Name and location of repository
Level of description
Oral history interview with Margaret Thiele Petti
- 1987-03-26 - 1987-04-30 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet; 7 audiocassettes (5 hr., 50 min., 14 sec.) + 3 photographs (black and white)
Name of creator
Margaret Thiele Petti, nee MacDonald, was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1916. She grew up in the hotel and restaurant business in Vernonia, Oregon. In 1933, she went to Portland, where she worked at the Henry Thiele Restaurant at the corner of Northwest 23rd and Burnside. In 1941, she and Henry Thiele were married. The couple ran the Thiele catering service for the Kaiser shipyards during World War II. Henry Thiele died in 1952. Soon after, Margaret Thiele and August Petti were married. The Pettis ran the Henry Thiele Restaurant until its closure in 1990. Margaret Petti died in 2001.
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Scope and content
This oral history interview with Margaret Thiele Petti was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at the Henry Thiele Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, from March 26 to April 30, 1987, as part of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library's oral history program. The interview was conducted in four sessions.
In the first interview session, conducted on March 26, 1987, Petti discusses her family background and early life in Vernonia, Oregon, including her family's history in the hotel business, her education, and her experience during the Depression. She talks about living and working in Portland during the Depression and describes how she came to work for Henry Thiele. She discusses her relationship with and marriage to Henry Thiele. She also talks about participating in illegal gambling and going to speakeasies in the 1930s.
In the second interview session, conducted on April 2, 1987, Petti revisits the topic of her early life in Vernonia, including her family's history in the hotel business and taking piano lessons. She then continues discussing her marriage to Henry Thiele, and speaks at length about Thiele's life and career. She talks about managing the Henry Thiele Restaurant in Portland, about serving alcohol after 1952, and about catering for the Kaiser shipyards during World War II. She discusses the menu at the Henry Thiele Restaurant, and talks about working with food suppliers. She then looks at photographs and talks about them.
In the third interview session, conducted on April 9, 1987, Petti revisits the topic of her marriage to Henry Thiele and talks about their home in Lake Oswego. She talks about Henry Thiele's involvement with Christian Science. She also revisits the topic of managing Henry Thiele Restaurant, and discusses serving alcohol, talks about managing her staff, and shares the history of the restaurant. She shares her opinions on national politics. She describes a failed deal to sell the restaurant in 1986.
In the fourth and final interview session, conducted on April 30, 1987, Petti continues to discuss managing Henry Thiele Restaurant and talks about the restaurant's clientele. She also talks about her social life at the time of the interview in 1987. She then discusses her marriage to August Petti. She talks about her plans for the future and about traveling with August Petti. The interview closes with Petti looking at photographs and talking about them.
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Conditions governing access
Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/. Copyright to photographs in the collection has not been determined and use may require authorization from copyright holders.
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Related archival materials
Photographs described by Margaret Thiele Petti in this interview are part of the Henry Thiele photograph collection, Org. Lot 438, at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Margaret Thiele Petti, by Jim Strassmaier, SR 1074, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Handwritten index (11 pages) and typescript summary (4 pages) are available for in-person use at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.