Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

Utah seldom is cited, at least in recent years, as a hotbed of liberal or feminist politics, but - although Wyoming was the first state to extend voting rights to women - females in Utah actually first exercised those rights, on Feb. 14, 1870 in a Salt Lake City municipal election, 50 years before Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

March is Women’s History Month. The Northwest Authors Speakers Series at Cannon Beach Library will host local author Marianne Monson Saturday on March 14 at 2 p.m. Monson will discuss and read from “Her Quiet Revolution: A Novel of Martha Hughes Cannon, Frontier Doctor and First Female State Senator,” which arrived in bookstores Feb. 18.

Monson, who received a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, in her third historical examination of pioneer women focuses on Utah pioneer Cannon, who resisted her mother’s advice to marry young.

This freedom allowed her to prepare for a career in medicine, first at the University of Deseret (now the University of Utah), where in 1878 she received her degree in chemistry. She then enrolled at the University of Michigan, where in 1880, at age 23, she received her MD.

To further prepare for a medical career, as well as her later life in politics, she enrolled in postgraduate courses in auxiliary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a bachelor of science degree in 1882. She also enrolled in 1881 in postgraduate evening courses in oratory from the National School of Elocution and Oratory, receiving a third bachelor’s degree.

Monson selected a fascinating historical figure around whom to craft her novel about another woman pushing the boundaries on the American frontier.

Martha Hughes Cannon had built a reputation as a modern doctor when women were rare in medicine.

She married into a polygamous marriage when the U.S. government pursued such relationships with the threat of fines and prison terms. Fearing that she would be forced to inform about the polygamous relationships of many of her patients, as well as being prosecuted for her own marriage, she fled to Europe, to the eastern United States and to San Francisco.

In addition to her medical work, Cannon became active in the women’s suffrage movement nationally and was the first woman in the U.S. elected a state senator.

Monson has built a reputation for her careful, methodical research supporting her award-winning novels.

In addition to “Her Quiet Revolution,” she has published “Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women,” which was nominated for the American Library Association Amelia Bloomer Award in 2017, and “Women of the Blue and Gray: True Stories of Mothers, Medics, Soldiers, and Spies of the Civil War,” which received a silver medal from “Foreward Reviews.”

This Women’s History Month event promises to be engaging, informative, and likely to offer aspiring writers some tips about researching historical materials and locations.

Cannon Beach Reads, the reading group sponsored by the Cannon Beach Library, will meet from 7-8:30 p.m. March 18 at the library to discuss “Martin Marten” by Brian Doyle, who beautifully edited “Portland Magazine” at the University of Portland into one of the finest university magazines in the nation. Bob Lundy will lead this discussion of “Martin Marten.”

Doyle, who passed in 2017, s 0weemed determined to find and describe community, to write about small rural communities that border natural worlds, about communities that run on their own sundials, about communities thinly separated from their surrounding environments, thin lines that allow individuals to move easily across the borders, that allow or prompt conversations between adolescent martens and boys, between adolescents and settled village characters, about communities that rest comfortably along the edges of forests, coastal bays and villages we still discover along two-lane roads during impulsive, directionless road trips through the Pacific Northwest.

Doyle received both the Oregon Book Award and the Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature in 2016, and the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing in 2017 for “Martin Marten.”

In 2008, Doyle also received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor also received by such writers as Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut and Flannery O’Connor, and poet Mary Jane Oliver.

Finally, at another free event sponsored by the library and open to the public, the Friends of Haystack Rock Library Lecture Series will host Keith Chandler, who has worked at the Seaside Aquarium for more than 40 years, most of them as general manager of the Seaside attraction that often is the first place to care for found marine mammals.

Chandler’s presentation at the library, at 7 p.m. March 11, will review “Current Trends of Marine Mammals Along the Oregon Coast.”

He will concentrate on changes in the marine environment as reflected in the marine mammals of the Northwest, focusing his presentation on marine mammals commonly seen near our coastline and reviewing recent changes in the presence of various species.

In 1992, the Seaside Aquarium joined with Portland State University as co-coordinators of the Southern Washington Northern Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network. The aquarium responds to incidents of live and dead mammals found on beaches from Tillamook Bay north to Oysterville, Washington

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