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Oral history interview with Jerry C. Harris

This oral history interview with Jerry C. Harris was conducted by Mary Ann DeLap on May 17, 2006. In this interview, Harris discusses coming to Portland, Oregon, from Colorado to meet his future wife, Zola M. Barnes. He talks about working as a court reporter for the Multnomah County courts and his experience as the only black court reporter for the county. He discusses moving to the federal court system and working for U.S. District Court Judge Gus Solomon. He also talks about working for other judges on the U.S. District Court of Oregon. He discusses the discrimination he's faced, his retirement activities, and some of the lawyers he worked with. He describes the process of court reporting, as well as how technology has changed the profession.

Harris, Jerry C. (Jerry Charles), 1936-2011

Oral history interview with Neva Elliott

This oral history interview with Neva Elliott was conducted by S. Diane Rynerson from April 10 to July 10, 1992. In this interview, Elliott discusses her family background and early life in Damascus, Oregon, including social life and her father's store; she also discusses attending Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon. She then talks about attending Reed College, particularly her involvement in drama, then attending Northwestern College of Law in Portland while working as a secretary for Charles Spackman. She talks about working after graduation for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Esta Snedeker as a court referee in Portland, then for lawyer Frank Seaver as a secretary. She discusses the challenges of finding a job as a lawyer as a woman. She then talks about starting her own law practice in Portland during World War II, when many men were serving in the military and the demographics of the city had changed. She also shares her memories of Judge Claude McCulloch. She talks about some of her cases as a lawyer, including being hired by a woman called as a witness against Chicago mobster Mickey Cohen, and the woman's subsequent murder. She then lists women lawyers she was acquainted with during her career. She briefly discusses serving as a pro tem judge on the Multnomah County District Court. She talks about the many clubs she's been involved with; her world travels; and her social life in Portland.

Elliott, Neva M. (Neva Marline), 1908-2001

Oral history interview with Metta Beeman

This oral history interview with Metta Beeman was conducted by Trudy Allen on February 29, 1992. In this interview, Beeman discusses her family background and early life in Ashland, Oregon. She talks about studying law at Willamette University and Northwestern College of Law. She talks about working for the Veterans Administration and some of the cases she handled. She discusses some of the sexism she faced in law school and in the workplace; other women attorneys; and the women's associations she has been involved with, including the Queen's Bench. She then discusses going into private practice, dealing in probate law, with her husband, Harry Baughman, and talks about serving on the State Employment Board.

Beeman, Metta (Metta Delia Baughman), 1898-1995

Oral history interview with Wendell Gray

This oral history interview with Wendell Gray was conducted by Elizabeth Reichow and James Strassmaier from January 7, 1992, to October 28, 1993. In the first part of this interview, conducted by Elizabeth Reichow on January 7, 1992, Gray discusses his family background and early life on a ranch in Prineville, Oregon. He discusses having to quit law school at the University of Oregon due to appendicitis, returning to Prineville and working various jobs, and then attending the Northwestern College of Law in Portland, Oregon. He talks about his early law career as an insurance investigator while he was in law school, and about foreclosing mortgages with his uncle, Guy LaFollette, during the Depression. He then discusses practicing maritime law and the many clients he represented in the Portland area, particularly during World War II. He also discusses a trip he and his wife, Jean Patrick, took to East Asia in 1964. He goes on to talk about many of the maritime cases he worked on and the clients he represented over his career, as well as the other maritime lawyer in Portland, Erskine Wood. He talks about being on the board of directors of the Family Life Insurance Company; real estate investments; and chairing the Portland Chamber of Commerce.

In 1992, Wendell Gray narrated three tapes on his own. On these tapes, he speaks at length about "interesting people," including Dale, Mac, and Sib Smith of the Smith Brothers Office Outfitters; Orren Brownson; and Tom Cummins. He also talks about serving on the Portland School Board from 1948 to 1956, including the sale of the Lincoln High School building in downtown Portland.

The final part of the interview was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at Gray's home in Portland from October 26-28, 1993. Diana Gray was also present. In this portion, Gray discusses his education at the University of Oregon from 1925 to 1928, including his social life, his involvement with the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and meeting his first wife, Jean Patrick. He then discusses some of his recreational activities, including his involvement with the Deschutes Club, golfing, and the various golf clubs in the Portland area. He discusses serving on the Portland School Board from 1948 to 1956, including his election, policies they adopted, funding, and construction of new school buildings. He also briefly talks about Judge Gus Solomon. He closes the interview by talking about his children and family life.

