Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Charles G. Talbert, February 10, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:19 - Background--Family life and early schooling

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Dr. Talbert, I, I thought today we'd just--we'd begin by talking about, uh, your coming to the university the first time as a student.

Segment Synopsis: Talbert discusses how he lived on a farm very close to Carlisle, Kentucky. During kindergarten through eighth grade, he had classes in one room. Talbert would walk or ride a horse to high school and graduated from Carlisle High School in 1930.

Keywords: Carlisle (Ky.); Early schooling; Farming in Kentucky; Great Depression; One room schoolhouses; Poor; Rural life

Subjects: Farm life--1930-1940; Rural children; Rural schools--Kentucky; Students

00:04:19 - High school years

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Partial Transcript: Now that was a pretty difficult time period for farmers in Kentucky, wasn't it?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about his high school life. He talks about adjusting to the change from middle school to high school, as well as the teachers that he had in high school.

Keywords: Carlisle High School; Kentucky; Poor; Students; Teachers

Subjects: Carlisle (Ky.); High schools; Students; University of Kentucky

00:07:03 - Decision to attend the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: You know, even today, uh, a, a lot of Kentucky schoolchildren don't go to college.

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about his decision to attend college. He talks about how his mother and other family members influenced his decision. Talbert also talks about why he decided to attend the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: Colleges; Dormitories; Families; Gender segregation; Graduates; Lexington (Ky.); Nicholas County (Ky.); Trains; University of Kentucky

Subjects: College choice; College students.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Sexism; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:13:08 - Life at the University of Kentucky during the 1930s

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Partial Transcript: So you, you enrolled over here in the Fall of what year?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert discusses what it was like to attend the University of Kentucky during the 1930s. He also touches on the all-boys dormitories and the fraternities.

Keywords: All boys; Campus; Dormitories; Dormitory life; Education; Family; Fraternities; Fraternities and sororities; Kincaid Hall; Men’s dormitories; Siblings

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Greek letter societies.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:18:52 - College courses and campus jobs

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Partial Transcript: What about, uh, the signing up for your coursework and, and, uh, any part time jobs you may have picked up at that first semester?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert goes on to explain registering for classes and what some of them were like. He also discusses his on-campus job working in the cafeteria.

Keywords: Cafeterias; College courses; College of Education; Dean Paul Boyd; Entry level employment; Part-time jobs; Phi Beta Kappa; Registration; Teaching assistants

Subjects: Campus planning.; College environment; College students--Employment.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:22:20 - College of Education at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about the--your work in the College of Education.

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about many professors he met at the University of Kentucky such as Dean Taylor, Dr. Clay Ross, Dr. Jess Adams, and Dr. Leo Chamberlain. While in college he majored in mathematics with a minor in physics.

Keywords: College of Education; Dean Taylor; Dr. Clay Ross; Dr. Jess Adams; Dr. Leo Chamberlin; Housing; Moses Ligan; Students; Summer schools

Subjects: College teachers.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Evaluation; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Education

00:32:08 - Professors and courses outside of the College of Education

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Partial Transcript: Other than the, uh, professors in the College of Education who were some of the professors that you remember best?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert discusses how much he admired Jay Morton Davis who was very good at teaching math during his time at UK. He talks about his two favorite English teachers, Joe Palmer and Professor Yates.

Keywords: Dr. Downey; Dudley South; English; Freshmen; Jay Morton Davis; Joe Palmer; Mathematics; Placement testing; Professor Yates; Professors; Schooling; Thomas Hardy

Subjects: American Association of University Professors; College teachers.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Mathematics--Study and teaching--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky department of history; University of Kentucky. Department of English

00:42:19 - Mathematics major and Mathematics Department

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Partial Transcript: Why did you choose mathematics as a, as a major?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about the reason he did graduate work in mathematics. He talks about math compared to his other subjects. He also briefly talks about the math department as a whole.

