History Pub

Developed by Holy Names Heritage Center, History Pub is a collaborative program of the Heritage Center, Oregon Historical Society, and McMenamins. Programs feature a presentation by an expert from fields including history, journalism, and women's studies. Whenever possible, individuals who participated in or were affected by the events share their memories as part of the program. The voices of historical participants add a unique perspective to the discussion of these important issues.

History Pub is designed to increase public understanding of historical events that have shaped the past and their continued implications for the present and future. The series explores lesser-known historical events and the important roles minority groups have played in the Northwest and encourages participants to consider the ways social, cultural, and political forces affect individuals, communities and physical places.

The series is held at the historic McMenamins' Kennedy School in northeast Portland. Where else can you hear fascinating history while enjoying a slice of pizza and a frosty pint of handcrafted ale? History Pub appeals to a broad audience and is also family-friendly. This innovative program typically draws a crowd of 150 people each month.

The Boys in the Boat: A Daughter Remembers

January 28, 2019 7PM

The critically acclaimed non-fiction novel The Boys in Boat, by Daniel James Brown, celebrates the 1936 U.S. men’s Olympic eight-oar rowing team – nine working class boys from the Pacific Northwest who stormed the rowing world, transformed the sport, and galvanized the attention of millions of Americans. Join us for an explanation of the book’s genesis and stories from the Judy Willman, the daughter of Joe Rantz, one of those working class boys who made history.

This presentation will begin with a little history on how the book was “born” and covers some of the process involved in its writing. Our speaker will take a brief biographical look at each of the boys and include both a reading from the book and film footage of the actual Olympic race taken from Leni Riefenstahl’s period documentary movie Olympia. Willman will then share what Joe Rantz was like as a father, touch on his later life, and probe the question of why the book has had such an impact on those who read it. A slideshow of historical pictures accompanies the talk.

Judy Rantz Willman is the daughter of Joe Rantz. She grew up in Lake Forest Park, Washington, and graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics Education. She and her husband, Ray, live on five acres outside of Redmond accompanied by two horses and two cats. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.

Judy sings in the choir at Washington Cathedral in Redmond, Washington, and is a member of an adult drama group. She writes short stories and essays and has been published several times in national magazines. She also won awards in international writing competitions.She will happily autograph any books brought to the event by audience members. 

Notable Women of Portland: From Native Americans to Pioneers to WWII

November 26, 2018 7PM

The story of Portland, Oregon, like much of history, has usually been told with a focus on male leaders. This presentation offers a reframing of Portland's history-- including information on 10,000 years of Native American women, pioneer women, women of the Progressive Era, WWI, WWII, and post-war women, with additional tales of women in the arts and women in politics. Hear how these women made their mark and radically changed the Oregon frontier. This presentation, based on author Tracy Prince’s latest book, Notable Women of Portland, will give you an in-depth understanding of women, throughout history, credited for making Portland what it is today.

Tracy J. Prince, Ph.D., Affiliated Research Professor at Portland State University’s American Indian Teacher Program, is the author of Portland’s Goose Hollow and Culture Wars in British Literature and co-author of Portland’s Slabtown. She and her daughter Zadie Schaffer (a 10th grader at Lincoln High School) were inspired by fascinating nuggets of Portland history to shine more light on the women who shaped Oregon.

Committed: The Home Front in Oregon in WWI, 1914-1918

October 29, 2018 7PM

When most Americans think of World War I they imagine it to be an era of strong leaders, brave soldiers, bloody battles, and heroic generals. Instead, in this presentation, Mr. Stack will be focusing on the home front in Portland and Oregon during 1914 – 1918, and will show how the average Portlander, and Oregonian, was affected by the war in their lives.

During the presidential election of 1916, Woodrow Wilson campaigned on the theme of “He kept us out of war.” By April, 1917, however, the United States was embroiled in World War I. This presentation will show how Americans were affected by the Espionage and Sedition Acts that were passed in 1917 and 1918. People impacted by these laws nationally and locally were activists, immigrants, persons of color, political parties, and labor unions. In addition, public opinion was manipulated by the federal government in order to garner support for the war on the part of Americans. Moreover, this presentation will show how Portland and Oregon gained population during the war and the effect that World War I had on the shipbuilding and timber industries. Finally, Mr. Stack will offer a brief summary of the post-World War I era and the effects both nationally and locally during the 1920s of the “Red Scare” and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States.

William Stack is a seasoned educator and an independent local historian. He has taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels. In addition, he has written and had published Historic Photos of Oregon and articles on President John Adams, Astoria businessman George Flavel, and highway builder Glenn Jackson. He is currently at work on an article on World War I on the home front.