Gray, Wendell (Wendell Oliver), 1908-1995

Oral history interview with Bernard Jolles

This oral history interview with Bernard Jolles was conducted by Robert D. Bulkley, Jr. at Jolles' office in Portland, Oregon, from September 27, 1990, to April 22, 1991. In this interview, Jolles discusses his family background and early life in New York, including his Jewish upbringing and facing antisemitism; his education; and the Depression. He describes attending New York University and his growing interest in Marxism. He then discusses working in the New York Garment District and at the waterfront after graduation, and talks about his involvement with various unions. He describes being a communist during the height of the McCarthy era, as well as his reasons for leaving the Communist Party in 1956. Jolles discusses relocating to Oregon in 1957 and attending the Northwestern College of Law in Portland. He talks about working as an investigator for a personal injury lawyer after graduation and the trouble he had passing the bar exam due to his communist ties. He discusses his appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court of the Bar's decision to reject him.

Jolles discusses his career as a trial lawyer in Portland, including arguing cases before the federal and state courts, working with other lawyers, and some of the cases he tried. He briefly describes Judge Gus Solomon and other judges he argued before. He also discusses the types of cases he took, particularly those representing workers and labor unions. He talks about his own law firm, Jolles, Sokol, & Bernstein, formed in 1979; the changes in the profession over the decades; and his involvement with the A.C.L.U. and the Christic Institute. He closes the interview by talking about his involvement with the Oregon State Bar, including serving on the board of governors and as president.

Jolles, Bernard, 1928-

Oral history interview with Cleveland C. Cory

The first part of this oral history interview with Cleveland Cory was conducted by George Fraser at Cory's home on the Willamette River on June 19, 1990. In this interview, Cory discusses his family background and early life in Englewood, New Jersey. He then discusses his college experience, including attending Yale Law School from 1940 to 1943. He then talks about working for the Davis & Polk law firm in New York, including representing Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor, as well as various railroads. He then discusses relocating to Oregon in 1949 and his reasons for doing so, including seeking an improved quality of life and the difficulty of becoming a partner at a New York law firm. He talks about his career at a law firm in Portland, now known as Stoel Rives, including many of the cases he tried. He also briefly discusses his renowned memory for cases.

The second part of the interview was recorded at the Crestview Convalescent Home in Portland, Oregon, where Cory was recovering from a broken shoulder. No date is given. The sound quality is very poor. Cory and Fraser further discuss Cory's early employment in Portland.

Cory, Cleveland C. (Cleveland Cady), 1918-1991

Oral history interview with David R. Williams

This oral history interview with David R. Williams was conducted by Elizabeth Reichow from December 16, 1991, to January 16, 1992. In this interview, Williams discusses his family background and early life in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, including his childhood during the Depression, his education, and his involvement with the Cambrian Society. He describes his experience serving in the U.S. Army in Italy at the tail end of World War II. He also talks about his interest in skiing. He discusses his experience at Reed College, including the pro-German and pro-communist sentiment that was prevalent on campus in the lead-up to World War II. He also talks about the political situation in Russia in 1992. He discusses his marriage to Donna Rockwell and their family life. He also talks about studying law at the University of Oregon. He closes the interview by describing the careers of his brothers.

Williams, David R. (David Rhys), 1923-2004

Oral history interview with Carol Hewitt

This oral history interview with Carol Hewitt was conducted by Susan Burton on August 24, 1990. The audio recording of this interview originally consisted of three audiocassettes. Tapes 1 and 2 are missing as of 2007, and the transcript reflects only the audio on Tape 3. In the portion of the interview on Tape 3, Hewitt discusses facing sexism as a woman lawyer and working at the law firm Lindsay Hart in Portland, Oregon. She then discusses her recent resignation from the Oregon Investment Council. She also discusses the growth of her law firm, Ater, Wynne, Hewitt, Dodson & Skerrit in Portland.

