Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Janet Humphrey, February 20, 1981

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Meeting John Sherman Cooper

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Partial Transcript: Why don't we, um, begin by getting a little background information on yourself.

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey recalls when she first met Cooper.

Keywords: Boss; Brother-in-law; Campaigning; East Coast; Family; Friends; George Ellis; John Dietrich; John Sherman Cooper; Lincoln Dinner; National committeeman; Office; Prep school; Senator; Tourist; Uncle; University; Whisper; Widow

Subjects: Ashland (Ky.); Kentucky; Phillips Academy; Politicians; Retirement; Staff; Winter

00:02:39 - Working for Cooper / Lee White

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Partial Transcript: Well, how did you end up working for Senator Cooper?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey details what it was like working for Senator Cooper. Dynamics of the staff are examined, including the background and outstanding work of lead administrative assistant Lee White.

Keywords: Adversity; Apartment; Application; Available; Bills; Busy; Campaign; Capable; Chasing; Complaints; Constituents; Dating; Democrat; Desk; Done; Drafting; Drunk; Elected; Even disposition; Feelings; Files; Front desk; Frustrated; Hectic; Hired; Hiring; Hoover Commission; Interesting; Jackie Kennedy; Jewish; Job offer; John Dietrich; John Sherman Cooper; Joseph Kennedy; Lee White; Left; Lincoln Day Dinner; Lorraine Cooper; Lunch; Military; Newspaper; Northeast; Obvious; Office; Over; Phone calls; Power struggle; Projects; Realization; Rude; Rule; Secretary; Senator; Sense of humor; Situations; Stayed; Thruston Morton; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Upheaval; White House

Subjects: Administrative assistants; Agriculture; Ashland (Ky.); Change; Conversation; Faction; Frankfort (Ky.); Friend; Good; Kentuckians; Letters; Louisville (Ky.); Management; Politicians; Racist; Somerset (Ky.); Speeches; Staff; Time; Uncles; Walking; Washington (D.C.); Work; Yale University

00:12:18 - Running of the office

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Partial Transcript: Did, uh--Senator Cooper, uh, take an interest in the organization and the day-to-day running of the office?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey discusses how involved Cooper was in the daily operations of the D.C. office.

Keywords: Constituents; Decorating; Decorum; Dress; Friends; Hired; Image; Interesting; Jimmy Carter; John Sherman Cooper; Lee White; Lorraine Cooper; Nice; Over; Parade; Place; Representing; Senator; Uninvolved; Unknown

Subjects: Blue Jeans; Children; Inauguration Day; Interns; Kentucky; People; Pictures; Politicians; Washington (D.C.)

00:14:23 - Constituents

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about the constituents.

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey describes how much Cooper valued his constituents.

Keywords: Backing; Boss; City government; Constituents; Dictated; Enjoyed; Feelings; Fine; Group; Help; Hometown; Interesting; Isolated; John Sherman Cooper; Louisville (Ky.); Loyal; Nice; Reception room; Replies; Secretary's gallery; Section; Senate floor; Sense of humor; Small towns; Special; Start; Strange; Thank you; Thruston Morton; Visit; Visitor's galleries; Workers

Subjects: Awe; Capital; Draft; Kentucky; Letters; Mountains; People; Politicians; Popular; Pulaski County (Ky.); Reputation; Somerset (Ky.); Staff; Travel; Unique; Washington (D.C.); Writing

00:18:43 - Role in 1960 campaign

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Partial Transcript: What was your role in the '60 campaign? Let's, let's talk about that for a little while.

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey illustrates her role in Cooper's 1960 Senatorial campaign.

