Al Lepage Papers on Political Activism and Living History
The Al LePage Papers are divided into two series: the first pertains to his activist activities, principally from the 1980s-1990s; and the second pertains to his work on living history, historic trails and historical reenactments, principally from the 1990s-2010s. A large portion of the Political Papers series relates to LePage's work with the Oregon chapters of SANE/FREEZE and OSPIRG. Materials include informational brochures, notes, campaign fliers, training materials, surveys, and many other ephemeral items which he collected while working as a canvasser and canvassing coordinator. Material related to many other peace, anti-nuclear, and environmental activist groups that were active in the Pacific Northwest are also present. The Living History series includes items related to LePage's work as the founder of the National Coast Trail Association and as a historical reenactor. These materials provide information about specific characters that he portrayed, such as Alexander MacLeod and Michaeal T. Simmons, as well as general information about how historical reeanactors researched and put together their personae. There are also many documents related to his work on promoting historic trails and preservation in the Pacific Northwest. Research notes, copies of historical information sources and maps, brochures for parks and historical sites, costume catalogs, and related photographs are included.
Al LePage was an anti-nuclear and peace activist in the 1980s who later became an historical reenactor, after he combined his activism work with historic preservation in his founding of the National Coast Trail Association. In 1983 Al LePage, a 1976 graduate of University of Massachusetts Lowell, moved to Oregon. In Oregon during the 1980s, Al LePage worked as a professional activist for SANE/FREEZE, an anti-nuclear organization that opposed President Reagan's military policies. He later worked for OSPIRG (Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group), a liberal activist group that lobbied for environmental causes and social issues. In the late 1980s to early 1990s, he became involved in the Bioregional Congress of Pacific Cascadia and the early Green Party movement. Aside from being active in anti-nuclear and public interest groups, LePage attended events and volunteered with other groups advocating for peace, community cultural boards, and the environment. He was an early supporter of the organic food movement and was interested in alternative economic models. LePage also volunteered with the political campaigns of multiple candidates running for state and national positions, such as Jolene Unsoeld and Jesse Jackson. In 1994 LePage founded the National Coast Trail Association. This organization worked to preserve coastal trails through advocacy, education, and action. While being the Director of the National Coast Trail Association, in 2000 LePage started as a Living History Interpreter in the Pacific Northwest. He portrayed a wide variety of historical figures, but focused on portrayals of real-life characters from the Pacific Northwest between 1805 and 1861. He was particularly interested in the Hudson Bay Company period from the 1810s to 1830s. By the 2010s, LePage was working as a performer/producer of living history programs.
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