Letters to the Editor Winter 2016

November 1, 2016 - 12:00am

Special Collections

I enjoyed reading the “Hidden Gems” article about the UO Libraries Special Collections. My first job after graduating was as the first full-time development director for the UO Libraries, during which time we raised the money for the Knight Library renovation and expansion that was completed in the early 1990s. My office was the former Burgess Room that housed the Burgess Collection of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts and is now the MacKinnon Reading Room, renovated and named in gratitude for the support of Mildred P. MacKinnon.

I vividly remember being fascinated by Ken Kesey’s kaleidoscopic collages when they were being processed for preservation; sorting through Gordon Gilkey’s detailed etchings of the original WPA building’s construction as we prepared to celebrate the building’s 50th anniversary; hosting donors in the Oregon Collection Reading Room; and learning the meaning of the word “incunabula.” The Special Collections are an important part of our collective history as alumni, Oregonians, or friends of the UO. 

Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

Laura C. Simic, BA ’96
Vice President for University Advancement
Boise State University

Regarding your “Hidden Gems,” I see changes have been made at the library since I last visited. Three years ago I very politely requested “an audience” with a volume or two of the Edward S. Curtis The North American Indian. I was told promptly, curtly, and quite unconditionally—no.

My 80-year-old father and I then drove to Seattle (home of the Huskies), where I asked their librarian the same question. We were allowed to see, feel, and photograph any and all volumes.

Occasionally, I regret that one of my daughters attended Washington, and other times? Well, not so much.

Winston R. Williams, BS ’78
Gig Harbor, Washington

Editor’s note: We forwarded this note to Andrew Bonamici, associate dean of the UO Libraries. His response is as follows:

While I certainly understand and regret your disappointment in not seeing this work when you visited several years ago, there are several reasons why we do not pull our original Curtis volumes on a walk-in basis. The first is fragility. The North American Indian was printed on three types of papers. Our set is one of the very few printed on Japanese tissue paper, sometimes called India proof paper. This material allows for an exceptional quality of print, but it is extremely fragile—roughly equivalent to toilet paper.

Besides being fragile, they are large, cumbersome volumes. Even with minimal handling by trained library staff, we have sustained some damage that required professional conservation treatment. The University of Washington’s set is printed on one of the heavier stocks, which may explain their more liberal access and handling policy.

I hope this is helpful information. To learn more about our Curtis volumes and alternative editions, along with contact information to find out about scheduled viewing days, visit researchguides.uoregon.edu/scua-books/curtis. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions. Best wishes, and thanks for your interest in the UO.

Innocent Until Proven...

In his letter to the editor (Autumn 2016), Clatsop County district attorney Josh Marquis says that his job is to “prosecute criminals.” Incorrect. His job is to prosecute people who have been charged with a crime. Those individuals remain innocent until they are proven, or plead, guilty. Juries and judges determine who is properly labeled a “criminal,” not district attorneys.

Chuck Corrigan, JD ’76

I have known Joshua Marquis since he was in law school. He is a talented and dedicated public servant, having been district attorney for Clatsop County for 22 years. His letter appearing in the Autumn OQ is unfortunate in that it denigrates a young woman who advocated for an incarcerated woman. In fact, Marquis denigrates all who defend people accused of crimes. If he had paid attention in his constitutional law and criminal law classes he took at the School of Law, he would appreciate that criminal defense attorneys are an important constitutional component—to the same degree as are prosecutors—of our criminal law system.

David Jensen, JD ’69

Satisfied Readers

About a week ago I finished reading your summer issue of Oregon Quarterly.

I was surprised to hear you say that your mail is down, as I have often finished reading this publication from cover to cover and made a mental note to write you about the quality of your publication. I find it hard to put down, since each article is so interesting and describes all of the new innovative strategies and programs happening at the college.

This issue—starting with the story on the new Scottish Requiem, the notes on the disabilities studies program, and Robert Kyr’s success with his new composition, the articles about online safety, the neuroscience of the brain, the reimagining music piece, research on climate change, the invention of Nike footwear at the UO, Madeline Bailey’s interest in criminal justice, the two gentlemen that are rethinking health care after a trip to Cambodia, fossil discovery by accident, and last, but not least, the tragic and tender story of “At School, A Shooting”—was amazing. I found the magazine difficult to put down.