Hewitt, Carol, 1945-1993

Oral history interview with Robert C. Belloni

This oral history interview with Robert C. Belloni was conducted by Jim Strassmaier from September 19, 1988, to July 28, 1989. In this interview, Belloni discusses his family background and early life in Coos County, Oregon, including his education. He talks about studying pre-med at the University of Oregon and his service as a U.S. Army medical officer in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He describes landing in Japan just as it surrendered. He talks about returning to civilian life and deciding to go to law school, attending the University of Oregon, and his friendship with Ted Goodwin. He discusses his early law career in Coos County. He also talks about his early political career, holding the offices of chair of the Democratic Central Committee for Coos County and mayor of Myrtle Point. He also talks about his relationship with Wayne Morse. He discusses serving as a Circuit Court judge in Southern Oregon from 1957 to 1967, particularly presiding over juvenile cases. He then discusses serving on the U.S. District Court of Oregon from 1967 to the time of the interview, including the politics of his appointment. He discusses his fellow District Court judges, including Gus Solomon, John Kilkenney, and Otto Skopil. He also talks about the variety of cases that came before him, including on land fraud, asbestos, consumer protections, and several cases involving Native American rights. He discusses his law clerks, judicial process, and ethics. Belloni discusses serving as chief judge on the District Court from 1971 to 1976, and the duties and responsibilities of that position, including his work in establishing the magistrate system and the sentencing council. He closes the interview by discussing changes in the court systems over the 20th century, his experience as a senior judge, and his personal life.

In addition to the audio recordings of the interview, this collection includes several photographs of Belloni and a signed photograph of Robert D. Holmes.

Belloni, Robert C. (Robert Clinton), 1919-1999

Oral history interview with Hugh Biggs

This oral history interview with Hugh Biggs was conducted by Clarence Wicks in the offices of Stoel, Rives, Boley, Jones & Grey in Portland, Oregon, from June 29 to July 2, 1988. In this interview, Biggs discusses his family background and early life in Ontario, Oregon, including the law career of his father, Dalton Biggs, as well as his father's service as a Circuit Court judge from 1910 to 1928. He discusses his own education, and life on a farm. He then talks about attending the University of Oregon, including studying law, social life, and serving as dean of men. He also talks about his wife, Elra Ware, and their children. He then briefly discusses practicing law in Ontario, serving as district attorney for Malheur County, and working as an assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, Oregon. He talks about going into private practice in Portland, particularly at Stoel, Rives, Boley, Jones & Grey, including the cases he worked on, clients he represented, and the history of the firm. He briefly describes the judges of the U.S. District Court of Oregon and his experiences arguing before them. He also talks about the various professional organizations he was involved in.

Biggs, Hugh L. (Hugh Lawry), 1904-1996

Oral history interview with John P. Bledsoe

This oral history interview with John P. Bledsoe was conducted by Donna Delo at Bledsoe's office in Portland, Oregon, from January 13 to March 10, 1989. In this interview, Bledsoe discusses his family background and early life in Pocahontas, Arkansas, including a description of a childhood game he played called "Jumper Down"; the law and judicial career of his father, John Louis Bledsoe; and his early education and social life. He also talks about his experience during the Depression. He then discusses his college life at the University of Arkansas and at Harvard Law School. He also discusses his Navy service during World War II, which interrupted his law studies. He also briefly talks about his wife, Helen Wieman, and their five children. He then describes his law career in Portland, at the offices of Spears, Lubersky, Campbell & Bledsoe. He discusses his clients and cases he tried, including corporate cases involving the Oregon Journal and the Pacific Gas Transmission Company. He also talks about a trip he took to Iran with a client in the 1970s. He briefly describes each of the lawyers he worked with at his firm, as well as some of the judges he argued before. He also talks about his hobbies and involvement with social organizations, including the Arlington Club. He closes the interview by talking about the changes he's seen in society over the 20th century, his heroes, and advice for aspiring lawyers.

Bledsoe, John P. (John Perry), 1921-2011

Oral history interview with Rupert R. Bullivant

This oral history interview with Rupert R. Bullivant was conducted by C. Allan Hart from July 20 to September 7, 1988. In this interview, Bullivant discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon. He discusses his college experience at the University of Oregon, including his involvement with the school paper, the Oregon Daily Emerald. He then talks about his marriage to Norma Jean Wilson and his return to Portland, where he practiced law. He talks about judges he argued before, particularly Judge James Alger Fee, cases he tried, and lawyers he worked with. He describes the history the law firm he started in 1938. He also briefly talks about teaching at the Northwestern College of Law in Portland; serving on the board of governors of the Oregon State Bar, and as its president; serving on the Portland Planning Commission; and serving as a commissioner on the National Conference on Uniform Laws. He discusses representing insurance companies, public transportation companies, and dairy companies. He also speaks about his personal life and activities. He closes the interview by revisiting some of the discussion from the first tape, about his family background.

