Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with A.B. "Happy" Chandler, November 6, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Albert B. Chandler for the Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project by Professor Harry M. Caudill and Dale Deaton, at approximately 10:00 a.m., November 6th, 1978 at Versailles, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Former Governor Albert "Happy" Chandler speaks with interviewers Dale Deaton and Harry Caudill about their wives, friends, and the vocational school Chandler started in Eastern Kentucky.

Keywords: Friends; John Mayo; Lawsuits; Vocational schools; Wife

Subjects: Rural schools--Kentucky

00:03:02 - Appalachian Regional Commission

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Partial Transcript: You know, governor, coming over here this morning, I, uh, mentioned to Dale something that, uh, I hope you'll talk about some today, because it's, uh, it's an unknown part, really unknown part of the history of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the beginning of the Eastern Kentucky Planning Commission (which later became the Appalachian Regional Commission) and the people who helped create it. He talks about his decision to build a school in Paintsville, Kentucky.

Keywords: Appalachian Regional Development Act (ARC); B. F. Reed; Cumberland College; Eastern Kentucky Planning Commission; Elections; Happy Chandler; Harry Caudill; Harry Laveres; John Whistman; Paintsville (Ky.); President's Appalachian Regional Commission (PARC); Transportation

Subjects: Appalachian Regional Commission; Kentucky--Politics and government.; Rural roads; Rural schools--Kentucky

00:08:50 - Traveling around Jackson, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: D--do you recall a trip that you made on a train in 1938 to Jackson and with Mrs. Roosevelt--

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about his trip with Eleanor Roosevelt to Jackson, Kentucky. He talks about meeting baseball players from around Kentucky.

Keywords: John G. Carlisle Spencer; School dedications; Trains; Traveling; Visiting

Subjects: Baseball players; Breathitt County (Ky.); Jackson (Ky.); Morgan County (Ky.); Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962

00:13:10 - Campaigning in Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: Did you travel into Leslie County in those years?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about his political campaigns in Leslie County, and about the various families he knew there. He talks about being the only Democrat to win elections in the area, which is generally strongly Republican.

Keywords: Begley family; Campaigning; Democrats; Families; John Cooper; Lewis family; Morgan family; Republicans; Sizemore family

Subjects: Clay County (Ky.); Democratic Party (Ky.); Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government.; Leslie County (Ky.)--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Republican Party (Ky.)

00:16:31 - Opposition to the medical center and school

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Partial Transcript: Well, you made a trip to Leslie County sometime during the, the 1950s, and stopped by Frontier Nursing Service and had tea with Mary Breckinridge.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler briefly speaks about Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service. He talks about his plans to build a medical center and school in Kentucky, and why others, including many doctors in Louisville, opposed this idea.

Keywords: African Americans; Childbirth; Cost; Dr. C. C. Howard; Infant mortality rates; Louisville doctors; Maternal mortality rates; Medical school; Needs; Opposition

Subjects: Academic medical centers--Kentucky--Lexington--Planning; Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Infants--Mortality.; Leslie County (Ky.); University of Kentucky. Medical Center

00:22:23 - Dr. McCormick and the health department

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Partial Transcript: You know Dr. McCormick, father and son, administered to the public health of the people of Kentucky continuously for seventy-five years.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about his relationship with Dr. McCormick who ran the state health department.

Keywords: Budgets; Department of public health; Dr. McCormick; Funding; Health department; Infectious diseases; Tuberculosis

Subjects: Medical care--Kentucky

00:25:27 - More on the opposition to the medical center

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Partial Transcript: Well I think you'll agree, looking back on it, that every argument that was raised against the medical center has proved to be totally without any foundation whatever.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks more about the arguments of those who opposed building a new medical center in Kentucky. He tells a story about a conversation with former University of Kentucky President Frank Dickey about salaries.