Keywords: American Mathematical Society; Family; Germany; Math Department; Mathematics; Mothers; Overall standings; Schooling

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Families.; Public universities and colleges--Kentucky--Graduate work; Universities and colleges--Curricula; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Department of Mathematics

00:47:48 - Impressions of professors and controversy over evolution

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Partial Transcript: Did you get a sense, uh, as an undergraduate student here that there was good teaching going on?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about the quality of professors in other departments. He discusses how many churches broke up in the 1920s over the evolution controversy, as well as other issues. Dr. McVey wanted to have academic freedom for the students and wanted to make sure that was not taken away. Talbert’s impression of McVey was that he knew what he was doing and was one of the best presidents UK ever had.

Keywords: American Flag Societies; Conservatives; Diaries; Disciples of Christ; Dr. Frank McVey; Evolution controversies; Fundamentalism; Isolationism; KKK; Liberals; Missionaries; Modernists; Professors; Professors at UK; Undergraduates

Subjects: Administrators; College environment; College teachers.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Ku Klux Klan (19th century)--Kentucky--History; Racism; Religion; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

01:01:11 - Impressions of UK president Dr. Frank McVey and Mrs. McVey

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Partial Transcript: Um, you mentioned that, uh, uh, you wished you had gone over to the McVeys' earlier than your senior year.

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about the university president at the time of his attendance, Dr. McVey. He talks about his short encounters with President McVey and what he heard about him. Talbert also talks about what Mrs. McVey was like and how she influenced Dr. McVey.

Keywords: Academic freedom; Dr. Frank McVey; Eleanor Roosevelt; Frances Jewell McVey; League of Women Voters; Tea for wives

Subjects: College administrators; College presidents; College presidents' spouses; College presidents--Dwellings; Education, Higher--Kentucky; School administrators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Presidents--Biography

01:05:50 - Administrators at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What about some of the other administrators at this time, uh, that come to mind?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about various deans on campus. He talks about some of the deans' personalities and the amount of influence they had, as well as their accomplishments.

Keywords: Administrators; Dean Boyd; Dean Cooper; Dean Evans; Dean Taylor; Paul Anderson

Subjects: Academic deans; College administrators; College teachers--Rating of.; Deans (Education)--Kentucky--Biography.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture

01:12:15 - Social life on campus

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Partial Transcript: Just looking back in general over the years you were here as an undergraduate, what about social life?

Segment Synopsis: Talbert discusses some activities that students would get involved in, such as attending basketball and football games and joining a sorority or fraternity. He said he never had time to do that since he wanted to graduate in three years and had a part time job. He also said there was some hazing before he came to college, but you usually did not see much of it.

Keywords: Fraternities; Freshmen; Friends; Hazing; Panhellenic Council; Social life; UK basketball; UK football; Upperclassmen

Subjects: College environment; College sports; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Culture--Aspect social.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Greek letter societies; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

01:15:45 - McVey Hall and dining on campus

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Partial Transcript: You tell, uh, a good story in your history of the university about the, uh, elevator over at McVey Hall going up to the cafeteria.

Segment Synopsis: Talbert goes on to describe McVey Hall and dining on campus in the different cafeterias.

Keywords: Boarding houses; Cafeteria; Faculty clubs; Meals; Milk bars; Student centers; WBKY (Radio station)

Subjects: Boarding schools--Kentucky--Lexington.; College buildings.; College campuses.; College environment; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Food--Costs.; Universities and colleges--Food service.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

01:19:12 - Heart of campus and libraries

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Partial Transcript: Where was the focal point of the campus back then?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about the focal point of campus at the time. Talbert explains there never really has been a center of campus. He then goes on to describe some of the libraries on campus.

Keywords: Administration buildings; Bingham family; Carnegie Library; Departmental libraries; McVey Hall; Post offices

Subjects: Academic libraries--Kentucky.; College buildings.; College environment; College facilities.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky--Buildings.; University of Kentucky. Libraries

01:22:56 - The Great Depression at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: I guess, uh, overall during the time you were here as a student and with the Depression, uh, being, uh, prevalent throughout the country that, uh, uh, it was a difficult time for the university.

Segment Synopsis: Talbert talks about what it was like to attend the University of Kentucky during the Great Depression, and how it affected the university.

Keywords: Great Depression; Louisville (Ky.); Mathematics departments; Payrolls; Poor; Shortage of materials

Subjects: College teachers--Salaries, etc.; Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Teaching; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky