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Oregon State University Press

Oregon State University Press

Website: http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/

For fifty years, Oregon State University Press has been publishing exceptional books about the Pacific Northwest -- its people and landscapes, its flora and fauna, its history and cultural heritage. The Press has played a vital role in the region's literary life, providing readers with a better understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian.

Founded in 1961 when the University adopted its current name of Oregon State University, the OSU Press at first published mainly scholarly works on the biological and natural sciences. But sprinkled throughout our list were titles about Oregon that appealed to the book-loving public.

Fifty year -- and nearly 400 book -- later, the heart of our mission is still the same. We are a scholarly publisher with distinguished books in several academic areas from environmental history and natural resource management to indigenous studies and we publish titles that celebrate, evaluate, invent, and illuminate the Oregon condition.


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Oregon State University Press

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Living Off the Pacific Ocean Floor

Stories of a Commercial Fisherman

George Moskovita

In this authentic account of a seafaring life, Captain George Moskovita offers a highly personal and often humorous look at the career of a commercial fisherman. George Moskovita was sixteen when he graduated from high school in Bellingham, Washington, and went to sea. Fishing would take him crabbing off Alaska, seining for sardines off California and for tuna off Mexico, and catching soupfin sharks for their livers (a vital source of Vitamin A during World War II). He came to Astoria, Oregon, in 1939, where he was a pioneer of the Oregon ocean perch fishery.

In a career that spanned over 60 years, George Moskovita met with many maritime adventures, recounted for the reader in a clear, direct, and unsentimental style. He saw the fishery he had helped build devastated by foreign factory processing ships. He bought, repaired, traded, and sank more boats than most fishermen would work on in a lifetime. Along the way, he managed to raise four daughters with his wife, June. The name of one of his last boats, the Four Daughters, reflects the central importance of family life to a man who was often at sea. Moskovita’s memoir provides a unique glimpse of Pacific maritime life in the 20th century, small-town coastal life after World War II, and the early days of fishery development in Oregon.

With an introduction and textual notes by Carmel Finley, an historian of science, and Mary Hunsicker, an aquatic and fisheries scientist, this book will be invaluable to fishery students and professionals interested in the biology, ecology, and history of oceans and commercial fishing. It will also have broad appeal to readers of Oregon history and maritime adventure, and anyone else who has ever stood at the western edge of the continent and wondered what life was like at sea.

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The Lumberman's Frontier

Three Centuries of Land Use, Society, and Change in America's Forests

Thomas R. Cox

With The Lumberman’s Frontier, Thomas Cox has reconstructed a groundbreaking history that stands apart from all previous studies of American forests.

Forests were ubiquitous in early America, but it was only in selected areas that trees, rather than farming, ranching, or mining, attracted settlement. These areas constitute the lumberman’s frontier, which appeared first in northern New England in the seventeenth century, followed by upstate New York, the Allegheny Plateau, the upper Great Lakes states, the Gulf South, and the Far West.

The forest frontiers generated capital and building materials important in the nation’s development, but they also left a legacy of environmental problems, class and urban-rural divisions, and economic frictions. The 1930s marked the end of the lumberman’s frontier, but these consequences continue to shape attitudes and policies toward forests, most notably the questions “Whose forests are they?” and “How and by whom should forests be used?”

Drawing upon recent work in social and economic history, as well as a wealth of historical data on forest industries and individuals, The Lumberman’s Frontier neither glorifies economic development nor falls into the maw of ecological gloom-and-doom. It puts individual actors at center stage, allowing the points of view of the workers and lumbermen to emerge.

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A Man for All Seasons

Monroe Sweetland and the Liberal Paradox

William G. Robbins

The life of prominent Oregon political leader Monroe Sweetland spans the spectrum of 20th-century America. Through seven decades, Sweetland experienced the economic collapse of the Great Depression, the unparalleled violence of a nation at war, the divisiveness of Cold War politics, and the cultural and political turmoil of the Vietnam War.

Historian William G. Robbins illuminates the wrenching transformation of American political culture in A Man for All Seasons: Monroe Sweetland and the Liberal Paradox. Racial and economic inequalities motivated much of Sweetland’s civic life, including his lifelong memberships in the American Civil Liberties Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the Red Cross, where Sweetland worked repatriating American prisoners of war after Japan’s surrender.

Robbins’ portrait is holistic, exploring Sweetland’s socialist beginnings, inconsistencies in his politics—especially during the Cold War—and his regional legacy. He was the most important person in the resurgence of the modern, liberal Oregon Democratic Party from the late 1940s to the 1960s.  He joined the National Education Association in 1964 and became the driving force behind the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 and the fight for the age-18 vote, achieved in the ratification of the 26th amendment in 1971. Monroe Sweetland was a nationally prominent figure, whose fights bequeathed to modern America important legislation that shaped its political landscape.

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Marie Equi

Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions

Michael Helquist

Marie Equi explores the fiercely independent life of an extraordinary woman. Born of Italian-Irish parents in 1872, Marie Equi endured childhood labor in a gritty Massachusetts textile mill before fleeing to an Oregon homestead with her first longtime woman companion, who described her as impulsive, earnest, and kind-hearted. These traits, along with courage, stubborn resolve, and a passion for justice, propelled Equi through an unparalleled life journey.  

