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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