Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Thomas D. Clark, February 10, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. I think we're set, you can check every once in a while if you want to.

SMOOT: Okay. Dr. Clark, let me begin by asking you a little bit about the early background of the Medical Center's development here at the University of Kentucky, because it had been talked about for many years--

CLARK: --yes--

SMOOT: --as something that, uh, people wanted to develop at the University of Kentucky. What are your earliest recollections of the developmental stages?

CLARK: It, sometime in the late 1920s, old President, uh, Cherry, of Western Kentucky University, went before a legislature and proposed establishing a medical school at Western and that just sent Dr. McVey right up to the ceiling when that happened. McVey never had money enough to run the university as it was, but he certainly wasn't going 00:01:00to stand by and see, uh, legislature make the error of putting a medical school down at, uh, Bowling Green. That just about sunk the University of Kentucky.


CLARK: The legislature I'm sure was not in a mood to finance a medical school either. The university, after the death of Dr. Holmes, had employed, uh, John Sharpe Chambers as student health, to, to head up the Department of Hygiene and student health which, as you know, was both a, a teaching department and, uh, a health department. Chambers began examining these students that came in here, especially those that came from Eastern Kentucky, and found that large numbers of them had 00:02:00a pretty high infestation of intestinal, uh, parasites or worms. I, I remember talking to him back in those days about what a, what a shame it was that so much human energy in this state was being sapped by parasites. I don't know whether they were hookworms. I doubt it. I think it was more a tapeworm type-intestinal worms, whatever they were. He prevailed on Dr. McVey to do something about that. And sometime in 1929, I believe--I'd have to go back and check--maybe, maybe it started as early as 1928, prevailed on Dr. McVey to allow him to make 00:03:00a survey that would lead to, uh, the establishment eventually of a medical school. They employed Harry Lynn to do the, uh, surveying. Harry Lynn I think is still alive in Louisville. They, they made that survey and published a little pamphlet. Have you seen it?

SMOOT: Yes, I have.

CLARK: And I don't know the date on that, I think it's around 1930.

SMOOT: Thirty-one, I think.

CLARK: So, knew it was somewhere back in there. And that, as far as I know, that was the, uh, beginning of the hatching of the germ of medical school. Once that survey was made, Chambers pursued that hotly. You'd 00:04:00have to know a little something about Chambers; he, uh, had come here to school. He was from down in Western Kentucky, I don't remember the town that he was from. His wife was from Paducah. Chambers had played football. He was red-headed and he was a bulldog. Once he got a hold of something, all hell couldn't make him turn loose. (Smoot laughs) He, uh, was one of the stubbornest men I think I have ever known, just as, just determined and stubborn. Well, he, he got a hold of this medical school idea and he never let up from the time they started with this until they established the medical school itself. He was right 00:05:00in the forefront of the fight. He was red-headed, a rather blocky man. He and his wife were very hospitable. When, uh, I lived neighbor to him, and we saw them three or four times a week for a long, long time. As a matter of fact, when Chambers, uh, went out here on the Russell Cave Pike and bought a track of land, he tried to persuade us to buy half of it and build along side of him. Well, the, one of the luckiest things I ever did was not to do that, because he was a kind of man, was hard to get along with, just frankly. And owning a piece of property in that close, uh, community relationship meant I would have had nothing but trouble because Chambers wanted to do a lot of things 00:06:00his way. Well, Chambers was more than ambitious. That's not quite what I want to say. I'd say Chambers had far more ambition than his average colleague. He was, uh, I think, a progressive, forward-looking man. He didn't quite have the personality to, uh, get all of that done. As long as McVey was president of the university, Chambers had a very, uh, had very good support from the administration. He was very close to McVey and made certain that he stayed close to him, uh, be it said. We were all members of the Old Book Thieves Club and Chambers enjoyed that thoroughly, but you know, he was hard of hearing 00:07:00a, uh, almost a characteristic pose of his was with his hand up to his ear, trying to hear what was going on. He not only was ambitious for, as far as establishing a medical school was concerned, he had a scholarly inclination, he wanted to be a scholar and he worked at it. He published a book called The Conquest of Cholera, which, uh, is a reasonably good book. It isn't the best book that could have ever been published, but it's a better book than you would have thought it might be. He had it in his head, back there in the early 1930s, that he and I would do a history of the Transylvania Medical School and we sat 00:08:00over at the Lexington Public Library and over at Transylvania, we took notes, hundreds of notes, and without telling me anything about it, without having any indication, he just suddenly dropped it. I always wondered where those notes went to. Certainly I didn't get any of them, he kept them all.


CLARK: Uh, in the forties, when Donovan became president of the university, Chambers got his outs with Donovan and, uh, out, with, with Martin--J.W. Martin--and, uh, Leo Chamberlain. The reason for that, well, there were several reasons for that. First of all, Chambers had 00:09:00been lining up support. He lined up, uh, Guy Huguelet through his very close friendship with William H. Townsend. He had full access to Guy. Guy and Townsend had been law partners. And Guy was president of the Greyhound--Southeastern Greyhound, and was also a member of the board of trustees of the university. (coughs) Well, he, uh, he lined up Guy. I don't know to what extent Guy went along with all of this, but certainly, uh, Chambers counted on him. He also lined up, uh--I always have trouble with this, uh, with these names, either Headley or, uh, what was the other contractor's name, uh?


