Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

To celebrate women’s history and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the library’s Northwest Author Speakers Series will host Astoria author Marianne Monson with the help of Facebook Live, Saturday, Aug. 22, at 2 p.m.

Monson, who has taught English and creative writing at Portland Community College and currently teaches at Clatsop Community College, will discuss and read from her recently published historical novel “Her Quiet Revolution: A Novel of Martha Hughes Cannon, Frontier Doctor and First Female State Senator.”

“Her Quiet Revolution” tells the story of a young Martha “Mattie” Hughes who immigrated from Wales with her family to New York City, staying there for two years before travelling in 1861 to Utah. During that pioneer travel to Salt Lake City, her young sister and her father died. At that point, Mattie determined to become a doctor.

After working as a typesetter and then on the staff of the Deseret News and the Women Exponent for five years, having saved her earnings, she attended the University of Michigan for medical training and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and a second degree from the National School of Elocution and Oratory. She practiced medicine in Michigan for American and Canadian patients from both sides of the St. Clair River.

After returning to Utah in 1882, Martha Hughes married Angus M. Cannon, who practiced plural marriage and served as the president of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His six wives bore him 27 children. At one point, Martha voluntarily exiled herself and her children in San Francisco to avoid having to testify against her husband in federal prosecution for polygamy.

In addition to her medical accomplishments, Martha was active in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and in 1896 ran against her husband for a seat in the Utah State Senate, a campaign she won and became the first woman elected to the upper house of any state in the nation.

Monson graduated in Honors English at Brigham Young University and then earned a Master’s in Creative Writing from Vermont College and a Masters in English Pedagogy from Pacific University. She has published twelve books, including books for children, books on women’s history and books that focus on pioneer life in the western United States.

Two of Monson’s recent nonfiction books have received national recognition. “Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Pioneer Women,” published in 2016, was nominated for the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer Award. “Women of the Blue and Gray: Civil War Mothers, Medics, Soldiers, and Spies,” published in 2018, received a silver medal from Foreword Reviews.

Catch Monson’s presentation by opening the Cannon Beach Library web page at 2 p.m., August 22, and then clicking on the first URL on the library’s front page. That will take you directly to the Facebook LIVE presentation. There, click on the video symbol and ignore prompts to join Facebook.

Monson can answer questions during the presentation, or participants can submit questions in advance of the presentation to info@ cannonbeachlibrary.org or by calling the library at 503- 436-1391.

Patrons increasingly are taking advantage of Door-Side Pickup Service to check out books while the plague severely limits library access. Patrons have responded positively to the recent change that allows those with current library cards to talk to a volunteer between noon and 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays or place book and DVD orders at any time by leaving a request at 503-436-1391 or emailing a request to info@ cannonbeachlibrary.org at any time.

Volunteers will respond to patrons and schedule pickup appointments within a couple of days. Before leaving a request patrons should check availability of items on the library website catalog or in the list of “New Acquisitions” before calling volunteers or leaving a request. Also read through the directions for using Door- Side Pickup Service on the website.

At least 10 members of Cannon Beach Reads responded to an inquiry about taking the reading group into the boxy world of Zoom. Given the quick and positive response, members of CB Reads will discuss “Mozart’s Starling” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt via Zoom on Wednesday, September 16, at 7 p.m.

Zoom meetings require a Windows or Apple computer with speakers, a microphone and video camera or cell phone. Anyone interested in joining Cannon Beach Reads via Zoom should contact Joe Bernt at berntj@ohio.edu. He will provide information for joining the meeting.

Finally, let me encourage anyone who was a paperboy or papergirl, or who has a child who was, to check out “Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys” by Vincent DiGigirolamo, which now should be on a Green Dot shelf at the Cannon Beach Library.

By the time my generation encountered newsboys, they had spread throughout the country. When I was eight years old, at 4:30 a.m. everyday paperboys from eight to 14 years old were loading or waiting to load the canvas bags on their bicycles from bundles of The Oregonian the route manager had dropped at the intersection of Southwest Farmington and Kinnaman roads and similar distribution sites to the west of Portland.

Only in the summer would I wait with another group of grade and high-school students at that ungodly hour at the same intersection for used school buses to deliver us to work at strawberry, blackcap and bean fields near Hillsboro.

Before the arrival of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and local or regional versions of fast-food outlets, children of working-class families had two choices to earn spending money.

We could commit to delivering the Oregonian, Oregon Journal or Portland Reporter year-round to houses in what would soon transform grain fields and hazelnut and walnut orchards into Portland suburbs.

Alternatively, we could spend most of our summer vacation stooped over cold, damp rows of strawberries or green beans as the sun rose and lakes of fog gradually lifted before the July and August heat further browned aching backs.

These were the employment possibilities in the 1950s and early 1960s until high-school students reached at least 16 and could work at local canneries processing berries and beans. I found losing my summer to agricultural work preferable to waking at 4 a.m. for 12 months, six of which threatened Oregon rain, snow and ice.

I doubt any historian will examine child agricultural labor in the detailed, analytical manner DiGigirolamo does newsboys in “Crying the News.” Berry and bean farmers in Washington County did not have the resources or instincts of the newspaper publishers to develop a myth about “little merchants” and “free enterprise” to conceal the exploitation of child labor during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Nor were farmers able to credit child labor for the development of such businessmen as Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and Warren Buffett; or entertainers as Harry Houdini, W.D. Fields and Frank Capra; or politicians Al Smith, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover and John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald.

Nor could berry and bean farmers point to authors Jack London, Sherwood Anderson, Thomas Wolfe and Lawrence Ferlinghetti; or journalists Adolph Ochs, Walter Winchell and Theodore White. They were all newsboys and American success stories.

DiGigirolamo illustrates the effort the newspaper industry gave to developing housing, schools, banquets and educational travel for newsboys and newsgirls. He also gives plenty of attention to the dangers these children faced from loss of limbs and lives to trains, wagons and vehicles and to the strikes and labor organizing efforts of these mythic icons of American business.

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