Join us for History Pub at McMenamin's Old St. Francis School, Tuesday, July 28, 2015 7:00-8:30
In the early twentieth century many Bend women worked to achieve more complete rights of citizenship, including voting, jury service, and office holding. Women activists grappled with the question of the rights of women to safety and freedom from gender-based violence, including rape and domestic violence. Dr. Anna Ries Finley served as Bend's city health officer and, in February 1921, became the head of a controversial Woman's Protective Division with authority to investigate cases involving women and girls in the city. When a Bend jury freed a man charged with statutory rape two months later, the press accused Finley of producing and distributing an anonymous mimeographed broadsheet protesting the action that included specific details of the investigation. The firestorm that followed reveals the complicated debates about women's rights to safety and gendered ideas about citizenship and violence.

The Oregon Historical Society will soon be opening a new exhibit The Art of War: Propaganda Posters of World Wars I & II. On Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m. Professor Dan Tichenor, Professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon and I will lead an in-gallery discussion about the meaning and use of posters in these conflicts and what they can tell us about cultural ideas concerning gender, race, citizenship, and religion.
On Monday, February 2, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. I'll be participating in Oregon History 101, sponsored by the Oregon Encyclopedia and hosted by McMenamin's Kennedy School. The event is free to the public and doors open at 6:00 p.m.

One hundred years ago women in Oregon faced many challenges and debated gendered questions that have powerful echoes in our own day. Oregon women shaped powerful reform movements and forged new civic roles including the achievement of the vote, office holding, and jury service for women, public health and civic betterment movements, and labor reforms battling corporate interests, regulating workplaces, and making education more accessible to women. Some Oregon women identified reproductive rights and safety from gender-based violence as key civil liberties at a time when the surveillance state was expanding its reach. Diverse women were active in clubs and associations as an expression of their civic roles and lobbied for legislation and created institutions to benefit women and their communities.

Yet Oregon women were also divided in their visions of female citizenship and how to make a better society. And they faced challenges to their expanded civic activism. Some women campaigned for the prohibition of alcohol and eugenic sterilization as their expression of a better community. Many women of color, wage-earning, and Socialist women challenged privileged structures of whiteness and the capitalist state. Diverse women debated the nature of sexuality and gender roles even as local and state officials sought to define and constrain them. And several key court cases framed debates about women’s civic and economic roles in the industrializing state. Oregon women’s activism during this period is a vital part of our state’s history and the history of the Progressive Era in the nation.


Come join us for Oregon History 101, a nine-month public history lecture series sponsored by the Oregon Encyclopedia Project, the Oregon Historical Society, and McMenamins. I'm honored to be a part of this great series, which has met with great success in its fall presentations.

I'll be presenting on Women in the Progressive Era
on Monday, February 2, 2015 at 7:00 at McMenamin's Kennedy School. The event is free and open to the public. I'll cover some of the topics you might expect, including woman suffrage and Esther Lovejoy, but also feature some of the complexities of the movements for eugenics and prohibition and focus on my new research on women, civil liberties, and the surveillance state.