Student Spotlight: Eito Okino, Wikipedian-In-Residence

In 2017 UO Special Collections and University Archives hired our first Wikipedian-in-Residence. One of our goals in SCUA is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion by illuminating hidden histories and providing access to information. Wikipedia aims to make public information accessible by summarizing both scholarly and non-academic sources, citing information from a range of perspectives, using neutral language, and providing hyperlinks in over 200 languages. Wikipedian Eito Okino spent this past term improving Wikipedia articles and organizing a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon focused on Asian and Pacific American history. He details his experience below. 

Name: Eito Okino
Major: Human Physiology
Year in School: Undergraduate
Job in SCUA: Wikipedian-In-Residence

Tell us a little bit about what brought you to Special Collections and University Archives? What made you want to work here, as opposed to other places on campus?

I saw the job posting and I thought editing Wikipedia articles for the library was a unique job. I used to edit some Wikipedia articles back in high school so I thought it would be fun to learn more better ways to edit Wikipedia articles and start editing again.

I was also interested in SCUA and I had been here in the past to look at a couple collections, so that is what got me more interested in the position.

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John Yeon’s Quest for Beauty

Between May 13 and September 3, 2017 the Portland Art Museum hosts Quest for Beauty, a retrospective of Oregon architect, designer, and conservationist John Yeon’s work.  The exhibition features photographs, art, and historic materials lent by Richard Louis Brown, as well as original drawings from University of Oregon Special Collections and Archives.

Our John Yeon collection consists of architectural drawings for projects, both built and unrealized, including plans, sections, elevations, details, tracings, and blueprints, as well as a number of Northwest maps, aerial photographs, and surveys for both architectural and preservation projects managed by the architect. The recently published book John Yeon: Modern Architecture and Conservation in the Pacific Northwest by Marc Treib utilized our collection as well.

Randy Gragg, executive director of the University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape, organized the show in collaboration with Portland Art Museum curators Maribeth Graybill and Dawson W. Carr.

Quest for Beauty installation photo. Japan, unknown artist, Pair of Bird-and-Flower Screens, 16th/early 17th century, ink and color on paper, Collection of Richard Louis Brown via
Quest for Beauty installation photo. Japan, unknown artist, Pair of Bird-and-Flower Screens, 16th/early 17th century, ink and color on paper, Collection of Richard Louis Brown via

In addition to the exhibition itself, the UO John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape will present a series of lectures, tours, and other events throughout the summer.  Landscape architect Laurie Olin will speak about Yeon’s 75-acre signature work of landscape design, The Shire, on July 30.  The POD Initiative will use Yeon’s interest in plywood design to inform an exploration of affordable architecture and houses for the homeless, through an exhibition of micro-housing units in August.  And a series of gallery talks at the Portland Art Museum will address Yeon’s role in defining Northwest regional modernism, as well as his role as an art collector and his private personality.

Save the date for any or all of these events to learn more about one of Oregon’s most passionate, visionary, and independent designers.

By Karen Munro, Head, UO Portland Library & Learning Commons

Reports of Independency Abroad: The Declaration of Independence in the Gentleman’s Magazine

Special Collections and University Archives at the UO Library holds a very rare, and often cited as the first, British printing of the Declaration of Independence in a complete copy of the 1776 Gentleman’s Magazine. This volume is one of 302 volumes of the Gentleman’s Magazine in the Rare Book Collection, dating between the magazine’s inception in 1731 to 1907 (which ceased production in 1922).

News of the Continental Congress’s vote for independency reached the British public on August 10, 1776. The Crown-sponsored London Gazette delivered the breaking news through excerpts of two letters from General William Howe dated July 7th and 8th. Howe writes,

I am informed that the Continental Congress have declared the United Colonies free and independent States.

The majority of the British public, however, would not be able to read the full Declaration approved by the Continental Congress until August 17th, when the Declaration was reprinted by the London Chronicle in its August 16th paper (the first newspaper to deliver the news is debated, other contenders for delivering the Declaration on the 16th include Public Advertiser, Lloyd’s Evening Post, and British Chronicle). The full text of the Declaration of Independence was first typeset and printed in John Dunlap’s Philadelphia print shop on July 5th and made available for distribution, though it is unclear by exactly what means Dunlap’s broadside reached the press in Great Britain.

In addition to newspapers, monthly periodicals across Great Britain reprinted the Declaration of Independence. One of the first of these included the Gentleman’s Magazine run by Edward Cave under the editorial pen name, Sylvanus Urban, from his home at St. John’s Gate. Cave’s periodical is credited with being the first in English to employ the French term “magazine.” The Magazine was a digest of news and literature for an educated public, and notably employed Samuel Johnson as a writer.

