From Our Vault: Beth Ryan told Lake Oswego's story
"A remarkable and very talented women" is how family, friends, writers and journalists would describe the award-winning Elizabeth Salway Ryan, who served as the news editor of the Lake Oswego Review for 22 years from 1946 to 1968. Her Lake Oswego legacy is considerable.
First is the Beth Ryan Collection of 700 photographs she took during her tenure as a journalist. The collection is archived at the Lake Oswego Public Library and can be accessed on line. Reporter Cliff Newell wrote in a Review article in 2010 that "the collection came about serendipitously. The library already had many of her photos, but not enough to warrant a full-fledged collection. It was Ryan's granddaughter, Lois Moll, who changed that when she came to a photo-scanning event at the library."
"I live in my grandmother's house (in Sunny Hill) now," Moll told Newell. "I have spent years and years trying to get through everything in the basement. I knew the library was the place it needed to go."
The collection continued to grow as Bob and Shirley Kronquist — Ryan's daughter and son-in-law — donated photos to be scanned, Newell wrote. Library volunteer Pat Snider, who assisted with creating the collection, remembers all the photos of pancakes that Ryan took and her large "horn-rimmed glasses with the rhinestones."
In addition to the Beth Ryan Collection of photographs, Lake Oswego has honored the legendary journalist by naming a park after her — the Beth Ryan Nature Preserve on Ridgewood Road. Ryan, an avid gardener, was adamant about protecting open spaces long before it became popular.
Ryan's journalistic accomplishments are numerous. She was the runner-up for the Woman of Achievement Award given by the National Federation of Press Women in 1970. In 1971, she was given the Off-Beat Award by The Portland Professional Chapter of Theta Sigma (now Women in Communication). Ryan won three first-place awards in 1953 from the Oregon Press Women: best news story in a weekly paper, best feature story in a magazine and best column in a weekly.
As a result of a family history course Ryan taught at Clackamas Community College, she compiled and edited the writing of her students for "Leaves From Family Trees," an anthology published in 1978.
Born in 1910, Elizabeth Salway graduated from Franklin High School in 1927 and from the University of Oregon in 1931 with a journalism degree. She married Cornelius Ryan in 1932, although the couple later divorced. After the divorce, she moved in 1938 with her father and three young children to Sunny Hill Farm near the Oswego Pioneer Cemetery.
"During her time on the farm, she wrote radio scripts and poems about current events while also pitching hay, canning food, and milking cows," according to her obituary in The Review. "During WW II, she was the women's editor of the Oregon City Enterprise, offering hints on how to cope with wartime shortages."
In those early days, Ryan would often ride her horse to gather stories.
In 1968, Ryan moved to Taipei, China, to become editor of The China Post. Her last article in The Review appeared in the Oct. 10, 1968, issue. She wrote, "Taiwan is a beautiful island, so I'm hoping some of you will come see it — and me. And in two years, I hope to return to my now cleaned-off desk at The Review. Aloha."
The legendary, award-winning writer passed away in 1995 at age 85.