Wicked Portland by Finn J.D. John Return to introduction page Lost Chapter link to wide-screen site

Errors in the book: Correcting the record

I like to say that to err is human and to "own" errors is divine. It's always hard to admit you dropped a ball, especially if it's a particularly embarrassing bonehead mistake about something you know in your sleep.

But I also like to say (and do, frequently, in class) that information is only truly trustworthy when it has real-time access to the oxygen of a community of other experts and interested people. My book is intended to be fun to read, but I am deadly serious about historical accuracy. So if you find something wrong, please — get in touch. I'll post the correction here and also on the book's Facebook page.

The corrections also get made on subsequent printings of the book, so if you just bought a copy, it may not have any of these errors in it. If it does, though, I hope you'll get a bright-red pen out of your desk drawer and do the right thing!

Thanks again for being a part of this, and I hope you're enjoying the book.

First printing
(mid-to-late 2012):

Page 105: Wrong presidents named

The most significant error in the first printing of Wicked Portland is a confusion of 19th-century presidents, which appears on page 105. Here's what it says:

In 1892, [Sylvester Pennoyer] famously sent a telegram to President William McKinley telling him to mind his own business — his exact words were, "I will attend to my business. Let the president attend to his." When the next president, Benjamin Harrison, came to Oregon, Pennoyer kept him waiting in the rain for 10 minutes ...

The presidents' names are wrong. The president who received the telegram was, in fact, Benjamin Harrison, not William McKinley, and the president kept waiting in the rain was Harrison's successor, Grover Cleveland.

Page 143: Wrong World War

In the "About the Author" page, a typographical error resulted in the wrong world war being cited. Here's what it says:

He is currently working on a narrative nonfiction book about ex-president and former Oregonian Herbert Hoover, who, before becoming the most hated president of the twentieth century, saved the entire nation of Belgium from starving to death during World War II.

Of course, that reference should be to World War I.

Second printing
(late 2012 through mid-2013):

Page 12: Wrong neighborhood cited

In the second printing, an error appears in the "acknowledgements" section, which gives a shout-out to my favorite Portland venue as follows:

Also, as a public historian and a fan of Oregon history, I gotta thank the people at the Jack London Bar in Old Town Portland ...

The Jack London Bar, as you probably know, is not in Old Town. It's in downtown, several blocks south of Old Town, on the corner of Fourth and Alder (basement of the Rialto Poolroom).

If you find an error that's not listed here, please e-mail me (finn@wickedportland.com) or post a note on the Facebook page. Thanks!