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Oral history interview with Betty Roberts [Index]

Index. 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 Connie McCready [Index]

Index. This oral history interview with Connie McCready was conducted by Clark Hansen at McCready’s home in Portland, Oregon, from March 21 to July 5, 1994. In this interview, McCready discusses her family background and early life in Portland. She also discusses her early career in journalism working for the Coos Bay Times and the Oregonian; and starting a family with her husband, Oregonian reporter Albert L. McCready. She discusses her involvement with the Republican Party, campaigning, her liberal politics, and her experience as a woman in the Oregon Legislature during the 1967 and 1969 sessions. McCready also discusses legislation she worked on, including taxes, fair employment, public transportation and TriMet, and her work on behalf of sternwheelers. McCready talks about some of the legislators she worked with, including Tom Mahoney, Bob Packwood, Stafford Hansell, and Jason Boe. She then discusses her time in the Portland City Council from 1970 to 1979, including the Mount Hood Freeway vote; the bureaus she ran, including fire, cable, and public works; her support for gay rights; and receiving death threats. She discusses the city commissioners and mayors she worked with, including Frank Ivancie, Neil Goldschmidt, Terry Schrunk, and Mildred Schwab. She also discusses her campaign against John Lorenz in 1976, and Portland's sister-city relationship with Sapporo, Japan.

McCready, Connie (Constance), 1921-2000

Oral history interview with Beulah J. Hand [Transcript]

Transcript. 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

Oral history interview with Betty Roberts [Transcript]

Transcript. This oral history interview with Betty Roberts was conducted by Linda S. Dodds in Portland, Oregon, from October 29 to November 14, 1980. At the time of the interview, Dodds’ name was Linda S. Brody.In the interview, Roberts discusses her early life in Texas, including her memories of the Depression and her childhood activities. She then talks about attending Texas Wesleyan University for a year, meeting Bill Rice and their subsequent marriage; and her early years as a housewife in Oregon, where she and Rice moved after World War II. She talks about returning to college in 1955 at Eastern Oregon College of Education (now Eastern Oregon University), then transferring to Portland State University. She talks about the difficulty of balancing school, a part-time job, and family life; her interest in both a teaching career and politics; and her involvement with the Lynch School Board from 1960 to 1966. She also talks briefly about studying law at Northwestern College of Law.Roberts discusses her service in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968, and in the Oregon Senate from 1969 to 1977. She also talks about her unsuccessful campaigns for the House in 1962 and her successful one in 1964. She discusses some of the legislation she worked on, including on universal kindergarten and victims’ rights, and particularly regarding women’s rights. She talks about her experiences as a woman in the Legislature. She describes her 1968 primary campaign against incumbent Senator Tom Mahoney; the casual sexism she observed; and the formation of the women’s caucus in the 1973 legislative session. She discusses her committee assignments, including the judiciary committee and Ways and Means. She also gives a brief history of the coalition of Republicans and Conservative Democrats that controlled the Senate throughout the 1950s and 1960s. She then talks about her unsuccessful campaigns for governor in 1974, and the U.S. Senate later that same year. She describes the passage of the Bottle Bill in 1971 and the opposition the legislation faced.Roberts closes the interview by discussing her service as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1977 to the time of the interview in 1980.

Roberts, Betty, 1923-2011

Oral history interview with Jean L. Lewis [Transcript]

Transcript. 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.

Lewis, Jean Lagerquist, 1914-1991

Oral history interview with Norma Paulus [Transcript]

Transcript. This oral history interview with Norma Paulus was conducted by Linda S. Dodds in the Capitol Building in Salem, Oregon, on January 14, 1982. At the time of the interview, Dodds’ name was Linda S. Brody.In the interview, Paulus discusses her family background and early life, particularly how her family was affected by the Depression. She talks about leaving Nebraska for Oregon due to the Dust Bowl drought, picking hops as seasonal workers, and growing up on an oil rig in Burns, Oregon. She talks about being unable to afford college even with scholarships, working for the Harney County district attorney, and moving to Salem to work as a legal secretary. She also describes having polio at age 19. She then talks about working as a legal secretary for the Oregon Supreme Court, her involvement with the Pentacle Theatre in Salem, and her studies at Willamette University Law School. She discusses working for state Senator Wally Carson. She then talks about running for the Oregon House of Representatives in 1970 and the opposition she faced due to her gender; learning about and embracing feminism; and other women in the Legislature. She closes the interview by talking about her decision to run for Oregon secretary of state in 1976.

