Heppner in 1872 at that time never dreamed that the iron horse would traverse the Heppner Hills, but it is an actual fact, and we welcome it, not only as the advance guard of civilization, but the opening up of vast acres of grazing, agricultural and timber lands.' "

Heppner weekly gazette. (Heppner, Umatilla County, Or.) 1883-1890, November 29, 1888, Image 2. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071041/1888-11-29/ed-1/seq-2/

As the county seat, Heppner was and still is the home of the Morrow County Courthouse. Constructed in 1903, it is one of the oldest continually used courthouses in Oregon, not to mention a fabulous example of American Renaissance architecture. That same year, a devastating flood crashed through the town killing hundreds of community members and destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property. Gruesome reports of victims and body parts being found months after the event can be seen in the Heppner Times, from which digitized issues are available from late 1903 to late 1904:

A clipping reads: "Glen Davis found a human foot one day last week as he was cleanin out an irrigation ditch. It undoubtedly belonged to a flood victim."

Heppner times. (Heppner, Or.) 1???-1912, April 14, 1904, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071040/1904-04-14/ed-1/seq-4/

The very same page contains a surprising advertisement for, well, see for yourself:

Clipping reads: "Chinaware Decorated with Heppner Flood scenes - a useful and pretty souvenir"

Heppner times. (Heppner, Or.) 1???-1912, April 14, 1904, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071040/1904-04-14/ed-1/seq-4/

Another flood struck again in 1918, along with two fires that destroyed many buildings and homes in the community. The Heppner Herald was one of the many businesses affected by the fire of June, 1918, which apparently started in or near the Palace Hotel and spread by wind, destroying four and a half city blocks. Publisher S.A. Pattison gives his perspective in the July 5, 1918 issue of the paper, which came out a day late due to the fire:

Clipping reads: " Somewhat Disfigured, Still in the Ring. The Herald appears a day late this week and in tabloid form due to certain circumstances over which the publisher had no control. To be brief and frank with this tale of woe the Herald has no more of a printing plant this morning than a rabbit has fighting qualities and the publisher and his family have no more household goods and not much more clothing than a family of sparrows. Everything in home and office was completely wiped out in Thursday's fire and it is only because of the courtesy and true neighborliness of Mr. Crawford and the Gazette-Times force that we are able to appear even in condensed form and only one day late."

Heppner herald. (Heppner, Or.) 1914-1924, July 05, 1918, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071037/1918-07-05/ed-1/seq-2/

The Heppner Hotel, built in 1920, was part of the town’s rebuilding after the several disasters, and it is one of the historic buildings still standing in Heppner today:

Clipping reads: "Furniture Going in New Heppner Hotel. Rooms ready for guests this week. Dining room probably ready for Christmas - All Equipment First Class. The new Heppner hotel is the scene of much activity this week with a small army of workment installing the carpets, furniture and other equipment. The work is being rushed in order to accomodate the public at the earliest possible moment.

Heppner herald. (Heppner, Or.) 1914-1924, December 14, 1920, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn97071037/1920-12-14/ed-1/seq-1/

These clippings are just a few examples of the content that can be found in Heppner’s historic newspapers. Search or browse these titles and see what other kinds of interesting things you can find!

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Highlights from the IFLA Newspaper Conference: Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 4-5, 2014

The International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) Newspaper group recently convened in Salt Lake City for a two-day conference focused on “Spreading the News.” Representatives from across the United States, as well as from other countries such as Finland, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Japan, and Vietnam, presented and shared their processes, expertise, and experiences working with newspapers in a library setting:

History of Newspapers

  • Newspapers first appeared available to the public in England around 1620, covering mostly foreign news items. Because each sheet of paper was taxed, the font on these early papers was extremely small, so as to include as much content as possible on each page. The oldest surviving newspaper is the London Gazette, dating back to 1665.
  • In the early 1700s, vital records and news of the local common people began appearing in newspapers, and this practice continued into the 1800s. The Boston News-Letter was the first official newspaper published in the United States, appearing in 1704.
  • As we have blogged about before, the University of Illinois’ History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library (HPNL) has created several short videos focusing on the history of newspapers in the United States before the Civil War. The newest videos, each roughly 20 minutes long, are entitled:  “Introduction to American Newspapers, 1800-1860,” “American Newspapers, 1800-1860: City Papers,” and “American Newspapers, 1800-1860: Country Papers.” These and other informational videos are available online through the library’s guide on Antebellum American Newspapers or via YouTube.

