Speakers to examine bridges, famous book

A landmark book and remarkable bridges form the topics when two history experts give separate Chautauqua lectures in Hood River County on Sunday, April 14.

The free talks are in Hood River and Parkdale, and both start at 2 p.m. Each year, the Oregon Council for the Humanities brings 200 Chautauqua lectures to small communities around the state.

Jim Kopp, director of Lewis and Clark College library, will speak on "One Book's Influence: Edward Belklamy's Looking Backward," at Hood River County Library on State Street.

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 was once considered one of the most influential books published in America. This presentation draws on Kopp's extensive collection on Bellany to "look back" at the influence of Looking Backward.

In Oregon, several Nationalist (or Bellamy) Clubs were established shortly after the book was published, and again in the 1930s when his widow and daughter lectured in Portland as part of a Bellany revival.

Kopp's presentation is part of the Hood River County Museum's on-going Smithsonian Institute exhibit, "Yesterday's Tomorrows" on display through May 4. Kopp's talk is made possible by funding from the Oregon Council for the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In Parkdale, author Sharon Wood Wortman will present "Bridge Stories: A Storytelling Slide Show," at Parkdale Grange.

Oregon's bridges stand as monuments to creativity, yet the stories about these bridges extend their significance beyond the ordinary to create symbol and metaphor, according to Wortman.

She entertains and informs with slide images, music, stories, books, video clips and handouts. The event is suitable for all ages. Wortman interprets bridges as stories in her slide-storytelling presentation, and her images reflect some of the most awesome structrues in Oregon and the U.S.

In 2000-01, she worked as one of the historians documenting 10 of the lower Willamette River bridges for the Library of Congress.

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