Bullivant, Rupert R. (Rupert Reid), 1903-1992

Oral history interview with William G. East

This oral history interview with William G. East was conducted by Rick Harmon in East's chambers in Eugene, Oregon, from November 8 to 15, 1984. In this interview, East discusses his family background and early life in Salem, Oregon, including his education and interest in journalism and sports. He then discusses attending the University of Oregon from 1927 to 1932 and studying law. He talks about the Depression hitting in the middle of his studies, his social life, and his developing political outlook. He also talks about Orlando Hollis and Wayne Morse as law professors. He then discusses practicing law in Eugene from 1932 to 1942, including law firms he worked at and cases he tried. He describes his experience in the U.S. Army during World War II, including his training, service in Germany, and his involvement in the capture of Hermann Göring. He describes his return to civilian life and law practice, as well as his position as city attorney for Eugene. He talks about his service on the Oregon Circuit Court from 1949 to 1955, including his appointment, conflict with the press, and various cases he heard. East goes on to discuss his service on the U.S. District Court of Oregon from 1955 to 1967, including his appointment. He particularly focuses on a scandal that nearly derailed his appointment and on a meeting with President Eisenhower. He also discusses cases he heard, including a negligence case involving Booth-Kelly Lumber Company that he heard twice, and a case on public defender compensation. He describes the changes to court procedures implemented by Judge Gus Solomon. He then discusses his decision to take senior judge status in 1967, as well as his activities since then, including cases on Native American rights and sovereignty. He closes the interview with a discussion of his judicial philosophy, his involvement with various civic organizations, and his hobbies and family life.

East, William G., 1908-1985

Oral history interview with Alice Tomkins Fee

This oral history interview with Alice Tomkins Fee was conducted by Rick Harmon in Portland, Oregon, from February 8 to March 8, 1985. In this interview, Fee discusses her family background and early life in Portland and Cascade Locks, Oregon, including her education, her memories of World War I, and the lack of career options available to women. She discusses attending the Oregon Normal School in Monmouth, including her teachers and social life, and studying music at the University of Oregon. She then talks about her career as a teacher and principal at schools in Malin, Pine Grove, and Hood River, Oregon. She also discusses the numerous health issues she's had over the years. She speaks about working as a typist in the clerk's office for the U.S. District Court of Oregon, then as a stenographer for naturalization and bankruptcy cases, and then as a law clerk. She discusses the judges she worked with, the Pioneer Courthouse, and the procedures of the court. She speaks at length about her husband, Judge James Alger Fee, including his family background, early life, and judicial career, as well as cases he presided over and her work as his secretary. She discusses the circumstances surrounding Judge Fee's heart attack in 1959 and his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. She closes the interview by talking about her activities since her husband's death, including traveling, cooking and reading.

Fee, Alice Tomkins (Alice Emma Tomkins), 1897-1995

Oral history interview with Otto J. Frohnmayer

This oral history interview with Otto J. Frohnmayer was conducted by Clark Hansen at Frohnmayer's office in Medford, Oregon, from November 28 to December 1, 1989. In this interview, Frohnmayer discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon, including facing anti-German sentiment during World War I, his education, and vacations to Seaside. He discusses working in hotels and attending the University of Oregon, including his social life and studying law. He then talks about his early law practice in Medford. He also talks about the effects of the Depression and World War II on the Medford area. He briefly describes some of the judges he argued before. He speaks at length about notable cases he worked on, as well as changes in laws over the 20th century. He then talks about his wife, MarAbel Fisher Braden, and their family life. He talks about the politics involved in judicial appointments; jury trials; and the profession of law. He closes the interview by talking about his plans for the future.

Frohnmayer, Otto J. (Otto John), 1905-2000

Oral history interview with Alfred T. Goodwin

This oral history interview with Alfred T. Goodwin was conducted by Rick Harmon at the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, from May 10, 1985, to September 3, 1986. The audio for this interview is incomplete; Tape 22 was discovered to be blank in 2020, but its content is represented in both an incomplete transcript and a completed index.