Genealogy and Newspapers

Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America, and genealogists are one of the largest groups of newspaper researchers – birth, death, and marriage notices published in newspapers often provide a starting point for the information that genealogists are seeking, and ancestors’ names can be found in other types of articles and listings in historic newspapers as well, including:

  • lists of letters remaining in local post offices
  • local news/gossip columns
  • tax notices
  • land claims
  • news/entries from past years published in current papers
  • school stories/honor role listings

There are 3200 county courthouses in the United States, and 644 of those have had records destroyed by fire or otherwise. Newspapers help to minimize these losses by providing an alternate record of vital information on ancestors, pinpointing people in time and space.

Social Media

  • The rise of social media is contributing to the changing face of current news media and journalism. Now that anyone can post their own news announcements and opinions for the world to see, often with little or no editing or censorship, it is increasingly important to remember to view news reports of all kinds with a critical eye, checking sources, facts, and credibility before spreading the word.
  • Social media outlets, such as Facebook, Flickr, and Pinterest, are increasingly being used by libraries to “spread the news” about collection materials, especially digital newspapers!
  • In Nigeria, about 70% of the population has access to social media, and Nigerian libraries are starting to use social media outlets to promote their resources.

Access to Newspaper Content

  • The University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History website contains over 1.4 million pages of digital newspaper content, made possible by strategic partnerships between newspaper publishers, local libraries, and the University.
  • The University of Utah’s Digital Newspapers website can be searched and browsed at the article level. In partnership with FamilySearch, the genealogical arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah is currently indexing all of the obituaries contained in their digital collection.
  • The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program is working on an interactive museum exhibit featuring Arizona’s historic digital newspapers, to debut in April at the Arizona State Capitol Museum.
  • The British Library in London is hard at work preserving and providing access to historic print newspapers, digitized newspapers, and current news, including current born-digital news websites, with a strategy of making all news media accessible to users in one location. The physical library space previously referred to as the “reading room,” is now called the “news room,” and users can research, collaborate, and network to celebrate all things news! The online British Newspaper Archive contains over 7.4 billion pages of newspaper content covering news from the 1700s up to the 1950s.
  • Collaboration is key to ensuring preservation and increasing access to both historic and current newspapers!

Scholarly Use of Newspapers

The Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper website has proven to be a very useful resource for scholars and researchers of all kinds. A full list of tips, resources, and scholarly use of Chronicling America content can be found on the Library of Congress’ Extra! Extra! NDNP Extras! web page. Here are just a few examples of digital scholarship projects based on Chronicling America content:

Information on how to download bulk full text from Chronicling America’s newspapers can be found at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ocr/.

A recent content analysis of dissertations and theses at the University of Arizona Libraries found that students from a variety of disciplines, including history, communication/journalism, political science, sociology, education, literature, arts, and foreign language/literature, have used newspapers in their research. The majority of students used current newspapers published in North America, with a small percentage, mostly in the foreign language/literature discipline, using newspapers published in other countries. Historic newspapers were mostly utilized by history students.

Preservation of Historic Newspapers

  • Finnish national law, namely the “Act on Collecting and Preserving Cultural Materials (1433/2007),” requires that all newspapers published in Finland be kept in hard copy at the National Library of Finland, “to preserve the Finnish published heritage for coming generations” (National Library of Finland).
  • Likewise, the British Library in London has undertaken an extensive program to preserve and store the printed hard copies of all newspapers from the U.K.; bound volumes of historic newspapers are shrink-wrapped and stored in a temperature and oxygen-controlled facility, and a robotic system is used to retrieve papers for use by researchers.
  • Unlike our European counterparts, rather than go to great lengths to store printed hard copy newspapers here in the United States, we have turned to microfilm as the preferred archival format for newspapers. From 1982-2011, the federal United States Newspaper Project (USNP) provided over $50 million of funding for libraries across the U.S. to microfilm and catalog historic U.S. newspapers. However, no funding was allocated for preservation or storage of print hard copies, as these were considered local, rather than national, affairs.
  • Some concerned parties have compared historic print newspapers in the United States to the Passenger Pigeon, which is now extinct. Like the Passenger Pigeon, newspapers have been so abundant throughout history that it has seemed like no big deal to just throw them away, especially since many have been made available on microfilm, and now in digital format. Proponents of print newspaper preservation argue that the black and white images available on microfilm render many color printed graphics meaningless, not to mention that many newspapers have been filmed in poor condition or with gaps in content, leaving portions unreadable and thus un-usable. Also, who knows what kinds of future technologies might emerge in say, 5o years? For example, 3D digital might be the next advancement, and microfilm or current digital files might not suffice in a transition to future formats.
  • However, there are some institutions in the U.S. that have committed to preserving print copies, such as Duke University, which houses about 10,000 various titles in print, and the University of Utah’s ARC, or Automated Retrieval Center, where print newspapers are stored in lightweight, water-resistant Coroplast boxes.

