Oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland

Oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland [Sound Recording 01] Oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland [Sound Recording 02]

Identity elements

Reference code

SR 11131

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland


  • 2000-03-11 (Creation)


.1 cubic feet; 1 audiocassette (1 hr., 17 min., 48 sec.)

Name of creator

Biographical history

Monroe Mark Sweetland was born in Salem, Oregon, in 1910. His family moved to Michigan in about 1915, and he spent the bulk of his childhood. He began his involvement with the Democratic Party when he was just 10 years old by clandestinely organizing a party meeting. He entered Wittenberg University in Ohio at age 16, then attended Cornell University and Syracuse Law School in New York. He met Lillie Megrath while attending Syracuse Law School and they were married in 1933. He returned to Oregon in 1935 and subsequently worked with the Commonwealth Federation, promoted progressive politics, and was instrumental in the rise of the Democratic Party to political power in the state. He also owned several newspapers in Oregon, including the Molalla Pioneer, the Newport News, and the Milwaukie Review. He represented Clackamas County in the Oregon House of Representatives 1953, and served in the Oregon Senate from 1955 to 1962. After leaving the Legislature, he moved to California and lobbied for the National Educaton Association. After retiring from politics, he began a business selling dried floral arrangements, called Western Wilderness Products. He returned to Oregon after his wife, Lillie, died in 1985, and he ran unsuccessfully for the Oregon Senate again in 1994. He died in 2006.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland was conducted by an unidentified woman on March 11, 2000. In this interview, Sweetland discusses moving to Milwaukie, Oregon, around 1949. He discusses his purchase of the Milwaukie Review newspaper, the houses he and his young family lived in, and life in the Island Station neighborhood. He talks about his children, their early education, their families, and their careers. He talks about his neighbors, including Milwaukie Mayor Joy Burges, as well as the changes in the neighborhood. He also speaks at length about growing lilacs and camellias. He talks about the livability of the Island Station neighborhood. Sweetland and the interviewer discuss the upcoming Milwaukie High School reunion. He goes on to talk about his wife, Lil Megrath, her involvement in progressive politics, and her government career. He also briefly discusses his family background. Sweetland then returns to discussing his children. He speaks at length about urban wildlife, particularly nutria, Canadian geese, and foxes, as well as Kellogg Creek in Milwaukie, particularly regarding its fish and clam populations.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Collection is open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

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/

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

Gift of Barbara Sweetland Smith, August 2007 (Lib. Acc. 26317).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Additional oral histories with Monroe Sweetland are held at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Monroe Sweetland papers, Mss 1747, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Monroe Sweetland, SR 11131, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.

Sources used

Archivist's note

Sarah Stroman

Access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Accession area