Oral history interview with David R. Williams

Oral history interview with David R. Williams [Session 1, Recording 01] Oral history interview with David R. Williams [Session 2, Recording 01] Oral history interview with David R. Williams [Session 2, Recording 01] Oral history interview with David R. Williams [Transcript]

Identity elements

Reference code

SR 1206

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oral history interview with David R. Williams


  • 1991-12-16 - 1992-01-16 (Creation)


.1 cubic feet; 2 audiocassettes (1 hr., 19 min., 38 sec.) + transcript (46 pages)

Name of creator

Biographical history

David Rhys Williams was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1923. He attended Reed College after graduating from high school at age 16. After one year, he transferred to Stanford University, but suspended his studies when he was drafted. He served in the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division in Italy during World War II, from 1944 to 1945. After his discharge, he completed his degree at Stanford and graduated in 1946. He then attended the University of Oregon Law School, earning his law degree around 1949. In 1945, he met Donna Rockwell, and they married in 1948; they later had two children. Williams became an attorney with Williams, Fredrickson, Stark & Weisensee in Portland. He died in 2004.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This oral history interview with David R. Williams was conducted by Elizabeth Reichow from December 16, 1991, to January 16, 1992. The interview was conducted in two sessions.

In the first interview session, conducted on December 16, 1991, Williams discusses his family background and early life in the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, including his educational background and work experiences as a carpenter. He talks about participating in sports in high school and at Reed College. He also speaks about his experiences serving in the U.S. Army in Italy during World War II. He speaks about his marriage to Donna Rockwell and talks about his family.

In the second interview session, conducted on January 16, 1992, Williams speaks at length about his childhood during the Depression, and shares his memories of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to Portland. He speaks about Congressman Homer D. Angell; talks about his involvement with a Welsh singing group called "The Bohemians"; and discusses climbing Mount Hood and his interest in skiing. He then discusses his experience at Reed College, including the pro-German and pro-communist sentiment that was prevalent on campus in the lead-up to World War II. He also talks about the political situation in Russia in 1992. He revisits the topic of his service in the U.S. Army during World War II and his marriage to Donna Rockwell. He also talks about studying law at the University of Oregon. He closes the interview by describing the careers of his brothers.

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Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: In Copyright – Educational Use Permitted, http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/

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Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

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Finding aids

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Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


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Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with David R. Williams, by Elizabeth Reichow, SR 1206, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

General note

Forms part of the United States District Court Oral History Project.

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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 & Jennifer Ham

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Accession area