A photocopy of Astoria's 1917/1918 city directory sits on Carol Moore's coffee table, along with three boxes of index cards. Each card contains the names and occupations of people who lived in a particular house or apartment or boarding house in 1917, and each card is arranged alphabetically and numerically by the dwelling's address.
Moore is meticulously going through the directory to create this reverse index for the Clatsop County Heritage Museum, where she has volunteered for 23 years. She's been working on this particular directory for two weeks, and is well into the Gs.
"It's kind of fun," Moore said of the indexing job. "People come into the museum and ask, 'Where can I find out about the house I just bought?'" Her index lets people simply search by house, instead of scanning the pages of the directory for the address.
"She's amazing, she's 92 years old and she's one of the most dedicated volunteers we've ever had," said Liisa Penner, Clatsop County Historical Society archivist. Indexing "just makes research so much easier for people who come in here."
Moore has been volunteering at the Heritage Museum since it opened in 1982. She has been a docent, taken admission fees and put her indexing skills to work with Cumtux, the historical society's magazine. She also helps out at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, clipping out articles about the river, ocean, or anything else she thinks folks at the museum might find interesting.
"I like to keep busy," Moore said, adding that she thinks the museum deserves support. In addition to her volunteer work, she keeps busy with knitting and crossword puzzles.
Moore was born in Chicago, but moved to Cleveland after earning her degree in medical social work from the University of Chicago. She met her late husband R.P. Moore, a surgeon, at the hospital where she worked in Cleveland.
During World War II, she worked with the Red Cross as a social worker in a military hospital in England. Later, after the Moores moved to Port Angeles, Wash., she continued with the Red Cross, getting messages to and from armed service members abroad.
The Moores relocated again in 1964, this time settling in Astoria, where Moore said they were fortunate enough to find the house that she still lives in, overlooking both Youngs Bay and the Columbia River.
"We had a view in Port Angeles, and we didn't want to bring our boys here and stick them behind a hill," Moore said. She has three sons, one who lives in the area, one in Portland and one in Oregon City.
Moore worked with children's services in Astoria for 13 years before she and her husband retired. They took their boat and sailed south, cutting through the Panama Canal before turning north toward Baltimore, where they took a land route back to Astoria.
For the last 50 years or so, Moore has also been active in the American Association of University Women and the PEO Sisterhood, an educational charitable organization.
She's always had a strong work ethic, Penner said, who recalled one time Moore came in to volunteer with a walker after breaking a hip.
"I didn't really break a hip, I just cracked it," Moore said, downplaying the incident. Still going strong at the beginning of her 10th decade, Moore said that she just hopes to be able to continue doing what she enjoys.
- Kate Ramsayer