Oral history interview with Katherine O'Neill

Oral history interview with Katherine O'Neill [Sound Recording 01] Oral history interview with Katherine O'Neill [Sound Recording 02]

Identity elements

Reference code

SR 9481

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oral history interview with Katherine O'Neill


  • 1980-03-14 (Creation)


.1 cubic feet; 1 audiocassette ( 1 hr., 3 min., 13 sec.)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Katherine Elizabeth Schnabel O'Neill (1899-1995) was born in Portland, Oregon. She attended Failing School, Ainsworth School and Catlin School in Portland Oregon, and Miss Harker's Boarding School for Girls in Palo Alto, California. She continued to live in California for many years before returning to Portland, Oregon in 1950. She was the daughter of prominent Portland lawyer Charles J. Schnabel, who was shot and killed in the Multnomah County Courthouse in 1921.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This oral history with Katherine O'Neill was conducted by Linda S. Dodds at O'Neill's home in Portland, Oregon, on March 14, 1980. At the time of the interview, Dodds' name was Linda S. Brody. Admiral John H. Besson, who was a cousin of O'Neill's, and several unidentified women were also present and contributed to the interview.

In this interview, O'Neill discusses Smith and Watson Iron Works in Portland, a business operated by her grandfather, Charles Smith. She talks about the sorts of items the business produced, including steam donkeys and parts for the Kaiser shipyards in Portland. She also talks about the Schnabel family home that later became the Multnomah County Hospital; the family's ownership of the Congress Hotel and many of the hotel's famous guests; and the legal career of her father, Charles J. Schnabel, including his 1921 murder by a disgruntled client. She closes the interview by talking about her early life and education in the King's Hill neighborhood of Portland.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Collection is open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following license: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

Languages of the material

  • English

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Finding aids

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Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Katherine O'Neill, by Linda S. Dodds, SR 9481, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

General note

Handwritten index (2 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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