Oral History Guide Interview Summaries



Transcripts of the California State Archives' oral histories are available for purchase. They are printed on acid–free paper and the price includes postage and handling. Please contact the oral history program coordinator, Sebastian Nelson to discuss payment and shipping options.

Oral history interviews conducted by the Regional Oral History Office are available to view in the California State Archives Research Room. Copyright laws limit the number of pages the California State Archives can reproduce from these volumes. Researchers must contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley to obtain full transcripts of these volumes.


Interview Summaries (R)

Rains, Omer L. (OH 93–3)

Oral History Interview with Omer L. Rains. (1990). Senator, 1974–1982.

Rains briefly discusses his family and background. He talks about his early political influences, activities in the Democratic party, his law practice, and community activities in Ventura County. He comments on the structure and leadership style in the state legislature and focuses on reapportionment issues. He also stresses his concern for political ethics, civil rights, and environmental issues.

Transcript price: (102 pp.) $24.00



Ralph, Leon D. (OH 93–2)

Oral History Interview with Leon D. Ralph. (1990). Assembly Member, 1966–1976. (pdf ~ 5.92 MB, 202 pages)

Ralph reminisces about his background and early life, mentioning his commitment to justice for ethnic minorities. He discusses Democratic party politics, government, and legislation and outlines his activities in the assembly including the legislation he sponsored. He gives his opinions about his fellow assembly members and political figures with emphasis on his split with Willie Brown. Ralph stresses his concern for the need to have minorities represented on the Capitol Restoration Project.

Transcript price: (202 pp.) $27.00



Ramsay, Ernest G. (OH W–47)

"Reminiscences of a Defendant in the Shipboard Murder Case," The Shipboard Murder Case: Labor, Radicalism, and Earl Warren, 1936–1941. (1972).

Ramsay describes his early union experiences, the 1934 strike, and his involvement in the case, and recalls the extensive efforts that finally won him a pardon from Governor Warren in 1953.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Rattigan, Joseph A. (OH KB–5)

"A Judicial Look at Civil Rights, Education, and Reapportionment in the State Senate," California Legislative Leaders, Vol. II. (1978). Senator, 1959–1966.

Rattigan discusses the Chessman death penalty controversy, the Senate Committee on Un–American Activities, his role as a partisan for higher education, and his work on judicial reform. Other subjects include passage of the Rumford Fair Housing Act in the senate, role of lobbyists to the legislature, and the senate reapportionment struggle from 1960 to 1966.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Reagan, Neil (OH R–35)

Private Dimensions and Public Images: The Early Political Campaigns of Ronald Reagan. (1981).

The interview focused on the early childhood of the Reagan brothers, explored their differing careers––especially Neil's, in the advertisement agency, and his role in Ronald's gubernatorial election––and examined the nature of the brothers' relationship.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Reagan, Ronald (OH R–13)

"On Becoming Governor," Governor Reagan and His Cabinet: An Introduction. (1979). Governor, 1967–1974.

Reagan discusses his 1966 gubernatorial campaign and the transition into the governorship in early 1967. He comments on the exigencies of facing the budget deficit crisis and the challenge of creating an atmosphere in the cabinet meetings of open discussion and participation, as well as the triumphs of persuading legislators to his point of view.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Rees, Thomas M. (OH 88–9)

Oral History Interview with Thomas M. Rees. (1987). Assembly Member, 1954–1962; Senator, 1962–1966; U.S. Representative, 1966–1976. (pdf ~ 8.8 MB, 400 pages)

Rees discusses his family background, education, World War II service, conversion from the Republican to Democratic parties in the early–1950s, agricultural implement business in Mexico, participation in national Democratic party conventions from 1956 to 1968, activities as a member of the California State Assembly, California State Senate, and the United States House of Representatives, and comments on a wide range of individuals and issues involved in California and national politics from the 1950s to 1987.

Transcript price: (400 pp.) $36.00



Reinecke, Ed (OH R–28)

Maverick Republican Congressman and Lieutenant Governor for California, 1965–1974. (1984). Lt. Governor, 1969–1974; U.S. Representative, 1965–1969.