In this interview, Goodwin discusses his family background and early life in Bellingham, Washington, and Portland and Prineville, Oregon, including his early education, his memories of the Depression, and life on a farm. He talks about studying journalism at the University of Oregon, including his social life. He speaks at length about his Army service in Europe during World War II, including his experiences in combat and freeing prisoners. He also talks about his marriages and family life. He discusses returning to the University of Oregon to study law, and how his background in journalism influenced his decision-making as a judge. He speaks at length about working for the Eugene Register-Guard newspaper, as well as his support for and later disillusionment with U.S. Senator Wayne Morse.

Goodwin discusses practicing law in Eugene. He talks about cases he argued, including as a court-appointed lawyer. He also talks about his involvement in the Republican Party, including serving as a precinct committee member. He discusses serving as a judge on the Lane County Circuit Court, including his appointment and later re-election, cases he heard, and his decision-making process. He then discusses serving on the Oregon Supreme Court, including his appointment and later re-election, his fellow justices, and some of the cases they heard. He talks about opinions he wrote, as well as his involvement in the effort to revise the Oregon state constitution in the 1960s. He discusses the changes in laws regarding the criminal code and civil rights, and how that affected the decisions of the Oregon Supreme Court. He also discusses his views on the Vietnam War, the criminalization of drug use, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He discusses serving as a judge on the U.S. District Court, including his appointment and confirmation, his fellow judges, and some of the cases he heard. He discusses serving as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, including his appointment and confirmation; cases he heard, particularly concerning immigration and anti-trust law; and his opinion on Roe v. Wade. He also discusses the role of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, his fellow judges, and his involvement with the American Bar Association. He talks about continuing education opportunities for members of the judiciary; his children, their careers, and their families; and his involvement with the Presbyterian Church. He closes the interview by discussing his move to California.

Goodwin, Alfred T. (Alfred Theodore), 1923-

Oral history interview with Orlando Hollis

This oral history interview with Orlando Hollis in Hollis's office in Eugene, Oregon, was conducted by Jim Strassmaier from January 27 to July 21, 1989. Audio is incomplete; Tape 4 was discovered to be blank in 2015.

In this interview, Hollis discusses his family background and early life in Eugene, Oregon, including his father's career with Southern Pacific Railroad, his childhood activities, and his memories of World War I. He also talks about his early education and about working at the First National Bank of Eugene while studying law at the University of Oregon. He also describes several prominent community members in Eugene. He discusses studying law at the University of Oregon, particularly his professors. He also talks about his friendship with University of Oregon Law School Dean, and later U.S. Senator, Wayne Morse.

Hollis discusses teaching at the University of Oregon Law School beginning in 1931, and serving as dean from 1945 to 1967. He talks about the administration of the university; how the Depression affected the law school; and students of his who went on to gain prominence, including Judge Ted Goodwin. He also talks about serving on the Eugene Water Board in the 1930s; judicial procedure; and changes in the law that affected how he taught. He also talks about his friendship with Judge James Alger Fee. Hollis discusses leading the Governor's Commission on Judicial Reform from 1971 to 1975, including legislators he worked with. He talks about constitutional law; the role of the judiciary; and appointments to the courts made by governors Mark Hatfield and Tom McCall. He describes his home and social life, particularly a trip to Moscow, Russia, in 1936. He closes the interview by discussing his activities since retiring as dean of the University of Oregon Law School in 1967.

Hollis, Orlando John, 1904-2000

Oral history interview with John F. Kilkenny

This oral history interview with John F. Kilkenny was conducted by Rick Harmon in Portland, Oregon, from June 12 to October 3, 1984. The original audio of the recording is incomplete due to irretrievable damage to Tape 14, Side 2. Tape 17 is a re-enactment of that audio. The re-enactment was created by Rick Harmon and Terence O'Donnell after the damage to the original tape was discovered. It was based upon a transcript created before the damage occurred, which no longer exists. The accuracy of the re-enactment cannot be verified.

In this interview, Kilkenny discusses his family background and early life on a sheep farm in Heppner, Oregon, and his education at Columbia Preparatory, a boarding school in Portland. He also briefly discusses his memories of World War I. He then talks about attending Notre Dame University in Indiana, including playing football under Knute Rockne; his social life; and preparing for the Oregon Bar by taking prep courses at Northwestern College of Law. He discusses his early law career in Pendleton and notable cases he worked on, including bankruptcy and Prohibition cases; his political views and Republican affiliation; and the effects of the Depression. He talks about serving as city attorney for Pendleton from 1930 to 1952. He talks briefly about how World War II affected his law practice, in the number and type of cases the firm handled. Also discussed is his involvement with the Oregon State Bar.

