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Oral history interview with Warne H. Nunn
- 1987-10-20 - 1987-11-03 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet 7 audiocassettes (4 hr., 49 min., 54 sec.) + 2 photographs (black and white)
Name of creator
Warne Harry Nunn was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1920. His parents divorced a short time later, and his mother brought him to Oregon, where he grew up on a farm outside Salem. He attended Willamette University, graduating in 1941. From 1942 to 1945, during World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Texas. In 1943, he and Delores Netz were married; they later had three children. In 1945, after the war, he returned to Salem and began a career in civil service. In 1952, he became assistant public utilities commissioner for Oregon, and in 1956, Governor Elmo Smith appointed him as the first director of the state Department of Motor Vehicles. He became assistant secretary of state of Oregon in 1957 and was Governor Mark Hatfield's chief of staff from 1959 to 1967. After Hatfield was elected as a U.S. senator, Nunn served as Hatfield's chief of staff in 1967, just long enough to help him set up an office in Washington, D.C. He returned to Oregon, then worked for Pacific Power and Light until retiring in 1983. He was also a trustee of the Meyer Memorial Trust from 1983 until his death in 2007.
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This oral history interview with Warne H. Nunn was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from October 20 to November 3, 1987. In this interview, Nunn discusses his family background and early life on a farm outside Salem, Oregon, including his memories of the Depression and his education. He talks about attending Willamette University, including his professors. He talks about his career in civil service for the state of Oregon, beginning with a job at the Civil Service Commission in 1945, on the Public Utilities Commission in 1952, and as director of the Department of Motor Vehicles in 1956. He speaks about working with Mark Hatfield as assistant secretary of state from 1957 to 1959, and describes the make-up of Hatfield's staff, including Travis Cross. He also talks about Hatfield's relationship with the Oregon Republican Party; Hatfield's campaigns for Oregon governor; and his own friendship with Hatfield.
Nunn discusses serving as chief of staff for Hatfield from 1959 to 1967, including Hatfield's efforts to reorganize the state government, and Hatfield's working relationship with the Legislature, as well as with lobbyists. He also describes Hatfield's views on the Vietnam War; efforts toward Oregon's economic development; and the 1968 Republican Convention when Hatfield was being considered as Richard Nixon's running mate. He also discusses Hatfield's involvement with Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign. Nunn then discusses serving as chief of staff for Hatfield for three months in 1967 after Hatfield was elected as a U.S. senator. He talks about setting up an office in Washington, D.C., and some of the people who made up Hatfield's new staff, including Sam Mallicoat and Gerry Frank. He closes the interview by discussing his departure from Hatfield's staff and his return to Oregon.
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Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and Willamette University. 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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Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Warne H. Nunn, by Jim Strassmaier, SR 1331, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Forms part of the Senator Mark O. Hatfield Oral History Project.
Incomplete transcript (128 pages) is available for in-person use at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
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Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.