Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Pearl F. Runyon for the Earle C. Clements Oral History Project.
Segment Synopsis: Runyon recalls some of her first meetings with Clements during his 1947 campaign for governor, and describes her first impressions of Clements and his personality.
Keywords: County clerks; County judges; Democrats; Dinner parties; Hotels; Kentucky Derby; Pike County (Ky.); Political campaigns
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Politicians--United States
Partial Transcript: Well, what about the campaign in, uh, the, in the primary campaign against Waterfield? Wh--uh, did, did you have any trouble convincing the people in Pike County to go for Clements over Waterfield?
Segment Synopsis: Runyon discusses the 1947 gubernatorial primaries in which Clements ran against Harry Lee Waterfield. She then goes on to describe her first positions for the administration in the Secretary of State office, how she was approached for those offers, and moving to Frankfort, Kentucky.
Keywords: Alben Barkley; Campaign chairmen; Congress; Democratic factions; Democrats; Education; Frankfort (Ky.); Harry Lee Waterfield; Harry Truman; Pike County (Ky.); Presidential campaigns; Schools; Secretary of State; Staff; Tom Perkins
Subjects: Kentucky. Governor (1947-1950 : Clements); Waterfield, Harry Lee, 1911-1988
Partial Transcript: Well, when you first, uh, went to work for Mr. Hatcher in the Secretary of State office, was he a, administrative--administration supporter at that time?
Segment Synopsis: Runyon talks about Secretary of State Hatcher and his relationship with Clements. She describes in detail being appointed State Treasurer by Clements, and why the previous treasurer resigned.
Keywords: Administrative appointments; Honesty; Political campaigns; Secretaries of State; State Treasurers
Subjects: Kentucky. Governor (1947-1950 : Clements)
Partial Transcript: As a cabinet member, uh, during the administration then, did Governor Clements often call the cabinet together to meet and discuss policy of the administration as a whole?
Segment Synopsis: Runyon lists Clements' accomplishments as governor, such as the roads program, state parks program, and attention to conservation. She also mentions the creation of the Agriculture and Industrial Development Board (A&IDB), and reflects fondly on Clements' strong vision for Kentucky.
Keywords: "Farm to market"; Agriculture and Industrial Development Board (A&IDB); Gas tax; Governors; Highway commissioners
Subjects: Kentucky. Governor (1947-1950 : Clements); Local budgets--Law and legislation; Roads; State parks & reserves (Ky.)
Partial Transcript: What was the monetary situation in Kentucky at that time?
Segment Synopsis: After a brief discussion of state finance, Runyon goes on to discuss working under George Glenn Hatcher in the Secretary of State office, and how her role as State Treasurer was significant to Clements' 1950 campaign for Senate.
Keywords: Budgets; Campaign funding; Congress; Finance; George Glenn Hatcher; Governors; Labor; Politics; Salaries; Secretaries of State; State treasurers
Subjects: Campaign funds; Kentucky. Governor (1947-1950 : Clements); Political campaigns
Partial Transcript: Well, you know, uh, after he went to the Senate, then, in, in 1950, Wetherby became governor.
Segment Synopsis: Runyon recounts Clements' tenure in the U.S. Senate, describing the relationships he had with many other Washington politicians at the time, and his continued influence on Wetherby's administration back in Kentucky.
Keywords: Alben Barkley; Campaigning; Democratic National Convention; Democrats; Franklin Roosevelt; Governors; Influence; Labor movements; Labor unions; Lawrence Wetherby; Majority Leaders; State treasurers
Subjects: Kentucky. Governor (1947-1950 : Clements); Political campaigns; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-
Partial Transcript: Let me ask you this about Clements and Barkley: uh, as you point out, Clements supported Barkley all the way down the line...
Segment Synopsis: Runyon responds to the suggestion that there was a level of jealousy between Clements and Barkley, denying that it is true. She then discusses the tensions between Chandler and Clements, particularly the divisive nomination of Bert Combs in 1955.
Keywords: Alben Barkley; Bert Combs; Democratic Party; Democratic factions; Elections; Governors; Happy Chandler; Heart attacks; Jealousy; Political campaigns; Political defeat; Primaries; Senate; Senators
Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985
Partial Transcript: Uh, you mentioned that Senator Clements had called you one night after the campaign--
Segment Synopsis: Runyon talks about what it was like transitioning between Kentucky and Washington, D.C., and about her responsibilities in Clements' office.
Keywords: Duties; Kentucky; Mailrooms; Majority Leaders; Office staff; Political campaigns; Receptionists; Senators; Washington, D.C.; Women in the workforce
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Washington (D.C.)
Partial Transcript: What do you consider his major achievements as a Senator? You know, in terms of representing the interests of Kentucky?
Segment Synopsis: When asked to name some of Clements' greatest achievements as a senator representing Kentucky, she refers to his work in agriculture, and for the tobacco industry. The conversation then turns back to Clements' 1956 re-election campaign for Senate. Runyon remembers the staff's reaction to his surprising loss to Thruston Morton in the primaries.
Keywords: Achievements; Agriculture; Bert Combs; Happy Chandler; Office staff; Political defeat; Political organizers; Public relations; Re-elections; Senators; Thruston Morton
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Political campaigns--1956; Tobacco industry
Partial Transcript: You mentioned, uh, and you have several times during the interview, Mrs. Clements. What role did she play in the--his political life? Was she a active campaign wife?
Segment Synopsis: The interview concludes with Runyon talking about Sara Blue Clements, Earle Clements' wife. She describes her as more of a homemaker than a political wife, remembering her hospitality. The interview concludes with a couple more quick questions about the 1956 campaign.
Keywords: Democrataic factions; Happy Chandler; Homemakers; Hospitality; Political defeat; Political organizers; Political wives; Sara Clements
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Political campaigns--1956
Birdwhistell: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Pearl F. Runyonfor the Earle C. Clements Oral History project. The interview was conducted in Ms. Runyon's home at 3101 Winchester Avenue in Ashland, Kentucky, on March 17, 1976, at 10:00 a.m. by Terry Birdwhistell. Well, Ms. Runyon, a little bit about your background, you're a native of, a native of Pike County and, uh, you served as County Court Clerk in Pike County from 1934-1947. And is that--what year was that?
Runyon: Deputy County Clerk.
Birdwhistell: Deputy County Clerk from '34 to '47 and then youwent to Frankfort as Assistant Secretary of State in 1948 until October of '49 when you became, uh, State Treasurer under the Clements Administration. 00:01:00
Birdwhistell: Uh, I'd like to begin today by finding out whenyou first, uh, met Earle Clements and what were the circumstances and, generally, what were your first impressions of him?
Runyon: Well, uh, I first, my acquaintance with, it was thenCongressman Clements.
Runyon: Uh, began in the early part of 1947 when hemade his first visit to Pike County and re-organizing his campaign for governor, and he made a brief visit to the County Clerk's Office. Uh, and I was introduced to him at that time.
Runyon: And, um, later on he came, a few weeks laterhe came back to the county for a, uh, dinner that was held in his honor by some of the leading, uh, politicians of 00:02:00our county. I would say politicians.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And, um, I knew very little about, uh, Congressman Clementsexcept what I had read in the Courier-Journal.
Birdwhistell: Just about him being a Congressman from the--
Runyon: Um, no. I had read about his background which impressedme.
Runyon: On the county level, because I had been in countywork there for fourteen, I was in my fourteenth year.
Runyon: As a Deputy County Clerk. And I had read wherehe had been Sheriff of his county. He had been County Clerk two terms.
Runyon: And he had been County Judge and he had beena state Senator. And I was very much impressed with a record like that.
Runyon: And, um, then I, of course, I had read abouthis opponent, uh, in the primary and his background. 00:03:00
Birdwhistell: Harry Lee Waterfield.
Birdwhistell: Well what, when you first met, uh, Clements, what, whatimpression did you get from him. Was he a friendly sort? Was he at ease when he came into the courthouse to campaign with people?
Runyon: Well, uh, as I said it was late afternoon. Itwas almost closing time, and I just briefly shook hands with him and, uh, my boss at that time, the County Clerk, had known him through the, uh, County Clerk's Organization.
Runyon: And she took him around through the office and he,I noticed that he was interested in the deed books. And, of course, we had a large county and population around 80,000 at that time.
Runyon: And I suppose, uh, our office was somewhat larger thanwhat it would have been in Union County.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. I would think so.
Runyon: And so I didn't say anything to him except toshake hands with him on that visit. 00:04:00
Runyon: But the next visit, when he came back a fewweeks later and this dinner party was set up for him at the Hatcher Hotel dining room, I didn't go to the dinner because I had a previous engagement with a, a couple that had invited me to dinner.