SMOOT: Mason?

CLARK: Mason. Silas Mason. He, he got, had a contact there and had support. He also got an inroad into Happy Chandler and was working on Happy. One day I had something wrong, uh, just some minor thing, but it was very painful whatever it was, and I had to go up to the clinic to get something done about it. And when I got in, Chambers, uh, was not, couldn't have been less concerned about what was wrong with me. (Smoot laughs) He, uh, started talking to me about, uh, the medical school and what sons of bitches Chamberlain, Donovan and Martin were. They had practically by that time, taken it away from him. They had, uh, they had made serious inroads on him and he was, he was--that red 00:11:00hair and that hot temper, he was ready to cut them down to size. Uh, someway or other, they never, I think I'm right, they never reconciled their differences, but, uh, Chambers did keep his hand in it, how deep I've never been able to fully understand, but he did keep his hand in. And when the thing got into politics finally, uh, the, uh, Chandler, you know, you know better than I do, got the thing started, got his name plastered on it, but actually the money for the, uh, school, the 00:12:00final appropriation came in the Combs' administration. And, uh, there was a great deal of discussion about taking the name of Chandler off and calling it the University of Kentucky Medical School, but finally, I think largely because of Combs, they left the name on. But when they began the organization of the medical faculty, the, the matter was left pretty much in Chamberlain's hand. Chamberlain did the scouting around. They brought, uh, Bill Willard here and he began the organizational process. They brought two or three other men at the same time and they began actually organizing and that spread over two administrations--over the Donovan closing years, of the Donovan 00:13:00administration, and the years of the Dickey administration. And all this time, Chambers was here and Chambers, uh, was quite active and had visibility in all of it, but it was, uh, sort of a crosswise visibility as far the administration was concerned. Now, I've given you just a, uh, uh, outsider's view of this. I was not in-, involved in any of this. I was simply a bystander, but I knew Chambers real well. Uh, Chambers was a very sensitive man, extremely sensitive. When he got the manuscript for his Conquest of Cholera finished, he brought it 00:14:00to me to read and it wasn't hard to find some things that needed, uh, correction, needed some modification. I read it very meticulously, very carefully, took notes, he came down to my house and we sat down to go over it. And I said, now, I've made some notes that I think would help you a little bit. I knew I had to work with him very tactfully. (Birdwhistell laughs) When I got out my first note and showed him something, without saying anything he just grabbed up the manuscript and ran on home. (Smoot laughs) Uh, he was a very sensitive man.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: And high temper, he was just both. He and Bill Townsend, they were just like that. The Chambers and the Townsends were together all the time--Sunday dinners--everywhere they went, they went together. 00:15:00They went up to Michigan to, somewhere around Petoskey, each summer the Chambers and the Townsends and all their children were up there. Townsend only had the one daughter. They had a falling out. Chambers had a great big, old dog named Griff, a great big German Shepherd and Griff was into everything. And Griff got in a bed of poison oak and came in and, uh, jumped all over everybody--(Smoot and Birdwhistell laugh)--and gave Townsend's daughter a bad case of poison oak and that caused a bust up of those families. (Smoot laughs) And they became, uh, where they'd been just bosom friends, they became bitter enemies after that. Chambers, just standing off looking at it from 00:16:00the outside, my conclusion would be that the germ of the medical school was hatched in Chambers' mind, with, a, with, coming out of the medical needs of these students that came here to university. And he nurtured that germ with bulldog determination. Now, I haven't seen the record, I don't actually know what he had to do with the passage of the legislation. He did have the ear of Chandler. Now, who, who made that deal with Chandler to put his name on the medical school, whether it was the administration, whether it was Guy Huguelet and the board of trustees or whether it was Huguelet plus Chambers, plus Mason--Silas 00:17:00Mason--if that, I am talking about the right person, I don't know. But somebody appealed to Chandler's vanity and it got the initial legislation. But as I understand it, the real financial push came in the Combs administration. When Combs got the three percent sales tax passed, he was able to come up with some money to finance the, uh, establishment of a, a medical school.

SMOOT: Your perspective as an outsider is important I think in understanding that not everybody on campus was in favor of the establishment of a medical school.

CLARK: By no manner of means. Uh, you can understand why. It's hard for people living in the university now to understand what a really 00:18:00rugged experience we had in the period of the Great Depression. They hadn't paid salaries, they cut salaries, uh, the university almost reached a static condition had it not been for the, uh, WPA and the PWA and, uh, the demands of the New Deal, the university would have been in very bad condition. We, uh, came down to World War II, outbreak of World War II, simply a straightened university, financially support-wise. And you can understand why a professor who was just 00:19:00barely scraping by, just barely making ends meet, teaching extension courses and doing everything he could to make ends meet, would not favor bringing in a medical school, because the university didn't have resources to do that. And to establish a medical school they predicted would rob--and it did--rob the rest of the university funds. I remember somewhere hearing, back there, that, uh, they could establish and run a medical school for nine to eleven million dollars. Well, lord goodness! They never laid the first brick for that. And the thing happened that everybody thought would happen. The medical school was established. It might has well have been put in China as far as 00:20:00relationships between the, the, uh, faculty, the general faculty, and the medical school was concerned. They lived in two different worlds.

SMOOT: There was an effort, uh, at least an expressed effort on the part of some of the people in the Medical Center to try not to let that happen.

