U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Chief Judge Robert Peckham created the Northern District Court Historical Society in 1977, followed by commissioning this important oral history series in 1980. In the 1981 the preface to the first oral history in the series, that of Judge Albert Wollenberg, Sr., Judge Peckham wrote:

“In addition to historical study of the District, the Society hopes to promote greater public understanding and appreciation of the role of the federal judiciary. Except for those involved in the legal process, the operation, significance and impact of federal trial courts remains largely a mystery to most Americans. By focusing on the history and activities of the Northern District, the Society hopes to bridge this gap between the legal and lay world and even encourage other District courts to initiate similar efforts. As the nation nears the 200 th anniversary of the ratification of the United States Constitution, it is an appropriate time to raise the level of public understanding by placing the contemporary role of district courts in historical perspective.”

These interviews capture the personal and professional lives of the interviewees, as well as the development of the legal profession and the law, and firsthand accounts of political and cultural aspects of the country and international events as lived by the narrators. Interviewers include Oral History Center staff, family members and colleagues of the judges. Additional oral histories with Northern District of California District Court judges can be found on the Northern District Court Historical Society and the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society websites.

Sponsored by the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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