Reinecke reminisces about the difficulties inherent in the position of state lieutenant governor, a job made more difficult by the "turf wars" among members of Governor Reagan's administration and the gatekeeping efforts by members of the governor's executive staff, all of which Reinecke describes in detail. He highlights the special projects which he himself undertook as lieutenant governor, as well as his statutory membership on a plethora of state commissions, councils, and boards.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Resner, Herbert (OH W–47)

"The Recollections of the Attorney for Frank Conner," The Shipboard Murder Case: Labor, Radicalism, and Earl Warren, 1936–1941. (1972).

In describing the well–organized activities of the defense committee, Resner notes the role played by the Communist party, to which most of the leaders in the defense effort belonged. He comments on Harry Bridges' involvement in the case, and Bridges' changing views over the years.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Richards, Richard (OH KB–4)

"South of the Tehachapis: A Southern California Senator Comments on the 1953–1966 Era," California Legislative Leaders, Vol. I. (1978, 1979). Senator, 1955–1962.

An ardent Democratic liberal, Senator Richards' broad involvement in the inner workings of the party and his role in setting up the California Democratic Council formed his base to defeat Mildred Younger in 1954 to become state senator from Los Angeles County. As state senator he was, among other things, the leading proponent of water rights for southern California during the legislative struggle over the California Water Plan in both the Knight and Brown administrations. In addition to his legislative achievement, his two races for the U.S. Senate have distinguished him as a consistent and active campaigner in both the state and national political arenas.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Richman, Martin F. (OH W–17)

"Law Clerk for Chief Justice Warren, 1956–57," Earl Warren: The Chief Justiceship. (1975).

Richman discusses the context of the 1956–57 court term, operations with clerks, in–court forums of debate, assignment of opinions: a consensus technique, bench behavior and relations of Warren with clerks.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Riles, Wilson C. (OH R–31)

"No Adversary Situations": Public School Education in California and Wilson C. Riles, Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1970–1982. (1981, 1982). Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1971–1982.

Riles discusses the passage of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, discrimination in teacher employment, his own Early Childhood Education program and the concept of compensatory education, involvement of parents and school boards at the local level, and college admissions standards. Riles also discusses how he saw his own role as superintendent and Ronald Reagan's role as governor with respect to education in California.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Ringer, Roy J. (OH 89–23)

Oral History Interview with Roy J. Ringer. (1989). Governor's Representative and Speechwriter, 1961–1966.

Ringer discusses his family background, migration to Los Angeles, developing interest in journalism, working on various Los Angeles newspapers, and provides detailed information about his close association from 1961–1966 with the Edmund G. Brown, Sr. gubernatorial campaigns, programs, accomplishments, and shortcomings.

Transcript price: (172 pp.) $27.00



Roberts, Edward V. (OH 97–2)

Oral History Interview with Edward V. Roberts. (1994). (pdf ~ 2.41 MB, 77 pages)

Roberts discusses contracting polio as a teenager and adapting to high school and junior college in San Mateo County. He covers his admittance to the University of California, Berkeley as the first resident disabled student in the 1960s and the growth of the Disabled Students Program under Dr. Henry Bruyn and Dean of Students Arleigh Williams.

Transcript price: (77 pp.) $24.00



Roberts, William E. (OH R–20)

"Professional Campaign Management and the Candidate, 1960–1966," Issues and Innovations in the 1966 Republican Gubernatorial Campaign. (1979).

Roberts was one member of the team of Spencer–Roberts, a Los Angeles campaign management firm, which supervised the first campaign in Reagan's political career. His discussion delves into the relationship between Reagan and the firm, and the day to day progress of the campaign.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Robie, Ronald Boyd (OH 2004–04)

Oral History Interview with Ronald Robie. (2003). Consultant, California State Legislature, 1960–1969; Member, State Water Resources Control Board, 1969–1975; Director, Department of Water Resources, 1975–1983; Judge, Municipal Court, 1983–1986; Judge, Superior Court, 1986–2002; Associate Justice, Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate District, 2002– .