Equi self-studied her way into a San Francisco medical school and then obtained her license in Portland to become one of the first practicing woman physicians in the Pacific Northwest. From Pendleton, Portland, Seattle and beyond to Boston and San Francisco, she leveraged her professional status to fight for woman suffrage, labor rights, and reproductive freedom. She mounted soapboxes, fought with police, and spent a night in jail with birth control advocate Margaret Sanger. Equi marched so often with unemployed men that the media referred to them as her army. She battled for economic justice at every turn and protested the U.S. entry into World War I, leading to a conviction for sedition and a three-year sentence in San Quentin. Breaking boundaries in all facets of life, she became the first well-known lesbian in Oregon, and her same-sex affairs figured prominently in two U.S. Supreme Court cases.

Marie Equi is a finely written, rigorously researched account of a woman of consequence, who one fellow-activist considered “the most interesting woman that ever lived in this state, certainly the most fascinating, colorful, and flamboyant.” This much anticipated biography will engage anyone interested in Pacific Northwest history, women’s studies, the history of lesbian and gay rights, and the personal demands of political activism. It is the inspiring story of a singular woman who was not afraid to take risks, who refused to compromise her principles in the face of enormous opposition and adversity, and who paid a steep personal price for living by her convictions.

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Massacred for Gold

The Chinese in Hells Canyon

R. Gregory Nokes

In 1887, more than 30 Chinese gold miners were massacred on the Oregon side of Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America. Massacred for Gold, the first authoritative account of the unsolved crime—one of the worst of the many crimes committed by whites against Chinese laborers in the American West—unearths the evidence that points to an improbable gang of rustlers and schoolboys, one only 15, as the killers.

The crime was discovered weeks after it happened, but no charges were brought for nearly a year, when gang member Frank Vaughan, son of a well-known settler family, confessed and turned state’s evidence. Six men and boys, all from northeastern Oregon’s remote Wallowa country, were charged—but three fled, and the others were found innocent by a jury that a witness admitted had little interest in convicting anyone. A cover-up followed, and the crime was all but forgotten for the next 100 years, until a county clerk found hidden records in an unused safe.

In bringing this story out of the shadows, Nokes examines the once-substantial presence of Chinese laborers in the interior Pacific Northwest, describing why they came, how their efforts contributed to the region’s development, and how too often mistreatment and abuse were their only reward.

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Meander Scars

Reflections on Healing the Willamette River

Abby Phillips Metzger

“Metzger’s keen insights spring from a lifetime of direct observation while growing up along the river and recording its most subtle changes and the impact of the scarring in the eco-region it passes through. Written with passion and grace, the book is, in a sense, a love story for a once-wild river now tamed. Metzger asks, ‘Who gives us permission to intervene?’ She concludes that in the great web of history, nature will ultimately decide, and that we humans are left only to imagine.” —Carol Ann Bassett, author of Galápagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution

Abby Phillips Metzger’s book of personal stories recounts a forgotten Oregon river, the Willamette, as it was before white settlement. Once a rich network of channels and sloughs, the Willamette today bears the scars of development and degradation. Yet, through canoe trips and intimate explorations of the river, Metzger discovers glints of resiliency: a beaver trolling through a slough, native fish in quiet backwaters, and strong currents that carry undertones of the wild Willamette. Together with tales from farmers and scientists alike, these experiences lead Metzger to ask whether something scarred can fully heal, and whether a disjointed river can be whole again.

A story of re-discovery as told by a learner, Meander Scars will appeal to readers of literary nonfiction, river advocates, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts interested in sustaining healthy river systems for themselves, their children, and beyond.

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Mexicanos in Oregon

Their Stories, Their Lives

Erlinda V. Gonzales-Berry and Marcela Mendoza

Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives sheds new light on why migrants come to Oregon, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States.

Although Oregon has had a settled Mexican-origin population since the mid-nineteenth century, the number of Latinos residing in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last two decades, leading to increased diversity across the state, particularly visible in the public school system and in agricultural and service occupations.

Mexicanos in Oregon explores this history of migration and settlement of mexicanos, highlighting their sustained practices of community building, their struggles for integration, and their contributions to the economic and cultural life of the state. Using archival records, primary and secondary sources, demographic statistics, and personal testimonies, and drawing from multiple disciplines, Gonzales-Berry and Mendoza create a picture of the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions that have shaped the lives of mexicanos. The blend of scholarly research and individual stories reflects the very human dimension and complex forces that make up the mexicano experience in Oregon.

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Money Trees

The Douglas Fir and American Forestry, 1900-1944

Emily K. Brock

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Morning Light

Stories from Yamhill County

Barbara Drake

When Barbara Drake and her husband left Portland and moved to a small farm in western Oregon’s Yamhill Valley in the late 80’s, they saw it as a temporary relocation—they would return to the city eventually. But as the couple’s experiences on the farm multiplied—training herding dogs, enlisting a pair of traveling dowsers to help them find a good well, and stargazing in a singular nighttime darkness—certain themes began to emerge, and the couple decided to hang on to their rural life as long as possible.

Barbara Drake articulates the lessons she’s learned from her long stint of country living in her new book, Morning Light. Replete with records of native wildflowers, an encounter with an elderly man who lived on her farm eighty years ago, and an old family recipe for wild blackberry pudding, Morning Light is an appreciation and exploration of the landscape of western Oregon, and readers will come to know it better through the book.

As entertaining and instructive as it is personal and reflective, Drake’s writing will resonate with anyone who has experienced a convergence of family history with natural history, considered their place in the historical continuum, or wondered if their lifestyle can be sustained with age.

In a world where even “the country” is becoming increasingly citified, Morning Light reminds us why we should care for our rural landscapes—while we still can.

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