This oral history interview with John R. Dellenback was conducted by Clark Hansen at Dellenback's home in Medford, Oregon, from June 24 to October 3, 1992. In this interview, Dellenback discusses his family background and early life in Chicago, Illinois, including his family life, his early education, and some of his influential teachers. He speaks at length about his Christian faith and how it has influenced his personal philosophy. He talks about his experience at Yale University, including his social life. He talks about the jobs he worked after graduating, including working as a bellboy and at General Electric in Connecticut. He describes his naval service in the Pacific Theater during World War II, including the invasion of Okinawa. He discusses attending the University of Michigan Law School, as well as his courtship of Mary Jane Benedict and their subsequent marriage. He then talks about practicing law with Frank Van Dyke in Medford, Oregon, including his philosophy of law. He also talks about his involvement with several local organizations, including the Oregon Bar Association. He discusses his involvement with the Republican Party, as well as his views on contemporary geopolitics.
Dellenback discusses serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1960 to 1966. He talks about his reasons for running for the Legislature in 1960 and his campaign that year. He talks about his committee assignments, building coalitions, and the attempt to revise the state constitution in 1963. He also discusses other legislation that came up during his time in the House; Governor Mark Hatfield's administration; and engaging with his constituents. He also speaks at length about national Republican politics, including his longtime support for Nelson Rockefeller; President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal; and his moderate Republicanism. Dellenback then discusses serving in the U.S. House from 1967 to 1974. He talks about his decision to run for a seat in Congress, his campaigns, and his staff. He discusses legislation that came up in Congress during this time, his fellow representatives, and congressional procedure. He talks about the Vietnam War, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the Oregon Dunes. He also discusses his 1974 election loss.
Dellenback discusses serving as director of the Peace Corps from 1975 to 1977. He describes the mission and activities of the Peace Corps. He also talks about the 1992 presidential election. He talks about serving as president of the Christian College Coalition. He closes the interview by talking about his involvement with other faith-based organizations.