Runyon: And, of course, you don't just call up the lastminute and say you can't come.
Runyon: So I was sitting in the drug store afterwards and,um, a Mr. Bob Dope who had been active in politics in our county and had been a Deputy Sheriff came to the drug store and said that I was wanted at the Hatcher Hotel.
Runyon: And, um, so, uh, my remark to Mr. Dope was,"Now, Mr. Dope, I'm not interested in this Governor's race at this 00:05:00time." I hadn't given any thought to it really, too much thought and, uh, so he made the second visit to the drug store. And he said, "Your cousin Floyd Bevins said for you to come out and Mr. Zach Justice said for you to come out." I could tell they wanted to talk to me.
Runyon: Well, Clements' organization had already been established in the county,had been named rather, and a young man by the name of Ed Pierce Kazee who had been County Attorney at that time was his county campaign chairman. And one of the young ladies I worked with in the County Clerk's Office, Lucille Stagg Smith, was named the county campaign chairwoman. 00:06:00
Runyon: And J. A. Runyon, who was Commonwealth's Attorney at thetime, was a distant relative, had been named as District campaign chairman for Clements.
Runyon: And so the second time Mr. Dope came through thedrug store, I went up to the hotel to see what they wanted with me, and I had been active in many campaigns and, of course, after fourteen years knew about everyone in the county--
Runyon: --which related to a great number of people. And, uh,so when I went up to the hotel lobby, um, Mr. Justice asked me and Mr. Bevins if I would accompany, uh, Earle Clements to my home district the next day along with J.A. Runyon and 00:07:00Ed P. Kazee and introduce him to some of my family and friends in that section, so I agreed to go. And we left early the next morning and went over to the concrete section which was still Nash Steel District number 6 and the county could give as much as 1500 majority Democratic in the, you know, in the campaign.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: We worked hard that day and, uh, one of thefirst stops was a Mr. George B. Baker who was sitting here the mines and things over at Cherry Mining Company and was an active Democrat and, uh, then a Dr. J.E. Johnson who was a Democrat and always working for the party. So we stopped, the first 00:08:00stop was in the office of Mr. Baker and introduced Earle Clements to him, and he immediately established or set up a marching date and called some of his friends. And we had lunch at the Mountaineer Hotel in Williamson, West Virginia, which was the nearest hotel, you know--
Runyon: --because the concrete section was a mining section. And wemet there with several of the leaders and in addition to that, we stopped, oh, I don't know how many places along the way. And I would introduce him to someone that had been active in a previous campaign.
Runyon: And on the way back, I think, uh, Senator Clements,I'd heard was always interested in agriculture and livestock and all, noticed some horses down in the field. Well, certainly we didn't have any 00:09:00Thoroughbred horses in Pike County, but there was some livestock and, uh, he was asking some questions about the county and asking if there was much livestock raised in the county. And I told him, no, that mostly our industry was coal, you know.
Runyon: And during that conversation, I said, "Oh, there's one thingI would, I want." I said, "I've always wanted to see a Kentucky Derby." And, uh, I said, "If you're elected governor, the only promise I want from you is to see a Kentucky, uh, Derby." And he said to me, he said, "Well, whether I'm governor or whether I'm not governor, you will see a Kentucky Derby next year." 00:10:00
Birdwhistell: Is that right?
Runyon: (coughs) It went on from that in Pikeville, and wewere all rather tired. And as we entered Pikeville, he said to Mr. Kazee and, and Mr. Runyon, he said, "Now, I'm going to invite Ms. Pearl to have dinner with me tonight." And, uh, so he had been with them the night before in the other dinner and, of course, I was real flattered with that, you know.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Sure.
Runyon: Candidate for governor. And I had observed him, you know,very closely that day. I had listened mostly to, to his conversation with Mr. Kazee and Mr. Runyon, and I know that here, I formed the opinion that day that here was a man that knew what he was doing; that he had a background on him on 00:11:00the county level, on the state level and also on the Congressional level that he would get something done for Kentucky.
Runyon: And I was completely sold on him and that's whenmy interest began.
Runyon: In the, in the campaign.
Runyon: And, uh--
Birdwhistell: Well, what about the campaign, uh, in the primary campaignagainst Waterfield? What, did you have any trouble convincing the people in Pike County to go for Clements over Waterfield?
Runyon: Um, I would say that, uh, we had very littletrouble because Waterfield's only organization at that time was the Superintendent of Schools. His brother had been named as Waterfield's campaign chairman in the county and, uh, Mr. Clark Farley was superintendent of schools at our 00:12:00county and he, um, was interested in Mr. Waterfield's campaign.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Was this because Waterfield was taking a, a betterstand on education issues at the time that you saw?
Runyon: Well, I would, I just don't remember.
Runyon: But I would assume that it had something to dowith education, you know.
Runyon: And, um, but we had, uh, most of the so-calledpolitical leaders in the county were lined up behind, uh, Mr. Clements because, uh, Mr. Kazee had a lot of friends, uh, J.A. Runyon had been County Attorney and Commonwealth Attorney.
Runyon: And he had a large connection, and Mr. J.E. Sanderswas an attorney in Pikeville and had represented Labor and, uh, my 00:13:00boss, Betsy Arnold, had been County Clerk, uh, several times and had a wide connection in the county and, uh, well, and Mr. Zach Justice who had been Highway Commissioner under Governor Chandler back when Chandler was governor in '35 supporting Clements, Mr. R.G. Wells who was a very influential leader in the county and Mr. George Coleman. Practically all of the, uh, leading Democrats in our county were backing Governor, uh, Congressman Clements.
Birdwhistell: So then after the primary, uh, it wasn't too hardto get the party back together for one man because there hadn't really been any division, in your county at least?
Runyon: Well, the thing about it, we'd had four years of,uh, Republican government, you know, in Frankfort.
Runyon: And I think the Democrats were getting a little bit00:14:00hungry at that time and had laid down some of their animosities toward each other and was lining up behind someone they thought could win.
Runyon: And, uh, of course in the primary, I think GovernorClements carried our county with something like, uh, around 3600 majority.
Runyon: And I believe around 1500 of that majority came frommy homeland Steel District.
Birdwhistell: Is that right?
Birdwhistell: Well, of course, in the general election against--
Runyon: It was over 3000 in the general.
Birdwhistell: And they offered you a deal dumb enough to close--
Birdwhistell: Your guy was pretty good at that time.
Runyon: Yeah. Well, uh, I had, uh, known that Governor Clements,in fact he had said to me the day that we had been at the concrete section that if I was interested in anything in Frankfort and he was governor, he would certainly give consideration to 00:15:00it and I remember remarking at that time, "Well, I'm not for you for that reason. I think, I think you'll make the best governor for, for Kentucky," was my reply to him.
Runyon: So it was not until the loyal group in PikeCounty went to the Governor's Inauguration, I think, some fifty Democrats got together and we went down for the Inauguration. And the night before the inauguration, the group from Pike County were all staying at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, and J.A. Runyon and Floyd Bevins and Mr. Doc Moore who would then become the Sheriff of our county had driven over to Frankfort to talk to Governor Clements. And when they came back, why I think it was J.A. Runyon told me that 00:16:00Governor Clements would like to see me before I went back to Pike County. And so then Inauguration Day after the ceremonies were over, I dropped by the Governor's Office. My, there were so many people there, I'd been weeks getting checked to see him, you know.
Runyon: So I went on back to Pike County and, anddidn't get to talk to him except going through the reception line that night, the receiving line.
Runyon: He had mentioned to me when I shook hands withhim that, uh, he would like to talk to me, and I assumed that it was about a position in Frankfort. Uh, so then, um, he wrote me a letter, I think, after, sometime after I went back and asked me to come back to Frankfort. 00:17:00
Runyon: And talk to him. So I went back to talkto him, and he told me at that time what position he would like for me to have. And he said, uh, the Assistant Secretary of State position, uh, would be the keeper to his Executive Journal, and he would need someone in there interested in seeing, you know, that everything was kept right and in place.
Runyon: Well it fit right into my, um, career back inPike County because I'd done a lot of typing of records, and it was just real nice to have that position.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. So he worked out the appointment of Assistant Secretaryof State--
Runyon: Yes, he did. Uh-huh. Yes, he did. And of course,00:18:00uh, in 1948 was the Presidential Election in which Truman and Barkley were running.
Runyon: And then, uh, the Congressional Races were that year, too.