CLARK: Yeah.

SMOOT: Uh, they wanted to maintain certain relationships with the main campus, with faculty and staff on this side of campus as they were building their own.

CLARK: And I think they did something on that way. Bill Willard was a friendly man and he, uh, he and his wife entered into the faculty and so did Howard Bost and his wife and the little Italian--I can't think of his name.

SMOOT: Ed Pellegrino?

CLARK: Yes, was very much into the faculty. Uh, I think they did their 00:21:00part maybe.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who on the faculty over here was most against the medical school? Are there people you could identify there?

CLARK: I doubt that I could.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. What about someone like Scherago, was he involved?

CLARK: Now, once they, excuse me. Now, once you get into that area-- (Smoot laughs)--that opened up a pretty hot--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did I get ahead of your account? (laughs)

CLARK: That opened up a pretty hot argument. Because Scherago and Weaver had established a, a good department of bacteriology and they were very jealous of the reputation of that department. And you know when the survey of graduate schools was made in nineteen, oh, I think in 1965 or '66 somewhere back there, there were only two departments on the campus that got mentioned favorably in that survey and one of them 00:22:00was bacteriology. And when the medical school came in, it laid hands on two departments, physiology. Now, physiology was in a less strong position than bacteriology, and the other was, uh, uh, bacteriology. Then, uh, a third department became involved in that, botany. In the organization of that general department of, of sciences, all of us, there was both love and hate that developed in the bacteriology situation. If Scherago had had his way--and the poor fellow is still alive, but he's just a vegetable--if he'd had his way there would have been no medical school, certainly there would have been no invasion of the bacteriology department. And he had a point. It was one 00:23:00department in the university that had, uh, attracted national attention and to go and tear it up was a pretty horrible thing. Although, it's said Morris Scherago supported Jack Oswald; he was all for Oswald till he got his guts ripped out. And that was another of mine, Weaver, whatever Scherago thought, Weaver thought because they were just like, they, they were the gold dust twins.

BIRDWHISTELL: If I could just follow up on that, what was the attitude within the history department itself towards the medical school?

CLARK: We were so ignorant of medical education that, uh, we were skittish about support, whether or not, uh, it would rob us, but there was no antagonism on, on my part and I don't think my colleagues.


SMOOT: I think that, uh, you might, you might agree that, uh, one person at least had some knowledge of what was involved with the development of the medical school, Dr. Cone, because he had worked, uh, on a manuscript on the development of the medical school at the University of Iowa as one of his first jobs after his, uh, PhD work.

CLARK: Might have, but you know, you're telling me something that I don't know.

SMOOT: I see.

CLARK: If Cone, had any part in it--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --it was a typical Cone. (Smoot and Birdwhistell laugh) You didn't know it. (Smoot and Birdwhistell laugh) And I frankly don't, don't recall anything about Cone.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: He might have been. Cone got into a lot of things.

SMOOT: Let me step back and ask you a little bit about the, the leadership that was coming in. You, you've touched on Bill Willard, Ed Pellegrino and some of the other people that were involved with the campus at large, but what were your impressions of the leadership abilities and, and of the team of, of administrators and academicians 00:25:00that were being brought in for the Medical Center?

CLARK: Well, I thought Bill Willard, I believe I'm right, is not a medical doctor. Isn't he in public health or ---------??

SMOOT: He has an M.D. and a doctorate in public health.

CLARK: Does he have?

SMOOT: Yes, sir.

CLARK: I knew that he came here out of the public health field, I believe. My impression of Bill Willard was that he was quite, in quite contrast to Davison at Duke. I was at Duke University when the Duke Medical School was being built and opened. And Davison, Dean Davison, was a very aggressive man, was the kind of man--he had a lot of Chambers in him, they, they were very much alike--but Davison was a far abler man. Davison was highly visible, but he was visible as an 00:26:00aggressive, uh, uh, dedicated to medicine, with the old Johns Hopkins, the old, uh, Welch ideals in medicine. In the case of Willard, Willard was visible, but in a very, uh, mild sort of a way. Uh, he, I don't recall ever looking on Bill Willard as offensive, aggressively offensive or anything of that sort. He worked rather quietly. Um, Pellegrino w-, seemed to have been a very efficient man and a, a very highly intelligent man. And he attracted attention and favorable attention. He was very highly regarded. Howard Bost was a quiet man. Uh, how-, I don't know how much Howard, Howard was a functionary, I 00:27:00think, you can put it that way--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --in the formation of the medical school and in the organization of the administrative staff. Now, the, once they began bringing in medical professors, I knew none of them. I, they were just, I, I couldn't even tell you their names.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: But, uh, they abso-, I never heard of them having anything to do with the faculty. However, I did have one comical thing happen to me. We went to the faculty reception once and they had all sorts of university people there and I got caught off in the corner with a medical professor's wife. I talked to her a little bit and I discovered that, hell, this was Anna Roosevelt I'm talking to. (Smoot laughs) Her husband was a professor of medicine here and Anna was off 00:28:00in one corner and what an evening that, that was! She was, she, we sat and talked. I wish I could go back now and ask her some questions after I've read a little more. But I don't think Anna ever mixed much in the faculty, nor did they stay very long, but, uh, there was another aspect. There was opposition on the part of the doctors in town and Chambers didn't help that out much. Chambers had stirred up some of the doctors. I suppose he had the support of some of them, but some of them opposed the location of the medical school, for various reasons I think and I, I wouldn't pretend to know, beyond the fact that they 00:29:00doubted the state would adequately support a first rate medical school.

