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Many Faces

An Anthology of Oregon Autobiography

Stephen Dow Beckham

Illustrated with art by Oregon artists.

Oregon Literature Series

7 × 10 inches. 320 pages.

1993. ISBN 978-0-87071-372-9. Paperback, $21.95.

1993. ISBN 978-0-87071-371-2. Hardcover, $35.95.

The Oregon Literature Series is a unique cooperative effort of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, which commissioned and created the series, and the Oregon State University Press. The series is designed to appeal to general readers as well as to students and scholars, and is already attracting national attention as a model for literature in the schools.

This volume tells, in their own words, the stories of Oregonians from the prominent to the plain. Here we are given glimpses into lives as different as those of Lydia Taylor, a prostitute; William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice; and J.A. Wisdom, whose father (and owner) sold him into slavery for $400. Here are Barry Lopez, writing about his attempts to wrestle meaning from the river near his home; John Reed, about to turn thirty; Bethenia Owens-Adair, one of Oregon's first women doctors; and Annie Miner Peterson, who dictated many hours of Native American oral literature to anthropologists in the 1930's.

"Terrible times when I'm baby. Rogue River Injun war that time,' recalled an aged resident of the Siletz Reservation in 1912. This man's voice from the past and others--recorded on wax cylinders by linguists and anthropologists--tell the other side of the deeds of the Oregon pioneers...Oregon gold miners, ranchers, school teachers, salmon cannery workers, loggers, and others also penned their life stories. These first-person accounts are real, if sometimes self-serving; they are the fabric of history and the human experience. Oregon autobiographies speak to the diversity of life and labor and human response to a land with many faces."

Stephen Dow Beckham
Member of AAUP