Runyon: And I worked through until, well, the primary in '48was held in August at that time, and I took a couple of weeks off. I had met this young man, Carl Perkins, who was an attorney in the Highway Department.
Runyon: Uh, I had met him during the campaign only once.He was from Hindman, Kentucky, and had been interested in, in Governor Clements' campaign. He worked hard, and he came to Pikeville(??) one evening and I met him briefly. And then I knew that he was in the Highway Department and also that he was running for Congress 00:19:00and backed by the administration.
Runyon: And, uh, so I went home for my vacation thatyear for a couple of weeks and Congressman Perkins was there, and I spent my time helping him meet people in our county. As I recall there were about four other candidates running for Congress from our district.
Runyon: And Perkins was not too well known in our countyand so I spent my time taking him around through the county and introducing him to a lot of people. And, of course, he was elected.
Runyon: And, uh, still is in Congress.
Runyon: And has made a wonderful record.
Runyon: While he was there and while he had been there00:20:00and, uh.
Birdwhistell: Well, when you first went to work for Mr. Hatcherin the Secretary of State Office, was he a, an administration supporter at that time? Did he ever given you any indication of his views toward Governor Clements?
Runyon: Well, no. He had run, I guess, more or less,uh, on his own because he's been Secretary of State before.
Runyon: I think under Governor Keen Johnson. And he was fromEastern Kentucky. Uh, I really don't think there was, he was slated by Clements. Uh, I was supporting him because he was from Eastern Kentucky.
Runyon: And, and, uh, we sort of stick together, I guess.
Birdwhistell: Right. Well, uh, then in October 1949, Clements appointed you00:21:00State Treasurer.
Birdwhistell: Uh, why did Ed Seiler resign that post? Do yourecall?
Runyon: Well, uh, Mr. Seiler had managed, uh, U.S. Senator VirgilChapman's campaign.
Runyon: He was running for reelection and, um, I suppose thatthe, the position as, with the federal government would have paid much more.
Runyon: I think he went with the Farm Credit Administration inWashington, and at that time the, the State Treasurer's salary was only $5,000 a year.
Birdwhistell: Is that right?
Birdwhistell: Well, what were the circumstances surrounding your appointment as Secretaryof the Treasury? Were you surprised by the appointment?
Runyon: Oh, I was, I was shocked, and, um, it wasin August of, of 1949, I guess. Um, I had taken some 00:22:00papers in for the Governor's signature and attorney in the Secretary of State's Office to get extradition papers. They were my duties as Assistant Secretary of State was to prepare those papers and take them, take them to the Attorney General, and he was to see that everything was, you know, in order and then they were sent to the Governor for his signature.
Runyon: He's supposed to sign them. Well, this one day, uh,this attorney had asked me if I could do him a favor and get the papers signed because he had a long trip back to Eastern Kentucky and he'd like to get back before dark. So, uh, I told him I would see what I could do about 00:23:00it. So I hand-carried these papers into the Governor's office. And when I entered the office, the Governor was in the reception room talking to a couple of people, and I asked him if he would sign the papers and explained to him that the attorney would like to get started back to Eastern Kentucky.
Runyon: And get back home before dark, and he said, "Well,um, I'd like to talk to you a few minutes. And if you could have a seat over there and when I get through talking to these gentlemen, uh, we'll see." And then, so I seated myself on the couch in the reception room, and after he had talked to these two gentlemen, why, he came over and sat down by me on the couch. And he said, uh, "Would you, uh, 00:24:00can you keep a secret?" And my reply was, "Of course." And he said, "How would you like to be the next State Treasurer?"
Runyon: Well, it simply was a shock to me because Ihad read in the Courier-Journal where three men were seeking(??) an appointment to fill out the unexpired term of Edward S. Seiler, and it had been in the paper that he was resigning to go to work, work in Washington. And it never occurred to me that I'd even be considered for the appointment.
Runyon: And, uh--
Birdwhistell: Were you surprised in a way because of the factthat you were a woman and this was a top post in the administration?
Runyon: Yes, I was. Well, my response to him was immediately,00:25:00"Well, do you think I would by qualified?" And he said, "Well, if I didn't think so, I wouldn't have said what I've just said to you."
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And one of the highest compliments I've ever had inlife, in my journey through life, uh, during our lunch hour, we had a bridge club. We'd take our, a couple of the ladies from the Secretary of State's Office and Mr. Stanley Stiles who was the newspaperman there in, in the capitol and myself, we would use our lunch hour to play bridge. And we ladies would bring the lunch and Mr. Stiles made the coffee.
Runyon: He got a special brand of coffee from Louisiana. Hewas from, born in Louisiana. And one day Mr. Stiles said to me, he said, "Ms. Pearl, did the Governor ever tell you why 00:26:00he appointed you as Treasurer?" And I said, "No, sir. I never did ask him." (Birdwhistell laughs)
And, uh, he said, "Well, I'm going to tell you this. AndI think it's one of the nicest compliments that has ever been paid to anybody in state politics. See I asked him why he appointed you, and his reply was, 'Why, Stan, I couldn't have found anybody more honest than Ms. Pearl.'"
Runyon: And so I always appreciated that very much.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: I tried to live up to it, to how hefelt about it, you know.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Well as a cabinet member, uh, during youradministration with him, did Governor Clements often call the cabinet together to 00:27:00meet and discuss the policy of administration as a whole?
Runyon: Well, as I recall, he, um, did not call ustogether too often. Of course, there were times when he called us together to discuss some policy or something like that.
Runyon: But he was a busy man. You know, he wasinterested in the roads and he was interested in the schools and he was interested in the farmers.
Runyon: And all levels of government. I remember, or I thinkthat the outstanding, two outstanding things that, uh, took place during his administration as governor was the Farm-to-Market roads that was passed during his term as Governor and the Rural Road Program. 00:28:00
Birdwhistell: Right. Now that was with the increased gasoline tax money,is that right?
Runyon: Uh, yes. I believe that the, um, the gasoline taxwas increased and this Farm-to-Market Road program was established and he appointed, uh, Doc Beauchamp from Russellville as the Rural Highway Commissioner.
Runyon: I believe that was the first time that Kentucky hadever had a Rural Highway Commissioner.
Runyon: And another thing that was outstanding to me during histerm of governor was the, uh, the Parks Program.
Runyon: He appointed a young man from Paducah as Commissioner ofConservation by the name of Henry Ward.
Runyon: And who was very capable and able for the job,00:29:00and I believe, um, Lucy Smith was a Deputy State Campaign Chairwoman during the Governor's campaign. She was appointed Director of Parks. And at that time, the Kentucky Lake section, you know, the Kentucky Lake had been built and, uh, seemingly Kentucky just took on a new face all together in business and industry. And I remember when I, after I became State Treasurer in '49 I think it was, after my appointment, the first tour sponsored by the State Chamber of Commerce in which a group of businessmen were invited to participate in this tour. 00:30:00
Runyon: And, uh, usually, Mr. Henry Ward was along as theCommissioner as Conservation and Lucy Smith. Well, Mr. Norman Crispman of my home county had been elected as State President of the Chamber of Commerce, and he invited me to go along on this tour.
Runyon: And, uh, I remember we stopped. Oh, they made thesame speeches usually at every stop. (Birdwhistell laughs) It was a tour designed to get Eastern Kentucky business people acquainted with Western Kentucky business people and vice versa which was very good for the state.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And one of our stops was at Morganfield on this00:31:00tour, and, um, during the speeches that were being made at Morganfield, I happened to meet, uh, Governor Clements' brother. And I had a nice chat with him there on the steps of the courthouse while others were making their speech.
Runyon: And one of the things he said to me, hesaid his brother could visualize twenty years in advance what would take place.
Runyon: And I was impressed with that. Now, I think it'svery true.
Birdwhistell: I heard that from one of the people, too, thefact of the vision that he seemed to have.
Runyon: The vision that he had.
Runyon: And, uh, that was how his brother felt about him.
Runyon: I don't, I don't know if I ever mentioned thatto Governor Clements that I had this chat with his brother there. 00:32:00
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. You had his brother--
Runyon: With his brother there. And, uh--
Birdwhistell: So these programs that he developed, the Real Road Program,Farm-to-Market, um, the State Park System, these types of things--
Runyon: Well, another thing that was created under that, his termwas the Agriculture, Industrial and Development Board.
Runyon: I think that was created about his first term asGovernor.
Runyon: And, oh, there was just many things. Uh, one ofthe things that he did was to increase the Old Age Pension to the Old Age Pension, to the older people in Kentucky.
Runyon: Uh, ----------(??) increased by some 50 percent during his term00:33:00as Governor.
