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Governor Barbara Roberts Papers

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Audiovisual

Campaigns

Organizations

Personal

Photographs

Political

Post-gubernatorial

Press

Speeches

Writings



Contact us about this collection

By Katrina Windon

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Collection Overview

Title: Governor Barbara Roberts Papers, 1870-2011Add to your cart.

ID: SC/2005.3

Primary Creator: Roberts, Barbara (1936-)

Extent: 49.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The original order of the collection has, for the most part, been preserved where present; this order is reflected most clearly in the Speeches series and in the Press by Subject subseries. Beyond these instances, original order was only clearly identifiable at a folder level, and this order has been preserved where present. All original folder titles have been preserved in quotations, though additional descriptive information has been added to further clarify in many cases. Other materials have been grouped into series by subject or format, with an attempt to highlight the distinct stages of Roberts’ career and her involvement with various groups and individuals at both the state and national levels. Within series, except in the cases of following original order (such as for manuscript drafts), subseries and folders have, for the most part, been arranged alphabetically. A notable exception is within the Political Activities series, which has been arranged to roughly reflect the trajectory of Roberts’ career. The audiovisual materials have also been arranged chronologically. When following a chronological order, more general dates follow more specific dates, with undated materials appearing last; when following orders of importance or other internal groupings, more general items follow last.

Date Acquired: 09/13/2005

Subjects: Autism--Government policy, Cambridge (Mass.), Clinton, William J. (William Jefferson), 1946-, Compassion & Choices (Organization), Democratic Party (Or.), Elections--Oregon, Ferraro, Geraldine, Harvard University. John F. Kennedy School of Government, Oregon, Oregon. Governor (1991-1995 : Roberts), Oregon. Land Board, State, Oregon. Legislative Assembly. House of Representatives., Oregon. Secretary of State (1985-1991 : Roberts), Oregon Progress Board, Portland State University, Portland State University. Hatfield School of Government, Roberts, Barbara, 1936-, Roberts, Frank L., 1915-1993, Spotted owl--Oregon., Women Politicians--Oregon

Languages: English, Japanese

Abstract

Barbara Roberts (1936- ) was Oregon’s first female governor (1991-1995). This office was one in a long series of public service that included serving as a lobbyist for education for autistic children, Multnomah County Commissioner, State Representative, and Secretary of State. In addition to papers relating to her time in these offices, the collection also includes materials relating to her involvement with the Democratic Party; materials regarding issues such as gay rights, abortion rights, public transit, and environmental conservation; materials from her post-gubernatorial academic positions at Harvard University and Portland State University; and records from her personal life.  Materials date from her grade school years in Sheridan in 1947 to 2011, though the bulk of the materials fall between 1978 and 2010.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Barbara Roberts Papers relate primarily to her political activities, including her lobbying for education for autistic children, her service as a Multnomah County Commissioner, as a State Representative, as Secretary of State, and as governor. Though her official papers from statewide office are held at the Oregon State Archives, her personal papers offer a complementary insight into the many activities—civic, political, and personal—that Roberts was involved in throughout her life. In addition to materials related to her political offices, the collection includes personal papers relating to family and friends, her advocacy of issues such as gay rights, abortion rights, public transit, and environmental conservation, and materials regarding her post-gubernatorial academic positions at Harvard University and Portland State University. Materials date from her elementary school years in Sheridan in 1947 to 2011, though the bulk of the materials fall between 1978 and 2010. Some collected historical documents predate the primary collection records.

 

The Barbara Roberts Papers are divided into 10 series: Audiovisual; Campaigns; Organizations; Personal; Photographs; Political; Post-gubernatorial; Press; Speeches; and Writings.

 

Collection materials are comprised of audiovisual materials, calendars, campaign memorabilia, certificates, clippings, correspondence, photographs, press releases, reports, manuscripts, newsletters, notes, pins, printed materials, scrapbooks, signs, speeches, textiles, travel materials, and other materials created, collected, or received by Barbara Roberts. Two 3.5” floppy disks present in the collection have been migrated, and are now accessible digitally for on-site users, as are images of plaques and memorabilia that have been returned to Roberts.

