Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Oral Histories of the Benton County (Or.) Courthouse, 1987-1991

Content Description

The centenary of the Benton County Courthouse building was celebrated in July 1988. In planning for this commemoration, the Benton County Commissioners' office approached the Horner Museum with the proposal that an oral history of the building be captured. This project was carried out over a period of three years with Horner Museum oral historian Jennifer Lee serving as interviewer and project manager. County officials selected six individuals to be interviewed for the project - Judge Richard Mengler, Gladys (Mack) Hunt, Elroy and Edmund Gravelle, Dorothy Moore and Magdalen (Mann) Schultze - and Lee identified a seventh, Dorothy Moore's sister Louise (Moore) Forland.

The resulting collection consists of two sets of audiocassettes of each interview, annotated draft transcripts, correspondence, photographic slides of interviewees, signed permissions forms, and a two-volume spiral-bound monograph titled An Oral History of the Benton County Courthouse, which contains finalized transcripts of each interview.

Volume 1 of the monograph is devoted to an in-depth life history of Judge Mengler and includes a table of contents, project overview and introduction to Mengler's biography. The text of Mengler's transcript is divided into chapters titled: "Early Life in Rural Nebraska"; "Education and Work"; "Moving West and Teaching in Corvallis, Oregon"; "Military Career"; "Law School, Marriage and City Attorney"; "District Court Judge"; "Courthouse Preservation Efforts"; "Teaching at Oregon State University and Serving as Circuit Court Judge"; "Supreme Court Appointment"; "Circuit Court Judge and Looking Back"; and "Retirement."

Volume 2 of the monograph includes capsule biographies of Hunt, Schultze, Moore, Forland and the Gravelle brothers, as well as the full texts of their interviews.

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