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  Scope and Description of the Straub Archives

Robert William Straub papers 1970-2003


Creator: Straub, Robert William, 1920-2003
Title: Robert William Straub papers
Inclusive Dates: 1970-2003
Extent: ca. linear feet at Hamersley Library
Democratic governor of Oregon, 1974-1978. Papers include governor’s personal papers including office correspondence, administrative and subject files, staff files, campaign materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, video and sound recordings and photographs.

Language: The materials are in English
Storage: The Straub papers are stored in the Straub Archives at The Hamersley Library Western Oregon University.

Access and Use
Acquisition information:

Approximately 8 linerar feet of material borrowed in 2000 for display in the Straub exhibit on the third floor. It includes plaques, scrapbooks, photographs, sampler and other objects including a homemade backpack. The items were arranged as an exhibit taken from the Straub farmhouse in West Salem.

15 feet of material was picked up in Springfield, OR on July 17, 2002 consisting of photograph albums, photographs, negatives, paintings, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, diary, notebooks, ledgers, cards, correspondence, portraits and plaques. There are 3 linear feet of oversize items.

7 feet of material was picked up in Springfield, OR on September 11, 2002. It consists of photograph albums, photographs, negatives, paintings, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, diary, notebooks, ledgers, cards, correspondence, Straub children's papers and drawings, portraits and plaques and the personal records and files of Gov. Straub. The material is in the order found, however, some of it had been moved recently and rearranged at that time by the family.

On September 2nd 2004 several family photograph albums and memorabilia were returned to Mrs. Pat Straub in Springfield Oregon at the request of the family.
Copyright to the papers held by the family as a long term loan agreement with Western Oregon University.

Preferred Citation:

Item, folder title, box no., Robert William Straub Papers, Straub Archives, Western Oregon University.


Controlled Access Terms

Oregon – Politics and government – 1961-1970
Oregon – Politics and government – 1971- 1980
Oregon – Politics and government – 1981 – 1990
Oregon – Politics and government – 1991 – 2000
Straub, Robert William
Governors – Oregon

Video tapes
Audio tape

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Robert William Straub Papers document Straub’s 25 years of service to the state of Oregon including his early business career. The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, agenda and minutes, briefing books, press releases and pubic statements, speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs, oral histories, video tapes, transcripts, audio tapes and printed materials that pertain to Straub’s yeas as State Senator State Treasure and Governor.

Materials in the collection document the conduct of state government including the various roles played by Straub over his time in office including the senator’s, treasure’s and governor’s role in legislative activity and the administration of the executive office. The papers provide a rich resource for the study of economic development, civil rights and affirmative action, labor, energy, education, urban development, and regional issues. The collection will be of particular interest to researchers working the area of environmental advocacy and reform. Environmental activist Janet McLennan’s papers appear as a series within the Straub collection and document the battle for the Oregon Beach Bill in the early 1970’s. The papers also reflect Straub’s considerable influence in establishing the Oregon Investment Council.


Biographical Note:
Robert William Straub

May 6, 1920 - November 27, 2002

Straub began his political career in 1955 as Commissioner of Lane County, Oregon. He held that office until elected to Oregon State Senate from 1959 to 1963, followed by his tenure as State Treasurer from 1964 to 1972. He was a Delegate to the Democratic Nation Convention in 1968. Straub ran for governor in four consecutive terms. He lost twice to Tom McCall in 1966 and 1970. In 1974 defeated Victor Atiyeh by the largest margin recorded in Oregon history. In 1978 he lost the bid for re-election to Atiyeh.

Straub was known to be a forward-thinking and powerful advocate for the environment. His work establishing the Willamette Greenway became a national model. Famous too is his work to fight repeal to Oregon’s land-use laws in 1976. He worked to support the Oregon Beach Laws of 1967 and 1969 that guaranteed access and uninterrupted us of Oregon ocean beaches. While state treasure he successfully blocked the building of a state highway along the Nestucca Spit near Pacific City. The spit was renamed Robert W. Straub State Park.

More women, minorities and handicapped appointments were made under his administration than any of the prior Oregon governors. He expanded support for schools, reduced the unemployment rate, increased property tax relief. He can also be credited with attracting more than 50 “clean” businesses to Oregon. He also managed to cut taxes by saving money in state agencies where he consolidated services.

Robert William Straub was born on May 6, 1920 in San Francisco, California to Thomas J. Straub, Council to Pacific Gas and Electric Company a conservative republican, and Mary Tully Straub a trained teacher. The Straub family lived on an apricot and prune orchard in Los Altos California. Before attending Dartmouth College, Bob Straub worked two summers in the woods of Northern California for Pacific Gas and Electric and also in a logging camp near American River California. He met his wife, Pat Stroud, in the summer of 1941 in New Hampshire. They were married in the fall of 1943 in San Antonio, Texas following his graduation from O.C.S. He served in Europe in WWII and returned home in 1945 to his then one year old son Jeff. He holds both a BA and MA from Dartmouth College. After his graduation in 1947 he took the position of safety officer for Weyerhaeuser Timber Corporation in Springfield Oregon while establishing a building contracting business. He also ranched and worked woodlots.

Bob Straub’s early success in business, love of the outdoors, and desire to serve the public set the stage for his political career. Straub was known as an enigmatic liberal visionary with a reputation for being fiscally conservative. He instituted many of the policies and programs that have attracted international attention and made Oregon a model for natural resource management, conservation, and urban planning. While serving as State Treasurer he helped establishe the Oregon Investment Council, one of the first government agencies to invest public funds in the stock market.

  For Additional Information:
Archive's staff can assist faculty, staff, students, and community users with research requests and needs.
Contact Erin Passehl, archivist,
(503) 838-8893 or

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