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The Immigrant Story Oral Histories

  • SR TIS
  • Collection
  • 2017 - 2020

The Immigrant Story is a private non-profit organization created by Sankar Raman in 2017 with the mission "to document, narrate, and curate the stories of immigrants in order to enhance empathy and help promote an inclusive community." Its goal is to both advance the national dialogue and to dispel myths about new Americans through strong, thoughtful narratives.

Raman, Sankar

Oregon Labor Oral History Program

  • SR OLOHP
  • Collection
  • 1993 - 2018

The Oregon Labor Oral History Program is an offshoot of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, run by a former OHS oral historian. Building upon the work of AFL-CIO member Nellie Fox Edwards in the 1980s, the OLOHP aims to preserve the collective history of labor unions and work life.

Oregon Historical Society Nominated Oral Histories

  • SR Oregon Historical Society Nominated Oral Histories
  • Collection
  • 2017

An ongoing series of oral history interviews with Oregonians. The subjects are selected from a pool of nominees by a staff committee appointed by the OHS Executive Director. The purpose of these interviews is to create historical documents of enduring value that will enhance and expand the range of Oregon voices preserved by the OHS Research Library and that will complement existing collections and programs of the Oregon Historical Society and address goals for collection development and community engagement.

Oregon Historical Society

Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church collection, 1940-2015

  • Coll 189
  • Collection
  • 1940 - 2015

The collection covers various aspects of the history of the church and of its leader, Rev. O.B. Williams, and his wife Willa Jackson Williams. It includes a variety of photographs, with a large percentage of the images relating to the various church groups, including choirs, youth groups, and ushers. A large collection of members’ memorial cards, the pastoral anniversaries of Rev. Williams, some bibles and hymnals (many annotated by Rev. Williams, including two dated 1867 and 1890), church financial records and meeting minutes, and a collection of materials from Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1961 visit are included. A small collection of the Williams’ personal photographs and ephemera can also be found in collection.

Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church (Portland, Or.)

Oral History Interview with Bette Lee

  • SR 11258
  • Collection
  • 2014-06-17 - 2014-12-29

Bette Lee discusses her activism and career in photographing protests, beginning in the San Fransisco Bay Area in the 1980s, and later in Portland, Oregon. She discusses several specific photographs, many of which can be found in the transcript. Protests and movements discussed include the Portland Alliance, Indie Media, World trade Organization, Iraq War, Occupy Wall Street, Livermore Action Group, etc.

Lee, Bette

Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest Oral Histories

  • Mss 2988-SR
  • Collection
  • 2000 - 2013

The Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) was established in Portland, Oregon, by Tom Cook in the early 1990s. Since then the organization has collected archival materials and oral histories from organizations and individuals active in lesbian and gay issues in the Portland area and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Many of these oral histories were gathered by Portland State University students, from the late 90s to present.

Oregon Legislature Oral History Series

  • SR Oregon Legislature Oral History Series
  • Collection
  • 1984 - 2011

This set of interviews was primarily done as part of a decade-long project. They are with primarily state officials, including: senators, representatives, secretaries of state, treasurers, and governors, who held office mostly between 1960 and 1998.

Interviewees include: Victor Atiyeh, the first Arab American Governor in the United States; Maurine Neuberger, Oregon’s first and only female state senator; Clay Myers, Oregon Secretary of State and State Treasurer, and a leader in Land-Use planning; and Monroe Sweetland, a native Oregonian who was politically active across the nation.

James F. Failing family papers

  • Coll 799
  • Collection
  • 1850-2009

James Frederick Failing was born in New York on March 24, 1842 to Josiah Failing and Henrietta Legge Ellison. His father and older brothers, Henry and John William, arrived in Portland in 1851, followed two years later in 1853 by James, their mother, and sister, Elizabeth. James completed his education at Portland Academy, then joined J. Failing and Co. as a clerk. The company was a wholesale hardware business started by Josiah and Henry Failing at the corner of first and Oak Streets. James later became a partner at Corbett, Failing and Company. The company operated under this name for 22 years, before later becoming Failing-McCalman Company, operated in part by James's three sons.

