"Eminent Astorians" marks the bicentennial of Astoria in 2011. Each of nine essays presents a literary biography of a figure who looms large in Astoria's history, from Comcomly, the powerful, one-eyed leader of the Chinook Tribe when Lewis and Clark arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1805, to the "Salmon Kings" who capitalized on the region's natural bounty from the 1870s to the 1910s. Modeled after Lytton Strachey's literary portraits in Eminent Victorians, these essays are interpretive, engaging, and rich in context. The authors are among the best known and most respected writers and scholars in the Northwest. Stephen Dow Beckham, distinguished historian at Lewis and Clark College, contributed a comprehensive introduction and served as the book's historical advisor.
Scholars as well as travelers and lay readers interested in the Pacific Northwest will enjoy the biographical storytelling and gain insights into Astoria's history as they trace the lives of these quintessential Oregonians. Essays include "Comcomly: Chinook Nation CEO" by John Terry; "John Jacob Astor I: 'A Most Excellent Man?'" by Robert Michael Pyle; "George Gibbs" by Stephen Dow Beckham; "Ranald MacDonald and Astoria" by Frederik L. Schodt; "Captain George Flavel and the Building of Astoria" by William F. Willingham; "Bethenia Angelina Owens Adair" by Jean M. Ward; "Silas Bryant Smith" by Stephen Dow Beckham; "Molding Astoria--The Role of Two Editors" by Sandra Haarsager; and "The Salmon Kings" by Liisa Penner.