I love what you do and it has made me happy that I have endowed the UO in my estate. I know that good will come from a school as diverse and open to change and innovation as the UO.

Keep up the great work.

Lynda Schwab Edmundson
Shokan, New York 

I greatly enjoyed the “Ski Bums” article in the last issue. I knew some of those fellows while I was at Oregon.

I was sorry to not see a mention of Neil Mathison, BBA ’54. He became a well-known person in the truck financing business with CIT and Northwest Acceptance Corporation. Neil joined us once on an airplane trip to Pullman for a Ducks-Cougars game that was enjoyed by all. Tragically, Neil died shortly after.

Jerry Beall, BBA ’55

I congratulate Oregon Quarterly and Melody Ward Leslie on the superb quality of the article about the life of James Landye, JD ’34. Jim was a giant in Oregon’s legal history in the 20th century. Not only “the most brilliant lawyer in the history of the UO Law School,” as quoted by Wayne Morse in the article, but surely a candidate for most brilliant lawyer in our state’s history as well. And so well captured in the article.

Joe Richards, BA ’51

Inspirational Professor

I have been behind on my reading, so I just discovered your faculty in memoriam for Professor Greene. I was shocked and saddened to learn of his passing. I tried to take practical courses related to my coastal environment and areas of legal interest in law school. In my late 20s I was in a country rock band, in the era of the Eagles and the Allman Brothers Band, with disco coming on full tilt. Taking entertainment law from Dennis was the one class I took just for me. It was a guilty pleasure. He taught us to think in practical terms about how things work in the world of entertainment and celebrity. The cases were about my musical heroes. I cherish the experience and am sure others who were his students share my sadness at his passing. He is missed.

Nyla Jebousek, BA ’94, JD ’97

Mixed Messages

Departed Oregon Quarterly editor Ann Wiens was at the helm when the Autumn 2014 issue was published. The cover story involved an environmental lawsuit. The article asked, “Does the public trust doctrine that underlies the protection of our air, water, and endangered species apply to climate?” The article left no doubt that the climate crisis is intensifying. Fast forward to the Spring 2016 issue. Ms. Wiens wrote a laudatory article on a woman scientist who is researching cement used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and uses for coal byproducts.

Coal is the filthiest fossil fuel. Fracking involves injecting water and chemicals at high pressure, deep underground, to release natural gas and oil. This causes pollution of the water table, seismic instability, and greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. It appears that Ms. Wiens donned blinders in her enthusiasm to feature a woman scientist.

Philip Ratcliff, BA ’79

Where's Alaby?

I just received the Autumn 2016 edition of the Oregon Quarterly, and was dismayed to find no mention of Alaby Blivet and his wife Sara Lee Cake in the Class Notes. These folks are sacred icons to those of us in the 1960s. Please don’t omit them.

Jane Sanford Harrison, BA ’62, PhD ’81

Is the journal getting political? A letter by Phillip Bourbeau in this Autumn 2016 issue called one of the presidential candidates a “dolt.”
If I want political satire I can go to the newspapers!
Please tell me you are not getting into the presidential arena?

Bill Leinweber, MS ’61

I try to visit campus annually while making a visit to Oregon from Nebraska. The below-level science library was being built when I attended, and Columbia was 150 Science, the biggest lecture space around. These days I feel like a newcomer again when I visit. I can still see Collier and Boynton dorms where I lived, but gone are the walk-up McD and the bakery. Yes it’s progress, but it alienates many like me, as it is hard to keep up. University of Oregon Alumni Association office staff members were a godsend last time, helping me to navigate and have a positive visit.

I have always wondered, too, how “public” my alma mater is anymore? It is still a great university, but what percentage comes from the legislature? It is amazing how many dollars are raised for endowment. I send in my little part, but there is so much more.

Having lived in many states and overseas in Germany as part of our Air Force chaplaincy years has made me a “stronger” Duck because you are the connection I have had to my home state!

Greg W. Carlson, BA ’71
Omaha, Nebraska