SMOOT: What about opposition from the University of Louisville?

CLARK: One of the saddest mistakes made in this state was made in this period. And I can only tell you what I heard as a bystander. There was a definite effort made to get the University of Louisville to turn over to the University of Kentucky, the Louisville Medical School and go with that basis. Now, there was opposition inside to that idea. There was both support and opposition. The s-, the opposition from the university's point of view was that the University of Louisville Medical School had a poor reputation and there was a great liability 00:30:00at starting with a medical school that had a poor reputation. It might take you forever to erase that. Now, that was one of the areas. I was told later that the real dog in the creek was the opposition of Philip Davidson and Archie Cochran, they didn't want, and whatever Archie Cochran thought, Philip Davidson thought and that that was the basis of the University of Louisville resisting coming into the university system. The University of Louisville was a poor institution, all the way around. What, whatever, there was not any part of it, that I know anything about, that, uh, you could say was tip-top in a, measured by 00:31:00the standards of a real, true university. There was, of course, uh, opposition generated from various old, traditional sources. Rural legislators opposed to anything that came out of Louisville, there was that; there was, uh, the medical fraternity in Louisville, who served as professors on the University of Louisville medical faculty were opposed to it. There, it was a complex thing, all sorts of opposition around. And I suppose, I, I'm sure I don't know this ground, I, but 00:32:00I'm reasonably sure that there was opposition on the part of Lexington doctors to University of Louisville doctors because these Lexington doctors, for the most part, had gotten their education outside the state and they held the Louisville doctors in less than high esteem.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: There were all kinds of things that got mixed up in this.

SMOOT: Um-hm. Let me step back and ask you another question about Dr. Chambers and, and the way he operated because you said he was very stubborn and he would stay after--

CLARK: --oh, yeah--

SMOOT: --whatever he decided to take upon himself to, to, uh, to achieve. He became involved in the early stages with, uh, what became, what came to be called, the Kentucky Medical Foundation--

CLARK: --um-hm.

SMOOT: --which was, uh, an effort to organize statewide support for the establishment of a medical school.

CLARK: I think, uh, Guy Huguelet was one of them.

SMOOT: That's right.


CLARK: Oh, I have trouble with these names. Silas Mason or Hal Price Headley, but I rather think it was Mason--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --uh, was one of them. There were some doctors.

SMOOT: Francis Massie.

CLARK: Yes, that's quite true, Dr. Massie.

SMOOT: Uh, Coleman Johnston?

CLARK: Maybe Ed Ray?


CLARK: Maybe, maybe Ed was in it. But there was some, many people here, like Thornton Scott for instance, and, uh, oh, Lexing-, Dr. Fred Rankin.


CLARK: I don't think they had his support. And whatever Rankin thought, the other doctors went along with it pretty much.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: I never heard that Chambers and Dr. Fred Rankin had any association. They may have. I guess they knew each other.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: But I, I would judge, just guessing, that that's about all that 00:34:00amounted to.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: If it amounted to that much.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: As you know, World War II came on and Rankin became deeply involved in military medicine. But I, I mentioned Thornton Scott; of course the louder voice was, uh, Dr. John Scott, the father of, uh, Thornton and Caroline Scott. I'm not sure that, uh, Farris Van Meter went along; I'm reasonably certain he didn't, because you notice the medical school never did, uh, call on Farris Van Meter for anything. And that sort of hurt his pride.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: He was my physician.

SMOOT: Did you s-, did you think that the state was giving adequate 00:35:00support to the establishment of a medical school, a medical center?

CLARK: (laughs) The state of Kentucky never gave adequate support to nothing--educationally, no.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: No, I don't think it did.

SMOOT: Was that--

CLARK: --I think it was just tokenness. (??)

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: Certainly that's about all you can say for the Chandler period. Combs did a little better. And once they got going, other administrations were just about forced to give it money. I have no idea how much it costs to run the medical school now, but certainly back in those poor wheelbarrow days of dreaming, if, if, uh, somebody had come along and said, this is what it's going to cost you, it would 00:36:00have killed them off at the, at the stump.

SMOOT: I had heard a story once where, uh, Governor Chandler had, that this was long after his governorship in the fifties, uh, had met with other Democratic leaders--former governors in the state--and had, uh, been singing the praise of his Medical Center--

CLARK: --yeah--

SMOOT: --the one that bears his name, he's very proud of it. Uh, and somebody objected to the fact that he even started the Medical Center and in fact said that, uh, it had started much earlier than that.

CLARK: Yeah.

SMOOT: Uh, efforts had at least started; commissions had been established, uh, to start it.

CLARK: Well, that's true, that's true.

SMOOT: Do you think that--

CLARK: --that, that goes all the back, as I've told you earlier, the, the, the idea of the thing goes all the way back to the 1929, '30--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --period. It was a very timid little germ, but nevertheless 00:37:00there was, uh, an inception, an idea inception.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: Now, I would dare say, that, uh, that would not hold water historically. Uh.