Kilkenny discusses his 1959 appointment to the U.S. District Court of Oregon. He briefly describes judges he worked with, including Hall Lusk and Gus Solomon. He discusses cases involving admiralty law, the first amendment, labor unions, and criminal law. He then discusses his 1969 appointment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He discusses cases involving the draft, procedures of the court, and efforts to split the Ninth Circuit. He then discusses how his sentencing style has changed over time, new precedents set by recent courts, and his thoughts on the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. He discusses his involvement in the preservation of the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland. He closes the interview by talking about his recent activities and family life.

Kilkenny, John F.

Oral history interview with Sidney Lezak

This oral history interview with Sidney Lezak was conducted by Jack G. Collins from August 16, 1988, to June 6, 1990. In this interview, Lezak discusses his family background and early life in Chicago, Illinois. He speaks briefly about beginning his college studies before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1942. He describes flying missions in Europe during World War II. He then briefly talks about completing his studies at the University of Chicago; his marriage to Muriel Deutsch; and relocating to Oregon.

Lezak discusses practicing law in Portland, Oregon. He talks about some of the cases he worked on, particularly regarding labor law and civil rights. He also talks about judges he argued before, including Gus Solomon. He discusses his involvement with the Democratic Party of Oregon, including serving as legal counsel. He then talks about his appointment as U.S. attorney for Oregon and his service in that role from 1961 to 1982. He discusses his work toward making the U.S. attorney's office non-partisan; working with the FBI and local law enforcement; and some of the cases he prosecuted, including mail fraud. He talks about civil unrest during the Vietnam War, and about prosecuting protesters and conscientious objectors. He talks about judges on the U.S. District Court that he argued before, including William East, Gus Solomon, and John Kilkenny. He also speaks about his staff and law clerks, particularly Kristen Olson, who later became U.S. attorney. He discusses the American Indian Movement in Oregon, including relations with the Warm Springs tribe. Lezak discusses his resignation in 1982 in response to the policies of the Reagan administration. He closes the interview by talking about his activities since leaving office, including his career as a mediator.

Lezak, Sidney I., 1924-2006

Oral history interview with C. Edwin Luckey

This oral history interview with C. Edwin Luckey was conducted by James N. Westwood in Beaverton, Oregon, on January 20, 1990. In this interview, Luckey discusses his family background and early life in Eugene, Oregon. He then talks about getting drafted while at the University of Oregon Law School and serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Europe during World War II immediately after graduating, including being in London, England, during the Blitz; how Eisenhower was viewed by the troops; and his marriage to Arlette Micheletti in France. He then discusses returning to Eugene, Oregon; practicing law; and serving as a district attorney of Lane County and later as the U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, including prosecuting several murder cases and Elkins v. United States. He also discusses the politics of the Lane County district attorney's office, arguing before various judges, and his assistant district attorneys and staff. He closes the interview by speaking briefly about working as a bankruptcy judge and about his family life.

Luckey, C. Edwin (Clarence Edwin), 1919-1997

Oral history interview with Otto Skopil

This oral history interview with Otto Skopil was conducted by Rick Harmon and Jim Strassmaier in Skopil's chambers at the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, from August 19, 1985, to November 27, 1989. The audio for this interview is incomplete; Tape 26 was discovered to be blank in 2020, but its contents are reflected in an incomplete transcript and in an index.

