Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Edward F. Prichard, Jr., July 15, 1982

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:38 - Kentucky in the 1920s and 1930s

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Prichard, I thought we would--(coughs)--start off today by talking a little bit about Kentucky and during the late '20s and the early 1930s.

Segment Synopsis: Prichard describes the social and cultural atmosphere of Kentucky in the 1920s and 1930s as strongly influenced by the Civil War, explaining why it has been said that Kentucky "waited until the war was over to secede." Discussing Kentucky in the Great Depression, he explains that the tobacco and farm animal industries performed relatively well during this time, but that most Kentuckians were not landowners, and many had been hurt by the state's coal depression which preceded the Great Depression.

Keywords: Agriculture; Bluegrass region; Churches; Coal depression; Confederates; Economy; Family; Farms; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Great Depression; Horses; Kentucky; Kentucky culture; Religion; The South; Tobacco

Subjects: Border States (U.S. Civil War); Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Great Depression; Southern States; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

00:12:54 - State politics in the 1920s and 1930s--The bipartisan combine

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Partial Transcript: I want to talk a minute about--with you about politics. Um, as you know, Kentucky holds elections every year for one office or another, and Kentuckians seem to be fascinated by, by politics. What do you think this indicates about Kentuckians or about Kentucky society?

Segment Synopsis: Prichard explains that politics in the late 1920s and early 1930s were controlled by a political coalition known as the bipartisan combine. He discusses the role of the bipartisan combine in state elections of the time as well as the influence of the coalition on the state economy.

Keywords: Allie Young; Augustus Owsley Stanley; Ben Johnson; Billy Klair; Bipartisan combine; Coal industry; Confederates; Democratic Party; Edward T. Breathitt; Edwin P. Morrow; Elections; Flem D. Samson; Force Bill; Frank Tracy; Happy Chandler; Henry Cabot Lodge; Horse racing; J. C. W. Beckham; James D. Black; Kentucky culture; Ku Klux Klan; Maurice Galvin; Parimutuel betting; Politics; Prohibition; Republican Party; Ruby Laffoon; Seldon R. Glenn; State legislatures; Taxes; Thomas S. Ray; Tom Ray; William F. Klair; William J. Fields

Subjects: Elections; Political parties.; State governors--Kentucky

00:33:03 - State politics in the 1920s and 1930s--After the bipartisan combine

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Partial Transcript: I don't want to, uh, belabor the point, but I, I guess I do--I, I'm interested now in terms of, uh, when they all split up again after they had been together for, uh, quite a number of elections as a bipartisan combine, they didn't fall out necessarily over political philosophy. Was it just over, over power?

Segment Synopsis: Prichard discusses the disintegration of the bipartisan combine in the early 1930s during Governor Ruby Laffoon's administration, and Kentucky politics in the years following. He discusses the passing of a sales tax during that time and its effect given that it was during the Great Depression, and he discusses the role of the state and federal governments in bringing economic relief to Kentucky.

Keywords: Allie Young; Bank failures; Ben Johnson; Colonel Brennan; Dan Talbott; Economy; Elections; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Fred M. Vinson; Happy Chandler; Jack Howard; Mark Beecham; Michael Joseph Brennan; New Deal; Polk Laffoon; Ruby Laffoon

Subjects: Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Great Depression; Laffoon, Ruby, 1869-1941; Politics.; Sales tax.; State governors--Kentucky

00:49:09 - Chandler's political success

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Partial Transcript: I want to go back a minute to, uh, Happy Chandler again, and, and, of course, it was during this period, right about the time we're talking about, where the political scene was changing, and as a very young man he was becoming very successful in politics both, uh, beginning as a state senator, thirty-one as, uh, lieutenant governor.

Segment Synopsis: Prichard lists some of the reasons for A. B. "Happy" Chandler's success in politics at a young age. He describes the 1935 gubernatorial campaigns, in which Chandler defeated his opponent Thomas Rhea.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Ben Johnson; Bipartisan combine; Parimutuel betting; Ruby Laffoon; Sales taxes; Thomas Rhea

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Politicians.

00:58:30 - Chandler's early governorship

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Prichard, we were, uh, talking earlier, we were almost up to the 1935, uh, campaign, and, um, even though there was a push for the, for the primary law, they wasn't sure whether or not they were going to get it, and they weren't sure if they did who would necessarily be the candidates against the administration candidate who was going to be Tom Rhea.

Segment Synopsis: Prichard describes Chandler's early actions as governor, particularly in picking a team of economic advisors and with their help enacting a set of economic measures known as the "Little New Deal." He tells of Chandler's long-term political ambitions, including securing a seat in the United States Senate, and that possibly to that end he supported Beckham's campaign for senator in 1936. He discusses John Young Brown, Sr., who defeated Beckham in his bid for Senate.

Keywords: Ben Johnson; Clyde Reeves; Dan Talbott; Debts; Huey Long; J. C. W. Beckham; James W. Martin; John Manning; John Young Brown, Sr.; Julian Carroll; Louisville Courier-Journal; Parimutuel betting; Percy Haly; Primary elections; Robert Bingham; Taxes

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Politicians.

01:20:26 - Kentucky and the New Deal

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I wanted--again, talking in this session about the, uh, the effect of New Deal programs on Kentucky as they were coming down from the federal government--

Segment Synopsis: Prichard describes the effect of New Deal programs on Kentucky during the Great Depression, explaining that intervention of this sort from the federal government was necessary and that from then on the dynamic between the federal and state government in Kentucky was forever changed.

Keywords: Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA); Democratic Party; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Public works; Republican Party; Social Security; Welfare; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Subjects: Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Federal government.; Great Depression; New Deal, 1933-1939.; Public welfare.