In 1877, James Failing became a director of the First National Bank in Portland, remaining a senior director until his death in 1920. He married Jane Johnson Conner in 1880. She was born in Albany, Oregon on February 14, 1855 to merchant John Conner (1820-1902) and his first wife, Martha Mariea Bancroft Whittlesey (1827-1861). Later, John Conner married James's sister, Elizabeth Ann Failing in 1863. Jane Conner and James F. Failing had five children: Edward Josiah (1881-1936), Kate Whittlesey (1883-1971), John Conner (1886-1951), Frederick Ellison (1892-1929), and Henrietta Chase, 1895-1989). Kate and Henrietta participated regularly in Portland civic life, volunteering with numerous organizations.

James Failing and his family were members of the First Baptist Church of Portland. He was involved in the development and construction of the church's Taylor Street building between 1892 and 1893, and was both a trustee and a deacon. His daughter Kate created scrapbooks documenting the history of the church. He was also a director of the Young Men's Christian Association and a trustee for McMinnville College (later known as Linfield College), and an active member of the Oregon Pioneer Society and the Auld Lang Syne Society. Both his father, Josiah, and brother Henry served as mayors of Portland. While James never held public office, he was regarded as a prominent individual in the Portland business and civic communities.

Failing, James F. (James Frederick), 1842-1920

United States District Court Oral History Project

  • USDCHS
  • Collection
  • 1966-2008 (bulk 1984-2008)

Since 1984, the Oregon Historical Society has partnered with the United States District Court of Oregon Historical Society to interview judges, lawyers and other legal professionals affiliated with that Court.
With an appeal rate at around 10%, the decisions made by the District Court of Oregon have been deeply influential on the laws and peoples of the state. It has presided over decisions on public land disputes and fishing rights, as well as civil rights and law enforcement. The stories of the people that make up this judicial body provide a valuable tool for helping the public understand the pivotal role the court has had on Oregon’s history.

Oral history interview with Ambrose A. Oderman

  • SR 11275
  • Collection
  • 2005-04-05 - 2005-04-25

In this interview, Oderman discusses his family background and early life in Foxholm, North Dakota. He describes his experience during the 1918 flu pandemic, including the death of his father. He discusses his mother's remarriage and his early education. He talks about moving to Monroe, Oregon, in 1926, as well as his high school experience there. He then discusses studying business at the University of Oregon during the Depression, including his plans to become an accountant. He also tells several stories about growing up on a farm. He discusses working for the Public Utility Commission and the Bonneville Power Administration as an accountant and auditor. He talks about his family and his social life during that time. He then discusses his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and living in Vanport, Oregon, after the end of the war. He discusses his service as western region audit director for the U.S. Interior Department. He closes the interview by discussing his retirement.

Oderman, Ambrose A. (Ambrose Adolph), 1912-2014

Delazon Smith family papers

  • Coll 26
  • Collection
  • 1848-2004

Papers of Delazon Smith, an early Oregon journalist and political figure in Linn County, Or., who served briefly as one of the first U.S. Senators from the state. Includes letters from Delazon Smith to his wife Mary, some of which detail Smith's journey to the east coast in 1858 and admission of Oregon to the Union in 1859. Also included are letters from Smith family members, including Delavan Smith, a soldier in the Civil War; legal documents and speeches; and transcripts of Delazon's Smith's letters to the Oregon Weekly Times describing conditions in the state and providing advice to overland travelers.

Smith, Delazon

Oh What a Night

  • SR 2534
  • Collection
  • 2004-03-18

Audio recording of an Oregon Historical Society event, consisting of a panel discussion moderated by Melody Rose. Gretchen Kafoury, Vera Katz, Norma Paulus, and Betty Roberts discuss the womens' movement in addition to their experiences in the Oregon State legislature in the 1970s and 1980s.

