Sweet Dreams

orange and white kitty sleepingThe academic year is winding down, and oh, what a year it has been! After months of living the college life in all its hectic glory, summer break is near. For many of us, that means the chance to relax, unwind, and maybe finally get enough sleep for a change! Quality sleep is absolutely critical for overall health and well-being, but during the whirlwind of an academic year, it is often hard to prioritize sleep. What better time to work on developing good sleep habits then during the month of May when we celebrate Better Sleep Month! Take advantage of this awareness month by paying attention to your sleep environment and routines, being aware of how diet and exercise play a role in sleep quality, and learning more about sleep health in general. And to help you in your exploration of sleep, check out one of the sleep-related books from the library’s collection featured on the WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information about sleep, see:

National Sleep Foundation–https://www.thensf.org/

American Academy of Sleep Medicine–https://aasm.org/


Sleep is the best meditation—Dalai Lama  

April Showers Bring May Flowers

cup of tea, flowers, poetry booksApril in Oregon is an exciting time of the year, complete with wild weather, bursting blossoms, and frolicking ducks and geese.  The whole natural world awakens with new growth and new life.  As thrilling as this revitalization is, April is exciting for another important reason–it’s National Poetry Month!  In 1996, the Academy of American Poetry (AAP) proclaimed April as National Poetry Month and poetry lovers have been celebrating this month ever since.  According to AAP, their goals for the month include an effort to “highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets” and “encourage the reading of poems.”  So while you’re out appreciating the wonders of spring, why not take a moment to appreciate the wonders of poetry?  Take a look at our WU Reads Reading Guide for a selection of current volumes of poetry in our collection.


Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. — Rita Dove


Poetry has never been the language of barriers, it’s always been the language of bridges. — Amanda Gorman

For more information about National Poetry Month visit: https://poets.org/national-poetry-month

Love Your Library

swirl of booksThe big celebration in February is Valentine’s Day but did you know there is another huge cause for celebration? February is Library Lovers’ Month—a whole month dedicated to celebrating the place that so many of us hold near and dear to our heart! Libraries are spaces devoted to many wonderful concepts such as cultural preservation, freedom of information, and lifelong learning. They provide access to great collections of books, journals, video recordings, archival treasures, and more. Libraries also offer a place for people to socialize, work together on projects, and enjoy special exhibits; they provide a quiet, safe space for reflection and for community. Some libraries, like the Hatfield Library, extend access to unexpected things such as jigsaw puzzles, craft materials, home improvement items, and much more. And, of course, libraries offer intelligent, dedicated staff, ready to help you! Join us this month in celebrating all the great libraries out there—past, present and future!

Take a look at our WU Reads Reading Guide for a selection of library-related books.

A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.

—Shelby Foote

Libraries are our friends.—Neil Gaiman

I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I’ll be okay.—Maya Angelou

An Artist in the Last Frontier: Dorathy Bruce Farr’s Missing Months in Alaska

Maggie Nevala ’26

Damage to Anchorage’s downtown after the 1964 earthquake

     Alaska is a state that is constantly on the brink. Earthquakes are a daily occurrence, barely warranting rousing awake, the 7.1 quake of 2018 only closing school for a week before students returned to classrooms with cracks in the walls. But in 1964, the 9.2 Great Alaskan earthquake thoroughly upended the growing city of Anchorage. The homes and infrastructure that were largely unequipped for such a disaster were destroyed, the death toll rising as the state experienced the aftershocks and effects that would continue for years to come. When Dorathy Bruce Farr arrived in Anchorage in 1965, the city was still rebuilding—and so was she.
     Almost the entirety of the information that remains about Dorathy Bruce Farr can fit in one box, the papers enclosed largely consisting of the countless letters she sent to peers and the copious notes of the reporter who worked to find Dorathy after her location became unknown to her friends in the 1980s.