SMOOT: Could--

CLARK: --so, how, you must remember that when you talk about Chandler in relationship to other governors, you're talking about lions and tigers, because if there ever was a man that was persona non grata with his Democratic colleagues, it was Chandler. Chandler might have had the, uh, sort of soapy, fraternal relationship with Louie Nunn, but he certainly didn't have it with Combs and Clements, Ford, Breathitt and 00:38:00Wetherby certainly. And I presided over a meeting in which all those old governors were present but Happy and, uh, it, while we were waiting for the crowd to settle down and we were standing back talking, well, they were, they lowered the boom on Happy. And I imagine every time they got together they did. I've been, on a lot of occasions, every time we've published the papers, Happy's never been present at the publication of the papers of the governor. So, uh, his saying anything about establishing the medical school would just be waving a red flag in their faces. As I said a moment ago, there was one point they considered taking the name off the medical school and Combs, uh, Combs 00:39:00was a moderate person and they cautioned against that.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Would Dickey have had anything to say about that?

CLARK: No. Um, Frank Dickey was as nice a human being--is as nice a human feeing--as you'll ever want to see. But he was a very mild, uh, very, uh, gentle sort of person, thrown into a, a cage of wild animals that were grasping everything that they could, uh, lay their hands on. And one of the most aggressive was Chandler. Uh, this is just a private, uh, uh, almost don't dare say this on tape, but I am going to say it and I hope it'll be treated as confidential. I am convinced 00:40:00that the big thing that caused Frank Dickey to resign, and I have a little more reason than just hearsay on it--was the fact that Happy was barging into the university money.


CLARK: And I was on the board of trustees when the, uh, medical school was, uh, I believe it was the hospital that was dedicated and in that, that morning when, uh--just before the dedication --I don't recall there was anything said about Chambers in that discussion, but, uh, did come up a discussion of policies of the medical school and of policies of the hospital. And old Dr. Hall from up at, at Paintsville, isn't it? Paintsville or Prestonsburg one, raised a question which has been 00:41:00the burden of the hospital--and I think anybody with common sense would have known it was going to be--but I'm not concerned about the hospital as a teaching facility, I want to know what you're going to do for my patients. Well, that, that was a cue right there that the university hospital was going to become largely a, a facility for Eastern Kentucky, more so than Central Kentucky. But there is some, there's some interesting tie there. The thing that had, uh, generated the idea in the first place was the heavy infestation of Eastern Kentucky students with parasites. There's, uh, maybe you'd say irony; I suppose that you'd say it was irony, but that was, but, but, but that came up. 00:42:00And I was very much impressed by that. I said to myself, uh--

[Pause in recording.]

CLARK: There were three doctors on the board--four--Ralph Angelucci, Herschel Murray and old Dr. Hall and the extremely nice man from down in Fulton, Kentucky and I can't think of his name right now. I had a letter from his daughter the other day. Uh, he is retired. He's still living. Tho-, those, uh, as I recall, those were the four doctors on the board and they were present that morning when they were discussing the policies of the operating of the, uh, hospital, which extensively 00:43:00was created as a teaching facility, but, it turned into, just again on the outside looking in, it turned in largely, turned largely to, uh, a charity hospital almost for Eastern Kentucky.

SMOOT: Um-hm. Looking back on the development of the Medical Center and what, has transpired over the many years, do you think that Kentucky really needed to established another medical school or should perhaps something have been done to just upgrade the medical school at the University of Louisville?

CLARK: If, I'll answer that in two, approach that from two points of view. If, and a historian has no business using the word if, but I'll use at here--(Smoot and Birdwhistell laugh)--and rap myself on the 00:44:00knuckles probably, if the University of Louisville Medical School could have been delivered, wrapped nicely in cellophane, without any other strings tied to it, if it cou-, said, here is a basic medical school, you the Commonwealth of Kentucky take it over and develop it into a first rate medical school for the entire state of Kentucky, without any holds in Louisville or Lexington or any one central place, if it could have been objectively created, a tip-top good medical school, free of all of its past and free of all of its bondages, that would 00:45:00have been the most intelligent, thing to do. I th-, I know nothing about this; I, I would reason though, that, uh, with proper support and proper management, the school could have overcome its image. I, I don't think any school is so badly sunk that it can't be redeemed with proper management. Memories would be short in that respect. But it would have had to have been delivered without any ties or any other conditions than just here it is. I'll make another approach to that, that couldn't, that couldn't be done; it wasn't done. And I think 00:46:00the university and the state were wise in making a fresh start, but that put a tremendous burden on the Commonwealth and on the university because it had to prove that it could give better support, or they had to prove, that they could give better support to a medical school than the University of Louisville and the city of Louisville had given. They had to prove that they could, uh, create a magnificent teaching institution, at the same time, uh, carry this burden of state charitable medicine along with it. And that is the thing I think the state has never fully done, has never fully met that, uh, challenge and it, uh, it started out with a very rosy promise and I frankly 00:47:00don't know what its status is now, I don't have any idea. But anytime you start something as big as a medical school, with as much, uh, uh, publicity and as much internal discussion, that broom's going to sweep pretty clean for the first years anyway, and I think it did. Uh, I don't know how well it's matured. I know nothing about that. Uh, yes, your question was, could the state afford two medical schools? Under the conditions that prevailed then, yes, but under the conditions that prevail now, we have an all together different, we come at this 00:48:00from an all together different perspective and, uh, one of the great problems in Kentucky history has been that its, its institutional division, institutional, uh, scattering of institutional resources and institutional efforts and you're doing that in medicine. I don't know what the communication is between the, uh, two schools, I know that, uh, there has been a terrific commotion over the dental school. Now, I wrote the history of Indiana University and they had only one medical school. They took over an old proprietary school and worked up from that and did very, so very successfully. They didn't do it without 00:49:00problems; they had real problems--some of them personnel, some of them, uh, financial, some of them, uh, professional bickering, but, uh, they did establish a good medical school. There's no reason why Kentucky couldn't do the same thing, except Kentucky has never been willing to concentrate all of its limited resources in, the d-, do a great deal of talking about excellence, but they have never been willing to concentrate its resources in developing one good institution. That's one of the big issues facing this state right now. Are you going to have one good university? Are you going to have eight mediocre institutions?

