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Democratic Party (Or.) Women legislators--Oregon
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Oral history interview with Betty Roberts

This oral history interview of Betty Roberts was conducted by Clark Hansen from March 24, 1992, to September 19, 1994, at Roberts' home in Portland, Oregon. In the interview, Roberts describes her early life and family background, including growing up in Texas during the Depression and her father's alcohol poisoning. She also discusses meeting her first husband, John Willard "Bill" Rice, as well as their marriage and starting a family in Oregon. Roberts discusses attending Portland State College and the strain it put on her marriage to Rice; discrimination she encountered as an older woman student; and pursuing a master's degree at the University of Oregon. She also talks about her divorce from Rice due to his objection to her working outside the home, the divorce's effect on her children, and her subsequent marriage to Frank L. Roberts. She also discusses her divorce from Frank Roberts in 1965.

Roberts discusses her career as an educator, including teaching at high schools in East Portland; serving on school boards; and her activity in the Oregon Education Association. She talks about meeting her third husband, Keith Skelton; civil liberties; her involvement in the Democratic Party; and practicing law. She then talks about her experiences in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968, including campaigning, sexist media coverage, and teaching high school and attending law school at Northwestern College of Law while in the Legislature. Roberts discusses legislation she worked on during her time in the House, primarily on education, including sick leave for teachers and universal kindergarten.

Roberts also discusses her 1968 campaign for the Oregon Senate against Tom Mahoney, as well as the 1968 presidential campaign, including the debate around the Vietnam War and her attendance at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, with U.S. Senator Wayne Morse. She then discusses her experience in the Oregon Senate from 1969 to 1977, including legislation on taxes, particularly sales taxes; women's rights; abortion; environmental issues; rape shield laws; and child custody. She discusses working with Debbs Potts, John D. Burns, and Gracie Peck, and and talks about running for governor against Bob Straub in 1974. She also discusses her run for the U.S. Senate against Bob Packwood the same year. She talks about the various forms of sexism she encountered while in the Senate, the formation of the Women's Caucus in 1973, and support for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Roberts talks about her time as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1977 to 1982, and about working alongside judges Herbert Schwabe and W. Michael Gillette. She describes being appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court by Governor Vic Atiyeh and the encouragement she received from Norma Paulus. She discusses several cases from the years 1982 to 1986, including cases regarding sex discrimination and misuse of taxpayer monies. She also talks about her law clerk, Maureen Leonard, and about working alongside judges Jacob Tanzer and Mercedes Deiz. Roberts relates her opinion on the efficacy and procedures of the judicial system in Oregon. She discusses her activities after resigning from the court, including her involvement with Oregon Women Lawyers and the Bob Packwood sexual harassment scandal.

Roberts, Betty, 1923-2011

Oral history interview with Maurine B. Neuberger

This oral history interview with Maurine B. Neuberger was conducted by Clark Hansen from August 26 to December 12, 1991. The interview was conducted over eight sessions. The first session was conducted at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, while the rest were conducted at Neuberger's home in Portland.

In the first session, conducted on August 26, 1991, Neuberger discusses her family background and early life in Wilsonville, Oregon, including working on her grandparents' Salem farm, her education, and her memories of World War I. She talks about her experience at Monmouth College (now Western Oregon University), and then at the University of Oregon. She talks about teaching high school after graduating in 1929. She shares her memories of the Depression, her excitement at the election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and living in Portland. She also talks about teaching in Providence, Rhode Island, for a year, and discusses a trip to Japan and China in 1940 and a trip to Europe in the 1930s. She discusses her involvement in the teachers' union, her summer activities, and meeting Dick Neuberger.

In the second interview session, conducted on August 30, 1991, Neuberger continues discussing her husband, Dick Neuberger, including his expulsion from Oregon State University and some of his early political beliefs. She also talks about their marriage, Dick Neuberger's early political career, and the development of the Oregon Democratic Party in the 1940s and 1950s. Neuberger then discusses her service in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1951 to 1955, including her campaign, her focus on civil rights and education, and her committee assignments. She also talks about the urban/rural divide in the Legislature and the state Legislature's relationship with the Oregon federal delegation.

In the third interview session, conducted on September 6, 1991, Neuberger continues discussing her service in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1951 to 1955. She talks about legislation she worked on, particularly regarding billboards, consumer protection, education, and tax deductions for child care expenses. She speaks about lobbyists, reactionary right-wing groups, and the timber industry.

In the fourth interview session, conducted on September 13, 1991, Neuberger continues discussing her service in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1951 to 1955. She continues talking about legislation she worked on, particularly regarding education. She talks about her re-election in 1953, her constituency, and her relationship with the press. She also talks about the salary she earned as a legislator, as well as the social life in Salem. She discusses Oregon state taxes, and the need for an annual legislative session. She then discusses Dick Neuberger's service in the Oregon Senate from 1949 to 1954 and talks about his campaign for the United States Senate in 1954.

