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Happy Women’s Equality Day!

Monday, August 26th, 2013
Abigail Scott Duniway, Oregon champion of suffrage

Abigail Scott Duniway (1834-1915)

On this day in 1920, women were given the right to vote when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified.

Rediscover the movement through the Abigail Scott Duniway (1834-1915) papers, who was the leading suffragist for Oregon women’s voting rights. Duniway moved to Oregon from Illinois in 1852 with her family on the Oregon Trail and kept a detailed journal of their travels; the diary has been digitized and can be viewed here. Duniway was later a key leader of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, and she aided the national effort. This expansive collection contains her correspondence, published and unpublished literary works, documents pertaining to the suffrage movement, and a considerable amount of newspaper clippings reporting on Duniway’s political and social work. The guide to the collection can be found here.

In addition, we have various other women’s political and social activists collections which are detailed in this subject guide. Manuscripts Curator, Linda Long, has highlighted these collections in the article, “Equality, Politics, and Separatism: The Papers of Oregon Feminists in the University of Oregon Libraries,” published by the Oregon Historical Society.

Logging at the Age of Twelve: 19th Century Reminiscences

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Two loggers with an anchor tree and yarder hauling log, photographed by Arthur Prentiss, Angelus Studio photograph collection (PH037)

John Joseph Villair (1876-?) traveled with his family from Michigan to California in 1887 and at the very young age of twelve he began working in logging. He had this specific recollection about “greasing skids”:

I started to work in the woods greasing skids for Johnny Keehoe, nickname of Pike, at the age of twelve; Pike had five yoke of bulls skidding in some 25 m’ of redwood logs a day… My job was to build a fire under a large iron kettle in which tallow was melted for use as grease. I was so small the men cut a black powder can in half with a bail for my use in carrying the grease so the can would not drag on the skids as I walked along and greased them… I sued a burlap swab dipped into warm grease – swab like a paint brush fastened onto a stick some three feet long – the burlap was fringed to make the swab which would last about a week.”

Following his stint as a skid greaser, he held jobs for numerous logging outfits and lived in camps and small towns on the frontier.  Villairs’ reminiscences, transcribed by John Kuhns in Josephine County, are a fascinating trip through late 19th century logging practices peppered with talk of “getting rather high” and brawling with saloon keepers.  Villair also describes his family’s journey to California to meet up with his father, and his  later experiences as a horse team driver for California logging companies.  He goes into considerable detail describing logging tools and methods, as well as the characters he met in logging camps and communities.

For more, come down to Special Collections and University Archives and see the John Joseph Villair reminiscences (Collection #CB V711).

~Austin Munsell, Collections Coordinator

Maritime Recipes and Cure-Alls for the Adventurous Chef

Friday, November 30th, 2012

C.P.R.CO. S.S. Princess May wrecked on Sentinel Is. Alaska; Andrews (Clarence L.) Photographs; Photo by W.H. Case; PH001_1320b

Should you be suffering from a complaint of the liver, please consider the following recipe from the Ships Log/Cookbook of the H. M. Packet Swiftsure, 1820*:

Cure for the Liver Complaint:

Take of the female or red stemed dandelion one quarter of a Peck, three or four large heads of Garlick, one pound of loaf sugar, one gallon of spring water.  The above boiled down to half a gallon, strained off, and then add one pint of strong vinegar-

Take a wine glassful three or four times a day – An effectual cure for the Liver complaint.

Other recipes include Calf’s Foot Jelly (for those with a spare calf’s foot lying around), Indian Pickle, Very Fine Sausages, and Mrs. Green’s Milk Punch (which should probably be called Mrs. Green’s Rum Punch, since it consists of 4 quarts of rum and 3 pints of milk).  For this and 50 other maritime recipes, see the Swiftsure Ship log and recipe book (B 118) in the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives.

*Warning: Special Collections and University Archives is not an approved medical provider.  Please do not consume this concoction without first consulting a physician and/or salty sailor previously cured of the liver complaint with said concoction.  However, should you know what a complaint of the liver would be in modern parlance, please comment and let us know.

–Austin Munsell, Collections Coordinator

Oregon Trail Diaries: Journeys to the Northwest

Monday, November 12th, 2012

During this fall term, students in Professor Marsha Weisiger’s HIST 466 course, The American West, were assigned to read original diaries documenting journeys to the Pacific Northwest in the nineteenth century, housed in Special Collections and University Archives.

Special Collections and University Archives is the repository for over 100 overland trail journals and several sea journeys to the Pacific Northwest, many of which are original documents. Professor Weisiger’s students are to read three journals and compare their differences and similarities among the three experiences, with particular focus on issues such as class, race, gender, and ethnicity.

The diaries documenting journeys to the Pacific Northwest (the Oregon Trail is the predominate route represented among the diaries) are described in the Special Collections and University Archives’ subject guides here.

To the left is the first page of Abigail Scott Duniway’s diary written in 1852 to document her family’s migration over the Oregon Trail (Abigail Scott Duniway Papers, Coll. 232B). The finding aid to the Duniway Papers can be found here and the fully digitized diary can be found here.

Linda Long
Manuscripts Librarian