Oral Histories

Interview of Ellis E. Patterson

Lieutenant governor of California from 1939 to 1943 and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1945 to 1947.
Reflections of a California Liberal
Interviews not in a series, part one
Politics and Government
Biographical Note:
Lieutenant governor of California from 1939 to 1943 and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1945 to 1947.
Dixon, Elizabeth I.
Patterson, Ellis E.
Place Conducted:
Patterson's home in Studio City, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Elizabeth I. Dixon, Head, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., international relations, University of Southern California; M.L.S., School of Library Service, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The tapescrlpt was edited by Mrs. Joyce Doetkott.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Early life in Yuba City, California; stay in Good Templars Orphans Home, Vallejo; work in fruit canneries; education at University of California, Berkeley; work as longshoreman, logger, sailor to finance education; career as teacher and high school principal in Monterey County; admitted to practice of law; elected to represent Thirty-fifth Assembly District, 1932; difficulties with Republican Party leadership; Upton Sinclair's gubernatorial campaign, 1934; defeated in Republican primary, but elected as write-in candidate, 1936; switching affiliation to Democratic Party; elected lieutenant governor, 1938; Robert W. Kenny as attorney general; elected to Congress, 1944; program of liberals blocked by conservative House Rules Committee; postwar problems; views on financing and duration of election campaigns, role of big business, and other political issues; unsuccessful candidacies for House and Senate; experiences as private enterprise shipper in Central and South America; John F. Kennedy administration policies toward Cuba and Latin America; role of liberal Democrats in state government; John Gee Clark, Paul Peek, and Paul A. Richie; Earl Warren as governor and United States Supreme Court chief justice; Samuel W. Yorty and Jack B. Tenney; Norris Poulson and William F. Knowland; thoughts on World War II and postwar Europe.