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Title: Interview with Eugene Wright - #1
Original format: VHS
Item Id.: spl_ds_ewright_01_01
Description: This is part 1 of 4 of an interview with Eugene Wright. This interview was conducted by Donald Schmechel on April 18, 1988 in Wright’s chambers in the U.S. Courthouse in Seattle.
Eugene Wright (1913-2002) . Wright was born in Seattle and attended TT Minor Elementary and Broadway High School. Wright earned his law degree from the University of Washington in 1937 and joined his father’s law firm following graduation. He married his wife, Esther Ladley, in 1938 and the couple had two children. During World War II, Wright joined the army and served as a Colonel in the South Pacific, leading Nisei soldiers. Wright was honored with multiple awards during his time in the service including the Bronze Star. Following the war, Wright remained a member of the U.S. Army reserve for twenty years. Upon his return to Seattle, he resumed his law career. In 1948, Wright began serving as a temporary Municipal Court Judge and in 1954 he was appointed to the King County Superior Court where he stayed for 12 years. In 1966, Wright left the court to become vice president of Pacific National Bank. Wright returned to the bench i 1969 when President Nixon appointed him to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a position that he held until his death in 2002. Wright was active in his local church, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, and enjoyed gardening.
During the interview Wright discusses his family background, education, military service and
various facets of his legal and judicial careers. They also discuss his philosophy and perspectives on judicial selection and reform. The interview was filmed on at least three different days. Part 1 was filmed on April 18, 1988 and part 2 was recorded the following day on April 19, 1988. Part 3 is undated and Part 4 was filmed on May 10, 1988.
This interview is part of the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection. Don Schmechel, who was a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board, began this project with Seattle Public Library in 1984, with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) brought on board as a partner in early 1985. Schmechel himself worked to raise the funding for the project, and volunteered his time to manage the project, and to conduct interviews along with a crew of volunteers. Originally titled the Videotaping Historic Figures (VHF) Program, the project interviewed 91 people, with a portion of the interviews entering the collections of the Seattle Public Library and a portion of them going to MOHAI.The interviews conducted with these Seattle civic, business and cultural leaders in 1985 are valuable first-hand accounts that provide insight into developments taking place in the mid-twentieth century.
Digitization of this videotape material has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.