Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with George Joplin, III, September 24, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: I thought, uh, where we might begin today is--uh--I've read some articles about your father...

Segment Synopsis: Joplin discusses his career, educational background, and family.

Keywords: Assigned; Commission; Consolidated; Daily newspapers; Graduate school; Graduated; Hospital; Ill; International relations; John Sherman Cooper; Newspaper; Private; Psychological Warfare Division; School of Journalism; Somerset High School (Somerset, Ky.); U.S. Air Force; Voice of America; Weekly newspapers

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Columbia University; Death; Education; Europe; Georgetown University; Idaho; International Relations; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky Military Institute (1845-1971); Lexington (Ky.); Mother; Newspapers; Parents; Politicians; Psychological warfare; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Teaching; Washington (D.C.)

00:03:40 - Working for John Sherman Cooper

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Partial Transcript: When did you work for Senator Cooper and live with him?

Segment Synopsis: Joplin recalls what it was like to work for Senator Cooper as a doorkeeper in the late 1940s.

Keywords: Apartment; Briefcase; Car; Close; Congenial; Congressional record; Dinner; Doorkeeper; Driving; Early; Embassies; Fascinating; Files; Glen H. Taylor; Invited; John Bricker; John Sherman Cooper; Liked; Muffler; Office; Receptions; Relatives; Robert Taft; Senate; Senate floor; Senate gallery; Senators; Stay; Tired; University; White House; Years

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Chauffeurs; Correspondence; Debates; Exercise; Families; Hearings; Home; Idaho; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Limousines; Newspapers; Politicians; Reading; Research; Summer; United States. Department of State; Washington (D.C.); Work

00:07:46 - Joplin's father and Cooper/Cooper as county judge

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Partial Transcript: When did they really become acquainted?

Segment Synopsis: Joplin discusses the friendship and close ties between his father and Cooper. Additionally, Joplin talks of Cooper as a county judge in Pulaski County, Kentucky during the Great Depression.

Keywords: Accomplished; Active; Administrative assistant; Aunt; Campaigning; County judge; Enlisted; Family; Generous; Giving; Gone; Great Depression; Hungry; John Sherman Cooper; N. Main Street (Somerset, Ky.); Native; Newspaper; Private; Prosperous; Small town; Starving; U.S. Army; Uncle; World War II

Subjects: Advertisements; Brother; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Depressions--1929; Father; Food; Grandparents; Insight; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Money; Mother; Neighbors; People; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Sister; Somerset (Ky.); Walking; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945; Writing

00:12:52 - Campaigning/Cooper's family

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Partial Transcript: Now he ran for governor in '39.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin recalls some of Cooper's memorable campaigns, including his personable campaign style. Joplin discusses Cooper's family and their reputation in Somerset, Kentucky.

Keywords: Advice; Alben Barkley; Bad; Cancer treatments; Car; Close; Driving; Eating; Excellent; Family; Good friends; Governor; Great Depression; Headquarters; Impressive; John Sherman Cooper; Lights; Lunch; School; Senate; Senators; Steak; Visiting

Subjects: Ancestors; Brothers; Cancer; Children; Communities; Dark; Depressions--1929; Father; Grandmother; Gravel; Handshaking; Honesty; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lawrenceburg (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Memory; Mother; Names; Personality; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race; Reading; Reputation; Roads; Rural; Sisters; Somerset (Ky.); Teaching; Time; Vegetables; Walking; Washington (D.C.); Wealth; Women

00:19:03 - Cooper in the Senate/Cooper's campaign style

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Partial Transcript: So, Senator Cooper was elected to the Senate for the first time in '46.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin discusses what Cooper was like in the Senate. Joplin also characterizes Cooper's overall campaign style, focusing on speeches.

Keywords: Abilities; Above; Accurate; Activities; Alben Barkley; Always; Attention; Bill; Campaign; Campus; Committee; Concerned; Defeated; Delivery; Election; Enjoy; Future; Gallery; Help; Image; Improve; Information; Issue; John Sherman Cooper; Legislation; Margin; Others; Outside; Participate; Phrases; Practice; Projection; Reaction; Realization; Republicans; Senate; Senators; Similar; Statesman; Surprised; Truman administration; Typical; Virgil Chapman; Votes; Win; Worried

Subjects: Boyle County (Ky.); Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Christmas; Criticism; Experience; Handshaking; Honesty; Inauguration; Listening; People; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Reputation; Sincerity; Somerset (Ky.); Speeches; United Nations; Washington (D.C.)

00:26:26 - 1952 Senatorial campaign/Tom Underwood

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Partial Transcript: Well, in '52 then he comes back and defeats Tom Underwood...

