“Atkinson: Pioneer Oregon Educator”
Inspired by the Second Great Awakening to become a missionary, Massachusetts native George Henry Atkinson arrived in Oregon City during the summer that Congress established the Oregon Territory. Called by early historians “The Father of Public Education in Oregon”, Atkinson played multiple leadership roles in that field for four decades.
An indefatigable traveler, Atkinson made eight return visits to New England during his Oregon residency. A respected community leader, his wide range of interests encompassed railroading, meteorology, botany, agriculture, Indian affairs and mining.
Within his own Congregational denomination he stood as the prime symbol of its efforts to extend its presence into the Pacific Northwest.
This work draws on both George Atkinson’s extensive personal correspondence and his writing in local newspapers. Placing his life and work within its geographic setting and its historical context, it seeks to give the reader an accurate, candid picture of the man, his setting, and his legacy.
From eulogy by Harvey W. Scott, Editor and Publisher, The Oregonian:
“He was not satisfied to keep pace with the natural development of the country . . . . He saw the possibilities of the Northwest from the day his residence began in it, forty years ago, and he spoke and wrote of its coming greatness during all these years of the country’s isolation and remoteness, when such voices were few.”
From eulogy by John Eaton, fellow alumnus of Dartmouth and Andover, family friend, and for sixteen years (1870-86) United States Commissioner of Education:
“In all the varied service to the different phases of education in those formative States, which the Bureau was enabled to render during the sixteen years of my supervision, I was especially indebted to him. His information was promptly furnished and trustworthy; his opinion carefully matured and thoroughly safe. He was a devoted friend of all good work for the elevation of the people – all the people…. He saw with unusual clearness the relation of Christianity to the affairs of this life, and he was on the alert to aid in any form of human progress. He was not only wise in promoting civil and religious institutions, but he was a leader in the development of the agricultural and mineral resources, the industries, commerce and varied enterprises of that vast region . . . Dr. Atkinson was one of the most completely rounded men I ever knew, and I shall always be his debtor.”
Dsevetson@aol.com * 503-236-4393. Don’s book is available at Amazon.com. and will be offered to local bookstores and libraries.