Keywords: Arguments; Opposition; Salaries; Standards; University president Frank Dickey; Vote; Wages

Subjects: Academic medical centers--Kentucky--Lexington--Planning; University of Kentucky. Medical Center

00:29:42 - Accomplishments--Rural roads

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Partial Transcript: Well in 1939 Dr. McCormick approved the Frontier School of Midwifery.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about compliments he will always remember. He discusses what he considers his greatest accomplishments during his years as governor of Kentucky, including improving the roads in rural areas.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC); Compliments; Country roads; Dr. Arthur McCormick; Government reform; Government restructuring; Medical centers; Prisons; Schools

Subjects: Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing; Governors--Kentucky; Rural roads

00:33:57 - Accomplishments--Right to vote

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Partial Transcript: And then of course you remember during my lifetime they made an issue out of the right of the people to vote.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler continues talking about what he considers to be his greatest accomplishments as governor of Kentucky, including changing the law to allow citizens the right to vote in primary elections.

Keywords: Court of Appeals; Legislature; Primary elections; Right to vote

Subjects: Election law--Kentucky; Lieutenant governors--Kentucky; Voting

00:37:11 - Taxes and government budgets

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Partial Transcript: And then the sales tax.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his views on sales tax and property taxes. He talks about his opinion on government budget surpluses and debts. He addresses a rumor that he gave government funds to Fidel Castro. He discusses editorials that were written about him by John Ed Pearce, and his relationship with Pearce.

Keywords: Ability to pay; Burdens; Editorials; Fidel Castro; Government debts; Government surpluses; Income taxes; Levied taxes; Louisville Courier-Journal; Real estate taxes; Rumors; Salaries; State budgets; State constitutions

Subjects: Pearce, John Ed.; Property tax--United States; Sales tax--Law and legislation--Kentucky

00:46:38 - Campaign against Alben Barkley in Breathitt County, Kentucky / Earle C. Clements

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Partial Transcript: And then they give me a special day down there, Harry, not very long ago.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about the relationship between Barry Bingham, Jr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Alben Barkley. He talks about his 1938 campaign against Barkley in which his campaign manager was shot in Breathitt County. He discusses another campaign manager, Carl Back. He talks about his childhood friendship with Earle C. Clements, and speculates on what may have happened if they had worked together on a political campaign.

Keywords: Barry Bingham, Jr.; Campaign managers; Carl Back; Friends; Irvin Turner; Marie Turner; Shootings

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Breathitt County (Ky.); Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Henderson County (Ky.); Political campaigns--Kentucky

00:52:37 - Campaign against Roosevelt and the Works Progress Administration / more on Alben Barkley

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Partial Transcript: Well, governor, our perspectives change as we get older and just looking back on it, I think that probably, and I think this word is well chosen and advised...

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about his views on President Roosevelt and the WPA. He talks more about his opinions on Alben Barkley.

Keywords: Book signings; Ethical violations; Heroic campaign; Relief bureaucracy; WPA

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945; United States. Works Progress Administration.

00:58:02 - Influence of the press on public opinions of politicians

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Partial Transcript: Well to, to go back to your fifties trip to Le--to Leslie County, was that the first time you had met Mary Breckinridge?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler briefly talks about Mary Breckinridge, the Frontier Nursing Service, and Kate Ireland. He discusses how the press can influence the public's opinions of politicians, including examples of Presidents Nixon, Johnson, and Truman, along with General MacArthur.

Keywords: Fooled; Friends; General public; George Goodwin; Hoodwinked; Kate Ireland; Lies; Louisville Courier-Journal; Mislead; North Korea; Peach ice cream; Punishment; Relief agencies; WPA

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.; Leslie County (Ky.); MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964.; Mass media--Influence--United States; Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994; Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; United States. Works Progress Administration.

01:08:10 - Richard Nixon's visit to Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: Well the dedication speech that, that President Nixon made at Hyden was his first real public appearance since his--

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses former president Richard Nixon's visit to Leslie County, his first public appearance since leaving office. He discusses his opinions of Nixon and the punishment he received. He speaks briefly again about the Frontier Nursing Service, Mary Breckinridge, and Kate Ireland. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Dedication speeches; Fairness; Judge C. Adam Muncie; Kate Ireland; Poems; Public appearances; Reasons; Tim Lee Carter; Unjust; Visits

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hyden (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994