Paulus, Norma

Oral history interview with Connie McCready [Transcript]

Transcript. This oral history interview with Connie McCready was conducted by Linda S. Dodds in Portland, Oregon, from April 1 to June 17, 1981. At the time of the interview, Dodds’ name was Linda S. Brody.In this interview, McCready discusses her family background and early life in Pendleton and Portland, Oregon. She focuses particularly on her father, Edgar Averill, and his career as a reporter for the East Oregonian and later as state game warden. She talks about studying journalism at the University of Oregon, including working on the student newspaper, the Daily Emerald. She also discusses other newspapers she worked for after college, including the Coos Bay Times, now The World, and the Oregonian. She talks about meeting Albert McCready, a reporter for the Oregonian, and their subsequent marriage. She also describes some of her other colleagues at the Oregonian; the Oregonian strike of 1959 to 1965; and the merger of the Oregonian and Oregon Journal.McCready discusses her entry into Portland politics as a result of her father’s failing health. She talks about serving on the Citizens School Committee for Portland Public Schools, which was a body that sought to recruit candidates for the school board; serving as precinct committeewoman for the Oregon Republican Party; and her involvement with the League of Women Voters. She describes her successful 1966 campaign for the Oregon House of Representatives and some of the legislation she worked on during her single term in the Legislature, including on fish conservation, littering, and the creation of Tri-Met. She also talks about working with Representative Betty Roberts on legislation concerning fair employment practices and abortion. She also discusses her experiences as one of only four women in the Legislature. She then discusses her appointment to the Portland City Council, and subsequent resignation from the Legislature, in 1970, as well as her re-election campaign later that year. She discusses working with Portland mayors Terry Schrunk and Neil Goldschmidt; her committee assignments; and her fellow city commissioners. McCready talks about serving as Portland mayor from 1979 to 1980, including her accomplishments, as well as her support for controversial issues such as fluoridation, women’s rights and gay rights. She speaks at length about her unsuccessful re-election campaign in 1980. She closes the interview by discussing the difficulty of balancing political and personal life.

McCready, Connie (Constance), 1921-2000

Oral History Interview with Maurine B. Neuberger [Transcript]

Transcript. 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 at Neuberger’s home in Portland, Oregon, 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 Vera Katz [Transcript]

Transcript. This oral history interview with Vera Katz was conducted by Linda S. Dodds at Katz's home in Portland, Oregon, from April 28 to May 19, 1982. At the time of the interview, Dodds' name was Linda S. Brody. The interview was conducted in two sessions. In the first interview session, conducted on April 28, 1982, Katz discusses her family's immigration to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1940. She talks about her early life in New York City, including her education and learning English. She then discusses her experience studying sociology and psychology at Brooklyn College; talks about her interest in modern dance and studying under Martha Graham; and speaks about her marriage to Mel Katz. She also briefly talks about working in marketing while in New York. She then discusses relocating to Portland, Oregon, in 1964, in order to support Mel Katz's career, and describes her early impressions of Portland. She talks about the beginnings of her political career working for Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. She discusses lobbying the Legislature with the Kennedy Action Corps and how that led to her ultimately running to represent Multnomah County in the Oregon Legislature in 1972. She talks about her campaign, legislation she worked on, and her involvement with the Women's Caucus. She also talks about balancing her home life in Portland with her role as a legislator in Salem. In the second interview session, conducted on May 19, 1982, Katz continues discussing representing Multnomah County in the Oregon Legislature from 1973 to the time of the interview in 1982. She continues talking about legislation she worked on, and discusses working with lobbyists and her fellow legislators. She talks about representing and connecting with her constituency, her role in Democratic party leadership in the Legislature, and her committee assignments. She discusses her experience as a woman legislator; describes her political philosophy; and speaks about serving on the Ways and Means committee. She closes the interview by discussing her plans for the future.

Katz, Vera, 1933-2017

Oral history interview with Vince Whiting [Transcript]

Transcript. This oral history interview with Vince Whiting was conducted by Kim L. Andrews from July 1 to December 2, 2019, at the Brookwood branch of the Washington County Public Library in Hillsboro, Oregon. The interview was conducted in two sessions.