Runyon: And also the Common School Fund was increased over 50percent and the Equalization Fund, uh, over 100 percent when he was Governor.
Birdwhistell: Where was the money coming from, though, for these newprograms? How was, how was, what was the monetary situation in Kentucky at that time?
Runyon: Well as I, uh, recall, um--I just don't recall, uh.
Birdwhistell: Well, Ms. Runyon, then, um, let's see. One other thingI wanted to ask you about in terms of his, uh, administration in particular was, uh, while Governor Clements pushed an increase in Kentucky 00:34:00Government's employee salaries, I think, during that time, and some critics charge that this only meant, uh, more money for Clements' control of the Democratic Party. Do you recall that or any of the reaction against that at the time?
Runyon: No. I, I don't remember any adverse criticism--
Runyon: --at the time, or reading or hearing about any adversecriticism. I know when I, um, was first appointed the State Treasurer in '49, the salary was, was five thousand a year, and it was later increased to six thousand.
Runyon: And it remained at that figure during the time Iserved as State Treasurer.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Okay. Well, then in 1950, um, then Governor Clementsdecided to make the race for the Senate, and in the primary 00:35:00campaign he was opposed by your former boss and Secretary of State, George Glenn Hatcher. Uh, what were the circumstances of Mr. Hatcher making this campaign against a, a very powerful and very popular incoming Governor?
Runyon: Well, I think Mr. Hatcher always had a desire togo to Washington.
Runyon: In fact, I had been approached in 1948 by oneof Mr. Hatcher's friends in which he asked me to use my influence with, uh, Governor Clements to back Mr. Hatcher for Congressman in the next district here in Ashland, Kentucky. Mr. Hatcher was originally City Clerk of Ashland and had lived in the Ashland area for years.
Runyon: And, of course, uh, the incumbent, Joe Bates, at that00:36:00time had supported Governor Clements in his race for Governor, and I didn't make any effort to use my influence with the Governor to suggest in any way to him who to support.
Birdwhistell: Right. Especially since Congressman Bates had supported Clements in hisrace?
Runyon: Right. And I, I knew that he felt a loyaltybecause that was, uh--one of his outstanding characteristics, I think, was his loyalty to his friends.
Runyon: And he, at that time, would have certainly felt moreloyalty to Congressman Bates than he would have to Mr. Hatcher.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Did you talk with Mr. Hatcher in 1950 whenhe was making the campaign?
Runyon: Oh, no. No. I didn't.
Birdwhistell: No contact with him at all?
Runyon: Well, I, I did my routine work in the officeand got along all right, you know. 00:37:00
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh, but I suppose you--
Runyon: Did my daily work, but he didn't discuss with meat all.
Birdwhistell: Didn't solicit your support in that campaign?
Runyon: No. He didn't.
Birdwhistell: Well, do you recall where he got his support fromor where he got any encouragement to--
Runyon: No, sir. I didn't because I was connected with Clements'campaign and, you know, was interested in his election.
Runyon: Because after all, my loyalty belonged to Clements, and I'vealways been a loyal person to anyone that I ever worked for.
Runyon: And if I couldn't be loyal, I would certainly notwant to work for that person. And, um, I was, always felt that, uh, my loyalty belonged to Senator, to Governor Clements.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. What role did you play in the 1950 campaign?Were you an active campaigner on his behalf?
Runyon: Well, um, I went back to my home county and00:38:00did what I could and, uh, I'd just been in Frankfort a couple of years at that time and, and was not too well known throughout the state. But any, any help I gave was back in my district, in my district, or in the county mostly of Pike.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And as I recall, it was no contest at all--
Runyon: --uh, in reelecting him and sending him to the U.S.Senate for Kentucky.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. As a top woman official, though, in Kentucky atthat time, uh, did Governor Clements ask you to, to solicit the votes of women around the state and--
Runyon: Not at that time in his organization, uh, because therewere other women that were better known in state politics that had worked in previous campaigns and, uh, such as Ms. Belk and 00:39:00Marsh in Frankfort, Kentucky, and Mrs. Courtland Pollard of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. They were experienced women in state politics and, uh, as I told you I was more or less a newcomer to state politics.
Runyon: But later on, I did participate.
Runyon: In the '56 campaign very vigorously.
Birdwhistell: Right. Well, you know as, as State Treasurer during thecampaign, and this could be a very sensitive issue in many campaigns, but uh, the, uh, it was a habit amongst Kentucky politicians to put pressure on bankers in Kentucky to support a certain candidate if all the state funds were placed in their bank. Was this ever the case in the Clements' administration that you saw? 00:40:00
Runyon: Uh, if it was, um, it was done by thecampaign organization.
Runyon: Because I was not asked to do that.
Runyon: As State Treasurer, no. I was not asked to dothat at all.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Well, at least, you know, that question has tobe asked because you see this happening in campaigns.
Runyon: It has happened I'm sure. And, uh, I have, inthe past when I was running myself, solicited for myself, you know, which was only natural. Uh, I solicited when I ran in '51 from, uh, the bankers. I didn't do it on a large scale because most of them gave me a campaign contribution; some of them did and some didn't.
Birdwhistell: Yeah. Uh-huh. Well, what about assessing the employees that workedfor you in the department, in the Treasury Department in Frankfort? Were 00:41:00you in charge of assessing employees for this campaign?
Runyon: No, sir. I was not. No, I was not.
Runyon: I never assessed any of my employees, um, during thetime I was State Treasurer. They did it voluntarily. Everything that was given, you know, to the campaign.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh, are there any particular issues, uh, in the1950s campaign against Judge Dawson that you recall that were important in the campaign; anything that stands out?
Runyon: No, I don't remember any of the particular issues inthe campaign, in the '50 campaign because it was, I would say, uh, it was a wave that, uh, didn't create too much excitement because the Governor had been elected by sizeable majority in this case. 00:42:00He had made a good record as Governor of the state.
Runyon: And he was a powerful leader, I would say.
Runyon: One of the, uh, well just to know Earle Clementsand to meet him and talk to him, he had sort of a magnetism about him, uh, on getting his point over, you know.
Runyon: And, uh, you immediately knew that here was a manthat knew what he was talking about.
Runyon: And I think you could safely say that every, everyperson that worked with him, such as the girls in the Governor's office, his staff, his staff in Washington, you would find that everyone 00:43:00would feel that same way about him.
Runyon: He inspired you to do a good job. He wasa perfectionist in his work. He expected the job to be done, and you knew that.
Birdwhistell: (laughs) Right.
Runyon: And, uh, but he was never too harsh with anyof them; I mean, a very understanding person.
Runyon: And, uh--
Birdwhistell: Well, you know, uh, after he went to the Senatethen in 1950, Wetherby became Governor.
Birdwhistell: Uh, some people have said that, uh, Clements still hada very powerful influence in the administration in Frankfort from his seat in the Senate.
Runyon: Well, I would, I would say that, um, that heand Governor Wetherby worked together very closely, um, you know, on campaigns 00:44:00and determining who they were going to back in their races.
Runyon: And so forth and so on. I would say theywere a very close team even though Clements had gone to, to the U.S. Senate.
Birdwhistell: Did Senator Clements ever correspond with you about political mattersafter he had gone to the Senate and you were, you know, the Treasurer?
Runyon: No. No. Usually, um, he never did correspond with meabout political matters at all. Um, he usually came back to Kentucky, you know, and, uh, would have a meeting with, uh, Governor Wetherby or whoever, uh, Governor Wetherby would be backing or would--I'm sure they ironed it out between them such as the race for governor in '55 when it was decided to back Governor Combs. 00:45:00
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Yeah, in '51 Wetherby ran for his own termas Governor and you were running for State Treasurer.
Runyon: Uh-huh. I ran for State Treasurer.
Birdwhistell: And he had the slate, the administration slate.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh, what role did Senator Clements play in thatcampaign? Did he campaign hard for the--for the--
Runyon: Well, yes. He, he made frequent trips back to Kentuckyto campaign for the entire ticket.
Runyon: And, uh, I would say his influence was generally feltthroughout the state.
Runyon: And, uh, he was quite helpful to the entire ticket.
Birdwhistell: Uh, before we began the interview, we were discussing the'52 Democratic Convention in Chicago, uh, and the role that Senator Clements played at that. And now you were at the convention?
Runyon: Yes. I went as a delegate alternate in that convention.00:46:00It was my first national convention.
Runyon: And, uh, of course Alben Barkley had been elected Vice-Presidentin '48 with Harry Truman.
