Name and location of repository
Level of description
Oral history interview with Becky Johnson
- 1986-06-25 - 1993-03-31 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet 15 audiocassettes (13 hr., 32 min., 11 sec.)
Name of creator
Elizabeth "Becky" Avery Johnson, nee Hill, was born in Indiana in 1913. Her family moved to Bellevue, Ohio, when she was an infant. She graduated from Miami University in Ohio in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in education, and subsequently from Wellesley College with a master's degree. She taught English at high schools in Lima, Ohio, and in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, until 1942. She joined the Navy during World War II, serving in the WAVES beginning in 1943. While in the service, she was stationed in Portland, Oregon, where she met Sam Johnson, who later became an Oregon state representative. They were married in 1944 and had two children. She was a member of several organizations, including the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission, and the Oregon Historical Society. She died in 2007.
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Scope and content
This oral history interview with Elizabeth Johnson was conducted by Rick Harmon and Jim Strassmaier at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from June 25, 1986, to March 31, 1993. In the interview, Johnson discusses her family background and early life in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Bellevue, Ohio, including her family's religious faith, and life under Prohibition and during the Depression. She then discusses attending Miami University, including joining a sorority, her involvement with the YWCA, and the discrimination she saw. She also discusses attending Wellesley College, then teaching English to high school students. Johnson then talks about her experience as a woman in the Navy during World War II, serving with the WAVES, particularly her time stationed in Portland and Astoria, Oregon.
Johnson then discusses, at length, the family background and early life of her husband, Oregon State Representative Sam Johnson. She discusses Sam Johnson's youth and his education in the San Francisco area and in France, as well as his struggle with hereditary gout. She talks about their marriage and settling in Redmond, Oregon, and Sam's career with his family's timber business, including a trip they took to Chile to explore timber opportunities there. She also discusses the S.S. Johnson Foundation.
Johnson goes on to talk about her involvement in Oregon politics, including her involvement with the Oregon Republican Women's organization, campaigning for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and particularly her role on the State Board of Education. She also talks about Sam Johnson's time in the Oregon House of Representatives, his relationship to the changing Republican Party, and legislation he was involved with. She also discusses his time as mayor of Redmond. Johnson closes the interview by talking about her family life.
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Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright held by the Oregon Historical Society. Licensed under Creative Commons, BY-NC-SA: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
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Related archival materials
Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Becky Johnson, by Rick Harmon and Jim Strassmaier, SR 1115, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Forms part of the Oregon Legislature Oral History Series.
Incomplete transcript (149 pages) and handwritten index (10 pages) 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.