One of the few available photos of Dorathy Bruce Farr, taken after she was found in a care center in 1985

These pen markings and scribblings make up all that is known about Dorathy’s life, certain buzzwords sticking out among them all and illustrating her origins. She was born in Portland in 1904, married her first husband at 18 and had a son, and then married fellow artist Fred Farr in the 1930s. She and Fred moved to New York together, where they hobnobbed with other artists, he was commissioned to make murals, and she studied her craft and made a name for herself as a batik painter. It is after this period that the details get murky. There is nothing said about what happened to Dorathy’s relationship with Fred, but she returned to Portland alone, continuing to exhibit her work there but making a meager living from it. The ‘60s were a blur of art, parties, and internal struggles that ended in her last show in 1970.
     Dorathy Bruce Farr is a woman of many mysteries, from her gradual mental decline due to what was most likely Alzheimer’s, the ambiguous death of her son, and the severance of any communication with her friends from 1980 to 1985, when she was found in a care center.

The front and back of one of the envelopes used to enclose the letters Dorathy Bruce Farr wrote to Rex Amos from Anchorage (Box: 1, Folder 3)

In all the many accounts of Dorathy’s adventures—or the attempts to piece them together—there is one that appears as a lone sentence, as an afterthought of an addition to a list of details about her: “Alaska ‘65 = work fish cannery” (Box: 1, Folder: 19) , or “She worked half a year in an Alaska salmon cannery” (Box: 1, Folder: 22). These are small descriptors used for a larger-than-life place, a place that should not slip through the cracks so easily. Even knowing her financial motivations for the trip—Dorathy was hoping to kick start her career by earning enough money to go back to New York—the lack of further details begs for there to be more to discover about Dorathy’s short and mysterious time spent in the Last Frontier, and a mere four letters written by her bear the burden of telling us the tale.
     Each of the four letters—written to fellow artist Rex Amos in July and August 1965—provide a unique insight into Dorathy’s observations and thoughts about the state. In the first of the letters, she expounds on the imagery of the city with the appraising eye only a seasoned painter could have. She creates a contrast between the beautiful nature surrounding her—“the mountains are purple, black, and sapphire and the sun is shining down the valleys” (Box: 1, Folder: 1)—with what she sees as the disruptive expansion of the cityscape. Her poetic musings are interrupted by the telltale sounds of suburbia: lawn mowers, station wagons, taverns, Tastee Freezes. Dorathy shuns these modes of innovation, referring to Anchorage in one of her first letters as a “dull, ugly, grimy, hideous stereotype of a city.” (Box: 1, Folder: 1). 

An early, 1950s Tastee Freez in Anchorage, like the one Dorathy describes in her letters as a sign of suburbia

Harsh words aside, here in 1965, she pinpoints the dichotomy lived by many Alaskans today, how the gray urban world encroaches on the natural one, how mountains loom over the skyline of a downtown that is not much of an expansive downtown at all. But for many of the current generation living there, it is the only city they have ever known, and that is what Dorathy was unequipped to realize during her brief excursion—that a place that appears contradictory to her, where history and wilderness and urbanization live side by side, was and is a home to many. But in her last letter, where she celebrates her upcoming return to the Lower 48, she encapsulates Anchorage best in one phrase: “The Greatest Little Big Town in Alaska.” (Box: 1, Folder: 4). Residents of the largest state by area in the U.S. are well-aware that often running into someone you know is as easy as turning the corner.
     While Dorathy never directly references the earthquake that happened in Alaska the year prior, her observations about the city’s urban developments reflect the recovery efforts that were still ongoing. And there are many other instances in the letters where she places her time there in a historical context. To make money to fund future travels, Dorathy works in a salmon cannery, presumably in the coastal fishing town of Ketchikan that is mentioned in passing in the letters.

A salmon cannery in Ketchikan, Alaska similar to one Dorathy Bruce Farr would have worked at

This endeavor was common for 20th century Alaskan teenagers looking to make some extra cash—a traditional practice that has evolved into families who commercial fish every summer. Additionally, Dorathy’s second letter to Rex Amos consists almost entirely of newspaper clippings that provide an inside look into this world, the articles excerpted referencing Alaska’s significance in the Vietnam War, a still prominent banking chain, and a senator whose name is now emblazoned on one of Anchorage’s ten middle schools.

