Fall 2021

Issue 122:3

In this issue, authors explore the ring-necked pheasant and acclimatization in Oregon, climate change and the era of megafires in Oregon, a homeward bound pennant from the battleship Oregon, and a public history roundtable on the West and congressional fights before the civil war.

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In this Issue

“Make the desert blossom like the rose”: Animal Acclimatization, Settler Colonialism, and the Construction of Oregon’s Nature

by Barrie Ryne Blatchford

In 1881, Owen Denny introduced the ring-necked pheasant to Oregon as a game bird for sport hunters. The bird, originally from China, was soon adopted into American culture in Oregon and later established presence in nineteen other states. In this research article, Barrie Ryne Blatchford explores the species’ introduction as well as how “the pheasant’s importation to Oregon was a product of, and later a touchstone within, American settler-colonialism — the multi-faceted ideology that alleged Euro-American superiority, marginalized Indigenous peoples, and glorified the renovation of landscapes in accordance with Euro-American norms and imperatives.”

Oregon and Climate Change: The Age of Megafires in the American West

by William G. Robbins

In the 1960s, historian William G. Robbins worked as a crew foreman for the Eastern Lane Forest Protective Association, with the responsibility of responding to fires to quickly contain blazes. That work, Robbins attests, “marked the beginnings of a career-long intellectual and scholarly journey, learning about fire history and policy.” In this essay, he draws on historical data and decades of research and writing to highlight the “effects of global warming,” which “provide powerful evidence that fires are now burning more often and in places they seldom occurred before” due to human-caused climate change. 

Homeward Bound: The Battleship Oregon Pennant and Imperialism in Oregon

by Silvie Andrews

In July 1901, a company of Oregon National Guard soldiers presented three flags — a Union Jack, a naval ensign, and a homeward bound pennant — from the battleship USS Oregon. The battleship and its crew had returned that year from engaging in pivotal battles Spanish-American War, and “brought fame and glory not only to its crew but also to the faraway state for which it had been named.” In this Object Feature, Silvie Andrews explores the rediscovery of the homeward bound pennant in the Oregon Historical Society’s museum collection and discusses the “sociopolitical forces surrounding the pennants creation, dedication, display and descent into obscurity.”

The West and Congressional Fights before the Civil War

with William L. Lang, Jeffrey Ostler, and Stacey L. Smith
moderated by Kenneth R. Coleman

On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, Joanne Freeman, spoke about her book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to the Civil War, as part of the Oregon Historical Society’s (OHS) annual Mark O. Hatfield Lecture Series. This roundtable discussion was a special event held on Thursday, March 18, 2021, following the lecture. Historian Kenneth R. Coleman moderated the discussion between historians William L. Lang, Jeffrey Ostler, and Stacey L. Smigh, who reflected Freeman’s book and congressional fights in the West leading up to the Civil War. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Freeman’s talk and this roundtable were held virtually.

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