- 2000-11-03 - 2001-05-09
Transcript. This oral history interview with Katherine Huff O’Neil was conducted by Patricia Wlodarczyk from November 3, 2000, to May 9, 2001. At O'Neil's request sections of sessions 2 and 3 of the interview were redacted by the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Historical Society. In addition to the interview, the collection includes a digital photograph album in PDF format containing photographs of O’Neil’s family, friends, and colleagues. All but two of the digital photographs used to create the album are also included in JPEG format.
In this interview, O’Neil discusses her family background and early life in New Orleans, Louisiana, including her early education, family vacations, and race relations in the South. She talks about studying political science at Stanford University, including her social life and her year studying abroad at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She then briefly discusses her involvement with the Republican Party and working for the Young Republicans in Washington, D.C. She talks about studying law at Harvard University, including her experience as a female student, as well as meeting Mike O’Neil and their subsequent marriage. She talks about raising a family; relocating to Tigard, Oregon, in 1964; and working as a correspondent for the Community Press and the Oregonian newspaper. She discusses studying law at Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College, including her fellow law students.
O’Neil discusses practicing law in Portland. She talks about her first job with a law firm and sexist attitudes she faced as a woman lawyer, as well as racist attitudes she observed in her fellow lawyers. She talks about her fellow lawyers, judges she argued before, and some of the cases she worked on, particularly regarding admiralty law. She describes each of the law firms she worked for during her career. She also talks about trips to China in 1983 and 1985; her involvement in the formation of Oregon Women Lawyers; and serving as a pro-tem judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court. She discusses her plans for retirement; her children and their careers and their families; and serving on the American Bar Association House of Delegates. She also speaks about her involvement with the Oregon Bar Association. She talks about changes in the law profession and her role in the investigation of U.S. Senator Bob Packwood. O’Neil closes the interview by discussing people who influenced her to pursue a career as a lawyer.
O'Neil, Katherine Huff, 1938-