Shirley Adele Field

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Shirley A. Field
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1923-02-27)February 27, 1923
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Died May 11, 1995(1995-05-11) (aged 72)
Portland, Oregon
Nationality United States
Alma mater

University of Michigan

Yale Law School
Occupation Lawyer

Shirley A. Field (1923 – 1995) was an Oregon legislator and judge.

Republican party activist[edit]

Field was active in the Republican party and, within six years of her arrival in Oregon, was selected as an alternate delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention.[1] By the time of the 1960 Republican National Convention she had become a member of the executive committee of the Committee on Resolutions (platform committee) and served as the chair of its subcommittee on human affairs.[2] That year she was the first woman subcommittee chair to be a delegate-at-large at a Republican national convention.[3] Field gained brief national notoriety when she confronted presidential candidate Barry Goldwater over right to work laws at the 1964 Republican National Convention.[4]


Field served as a Republican legislator in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1956–1960 and 1962-1966.[5] Betty Roberts, a Democrat legislator who served with Field, described Field as "a good debater and she’s very blunt, forthright, and takes on any opposition, man or woman, very seriously."[6] However, Field left differences behind when she was not in the political arena.[7]

Field unsuccessfully ran for state treasurer in 1966.[8]


Field sat as a Multnomah County District Court judge from 1972 - 1978.[5] Field, outraged that women were being prosecuted for engaging in prostitution when their male clients weren't, refused to convict women charged with the crime. Her advocacy led to a 1973 Oregon law that provided for equal legal treatment of prostitutes and their clients.[9] The Oregon Supreme Court removed Field from the bench as the result of behavior that was later found to be caused by a massive brain tumor.[5] She then ran unsuccessfully to reclaim the seat; and, after the diagnosis and treatment for her tumor, ran unsuccessfully for the state supreme court.[3]


Field, a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, attended Stephens College and was an alumna of the University of Michigan and of Yale Law School.[3] She practiced law in New York for a year before moving in 1946 to Portland, Oregon, where she lived until her death.[3][5]


  1. ^ The Political Graveyard
  2. ^ Women in Public Service, page 9 (published by the Republican National Committee)
  3. ^ a b c d "Shirley Field, ex-Oregon House member, dies", The Oregonian, May 16, 1995 
  4. ^ GOLDWATER SEES A TREND TO RIGHT, New York Times, July 15, 1964
  5. ^ a b c d House Memorial 2, 68th Oregon Legislative Assembly (1995 Regular Session)
  6. ^ Oral History of Betty Roberts, page 53
  7. ^ "We would have our little fights on the floor and then we would go out to dinner together..." Oral History of Betty Roberts, page 53
  8. ^ Oral History of Betty Roberts, page 56 & page 93
  9. ^ Oral History of Betty Roberts, pages 90 & 91

Further reading[edit]