Keywords: 1960 Senatorial campaign; Afternoon; Apartment; Bus; Campaigns; Car; Co-chairman; Driver; Entertain; Evening; Familiar; Finances; Giveaways; Gone; Headquarters; Hotel; Items; John Sherman Cooper; Keen Johnson; Kentucky politics; Louie B. Nunn; Name; Nice; Non-union; Ordering; Pitfalls; Politics; Polls; Press conference; Price; Schedule; Secretary; Setup; Sister; State Central Committee; State campaign; Strange; Union; Women's chair

Subjects: Brothers; Cost; Counties; Deals; Engagements; Experience; Kentuckians; Morning; People; Politicians; Publicity; Running; Somerset (Ky.); Speech; Time; Twins; Washington (D.C.)

00:27:58 - Strategy of 1960 campaign / Women's vote

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Partial Transcript: What was the strategy of the '60 campaign?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey explains the main strategy of Cooper's 1960 Senatorial campaign. Humphrey also talks of how the campaign approached getting women's votes in Kentucky.

Keywords: 1960 Senatorial campaign; Acquired; Anti-Catholic; Apology; Appealing; Aspects; Bad; Broad; Campaign; Campaign finance; Committee; Contributions; Crowded; Deceased; Eastern Kentucky; Enjoyed; Friends; Fundraising group; Gain; Great; Henry Clay Estate; In-charge; Inherited; Introductions; Issues; John F. Kennedy; John Sherman Cooper; Kickoff speech; List; Lost; Microphone; Mothering; National committee; Not authorized; Opening; Phone call; Politics; Power struggles; President; Psychological; Rain; Republican Party debts; Republicans; Sincerity; Single; Standard; Statement; Stories; Strong; Style; Thruston Morton; Unconnected; Young Republicans

Subjects: Cabinet; Charm; Debt; Kentucky; Mail; Manchester (Ky.); Meeting; Paragraphs; Patronage; Politicians; Self-esteem; Speech; Storytellers; Successful; Thinking; Travel; Understanding

00:38:33 - Emphasis of 1960 campaign / Winning the 1960 race

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Partial Transcript: What did you try to emphasize?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey articulates the primary emphasis of Cooper's 1960 Senatorial campaign. Humphrey recalls what it felt like after Cooper won the election.

Keywords: 1960 Senatorial campaign; Busy; Campaign program; Candidate; Decided; Details; Election; Emphasis; Friends; Full term; Headquarters; John Sherman Cooper; John Y. Brown; Keen Johnson; Letdown; Opponent; Petty; Phone calls; Pleased; Politics; Reports; Strange; Strong; Tired; Well-known; Widow; Won

Subjects: Absentee voting; Ashland (Ky.); Kentucky; People; Politicians; Pressure; Views; Voting

00:42:19 - Return to Washington, D.C.

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Partial Transcript: What was it like then returning to the Senate office in, in, uh, '60, after the, after the campaign? What was the feeling in the office then?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey details what it was like to work at Senator Cooper's office after the 1960 election win.

Keywords: Administrative assistance; Administrator; Background; Boy; Candidate; Car; Cigar; Constituents; Daughter; Desk; Expectations; Foreign; Forgot; Hard; Important; John Sherman Cooper; Killed; Large; Leaving; Lee White; Loved; Memo; Method; Moving; Not qualified; Now; Office; Political; Republican headquarters; Running for office; Senator; Sides; Stayed; Then; Thruston Morton; Together; Treatment; Voters; Wanted; Wife; Winning campaigns

Subjects: Barbourville (Ky.); Business; Explanation; Facts; Good; Kentucky; Management; Meeting; Mother; People; Planning; Politicians; Staff; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Washington (D.C.); Work

00:47:33 - Strange visitors to the office / Cooper's habits

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Partial Transcript: Did you get a feeling for the Senators that Senator Cooper was closest to during this period?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey discusses some of the more interesting visitors that came to Cooper's Washington, D.C. office. Humphrey also characterizes some of Cooper's work habits.