Kafoury, Gretchen Miller

Oregon Wine Oral History Series

  • SR Oregon Wine Oral History Series
  • Collection
  • 1990-2003

A series of oral history interviews collected between 1999 and 2003 with prominent winemakers in Oregon.

Oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland

  • SR 11133
  • Collection
  • 2003-08-18

This oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland was conducted by John Moltman at Sweetland's home in Milwaukie, Oregon. The recording of Moltman's interview with Sweetland is incomplete. According to the audio, the interview was conducted in multiple sessions; this recording includes only one session, which was conducted on August 18, 2003. No other recordings from the interview were among those donated to the Oregon Historical Research Library in 2007.

In this interview, Sweetland discusses his involvement with the Student League for Industrial Democracy during the Depression and his parents' disapproval. He talks about meeting Lil Megrath and their subsequent marriage. He describes organizing Student L.I.D. conferences and establishing chapters across the country. He talks about advocating for civil rights and the opposition he faced, particularly in the South. He also talks about socialism and how it differs from communism, as well as the growing socialist movement among students and labor during the 1930s. He discusses his involvement with the Socialist Party, including his friendship with Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas, and the socialist underpinnings of the New Deal. He gives a brief history of the evolution of the Democratic and Republican parties over the 20th century, and of progressive political movements. He shares anecdotes about his activities with the Student L.I.D., including participating in sit-down strikes and being arrested.

Sweetland, Monroe, 1910-2006

Marian Wood Kolisch Oral History Collection

  • SR Marian Wood Kolisch Collection
  • Collection
  • 1974-06-17 - 2003-05-25

A series of interviews Oregon photographer Marian Wood Kolisch conducted with local figures in the arts, business, and politics. Many of these interviews were conducted at the same time she took portraits of these individuals.

Kolisch, Marian W.

Oral history interview with Barbara Mackenzie, by Jan Dilg and Katy Barber

  • SR 1936
  • Collection
  • 1999-09-27 – 2001-06-01

Barbara Mackenzie discusses her family history; childhood in eastern Oregon; growing up with brother, Ralph Tudor (later Secretary of the Interior); work at Celilo Falls during the 1950s relocation of Celilo Indians; work with the Red Cross; The Dalles Dam.

MacKenzie, Barbara

Oral history interview with Norma Paulus

  • SR 3972
  • Collection
  • 1999-02-10 - 2000-11-02

This oral history interview with Norma Paulus was conducted by Clark Hansen at Paulus's home in Salem, Oregon, in Lincoln City, Oregon, and in Portland, Oregon; and at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from February 10, 1999, to November 2, 2000, and from February 10 to 27, 2010. In the interview, Paulus discusses her family background and early life in Burns, Oregon, including life during World War II and contracting polio at the age of 19. She also discusses working as a secretary for the Harney County district attorney, Leland Beckham; moving to Salem to work for a law firm; working for Judge Earl Latourette; and going to law school. Paulus describes meeting Bill Paulus while attending law school; his family background; and their marriage. Paulus discusses her involvement with the Republican Party; working as an appellate lawyer for the Oregon Supreme Court; working on Wally Carson's campaign for the Oregon Legislature in 1965; and getting her first political appointment, to the Marion County Boundary Commission, where she focused on land-use and city planning issues. She focuses on managing a career in law and politics while raising two young children and building a house.

She then discusses her time in the Oregon House of Representatives, from 1970 to 1976, including environmental issues such as the Bottle Bill of 1971 and recycling; education; the criminal code; taxes; attempts to make Cape Kiwanda a state park; and the Rajneeshees. Paulus goes into detail about the women's caucus and the bills they focused on for women's rights, as well as efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. She describes working with Bob Smith, Paul Hanneman, Betty Roberts, Stafford Hansell, Jack Anunsen, Wally Priestly, Dick Eymann, Lynn Newbry, Glenn Jackson, Jason Boe, and Gretchen Kafoury. She also talks about being co-chair for Clay Myers' 1974 race for Oregon governor.

