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.

Harry's First Hundred Years

March 28, 2016 7pm

From Aretha to the Beatles, RoboCop to Andrew Lloyd Webber's original London production of Cats, Chariots of Fire to Queen Elizabeth awarding him an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for outstanding service in music, Harry Rabinowitz's remarkable musical career and love of adventure has earned him world renown, good fortune and a life that now spans the century mark. He turns 100 on March 26. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1916, Harry showed real talent on the piano at an early age and soon found work playing in Johannesburg jazz bands and teaching music students. Then in the late ‘30s, he discovered Europe and, as he says, the world has never been the same. He spent years as a conductor for the BBC radio and then conducting scores for iconic British and Hollywood film and television productions, notably a series of Merchant Ivory movies. Since the late 1990s, Harry and wife Mitzi have been Portlanders five months out of the year. They enjoy the many musical and cultural offerings of the Rose City, not the least of which is the abundance of beer and wine. Forty-five years ago, as an original member of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), Harry was among the first Brits to stand up and demand local, fresh and flavorful ales. For his big centennial bash, McMenamins has brewed him a very special ale to his specifications, which he drolly named "Harry's Downfall." Come join the celebration of Harry's 100th, listen to him talk of his century of musical expeditions.

Immigrant Voices from Portland's Historic Chinatowns

February 29, 2016 7pm

Panel discussion with Bertha Lee Saiget, Kenneth Fong and Robert Luck. Bertha Lee Saiget was raised on the outskirts of Chinatown by parents who were new immigrants from China. Bertha was a long time Headstart teacher for Portland Public Schools and a graduate of Oregon State University. Kenneth Fong was born in Old Chinatown and is a retired high school principal. His father was both a tailor and one of two owners of the largest casino in Chinatown. Robert Luck was born in New Chinatown, where his parents ran a lottery in their storefront on Northwest Sixth Avenue two blocks from Union Station. As a boy, he worked in Chinatown restaurants and was a runner for his family lottery, delivering tickets and picking up winnings based on two drawings a day. He received a university education and became a successful aeronautical and electrical engineer, working for Bonneville Power and firms in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. He has also had a semi-professional acting career.

James Wasson The Life of an Extraordinary Portlander

January 25, 2016 7pm

The life of James Wasson, a true renaissance man of pre-WWII Portland, was rediscovered by staff of Old Portland Hardware after purchasing and opening a trunk that contained Wasson’s photographs and other extraordinary records. A Buffalo solider, early African American photographer, and community leader, exploring Wasson’s life provides a unique view onto Portland's history. Old Portland Hardware owner Bret Hodgert will tell stories of how he followed clues among Wasson’s materials — including photographs of people and events, a letter from Wasson’s employer, and correspondence related to Wasson’s military service — to reconstruct the biography of this extraordinary Portlander and to understand the community in which he lived and worked.

"Shaping the Public Good: Women Making History in the Pacific Northwest"

November 30 at 7pm

Presented by Sue Armitage, Emerita Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Washington State University in Pullman. Drawing on her three decades of research and teaching and based on hundreds of secondary sources, Armitage's account explores the varied ways in which, beginning in the earliest times and continuing to the present, women of all races and ethnicities have made the history of our region. Armitage shows that even though women were barred from positions of public authority until recently, they have always worked quietly and informally to assure the stability and security of their families and communities. Women's community building and cooperative skills have been decisive in developing the societies of the Pacific Northwest- Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, and British Columbia.

How to Win with 24 Outlaws: A Presentation About the Legendary Portland Mavericks

October 26, 2015 at 7pm

Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, Holy Names Heritage Center, and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale. This month’s speakers include former team manager Frank Peters and pitcher & Pulitzer Prize nominee Larry Colton. Hear these two former Mavericks' first-hand stories and experiences about their days with "the battered bastards of baseball." While we can't show the award-winning documentary Battered Bastards of Baseball (due to Netflix contractual rights), we will show the film trailer, followed by short presentations by Peters and Colton. Then we'll open it up to the audience for Q&A and a lively discussion.

Portland Communists, A Longshoreman Strike and the U.S. Supreme Court: DeJonge v. Oregon and the Right to Freedom of Assembly

September 28, 2015 at 7pm

On July 27, 1934, the Portland Police “Red Squad” arrested Dirk De Jonge, a World War I veteran, longshoreman, former Portland mayoral candidate, and Portland communist. The State charged him with criminal syndicalism for speaking at a meeting sponsored by the local Communist Party. The meeting was called in response to a police crackdown on striking longshoremen, who had shut down every West Coast port from southern California to northern Washington. De Jonge’s crime was speaking about jail conditions experienced by the arrested strikers. A jury found him guilty, and the judge sentenced him to seven years in prison. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction, holding that the criminal syndicalism statute, as applied to De Jonge, unconstitutionally infringed on his right to assembly as protected by the First Amendment.

Marc Brown, an appellate public defender with the Oregon Office of Public Defense Services, will talk about the history behind the case as well as its long-term significance. Marc has taught political science, criminal justice, and history at Washington State University-Vancouver.

Home Front Stories of World War II

August 31, 2015 at 7pm

This month, listen to stories from individuals who worked on the Oregon home front during World War II. The panel will include: Harry Hendricks, who worked the graveyard shift at Vancouver's Kaiser Shipyard as a teenager; Ellen McFadden, who served as one of the nation's youngest certified Red Cross volunteers at Portland's Union Station canteen; Jean Matsumoto, who was sent with her family to Idaho's Minidoka Relocation Center where she was interned for three years; and Sharon Williams, who experienced wartime conditions as a young child growing up in North Portland.

Stories From Our Native Ancestors: Killing Bigfoot, The Giant Beaver, The Coast Range Goblin and How Clam Got His Eyes

July 27, 2015 at 7pm

Jason Younker is a member of the Coquille Indian Tribe, and David Lewis is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. For most western Oregon tribes, their generation is the last to have lived part o their life as a terminated Indian. Despite great cultural loss, many things endured. Stories about their existence and landscape are buy a few. In the presentation, they will share stories about the creatures of western Oregon that have lived on land and in culture for generations stretching far back into the past.

Dr. David G. Lewis is an independent educator, author, and anthropology researcher who lives in Salem, Oregon, in the homeland of his people, the Santiam Kalapuya. Dr. Jason T. Younker is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Assistant Vice President and Advisor to the President for Sovereignty and Government-to-Government Relations at University of Oregon. Originally from Coos Bay, Oregon, he taught for ten years at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he was chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.