Oral history interview with John R. Dellenback [Sound Recording 08]

Identity elements

Reference code


Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oral history interview with John R. Dellenback [Sound Recording 08]


  • 1992-06-24 (Creation)


Audiocassettes; 00:30:23

Name of creator

Biographical history

John Richard Dellenback was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1918. He attended Beloit College from 1935 to 1936, then transferred to Yale University, where he studied applied economics. After graduating in 1940, he worked for General Electric in Connecticut. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was discharged in 1946. In 1948, he and Mary Jane Benedict were married; they later had three children. In 1949, he earned a law degree from the University of Michigan. That same year, he began teaching law at Oregon State University. He left the university to practice law in Medford, Oregon, in 1951. He was a Republican and represented Jackson County in Oregon House of Representatives from 1961 to 1966, and Oregon's Fourth District in the United States House of Representatives from 1967 to 1975. He was appointed director of the Peace Corps by President Gerald Ford, serving from 1975 to 1977. He then served as president of the Christian College Coalition until 1988. He died in 2002.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

Tape 4, Side 2. This oral history interview with John R. Dellenback was conducted by Clark Hansen at Dellenback’s home in Medford, Oregon, from June 24 to October 3, 1992. In this interview, Dellenback discusses his family background and early life in Chicago, Illinois, including his family life, his early education, and some of his influential teachers. He speaks at length about his Christian faith and how it has influenced his personal philosophy. He talks about his experience at Yale University, including his social life. He talks about the jobs he worked after graduating, including working as a bellboy and at General Electric in Connecticut. He describes his naval service in the Pacific Theater during World War II, including the invasion of Okinawa. He discusses attending the University of Michigan Law School, as well as his courtship of Mary Jane Benedict and their subsequent marriage. He then talks about practicing law with Frank Van Dyke in Medford, Oregon, including his philosophy of law. He also talks about his involvement with several local organizations, including the Oregon Bar Association. He discusses his involvement with the Republican Party, as well as his views on contemporary geopolitics. Dellenback discusses serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1960 to 1966. He talks about his reasons for running for the Legislature in 1960 and his campaign that year. He talks about his committee assignments, building coalitions, and the attempt to revise the state constitution in 1963. He also discusses other legislation that came up during his time in the House; Governor Mark Hatfield’s administration; and engaging with his constituents. He also speaks at length about national Republican politics, including his longtime support for Nelson Rockefeller; President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal; and his moderate Republicanism. Dellenback then discusses serving in the U.S. House from 1967 to 1974. He talks about his decision to run for a seat in Congress, his campaigns, and his staff. He discusses legislation that came up in Congress during this time, his fellow representatives, and congressional procedure. He talks about the Vietnam War, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the Oregon Dunes. He also discusses his 1974 election loss. Dellenback discusses serving as director of the Peace Corps from 1975 to 1977. He describes the mission and activities of the Peace Corps. He also talks about the 1992 presidential election. He talks about serving as president of the Christian College Coalition. He closes the interview by talking about his involvement with other faith-based organizations.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following license: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Digital object metadata





Media type





41.7 MiB


May 26, 2020 12:14 PM

Digital object (Master) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Accession area