Runyon: And was seeking the nomination for President. And, uh, weKentuckians felt like he would make a great president. Uh, we were hopeful, the entire delegation, that he could get the nomination.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Clements and Wetherby were working hard for his nomination.
Runyon: They were working real hard and, uh, there had beenan article in the paper back home. And some of their political--
[Break in tape.]
--in that convention, but I, I have firsthand knowledge that, that did00:47:00not happen because, uh, I think that the records would show that, uh, that Labor called, had a breakfast Monday morning at the convention and invited Barkley to that breakfast. And, uh, it was at that breakfast, Labor told Barkley that he was too old, and I'm sure that it crushed him because, uh, he had steered most of the legislation under Franklin D. Roosevelt being majority leader of the U.S. Senate, uh, through to the Senate that was very favorable to Labor.
Runyon: And, uh, on that particular day, I had gone byBarkley's headquarters in the afternoon and Mrs. Clements came in, and she 00:48:00invited me to drop by the room and have dinner with them that evening and to ride out to the convention hall. And, uh, it had been near an hour or so when Senator Clements and Governor Wetherby came in. They had been with Vice-President Barkley and, uh, as I recall, uh, Governor Wetherby sat down in the chair and, and his remark was, "If what had happened today had happened to me," he said, "I'm a young man. If what had happened today had happened to me, my shoulders could've taken it. But to do what they had done to an old, uh, to Barkley, it's more than I can take." And during the visit to the room, I 00:49:00remember Senator Clements said that, said that he felt there was still a chance for Barkley. And he went into the bedroom and got on the phone and was phoning different people to see if they would throw their support to Barkley. And, uh, he had said when he came in the room, Mrs. Clements said that she had invited me to have dinner with them, and he said, "Sarah, I don't have time to eat. I still think there's a chance for Barkley."
Birdwhistell: Hmm. So he was working right up until--
Runyon: Right up to the very last. And it was throughhis persuasion and that of, uh, Governor Wetherby that, uh, they persuaded Vice-President Barkley to remain at the convention, and one of the greatest speeches that was ever made at the convention was made by Alben 00:50:00Barkley on Wednesday night at the National Convention.
Birdwhistell: So Vice-President Barkley was wanting to leave and they gothim to stay?
Runyon: Well, he was hurt.
Runyon: He was hurt over the fact that Labor had comedown against him and, uh, I guess anyone would feel that way that they'd worked all those years for their behalf and then to have that special group tell him that he was too old. It depressed him and, uh, of course, Adlai Stevenson was the choice at 00:51:00that convention and was Truman's choice.
Birdwhistell: Was he Clements' second choice?
Runyon: Well, I don't know if I discussed that with him,but I do know that in the campaign, in the '52 campaign, I was asked to manage the Women's Division for Adlai Stevenson.
Runyon: And that, that Senator Clements and Governor Wetherby both, uh,supported Adlai Stevenson, uh, vigorously in the state.
Runyon: They went all out to support him. They were thatkind of Democrat. Let's put it that way.
Birdwhistell: Well, then I guess you got to work with Clementssome in '52 then if you were running the campaign for women in Kentucky. You worked with him getting him to speak at places, I suppose.
Runyon: Well my, my work was mostly connected with the Women'sDivision.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And, of course, the State Campaign Chairman would have scheduledthe men for the speaking, and we formed what was known as the Democratic Women's Caravan(??) that went all over the state of Kentucky. And Senator Tom Underwood was running for reelection at that time. He had been appointed, I think, to fill out the unexpired term of 00:52:00Senator Chapman who had been killed in an automobile accident.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And, uh, along with Mrs. Courtland Pollin who was, uh,very well known in the state and, I believe, at that time as the Democrat National Committeewoman.
Runyon: Mrs. Tom Underwood, Ms. Wilson White of Louisville and, um,several--Ms. Margaret Marsh ----------(??)----------, and we meet all--we covered the state, uh, in different sections. I would organize the meeting and then the group of ladies would go. Ms. Tallu(??) Fish was editor of the Democratic Journal. And we would have sort of a panel. 00:53:00
Runyon: Each lady would talk a few minutes and, um, weworked hard in that campaign. But I think the fact that, that Eisenhower was such a, had such an in from World War II, such an outstanding general and, um, I don't think anybody probably could have--well, maybe Barkley could have carried the state. I feel sure he could have carried the state--
Birdwhistell: --uh-huh, uh-huh--
Runyon: --had he been the nominative, uh, but all their effortswas put into the campaign. And everybody lined up behind Adlai Stevenson. Uh, I think he lost the state. I don't remember the exact 00:54:00majority, by how much. He lost the state. I know that.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. I don't recall right now. Uh, Ms. Runyon, uh,after the '52 convention, the next big campaign in Kentucky was '54, uh--
Runyon: That's when, uh, Vice-President Barkley ran for U.S. Senate.
Runyon: He came back to Kentucky and ran for the Senateand was elected by a practical majority, and the part I played in that campaign, I was his, uh, Organizational Chairman in that campaign.
Runyon: And I would go to different sections of the stateand organize group meetings which later the Vice-President would appear and, and speak and, uh--
Birdwhistell: Did, uh, Senator Clements come to Kentucky to help with00:55:00that campaign?
Runyon: Oh, yeah. He participated very vigorously in that campaign. Infact, uh, Senator Clements was always in there working for the Democratic Party. He was a loyal Democrat and, and worked hard. One of the things I recall about his first, I mean, the first year as Governor of Kentucky, he immediately set out to reorganize the Young Democrats of Kentucky. A young man who was then, uh, in the administration by the name of John Cak(??) was elected State President of the Young Democrats. And Mr. Cak(??) went on to become Highway Commissioner, uh, under Clements whenever Garrett Withers was, uh, was appointed to the Senate, went to the Senate.
Runyon: And, uh, there was an interim period there before Clementsran for the Senate that, uh, Mr. Withers went from the Highway 00:56:00Department as, uh, Commissioner of Highways to the U.S. Senate and served an interim period there before--
Runyon: --Clements went on to the Senate.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Let me ask you this about Clements and Barkley.Uh, as you pointed out, Clements supported Barkley all the way down the line, in the presidency and then--
Birdwhistell: --for his campaign in the Senate to '54 to returnto the Senate. Well, of course, Barkley had been a powerful person in the Senate many years before.
Runyon: I would like to, uh, read into the record aquote at this time from Paul M. Butler who was chairman of the Democrat National Committee.
Runyon: And this is what he had to say, he says"Kentucky democracy has been sticking in the upper chamber of Congress with the voices of two of the ageless leaders of our day. Together 00:57:00Senator Alben Barkley and Senator Earle Clements contributed anonymously to the affirmative Democratic record which was made under three great American presidents: Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt and Truman."
Runyon: And, uh.
Birdwhistell: Well, some people have said that there might have beensome jealousy on the part of Senator Clements when Barkley returned to the Senate from the fact that Clements had risen very quickly into Senate leadership, and now here was Barkley coming in as a former majority leader and a former vice-president. Was there any jealousy there?
Runyon: I don't think that is true at all.
Birdwhistell: You didn't notice--
Runyon: I think that was, that's wholly unfounded.
Runyon: Because I think Senator Clements was, was really delighted tohave Senator Barkley back-- 00:58:00
Runyon: --in the U.S. Senate.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. I see. Well, then in 1955, uh, former GovernorChandler was making a bid for reelection as governor, and the Clements faction, I guess you could call it, of the Democratic party chose Judge Bert Combs from Prestonsburg to, to make the race in the primary against Chandler.
Runyon: Well, Judge Combs had, uh, come to Frankfort as, uh,by appointment to fill out the unexpired term of Judge Roy Helms who had, uh, who was deceased. And then he ran, Judge Combs, ran for, um, a member of the Court of Appeals in 1951.
Runyon: For the full term, um, and, uh, he was a,a former Commonwealth Attorney of Floyd County, Kentucky, and, uh, so the 00:59:00chance fell upon him to be the, um, as you say Clements/Wetherby faction candidate.
Birdwhistell: Was he hand-picked by Clements, do you think?
Runyon: I don't know. I did not attend the meeting inwhich it was decided that he would be the choice--
Runyon: --to run in the Clements/Wetherby faction of the party. Idid not attend, but I learned about it. Uh, I think they met on a Sunday in Frankfort. Now, I don't know who attended.
Runyon: But I would assume that, that Governor Wetherby and SenatorClements and others got together and talked it over and, uh, and the choice fell upon Combs because he was a young man. And, um, I'm sure they felt like he had a great ability. 01:00:00
Runyon: And, um, at that time I'll say that, well, myknowledge, my acquaintance with Judge Combs at that time, he was more the judge type in that campaign, and he, he just didn't have the feel of the--or the ability to meet with people and the warmth that it took.
