Dorothy Jo’s Western Recipes: a Minor Reed College Mystery
Dr. Dorothy Johansen (1904-1999), longtime professor of history and humanities at Reed College, in 1952 penned a pamphlet for the Standard Insurance Company of Portland, titled “Western Foods and Recipes 100 Years Ago.” It is described in this Sunset Magazine (November 1952) advertisement, but finding a copy involved a major search effort. It’s not listed in WorldCat; there is neither a copy of it, nor a reference to it, in Johansen’s meager archives at Reed; and a look into the archives of Standard Insurance (by a friend archivist with mole-like attributes) found not a thing. I finally obtained a pdf file of the pamphlet, eight pages of text on the culinary trials and tribulations of Oregon’s white settlers of the mid-nineteenth century in Johansen’s characteristically succinct prose. Here’s a paragraph.
I had been looking for Dorothy Jo’s pamphlet not only because of my interest in regional foodways, but also because Dorothy Jo had a profound impact on my education and career. The author of Empire of the Columbia (1957, with Charles M. Gates; however, the second edition of 1967 was almost entirely recrafted by Johansen), Dorothy Jo taught a seminar on Pacific Northwest history, and she was my advisor for several years; a falling-out over my thesis topic sent me to David Allmendinger, but in the end Dorothy Jo served on my thesis committee and at my graduation charmingly shook hands with my parents and said good things about me. Dorothy Jo smoked Roi-Tan little cigars almost continuously, ate peppermint ice cream, and once admonished me to eat lots and lots of steamed broccoli, topped with oleomargarine. Naturally, I wanted to know if her pamphlet on Western foods made mention of broccoli; it did not.
N.B.: Another Dorothy Jo mystery is her unpublished mystery novel. Set in undefined academia, it is written through the eyes of one Aristotelia Bennedict. The draft is in her papers at Reed, along with the extended comments of literary advisor and agent A. L. Fierst, who recommended many changes but was very supportive in his remarks. Someone should tidy it up and get it published!
|Dorothy Jo, 1963. Reed College Archives|