William Finley and Herman Bohlman did not act alone in their efforts to promote their message of conservation. They were part of a national network of scientists, nature writers, and concerned citizens who worked to educate Americans of the increasingly devastating impact over-hunting and habitat destruction had on bird populations.
In this month’s installment of the ongoing Reuniting Finley and Bohlman series we take a look at one of Finley and Bohlman’s most well known collaborations. In the summer of 1912 noted nature writer Dallas Lore Sharp and his family spent the summer touring Oregon with the pair, revisiting the sites made popular in their photography a decade before. The summer was significant as it was Finley’s first traveling the state as Oregon’s new Game Warden tasked with promoting new, stricter regulation on hunting and fishing. The summer was also the last time Bohlman would join Finley on an expedition.
Sharp wrote about his travels in his 1914 book, Where Rolls the Oregon. Filled with Sharp’s trademark turn-of-the-century florid writing, the book recounts his many adventures in the state and lauds Finley and Bohlman’s work in conservation. “Oregon, and the country as a whole,” Sharp declared, “owe Finley and Bohlman a large debt for what they have done to preserve wildlife.” [i]
Touring with Audubon Game Wardens in Eastern Oregon
The warden stood speechless at the sight of snow-white birds in the willows — they had been so nearly exterminated by the plumers, — and his wonder fell upon us all. [ii]
Camping on Three Arch Rocks
So we got over the rim along the south face of the cliff, up which we had climbed, and by rope descended to a small shelf under an overhanging ledge about forty feet above the waves. Here, protected from the northwest wind, and from much of the rain, we rolled up in our blankets, while night crept down upon us and out over the sea. [iii]
Summiting Mount Hood
Might one not need to climb Hood many times for the eyes to grow used to seeing and the soul to feeling such unwonted vastness of expanse, such unaccustomed and overwhelming depths? [iv]
To see more, be sure to check up on the Reuniting Finley and Bohlman Collection on Oregon Digital throughout the year as additional materials are uploaded.
This blog series is part of a yearlong partnership between the Oregon Historical Society Research Library and Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives to digitize the Finley and Bohlman photograph and manuscript collections held by our libraries and to unite them online through Oregon Digital and the OHS Digital Collections website. Stay tuned in coming months for future installments about Finley, Bohlman, and their birding adventures around the state.
This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.
[i] Dallas Lore Sharp, Where Rolls the Oregon (Houghton Mifflin, 1914), viii.
[ii] Sharp, Where Rolls the Oregon, 74.
[iii] Sharp, Where Rolls the Oregon, 23.
[iv] Sharp, Where Rolls the Oregon 148.