Newspaper clippings included in one of Dorathy Bruce Farr’s letters from Anchorage (Box: 1, Folder: 2)

With these clippings and notes, Dorathy immersed herself in the culture of a city that would continue to be relevant beyond the time of her stay, possibly without even realizing she did so.
     Dorathy Bruce Farr’s letters from Anchorage can only provide so much information about her months there, but by considering the historical scene at the time and taking in the picture she paints of the landscape, we can place ourselves in her shoes and into the image of an Anchorage both past and present. In 1965, Dorathy was entering the last phase of her career as an artist, and all this happened against the backdrop of a state only six years old, when the land was shiny and fresh and was a place where one could pursue adventure, set down roots, and start anew.



Correspondence, 1965 July 2, Series I, Box: 1, Folder: 1. The Dorathy Bruce Farr
       papers, WUA027. Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

Correspondence, 1965 July, Series I, Box: 1, Folder: 2. The Dorathy Bruce Farr
       papers, WUA027. Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

Correspondence, 1965 August 2, Series I, Box: 1, Folder: 3. The Dorathy Bruce
       Farr papers, WUA027. Willamette University Archives and Special

Correspondence, 1965 August 9, Series I, Box: 1, Folder: 4. The Dorathy Bruce
       Farr papers, WUA027. Willamette University Archives and Special

Various reviews of art shows, 1965-1970, Series II, Box: 1, Folder: 19. The
       Dorathy Bruce Farr papers, WUA027. Willamette University Archives and
       Special Collections.

Photographs, notes, draft of article and copy of Northwest Magazine with the
       article, 1985 June 23, Series II, Box: 1, Folder: 22. The Dorathy Bruce Farr
       papers, WUA027. Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

Bake Someone Happy

family of four in kitchen cookingThis month brings us the joy of winter break and various holidays–many of us will be gathering with family and friends for delicious homecooked meals and tasty sweet treats. There is something magical about cooking and baking in a warm, cozy kitchen when the weather outside is frightful. It doesn’t matter if we are making a new recipe or a traditional family favorite, sharing our scrumptious creations with our loved ones is a highlight of the season. Whether you’re a veteran chef or a novice baker, why not find out more about cooking and baking with one of these books from the library’s collection featured on the WU Reads Reading Guide.

“First we eat, then we do everything else.” – M.F.K. Fisher

“Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving, and identity.” – Jonathan Safran Foer


Homeless Youth Awareness

graphic of sad person sitting on the streetThe weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter and many of us relish the opportunity to stay inside with a good book and a hot beverage of our choice.  This time of year, we look forward to Fall break, a few days off, good food, and some time with family and friends.  But the unhoused or homeless experience is very different as they struggle to stay warm, dry, fed, and hopeful.  Did you know 5 percent of homeless people in the United States are unaccompanied youth under 25? And Oregon has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country.  November is National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month so take some time to learn more by taking a look at some of these books from the library’s collection featured on the WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information, see:

National Alliance to End Homelessness


The 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress


Salem HOME Youth Services

HOME Youth Services

Checkout the Hatfield Library’s “Library of Things”

At this point in the semester, many students are trying to figure out how to complete all their coursework that is due before the Fall/Thanksgiving break, and then survive the sprint into finals. This often requires long hours of study or other academic work, and can engender quite a bit of stress. We all relieve stress in our own ways, but one great way is to indulge in a hobby or other activity that relaxes us. The Hatfield Library hopes to contribute to stress reduction and relaxation through the magic of our new “Library of Things.”

Partially funded with a University CAFES grant, the Library of Things (LOT) has items to lend that are targeted toward hobbies, crafts, home improvement, outdoor recreation, etc.  Examples of items in the LOT include; a sewing machine, coloring supplies, a digital video projector, a Circuit Air Explore 2, a tent, a hammock, a massage gun, and a Nintendo Switch. To find out about additional items in the LOT as well as the borrowing rules, please check out our Library of Things online guide. If something interests you, stop by and borrow it. And you never know–the items in our LOT collection might just help you relax or discover a brand, new hobby!