Robie begins with his family background and education and discusses working as a consultant for the Assembly. He talks of various legislative personalities, the struggle between northern and southern California for political power, and the creation of the Water Resources Control Board. He speaks of his appointment to the Water Resources Control Board and later his tenure as director of the Department of Water Resources and talks about the State Water Project, the Peripheral Canal, California water rights laws, dams, and water conservation. He also gives details about his time in law school, his experiences teaching law, his appointment to the court, the role of the judicial branch, and the duties of judges and courts.

Transcript price: (154 pp.) $27.00



Rodda, Albert S. (OH R–3)

"Sacramento Senator: State Leadership in Education and Finance," The Assembly, the State Senate, and the Governor's Office, 1958–1974. (1979–1981). Senator, 1958–1980.

Rodda sheds light on both budgetmaking and educational philosophy in the years from 1960 through 1980, culminating in a thoughtful analysis of S.B. 90 (1972), a landmark bill that managed to combine increased public–school funding with a significant response to public clamor for property tax relief. He also provides valuable commentary on Governors Edmund G. Brown and Ronald Reagan, whose contrasting views on schools and taxes underline the range of issues with which the legislature must deal. He also touches on the leadership styles of colleagues Hugh Burns and Jesse Unruh.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Rodda, Richard (OH W–4)

"From the Capitol Press Room," Bee Perspectives of the Warren Era. (1972). Political editor.

Rodda discusses state finance issues in the 1940s, Governor Warren and politics, and legislative battles.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Roosevelt, James (OH W–5)

"Campaigning for Governor Against Earl Warren, 1950," California Democrats in the Earl Warren Era. (1972). U.S. Representative, 1955–1965.

Roosevelt ran against third–termer Earl Warren for governor and was beaten. Roosevelt won his own party's nomination in 1952, and two years later gained the twenty–sixth district's congressional seat, which he held for four years. This interview focuses on those California years before Roosevelt went to "the Hill" and before his former rival donned judicial robes and took his seat three blocks away as Chief Justice of the United States.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Ross, William B. (OH 90–37)

Oral History Interview with William B. Ross. (1990). Political Consultant, 1948–1980. (pdf ~ 7.09 MB, 323 pages)

Ross reviews his family background and education. He discusses the structure of his company, the division of responsibilities with Herbert Baus, use of polling, and the strategies employed for various political campaigns conducted for candidates and ballot issues. Ross talks about his business relationship with many prominent politicians: Sam Yorty, Norris Poulson, William Knowland, Pat Brown, George Christopher, Barry Goldwater, and Richard Nixon.

Transcript price: (322 pp.) $33.00



Rowe, James (OH W–31)

"The Japanese Evacuation Decision," Japanese–American Relocation Reviewed: Vol. I: Decision and Exodus. (1971).

Rowe was assistant to Attorney General Francis Biddle in the Dept. of Justice and one who had to wrestle with wartime policy for enemy aliens. He notes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Navy Intelligence, Army Intelligence, and the Justice Dept. all opposed mass evacuation of Japanese–Americans.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Rumford, William Byron (OH W–38)

Legislator for Fair Employment, Fair Housing, and Public Health. (1970, 1971). Assembly Member, 1949–1966.

Rumford discusses the highlights of his eighteen years as a member of the California Assembly, work on the Government Organization and Public Health Committees, his 1966 state senatorial campaign, and the Fair Housing Bill and Proposition 14.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Ryan, Marilyn (OH 2002–03)

Oral History Interview with Marilyn Ryan. (2000–2001). Assembly Member, 1976–1982.

Ryan discusses her family background, marriage, and education. She talks about her involvement with the League of Women Voters and community activism, leading study groups on California issues, and then moving on to involvement in local politics. She comments on the incorporation of Rancho Palos Verdes and running for city council and being mayor. She outlines her campaigns for state office, her committee assignments, and talks about Republican women in politics. Ryan mentions tax reform issues, her opposition to Proposition 13, and her work on income tax indexing legislation. She also discusses the Women's Caucus, struggles over leadership in the Assembly, and reapportionment and its effect on her loss of the last primary election. She also talks about her post–legislative career as executive director of California Arts Council and organizer of the California Elected Women's Association for Education and Research (CEWAER).

Transcript price: (309 pp.) $33.00



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