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: Graduate schools; Hospitals; Illnesses; International relations; John Sherman Cooper; Military commissions; Mothers; Parents; Psychological Warfare Division; School of Journalism; Somerset High School (Somerset, Ky.); U.S. Air Force; Voice of America

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.); Newspapers; 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: Congressional records; Embassies; Glen H. Taylor; John Bricker; John Sherman Cooper; Offices; Receptions; Relatives; Robert Taft; Senate; Senate floor; Senate gallery; Senators; White House

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Correspondence; Debates; Families; Hearings; Idaho; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Newspapers; Politicians; 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: Administrative assistants; Aunts; Brothers; County judges; Family; Fathers; Food; Grandparents; Great Depression; John Sherman Cooper; Money; Mothers; N. Main Street (Somerset, Ky.); Neighbors; Newspapers; Political campaigning; Political campaigns; Sisters; Small towns; U.S. Army; Uncles; World War II

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Depressions--1929; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945

00:12:52 - Cooper's campaigns / 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: Alben Barkley; Brothers; Cancer treatments; Children; Family; Fathers; Friends; Governors; Grandmothers; Great Depression; John Sherman Cooper; Mothers; Schools; Senate; Senators; Sisters; Teaching

Subjects: Ancestors; Cancer; Communities; Depressions--1929; Honesty; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lawrenceburg (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Personality; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Reputation; Rural conditions; Somerset (Ky.); Washington (D.C.); Wealth

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 his speeches.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Christmas; Elections; Inauguration; John Sherman Cooper; Legislation; Political campaigning; Political campaigns; Republicans; Senate; Senators; Truman administration; Virgil Chapman; Votes

Subjects: Boyle County (Ky.); Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Criticism; Honesty; 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: Arthur Vandenberg; Dwight Eisenhower; Fathers; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky Republicans; Parents; Political campaigns; Political candidates; Political opponents; Presidents; Press association meetings; Republicans; Robert Taft; Simeon Willis; Thruston Morton; Tom Underwood; U.S. Air Force; World War II

Subjects: Columbia University; Conservative; Editorials; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Leaders; Mammoth Cave (Ky.); Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Speeches; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945

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: Fathers; Kentucky politics; Mothers; News; Newspaper editors; Political administrations; Politics; Running for office; Sisters

Subjects: Childhood; Communities; Employees; Journalism; Journalists; Kentucky; McCreary County (Ky.); Morehead (Ky.); Newspapers; Owensboro (Ky.); Politicians; 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 programs; Alben Barkley; Anti-smoking lobby; Articles; Beliefs; Bills; Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.); Democrats; John Sherman Cooper; Leaders; National leaders; Political campaigns; Polls; Price supports; Republicans; Tobacco programs; Voters

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Honesty; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Leadership; Newspapers; Politicians; Tobacco; Tobacco farmers; Washington (D.C.); Weather

00:40:52 - Cooper becoming 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: Community; County judges; Friends; John Sherman Cooper; Law firms; Lorraine Cooper; Small towns; U.S. Ambassador to India; Wife

Subjects: Ambassadors; Honors; India; Marriage; Nepal; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Washington (D.C.)

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; Ambassadors; Brothers; Campaign managers; Circuit judges; Communication; County judges; Democrats; Dwight Eisenhower; Earle Clements; Eastern Kentucky; Edwin P. Morrow; Farmers; Georgetown (Washington, D.C.); Governors; Image; Income; Influence; John Sherman Cooper; Law firms; Lawrence Wetherby; Lee Nunn; Louie Nunn; Political campaigning; Political campaigns; Political candidates; Political rallies; Republicans; Senate; Senators; Supporters; Thurston Morton; Votes; Wealth; Wife

Subjects: Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Morton, Thruston Ballard, 1907-1982; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Rural conditions; Somerset (Ky.); Washington (D.C.)

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: Constituents; Controversy; Honesty; John F. Kennedy; John Sherman Cooper; Public works; Tobacco; Treaties

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Criticism; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Newspapers; Personality; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Somerset (Ky.); United States--Race relations.; 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 racial equality.

Keywords: Baptists; Beliefs; Equal rights; Fairness; Inequality; John Sherman Cooper; Religion

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Black people; Childhood; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Equality; Minorities; Politicians; Presbyterian Church; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Somerset (Ky.); Speeches; United States--Race relations.; 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 other Kentucky Republican politicians.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Beliefs; Businesses; Championship teams; Congress; Constituents; Custodians; Decisions; Football players; Integration; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky politics; Legislation; Louie Nunn; Marlow Webster Cook; Ministers; Newspapers; Political candidates; Politics

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Criticism; Friends; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Public schools; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Segregation; Somerset (Ky.); United States--Race relations.

01:04:16 - National Republicans and Cooper / Cooper's service to his 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: Communications; Community; County judges; Family; High schools; John Sherman Cooper; Newspapers; Republicans; Senate; Senators; Welfare

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Somerset (Ky.); United States--Race relations.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Washington (D.C.)

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; Attorneys; Brothers; County judges; Family; Family problems; Fathers; Jimmy Carter; John Sherman Cooper; Lyndon Johnson; Not involved; Political campaigning; Political campaigns; Political opponents; Public life; Relatives; Retirement; Richard Nixon; Senate; Speech impediments; U.S. Army

Subjects: Corydon (Ky.); Families.; Kentuckians; Kentucky; New Jersey; New York (N.Y.); Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Retirement; Somerset (Ky.); Standard Oil Company; Washington (D.C.)

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: Chief executive officers; Communications; Congress; Democrats; Foreign affairs; Governors; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky legislature; National politics; Relationships; Senate; Senators; State politics; Types of government

Subjects: Ambassadors; Diplomats; Federal government; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Responsibilities; 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:; Brothers; Commonwealth Attorney; Insurance; John Sherman Cooper; Mayors; Press credentials; Real estate; Republicans; Senate office building

Subjects: Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Philadelphia (Pa.); Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.)

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: Alben Barkley; Beliefs; Character; Democrats; John F. Kennedy; John Sherman Cooper; Lee White; Louisville Courier-Journal; Political campaigning; Political campaigns; Political endorsements; Political parties; Political rallies; Republicans

Subjects: Character; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Respect; 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: Brothers; Chairman of the Board; Circuit judges; Edwin P. Morrow; Farmers National Bank; Hospitals; John Sherman Cooper; Oration; Political campaigns; Preachers; Roscoe Tartar; Sisters; Speakers; Uncles

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Ancestors; Black people; Character; Health; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Somerset (Ky.); United States--Race relations.