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Dear Santa…A Christmas Tradition in Historic Newspapers

‘Tis the season! Oregon’s historic newspapers are full of holiday cheer from years past! As the Christmas holiday approaches, so too do thoughts of Christmas traditions, such as selecting and/or decorating a Christmas tree, hanging Christmas lights, sending Christmas cards and singing Christmas carols. The list of Christmas traditions goes on and on!

Drawing of Santa Claus smiling while pouring hot water into a teacup, surrounded by decorative holly plants.

Daily capital journal. (Salem, Or.) 1903-1919, December 25, 1914, Image 12. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn99063957/1914-12-25/ed-1/seq-12/

Writing letters to Santa Claus is one of the most apparent (and most entertaining) Christmas traditions that can be traced through our newspapers. It is difficult to know just how long this tradition has been in play, but a search for “Dear Santa” on the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website reveals that children were writing letters to Santa by at least 1874. The following clip from an Ohio newspaper even reveals the children’s logic behind publishing their letters in the newspaper:

Clipping reads: "For the children - One day last week two bright little children entered the Democrat office and wanted us to print letters to Santa Claus, from them. They wrote the letters themselves, and said they knew Santa Claus would see them if they were printed in the paper. We give the letters: Dear Santa Claus: We have moved. We don't live where we used to. We moved our shop to East Tuscarawas street, in Cassilly's frame building. Our chimney is small, but we have a trap door, and you can come down easy. -Louie Buckius. The other was from a little girl. Dear Santa Claus: We moved in Patton's house, North Market street, and I wish you would send me a doll and a little buggy and sleigh; our chimney is big enough to come down. Do send my little cousin Fannie a buggie too; be sure and come. I will be a good little girl. -Maggie Bartlett.

The Stark County Democrat., December 24, 1874, HOLIDAY EDITION, Page 7, Image 7, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84028490/1874-12-24/ed-1/seq-7/

This early example reveals that children were already writing letters to Santa in the late 1800s. However, publishing children’s letters to Santa did not become a widespread trend among newspapers until the turn of the 20th century. The oldest letter to Santa that we found in Historic Oregon Newspapers is from 1890:

Clipping reads: "Griffin & Reed of this city are daily in receipt of a number of letters addressed to Santa Claus. The following is a specimen of one received yesterday from Gray's River. It reads as follows, and was addressed: 'Santa Claus, Astoria.' Gray's River, Dec. 14th, 1890. Dear Santa Claus; bring my little sister a doll and a doll wagon and some candy and some nuts and some peanuts, and a tin horn. Bring me an air gun and a buck saw and a knife and some candy and some nuts and some peanuts. Frank.

The daily morning Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1883-1899, December 19, 1890, Image 3 http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96061150/1890-12-19/ed-1/seq-3/

While this letter was not written with the explicit purpose of being published in the newspaper, it was sent to Griffin & Reed, a local stationary and bookstore in Astoria at the time. Apparently, many retail stores served as the destination for such letters, since Santa Claus often appeared in the stores to spread Christmas merriment and listen to children’s wishlists. For example, the Olds, Wortman & King department store in Portland made Santa welcome in the store, and encouraged children to write to him, publishing a select number of letters in the Oregon Daily Journal as part of their advertising:

Clipping reads: "Here is a Generous Little Fellow. 'December 14, 1905. Dear Santa Claus: Santa Claus, when you come I will give you some cookies. Santa Claus, will you bring a wagon? I want a drum; I want a pair of slippers for Christmas, and a box of paints, and a brush, and a game of Flinch. My name is ----.'"