Birdwhistell: To relate to them?
Runyon: In relation to him. He later developed into quite acampaigner.
Runyon: But at that time, Combs was not, uh, he had,he'd been in the, you know, the Court of Appeals, and as I said he was more or less the judge type. 01:01:00
Runyon: And he just didn't go over, and here Chandler was.He'd been a former Governor of Kentucky and, uh, during his first time as Governor, I think he made great strides for the state.
Runyon: But he was a young man, and he listened toolder heads at that time such as Ben Johnson and, uh, Dan Talbott of Bardstown.
Runyon: And he listened to their advice and, uh, he madegreat progress I would say in his first term as governor.
Birdwhistell: Now in the '55 campaign, you were State Campaign--
Runyon: I was, I served as State Campaign Chairwoman.
Runyon: I had been in the State Treasurer's Office for almostsix years, and I had managed Adlai Stevenson's statewide campaign. And, uh, 01:02:00well one of the things, uh, Governor Combs being from Eastern Kentucky and from my home district, you know, they try to get candidates from different areas of the state.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And Henry Carter was from the Seventh District, and hehad announced to run for State Treasurer.
Runyon: And I suppose they felt, the leadership felt that toomany from the Seventh District would not be good so, uh, I talked it over with Senator Clements and Governor Wetherby both.
Runyon: And, uh, then I decided to manage Governor Combs' campaignfor the Women's Division in '55 and, uh, of course I worked hard to build a pretty good organization but, uh, he was not 01:03:00successful.
Runyon: And I remember the opening in Shelbyville for Governor Combs.We had a tremendous crowd, and the next day in, in Louisville, uh, I went down for my breakfast. And during the, uh, speech that Governor Combs gave, in his opening speech, he was advocated increasing taxes. And I think, uh, some of the leaders had, uh, tried to talk him out of giving this certain speech, but he was determined to give it and did give the speech in the which he advocated increased taxes.
Runyon: So I went in the, uh, coffee shop at theSeelbach Hotel, and Senator Clements was sitting there. And I went over and asked him what he thought about the opening, and his response was, "Well, I've never known anybody yet to run on a platform 01:04:00of increasing taxes and be elected."
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. You think he was disappointed in, in Mr. Combs?
Runyon: I think he was disappointed in the speech he gave.
Runyon: And, uh, I think, um, if he had had influence--hewas not one to try and tell somebody else, I'm sure, how to run their campaign or, or how to give a speech, in other words.
Runyon: Uh, he was always, uh, participating in a campaign.
Birdwhistell: Well, I think some people, though, would have thought thatClements would have had enough influence on Combs at that time to keep him from giving such a speech.
Runyon: Well, I dare say that he, uh, he would, uh,try to use his influence that way. 01:05:00
Runyon: And besides, he was tied up in Washington a lotbecause, uh, Lyndon Johnson had suffered a heart attack.
Runyon: I think it was in 1955 then and, uh, SenatorClements had spent a long time as acting majority leader in the U.S. Senate.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Did you talk to Senator Combs after the electionafter Combs was beaten by Chandler?
Runyon: No. I don't recall that I did.
Birdwhistell: I was curious as to his reaction to this.
Runyon: Uh, well, I remember after that primary, I spent acouple of weeks at the headquarters, uh, writing thank-you letters or notes to the Women's Organization and, of course, I was wondering when that, what my future would be and I knew I had to make 01:06:00some decision of--
Runyon: --whether to go back to my hometown, you know, andwhat steps to take.
Runyon: And, uh, I didn't feel like that Governor Chandler wouldask me to participate in his administration since I had been Governor Clements' State Campaign Chairwoman.
Runyon: And the telephone rang one night and it was SenatorClements calling me from Washington. And, uh, he at that time asked me--
[Break in tape.]
Birdwhistell: Uh, you had mentioned that Senator Clements had called youone night after the campaign?
Runyon: Yes. And, uh, so he told me during the telephoneconversation that he'd like to have me come to Washington and, uh, have a place in his office there. 01:07:00
Runyon: So I did, um, go to Washington in January of'56.
Birdwhistell: What, what were your main responsibilities in his office?
Runyon: Uh, well, I was a receptionist, the receptionist in hisoffice and, uh, any telephone calls, you know, I took for the state, but I seldom saw the Senator because he had offices in the capitol.
Birdwhistell: Yeah, the leading offices.
Runyon: And he spent his time over there being the, justthe majority leader, and many times the majority leader and, uh, I would, uh, take the phone call and then transfer it to the capitol. And, um, one of my duties was to schedule the senior classes that, you know, that would be coming in to Washington. A 01:08:00lot of the high school senior classes did go to Washington--
Runyon: --uh, just before graduation. So I had scheduled, um, MorganfieldHigh School and, uh, Shepherdsville one morning in early spring, I would say about six, about seven weeks before the primary. And, um, the Senator had called over from the capitol the evening before and said that he and Mrs. Clements would meet the Morganfield group from his hometown and I could take care of the Shepherdsville group. Well, the train arrived in Washington at 6:30 in the morning at George Washington.
Runyon: Well, I got down there about 6:20 and, um, Senatorand Mrs. Clements were already there. And, uh, he turned to me 01:09:00and said, "Well, I suppose you'll be ready to leave for Kentucky in the morning, and, to open up my Women, the headquarters for the Women's Division."
Runyon: And I said, "Yes, sir." And the day passed. Itook care of the Shepherdsville group, and then that evening, I spent quite a bit of time clearing my desk, and I left the next morning driving back to Louisville to open up these headquarters for the Women's Division. And I worked then until after the primary which was in May. Chandler had changed the law and the primary date when he was governor from, had set it back to May, and it had been in August for many years before that.
Birdwhistell: Uh, you know, Clements and some other members of the01:10:00Senator staff in Washington, they commented on the organization in the office, the fact that everything is so well-organized inside the office.
Birdwhistell: Did you find that to be the case?
Runyon: That is correct. He had one of the best organizations,I've, I once heard him say that, uh, if a letter isn't answered within three days, it has no value.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Did he read his letters? Did he read hismail first?
Runyon: Well, um, my niece, Jan Murphy, uh, came up andwas in charge of the mail room. Uh, when I went to Washington, a young man, Doc Beauchamp's son, Emerson Beauchamp, Jr., was, had been working in, he was in the room R4 in which all the mail was delivered. And, uh, he was planning to go back to college.
Runyon: Emerson Beauchamp, Jr. was, and so the Senator asked me01:11:00if I knew of anyone in Kentucky that he might get to come up and take, um, this position. And he asked me the second time. And he said, "I've got to have somebody, uh, because the time is drawing near whenever, uh, Beauchamp will be going back to college." And I could think of no one except my niece, Jan Murphy, had worked in Frankfort. She worked, well, I've forgotten what department she had been with but, uh, she was unemployed at the time.
Runyon: And, uh, so I said, "Do you think a womancould handle the position?" And he said, "Why indeed, I do." And I said, "How 'bout my niece?" He knew my niece. "Uh, Jan 01:12:00Murphy is not working right now and maybe she would like to come up." And he said, "Why, she's just the person for it. You get right on the phone and call her", which I did, and she came up and handled the mail room and all the mail ran there. And, of course, some days there'd be like a, I think there was a natural gas bill. He'd receive maybe a thousand in one day--
Runyon: --on a certain bill, you know. People would write inand, uh, but he had a system that certain people received certain mail, like any school group I would receive that had written in and wanted to come to, saying they were coming to Washington or, uh, any books that he received as a gift or anything, any mail he received out of that.
Runyon: To give her a thank-you note, and--01:13:00
Birdwhistell: Right. Right.
Runyon: And then Mr. Dryden who was the Administrative Assistant wouldhandle mail and Mr. Henry Ward would come to Washington and was, uh, working in the Senator's office. And, um, each individual, Mr. Jack Reed was another one, had certain mail that they were responsible for. And, and this mail would be dispersed to that person.
Runyon: And they, in turn, would answer the letter. And everyafternoon, the basket of mail, a card--he had a card system. And the person's name had to be pulled, the card had to be pulled and if there had been previous correspondence, the card would be attached to the original letter and the answer--
Runyon: --would be composed. We'll say if the Senator receives a01:14:00thousand letters on one bill, then he gets together with whoever's handling that. He decides whether he's going to be for or against the bill, and then, uh, more or less a form letter is composed.
