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Oral history interview with Mary Jane Sills
- 2003-08-08 - 2003-08-11 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet; 5 audiocassettes (4 hr., 10 min., 44 sec.)
Name of creator
Mary Jane Sills, nee Christgau, was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1922. She attended Reed College, but dropped out in 1941 to join the civil service during World War II. She worked for the War Department in Portland until the end of the war, and as a secretary for a law association for a few years. From 1954 to 1967, she worked as an aide to U.S. Senators Richard Neuberger and Maurine Neuberger. In 1969, she and Harold Sills were married, and the couple lived in Oakland, California. She died in 2010.
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This oral history interview with Mary Jane Sills was conducted by Jim Strassmaier from August 8-11, 2003. Administrative notes indicate additional interview sessions were planned but never occurred.
In this interview, Sills discusses her family background and early life in Portland, Oregon. She talks about moving often due to her father's construction business, discusses her early education, and speaks about her father's death in 1939. She discusses attending Reed College and dropping out in 1941 to join the civil service during World War II. She speaks at length about her experience working in Portland for the War Department from 1941 until the end of the war.
Sills discusses her experience working as an aide to U.S. Senator Richard Neuberger and U.S. Senator Maurine Neuberger from 1954 to 1967. She talks about their campaigns, their positions on environmental issues, and setting up Dick Neuberger's Senate office in Washington, D.C. She also talks about Dick Neuberger's role in the growth of the Democratic Party in Oregon, and about other prominent Oregon Democrats. Sills describes Maurine Neuberger's personality and talks about other members of the Neubergers' senatorial staff. She speaks at length about office management, including keeping the office supplied, handling correspondence, and managing staff. She closes the interview by describing her living situation in Washington, D.C., and caring for Muffet, the Neubergers' cat.
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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 license: 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 Mary Jane Sills, by Jim Strassmaier, SR 11244, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Forms part of the Oregon Legislature Oral History Series.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.