Segment Synopsis: Joplin describes Cooper's 1952 Senatorial campaign. Joplin also recalls his family's friendship with the Underwood family.

Keywords: Afternoons; Arthur Vandenberg; Away; Banquets; Candidate; Celebrity; Dwight Eisenhower; Enjoyed; Experiences; Fascinating; Good friends; Humble; Image; Interim; John Sherman Cooper; Journalism building; Kentucky Republicans; Library; Opponent; President; Press association meetings; Receptions; Represent; Republicans; Response; Robert Taft; Simeon Willis; Similar; Son; Stronger; Talking; Thruston Morton; Together; Tom Underwood; Traditional; Train; U.S. Air Force; World War II

Subjects: Change; Columbia University; Conservative; Editorials; Father; Hotel; Joking; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Leaders; Mammoth Cave (Ky.); Parents; People; Play; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race; Somerset (Ky.); Speech; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945; Young

00:31:35 - Kentucky politicians and journalists

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Partial Transcript: You know, it's an interesting thing in--in Kentucky politics, I don't know if it's a trend or if it's really changed...

Segment Synopsis: Joplin illustrates how the relationship between Kentucky politicians and journalists has changed over the years.

Keywords: Administrations; Bridge; Busy; Demanding; Difficult; Editor; Full-time; Involved; Keep up; Kentucky politics; Lost; News; Newspaper men; Operations; Part-time; Personal level; Politics; Positions; Rare; Running for office; Today; Weeknights

Subjects: Childhood; Communities; Counties; Employees; Father; Games; History; Journalists; Kentucky; Living; McCreary County (Ky.); Morehead (Ky.); Mother; Newspapers; Owensboro (Ky.); Politicians; Population; Sister; Staff; Whitley City (Ky.)

00:34:23 - Cooper vs. Alben Barkley

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Partial Transcript: And then in '54, he had to face--uh--Barkley.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin compares Cooper and Barkley on important issues such as tobacco. The 1954 Senatorial campaign between Cooper and Barkley is also discussed.

Keywords: 1954 Senatorial campaign; Acreage program; Admiration; Agreement; Alben Barkley; Anti-smoking lobby; Arguing; Argument; Articles; Astute; Away; Bed; Beliefs; Bills; Campaign; Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.); Charges; Claim; Complete; Consistent; Defend; Democrats; Development; Direction; Early; Fascination; Fighting; Full moon; Heated; High level; Important; Innuendos; John Sherman Cooper; Late; Leader; Misinterpreted; National leader; No difference; Notice; Outcome; Pedestal; Political skills; Polls; Price supports; Process; Questionable; Republicans; Sold; Supported; Tobacco program; Voters

Subjects: Credit; Facts; Honesty; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Leadership; Morning; Newspapers; Politicians; Reasons; Sincerity; Snow; Social; States; Tobacco; Tobacco farmers; Washington (D.C.); Weather; Work

00:40:52 - U.S. Ambassador to India

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Partial Transcript: After his defeat--uh--in '54--uh--he eventually went on to serve as Ambassador to India.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin recalls the reaction in Somerset, Kentucky to Cooper's appointment to the position of U.S. Ambassador to India.

Keywords: Accepted; Achievement; Afternoons; Attractive; Banquets; Community; County judge; Different; Downtown; Formal; Friends; John Sherman Cooper; Law firm; Liked; Lorraine Cooper; Never return; Parasol; Perfect; Pleased; Realization; Selected; Small town; U.S. Ambassador to India; Visit; Wife

Subjects: Ambassadors; Gloves; Home; Honor; India; Marriage; Nepal; Parties; Politicians; Proud; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Tea; Walking; Washington (D.C.); Woman

00:43:21 - 1956 Senatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: Of course in--in '56 then, Cooper returned to run for the Senate again.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin details Cooper's 1956 Senatorial campaign, in which he campaigned with Thruston Morton throughout the state.