The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972, December 22, 1905, Image 5 http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn85042444/1905-12-22/ed-1/seq-5/

By 1908, many newspapers were regularly publishing letters to Santa each year, especially the Oregon City Courier:

Clipping reads: "Little Letters to Santa Claus. Oregon City, Dec. 12, 1908. Dear Santa Claus - I want a horse, a train of cars, a drum, and a football. I guess you can send a horn. My Granpa Burns is the policeman and I'll tell him not to bother you on Xmas, cause he might think you was a robber going down the chimney. Please send my little sweetheart Willa Jones a dollie and go-cart. Her stocking is small but you can put them under the foot of her bed. Good-bye Sanrta Claus; from your loving little friend, Orville E. Burns, 202 Front St., Oregon City, Oregon. P.S. - Please bring Emma Ellis a real live horse. She wants one."

Oregon City courier. (Oregon City, Or.) 1902-1919, December 18, 1908, Image 3 http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn00063698/1908-12-18/ed-1/seq-3/

In 1912, the U.S. Postal Service started the “Letters to Santa” program with the goal of responding to children’s letters and providing help to children in need. The program continues today, thanks to Postal workers, volunteers, charitable organizations and corporations. The following clip illustrates the very beginnings of this idea:

Clipping reads: "First Santa Claus Letter is Received. Washington, Dec. 7 - Postmaster General Hitchcock received the first Santa Claus letter from a little girl in Camptilla, who declares she is bedridden with a broken hip. Hitchcock is not decided whether to send the Santa Claus letters to the dead letter office or give them to charity organizations."

East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.) 1888-current, December 07, 1912, EVENING EDITION, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn88086023/1912-12-07/ed-1/seq-1/

According to the U.S. Postal Service, “In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to let employees and citizens respond to these letters. This became known as Operation Santa. In the 1940s, mail volume for Santa increased so much that the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate by providing written responses and small gifts” (Letters to Santa Program FAQs).

The letters continue to crop up over the years in our historic newspapers, revealing all sorts of interesting wants and needs, special requests, and selfless thoughts of giving to others. Some of the letters are quite surprising, such as this gem from the Sunday Oregonian:

Clipping reads: "But here is the most remarkable letter in the collection, considering the age of the writer. It was probably written by an obliging older sister, but the request in it is quite original. 'Dear Santa Clause. I've been waiting for you for a long time. I am nine months old. I want a trunk fill of silk dresses and a necklace with my Mothers picture and a ring, with a ruby. I've been a awful good girl. From Arvilla.'"

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, December 21, 1919, SECTION THREE, Image 56 http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1919-12-21/ed-1/seq-56/

Some children actually admitted to being naughty, but would still request gifts for themselves and others, such as this boy, whose letter was published in Ashland High School’s student newspaper:

Clipping reads: "Dear Santa, I have not been a very good boy this year, but I would like something. I would like some tinker toys. Please bring my mommie a mink coat and my daddy a Cad. Please bring my sister a teddy bear. Bring my  neighbor Elvis Presley. (It does not have to be gift wrapped.) Bring my dog a bone, my cat a mouse, and my squirrel a nut. - Robert Wasner. P.S. Please don't forget my tinker toys."

Rogue news. (Ashland, Or.) 19??-????, December 19, 1956, Image 3 http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2013260024/1956-12-19/ed-1/seq-3/

Looking back through these letters leads to many interesting questions and thoughts. In what ways have “Dear Santa” letters changed over the years? What kinds of gifts are still on lists today, and which ones are no longer desired? How many children continue to write Santa telling him that they have moved, or to request gifts for friends and family? How do your Christmas wishes compare to these letters?

The letters featured here represent just a snapshot of all that can be found by searching historic newspapers. Try searching keywords such as “Dear Santa,” “Letters to Santa,” “Christmas,” “Santa Claus,” and “Christmas Tradition” and see what comes up. There are always new and exciting images and texts just waiting to be discovered!

Happy searching, and happy holidays from ODNP!