Birdwhistell: Stating his position?
Runyon: Stating his position and mailed out.
Runyon: And, uh, so each afternoon, Mr. Dryden would carry themail over to the capitol, and he read every letter and, uh, that was answered by someone in the, in the Senate office building.
Runyon: And if it didn't suit him, he'd write a commenton the bottom of the letter and send it back.
Runyon: As to what he thought should be sent.
Runyon: And, uh, he had a very efficient office staff therein Washington. 01:15:00
Birdwhistell: Well, what do you consider his major achievements as aSenator, you know, in terms of representing the interests of Kentucky?
Runyon: Well, I think one of his major achievements in theSenate was the fact that he worked, uh, for the restoration for the tobacco acreage to the tobacco farmer in Kentucky.
Runyon: And, uh, you know it had been taken away underSecretary Benson. And that was restored under Clements. And then another thing he worked for when he was in the U.S. Senate was the, a bill to, uh, for federal funds for schools to, uh, for classrooms--
Runyon: --uh, which was something that was very much needed. And,of course, he worked for, uh, the dams, you know, the federal project of building dams and the Watershed Program. 01:16:00
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And, uh, sponsored legislation. But I would say that, uh,the tobacco bill, you know, in which the acreage was restored to the tobacco farmers in Kentucky because, as you know, um, tobacco is one of the main industries in Kentucky.
Birdwhistell: Right, right. Did you ever get the impression that anyspecial interest groups had a, a predominant influence on him or undue influence on him?
Runyon: Well, I would say I didn't, uh, I didn't seethat much of him because his offices were in the, in the capitol building and he seldom got over to the, to the Senate office building.
Birdwhistell: Is that right? Uh-huh. How did you handle constituents otherthan school groups that came in and they expected to see their senator? Did you take them over to the capitol?
Runyon: Oh, no. I did not escort them to the capitolat all.
Runyon: I would call Ms. Hadston who was his private secretary,01:17:00and if it was, were possible for him to see someone, why I would send them over to the capitol.
Runyon: And, uh, she would set up the appointment. She handledall of the appointments for the Senator.
Runyon: And any telephone call that came through from someone thatwould like to speak to him, I would transfer it over to the capitol and then she would handle it from that end.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. I think we, we've got the setting pretty welllaid out here in '56 with Senator Clements lobbying particularly in the Senate, a very influential Senator, very busy with a very organized staff. Again in 1960 he was up for reelection and again in the primary campaign he was opposed side of the Chandler faction.
Runyon: Yes, he was.
Birdwhistell: And he has sent you back to Kentucky to organizefor--
Runyon: The Women's Division and Mr. Henry Ward came back toorganize the Men's Division. And, um, we had a very good organization 01:18:00going, and he won the primary by some eighty thousand majority.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. But he, he really didn't return to Kentucky thatoften to campaign did he?
Runyon: No. He, he more or less ran the campaign byremote control, I would say. Only since he would fly down and we would have an all-day meeting on Sunday, I mean to, a strategy meeting.
Runyon: To map the strategy of each campaign, and then hewould fly back on Monday, and.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Without getting into too many particulars, uh, do yourecall some of the strategies? What type of strategy were you planning with him?
Runyon: Well, um, of course it's been several years ago, butum.
Birdwhistell: Right. Well, I was just wondering, in general, what wasthe strategy to, to--
Runyon: Well, uh, it was general discussion. I mean if, you01:19:00know, someone was, uh, not supporting the Senator, you know?
Runyon: Uh, someone could contact that person or, uh, or differentorganizations. What should be done for Labor or for, you know, different groups.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Other than--
Runyon: Really, uh, there was, uh, it was a, a realnice campaign in the primary because, um, his opponent was, I believe, at that time was Joe Bates.
Runyon: Uh, and of course, uh, Joe Bates had been aCongressman from the, I believe, the Oil Rigs District and, uh, Kentucky had lost a Congressional seat with the loss of population since state 01:20:00had been redistricted. And, Mr. Bates had been redistricted, uh, had been left out in the redistricting bill.
Runyon: And for that reason he ran for the U.S. Senate.And I would say, um, Clements was a well-known man throughout Kentucky.
Runyon: Having served as Governor and having been in the Senatefor six years and, uh, made a wonderful record.
Birdwhistell: Was, was Senator Clements bitter at the Chandler faction forevening the closing of the primary, do you think?
Runyon: Well, um, I think he expected it. I mean, that'spolitics. That's just down-to-earth politics.
Birdwhistell: He just saw it as a challenge and wanted tohave this met?
Runyon: That's one opponent that had to be met. And, um,I don't think, I can't see that he was too bitter--
Runyon: --about it. Um, he may have been, but he didn't01:21:00show it in the meetings too much.
Birdwhistell: Other than yourself and Henry Ward leading as the campaignleaders, who else was involved heavily in the '56 campaign and, and leadership roles? Do you recall any in particular?
Runyon: Well, I believe a young man by the name ofBill Young, William Young was, if I recall correctly, was his State Campaign Chairman at the time. He was from Frankfort, Kentucky.
Runyon: And, uh, I believe he was either County Attorney orCommonwealth's Attorney in Franklin County. And, um, a Mr. Clyde Boston from Lawrenceboro was a very close personal friend of the Governor's, Senator's. 01:22:00
Birdwhistell: Now one interesting thing, I think, about the '56 campaignthat I'd like to ask you about was as someone who played a key role in the 1950 campaign, it appeared that Senator Clements took a very personal active role in the campaign and made these decisions himself, but it looked like here in '56, you know, he was an absentee candidate. He was having to stay in Washington, and, uh, but do you think he relied more upon his organization in '56 then say he did in '50?
Runyon: Well, I think he had to rely more, on hisorganization in '56 due to the circumstances in the U.S. Senate. And, uh, he had not ever made most of his own decisions, I mean, in these strategies.
Birdwhistell: Bill making and strategy decisions.
Runyon: Yes. Yes.
Birdwhistell: Well, what was the reaction for you and others onthe staff, I mean, what was your reaction to Clements when you found out that Thurston Morton was going to be the opponent in 01:23:00the general election in November? Do you recall that?
Runyon: Well, I think everyone felt confident that Senator Clements wouldwin and, uh, that, that he could overcome Chandler's opposition so to speak. There was a, I think one thing. Chandler was interested in this Road Bond issue at the time. Voters had to vote on a hundred million dollar Road Bond issue, uh, matching federal funds, you know.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And I think, uh, he, I don't know--uh, this isan assumption on my part, uh, but probably he made some sort of an agreement with the Republican forces that they would support his Road Bond issue in the November election.
Runyon: That he would go along with Thurston Morton. Now that's01:24:00certainly an assumption on my part, but recently, I saw Thurston Morton interviewed on this, uh, Kentucky Educational program. And the interviewer asked him if, when he ran in '56 against Earle Clements, if Chandler supported him for the U.S. Senate, and his reply was, "Well, let's put it this way, he didn't help Earle Clements, then."
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Well, in the, in the Clements organization, didyou make any effort to, to try and head off this Chandler move? Did you try to get to the Chandler people and convince them that work was limited?
Runyon: Well, really my, my role was, um, getting a campaignchairwoman for each county in the state. And that is a big job for 120(??) counties and to get them appointed and a letter 01:25:00of appointment out to them. And it was not until the last few weeks of that, uh, fall campaign, that I had any secretarial help. And I had to do all of the typing of the letters and, and so forth.
Runyon: And I finally asked for some secretarial help, and Igot a young lady from Louisville by the name of Ellis Maryfield to come in and help me because I was just working. Sometimes I'd complete as many as twenty or twenty-five telephone calls per day because I had to reach these, these women by telephone in building, you know, in setting up the organization.
Runyon: And then there were times that I would go out,you know, uh, to different places but, uh, but my main role in that was getting the organization built for each county by telephone. 01:26:00
Runyon: And taking care of the headquarters there and, uh, gettingall the correspondence out.
Birdwhistell: Well, in '56, Clements was a veteran campaigner by, anyway you look at it, by 1956.
Birdwhistell: In the campaign, did you find that he had, well,had the same style or had he lost something or was he still getting across to people the way he always had?
Runyon: Well, I think he was, he, uh, had the samestyle he'd always had. Uh, I don't think that would ever change.
Runyon: And he was one of the greatest organizers, uh, thatI've ever known. Uh, he could just, uh, just about tell you the situation in every county in Kentucky and, and who was important in a campaign or who so forth and so on. But I'll 01:27:00say this, if, uh, he went out to a speaking that had been organized and there was not a group present, as many people as he expected, well we heard about it when he got back to headquarters.
