Series SR 1257 - Oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood

Oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood [Sound Recording 01] Oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood [Sound Recording 02] Oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood [Sound Recording 03] Oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood [Sound Recording 04]

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Reference code

SR 1257

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood


  • 1999-05-06 - 1999-05-06 (Creation)


.1 cubic feet; 3 audiocassettes (2 hr., 7 min., 32 sec.)

Name of creator

Biographical history

Erskine Biddle Wood was born in 1911. He was the son of Erskine Wood and the grandson of Charles Erskine Scott Wood. He attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School, earning his law degree in 1936. Wood became a lawyer who specialized in maritime law at Wood, Tatum, Sanders & Murphy in Portland, Oregon. During World War II, he served as an administrator in the Navy.

Wood married multiple times. While at Harvard in the 1930s, he and Caroline Elizabeth Hoffman married. They later had three children and divorced in 1956. In 1959, he and Virginia Kuerten Tooze were married. They later had two children and divorced in 1969. Later that same year, Wood and Doreen L. Plympton were married; they divorced in 1974. Sometime later, Wood and Ellen Story Fretz were married. They divorced in 1997. In 2001, Wood and Doris H. Spaulding were married. Wood died in 2001.

Name of creator

Biographical history

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Scope and content

This oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood was conducted by David Jacobson at Wood's home in Vancouver, Washington, on May 6, 1999. In this interview, Wood briefly discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon, including fishing on the Columbia River, as well as his education at a boarding school in California. He then discusses his experiences at Harvard College and at Harvard Law School. He talks about his interest in admiralty law, as well as the admiralty law career of his grandfather, C.E.S. Wood. He then discusses how World War II affected his law practice, as well as some of the cases he worked on, and some of the judges he argued before. He talks about his children and his service in the Navy during World War II. He closes the interview by discussing the changes in Oregon and his hopes for the state's future.

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Conditions governing access

Collection is open for research.

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Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Joint copyright 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:

Languages of the material

  • English

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Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Erskine B. Wood, by David Jacobson, SR 1257, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

General note

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

General note

Incomplete transcript (21 pages) is available for in-person use at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

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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

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