Portland State University. Department of History
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in History
1 online resource (xii, 183 p.)
Regional publishers, Pacific Northwest authors, Oregon literature, Binfords & Mort, Publishers and publishing -- Oregon -- Portland -- History, Regionalism in literature, American literature -- Pacific Northwest -- History and criticism
During the first half of the twentieth century there was a flourishing of publishers in the United States that specialized in books with content targeted for regional audiences. One of the largest regional publishers west of the Mississippi was the Binfords & Mort publishing company of Portland, Oregon. In 1930, Binfords & Mort began publishing works of fiction, history, poetry, children's literature, and natural history by Pacific Northwest authors with content focused on the Pacific Northwest. Between 1930 and 1984, when the Binford family sold the publishing company, Binfords & Mort published around one thousand titles, and became a one of the leading influences on the Oregon literary scene. Although Binfords & Mort did not publish books that received widespread critical praise from national literary critics, its books sold well to Oregon readers. This thesis examines the economic and cultural contexts for Binfords & Mort, and its larger cultural impacts. The thesis also challenges the standard claim that Oregon literature underwent a major shift toward modernism after the publication of H.L. Davis's and James Stevens's critique of Oregon writing, Status Rerum in 1927. Instead, the thesis proposes that by looking at the output of Oregon's most popular publisher, Binfords & Mort, one finds that an older style of writing focused on the pioneer period continued to be popular well into the twentieth century. These publications had a widespread impact on Oregon's cultural development.
Skinner, Jeremy, "The Binfords and Mort Publishing Company and the Development of Regional Literature in Oregon" (2011). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 156.