- In the Anglo-Egyptian War: British troops bomb and occupy Cairo, securing the Suez Canal. Egypt becomes a British protectorate.
- Roderick McLean fails in an attempt to assassinate Queen Victoria while she is leaving Windsor Station in her carriage. In St. Joseph, Missouri, the outlaw Jesse James is murdered in his home.
- The Triple Alliance is formed by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, mainly to unite against any French threat. The union expired in 1915 during WW I when Italy withdrew.
- Chinese immigration to the U.S. is prohibited; the first U.S. exclusion law to restricts immigration.
- Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company creates a Trust that controls secretly controls multiple corporations.
- Inventions: Thomas Edison flips the stitch to engage the first commercial electrical power plant in the U.S., lighting a square mile of Manhattan. Schuyler Wheeler produces the first electric fan.
- Oscar Wilde, Irish-born author at entry to U.S. for a lecture tour, is asked by customs if he has anything to declare. "Only my genius", he responds.
- New publications for American readers include "The Lady or the Tiger", a still-fascinating short story by Frank Stockton and Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper.
- This is the year Sally Bush graduated from Smith College and returned to Salem where she will live for the rest of her life. Perhaps it was to celebrate her return home, and her love of nature, that the Conservatory at the rear of the Bush residence is built. It is now the oldest greenhouse in Oregon and is part of the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A recent successful campaign to restore the Conservatory was organized by volunteers of the Lord and Schryver Conservancy and Salem Art Association that administers the property. The Conservatory is open to the public.
- Willamette Valley Flouring Mill (Scotch Mills) joins Capitol Mills on the east shoreline of the Willamette River in Salem. Wheat and flour were the basic products transported on the river in this year. The Scotch Mills burned in 1904.
- Thomas Cronise came to Salem this year on the invitation of his brother Harry. He worked for Mrs. A.L. Stinson, owner of a printing business on Commercial Street and, later, for R.J. Hendricks of the Oregon Statesman newspaper as a foreman of the paper's technical department. Cronise married Nellie Riggs two year later. By 1886, he had his own print shop, however, an allergy to printer's ink eventually forced Cronise to quit the printing business. In 1892, Anna Louise, Cronise's sister, moved to Salem and introduced him to photography. By 1893, Anna had bought a photo studio at the corner of State and High Streets. Anna and Thomas Cronise hired a young photographer named Howard Trover, who married Anna. In May 1902, Cronise bought a studio and entered the photography profession on his own. He died in April 1927, and his wife Nellie operated the business until her passing in 1930. Then his son Harry operated the business until 1972. His work is commemorated in the book, The Art Perfected.
|Cover of Oregon's first novel|
- Oregon's first novelist, a pioneer teacher in the Methodist mission, dies in Seattle this year. Margaret Smith Bailey (1812-1882) resisted the attempts to "marry her off" (her suitor, according to her narration, was William Willson) while at the mission. Their "confessions" did not harm his reputation, but put an end to her ambitions as a teacher. After she left the mission and married the man of her choice, her resentment of her treatment by the Methodist missionaries (especially Rev. Leslie) and her life in the settlement, continued as she became known as a writer. in Oregon periodicals. Finally, she published a book (The Grains, or Passages in the Life of Ruth Rover, with Occasional Pictures of Oregon, Natural and Moral) that caused a scandal and coincided with her 1854 divorce. Half novel and half record of actual events and true names, the book continues to cause speculation about its truth.
- Pheasants in the Salem area, brought by Chinese immigrants, are the first in the United States.