Series SR 1226 - Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon

Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 01] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 02] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 03] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 04] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 05] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 06] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 07] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 08] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 09] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 10] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 11] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 12] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 13] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 14] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 15] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 16] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 17] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 18] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 19] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 20] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 21] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 22] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 23] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 24] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 25] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 26] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 27] Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon [Sound Recording 28]

Identity elements

Reference code

SR 1226

Name and location of repository

Level of description

Series

Title

Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon

Date(s)

  • 1984-07-23 - 1984-10-18 (Creation)

Extent

.1 cubic feet 14 audiocassettes (12 hr., 34 min., 10 sec.)

Name of creator

Biographical history

Gus Jerome Solomon was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1906. He attended Reed College, then transferred to the University of Chicago his junior year. He graduated in 1926. He went on to study law at Columbia University, transferring to Stanford University in 1927. He earned his law degree in 1929. He returned to Portland to practice law. He met Elisabeth Willer through his involvement in the Democratic Party and they were married in 1939; they later had three children. Solomon served as a U.S. District Court judge in Portland from 1949 to 1971, when he took senior status. He served as chief judge from 1959 to 1971. He died in 1987.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Rick Harmon was Oral Historian and Editor of the Oregon Historical Quarterly for the Oregon Historical Society in the 1980s and 1990s.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon was conducted by Rick Harmon at the U.S. District Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, from July 23 to October 18, 1984. In this interview, Solomon discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including his memories of World War I, his Jewish upbringing, his father's store, and his education. He then discusses attending Reed College, his interest in history, and his subsequent transfer to the University of Chicago. He discusses studying law at Columbia University, including his social life in New York, then transferring to Stanford University, including his developing political beliefs. He also discusses his family's financial difficulties during this time period. He talks about the difficulty in finding a job in a law office during the Depression, and about some of the cases he worked on, particularly cases involving civil rights. He also talks about his involvement with the Democratic Party, the Oregon Commonwealth Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union. He describes his work toward establishing a legal aid program in Oregon, his work on public power, and his efforts getting jobs for young lawyers, particularly those from underrepresented groups. He describes being rejected for military service in World War II and cases he worked on related to internment of Japanese-Americans, particularly after the war.

Solomon discusses serving as a judge for the U.S. District Court of Oregon. He talks about his election to the bench and the opposition he faced; the adjustment from lawyer to judge; and his relationship with his fellow judges. He describes in detail his techniques for speeding up the judicial process, with some case examples. He then discusses his activities as a senior judge, beginning in 1971, which he describes as being largely the same as when he was an active judge. He talks about hearing cases in other districts, particularly in Southern California; the McCarthy era; and cases with political implications, particularly cases regarding the draft. He talks about serving as chief judge from 1959 to 1971, and the changes he made to rules and procedures of the court. He describes some of the law clerks he's had over his career, including Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. He speaks briefly about his early opposition to clubs with discriminatory policies. Solomon provides advice to lawyers on how to win cases, and discusses lawyers he has worked with. He talks about sentencing, judicial activism, and interpreting law.

Solomon closes the interview by talking about his personal life and activities. He discusses the many organizations he has belonged to, including the Reed College Alumni Association and Amnesty International. He also talks about organizations he regularly donates to, including the Jewish Federation. He describes his family life and the activities of his children and grandchildren.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Collection is open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

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/

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 the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society (Lib. Acc. 25578).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Accruals

Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

An oral history interview with Elisabeth Solomon, spouse of Gus Solomon, is designated SR 1231 at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Gus J. Solomon, by Rick Harmon, SR 1226, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

General note

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

General note

Incomplete transcript (239 pages) is available for in-person use at the 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

Place access points

Genre access points

Accession area