In the interview, Skopil discusses his family background and early life in Salem, Oregon, including his time at Salem High School and the effect of the Depression and the New Deal on the Salem area. Skopil talks about attending Willamette University in great detail. He discusses his World War II experience in the Navy from 1942 to 1945, between earning his bachelor's degree in economics and returning to Willamette earn his bachelor of laws. Skopil describes practicing law in Salem for 26 years, from 1946 to 1972, including partnering with his uncle, Ralph Skopil, and later with Bruce Williams. He discusses some of the cases he argued, particularly his only U.S. Supreme Court case, which involved State Farm Insurance. He then briefly discusses his personal life, including his two marriages, first to June Johnson, then to Jan Lundy, and his involvement in various religious and civic organizations, including the Board of Governors for the Oregon Bar. He also discusses his involvement with the Republican Party and his opposition to both the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as how the draft affected his son, Ric Skopil. He talks about serving as a judge for the U.S. Circuit Court of Oregon, including his confirmation; the procedures of the court; sentencing; and the development of the magistrate system. He also discusses some of the cases he presided over on topics including the environment, white-collar crime, and securities. He talks at length about the case of Chuck Armsbury. He also discusses working with his fellow judges, particularly Gus Solomon and Robert Belloni, as well as his relationships with Mark Hatfield and Griffin Bell. Skopil then describes his time as a judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, including the relationship between that court and Congress; the increase of litigation during the 1980s; and the public perception of the court. He discusses some of the cases that came before the court on topics including mental health, capital punishment, timber, and drugs. He also talks about some of his fellow judges, particularly Ted Goodwin and James Browning. Skopil closes the interview by describing the importance of law clerks; discussing sentencing guidelines; and talking about his family life.

Skopil, Otto R. (Otto Richard), 1919-

Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon

This oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon was conducted by Rick Harmon at the U.S. District Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, from July 23 to October 18, 1984. In this interview, Solomon discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including his memories of World War I, his Jewish upbringing, his father's store, and his education. He then discusses attending Reed College, his interest in history, and his subsequent transfer to the University of Chicago. He discusses studying law at Columbia University, including his social life in New York, then transferring to Stanford University, including his developing political beliefs. He also discusses his family's financial difficulties during this time period. He talks about the difficulty in finding a job in a law office during the Depression, and about some of the cases he worked on, particularly cases involving civil rights. He also talks about his involvement with the Democratic Party, the Oregon Commonwealth Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union. He describes his work toward establishing a legal aid program in Oregon, his work on public power, and his efforts getting jobs for young lawyers, particularly those from underrepresented groups. He describes being rejected for military service in World War II and cases he worked on related to internment of Japanese-Americans, particularly after the war.

Solomon discusses serving as a judge for the U.S. District Court of Oregon. He talks about his election to the bench and the opposition he faced; the adjustment from lawyer to judge; and his relationship with his fellow judges. He describes in detail his techniques for speeding up the judicial process, with some case examples. He then discusses his activities as a senior judge, beginning in 1971, which he describes as being largely the same as when he was an active judge. He talks about hearing cases in other districts, particularly in Southern California; the McCarthy era; and cases with political implications, particularly cases regarding the draft. He talks about serving as chief judge from 1959 to 1971, and the changes he made to rules and procedures of the court. He describes some of the law clerks he's had over his career, including Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. He speaks briefly about his early opposition to clubs with discriminatory policies. Solomon provides advice to lawyers on how to win cases, and discusses lawyers he has worked with. He talks about sentencing, judicial activism, and interpreting law.

Solomon closes the interview by talking about his personal life and activities. He discusses the many organizations he has belonged to, including the Reed College Alumni Association and Amnesty International. He also talks about organizations he regularly donates to, including the Jewish Federation. He describes his family life and the activities of his children and grandchildren.

Solomon, Gus J. (Gus Jerome), 1906-1987

Oral history interview with Wendell Wyatt

This oral history interview with Wendell Wyatt was conducted by Randall Weisberg at Wyatt's office in Portland, Oregon, from January 28 to March 24, 1992. In this interview, Wyatt discusses his family background and early life in Eugene and Portland, including his childhood hobbies, his memories of the Depression, and his interest in journalism. He then discusses studying journalism at the University of Oregon, including writing for the student newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald. He then discusses attending the University of Oregon Law School, including some of his professors, particularly Orlando Hollis; his social life; and the various jobs he held throughout. He talks about his early interest in politics and getting a job with the FBI, including his training and the kinds of investigations he participated in. He then discusses his service as a bombardier in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He talks about practicing law in Astoria after his discharge, including getting involved in Republican politics. He talks about some of the cases he worked on, including some regarding commercial fishing. He speaks at length about his involvement in the 1952 presidential election and his relationship with U.S. Senator Wayne Morse.

