[Salem, Oregon: Statesman Publishing Co.,], 1922. First editi9on. The present collection of letters and testimonials was assembled by Dr. Bethenia Angelia Owens-Adair (1840 – 1926) to commemorate her eighty-second birthday and the recent publication of her memoir. An important testimonial describes Owens-Adair as “a remarkable woman…she was responsible for the passage of the ‘sterilization law’ for degenerates and criminals in Oregon, and has made this her work for many years. She has written and worked entirely for the adoption of eugenic and hygienic laws in Oregon as well as in other states,” (p. 63). With elaborate half-page illustration of Father Time on page 64. A bit of faint foxing and toning. Inscribed by the author to her personal friend Olaf Erickson. A very good, very clean copy of a work by the first practicing woman physician in the Pacific Northwest and an ardent advocate for eugenics and forced sterilization. Dark red cloth over flexible boards. Titled in gilt. Octavo. 64 pp. Item #17292
Owens-Adair campaigned for the passage of a sterilization law, authored by her, for ten years until it was finally passed by the Oregon Legislature in 1917. The law, which reached its final form in 1923, permitted the forced sterilization of people deemed “feeble-minded, insane, epileptic, habitual criminals, moral degenerates and sexual perverts,” (Kaelber). The sterilization law was not repealed until 1983. In 2002, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber apologized for the law and stated that 2,648 people were recorded as having been sterilized (Kaelber). Aside from her lifelong support of eugenics, Owens-Adair was one of the most vocal proponents of women’s suffrage in Oregon, “the first practicing woman physician in the Pacific Northwest” (p. 63), and a migrant of the first major wagon train to Oregon led by Jesse Applegate.
In the present work, Owens-Adair refers to Olaf Erickson as “my Granger friend,” (p. 46). We could not find any more information on Erickson nor on the significance of “Granger.” Kaelber, Lutz. “Eugenics: Compulsory Sterilization in 50 American States.” See Oregon.