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Oral history interview with Betty Roberts [Index]

Index. This oral history interview of Betty Roberts was conducted by Clark Hansen from March 24, 1992, to September 19, 1994, at Roberts' home in Portland, Oregon. In the interview, Roberts describes her early life and family background, including growing up in Texas during the Depression and her father's alcohol poisoning. She also discusses meeting her first husband, John Willard "Bill" Rice, as well as their marriage and starting a family in Oregon. Roberts discusses attending Portland State College and the strain it put on her marriage to Rice; discrimination she encountered as an older woman student; and pursuing a master's degree at the University of Oregon. She also talks about her divorce from Rice due to his objection to her working outside the home, the divorce's effect on her children, and her subsequent marriage to Frank L. Roberts. She also discusses her divorce from Frank Roberts in 1965. Roberts discusses her career as an educator, including teaching at high schools in East Portland; serving on school boards; and her activity in the Oregon Education Association. She talks about meeting her third husband, Keith Skelton; civil liberties; her involvement in the Democratic Party; and practicing law. She then talks about her experiences in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968, including campaigning, sexist media coverage, and teaching high school and attending law school at Northwestern College of Law while in the Legislature. Roberts discusses legislation she worked on during her time in the House, primarily on education, including sick leave for teachers and universal kindergarten. Roberts also discusses her 1968 campaign for the Oregon Senate against Tom Mahoney, as well as the 1968 presidential campaign, including the debate around the Vietnam War and her attendance at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, with U.S. Senator Wayne Morse. She then discusses her experience in the Oregon Senate from 1969 to 1977, including legislation on taxes, particularly sales taxes; women's rights; abortion; environmental issues; rape shield laws; and child custody. She discusses working with Debbs Potts, John D. Burns, and Gracie Peck, and and talks about running for governor against Bob Straub in 1974. She also discusses her run for the U.S. Senate against Bob Packwood the same year. She talks about the various forms of sexism she encountered while in the Senate, the formation of the Women's Caucus in 1973, and support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Roberts talks about her time as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1977 to 1982, and about working alongside judges Herbert Schwabe and W. Michael Gillette. She describes being appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court by Governor Vic Atiyeh and the encouragement she received from Norma Paulus. She discusses several cases from the years 1982 to 1986, including cases regarding sex discrimination and misuse of taxpayer monies. She also talks about her law clerk, Maureen Leonard, and about working alongside judges Jacob Tanzer and Mercedes Deiz. Roberts relates her opinion on the efficacy and procedures of the judicial system in Oregon. She discusses her activities after resigning from the court, including her involvement with Oregon Women Lawyers and the Bob Packwood sexual harassment scandal.

Roberts, Betty, 1923-2011

Preliminary abstract of votes, November 1857 Oregon election

A recording of the preliminary abstract of votes given for the November 9, 1857 Territory of Oregon special election for constitutional ratification. Ballots included votes for the ratification of the proposed Oregon constitution as well as for and against slavery and the presence of free-blacks in the state. Included in the document are detailed voting breakdowns for voting precincts in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties as well as county-wide totals on each issue for the entire state. A listing of those voting for slavery in the Sauvies Island Precinct (today Sauvie Island) is noted at the top of page one. The author and provenance for this document are unknown but results roughly correspond with the reported final results for the election.

Women of America Support the National Suffrage Amendment

A single-page flier produced by the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage entitled, “Women of America support the National Suffrage Amendment.” It features a map of the United States indicating where women could legally vote and the number of electoral votes by state.

Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (U.S.)

Will Federal Suffrage Amendment Complicate the Race Problem?

A single-page flier produced by the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage entitled, “Will the Federal Suffrage Amendment Complicate the Race Problem?” The flier uses population data from the 1910 census to argue that enfranchising women would not increase the proportion of the African American vote.

Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (U.S.)

Instructions to Canvassers

A single-page flier with instructions to canvassers who gathered signatures for petitions to place an amendment for equal suffrage on the June, 1906 Oregon ballot.

Oregon Equal Suffrage Association

Trip to eastern United States, 1927-1928

Overview of William and Irene Finley's trip to the eastern United States, including Finley's recent publication, "Wild Animal Pets", release of a film series, "Finley Nature Series", and series of lectures, "Camera Hunting on the Continental Divide" and "Cruising in B.C. and Alaska."

Finley, Irene

Lincoln, Garfield, and Roosevelt for Equal Rights

A leaflet outlining arguments in favor of the 1906 Oregon referendum on equal suffrage. It outlines Presidents Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, and Theodore Roosevelt’s track record in support of equal suffrage. The document is a single-sheet folded into 4 pages.

Oregon Equal Suffrage Association

Where Women Vote

A leaflet outlining arguments in favor of the 1906 Oregon referendum on equal suffrage. It includes accounts of the successful enfranchisement of women in Colorado. The document is a single-sheet folded into 4 pages.

Oregon Equal Suffrage Association

Roosevelt for Equal Rights

A leaflet outlining arguments in favor of the 1906 Oregon referendum on equal suffrage. It outlines President Theodore Roosevelt’s track record in support of equal suffrage. The document is a single-sheet folded into 4 pages.

Oregon Equal Suffrage Association

Judge Lindsey on Suffrage

A leaflet outlining arguments in favor of the 1906 Oregon referendum on equal suffrage. It includes an account by Judge Ben Lindsey from Denver, Colorado describing the positive impact of equal suffrage in Colorado. The document is a single-sheet folded into 4 pages.

Oregon Equal Suffrage Association

Mrs. Decker on Equal Suffrage

A leaflet outlining arguments in favor of the 1906 Oregon referendum on equal suffrage. It includes excerpts from an account of the success of equal suffrage in Colorado written by Sarah Platt Decker, a resident of Denver. The document is a single-sheet folded into 4 pages.

Oregon Equal Suffrage Association

Initiative Petition for Equal Suffrage Amendment, 1906

A blank copy of the initiative petition form to add an equal suffrage amendment to the ballot for the 1906 election. The document is one page folded in half, with the initiative text on the front and a blank form for petitioner’s names, addresses, and voter registration information on the back. Condition note: the paper has fully separated at the crease.

Is It Just?

A leaflet outlining arguments in favor of the 1906 Oregon referendum on equal suffrage. It includes accounts of the success of suffrage in Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming, The last page of the leaflet contains a photograph photograph of Susan B. Anthony and selected quotes from her writings on equal suffrage. The document is a single-sheet folded into 4 pages.

Oregon Equal Suffrage Association

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