Birdwhistell: (laughs) You heard about it?
Birdwhistell: He didn't like a small crowd then?
Runyon: Well, evidently no. A candidate does expect, you know, theirtime. It's important. They go to a district rally or a county rally, and they have a small crowd.
Runyon: It's only normal that the larger the crowd, the moreenthusiasm the candidate has and makes the candidate feel better.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Well, were there any issues in the '56 campaignthat you felt hurt Clements?
Runyon: I think it was, uh, bitterness on Chandler's part of01:28:00having been, uh, uh, Clements having supported his, uh, Governor Combs, uh, Bert Combs against him.
Runyon: Uh, and Chandler is one that never forgets, you know,anybody that's been against him. And, uh, he took his revenge out on Senator Clements in the '56 campaign.
Birdwhistell: So you see that as the main reason for theloss?
Runyon: Yes, I do. I definitely do.
Birdwhistell: Well, when did the Clements' organization first feel that hemight lose? Was it near the time of the election itself?
Runyon: I don't think I ever felt that he would lose.
Birdwhistell: Were you still confident all the way?
Runyon: I was confident all the way through.
Runyon: And, uh, it was quite a shock.
Birdwhistell: Must have been. Uh-huh. Do you think--
Runyon: Quite a shock.
Birdwhistell: Do you think that Senator Clements felt up till the01:29:00end that he was going to be reelected?
Runyon: I really, um, I really think he felt that hewould.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. What was his reaction to the campaign? What didhe tell after the campaign was over?
Runyon: Well, I don't know that I discussed it with him.I stayed in Louisville and, and got the letters, the thank-you letters out and, uh, after everything was cleared away in the Louisville headquarters, I drove back to Washington. And I didn't see him. And a, a call came through one day, he and Mrs. Clements had gone on a vacation, and it was long about the first of December. And he said, uh, "Well, Ms. Pearl, are you still there?" And I said, "Yes, I am." And he said, "Well, I meant to tell you that, you know, that, uh, you could go on back 01:30:00to Kentucky any time that you were ready." And, and so, uh, then I did. I came back and started packing my things, my niece and I, to come back home.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And that was oh what, I guess, long about thefirst part of December.
Runyon: And, uh.
Birdwhistell: You mentioned, uh, several times during the interview, Mrs. Clements.What role did she play in his political life? Was she an active campaign wife?
Runyon: No. She was more of a homemaker and, uh, wellshe would go out occasionally, uh, with him on a campaign tour. 01:31:00
Runyon: But, uh, she was more of a homemaker I wouldsay than, than a campaigner.
Birdwhistell: Sort of stood in the background.
Runyon: But there's one thing I'd like to say here, um,about Mrs. Clements, and I think it's, it's very true. Uh, in 1948 when I first went to Frankfort, I had a doctor friend who lived in San Jose, California. I had met him in Pike County. He had been there looking up some records of his family that were from Pike County several generations back, and I had helped him look up some older records. And when he returned to California, he wrote me.
Runyon: And then, after I moved to Frankfort, he wrote methat he would be going to Washington, D.C. I think he was interested in, uh, the SAR, the Sons of the American Revolution, was 01:32:00going to Washington to check records there in the archives and said he would like to come through Frankfort and pay a visit to our capitol city.
Runyon: So I wrote him and told him we'd be gladto have him. And while he was there, he spent four or five days in Frankfort. One morning, Mrs. Clements invited us up to the mansion for coffee.
Runyon: And she was so gracious. And, uh, after coffee sheshowed us through the mansion. And Dr. Critcher was an older man and, uh, he was really impressed, and as we were walking out to the car, he shook his head and he said, "My, that lady would grace the White House." And I think that's very true.
Birdwhistell: Hmm. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And of course, uh--01:33:00
[Break in tape.]
Runyon: --representatives wives from different groups for coffee. And my firstweek in Frankfort, I was really embarrassed because she had invited me over for coffee one afternoon with a group of ladies, and I spilled my coffee in my lap. (Birdwhistell laughs) And she was, made me feel so at ease about it, and she just had that way about her.
Birdwhistell: That's interesting. So in a traditional sense of what thepolitician's wife should be, she was--
Runyon: She was, uh, she was a good politician in herown way. Let's put it that way.
Birdwhistell: Is that right? Okay. Very good. Uh, one other thingon the long-running Chandler-Clements feud, I guess you could call it. I think some people would question, you know, why if, if Clements was such a good campaign organizer and such a, a good political person 01:34:00that could bring together factions, that could bring people together, why he was never able to work out this political feud between himself and, and Chandler? You know, and eventually cause him to lose his seat.
Runyon: Well, let's go back to the '47 campaign. Um, Ithink, of course history, Kentucky history and campaigns and all, well, the factionalism started between Chandler and Clements back during the Tom Ray campaign?
Birdwhistell: Um-hm. Back in 1935?
Runyon: In which Clements was Tom Ray's State Campaign Chairman in1935 and then Chandler had, was Lieutenant Governor at the time and called a special session in the legislature. And they stated the run-off 01:35:00primary. It was a very bitter thing, and it, it divided the Democrats in Kentucky--
Runyon: --more than any Governor's race, I would say that everhappened in Kentucky. But then we come along a few years later, we had a Republican governor in for four years. And then, uh, Clements consented to run for Governor and, uh, we find Happy Chandler backing Clements. He was for Clements in '47. Now, the Clements, uh, the Chandler faction, the Ray faction, all were together for Clements in '47 in that primary in my home county.
Runyon: So that had sort of died down after having fouryears of a Republican governor and, they'd sorted a lot of the 01:36:00animosities had been forgotten and all, but they still, I'm sure, some of that feeling exists in the present time.
Birdwhistell: Yeah, I guess it--it came back up again in 1955when Clements decided to support someone other than Chandler.
Runyon: Uh-huh. Yes.
Birdwhistell: So, uh, you would say then that the Clements-Chandler feudwas not based so much on philosophical differences as just, uh, the quest for office and the floor ----------(??) Runyon: Right. Uh-huh.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Well, if you had to put a labelon Clements' political philosophy--liberal, conservative, moderate--what would that label be?
Runyon: Oh, I would definitely say he was a liberal.
Birdwhistell: A liberal?
Runyon: Yes, I would, although he got along beautifully with Labor01:37:00and Industry, too, while he was Governor and in the U.S. Senate.
Runyon: But I would say his, his political philosophy would bethat of the liberal.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Like the Democratic liberalism that was in the '30s?
Runyon: Yes. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Well, are there any other stories or anecdotes aboutSenator Clements that you'd like to share that you think that might, uh, help someone understand the type of person that he was that we haven't talked about so far?
Runyon: Well, I would like to, uh, conclude this interview bytelling a story. The last time I saw Senator Clements was October the nineteenth, 1973, in Morganfield, Kentucky, when hundreds of his friends met there, not only from Kentucky but from other states and from Washington 01:38:00were there to honor him on Earle Clements Day. And, um, one of the things that stood out in my memory of that day was, um, I do not remember this colored man's name, but he was on the program.
Runyon: And he went, his nickname was Rooster. He was referredto as Rooster, and he was, had become a college president. And, uh, he was telling, during his speech, that back when he was a young man and Earle Clements was the coach of the Morganfield High School football team, that he had them out marching for exercise, you know, and one day he asked Earle Clements if he'd mind falling in behind the group of football players and march along with 01:39:00them. And he said that, uh, uh, Earle Clements took him by the arm and said, "Why, son, you don't have to fall in behind." He said, "You just come right up here in front and march along with me."
Runyon: And this was the story he related that day inthe program and, uh, I'm sure that, that, uh, gesture that Clements made inspired that young colored man to go on and make something of his life.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And, uh, it was a, it was a beautiful fallday down there, and I don't know how many, how many hundreds of friends were there. But it was very touching, too, because the 01:40:00Circuit Courtroom had been redone, and they unveiled a portrait of Governor, Senator Clements and Mrs. Clements.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Runyon: And, uh, it was very, very touching because she, atthat time, was very ill and had been for several years.
Birdwhistell: Uh-huh. Well, I appreciate you taking the time today to,to share your recollections, and I think you've been very helpful to, to someone who later on will want to find out some of the history of Earle Clements' career. You've been very helpful, I think.
Runyon: Well, it's certainly been enjoyable, and I feel honored tohave been asked to participate in this program. I hope some of the information I have given has been to some benefit or will be of interest to future generations in Kentucky.
Birdwhistell: I'm sure it will be. Thank you.01:41:00
[End of interview.]