Paulus goes on to speak about her time as Oregon's first woman secretary of state from 1977 to 1985, including her first campaign in 1976 against Blaine Whipple; her efforts to increase voter turnout; and conducting audits, particularly of the Forestry Department. She also discusses the secretary of state's role as state archivist and the conflict between the Oregon State Archives and the Oregon Historical Society over which records belong with which institution. She also discusses working with Governor Vic Atiyeh. Paulus discusses running for governor against Neil Goldschmidt in 1986 and the challenges her campaign faced. She discusses her position on the Northwest Power Planning Council from 1987 to 1990, including working with Ted Hallock and Bob Duncan. She also discusses her position as Oregon superintendent of public instruction from 1990 to 1999, including her efforts to fund K-12 education. Paulus also relates a story about sharing an airplane with Moshe Dayan.

Paulus, Norma

Oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland

  • SR 11131
  • Collection
  • 2000-03-11

This oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland was conducted by an unidentified woman on March 11, 2000. In this interview, Sweetland discusses moving to Milwaukie, Oregon, around 1949. He discusses his purchase of the Milwaukie Review newspaper, the houses he and his young family lived in, and life in the Island Station neighborhood. He talks about his children, their early education, their families, and their careers. He talks about his neighbors, including Milwaukie Mayor Joy Burges, as well as the changes in the neighborhood. He also speaks at length about growing lilacs and camellias. He talks about the livability of the Island Station neighborhood. Sweetland and the interviewer discuss the upcoming Milwaukie High School reunion. He goes on to talk about his wife, Lil Megrath, her involvement in progressive politics, and her government career. He also briefly discusses his family background. Sweetland then returns to discussing his children. He speaks at length about urban wildlife, particularly nutria, Canadian geese, and foxes, as well as Kellogg Creek in Milwaukie, particularly regarding its fish and clam populations.

Sweetland, Monroe, 1910-2006

Kiser Photo Co. Photographs

  • Org. Lot 140
  • Collection
  • 1901-1999

The Kiser Photo Co. photographs include images produced by the Kiser Brothers, the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Official Photographic Co., the Kiser Photo Co., and the Winter Photo Co. from 1901-circa 1927. Other imprints include Fred H. Kiser Studios, Kiser Studios, and Scenic America Company. The collection contains both vintage black-and-white and hand-colored prints, including stereographs and panoramic photographs, as well as copy prints made from original Kiser negatives. The bulk of the images are examples of Kiser's landscape and mountain photography in Montana, Oregon, and along the Columbia River Gorge and Columbia River Highway, among other places, as well as of various places in Portland, Or. Other subjects include the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Mo., 1904; the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Or., 1905; landscape photographs taken for various railroad companies, 1903-1916; photographs of ships and shipbuilding in the Portland, Or. area, taken for the Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1918-1919; and photos of Kiser studio buildings in Portland, 1909-1923.

The collection also contains contemporary photomechanical reproductions of Kiser photographs, dating from 1903-circa 1930. These include postcards, photomechanical prints both loose and in albums, and publications containing reproductions of Kiser work. There are also background materials that contain biographical notes Fred H. Kiser and the history of his work with photography that were gathered during collection processing and date from 1903-1999.

Many images in the collection were made by the Kiser Brothers or Kiser Photo Company and its photographers but were produced for sale to the public over a long period of time, first by the Kiser Photo Company and then the Winter Photo Company. After Kiser sold part of his business to Winter in 1915, it appears that Kiser continued to make prints from earlier images for which Winter held the negatives, possibly by making copy negatives from original prints. Photographer Benjamin Gifford also bought Kiser negatives and produced them for sale; many of the copy prints in this collection were made from Kiser negatives that are housed in the Gifford and Prentiss photograph collection, Org. Lot 982.