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: And are you going to have one good medical school? Are you going 00:50:00to have two less than excellent medical schools? Uh, I realize that I'm a fair greenhorn venturing on this, but the, I think one of the big questions was whether clinical material would be available. I don't believe that's an issue, is it? I, I think now that I, I don't recall hearing about it in the last few years. But that was a question that was raised. And I suppose that's raised in the founding of any medical school.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you think the medical school has had the positive influence on the university, that people said it, it would, in terms of promoting research and promoting, uh, just, uh, higher academic standards on campus?

CLARK: Well, on the first, I'd say that yes, it's had a definite impact on the university. It created an island that, uh, was better supported 00:51:00and better staffed maybe, better equipped than had ever been true of any division of the university before. That's as a standard. Now, as to whether it brought in, it brought, sure, it brought in research, uh, support for the medical school, but for the rest of the university, I don't know.


CLARK: Maybe for those, maybe for some of the departments like chemistry and, uh, these combined sciences of bacteriology and physiology. I believe there is no physiology anymore, is there? And that sort of thing. But yes, it did have an impact. But generally speaking, from the liberal arts point of view, it had only a moderate impact.



CLARK: But that would be, that's a judgment answer.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. But I think that there were people here at the university who felt that UK couldn't be a great university without a medical school.

CLARK: Yeah. That, that was, oh, that was mentioned over and over. It, it, uh, and remember, it is the University of Kentucky and, uh, to allow some one element of the making of a complete university to slip away would have been pretty disastrous.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: It would have bobtailed it. That, uh, and that is curious, this is a complete university and Indiana University, I was dealing there with a separate university, with Purdue with all of the technical 00:53:00training, with Indiana denied, uh, engineering and agriculture and the, and the associated things that went along with it. And, uh, Indiana with a business school for instance, Purdue with an agrial business. You, you never could make a complete university in that situation. The University of Mississippi was in the same situation. Uh, the University of North Carolina--

BIRDWHISTELL: --and South Carolina I think is--

CLARK: --yeah, quite true, quite true. You have Georgia, Geor-, University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. I think there are about eight or nine--


CLARK: --uh, separate universities in the country.

SMOOT: Um-hm.


CLARK: But, uh, the University of Kentucky had a lot riding on this medical school, more than just turning out a bunch of doctors and 00:54:00nurses; it had, uh, its prestige was riding.

SMOOT: Perhaps you have already touched upon this at some point, but mentioning, uh, Indiana University reminds me of one of its former presidents, Elvis Stahr, who was the dean of the College of Law here at the University of Kentucky.

CLARK: Yes, he was one of my first students. (all laugh) I had a letter from him last week.

SMOOT: Huh. And I was curious, you, uh, during the--

CLARK: Now, Elvis played some kind of a role in this.

SMOOT: That's right.

CLARK: And, uh, they used Elvis, I believe I'm right, they used Elvis, uh, pretty much, as their legal technician and Elvis was as hard a political animal and he could, he impressed people. And they used him to get around. But, uh, basically, he was their legal touchstone in all of this. And I do recall that he was active in that.


SMOOT: There was also a question that he might become president of the university following Herman Donovan.

CLARK: Oh, lord, I've heard that a million times--(Birdwhistell laughs)- -yeah, yeah. I think at one time Elvis was very ambitious to be president of the university and ha-, that didn't take place. He went away to Pittsburgh. Well, I believe he went to Washington first--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --and then to Pittsburgh and to West Virginia, to the Office of Secretary of War and then to, uh, Indiana University--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --then back to the Audubon Society. And now, he wrote me the other day on stationery of a law firm there in Washington.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: Elvis, uh--(laughs)--he got a full taste of administering a university with a medical school at Indiana. A medical school that 00:56:00I had a colleague here who became a very prominent man in American education, Logan Wilson. Logan and I became very close friends and I remember we had lunch every day together. One day he said, "I won't be back with you, I'm going down to, uh, Tulane, they've invited me to come down there and talk to me about being dean of Sophie Newcomb," came back and we were standing in the cafeteria line and he said, "They've offered me the job of dean of Sophie Newcomb and they assured me I could continue my research." And I said, "Logan, they're damn liars--(Smoot and Birdwhistell laugh)--you can't do that." And he didn't. (Smoot and Birdwhistell laugh) He went down and took the job and later, as you know, how--became president of the University of Texas. (clears throat) Well, I went up, I went up to a meeting at 00:57:00Princeton University and Logan was there. After the meeting was over, he and I rode back to Philadelphia together and got to talking and he said, "You know, I'm going home. I've got the biggest mess." He had a university of medicine at Austin, one at Galveston I believe, and there may have been a third one. And looking out the window he said, "If I were going to take the devil a present, I'd take him a medical school." (all laugh) A medical school just ain't a normal academic institution. It involves just so many complex things and the faculty here wasn't fully equipped to, uh, conditioned to understand all of that.


