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Words Marked by a Place

Local Histories in Central Oregon

Jarold Ramsey

6 × 9. 29 B&W photos. Bibliography. Notes. 224 pages.

2018. ISBN 978-0-87071-920-2. Paperback, $21.95.

ISBN 978-0-87071-921-9. e-book, $11.99.

Words Marked by a Place is a book of interconnected writings reflecting on the human and natural history of central Oregon. This chronological collection presents the reader with key episodes of central Oregon history, from nineteenth-century exploration to the railroading and homesteading era to the era of community-building and development that followed.

While telling these local stories, Jarold Ramsey explores alternative ways of engaging history in the act of writing, breaking new ground by discovering and exploring primary sources that bear on the region’s colorful but little-known past. Throughout the collection, he interrogates “local history” as a subject. What is local history? How is it related to mainstream academic history? What are legitimate ways of doing it? How do the details of what we call local history inform “history-at-large,” and vice-versa?

From the opening narrative concerning Lieutenant Henry Larcom Abbot’s “Railroad Survey” of the region in 1855 to the concluding account of Lieutenant Robert Cranston’s last months and dramatic death, when his “Airacobra” fighter plane crashed near Madras in 1944, Words Marked by a Place sheds new light on the ongoing story of central Oregon by illuminating forgotten corners of its past. Through both theory and example, it represents an important contribution to the history of the region and the endeavors of local historians, wherever they happen to work.

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