Note on dates and photographers’ negative numbers: Kiser and Winter often issued prints of the same images over a long period. Prints sometimes include copyright dates in the photographer’s imprint. The dates provided in this guide include: actual date of photograph if known, copyright date if known, or circa dates derived from photographers’ negative numbers and image content. Kiser Brothers did not use a negative numbering system as far as can be determined. Kiser Photo Co.’s earliest assigned numbers represent the firm’s output but also may be for images made by the Kiser Brothers but marketed later. They are low numbers preceded by an “x”. Kiser seems to have adopted a consecutive numbering system by about 1906. The numbers are handwritten in pencil on the verso of prints. After he purchased part of the business in 1915, Winter appears to have continued the consecutive numbering system from where Kiser Photo Company left off. After 1915, Kiser appears to have adopted a new numbering system, using a “C” prefix.

Kiser, Fred H., 1878-1955

Oral history interview with Alan Green

  • SR 2824
  • Collection
  • 1999-04-20 - 1999-07-21

This oral history interview with Alan Green was conducted by Jim Strassmaier in Green's office and home in Portland, Oregon, from April 20 to July 21, 1999. Tape 16 of the recording is missing, but the contents are reflected in an incomplete transcript of the interview.

In this interview, Green discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including his memories of the Depression, his family history of alcoholism, and his early education, including his involvement in student body government during high school. He then discusses his experiences as a theodylite observer in the Army during World War II, including spending time in an Army hospital after a truck accident in New Guinea. He talks about attending Stanford University, including living in the Phi Delta fraternity house, and meeting his wife, Joan Irwin. He describes working an insurance salesman, his marriage, and starting a battery company. He also briefly discusses serving as president of the University Club in 1967 and his efforts to open membership to Jewish people. He talks about a DUI infraction in 1962, his struggle with alcoholism, and his path to sobriety, as well as his later work helping others get sober. He speaks at length about his management of various business enterprises.

Green discusses his involvement in moderate conservative politics and the Republican Party. He talks about his chairmanship of the Multnomah County Central Committee, the 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, and Mark Hatfield's brush with the vice presidency in 1968. He also talks about Wayne Morse's defection to the Democratic Party. He speaks at length about his service on the Port of Portland, including competition with Seattle, labor issues, and other members of the commission, particularly Ed Westerdahl. He shares his memories of the Richard Nixon administration, particularly his feelings regarding the Watergate scandal and the rise of the far right. He also talks about serving on the Federal Maritime Commission from 1982 to 1988, including the confirmation process, the Shipping Act of 1985, and his social life while living in Washington, D.C. He talks about how his work on that commission was facilitated by both Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood. Green then describes serving as chairman for George H.W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign in Oregon and his subsequent appointment as ambassador to Romania in 1989.

Green speaks at length about serving as ambassador to Romania from 1989 to 1992. He talks about his confirmation, his training, and the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu. He talks about the members of his staff, living behind the Iron Curtain, and helping Romanian political dissidents become American citizens. He then talks about the new Romanian president, Ion Iliescu, Romanian political parties, and Romanian society and economy after the revolution. He also talks about traveling through Europe while an ambassador, Romania's role in the Gulf War, and international adoption of Romanian children. He then discusses his activities during retirement, including sitting on various boards, and his involvement with the political campaigns of Gordon Smith and George W. Bush. He closes the interview by talking about his children and grandchildren.

Green, Alan, 1925-

Oral history interview with John C. Beatty

  • SR 3716
  • Collection
  • 1999-03

This oral history interview with John C. Beatty was conducted by two unidentified Riverdale High School students as part of series of interviews with Riverdale High School alumni in March 1999. In this interview, Beatty discusses his family background and early life and education at Riverdale High School in the Dunthorpe neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, in the 1920s and 1930s. He also briefly discusses his memories of the Depression and World War II, as well as the changes in the Dunthorpe neighborhood over the 20th century. He closes the interview by talking about his legal career and his experience being drafted during World War II.