Collection Historical Note

The first woman to be elected Governor in Oregon, Barbara Roberts (1936-) served in that position from 1991-1995.  Prior to her term and in the subsequent years, Roberts has been actively involved in Portland and Oregon politics and community organizations. A fourth-generation Oregonian, Roberts was born Barbara Kay Hughey December 21, 1936 in Corvallis, OR, to Bob and Carmen Hughey. She had one younger sister, Patricia (Pat) Welter.Barbara Roberts graduated from Sheridan High School, where she served on the cheerleading squad and as student body secretary, in 1955.  During her senior year, she married her high school sweetheart, Neal Sanders. Following high school, she moved with her husband to Texas, where he was stationedby the Navy. There she gave birth to her two sons, Mike and Mark, before the family moved back to Oregon. She and Sanders divorced in 1972.

            The challenges Roberts faced in finding adequate education for her autistic son, Mike, encouraged her to found the Portland chapter of the National Association for Autistic Children, and then to enter to enter politics as a lobbyist in 1969. While lobbying for Senate Bill 699, which passed in 1971, she met Frank Roberts, a state senator. They later married, in 1974. She first sought elected office at the local level, and served on the Parkrose School Board (1973-1983) as well as on the board of Mt. Hood Community College (1978-1981). Roberts served as a State Representative for District 17 from 1981-1985, and as majority leader  (the first woman to hold that position in Oregon) during her second term. 

            While Secretary of State (1985-1990) she was a strong advocate for a new State Archives building, increased handicapped accessibility to voting precincts, and expanded auditing duties for the Secretary of State office, among other issues. During that period, she was also appointed by Governor Neil Goldschmidt to chair the Governor’s Task Force on Workers’ Compensation Reform.

            In 1990, she won the gubernatorial election with a plurality of the vote, defeating Republican candidate David Frohnmayer. As governor (1991-1995) she faced a variety of challenges, including the passage of Measure 5, a tax cut measure that resulted in severely reduced state budgets and the clash between environmental and economic concerns embodied in the spotted owl issue. Her husband’s terminal illness provided an added complication, and his 1993 death was one of the reasons she cited when declaring her withdrawal from the 1994 gubernatorial race.

            While governor, Roberts worked closely with the Clinton administration, particularly in establishing the Oregon Health Plan and a joint state-federal effort, the Oregon Option. To educate voters about her tax plan, created in the hopes of making up for some of the shortfall created by Measure 5, Roberts pioneered the Conversation with Oregon, an enterprise utilizing the state’s Ed-Net system, to communicate via an interactive video link with voters across the state. Despite this effort and her strong lobbying efforts on behalf of the plan, voters did not pass the plan. She also used the Ed-Net system in her teen pregnancy prevention efforts. Among the many other issues that she has advocated for during and after her time in office are environmental issues, early childhood education, gay rights, pro-choice measures, public transit, and the right to death with dignity.

            After leaving office, Governor Roberts was named director of the Harvard University Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government (a program that she herself attended while Secretary of State) and a senior fellow to the Women and Public Policy Program.  In 1998, she returned to Portland and accepted a position at Portland State University's Hatfield School of Government's Executive Leadership Institute as Associate Director of Leadership Development; while there, she was involved in the establishment of the Legacy Program.  In 2011, Roberts was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Portland Metro Council. During her post-gubernatorial period, Roberts also embarked on two major writing projects: 2002’s Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology: A Guide for Facing Death and Loss, which offered both guidance to others and an account of her own experiences with grieving for loved ones, and her 2011 autobiography, Up the Capitol Steps.

Biographical Note

The first woman to be elected Governor in Oregon, Barbara Roberts (1936-) served in that position from 1991-1995.  Prior to her term and in the subsequent years, Roberts has been actively involved in Portland and Oregon politics and community organizations. A fourth-generation Oregonian, Roberts was born Barbara Kay Hughey December 21, 1936 in Corvallis, OR, to Bob and Carmen Hughey. She had one younger sister, Patricia (Pat) Welter. Barbara Roberts graduated from Sheridan High School, where she served on the cheerleading squad and as student body secretary, in 1955.  During her senior year, she married her high school sweetheart, Neal Sanders. Following high school, she moved with her husband to Texas, where he was stationed by the Navy. There she gave birth to her two sons, Mike and Mark, before the family moved back to Oregon. She and Sanders divorced in 1972.

The challenges Roberts faced in finding adequate education for her autistic son, Mike, encouraged her to found the Portland chapter of the National Society for Autistic Children, and then to enter to enter politics as a lobbyist in 1969. While lobbying for Senate Bill 699, which passed in 1971, she met Frank Roberts, a state senator. They later married, in 1974. She first sought elected office at the local level, and served on the Parkrose School Board (1973-1983) as well as on the board of Mt. Hood Community College (1978-1981). Roberts served as a State Representative for District 17 from 1981-1985, and as majority leader  (the first woman to hold that position in Oregon) during her second term.