BIRDWHISTELL: Plus they started building all those buildings out on Dean Cooper's farm, didn't they?

CLARK: Oh, when they touched that farm, that wasn't the first time though that that emotion came up. The, uh, that, that emotion was stirred earlier and had largely been, uh, solved by the time the medical school came. When the GIs came back, the university acquired- -over here at this Charleston, uh, Depot, Arsenal or whatever that was and up at Camp Atterbury--those little, old two family fabricated units. Well, they couldn't come in here with those things. They brought two at a time on a truck--long bed truck. And they couldn't just set them down anywhere; they had to have someplace to set them down. And they went out on the edge of the farm and established, uh, 00:59:00Cooperstown, appealing to the old man's, uh, vanity. Well, the city had undertaken to appeal to it by cutting a road through called Cooper Drive, but he wouldn't give in on that. (Birdwhistell laughs) Well, anyway, they just about ran over him. Chamberlain and Donovan and Joe Freeman--Joe Freeman is still living ov-, around here--went out to look around where they were going to put those GI houses. And everywhere they located, Joe Freeman would step up and say, uh, "You can't put that there, that's a plat that's been there seventy-five years and we're got a record on it and destroy that record." Donovan didn't know fully who Joe Freeman was and he said to Chamberlain, "Who is this damn fellow?" And Leo said, "Mr. President, that's your farm manager, 01:00:00that's the manager of this farm out here." And Donovan, being a very hot tempered and impetuous Irishman, said, "He'd better keep his mouth shut or he's going to be managing some other farm." (all laugh) But that emotion, at least the initial phases of it--

BIRDWHISTELL: --was already--

CLARK: --had already been--

BIRDWHISTELL: --I guess they were lucky to have that much space out there to expand.

CLARK: Right. Even though it breaks your heart to see them tear all that land up--


CLARK: --the university would have been sunk without it.


CLARK: And back in those days they're having a great deal of discussion- -I'm sorry about this--I, I was chairman of the, uh, committee of fifteen and we discussed a great many things about the university of the future and tried to discuss everything that we could anticipate. And one of the issues that came up is where are you going to put this 01:01:00in-, this influx of students? Where, just where will you, uh, how will you operate them? You can't do it with the conventional, traditional, little buildings. That's out of the question. Well, when they brought that, uh, finally that plan for the future physical plan they tried to answer that by going up, in both dormitories and office facility here. And I don't think that's been successful in either case. Indiana University tried the same thing and had all kinds of elevator trouble and all kinds of other troubles with it. But, uh, one of the remarks that came up, and I think maybe appears in one of those reports, that we'll get so many students on the campus that the roadways and 01:02:00sidewalks will be inadequate to handle them. Well, all you've got to do is drive out Rose Street here at class change and you understand what they were talking about, that came true. Well, it was inevitable, just inevitable, that they'd cut into the farm. That's the only, place they had to go.


CLARK: Donovan, I think, had made a serious mistake. He had, uh, permitted being a good Carmelites; he had permitted the, uh, Disciples of Christ, the College of the Bible, to purchase this, uh, old, uh, Miller property. Uh, what's, Pralltown--not Pralltown, but what's that called? Mount Milling (??) or whatever that is across there, they, he, he permitted them to purchase that, which I think was a sad mistake.

SMOOT: Um-hm. There was some talk of--

CLARK: --the medical school might have been put there.


SMOOT: There was some talk also, I, I suppose a lot of it came from 01:03:00Dr. Chambers, of, of a large tract of land that was available between Nicholasville, what is now Nicholasville Road and Tates Creek, and building some sort of large medical complex, taking, uh, uh, the medical ce-, school and the new hospital and doctors' offices and it would almost be like a boulevard of medicine.

CLARK: Well, that, uh, you mean the university land or purchased land?

SMOOT: It would, la-, it would be land that the university would have had to have purchased.

CLARK: I suspect he was talking about either the tract where the Baptist Hospital is--

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: --that doesn't go all the way back, that's shallow--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --I, I think he was talking about the tract of land where I live, the Tahoma Road, Shady Lane--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --uh, Glendover--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --property, in there, that goes all the way from the, the Nicholasville Pike to Tates Creek Pike.

SMOOT: Um-hm. He wanted to purchase that land and of course, nothing really came of that. Thought that the land around, uh, well, the farm 01:04:00in fact was, was inadequate--

CLARK: --um-hm--

SMOOT: --as far as its size limitation.

CLARK: There were no, no limitations on Chamber's dreams. (Smoot and Birdwhistell laugh) Yeah, I, I, that I can be positive--(laughs)--about.

SMOOT: Yes, sir.