Beatty, John Cabeen, 1919-

Oral history interview with Margret D. Thomas

  • SR 3719
  • Collection
  • 1999-03

This oral history interview with Margret D. Thomas was conducted by an unidentified Riverdale High School student as part of the Riverdale School Oral History Series in March 1999. In this interview, Thomas discusses her family. She talks about coming to Portland, Oregon, in 1954, after her marriage to James "Jack" Randolph Thomas in 1942. She discusses Jack Thomas' career as a member of the Riverdale School Board, including the dances he helped to organize for parents. She also talks about life in the Dunthorpe neighborhood of Portland, including her memories of the 1962 Columbus Day storm. Thomas recounts her memories of World War II and the Depression. She then discusses her high school education in Los Angeles County, California, and her involvement with Riverdale School in Portland.

Thomas, Margret D. (Margret Dale), 1922-2011

Oral history interview with Don Clark

  • SR 1166
  • Collection
  • 1994 August 30 - 1998 March 27

Clark discusses family heritage, education, and career beginnings in the criminal justice system; experiences as Multnomah County sheriff; campaign for the Multnomah County Commission; modernization of county government in Oregon; Mt. Hood freeway and regional transportation planning, Burnside Consortium, Columbia Villa, single-payer health care, and numerous other subjects of policy and politics of city and county in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s.

Clark, Donald Edward, 1933-

Japanese American Oral History Project

  • Japanese American Oral History Project
  • Collection
  • 1992-1998

A series of oral history interviews conducted between 1992 and 1998 with Japanese Americans in Oregon. Loen Dozono of the Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL) collaborated with OHS on this project. The interviews were conducted by JACL and OHS staff and volunteers. They aimed to interview Issei (first generation Japanese Americans), and ultimately also interviewed several Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans).

World War II Oral History Series

  • WWII
  • Collection
  • 1994-1997

A series of oral histories conducted in conjunction with an OHS museum exhibit. These interviews are mostly with veterans of WWII, and some are with individuals active in the war effort at home.

Oral history interview with Noreen Saltveit McGraw

  • SR 2409
  • Collection
  • 1996-11-29 - 1996-11-29

This oral history interview with Noreen Saltveit McGraw was conducted by Jim Strassmaier on November 29, 1996, as part of the Legacy of Hope: Catholics and Social Justice Project. In this interview, McGraw discusses representing the Hmong community, with the help of Reverend Morton Parks, in a case where a baby's spinal cord had been severed during delivery. McGraw mediated the dispute over whether to continue life support.

McGraw, Noreen Saltveit, 1934-

Oral history interview with Bud Clark

  • SR 2084
  • Collection
  • 1995-04-06

This oral history interview with Bud Clark was conducted by Joseph W. Carlisle on April 6, 1995. The equipment used to record this interview was faulty, causing the tape speed to vary widely. Digitized audio files made from the recording have been adjusted for ease of listening.

In this interview, Clark discusses transportation in Portland, including bicycles and the public transportation system, TriMet. He focuses particularly on the construction of the TriMet light-rail system, MAX. He discusses outdoor recreation in Portland. He then talks about his family background and early life in Portland. He also discusses his experiences at Vanport College (now Portland State University) and at Reed College. He talks about the livability and climate of Oregon, particularly the city of Portland.

Clark discusses the impact of urban renewal on Portland. He discusses running the Drop In Tavern, which he renamed the Spoutin' House; the tavern's location near Portland State University; and how urban renewal forced him out of business. He then talks about purchasing Ann's Tavern, which he renamed the Goose Hollow Inn. He speaks at length about his opinion of urban renewal at the time it was happening in the 1950s and 1960s, and his opinion of it in retrospect. Clark closes the interview by briefly discussing the urban renewal policies he put in place as mayor of Portland from 1984 to 1992.

Clark, Bud (J. E. "Bud")

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