This oral history interview with Jean L. Lewis was conducted by Linda S. Dodds in Portland, Oregon, on March 5, 1981. At the time of the interview, Dodds' name was Linda S. Brody.
In this interview, Lewis discusses her family background and early life in Portland, Oregon. She briefly talks about studying at Northwestern College of Law, practicing law in Portland, and working on the staff of the U.S. Treasury General Counsel in Washington, D.C., during World War II.
She discusses serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1954 to 1956, and in the Oregon Senate from 1957 to 1961. She talks about legislation she worked on, including on capital punishment, education, government transparency, and carnival safety. She also talks about her experiences as a woman in the Legislature, and as the first woman to serve on the Ways and Means Committee and the Emergency Board.
Lewis talks about serving as a judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court from 1961 to 1978. She describes her experiences as the first woman to serve on a circuit court in Oregon. She talks about specializing in domestic cases and about some of the cases she presided over, including cases on allowing single fathers to adopt children. She briefly lists some of the organizations she's been involved with. She closes the interview by talking about her reasons for retiring in 1978.