Keywords: 1956 Senatorial campaign; Adlai Stevenson; Albert "Happy" Chandler; Ambassador; Attractive; Basic; Bills; Borrowed; Campaign Manager; Campaigning; Circuit judge; Close; Combination; Comment; Communication; Concerned; County judge; Courthouse; Courtroom; Defeated; Democrats; Demonstrated; Difference; Disadvantage; Disgruntled; Dwight Eisenhower; Earle Clements; East coast; Eastern Kentucky; Educated; Edwin P. Morrow; Enjoyable; Enthusiastic; Expensive; First campaign; Following; Georgetown (Washington, D.C.); Goals; Good image; Good job; Governor; Happy; Headquarters; Income; Influence; Informal; Interesting; Interview; John Sherman Cooper; Late; Law firm; Lawrence Wetherby; Learned; Lee Nunn; Liked; Louie Nunn; No doubt; No hesitation; Not wealthy; Packed; Personable; Platform; Pleased; Quote; Rally; Reception; Republicans; Results; Rich; Satisfied; Scriptures; Senate; Senators; Settled; Small; Sold; Strength; Suit; Support; Talent; Talking; Telephone; Thurston Morton; Tie; Unsure; Valuable; Versatile; Victory; Votes; Wife; Won; Years

Subjects: Ability; Area; Brother; Cities; Conversation; Dresses; Farmers; Home; Intelligent; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Money; Organization; Overalls; Partners; People; Planning; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Respect; Rural; Somerset (Ky.); Sound; United States; Walking; Washington (D.C.); Young

00:53:43 - Cooper's popularity

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Partial Transcript: Well, after being elected in '56--uh--Senator Cooper had to run in '60 and '66...

Segment Synopsis: Joplin explains why Cooper was so popular among Kentuckians despite his political views often being contrary to the majority of his constituents.

Keywords: Advised; Better position; Close; Constituents; Controversial; Country; Folder; Issues; John F. Kennedy; John Sherman Cooper; Positions; Recognized; Return; Statesman; Treaty

Subjects: Arguments; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Criticism; Discussion; Home; Honesty; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Newspapers; People; Personality; Politicians; Public works; Pulaski County (Ky.); Reading; Selling; Sincere; Somerset (Ky.); Time; Tobacco; Washington (D.C.)

00:56:19 - Cooper's reasons for supporting civil rights

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Partial Transcript: As early as the late 40s in his campaign speeches. . .he was--uh--coming out straight forward for equal rights for Blacks.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin recalls Cooper's role in the civil rights movement and how his upbringing influenced his stance on equality.

Keywords: Baptist; Beliefs; Concerned; Equal rights; Got along; Inequality; John Sherman Cooper; Low population; Recognized; Religious; Sincere; Small; Treatment; Unfair; Upbringing

Subjects: African Americans; Blacks; Childhood; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Equality; Minorities; Politicians; Presbyterian Church; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Speeches; Summer; Washington (D.C.)

00:57:44 - Local consensus on Cooper's positions/Kentucky Republicans and Cooper

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Partial Transcript: Well how was that--uh--stand--uh--on that issue--uh--received around here?

Segment Synopsis: Joplin discusses what most people in Somerset, Kentucky think of Cooper as a Senator. Joplin characterizes the dynamics between Cooper and Kentucky Republican politicians.

Keywords: Able; Accomplishments; Action; Background; Beliefs; Businesses; Candidates; Championship team; Choice; Close; Congress; Constituents; Custodian; Decision; Disagree; Dislike; Distinction; Fair; Football player; Forced; Help; Hometown; House; Integration; Issues; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky politics; Legislation; Louie Nunn; Loyal; Marlow Webster Cook; Minister; Minority; Newspaper; No problem; Not keen; Older; Parochial; Politics; Rare; Realization; Role; Sitting; Stop; Talking; Uninvolved

Subjects: African Americans; Criticism; Discussion; Football; Friend; Home; Honor; Kentuckians; Kentucky; People; Politicians; Pressure; Proud; Public schools; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race; Segregation; Somerset (Ky.); Walking; Work

01:04:16 - National Republicans and Cooper/Cooper's service to hometown

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Partial Transcript: It seemed on a national level that he was trying to lead the Republican Party...

Segment Synopsis: Joplin considers the relationship between Cooper and national Republican politicians, especially regarding the civil rights movement. Joplin talks of what Cooper did for his hometown and home county as a Senator.

Keywords: Advice; Attention; Communications; Community; Copies; County judge; Detailed; Efforts; Family; Forced; Frustrated; Important; John Sherman Cooper; Middle school; Newspaper; Not surprised; Note; Office; Officials; Origin; Platforms; Projects; Push; Realization; Republicans; Senate; Senators; Send; Shot; Support; Talking; Telephone call; Thoughtful; Typical; Wedding presents; Welfare; Won

Subjects: Areas; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Dogs; Explanation; High school; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Letters; Night; Opportunity; People; Police; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Reading; Secretaries; Somerset (Ky.); Students; Time; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Washington (D.C.); Writing

01:08:33 - Cooper's brothers

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Partial Transcript: Uh, another question I had: you know, with Jimmy Carter these days and his--Billy Carter and you know, having a famous person in the family like that.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin discusses Cooper's two brothers and their lives and involvement in politics.

