The Books Issue

A Century of Great Books

Illustration by Janice Wu

Reed’s proud tradition of publishing took root almost as soon as the foundation was poured. We here present a brief and idiosyncratic selection from this epic body of work.

By Chris Lydgate ’90
Everywoman's Road
1913 

Everywoman’s Road: A Morality of Woman Creator Worker Waster Joy-giver and Keeper of the Flame.

by Josephine Hammond [English 1913-16]
This play, written in “free-running iambics,” was produced at Reed in 1915 and included no fewer than 150 parts.

The Quest
1913h

The Quest

Reed’s indomitable student newspaper published its first issue Jan 16, 1913, and, defying all rules of common sense, has continued more or less weekly ever since. Next year will mark its 100th anniversary in print—take that, Newsweek!

The Nature of the Ultimate Magnetic Particle
1915

The Nature of the Ultimate Magnetic Particle

by Karl Compton [physics 1911–15] & Everett Trousdale ’15 
Article disproving molecular theory of magnetism was published in Physical Review. Compton founded Reed’s physics department, served as football coach, and later became president of MIT.

Should Students Study?
1917

Should Students Study?

by William Trufant Foster [president 1910–19] 
Typically provocative title from Reed’s iconoclastic first president, who scorned the “sheep-dip” approach to higher education.

Under the Green Tiles
1922

Under The Green Tiles

by Beatrice Olson ’24
This piece in the 1922 Griffin is a delightful guide to the architecture of Reed’s first buildings, complete with marvelous descriptions of grotesques, spandrels, coats-of-arms, etc.

Sacrifice of Spring
1927

The Sacrifice of Spring: A Masque of Queens

by Loyd Haberly ’18
After Reed, Loyd went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, became a letterpress printer, biographer, and translator, and published more than 20 volumes of poetry.

The Congressional Conference Committee
1927

The Congressional Conference Committee

by Ada Chenoweth McCown ’15 [sociology and dean 1929-31] 
Based on Ada’s PhD thesis, this book became an important text for American political scientists; ten editions were published between 1927 and 1967.

A Theory of Production
1928

A Theory of Production

Paul H. Douglas [econ 1917–18]
This article in American Economic Review heralded the appearance of the celebrated Cobb-Douglas function, a significant achievement in the field of economics. Douglas went on to further fame as a U.S. Senator for Illinois 1949–67.

They Built the West
1934

They Built the West

by Glenn Chesney Quiett ’20
A vivid history of the land barons, railroad tycoons, engineers, surveyors, lumberjacks, pile-drivers, and workers whose determination, sweat, and muscle forever changed the Western states.

Trail Smoke
1936

Trail Smoke

By Ernest Haycox ’23
“Morgantown was at war, cattleman against sheepherder.” Ernest wrote two dozen novels, mostly Westerns, and over 300 short stories.



Brain Tumors Always Die
1937

Brain Tumors Always Die

by Arthur John McLean ’21 
Arthur was a prominent neurosurgeon and researcher who published more than two dozen articles on subjects from paraphysical cysts to intractable pain. This one was considered so influential it was reprinted in Surgical Neurology 40 years later.

How Long, Oh Lord
1950

How Long, Oh Lord

by Jacob Avshalomov ’43
A distinguished composer and conductor, Jacob wrote this cantata for mixed chorus, contralto solo, and orchestra, compiling the words from the books of Habakkuk, Isaiah, and Psalms.

The Concept of Culture-Bondage
1954

The Concept of Culture-Bondage 

by David French ’39 [anthro 1947–88]
Iconic anthro professor examines the countercultural spirit of college students several years before the counterculture takes off.

Highland Rebel
1954

Highland Rebel

by Sally Watson ’50
Scottish lass yearns to fight with Bonnie Prince Charlie against the English. Disguised as a boy, she is captured by the hated enemy and must find a way to escape. Sally wrote several historical novels for young adults, all with strong female leads.

Empire of the Columbia
1957

Empire of the Columbia

by Dorothy Johansen ’33 [history 1934–84]
A definitive study of the Pacific Northwest, from Indian tribes to Spanish explorers to swashbuckling shipping merchants (yes, that means you, Simeon). 

Sappho
1957

Sappho: A New Translation

by Mary Barnard ’32
This spare, lucid translation of one of western literature’s earliest women poets became an instant classic of poetry both ancient and modern. Mary wrote about the numerous challenges of the project in Assault on Mount Helicon.

Trask
1958

Trask

by Don Berry ’53
Set in 1848 on the wild edge of the continent, in the rain forests and rugged headlands of the Oregon coast, Trask follows a mountain man’s quest for new opportunities and new land. Widely considered one of the finest historical novels of the American West.

The Nature of Frontiers and Boundaries
1959

The Nature of Frontiers and Boundaries

by Ladis K. Kristof ’55
Author, professor, logger, aristocrat, prisoner, refugee, and everything in between, Kris was also a political scientist of wide renown.

Spiders, Snakes, and Other Outcasts
1965

Spiders, Snakes, and Other Outcasts

by Robert Froman ’39
Describes the attributes of such unpopular creatures as worms, spiders, octopuses, bats, snakes, vultures, cockroaches, and toads that have made them some of the most successful life forms on earth.

The Impoverished Students' Book of Cookery, Drinkery, & Housekeepery
1965

The Impoverished Students’ Book of Cookery, Drinkery, & Housekeepery

by Jay Rosenberg ’63 
Based on Jay’s experiences living off-campus, this book is still in print. Jay donated all royalties to the Rosenberg Cookbook Fund Scholarship at Reed and went on to write many books as a noted philosopher.

Two in the Far North
1962

Two in the Far North

by Margaret Thomas Murie ’23
Mardy describes life in the Alaskan wilderness with her husband, Olaus Murie. Their determination to protect the Alaskan landscape led to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Mardy was given the Presidental Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton in 1998.

Delights & Prejudices
1964

Delights & Prejudices

by James Beard ’24
Gastronomic memoir paints a vivid portrait of Jim’s childhood in Portland, early days in New York, and career as a food writer. Although a student at Reed only for his freshman year, he received an honorary degree from Reed in 1976 and left much of his estate to the college.