Name and location of repository
Level of description
Oral history interview with Norma Paulus
- 2010-02-10 - 2010-02-27 (Creation)
- 1999-02-10 - 2000-11-02 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet 22 audiocassettes (19 hr., 2 min., 58 sec.) and 1 compact disc (47 min., 57 sec.)
Name of creator
Norma Paulus was born in Nebraska in 1933. Her family relocated to escape the Dust Bowl, eventually settling in Burns, Oregon in 1938. After graduating high school, she got a job as secretary to the District Attorney of Harney County. After moving to Salem and working as a secretary for Judge Latourette, she decided to go to law school at the age of 24. She took night classes at Lewis and Clark College and graduated in 1962. She passed the Oregon State Bar the same year. She met her husband, Bill Paulus, while she was at law school and they married in 1958. She was an appellate lawyer in Salem, Oregon, and argued before the Oregon Supreme Court. She was appointed to the Marion County Boundary Commission by Governor Tom McCall in 1969, which was the beginning of her political career. She represented Marion County in the Oregon House of Representatives, from 1970-1976. She then served as Oregon's first woman Secretary of State from 1977-1985. She also ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1986. She was then appointed to the Northwest Power Planning Council, from 1987-1990, then served as Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1990-1999. She later served as the executive director of the Oregon Historical Society from 2000 to 2003. She died in 2019.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
This oral history interview with Norma Paulus was conducted by Clark Hansen at Paulus's home in Salem, Oregon, in Lincoln City, Oregon, and in Portland, Oregon; and at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from February 10, 1999, to November 2, 2000, and from February 10 to 27, 2010. In the interview, Paulus discusses her family background and early life in Burns, Oregon, including life during World War II and contracting polio at the age of 19. She also discusses working as a secretary for the Harney County district attorney, Leland Beckham; moving to Salem to work for a law firm; working for Judge Earl Latourette; and going to law school. Paulus describes meeting Bill Paulus while attending law school; his family background; and their marriage. Paulus discusses her involvement with the Republican Party; working as an appellate lawyer for the Oregon Supreme Court; working on Wally Carson's campaign for the Oregon Legislature in 1965; and getting her first political appointment, to the Marion County Boundary Commission, where she focused on land-use and city planning issues. She focuses on managing a career in law and politics while raising two young children and building a house.
She then discusses her time in the Oregon House of Representatives, from 1970 to 1976, including environmental issues such as the Bottle Bill of 1971 and recycling; education; the criminal code; taxes; attempts to make Cape Kiwanda a state park; and the Rajneeshees. Paulus goes into detail about the women's caucus and the bills they focused on for women's rights, as well as efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. She describes working with Bob Smith, Paul Hanneman, Betty Roberts, Stafford Hansell, Jack Anunsen, Wally Priestly, Dick Eymann, Lynn Newbry, Glenn Jackson, Jason Boe, and Gretchen Kafoury. She also talks about being co-chair for Clay Myers' 1974 race for Oregon governor.
Paulus goes on to speak about her time as Oregon's first woman secretary of state from 1977 to 1985, including her first campaign in 1976 against Blaine Whipple; her efforts to increase voter turnout; and conducting audits, particularly of the Forestry Department. She also discusses the secretary of state's role as state archivist and the conflict between the Oregon State Archives and the Oregon Historical Society over which records belong with which institution. She also discusses working with Governor Vic Atiyeh. Paulus discusses running for governor against Neil Goldschmidt in 1986 and the challenges her campaign faced. She discusses her position on the Northwest Power Planning Council from 1987 to 1990, including working with Ted Hallock and Bob Duncan. She also discusses her position as Oregon superintendent of public instruction from 1990 to 1999, including her efforts to fund K-12 education. Paulus also relates a story about sharing an airplane with Moshe Dayan.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright held by the Oregon Historical Society. Licensed under Creative Commons, BY-NC-SA: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
This interview is continued by: Oral history interview with Norma Paulus, by Clark Hansen, SR 11239, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Norma Paulus, by Clark Hansen, SR 3972, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Audiocassettes 14 and 22 are blank and so have not been included in the cassette-by-cassette list of recordings that make up the interview. Audio for the 2010 portion of the interview is incomplete.
Incomplete transcript (595 pages) is available for in-person use at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.
Subject access points
- City planning--Oregon
- Crime--Law and legislation--Oregon
- Educational law and legislation--Oregon
- Environmental law
- Equal rights amendments--United States
- Forestry law and legislation--Oregon
- Land use--Law and legislation--Oregon
- Political campaigns--Oregon
- Recycling (Waste, etc.)--Oregon
- Taxation--Law and legislation--Oregon
- Voter registration
- Voter turnout--Oregon
- Women legislators--Oregon
- Women's rights--United States
Place access points
Name access points
- Marion County (Or.). Boundary Commission (Subject)
- Northwest Power Planning Council (U.S.) (Subject)
- Oregon Historical Society (Subject)
- Oregon State Archives (Subject)
- Oregon. Department of Forestry (Subject)
- Oregon. Legislative Assembly (Subject)
- Oregon. Office of the Secretary of State (Subject)
- Oregon. Supreme Court (Subject)
- Republican Party (Or.) (Subject)
- Anunsen, Jack (John W.), 1931- (Subject)
- Atiyeh, Victor (Subject)
- Boe, Jason, 1929-1990 (Subject)
- Carson, Wallace P., Jr., 1934- (Subject)
- Dayan, Moshe, 1915-1981 (Subject)
- Goldschmidt, Neil E., 1940- (Subject)
- Kafoury, Gretchen Miller (Subject)
- Myers, Clay, 1927-2004 (Subject)
- Paulus, Bill (William Gray), 1931-1999 (Subject)
- Roberts, Betty, 1923-2011 (Subject)
- Whipple, Blaine, 1930- (Subject)
- Hansen, Clark (Subject)