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Polk County Girl

Dallas honors famous writer, hometown girl

RICKREALL -- Children's author and Polk County native Evelyn Sibley Lampman will be honored at the Polk County Museum in Rickreall at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21.

Lampman was born in 1907. She wrote some 50 children's books, including "The Witch Doctor's Son" and "The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek."

The Children's Services Division of the Oregon Library Association has an Evelyn Sibley Lampman Award to "honor a living Oregon author, librarian, or educator who has made a significant contribution to the children of Oregon."

Born in Dallas in 1907 into a covered wagon family, Lampman based many of her books on stories handed down through her family of the pioneer times and early history of Oregon.

"Her works combine a mixture of fictional and real-life characters and often show a sympathetic understanding of Indian customs and the problems of the Chinese in Oregon in the 19th century," said Polk County historian Arlie Holt.

One such historical figure is Tabitha Brown. She became one of the founders of Pacific University in Forrest Grove.

She is the central character in Lampman's "Wheels West," which chronicles her courage and pluck in traveling over the newly opened Southern Route in 1846.

Tabitha eventually became involved in the early education of mixed-ancestry children.

Members of the Collins family, who would settle in Dallas, are characters in this book.

Dallas itself is the setting for her "The Bounces of Cynthiann" and Lampman has both Indian and Chinese characters in the book.

(Cynthiann is an early name for Dallas.)

Lampman wrote extensively about Dallas in nonfiction work, too. An article in the Oregon Historical Quarterly dealt with the family of Ah Coe, an active person in the community.

Lampman attended Oregon State and worked in Portland radio for years before she began to write children's books. She married Herbert Lampman who was wildlife editor for The Oregonian during the 1930s.

They had two daughters.

Her son-in-law, Jack McIsaac, and his son Adam will be present at the program.

They will share personal memories of the author and will give a broader picture of the writer's life, Holt said.

Also present will be Kate Kilfoil of Independence, who will discuss her years of collecting Lampman books.

Polk County Historical Society board members have been reading Lampman's books and some of them will discuss their favorites.

People in the audience will be encouraged to talk about their favoratie Lampman books.

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