In the first interview session, conducted on July 1, 2019, Whiting discusses the life and career of his first wife, Pat Whiting. He talks about her education at San Jose State University and their early marriage. He discusses his own education at San Jose State University, Chico State University, and Oregon State University and his plan to become a veterinarian. He also briefly talks about his wife at the time of the interview, Amira Whiting. He discusses Pat Whiting's service in the Oregon State Legislature, including her work on legislation regarding the ban of chlorofluorocarbons, and describes her personality. Whiting briefly discusses his family background and early life in Chicago, Illinois. He then talks about moving to Oregon with Pat Whiting around 1968, and his career with GlaxoSmithKline. He discusses Pat Whiting's political philosophy and speaks at length about her 1972 campaign for the Oregon House of Representatives and how she interacted with her constituents. He speaks about the reasons Pat Whiting entered politics, her interest in environmentalism, and the environmental legislation she worked on.

In the second interview session, conducted on December 2, 2019, Whiting discusses the reasons Pat Whiting entered politics, the barriers she faced as a Filipina, and her 1972 campaign for the Oregon House of Representatives. He describes how she communicated with her constituents and her priorities as a legislator, particularly regarding the environment. He discusses Pat Whiting's views on and experience with abortion, as well as her views on birth control. He talks about internships that Pat Whiting started and her legislative and community work regarding education, as well as her work on an Oregon smoking ban. He discusses Pat Whiting's work after leaving the Legislature in 1979, including her involvement with various organizations and charities, particularly Loaves and Fishes, Dress for Success, and Project Independence. He talks about her work towards community policing and her advocacy of helmet laws. He closes the interview by talking about the reasons why Pat Whiting left the Oregon Legislature and reflects on her accomplishments.

Whiting, R. Vince (Roy Vincent), 1946-

Oral history interview with Betty Roberts

This oral history interview with Betty Roberts was conducted by Katherine Huff O'Neil at Roberts' home in Portland, Oregon, from October 24 to November 16, 2005, as part of the United States District Court Oral History Project. In addition to the audio recording of the interview, the collection includes a transcript; 50 digital photographs depicting Roberts' childhood, family, and later judicial career and activities; and one photographic print of Roberts. The collection also includes an index to the digital photographs. The interview was conducted in five sessions. The audio for session five was not donated, but its content is available in the transcript.

In the first interview session, conducted on October 24, 2005, Roberts discusses her family background and early life in Texas, including her father's disability and the financial strain her family suffered during the Depression. She also talks about her early education, including playing on a girls football team. She talks about attending Texas Wesleyan College; meeting Bill Rice and their subsequent marriage; and moving to Southern Oregon in 1946. She describes raising a family, and returning to college later in life to pursue a teaching career.

In the second interview session, conducted on November 7, 2005, Roberts briefly speaks further about her experiences during the Depression. She then talks about getting involved in Democratic politics while attending Portland State University; the difficulty of balancing school, work, politics, and family; and her 1960 marriage to Frank Roberts. She also discusses some of the discrimination she faced due to her age and gender. She talks about studying at Northwestern College of Law, including her professors and fellow students. She discusses serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968. She talks about her experience as one of the few women in the Legislature, some of the legislation she worked on, and passing the Oregon bar in 1967. She talks about meeting Keith Skelton in the Legislature and their subsequent marriage in 1968. She then talks about serving in the Oregon Senate from 1969 to 1977. She describes the lack of a women's restroom in the Senate and other forms of discrimination she faced. She speaks about legislation on abortion that she worked on.

In the third interview session, conducted on November 10, 2005, Roberts continues to discuss serving in the Oregon House of Representatives. She speaks at length about legislation she worked on, including bills allowing married women to choose their names, and legalizing abortion. She talks about other women legislators and the formation of the women's caucus in 1973, as well as much of the legislation on women's rights they worked on. She also discusses her committee assignments, practicing law in Portland while serving in the Legislature, and the formation of the Oregon Court of Appeals in 1977. She discusses her appointment as a judge to that court.

In the fourth interview session, conducted on November 16, 2005, Roberts discusses serving as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1977 to 1982. She discusses her appointment; her fellow judges, particularly Herb Schwab; and the sexism she faced. She then discusses serving as a justice on the Oregon Supreme Court from 1982 to 1986. She talks about her appointment, her fellow justices, and her experience as the first woman on the court. She also talks about some of the cases she heard and precedents set by her opinions. She then talks about her reasons for retiring in 1986, as well as her work as a mediator. Roberts and O'Neil discuss the formation of Oregon Women Lawyers and some of that organization's activities.

In the fifth and final interview session, conducted on February 26, 2007, Roberts revisits several topics from earlier in the interview, including her experiences at Portland State University, her early involvement in Oregon politics, and balancing education, career, and family. She closes the interview by talking about the increase in the number of women in the legal profession. The content of this session is available only in the interview transcript.

Roberts, Betty, 1923-2011