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Lauren Elkanich

Arts & Culture

OREGON EXPERIENCE: Abigail Scott Duniway

OPB | Sept. 12, 2006 10:46 p.m. | Updated: Dec. 5, 2013 11:15 a.m.

OREGON EXPERIENCE is an exciting new history series on OPB-TV that brings to life fascinating stories that help us understand who we are and that reinforce our shared identity as Oregonians. The series, co-produced by the Oregon Historical Society and Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), takes advantage of the extensive film, video and stills from the archives of OHS and OPB, and draws upon the expertise of OHS researchers and historians. Beginning this month, each half-hour show features captivating characters – both familiar and forgotten – who have played key roles in building our state into the unique place we call home.

Premiering Monday, October 23 at 9pm is the story of Abigail Scott Duniway, a plain-talking farmer’s wife who was largely responsible for Oregon women having the right to vote since 1912 – eight years before a constitutional amendment gave suffrage to women throughout the country. On October 30 at 9pm, “Reub Long’s Oregon Desert” visits the dry, desolate Fort Rock Valley where for more than a century, settlers have tried — and most have failed — to earn a living. But they left behind some fascinating history and wonderful stories. Bill Bowerman, legendary University of Oregon track coach and Nike co-founder, Sam Hill who dared to dream a highway through the Columbia Gorge and others will be featured in upcoming episodes.

Abigail Scott Duniway
She was born in 1834 in Illinois and traveled West across the plains in a covered wagon settling in Lafayette. Abigail married a rancher and soon found herself cooking, sewing and laundering for her family and the hired hands as well. Through a series of accidents and bad luck, her husband lost the farm and was unable to work – so Abigail became the family breadwinner. They moved to Portland in 1871 and Abigail embraced the fight for women’s rights … even inviting suffragist Susan B. Anthony to visit Oregon. Together they toured the Northwest organizing support for voting rights.

An avid writer, she confronted the injustice and inequality of women in her 20 novels and hundreds of stories, essays and poems, delivered countless public lectures, and founded one of the regions most influential newspapers, The New Northwest, to keep important issues in the public eye.  

OREGON EXPERIENCE unveils the forgotten life of Abigail Scott Duniway with excerpts from her diary and colorful quotes from her lectures. She actively campaigned for national suffrage and equal rights for all women until her death in 1915.

The program will be rebroadcast on Friday, October 27 at 10:30pm and Sunday, October 29 at 1:30pm.

Funding for OREGON EXPERIENCE is provided in part by Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, Oregon Cultural Trust and James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.

About OPB
OPB is the state’s most far-reaching and accessible media resource, providing free access to programming for children and adults designed to give voice to community, connect Oregon and its neighbors and illuminate a wider world. Every week, over 1.5 million people tune in to or log on to OPB’s television, radio and Internet delivered services. As the hub of operations for the state’s Emergency Broadcast and Amber Alert services, OPB serves as the backbone for the distribution of critical information to broadcasters and homes throughout Oregon. Oregon Public Broadcasting is a statewide network that includes OPB Television, an affiliate of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and OPB Radio, presenting local news coverage and the programs of National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI) and American Public Media (APM). The OPB Web site is opb.org.

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