The Chronicle -

By Finn J.D. John

Oregon's first published book was a torrid page-turner in its day


October 10, 2019


The title page from the original 1854 edition of Part Two of the first novel-length work of (alleged) fiction ever published in Oregon, by Margaret Jewett Bailey.

Early in the summer of 1854, an advertisement appeared in the Portland Oregonian – a tantalizingly feisty one, from an author braced for combat and essentially inviting the world to "bring it on":

"A new work will be published, about the 1st of August, the first number of 'The Grains; or, Passages in the Life of Ruth Rover' ... by Margaret Jewett Bailey," it began; then launched into a ferocious little stanza of unrhymed mixed-format verse:

"Thou Monster Evil – stand forth!/ And in whatever garb thou mayst appear,/ Whether harlot, villain, priest or Pope,/ I challenge thee to single c...

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