Keywords: Albert "Happy" Chandler; Attorney; Away; Behind the scenes; Businessman; Campaigning; Campaigns; Contacted; Cook; County judge; Defeated; Disappointed; Drinking problem; Family; Family problems; Famous; Involved; Jimmy Carter; John Sherman Cooper; Leave; Lyndon Johnson; Name; Not in politics; Not involved; Opponent; Problem; Prominent; Public life; Relatives; Return; Richard Nixon; Scrutiny; Senate; Speech impediment; Stammer; Stutter; U.S. Army; Unmarried; Well-established

Subjects: Brothers; Corydon (Ky.); Experience; Father; Kentuckians; Kentucky; New Jersey; New York (N.Y.); People; Politicians; Pressure; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race; Retirement; Somerset (Ky.); Standard Oil Company; Washington (D.C.); Work

01:13:52 - Cooper and running for governor

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Partial Transcript: You know, there's a lot of talk, and I know you're aware of it over the years, of Cooper coming back and running for governor. Did--were you ever supportive of that idea?

Segment Synopsis: Joplin provides his opinion on the possibility of Cooper running for governor in Kentucky.

Keywords: Above; Afraid; Assets; Better; Capable; Chief executive officer; Communications; Congress; Democrats; Different; Discourage; Familiar; Foreign affairs; Governor; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky legislature; Learning process; Level-headed; Main interests; Mistakes; National level; No problem; Not supportive; Petty politics; Priceless; Problems; Recognized; Relationship; Required; Senate; Senators; State level; Talking; Types of government

Subjects: Ability; Ambassadors; Diplomats; Federal government; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Responsibilities; Time; Washington (D.C.)

01:16:24 - 1948 Republican National Convention

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Partial Transcript: I did go the--uh--Republican National Convention with John.

Segment Synopsis: Joplin recalls attending the 1948 Republican National Convention with Cooper in Philadelphia.

Keywords: 1948 Republican National Convention:; Address; Bedsprings; Breakfast; Charges; Commonwealth Attorney; Corners; Credentials; Doorkeeper; Envelopes; Evening; Extra; Fascinating; Fire escape; Floor; Friends; Hotel; Interesting; Invited; John Sherman Cooper; Mattress; Mayor; Meals; No air conditioning; Open; Press credentials; Real estate; Republicans; Room; Senate office building; Tab; Trouble; Twin beds; Typing; Window

Subjects: Brother; Insurance; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Letters; Lexington (Ky.); Opportunity; People; Philadelphia (Pa.); Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Work; Young

01:20:16 - Cooper's character/Cooper and Democrats

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Partial Transcript: Some of the very personal characteristics of Senator Cooper are so interesting...

Segment Synopsis: Joplin talks of Cooper's character and habits. Joplin also details Cooper's close associations with Democrats and the reactions of Kentucky Republicans to these ties.

Keywords: Admit; Alben Barkley; Angry; Appearance; Aware; Beliefs; Campaigning; Capable; Close; Concerned; Convert; Correct information; Democrats; Different; Discuss; Distant; Endorsed; Forgetful; Issues; John F. Kennedy; John Sherman Cooper; Late; Later; Lee White; Letter; Liked; Lost; Louisville Courier-Journal; Major issues; No worries; Out of character; Outspoken; Phone call; Placement; Pockets; Question; Questioning; Rally; Republicans; Restaurant; Sincere; Stories; Talking; Unfamiliar; Uninformed; Verify

Subjects: Character; Cigarettes; Facts; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Knowledge; Matches; Meeting; Money; Notes; Paper; People; Politicians; Respect; Sympathy; Talk; Washington (D.C.)

01:26:19 - People to interview/Cooper's uncle

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Partial Transcript: We're trying to get a list of people that--uh--in Somerset...

Segment Synopsis: Joplin lists potential people to interview for this project. Joplin also briefly talks of Cooper's uncle, who was a circuit judge in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

Keywords: Active; Bed; Bedroom; Campaigns; Chairman of the Board; Circuit judge; Close; Colorful; Edwin P. Morrow; Excellent; Fantastic; Farmers National Bank; Hospital; Hours; House; Husband; John Sherman Cooper; Later; Lights; Old friends; Orator; Phone call; Preacher; Roscoe Tartar; Similar; Speaker; Stay; Uncle; Wife

Subjects: Ability; African Americans; Ancestors; Blacks; Brothers; Character; Health; Home; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Living; Memory; People; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Sisters; Somerset (Ky.); Stroke; Work