In the fifth interview session, conducted on November 29, 1991, Neuberger discusses moving to Washington, D.C., in 1955. She talks about helping Dick Neuberger set up his Senate office, and about his staff. She discusses Dick Neuberger's service in the U.S. Senate from 1955 to 1960. She discusses his committee assignments, legislation he worked on, and senators he worked with. She also talks about Dick Neuberger's relationship with Senator Wayne Morse. She speaks about her social life and other activities while in Washington, D.C. She then talks about Dick Neuberger's failing health and his death from cancer in 1960. She discusses running for her husband's Senate seat later that year and speaks at length about her campaign. She talks about her service in the U.S. Senate from 1960 to 1965. She discusses her committee assignments and senators she worked with.

In the sixth interview session, conducted on December 9, 1991, Neuberger continues discussing her service in the U.S. Senate. She talks about the facilities available to women in the Senate building, legislation she worked on, and working with the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations. She discusses some of the world events that occurred during her service, including the Cuban Missile Crisis. Neuberger and Hansen then look at and discuss photographs.

In the seventh interview session, conducted on December 10, 1991, Neuberger continues discussing her service in the U.S. Senate. She talks about her relationship with various foreign diplomats, shares her memories of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and describes her vote for the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution. She talks about the nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1950s and 1960s, as well as some of the senators she worked with. She describes some of the major pieces of legislation during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, including the 1964 Civil Rights bill and the War on Poverty. She discusses her own legislative agenda, her reasons for not pursuing a second term, and her marriage to Philip Solomon in 1964. She also talks about her senatorial staff.

In the eighth and final interview session, conducted on December 12, 1991, Neuberger discusses her relationship with the Democratic Party and reflects on her final years the U.S. Senate. She continues talking about her senatorial staff. She then talks about her activities since leaving politics, including teaching at Radcliffe College, sitting on various commissions, and serving as an inspector of embassies. She shares her opinion of President Richard M. Nixon, and recounts witnessing him hitting his wife in public. She also shares her opinion of the Democratic Party leadership, as well as prominent Oregon politicians at the time of the interview in 1991, including Mark Hatfield. She closes the interview by talking about the expense of campaigning, the increasing role of women in politics, and her thoughts about the future.

Neuberger, Maurine B. (Maurine Brown), 1907-2000

Oral history interview with Beulah J. Hand

This oral history interview with Beulah J. Hand was conducted by Michael O'Rourke from November 5, 1991, to October 27, 1993. In this interview, Hand discusses her family background and early life in Baker and Portland, Oregon, including her early education and social life. She talks about attending Reed College, her marriage to Floyd Orville Hand, and her activities while Floyd was serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, including working in the Portland shipyards. She then talks about her involvement in local transportation issues, which led to her involvement with the Democratic Party. She talks about serving as a precinct committee person for the Democratic Party, and working with Monroe Sweetland. She also talks about serving as State Representative Richard Groener's secretary and about the practical jokes Groener played.

Hand talks about serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1957 to 1966. She discusses her campaigns, her committee assignments, and her fellow legislators. She talks about some of the legislation she worked on, including regarding public transportation, state parks, public utility districts, and civil defense funding. She talks about her experience contracting tuberculosis at age 30, her treatment, and her opposition to the closure of the Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital in Salem, as well as her opinion of the level of care being provided by Fairview Hospital. She discusses friction with Speaker of the House Monte Montgomery; her opposition to the storage of nerve gas in Oregon; and the changes in the Legislature since the end of her service.

Hand talks about her activities since leaving the Legislature in 1966. She talks about lobbying for the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. She describes her unsuccessful campaigns for the Oregon Senate and Oregon secretary of state. She closes the interview by talking about her experience as a delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Hand, Beulah J. (Beulah Joan Caviness), 1917-2009

Oral history interview with Beulah J. Hand

  • SR 9043
  • Collection
  • 1981-09-01

This oral history interview with Beulah J. Hand was conducted by Linda S. Dodds in Milwaukie, Oregon, on September 1, 1981. At the time of the interview, Dodds' name was Linda S. Brody.

In this interview, Hand discusses her early life in Baker and Portland, Oregon, including her memories of the Depression and working at the Oregonian newspaper in Portland during high school. She then describes attending Reed College, meeting Floyd Hand and their subsequent marriage, and the difficulty Floyd had finding a job after graduating during the Depression. She discusses Floyd Hand's service in the Navy during World War II and her experience traveling with him during his training, as well as working in the Portland shipyards.

Hand discusses getting involved in politics through an attempt to save public transportation in the Portland area. She talks about her reaction to Adlai Stevenson's defeat in the 1952 presidential election. She describes becoming precinct committeewoman for the Democratic Party, and then vice-chairman, alongside Chairman Richard Groener. She describes their efforts to build the Democratic Party in Oregon. She then talks about working as a secretary for Groener after he was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1956, and about being appointed to the House of Representatives in 1957. She describes the ways in which she and other women legislators were treated differently. She also talks about her committee assignments, particularly her work on the highway, parks, and ways and means committees. She describes some of the legislation that she worked on, particularly regarding highways and public utility districts. She speaks at length about her opposition to nuclear power. She then talks about her unsuccessful campaigns for the Oregon Senate and secretary of state. She closes the interview by talking about the prominent Democrats she worked with during her political career.

Hand, Beulah J. (Beulah Joan Caviness), 1917-2009