Keywords: Angry; Apartment; Background noise; Bar; Bartender; Blame; Breakdown; Bus fare; Busy; Car; Cash; Central Kentucky; Closed; Code; Constituents; Crazy; Crisis; Delay; Dentist; Dictation; Dinner parties; Driving; Enjoyed; Family; Fast; First floor; Front door; Georgetown (Washington, D.C.); Grease; Great; Groups; Gym; Hard; Haughty; Help; House; Idea; Industrialist; Insecure; Interesting; Issue; Jane Barkley; John Sherman Cooper; Late; Less; Liked; Long distance; Loved; Luncheon; Military installation; Nervous; Office; Pencil; Phone calls; Pocket; Prescott Bush; Problems; Reaction; Reception; Relax; Reverend; Rotation; Saturdays; Schedule; Serviceman; Slow; Stop; Strange people; Street; Suit; Talking; Telephone; Tooth; Trip; Typical; U.S. Ambassador to India; Vague; Visitors; Wife; World War II; Worried

Subjects: Christmas; Cleaning; Connecticut; Death; Death threats; Experience; Glasses; Good; Hats; Holidays; Home; India; Indians; Interruptions; Kentuckians; Mail; Meetings; New England; Notes; People; Police; Politicians; Purple; Reading; Shorthand; Speech; Swimming; Thanksgiving; Thinking; Walking; Washington (D.C.); Work; World War, 1939-1945

00:59:47 - Cooper's social life / Cooper and the press

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Partial Transcript: What about his social life in Washington, that was pretty active too, wasn't it?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey talks of Cooper's social life in Washington, D.C. Humphrey also discusses Cooper's often fractured relationship with the press.

Keywords: Adored; Background; Best-dressed; Bias; Broadcasting company; Christian; Confidential; Congressional directory; Constituents; Desk; Destroyed; Different; Enjoyed; Ethics committee; Fight; Funny; Georgetown, Washington (D.C.); Indian reservation; Interesting; John Sherman Cooper; Kennedys; Leak; Lorraine Cooper; Made; Marked; Mind; Newspaper; Nice; Office; Phone; Phone call; Relax; Richard Harwood; Second guessing; Slanted; Source; Stance; Story; Talking; Time Magazine; Unkind; Unknown; Vacation; Warren Commission; Wife; Woodward & Bernstein

Subjects: Article; Awe; Change; Explanation; Gossip; India; Indians; Journalists; Kentuckians; Learning; Louisville (Ky.); Missionaries; Native Americans; Philosophy; Politicians; Press; Social; Understanding; United States. Department of State; Washington (D.C.); Worry

01:05:05 - 1966 campaign / Cooper's personal life

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Partial Transcript: Now, you worked in the '66 campaign too, right?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey briefly talks of Cooper's 1966 Senatorial campaign. Humphrey also highlights how Cooper's campaigns in the 1950s were affected by his having been married twice.

Keywords: 1966 Senatorial campaign; Aired; Amazed; Attention to detail; Bible Belt; Campaign; Campaigns; Cigarette holder; Co-chairman; Complaints; Different; District; Divorced; Entertained; Expectations; Federal employee; Finances; Friends; Good friends; Hidden costs; House; Increasing; Interesting; Internal Revenue Service; Issue; John Sherman Cooper; Kept up; Levi Jackson State Park (Ky.); Lorraine Cooper; Marriages; Meticulous; Moonlighting; National; Office; Opponents; Practical; Quit; Rough; Senate; Son; Stories; Towns; Trips; Typing; Weekend; Well-off; Wife

Subjects: Children; Gentleman; Home; Integrity; Kentuckians; Kentucky; London (Ky.); Maine; Marriage; Money; People; Politicians; Salaries; Satisfaction; Smoking; Society; Speech; Staff; Tea; Travel; Washington (D.C.); Wealth; Wives; Women; Work; World War II

01:12:54 - Leaving Cooper's office / Lorraine Cooper

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Partial Transcript: After the '66 election, Cooper announced soon after that that he wasn't gonna run again...

