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The Torch of Reason:
Adding the LUO's weekly journal to the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program archives

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Click here to Support this Project TOR MastheadWe are reaching out to you today to ask for your support in a very special project. We are seeking to digitize a historical newspaper known as the Torch of Reason. This newspaper was published weekly by the Liberal University of Oregon, (LUO) in Silverton, Oregon from November 5, 1896 to December 24, 1903, and it served as a voice for freethinkers and skeptics of all kinds. LUO, founded as the educational arm of the Oregon State Secular Union, (OSSU) was the first non-religious affiliated center of higher learning West of the Mississippi.

Microfilm copies of Torch of Reason's entire run are in the University of Oregon's Library. The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP), project is part of the UO Library, and would handle the digitazation process. Their stated mission is bringing Oregon’s history and civic heritage into an exciting new era of public accessibility.

This newspaper was groundbreaking for its time, as it challenged the prevailing beliefs of its era and encouraged critical thinking and skepticism. The Torch of Reason tackled issues such as religion, politics, and social justice with a fresh and bold perspective.

Our goal is to preserve this important piece of history by digitizing the entire collection of Torch of Reason newspapers, making them accessible to scholars, historians, and the general public. By digitizing the newspapers, we can ensure that they will be preserved for future generations and that their valuable insights will not be lost to time.

But we need your help to make this project a reality. We are seeking donations to cover the cost of digitization, with an estimated page count of 2,912 pages, and a cost estimate of $1,935.00. We have decided to work towards a goal of $2,500, to cover the scanning, rewards and other logistical costs.

It will be intergrated into the existing ODNP archive. Please consider making a contribution to this important effort. Your support will help us preserve a vital piece of American history and ensure that the Torch of Reason continues to shine brightly for generations to come.

Supporter Reward Levels: 

We have created several reward tiers to thank our supporters for their contributions. Here are some of the rewards that we are offering:

Tier 1 Rewards $25.00: Be one of the first to support our campaign, and you'll receive a high resolution digital portrait of the Liberal University faculty, as well as a custom personalized "LUO Diploma of Support," a "Torch of Reason" sticker, and a "Torch of Reason" carpenter's pencil (w/sharpener).

Tier 1 Rewards $100.00: Pledge at this level, and you'll receive everything from Tier 1, plus a "Torch of Reason" lapel pin, and a free Oregon Historical Society family membership, (limited to the first 15 people who donate $100 or more).

Tier 1 Rewards $250.00: Pledge at this level, and you'll receive everything from Tiers 1 & 2, plus a copy of Liberal University Press' The Collected Works of T.W. Davenport. Additionally, you will receive an 80-page illustrated booklet featuring curated articles relating to Silverton’s Liberal University, and the many people involved in that seven year experiment, from the Chicago-based Free Thought Magazine.

Tier 1 Rewards $500.00: Pledge at this level, and you'll receive everything from the previous Tiers, plus Liberal University Press' two annotated Cartoon Collections from Homer Davenport, Annotatated Cartoons, The Dollar or the Man. and Arcadia Publishing's book Images of America: Silverton

Thank you for your consideration and support!


The Torch of Reason Project