While we’re on the topic of stress reduction and relaxation, don’t forget our collection of puzzles and games.  And of course, our Popular Reading collection is full of recent genre fiction such as mystery/crime, science fiction, thriller/suspense, historical, young adult, fantasy, as well as biographies, self-help, and a whole lot more. 

If you’re feeling stressed out or just need a break from studying, come visit the library and explore our new Library of Things.  And best wishes for a successful conclusion of the semester from the staff of the Hatfield Library.

Charles Heaney & the WPA: A Memory of Mountains

by Jess Kimmel ’25

          One of the many programs created by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a part of the New Deal was the Works Progress Administration, or the WPA. First launched in 1935, the WPA was instrumental in providing jobs for the millions of Americans who were left unemployed as a result of the Great Depression. Like other New Deal initiatives, this program largely revolved around the creation and renovation of roads, public buildings, and other infrastructure. According to sociologist Robert D. Leighninger, these programs “had an enormous and largely unrecognized role in defining the public space we now use.”
          While thinking about the WPA often evokes images of manual labor, many of its projects also provided opportunities for actors, musicians, writers, and artists. From the sculptures and murals commissioned to publicize and promote the collectivist values of the Roosevelt administration, to the ethnomusicology research conducted by the Federal Music Project, creatives in the New Deal era found themselves valued and sought out to a level that had seldom been reached before in American history. One such creative was Portland painter Charles Heaney, a man known for defying and redefining artistic tradition.
          Born to a working-class family in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin in 1897, Charles Heaney went through nearly sixteen years of life without seeing a mountain. Not unusual, perhaps, for a Midwesterner, though certainly notable in hindsight for an artist whose greatest works would include no small number of paintings depicting Northwestern mountain peaks. While traveling by train with his mother and sisters to their new home in Portland, Heaney would get his first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains, even the foothills of which overwhelmed him with their majestic beauty. He didn’t yet consider himself an artist, but that memory of mountains would serve as a font of inspiration for him years later.
          As a young man in Portland, Charles Heaney worked briefly as a laborer, before soon realizing that such a career would be unsustainable for him. He found his first artistic calling as an engraver in 1916,

Undated self-portrait of Charles Heaney, oil on canvas.

before going on to study painting and printmaking at the Portland Museum Art School. His art career reached its heights in the 1930s, which saw his work evolve from simple pastoral prints to more emotionally complex paintings during his partnership with expressionist painter C.S. Price. The New Deal was in full swing at that time; while the heart of the Depression initially found him digging sewers for the Civil Works Administration, Heaney was able to find federal employment as an artist in 1934 with the Public Works of Art program, and later with the WPA in 1937.
         Charles Heaney was commissioned by the WPA to create prints and paintings to furnish the program’s many public buildings. This provided him with full-time work as well as an opportunity to further gain renown as an artist. Somewhat ironically, Heaney described the Depression as a Renaissance of American art due to the unprecedented level of government interest and support, and there were few projects that more clearly demonstrate this demand for art than Timberline Lodge.
Built right on the slope of Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge is a historic inn and ski resort that is easily one of the crowning achievements of the Works Progress Administration. It is in fact “the only twentieth century building of its size constructed and furnished entirely by hand with original craft work,” writes Rachael Griffin,

Timberline Lodge, as stylized on the cover of The Builders of Timberline Lodge, an informational booklet published by the WPA in 1937.

