This oral history interview with Elizabeth Johnson was conducted by Rick Harmon and Jim Strassmaier at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from June 25, 1986, to March 31, 1993. In the interview, Johnson discusses her family background and early life in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Bellevue, Ohio, including her family's religious faith, and life under Prohibition and during the Depression. She then discusses attending Miami University, including joining a sorority, her involvement with the YWCA, and the discrimination she saw. She also discusses attending Wellesley College, then teaching English to high school students. Johnson then talks about her experience as a woman in the Navy during World War II, serving with the WAVES, particularly her time stationed in Portland and Astoria, Oregon.
Johnson then discusses, at length, the family background and early life of her husband, Oregon State Representative Sam Johnson. She discusses Sam Johnson's youth and his education in the San Francisco area and in France, as well as his struggle with hereditary gout. She talks about their marriage and settling in Redmond, Oregon, and Sam's career with his family's timber business, including a trip they took to Chile to explore timber opportunities there. She also discusses the S.S. Johnson Foundation.
Johnson goes on to talk about her involvement in Oregon politics, including her involvement with the Oregon Republican Women's organization, campaigning for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and particularly her role on the State Board of Education. She also talks about Sam Johnson's time in the Oregon House of Representatives, his relationship to the changing Republican Party, and legislation he was involved with. She also discusses his time as mayor of Redmond. Johnson closes the interview by talking about her family life.