While Secretary of State (1985-1990) she was a strong advocate for a new State Archives building, increased handicapped accessibility to voting precincts, and expanded auditing duties for the Secretary of State office, among other issues. During that period, she was also appointed by Governor Neil Goldschmidt to chair the Governor’s Task Force on Workers’ Compensation Reform.

In 1990, she won the gubernatorial election with a plurality of the vote, defeating Republican candidate David Frohnmayer. As governor (1991-1995) she faced a variety of challenges, including the passage of Measure 5, a tax cut measure that resulted in severely reduced state budgets, and the clash between environmental and economic concerns embodied in the spotted owl issue. Her husband’s terminal illness provided an added complication, and his 1993 death was one of the reasons she cited when declaring her withdrawal from the 1994 gubernatorial race.

While governor, Roberts worked closely with the Clinton administration, particularly in establishing the Oregon Health Plan and a joint state-federal effort, the Oregon Option. To educate voters about her tax plan, created in the hopes of making up for some of the shortfall created by Measure 5, Roberts pioneered the Conversation with Oregon, an enterprise utilizing the state’s Ed-Net system, to communicate via an interactive video link with voters across the state. Despite this effort and her strong lobbying efforts on behalf of the plan, voters did not pass the plan. She also used the Ed-Net system in her teen pregnancy prevention efforts. Among the many other issues that she has advocated for during and after her time in office are environmental issues, early childhood education, gay rights, pro-choice measures, public transit, and the right to death with dignity.

After leaving office, Governor Roberts was named director of the Harvard University Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government (a program that she herself attended while Secretary of State) and a senior fellow to the Women and Public Policy Program.  In 1998, she returned to Portland and accepted a position at Portland State University's Hatfield School of Government's Executive Leadership Institute as Associate Director of Leadership Development; while there, she was involved in the establishment of the Legacy Program.  In 2011, Roberts was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Portland Metro Council. During her post-gubernatorial period, Roberts also embarked on two major writing projects: 2002’s Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology: A Guide for Facing Death and Loss, which offered both guidance to others and an account of her own experiences with grieving for loved ones, and her 2011 autobiography, Up the Capitol Steps.

Subject/Index Terms

Autism--Government policy
Cambridge (Mass.)
Clinton, William J. (William Jefferson), 1946-
Compassion & Choices (Organization)
Democratic Party (Or.)
Elections--Oregon
Ferraro, Geraldine
Harvard University. John F. Kennedy School of Government
Oregon
Oregon. Governor (1991-1995 : Roberts)
Oregon. Land Board, State
Oregon. Legislative Assembly. House of Representatives.
Oregon. Secretary of State (1985-1991 : Roberts)
Oregon Progress Board
Portland State University
Portland State University. Hatfield School of Government
Roberts, Barbara, 1936-
Roberts, Frank L., 1915-1993
Spotted owl--Oregon.
Women Politicians--Oregon

Administrative Information

Repository: Finding Aids: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: Collection is open to research.

Technical Access Note: Obsolete audiovisual materials that have not yet been digitized may not currently be viewable.

Acquisition Source: Barbara Roberts

Related Materials: Official government records from the Governor Barbara Roberts Administration are held at the Oregon State Archives. Materials from her terms as Secretary of State are included in its holdings for the Office of the Secretary of State. For more information please see http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/records/governors/guides/state/roberts/robertsseries.html.

Related Publications: Susan Madsen's 2005-2008 correspondence and interviews with Barbara Roberts (Regarding Interviews, Box 8) later resulted in a chapter in her book, Developing Leadership: Learning from the Experiences of Women Governors (2009).


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Audiovisual, 1984-2010],
[Series 2: Campaigns, 1977-1995],
[Series 3: Organizations, 1955-2010],
[Series 4: Personal, 1870-2015],
[Series 5: Photographs, ca. 1970-2010],
[Series 6: Political, 1969-2011],
[Series 7: Post-gubernatorial, 1995-2016],
[Series 8: Press, 1978-2010],
[Series 9: Speeches, 1978-2008],
[Series 10: Writings, 1972-2010],
[All]

