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Oregon: “Summer Playground of the Northwest”

Oregon has long been a popular destination for those seeking warm-weather recreation. With seemingly endless options set amid a landscape abundant in natural beauty, Oregon is a big draw for visitors from out of state in search of vacation fun and for Oregonians seeking a weekend (or week-long) escape from the day-to-day. As is evident from this article from the June 28, 1914, issue of the Sunday Oregonian, there is no shortage of “Vacation Haunts in Oregon.”

The Sunday Oregonian is the Sunday edition of the long-running Oregonian newspaper, which is the oldest continuously running newspaper on the West Coast and has been a major newspaper in Portland, Oregon, since 1850. First published on December 4, 1881, the Sunday Oregonian has striven to print news of interest to those in Multnomah County, Oregon, and far beyond. Such news of interest includes what to do, and where to sojourn, in Oregon in the summertime. The aforementioned “Vacation Haunts in Oregon” article published in the Sunday Oregonian suggests a plethora of options for summer vacation in the state, from “an outing on the beach,” to “boating or canoeing,” to “trout fishing,” to “running about through mountains and forest,” to “camp[ing] or liv[ing] in rented tent houses or small seaside cottages.”

Speaking of seaside cottages…

Another article, published in the July 4, 1920, edition of the Sunday Oregonian, points the way to summertime destinations (and doings) in Seaside, Oregon, a historic summer resort area and longtime beach vacation destination. The article, titled “News of the Resorts,” extensively reports on the Oregon families who were summering in beach cottages along the shore. Reporting on the Yost family, the article says:

“Idlewild” Cottage is being occupied this year by Mr. and Mrs. B. L. Yost, their parents and three children. The family were formerly from Portland, but have recently made their home in Vancouver. They have been at the coast two weeks.”

Also according to “News of the Resorts”:

The garden at Necanicum this year is just as beautiful as ever and can be enjoyed to the fullest extent from the sun parlor built last year. The hotel, which is in its twentieth year under Mrs. Damon’s management, is opening this season with Mrs. M. W. Cruise of Oregon Agricultural college in charge of the dining room. She has with her several co-eds from the domestic science department assisting.

“News of the Resorts” goes on to chronicle the opening of summer homes in Gearhart, Oregon; who’s who among the visitors inhabiting the cottages in Cannon Beach, Oregon; seasonal travelers to the seaside resort destination of Newport Beach, Oregon; as well as Fourth of July festivities, parties, and the opening of a new public restroom in Long Beach, Washington, thanks to the efforts of the Ladies’ Aid Society of Long Beach.

In addition, the “News of the Resorts” article features a photograph of Crescent Lake, a natural lake and recreational spot that has long been popular with those who enjoy fishing, swimming and sailing:

With such natural, picturesque attractions like Crescent Lake that invite all manner of outdoor warm-weather fun, summer in Oregon has a strong, undeniable lure that can be felt near and far. As the “Vacation Haunts in Oregon” article states:

All nature in Oregon invites the vacationist. That’s why Oregon is called “The Summer playground of the Northwest” and that also is the reason this state is drawing annually bigger crowds of tourists and vacationists from the East. The outing places are all here and they’re free. They lack artificiality and formality, holding still their original natural beauty and attractiveness.

So, in the words of the “Vacation Haunts in Oregon” piece, “now for your summer vacation. Dig out your fishing tackle, your big shoes, the old duck suit, your bathing trunks and the slouch hat and hit the trail. Nature, you will find, has had your comfort and pleasure in mind since last Summer and will be on hand as usual to greet you with big broad smiles whichever way you turn.” Happy summer (and enjoy the sun)!

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ODNP Blog Has Moved!

Thank you for visiting the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program blog! Our site has moved – please visit us at for project information and updates, as well as newly re-vamped K-12 lesson plans geared toward using historic newspapers in the classroom to meet common core standards.

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Issues of the Crook County Journal Now Online, 1901-1921!

Thanks to a partnership with the Crook County Historical Society/Bowman Museum in Prineville, Oregon, issues of the Crook County Journal are now available online at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

The Crook County Journal reliably kept residents of Prineville, Oregon, informed for more than two decades, beginning in the 1890s. Throughout its run, the newspaper was published weekly, arriving hot off the press every Thursday. In 1901, readers could get the Crook County Journal for $1.50 for a one-year subscription, 75 cents for a six-month subscription, and 50 cents for a three-month subscription. At the end of the newspaper’s run, in 1921, subscriptions were only offered on an annual basis, for $2 a year.

For the first decade of the 20th century, readers of the Crook County Journal were treated to four pages of content. In later decades, the newspaper averaged eight pages. Topics covered included local and state news, especially politics and natural disasters, school happenings and construction projects. Advertisements, which increasingly took up more page space with each passing year of the newspaper’s existence, touted a range of products and services, from typewriters to farming equipment to menswear to banking services.