longtime curator of the Portland Art Museum and founding member of the Friends of Timberline, in a 1979 guide to the lodge. Construction on Timberline began in the summer of 1936 and was completed in just over a year, a timeframe that would still be considered impressive today. Yet, what makes Timberline so significant to American art is the careful and intentional way that it was furnished with original art: sculptures, carvings, mosaics, textiles, and paintings.
          It is here, in the lodge’s mezzanine gallery, that one of Charles Heaney’s most powerful works, The Mountain, hangs, in the company of other great Cascadian artists. An oil painting on canvas, it is barely able to contain the imposing figure of Mt. Hood itself. This painting was completed in September of 1937, just in time for Timberline’s dedication. It would not be Heaney’s last work depicting mountains, which became an emergent theme throughout much of his later work. As a Regionalist and Romantic artist, they were something of a stylistic cliche for him. But beyond that, it stands to reason that the draw he felt towards the peaks of Oregon was steeped in the memory of mountains that had long ago welcomed him to the West.

The Mountain, oil on canvas, 1937.

           Traces of the WPA and its sister programs remain scattered throughout Oregon, serving as a stalwart reminder of the things that a people united can accomplish. In addition to Timberline Lodge, other scenic landmarks such as the McLoughlin Promenade, Silver Falls State Park, and Salem’s own Waterfront park owe their existence to the New Deal public works programs.



Memory, Imagination, and Place, Roger Hull’s
monograph on Charles Heaney, 2005.

More information about Charles Heaney and his association with the WPA can be found in Willamette University’s Pacific Northwest Artists Archive, maintained by the joint collaboration of the university Archives and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. Much of the material on Heaney is located in the archived research files of Roger Hull, Professor Emeritus of Art History, who wrote monographs and organized retrospective exhibitions on the subject of Heaney and other Northwest artists.



Charles Heaney, 1902-2006, bulk: 1916-2004, Series III. Roger Hull Research Files on Pacific Northwest Artists, WUA065. Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

            Biographical Statements, Resumes, & Chronologies, Box: 3, Folder: 39

Completed Monograph, 2005, Box: 3, Folder: 20

Timberline Lodge, 1937-2004, Box: 4, Folder: 17

Hale, Jamie. “10 Oregon landmarks built by workers during the Great Depression.” The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/12/4b496903728641/10-oregon-landmarks-built-by-workers-during-the-great-depression.html

Leighninger, Robert D. (May 1996). “Cultural Infrastructure: The Legacy of New Deal Public Space”. Journal of Architectural Education. 49 (4): 226–236

Personal Librarians for CAS First Years and Transfer Students

With the Autumn Equinox behind us, and as the weather turns brisk with some rain, we all start thinking about the seasons ahead. For some it will be pondering Halloween festivities, for others a break and a chance to go home and have some family time, or whatever else brings happiness into our lives. Personal Librarian LogoFor first year and transfer students at Willamette, it also means the initial rounds of tests and papers. If you need help as you prepare for these academic events, there are many places you can turn including the Hatfield Library. Among other programs, the library has a Personal Librarians program.

Personal Librarians are your go-to person in the library. First-year and transfer students of the College of Arts and Sciences are paired up with a librarian so that students have a name, face, and specific individual to help with any questions about the library, research, or collections. Your Personal Librarian will reach out to you a few times a year via email. Please feel free to stop by the library to meet them or any of the librarians and ask for help.

Who knows–in October we might even have a special treat for you!

American Archives Month

old letters, old photosFor many of us, October brings to mind autumn leaves, jack o’ lanterns, pumpkin everything, scary costumes, and cooler weather. But October is also American Archives Month and it is only fitting for us to pay tribute to all the fabulous Archives around the country including our very own University Archives! If you’ve never visited Willamette’s archive, now is the time—with four major collecting areas including University archives and records, political papers, personal collections, and the Pacific Northwest Artist Archive, there is bound to be something of interest to everyone. The archives includes papers, publications, photographs, diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and much more.  Our dedicated archives staff (including our great student interns), works diligently every day to organize, describe, preserve, manage, and share our wonderful collections. Archives play a crucial role in preserving history, telling stories, and helping us understand our past and its link to the present. So a big shout out to archivists and archives everywhere. And checkout some of the interesting archives-related books from the library’s collection featured on the WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information about Willamette’s archive, visit:


Page 1 of 39
1 2 3 39