Item SR1201_T03S2 - Oral history interview with Neva Elliott [Sound Recording 06]

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Oral history interview with Neva Elliott [Sound Recording 06]


  • 1992-05-15 (Creation)


Audiocassette; 00:11:23

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Biographical history

Neva Marline Elliott was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1908. After graduating from high school in 1925, she attended Reed College for two years. She then attended the Northwestern College of Law while working as a secretary for Charles Spackman, who ran the school. She earned her law degree in 1935. She met Neil Chinnock while in law school, and they married in 1939. They had no children, and he died in 1954. Elliott was an attorney in Portland from 1935 to 1993 and served as a pro tem judge on the Multnomah County District Court. She died in 2001.

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Tape 3, Side 2. This oral history interview with Neva Elliott was conducted by S. Diane Rynerson from April 10 to July 10, 1992. In this interview, Elliott discusses her family background and early life in Damascus, Oregon, including social life and her father’s store; she also discusses attending Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon. She then talks about attending Reed College, particularly her involvement in drama, then attending Northwestern College of Law in Portland while working as a secretary for Charles Spackman. She talks about working after graduation for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Esta Snedeker as a court referee in Portland, then for lawyer Frank Seaver as a secretary. She discusses the challenges of finding a job as a lawyer as a woman. She then talks about starting her own law practice in Portland during World War II, when many men were serving in the military and the demographics of the city had changed. She also shares her memories of Judge Claude McCulloch. She talks about some of her cases as a lawyer, including being hired by a woman called as a witness against Chicago mobster Mickey Cohen, and the woman’s subsequent murder. She then lists women lawyers she was acquainted with during her career. She briefly discusses serving as a pro tem judge on the Multnomah County District Court. She talks about the many clubs she’s been involved with; her world travels; and her social life in Portland.

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Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society. Use of this interview is allowed according to the following statement: In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted:

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  • English

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15.6 MiB


March 10, 2020 3:21 PM

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