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Strassmaier, James Judges--Oregon
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Oral history interview with William L. Dickson

This oral history interview with William L. Dickson was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at Dickson's apartment in San Diego, California, from September 25-26, 1991. In this interview, Dickson discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon, including contracting polio while in high school and his early interest in politics, including his admiration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as a fellow polio survivor. He then discusses attending Northwestern Law School and many of his professors; clerking at the probate court in Portland; his family's religious faith; and getting started in a law practice in Portland. He talks about his experience as a debt collector during the Depression; his first run for the Oregon Legislature in 1930; and meeting his wife, Dorothy Adelaide Unk, in 1931.

Dickson goes on to discuss his time in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1933 to 1936, and in the Oregon Senate from 1937 to 1939, including his desire to help people burdened by debt; coordinating with his uncle, Ashby Dickson, to pass a constitutional amendment making judges nonpartisan positions; and legislation he worked on, particularly on the probate and guardianship code. He also talks about the role of lobbyists; the pay scale for legislators; and many of the legislators he served with, including Nan Wood Honeyman, Monroe Sweetland, and Frank Lonergan. He discusses his involvement with the Democratic Party; the impact of the Depression on his politics and career; and New Deal legislation.

Dickson then discusses his career after leaving the Legislature. He talks about working for the federal Department of Justice during World War II, particularly his work on cases involving land condemnation for military use, and arguing before Judge James Alger Fee. He then talks about serving as a judge on the Circuit Court of Multnomah County from 1954 to 1973. He discusses cases involving mental health and guardianship. He then talks about the lives and careers of his children. Dickson closes the interview with a discussion of national politics in the 1990s.

Dickson, William L. (William Lucas), 1907-2002

Oral history interview with Windsor Calkins

  • SR 470
  • Collection
  • 1986-07-07 - 1986-08-01

This oral history interview with Windsor Calkins was conducted by Jim Strassmaier in Calkins' office in Eugene, Oregon, from July 7 to August 1, 1986. In the interview, Calkins discusses his family background and early life in Eugene, including a 1922 trip on foot from Newport to Florence, Oregon, with his father. He also discusses his father's career as a court reporter, as well as his own interest in the law. Calkins talks about studying law at the University of Oregon, including taking classes from Wayne Morse. Calkins talks about practicing law in Eugene and some of the cases he argued, including bootlegging and murder cases. He also discusses the effect the Depression had on his family. He then talks about his experiences in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Calkins also talks about notable people from Eugene, including William G. East and other judges. He then discusses his work as a lawyer for the Eugene Water and Electric Board and Sacred Heart Hospital, as well as his involvement with the Lane County Bar Association, the Eugene City Health Board, and other civic organizations. He closes the interview with a description of malpractice lawsuits, as well as his family life.

Calkins, Windsor, 1910-1989