Happy Canyon: A History of the World's Most Unique Indian Pageant and Wild West Show

September 24, 2018 7PM

For over a century, Happy Canyon, the night show of the Pendleton Round-Up, has brought together families, friends, and strangers to witness a joyous celebration of local Pendleton history. The spirit of the Old West and the beauty of tribal life unfolds like a Western Brigadoon each September. With a passion to see Happy Canyon’s story told, Becky Fletcher Waggoner will reveal how the show began, the six-generation family participation, and the beauty of the show’s Native American and non-Native American culture from Eastern Oregon, including the key livestock. As the story unfolds, you’ll discover both Happy Canyon’s history and the entertaining stories that have occurred over the years.

Becky Waggoner of Pilot Rock, Oregon, is a fourth generation Happy Canyon Show participant and Round-Up volunteer and a fifth generation resident of Umatilla County. Besides cattle ranching and working part-time for Mautz & O'Hanlon, LLP, Becky loves to research history.

Becky began volunteering in the show at the age of three, coming out of the trunk. She has played several roles in the show over the years and now plays the part of the nurse in the Doctor Act. Out of her love of the show and its colorful history, Becky recently authored Happy Canyon: A History of the World's Most Unique Indian Pageant and Wild West Show.

Becky and her husband, Allen, former Happy Canyon Show Director and President, have three children, Kyle, Kaleigh and Riley—all fifth generation Happy Canyon volunteers and actors. On with the show!

The Long Game:100 Years of Portland Parks Golf

August 27, 2018 7PM

It delights many of us as a lifetime pastime, but the game of golf has a history of being exclusionary. Studying the history of golf in Portland (as in the United States as a whole) shows the challenges that women and people of color have had regarding access to and involvement with the game. Join us for an honest look back at Portland Parks Golf’s first century, including successes and challenges. By studying where we’ve been and where we are, we have the opportunity to better understand where we want to go – and how to make the game the most inclusive it’s ever been. We want to serve Portlanders of all ages and races during the next 100 years of Portland Parks Golf, and inspire more passion – because that’s what is at the core of the game, and it should and can be embraced by all. Portland Parks Golf is recognized as one of the premier municipal systems in the country; welcoming golfers playing more than 300,000 rounds a year. Presented by Vincent Johnson, Portland Parks and Recreation Assistant Director of Golf

Crafting a Legacy: Pacific Northwest Women in Brewing

July 30, 2018 7PM

July's program features a panel of women who were and are influential in the history of the brewing industry that, in 2017 alone, contributed nearly $2 billion to Oregon's economy and $1.7 billion to that of Washington according to the Brewers Association. Beth Hartwell, Jen Kent and others will discuss their experiences and the culture of craft brewing in the Northwest.

State Sponsored Sterilization: The Dark History Of Eugenics in Oregon

June 25, 2018 7PM

In 1917, the Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Board of Eugenics. Its charge was to review reports from the Oregon State Penitentiary, the state hospitals, and the State Institution for the Feeble-Minded of “all feeble-minded, insane, epileptic, habitual criminals, moral degenerates, and sexual perverts, who are persons potential to producing offspring who, because of inheritance of inferior or antisocial traits, would probably become a social menace or ward of the State.” Based on its determinations about those persons, the board was required to order many of them to be sterilized. The Oregon Board of Eugenics was part of a much larger trend towards racial purity and xenophobia in the United States that included “Better Baby” contests and the “Fitter Families” program to ensure racial purity. The eugenics movement mostly died out in the 1940s, when it came to light that Adolph Hitler had patterned the extermination of the Jewish population on the American eugenics movement. Surprisingly, the Oregon State Board of Eugenics survived in one form or another until 1983.

Marc Brown is the chief deputy defender with the Appellate Division of the Office of Public Defense Services. Brown spent several years teaching political science at Washington State University-Vancouver. In 2014, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the South China University of Technology School of Law, and, in 2017, Marc co-taught a comparative constitutional law course at Shivaji University College of Law in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

 

Memories of Vanport: A Panel Discussion

May 28, 2018 7PM

During its short lifetime from 1942 to 1948, the city of Vanport was home to a large and diverse population. The housing project was constructed on a Columbia River flood plain to house thousands of workers employed in Portland and Vancouver’s shipyards during WWII. Vanport later served as home to returning veterans, African Americans and displaced Japanese Americans who had been interned. On May 30, 1948, the swollen Columbia River overflowed Vanport’s dikes and swept the city away. An unknown number of people died and 18,000 were left homeless. Former residents Luanne Barnes, Belva Jean Griffin, Carolyn Hinton and Janice Okamoto will share their memories of life in Vanport and the flood that destroyed the community.