Content from the Crook County Journal can be browsed online at the Historic Oregon Newspapers website. Each issue of the newspaper can be browsed by issue date via the website’s calendar view. In addition, specific content can be found through keyword search on the website’s search page. PDFs of newspaper pages can be downloaded. All issues of the Crook County Journal that are now online are available for browsing, searches, and downloads – all for FREE at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

Historic Oregon Newspapers now has weekly coverage of the Crook County Journal from January 2, 1901, through July 7, 1921. Take a look at this and other historic newspaper content from Oregon at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

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Historic Oregon Newspapers Online: Available and Forthcoming Titles

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program strives to continually add more content to Historic Oregon Newspapers online. To view a list of Oregon titles that are currently available for searching and browsing online, as well as a list of forthcoming titles, please visit our informational Title Selection page.

The left column, “NDNP Titles,” lists all Oregon newspapers that have been digitized through the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the Library of Congress. These titles are available both on Historic Oregon Newspapers online and Chronicling America, a nationwide historic newspaper database hosted by the Library of Congress. Forthcoming titles will be made available online as soon as possible. Stay tuned to our blog for announcements of newly added content and other project updates and highlights.

The right column, “Oregon-Only Titles,” lists all Oregon newspapers that are available on Historic Oregon Newspapers online, with funding from various grants, donations, and partnerships with public libraries, historical societies, and other heritage groups across the state.

Happy Searching!

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New content from Astoria, Grants Pass, and Pendleton now online!

The last portion of historic Oregon newspaper content from our 2011 National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant has just been added to Historic Oregon Newspapers online as well as the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website! The following additions can now be browsed and searched at both websites:

(Astoria, Or.) The Daily Morning Astorian. Feb. 1, 1893-Sept. 1, 1899

(Astoria, Or.) The Morning Astorian. Sept. 2, 1899-Feb. 7, 1902

(Grants Pass, Or.) Grants Pass Daily Courier. Jan. 2, 1919-Oct. 28, 1919

(Pendleton, Or.) East Oregonian: E.O. Oct. 2, 1914-March 30, 1915

We are currently working on digitizing even more content with our 2013 NDNP award, so stay tuned for more announcements as new content becomes available.


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A Detour Through Tinsel Town, 1910… Via Coos Bay,Oregon

You never know where historical research might take you…

I was looking around on the Internet this week, hoping to learn the full name of one P. C. Levar of Coos Bay, who had been editor and publisher of the Marshfield Coast Mail newspaper around the turn of the 20th century. While I was unable to discover what the “P. C.” stood for, I did unearth some unexpected information about the man’s writing career. As I discovered, Levar’s legacy rests not so much on anything he wrote while editor of the Coast Mail.  Rather, to the extent that he is still remembered today, it is largely owing to a letter of his that was published in the early film journal, Moving Pictures World.

The letter–in which Levar criticizes the Biograph Film Company for their underhanded replacement of the actress originally known as the ‘Biograph Girl’–is clear evidence that the Hollywood ‘star system’ was already beginning to develop in 1910. Levar’s epistle  is such an early and unambiguous example of what would eventually come to be known as ‘fan mail’ that the letter has been referenced, quoted, and even reproduced whole in a number of books about the formative days of the film industry, including Tom Gunning’s D.W. Griffith & the Origins of American Narrative Film, Eileen Bowser’s The Transformation of Cinema, 1907-1915, and Florence Lawrence, The Biograph Girl: America’s First Movie Star by Kelly R. Brown.

Here is the complete text of P. C. Levar’s letter:

Letter from P.C. Levar of Coos Bay, OR to 'Moving Picture World' magazine, january 30, 1910

Levar's letter to Moving Pictures World, as reprinted in Gunning, Tom. 'D.W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film' (1994: University of Illinois Press)

'Biograph Girl' Florence Lawrence: the object of P.C. Levar's admiration.

Although he does not use her name (probably he did not even know it, as film actors were not credited in those days), the ‘true and original’ Biograph Girl whom Levar favors is almost certainly Florence Lawrence.  Lawrence is generally regarded by film scholars as the first true American movie star. Hers was an eventful, very colorful, and ultimately tragic life. Readers who would like to learn more are directed to her biographic entry in the northernstars movie database, as well as Mary L. Grau’s lengthy and detailed Blog article. At Chronicling America, a name search of all papers presently digitized yields 100 pages  with information on Florence Lawrence (see one exemplary page below). As if that weren’t enough, you can also read about her contributions to automotive engineering history. (Yes, the same Florence Lawrence!)

Biggest Movie Stars of 1916: Florence Lawrence is pictured lower left. From New-York Tribune (New York, NY) January 16, 1916, pg.18

After her relationship with Biograph ended, Lawrence went on to work for other pioneering film production companies, including Lubin Studios, Independent, Universal and Victor. She would appear in more than 270 pictures; at the height of her career earning more than $1 million per year. Prints of her films have become rare, but on YouTube you can view her work in the 1909 Biograph short, ‘Those Awful Hats.’   Jason A. Stone


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