Wyatt discusses his time in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1964 to 1975. He talks about his appointment to take over A. Walter Norblad's seat, as well as his later re-election campaigns. He discusses the Lyndon Johnson administration, including the legislation of the Great Society Era and the Vietnam War. He then discusses the Richard Nixon administration, including Nixon's resignation and some of the accomplishments of administration. He then describes legislation that he wishes were possible, including gun control. He reflects on what he accomplished on behalf of Oregon during his time in the House and his reasons for not running for re-election in 1975. He goes on to discuss returning to Oregon to practice law. He also talks about his involvement with the U.S. District Court of Oregon, and he briefly discusses many of the judges appointed to the various courts in Oregon. He closes the interview by discussing his opinions on recent environmental debates.

Wyatt, Wendell William, 1917-2009

Oral history interview with Libby Solomon

This oral history interview with Libby Solomon was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at Solomon's apartment in Portland, Oregon, from October 25 to November 22, 1989. In this interview, Solomon discusses her family history and early life in Russia and Portland, including assimilating to American culture as a young child; the death of her older sister, Roza Willer; her Jewish upbringing; and her education. She then discusses her brief education at Reed College and her love for microscopic work. She briefly discusses her Democratic politics. She talks about working in medical labs with various doctors, particularly Edmund Sears. She discusses her involvement in the Democratic Party and the Oregon Commonwealth Federation, as well as the people she met through those organizations, including Monroe Sweetland, Ruth Haefner, and Gus Solomon, who became her spouse. She speaks at length about Gus Solomon's appointment to the U.S. District Court of Oregon. She discusses some of her later activities, including taking classes at the Portland Art Museum School, and serving on the Portland art and zoo commissions. She also talks about her and Gus Solomon's decision to quit all clubs and organizations that had discriminatory admittance policies. She closes the interview by discussing her work on integrated housing.

Solomon, Libby (Elisabeth), 1909-2004

Oral history interview with James M. Burns

This oral history interview with James M. Burns was conducted by Clark Hansen at the U.S. District Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, in sessions from January 17, 1990, to August 25, 1998. Sandy Dixon and a person identified as Dan G. were also present for sessions in 1998. The audio is incomplete; Tape 8 is missing as of 2001.

In the interview, Burns discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including growing up in lumber camps, his mother's death in 1930 and his father's death in 1935, and being raised by his aunts. He also discusses his early education at Grant High School and the University of Portland. He then talks about leaving the university to join the Army in 1943 and his service in France during World War II. He discusses returning to Portland and finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of Portland, attending law school at Loyola Chicago University, and earning a law degree. He also briefly discusses cases that came up later in his career that law school did not prepare him for, including civil rights and malpractice lawsuits. Burns talks about meeting his wife, Helen Hogan, and starting a family while practicing law in Portland from 1950 to 1952; about serving as district attorney in Harney County from 1953 to 1955; and about practicing law again in Portland from 1956 to 1966. He also discusses his involvement in the Republican Party during this time period, as well as the Trumpeters; small-town life in Harney County; and the vice exposé published by the Oregonian newspaper and the political figures involved in the ensuing scandal.

Burns discusses serving on the Multnomah County Circuit Court from 1966 to 1972, and on the U.S. District Court of Oregon from 1972 until he took senior status in 1989. He talks about the history of the District Court and cases that came before him, including on topics such as environmental protection, particularly logging in national forests; Native American fishing rights; wiretapping; capital punishment; and conditions in prisons. He also talks about his colleagues on the courts: Owen Panner, James Redden, Otto Skopil, Helen Frye, Robert Belloni, Mike Hogan, Diarmuid O'Scannlain, and Ed Leavy. Burns discusses his duties as chief judge from 1979 to 1984; sentencing guidelines; plea bargains; law clerks; landmark Supreme Court cases; and the procedures of the District Court. He also describes his activities since taking senior status; his wife's career in medicine; and teaching at the judicial college in Reno, Nevada.

Burns, James M., 1924-

Oral history interview with Charles P. Duffy

This oral history interview with Charles P. Duffy was conducted by Sandra Duffy from May 20 to August 3, 1993. In this interview, Duffy discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon; his service in the U.S. Army during World War II; and attending the University of Washington. He then discusses practicing law beginning in 1940. He describes arguing cases before judges James Alger Fee, Claude McColloch, and Gus Solomon. He describes some of the cases he worked on, particularly regarding tax laws. He also talks about arguing cases against U.S. attorneys; his involvement with various civic and social organizations; and his marriage to Patricia Ann McKenna and their children. He closes the interview by revisiting the topic of his family background and early life and discussing his retirement activities.

Duffy, Charles P. (Charles Patrick), 1915-2001

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