Oral History Update

By Joseph Carlisle

2018 proved to be a busy and productive year for the Oral History Committee.  We weathered the departure of long-time friend and oral historian Janice Dilg, engaged two up-and-coming oral historians, and began conducting three new oral histories.

Janice Dilg (right) with compatriots. They staged a historic debate for our 2011 annual meeting over whether Oregon men should extend the vote to women. Oregon women received the right to vote in 1912. Photo by Owen Schmidt.

Many of you are likely familiar with Jan Dilg.  For many years she has conducted numerous oral histories for the Society and she has been a familiar presence at the District Court Historical Society’s Annual Picnic and Annual Dinner.  For the last several years, Jan has been our primary oral historian, which is a testament to both her skills and to her dedication to our work.

Last fall, Jan decided that it was time to expand her horizons and to pursue a variety of other projects.  Unfortunately she determined she would be unable to continue her work for us and pursue other opportunities. We thank her for all she has done for the District Court Historical Society. She administered the program and also conducted oral histories with Oregon’s first U.S. Magistrate George Juba, former Chief Probation Officer David Looney, and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris, to name just a few.  The transcripts are available on our website.

True to form, Jan did not leave us without oral history coverage. She introduced us to oral historians Makaela Kroin and Greta Smith. We engaged both of them in the spring and they have been working diligently on the oral histories of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank R. Alley, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Coffin and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Randall L. Dunn.  It has been fun to receive reports from Kroin and Smith, respectively, reflecting what we already know – Judges Alley, Coffin and Dunn have a wealth of knowledge.  We also completed the transcripts for the oral histories of of U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart and Multnomah County Judge Kimberly C. Frankel, and deposited those at the Oregon Historical Society.

Finally, when the oral histories of Judges Alley, Coffin and Dunn are complete, we will embark on taking the oral histories of Judge Anna J. Brown and Magistrate Judge Paul J. Papak so their perspectives and insights will be preserved for all to share.  It has been a pleasure to serve the Society this year and the Oral History Committee looks forward to an equally productive 2019.