2011 Joel Palmer Award


Betwixt and Between the Official Story: Tracing the History and Memory of a Family of French-Indian Ancestry in the Pacific Northwest
Summer 2010

by Melinda Marie Jetté

Historian Melinda Marie Jette utilizes multiple approaches — genealogical research, oral history, and investigation of archival collections — to discuss the assimilation of her French-Indian ancestry into the larger American experience.  She reveals a pioneering Oregon family whose narrative overlaps with the more widely known public narratives of emigrant arrival, the inter-cultural fur trade, and the eventual non-Native dominance of society in the Pacific Northwest.  Jette's discussion offers insights into the ways family histories may provide counter narratives that can broaden our understanding of the historical Oregon experience and its continuing impact today and makes suggestions about the interrelationship among history, memory, and identity.

Melinda Marie Jetté received her Ph.D. in History from the University of British Columbia. She is Assistant Professor of History and Public History Program Coordinator at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. She is currently completing a book project on the history of the French-Indian community in French Prairie.


Honorable Mentions

Henry S. Tanner and Cartographic Expression of American Expansion in the 1820s
Winter 2010

by James V. Walker

By 1845, the word Oregon was ubiquitous, fully embedded in the national consciousness, but that had not been the case only a couple of decades prior. Such transformation, Dr. James V. Walker argues, relied not only on diplomats and pioneers, but also on cartographers, including Henry S. Tanner. Walker investigates the expansionistic discourse that was instrumental in helping Americans conceive of national sovereignty that expanded from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific during the first three decades of the nineteenth century. Through an examination and analysis of cartographic literature, congressional debates, newspapers, and treaties, Walker illustrates the power of cartographic representation in constructing both the concept and definition of this region's geopolitical identity as an American place called Oregon.

James V. Walker earned an M.D. at Case Western University in 1970, moved to Eugene in 1977, and retired from a practice in Nephrology and Internal Medicine in 2003. For many years, he has collected maps from the sixteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries relating to North America and the Pacific Northwest. He has been a frequent contributor to publications and annual meetings of societies interested in the history of exploration and mapping, and he co-curated an exhibit of some of his maps as part of a month-long celebration of the Oregon sesquicentennial at the State Capitol in February 2009.

She Flies with Her Own Wings: Women in the 1973 Legislative Session
Spring 2010

by Melody Rose and Tara Watson

Tara Watson and Melody Rose analyze the significant outpouring of feminist legislation passed by the 1973 Oregon Legislature, arguing that the work of talented and motivated female legislatures who spearheaded much of the legislation is only part of the explanation for their unique success.  Utilizing many secondary sources on political history and theory and drawing on oral histories collected from members of the 1973 session, the authors re-evaluate this "second wave" of Oregon feminism.  They conclude that preconceived notions of 1970s identity politics do not allow for a proper understanding of the complex way this particular group of women realized their objectives.

Melody Rose is Vice Provost for Academic Programs & Instruction as well as Founder and Director of the Center for Women, Politics & Policy at Portland State University. She is the author of many articles and books on presidential politics, Oregon politics, and women and politics. Her newest book (with co-author Regina Lawrence) is Hillary Clinton's Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009).

Tara Watson is presently preparing to begin her graduate studies in Sociology. She is interested in studying girls and young women in the United States, particularly with regard to political involvement, structural oppression, and the labor market.