Welcome back to Thomas M. Lauderdale’s Summer Reading List! In this new Pink Martini blog series, each week the famed leader of our humble little orchestra will share a favorite title from his extensive library that he thinks you’d enjoy by the pool, at the beach, on your lunch break, in school, or wherever you’ll be spending time this summer!

Portland: A Historical Sketch and Guide

This week’s suggestion is Portland: A Historical Sketch and Guide, by Terence O’Donnell and Thomas Vaughan. This book is the definitive guide to the history, geography, and culture of our hometown of Portland, Oregon, and is chock-full of fascinating facts about Portland, great tours for you to take when you visit, and some amazing photos of Portland in the 1800s – 1950s. Take it away, Thomas!

“There have been a lot of books written about Oregon and Portland, but I think the best book about Portland was written in 1976 by Terence O’Donnell and Thomas Vaughan, who led the Oregon Historical Society and just died recently. This is a beautiful book. It really sort of captures, I think, what it is to move to Portland. I think that every person who moves to Portland should read this book. This is the book to read. For example, some things that I underlined:

‘Portland has never bustled. It doesn’t today. It ambles… with some loitering on the way. Throughout the city’s history visitors have remarked on the slowness of the pace. Perhaps it is the valley’s great fertility requiring by comparison less effort, the clement seasons, a lushness, the sometimes tropical summer, the soft rains and muffling fogs, something soothing, soporific which slows men down, tempting men to be rather than to act.’

Oh! Here’s another great section:

‘Another source of considerable diversion for the people was their paper, The Oregonian, in particular because it employed, long with its flailing competitors in the region, something called the “Oregon Style.” Invective and abuse were hurled without restraint, much to the delight — though sometimes to the outrage — of eager readers. Typical was an exchange between editor Ashahel Bush of the Salem Statesman and editor Dryer of The Oregonian. The latter publication was in the opinion of Bush, “a complete tissue of gross profanity, obscenity, falsehood and meanness” whose editor seldom told the truth “even by mistake”. Editor Dryer swiftly responded by labeling Bush in the state capital “pimp generalissimo of a small, cheap paper.” This is but a modest sampling from years of rich or gross exchange.’

Isn’t that great?”

It sure is, Thomas! You can purchase a copy of Portland: A Historical Sketch and Guide from Portland’s legendary Powell’s Books here. And make sure to come back next week for another summer reading suggestion straight from Thomas’ vast personal library!