Series 3: Organizations, 1955-2010Add to your cart.
The Organizations series contains materials relating to Roberts’ involvement with a variety of community and political organizations. An active board member for a variety of organizations, including the Oregon Hospice Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and 1000 Friends of Oregon, Roberts is an active fundraiser and speaker for such groups. The bulk of these materials are correspondence, membership materials, and event-related ephemera, although the Oregon Symphony folder does include meeting minutes. Some folders, such as the World Affairs Council and Oregon Amateur Sports Foundation, consist only of one record; others, such as the materials from Compassion & Choices, are more well-documented.
Box 6BAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: 1000 Friends of Oregon, 1991-2010Add to your cart.
Board Member; Includes photos
Folder 2: 1000 Friends of Oregon--25th Birthday Celebration, 2000Add to your cart.
Includes photographs, one of Roberts with both Bob Straub and John Kitzhaber
Folder 3: 1000 Friends of Oregon- Robert Straub Honored with McCall Award, 1999Add to your cart.
Folder 4: All-America City Awards, 1998Add to your cart.
Selection Jury
Folder 6: Alliance for Redesigning Government, 1998Add to your cart.
Vice-chair
Folder 7: ALS Association, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 8: American Bar Association Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary, 2003Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 9: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 1993-2007Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 10: American Heart Association- GO RED for Women, 2004-2008Add to your cart.
Ambassador
Folder 11: The American Jewish Committee, Portland Chapter, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 12: The Bus Project, 2005-2008Add to your cart.
Advisor
Folder 13: Cascade AIDS Project (CAPS), 1999Add to your cart.
Advisory Board
Folder 14: Central City Concern, 2000, 2007Add to your cart.
Board Member
Folder 15: Children's Institute, 2010Add to your cart.
Includes photos
Folder 16: Citizens for Children, 1985Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 17: Compassion & Choices of Oregon, 1998-2009Add to your cart.
Advisory Board; Includes photos
Folder 18: Credit Union Women's Association, 1987Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 19: Eastmoreland General Hospital, 1984Add to your cart.
Board of Directors
Folder 20: EMILY'S List, 1991-1999Add to your cart.
Folder 21: EMILY's List- Portland Event, 6/29/06, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Friends of the Astoria Column, 2003Add to your cart.
Chairman Emeritus
Folder 23: Girl Scouts, 1986-2007Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 24: Harry Truman Scholarship Foundation, 1995Add to your cart.
Truman Scholars Selection Panel
Folder 25: Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 1997, undatedAdd to your cart.
Board of Directors
Folder 26: Human Rights Campaign (HRC)- Portland HRC Dinner, November 2000- Photographs, 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 27: League of Women Voters, 1995- 2009Add to your cart.
Member; Includes photos
Folder 28: League of Women Voters- Convention Speech, 5/15/1999, 1999Add to your cart.
Folder 29: National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) ProChoice Oregon, 1986-2007Add to your cart.
Includes photos
Folder 30: NARAL- Photographs, 1999, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 31: National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), 1995-2000Add to your cart.
Board of Trustees; Fellow
Folder 32: National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), 1985-1990Add to your cart.
Includes photographs
Folder 33: National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS)- 1986 Annual Meeting, Seattle, 1986Add to your cart.
Includes photos
Folder 35: National Commission on Civic Renewal, 1998Add to your cart.
Commissioner
Box 47Add to your cart.
Folder 5: All-America City Awards- Juror Certificate, 1998Add to your cart.
Box 44Add to your cart.
Folder 34: National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS)- 1988 Annual Meeting- Conference Bag, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 41: National Governors' Association- 1993 Annual Meeting- T-shirt, 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 56: Oregon Historical Society- Wine glass, undatedAdd to your cart.
Commemorating OHS's birthday, the glass features caricatures of several Oregon governors
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 36: National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse, Oregon Chapter, 1985Add to your cart.
Board of Directors
Folder 37: National Conference of Lieutenant Governors (NCLG), 1985-1990Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 38: National Conference of Lieutenant Governors- 1985 National Conference, Honolulu, 1985Add to your cart.
Includes photos
Folder 39: National Governors' Association, 1991-1997Add to your cart.
Includes photo
Folder 40: National Governors' Association- 1993 Annual Meeting- Photographs, 1993Add to your cart.