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Finding Cartoons and Comics in Historic Oregon Newspapers

Some of the richest content in our historic newspapers are the political cartoons and comic strips embedded within the pages of text. Newspapers digitized through the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program and made available online at Historic Oregon Newspapers (http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu) are keyword searchable, but it may be difficult to find images, cartoons, and comics.

A keyword search for “comics” yields a plethora of pages, but few of them actually contain comic strips. If we delete the “s” and search for “comic,” the results are much more applicable. Newspapers such as the Portland Sunday Oregonian, the Salem Daily Capital Journal, and the Portland Oregon Daily Journal often contain a whole section of comics, often titled “Comic Section,” which is why a search for “comic” is much more fruitful than a search for “comics.”

Clipping shows the title block for a comic strip called Old Dog Yak. This particular comic is titled "Old Dog Yak, A Study in Nature," and depicts Old Dog Yak in a field with a butterfly net and a bottle of chloroform.

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, August 10, 1913, Comic Section, Image 75. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1913-08-10/ed-1/seq-75/

The Sunday Oregonian also has a Magazine Section that contains a variety of full page photographs and images. A keyword search for the words “Magazine Section” within 5 words of each other will turn up a large number of interesting results! Here is just one example from the holiday season of 1910:

Image of the front page of the Sunday Oregonian Magazine Section shows a full page photograph of a child in pajamas, with a decorative border of Holly leaves and berries, with caption that reads, "Waiting for Santa Claus."

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, December 25, 1910, SECTION SIX, Image 49. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1910-12-25/ed-1/seq-49/

The Portland West Shore and Illustrated West Shore also contain several images, especially on the front page of every issue. Here is just one of the many illustrations to be found in the West Shore:

Image shows two men in a field preparing food and drink over a small cook stove, with a covered wagon and horses grazing in the background. Caption reads: "Eastern Oregon - The Freighter's Camp."

The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891, July 26, 1890, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2012260361/1890-07-26/ed-1/seq-1/

Political cartoons are a bit harder to come by, since they are not usually labeled with the words “political cartoon.” A search for the words “political” and “cartoon” within 5 words of each other produces very little applicable content. Luckily, this one cartoon just happens to have a statement beneath it containing the words “political cartoon,” making it easily findable:

Political cartoon depicts a large man holding a pick axe, building a road, with a smaller man in a car labeled "G.O.P." driving down the road, kicking up dust. Caption beneath the cartoon reads: "Governor Chamberlain is building a first-class good road from the state reform school into the city of Salem with convict labor under the provisions of an act of the last legislature. Johnny Harris, a student at the Chemawa Indian School, has furnished the above political cartoon expressing the situation."

Daily capital journal. (Salem, Or.) 1903-1919, June 28, 1904, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn99063957/1904-06-28/ed-1/seq-1/

Few cartoons actually have words printed on or near them. If anything, they might contain handwritten words that are often either misinterpreted or overlooked by the optical character recognition software that makes the pages keyword searchable. If you’re looking for cartoons, the front page of the Morning Oregonian is a good place to start. Editorial cartoons began appearing on the front page of the Morning Oregonian around February of 1903. By 1907, these cartoons were appearing on the front page on a regular basis, and this trend continued up until at least 1922, when almost every issue had a political cartoon on the front page. Take for example this prohibition era cartoon:

Cartoon has caption that reads: "Just when they had begun to think that they could get away with it." Image shows a 1920s style car with a sign on it reading "Bootleggers," with three men looking shocked out the back as their luggage, marked "Booze," is falling off the car and the tires of the car are being popped by spikes on the road marked "larger gov't appropriations to enforce prohibition." An evil looking, smirking sun watches the scene from behind a cloud above.

Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, January 07, 1922, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025138/1922-01-07/ed-1/seq-1/

The Morning Oregonian is likely the most common source for finding editorial and political cartoons, but that’s not to say that other historic Oregon titles aren’t holding interesting cartoon gems within their pages. That’s where the fun of searching and browsing comes in! If you come across any cartoons, comics, or images that might be of interest to others, please leave a comment below, indicating the newspaper title, date, page number, and subject matter depicted. With your help, we can make these culturally significant images more findable for all!

For a political cartoons teacher’s guide, please see Political Cartoons in U.S. History, from the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources, Teacher’s Guide, Primary Source Set.

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