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey explains what prompted her to quit her position as a receptionist at Cooper's D.C. office in 1967. Humphrey describes Cooper's second wife, Lorraine.

Keywords: Afternoon; Airplane; Attractive; Bachelor; Background; Chairman; Cute; Dalai Lama; Decorating; Different; Eastern Kentucky; Enjoyed; Expense; Family; Fed up; Fond; Foreign embassies; Front desk; Front page; Gatherings; Gesture; Goodwill; Guest list; Hints; House; Interested; Interesting; Interruptions; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky newspapers; Late Bloomers; Lifestyle; Lorraine Cooper; Loved; Mailing list; Mixed reviews; Moonlighting; Newspaper column; Not detrimental; Not released; Not substantive; Not well; Office; Old; Old men; Opinions; Other side; Parasol; Party coordinating business; Patron; Places; Played up; Politics; References; Refused; Return; Salon; Senate; Skin conditions; Society column; State park; Takeover; Thrilled; Tired; Unaware; Unhappy

Subjects: Art; Article; Ashland Oil & Refining Company; Brothers; Career; Children; Friend; Good; Gossip columnists; Home; Homework; Interior design; Kentucky; Learning; Mail; Man; Marriage; Mother; Mountains; Parties; People; Politicians; Sun; Tea; United States. Department of State; Washington (D.C.); Wives; Work

01:20:56 - Office environment

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Partial Transcript: He was not an easy person, by any matter of means, to work for.

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey characterizes Cooper's D.C. office and its environment.

Keywords: Accepted; Class; Committee; Congress; Copies; Cringe; Demands; Democrat; Details; Difficult; Dropped; Easier; File; Filing; Flunked; Follow through; Funny; Hours; Illiterate; Interesting; John Sherman Cooper; Legislate; Legislative Research Committee; Not easy; Off-the-wall; Office; Others; Priceless; Problems; Rare; Relationship; Republican; Requests; Same party; Senate; Senators; Shocked; Strange; Talking; Terms; Worst; Yelling

Subjects: Administration; Blind dates; Change; Children; Education; Federal government; Frankfort (Ky.); Gentleman; Gophers; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Letter; Letter writing; Luck; Politicians; Press; Prestige; Staff; State governments; Teacher; Typos; Washington (D.C.)

01:25:21 - Thurston Morton's and Cooper's staffs / Absentee voting

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Partial Transcript: How did the staffs get along between Morton and Cooper?

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey talks of the relationship between the staffs of Thurston Morton and Cooper in Washington, D.C. Additionally, Humphrey highlights the challenges and alienation of absentee voting in Kentucky.

Keywords: Anti-Catholic; Ballot; Campaigns; Candidate; Case workers; Cohesive; Debauchery; Democrats; Disapproved; Factions; Got along; Image; Impartial; Jealous; John Sherman Cooper; Louie B. Nunn; Office; Open letter; Private; Reflection; Refused; Republican; Republican primary; Republicans; Talking; Thruston Morton; Touchy; Unsure; Upset; Vote

Subjects: Absentee voting; Conservative; Credit; Criticism; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Liberal; Politicians; Press; Staff; Tactics; Time; Voting; Washington (D.C.); Work

01:29:36 - Cooper and governorship / Cooper's ties to Somerset, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: He'd given me the letter to--when he decided to officially turn down running for the governorship.

Segment Synopsis: Humphrey explains why Cooper decided not to accept a nomination to run for governor in Kentucky. Cooper's ties to Somerset are detailed.

Keywords: Beecher Hotel (Somerset, Ky.); Buying; Close; Different; Family; Fascinating; Friends; Governor; Governorship; Group; Guaranteed; John Sherman Cooper; Legal residence; Paths; Roots; Talking; Traffic; Turndown; Typewriter; Wanted

Subjects: Building; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1819-1901); Diversity; Greed; Home; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Letter; Marriage; Mother; Nostalgic; People; Politicians; Somerset (Ky.); True