Gentleman's Magazine
Gentleman’s Magazine

In the August 1776 edition of Gentleman’s Magazine, the list of contents points to the “Declaration of American Independency” on page 361 between articles on “qualifications of a Siberian hair-dresser” and a “report of the committee appointed to enquire into the state of the city’s cash.”

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Books as Art: Exploring Rare Zaehnsdorf Bindings

Established circa 1842 by Jospeh Zaehnsdorf, the Zaehnsdorf Bindery operated under the control of the Zaehnsdorf family until 1947, in that time producing some of the finest examples of bookbinding in London. Austria-Hungarin born Joseph Zaehnsdorf worked in binderies in Stuttgart and Vienna, before arriving in London, where he gained a prestigious position with James Mackenzie, Bookbinder to the King. In 1842 Zaehnsdorf opened his own shop, which by the 1860s was regarded as one of the finest in London, alongside the celebrated firm of Robert Riviere.

When Zaehnsdorf passed away in 1886, he left the business to his son, Joseph William, himself an accomplished binder and author of The Art of Bookbinding: A Practical Treatise–a manual of critical importance to students of bookbinding. Jo      seph William elaborated the concerns of the firm to include bookbinding courses and also opened a showroom. The bindery continued to produce spectacular work, and its acclaim only increased under his tenure. Around the turn of the century, the firm was appointed as bookbinders and booksellers to Edward VII and George V.

In 1920, Joseph William retired, leaving his son, Ernest to run the business. Like his father, Ernest also expanded the interests of the firm, this time to include book conservation. In 1947, the business was sold, and passed through a number of hands until 1998 when it was combined with another renowned London bookbinding firm, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, under the umbrella of Shepherds Bookbinders.

UO’s Special Collections has a handful of Zaehnsdorf bindings, representative of the firm’s more austere and refined output. A Dante Treasury and Early British Ballads (both 1903) reside in the Bishop William A. Quayle Book Collection, which includes Quayle’s library of 500 titles illustrating the history of printing and the printed book. John Ashton’s A Righte Merrie Christmasse!!! (1895) is from the Pauline Potter Homer Collection of Beautiful Books, a collection of approximately 1000 volumes demonstrative of various facets of beauty in the printed book. George Eliot’s Felix Holt the Radical (1866) is a recently acquired addition to the University’s general rare book collections.


By Ryan Hildebrand, Authorities and Special Collections Cataloging Librarian

Colonel John “Watermelon” Redington and the Heppner Weekly Gazette

Heppner Weekly Gazette (Heppner, OR.) December 13, 1883, image 1.
Heppner Weekly Gazette (Heppner, OR.) December 13, 1883.

Available at the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is a collection of correspondences, scrapbooks, newspapers, and miscellaneous papers pertaining to Colonel John “Watermelon” Redington (1851-1935). An Oregon scout turned newspaper man, this eccentric character was editor of the Heppner Weekly Gazette in Heppner, Oregon during its frontier days. The Colonel published quite an unusual periodical for such a small western town, and University of Oregon alumnus Brant Ducey used Redington’s editorial career with the Heppner Weekly Gazette as the focus of his master’s thesis (John Watermelon Redington: “Hell on Hogthieves and Hypocrites” 1963). To add to the bulk of resources available on John “Watermelon” Redington, the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP) has also made digital issues of the Heppner Weekly Gazette available online from the period of his editorial management. Drawing upon the research already completed by Brant Ducey and the resources made available by SCUA and ODNP, this post takes a quick look at the editorial career Redington which Ducey remarked as perhaps one of the most unique moments in the history of Oregon’s periodical publications.

Scrapbook in the John W. Redington Papers, 1880-1935. University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives. Jane Conway photo.
Scrapbook in the John W. Redington Papers, 1880-1935. University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives. Jane Conway photo.

As Brant Ducey explains in his research, Colonel Redington was propositioned with an offer to run the Heppner Weekly Gazette following his service in both the Nez Perce and Bannock Indian wars. He was hesitant to accept the job, as an editorial position didn’t quite match the excitement of his nomadic life as an Oregon scout. Though after hearing that the previous publisher of the paper had been run out of Heppner by the town “baddies,” Redington felt that the proposition might provide enough of a challenge to stay entertained.

"The Original Boy Scout." John. W. Redington Papers, 1880-1935. University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives. Jane Conway photo.
“The Original Boy Scout.” John. W. Redington Papers, 1880-1935. University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives. Jane Conway photo.

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