Includes photo of Clinton
Folder 42: National Governors' Association- 1994 Annual Meeting, 1994Add to your cart.
Folder 43: National Governors' Association- 1998 Annual Meeting, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 44: National Governors' Association- Seminar for New Governors, 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 45: National Governors' Association- Seminar for New Governors- Binder, 1990Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 46: National Organization for Women (NOW), 1978-2006Add to your cart.
Board Member; Includes photo
Folder 47: Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation, 2005-2007Add to your cart.
Includes photos
Folder 48: Nuevo Amanecer, 1992-2009Add to your cart.
Includes photos from groundbreaking, 12/11/92, and from grand opening, 8/13/94
Folder 50: Onward Oregon, 2008Add to your cart.
Board Member
Folder 51: Order of the Rainbow for Girls, undatedAdd to your cart.
Member
Folder 52: Oregon Amateur Sports Foundation, 1955Add to your cart.
Folder 53: Oregon Association of Nurserymen, Inc., 1996Add to your cart.
Folder 54: Oregon Federation of Boaters, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 55: Oregon Historical Society, 2009Add to your cart.
Folder 57: Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, 1990Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 58: Oregon Hospice Association, 1997-2010Add to your cart.
Board Member
Folder 59: Oregon Jury Project, 2005Add to your cart.
Folder 60: Oregon Mentors, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 61: Oregon Symphony, 1989-1993Add to your cart.
Board of Directors
Folder 62: Oregon Women's Forum, 1994Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 63: Oregon Women's Political Caucus/ National Women's Political Caucus, 1983-1989Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 64: Our House, 1995-2010Add to your cart.
Volunteer
Folder 65: Population Action International, 2007Add to your cart.
Board Member; See also Political Activities-Issues-Gay Rights- "Gay Community"
Folder 66: Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, 2003-2005Add to your cart.
Board Member
Folder 67: Portland Gay Men's Chorus (PGMC), 1984-2008Add to your cart.
Honorary Lifetime Member; See also Political Activities-Issues-Gay Rights- "Gay Community"
Folder 68: Portland Relief Nursery/ Children's Relief Nursery, 1991-2008Add to your cart.
Board of Directors; the Portland Relief Nursery was formerly known as the Children's Relief Nursery
Folder 69: Portland Relief Nursery- Photographs, 2000, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 70: Portland Relief Nursery--Portland's Original Iron Chef 2003, 5/17/03, 2003Add to your cart.
Folder 71: Portland Rose Festival Association, 1993-1994, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes photographs
Folder 72: Portland Rose Festival Association- Portland Rose Festival Centennial Grand Floral Parade, 2007Add to your cart.
Folder 73: Ready for School, 2005Add to your cart.
Statewide Leaders Panel
Folder 74: Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, 1986Add to your cart.
Member
Folder 75: Salem Convention & Visitor's Association, ca. 1988-1990Add to your cart.
Board of Directors
Folder 76: Salvation Army, 1988, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes photographs of Roberts with Attorney General Hardy Myers and with Jenny Duchene of the Oregonian
Folder 77: Serendipity Center, 2007-2008Add to your cart.
Honorary Campaign Chair; Includes 2 photographs
Folder 78: Straub Archives Advisory Board, 2004Add to your cart.
Folder 79: United Way of Oregon, 1981Add to your cart.
Planning and Allocations Committee
Folder 80: Urban Pioneer Awards Dinner, 2002-2007Add to your cart.
2004 Dinner Planning Committee; Includes photos
Folder 81: Very Special Arts Oregon, 1986Add to your cart.
Board Member
Folder 83: Women Executives in State Government (WESG), 1985-1997Add to your cart.
Folder 84: The Women's Foundation of Oregon, 1991-2006Add to your cart.
Founding Member; Includes 2008 photograph of Roberts with Norma Paulus
Folder 85: Women's Investment Network, 2000Add to your cart.
Board Member
Folder 86: WOMENSWORK, 1995Add to your cart.
Advisory Council
Folder 87: Woodland Park Hospital and Riverside Psychiatric Hospital, 1981Add to your cart.
Board of Trustees
Folder 88: World Affairs Council, ca. 1980sAdd to your cart.
Folder 89: YWCA TRIBUTE Program, 1987Add to your cart.
Co-chair
Box 46Add to your cart.
Folder 49: Nuevo Amanecer- Photo Album, 1992-1994Add to your cart.
Folder 82: Western Governors' Association- 1994 Annual Meeting- Photo Album, 1994Add to your cart.
Board of Directors
Box 54: Organizations - Alliance for Redesigning Government, 1993-1994Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Audiovisual, 1984-2010],
[Series 2: Campaigns, 1977-1995],
[Series 3: Organizations, 1955-2010],
[Series 4: Personal, 1870-2015],
[Series 5: Photographs, ca. 1970-2010],
[Series 6: Political, 1969-2011],
[Series 7: Post-gubernatorial, 1995-2016],
[Series 8: Press, 1978-2010],
[Series 9: Speeches, 1978-2008],
[Series 10: Writings, 1972-2010],
[All]


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