CLARK: Yeah. I, I have been, I'm not informed on this, they named the Student Health Center out here for Chambers, which was appropriate. I believe they, his portrait is in the medical school and sometimes, back in those days, in connection with the medical school, I heard some talk of his being the father of the medical school. And he, he rightly deserves much of that praise, because had it not been for this red- headed, dogged determination that germ might have simply been wiped out. 01:05:00I, I don't know, uh, once they got underway once they actually began laying brick and hiring professors, that was not Chambers' pot of tea. He would have had a row going from here to Asia over that, but, uh, but he, he's not to be ignored in this. I'll speak up a good word for him.

SMOOT: Should we pause, here?

BIRDWHISTELL: That's all I have.

SMOOT: Well, I could go on for quite some time, I think that uh.

CLARK: Let's have one more. I'm just curious to see what you have on my mind.

SMOOT: Curious to see what I have--(laughs)--on my mind? Okay.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you mean do another session?

CLARK: No, just one question. Go on ahead.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just one more question, okay.

SMOOT: All right. You've mentioned the, um, gentlemen who were involved 01:06:00on the board of trustees--

CLARK: --um-hm--

SMOOT: --with the medical center, Ralph Angelucci for example--

CLARK: --um-hm--

SMOOT: --who was very prominent in the community as well as medical circles--

CLARK: Neurosurgeon, yes.

SMOOT: Yes, and Doctors Murray, Hall and the gentleman from Fulton, of course.

CLARK: That was all.

SMOOT: Uh, how well did they represent the medical school's development and growth within the university circles?

CLARK: Well, Hall and Murray represented Eastern Kentucky.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: Uh, Murray practiced in Wes-, West Liberty, in Morgan County.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: And Hall, I believe in Paintsville.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: I, I su-, think I'm right about that. And I think he's still living in Paintsville. Murray's dead. Murray, you know, died in an accident on the Kentucky River.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: And Doctor, I almost called his name, from down in Fulton--


SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --represented the Western Kentucky area.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: The appointments to the board of trustees were largely political appointments.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: And I suppose they represented about as much of the political areas of this state as they did the medical--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --areas. They might, they almost had to have some political connection to get appointed to the board of trustees.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: They served under the Combs' administration. Ralph Angelucci, as you know, was here some time.


CLARK: He was here before Combs and was here after Combs. And then- -(laughs)--I wouldn't want him to say this; he suddenly disappeared completely from the scene--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --and should have. (Birdwhistell laughs)


SMOOT: But you, have noted here that a lo-, a lot of the interests were from Eastern Kentucky and part of the discussion that was taking place on the development of the Medical Center, that this was going to be a medical school, a medical center for the--

CLARK: --um-hm--

SMOOT: --the whole state.

CLARK: Yeah.

SMOOT: Yet it seems that much of the emphasis was turned towards Eastern Kentucky.

CLARK: Yeah.

SMOOT: Part of the concern that Chambers had had, had been for the--

CLARK: --yeah--

SMOOT: --students coming from Eastern Kentucky.

CLARK: That's right.

SMOOT: Has the University of Kentucky's Medical Center or Medical School ignored the needs of the other parts of the state in favor of Eastern Kentucky?

CLARK: This is a very hard state, geographically, politically, emotionally, culturally, economically, maybe by any criteria, this is a hard state to say, this represents a hundred and twenty diverse counties, scattered over highly diverse topography. It's very hard to- -Lexington is the focal point of Appalachian Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, 01:09:00and the Bluegrass. Louisville is the focal point of central cluster-- Bowling Green, Western Kentucky, now Murray I suppose--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --is very similar. But it was old man Cherry who scared the daylights out of McVey. That's not hearsay. I knew President McVey quite well--

SMOOT: --um-hm--

CLARK: --and every time Cherry would mention it, Chambers would, would stir the old man up over it. (Birdwhistell laughs)

SMOOT: You also mentioned the fact that so many of these appointments to the board of trustees, naturally enough, were, were political in nature.

CLARK: Right.

SMOOT: How about the politics that were involved perhaps in, in Governor Chandler's support of the University of Kentucky Medical School in the first place? He had never received a great deal of support from Louisville and--

CLARK: --no--

SMOOT: --his, uh, his, uh, political opponent, Governor Wetherby, was 01:10:00from Louisville--


SMOOT: --and a graduate of the University of Louisville. Was there anything to that?

CLARK: Well, well, you're right in the assumption that Happy was banking on Eastern Kentucky.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: I don't think there was any doubt about that. I don't think there's any doubt but what the, uh, Lenny McLaughlin for instance, and Michael Brown and, uh, maybe Wilson Wyatt, but Wilson Wyatt--I might be wrong in injecting him in this because he was a moderate person. Uh, Combs was moderate, as far as that goes, but there were political forces in Louisville that did less than erect a golden statue to Chandler. And Archie Cochran might have been one of them. And, 01:11:00and then there were others there. There was a great tussle in this period to control Louisville--or to, not necessarily to control it, but to have the people who controlled it throw their support one-way or the other. And, there's, uh, Combs, you know, I believe I'm right in saying it, Combs didn't carry Louisville the second time around, uh, Wyatt did, by a good majority. Happy, Louisville was not Happy's hometown, ever for all sorts of reasons.

SMOOT: Um-hm.

CLARK: One, uh, in that, I, I won't go into that, but I started to mention this Woodland convention out here. He, at that time he did have 01:12:00the support of Miss Lenny and Michael Brown and all of them. There's a little fog over that question. I expect I'd better stop here and--

SMOOT: Thank you very much.

CLARK: --get going. It's-

[End of interview.]