Jean Watt interviewed by Susan Oweiss, November 11, 2014, Huntington Beach, California, Oral History #5480.1, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history interview with Mrs. Jean H. Watt, an environmental activist and a retired Newport Beach City Council member. The primary purpose of this interview is to gather information with regard to her role as a female environmental activist in the fast developing urban region of Orange County, California. The interview is part of Women, Politics, and Activism an oral history project for Dr. Natalie Fousekis’ History 493 Oral History course. Specifically, this interview talks about why Watt became a nurse; how she met her husband at Stanford University; compares lifestyles in San Francisco vs. Pasadena; explains why she moved to Newport Beach; reminisces about family vacations on Balboa Island in the 1930s and how the area has developed; talks about how her childhood differed from her children’s; shares about her children and their accomplishments; describes how her work with the Parent Teacher Association and Girl Scouts led her into environmental activist; explains why SPON (Stop Polluting our Newport) was formed in 1974; talks about SPONs efforts to restrict urban development and expansion of John Wayne Airport; comments on the importance of volunteers in supporting non-profits; describes the formation of Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks and why they believe in protecting the natural lands, waterways and beaches of Orange County, California; talks about her greatest challenges as an activist; reflects on her work with the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, Orange Coast River Park, and the Yosemite Association Board of Directors; shares how she dealt with her husband’s suicide; talks about election to the Newport Beach City Council and her determination to support environmental causes; describes her leadership style; talks about how activism has changed for women since the 1960s; compares how men and women lead; explains how she balanced her home life with her activism; talks about how motherhood shaped her activism; defines feminism and explains why she is not a feminist; and finally, reflects on why women became involved with environmental activism. Bulk dates: 1966-1994 ** The first half of this oral history was lost due to a technical error. See session two for the first part of the interview.**
Jean Watt interviewed by Susan Oweiss, November 19, 2014, Huntington Beach, California, Oral History #5480.2, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
This is this the second session of the oral history interview with Mrs. Jean H. Watt, environmental activist and retired Newport Beach City Council member. The interview is part of Women, Politics, and Activism an oral history project for Dr. Natalie Fousekis’ History 493 Oral History course. Specifically, this interview talks about Watt’s formative years in Pasadena; explains why she looked up to her family members; describes her immediate family’s hierarchical structure and gender norms enforced by her parents; shares memories of her paternal grandfather; describes her family’s ties to Balboa Island and why they bought property in 1931; explains the academic connection between high school and college in the Pasadena School District; recalls instances of discrimination against minorities in Pasadena City College men’s and women’s clubs; explains why she went to nursing school; recalls participating in home front war efforts to support WWII troops and wartime rationing; talks about why she and her husband chose to settle in Newport Beach; explains how motherhood influenced her activism through her involvement in the Girl Scouts; why she formed SPON (Stop Polluting our Newport); talks about balancing city council legislation between environmentalists and Irvine Company supporters; how grassroots activism influences elections; talks about her challenges she’s faced as an activist; talks about the 2014 state of party politics; and reflects on her future activist endeavors with the countywide organization Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks Bulk dates: 1945-1994
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