Interview with Thomas D. Clark, January 21, 1987

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:19 - University of Kentucky President Frank Dickey

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Partial Transcript: Well, just to s--to get, get started this morning, we talked last time about the Dickey years, uh, and you told about the, uh, the search for Oswald and his being brought in here.

Segment Synopsis: Thomas D. Clark talks about Frank Dickey's ability as president of the University of Kentucky. He talks about the problems Dickey faced, including political pressure and the issue of desegregation of athletic teams.

Keywords: Adolph Rupp; Changes; Desegregation; Dr. Frank Dickey; Governor Happy Chandler; Interference; Personality; Political pressure; Pressures; Problems; Transition period

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College environment; College integration; College presidents; Kentucky--Politics and government; Politicians--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.

00:06:24 - President John Oswald--Appointment as president

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Partial Transcript: Well I, I think I told you last time that, uh, when I first got word that Frank was going to resign I went to his office and talked to him.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about how John Oswald was selected as president of the University of Kentucky after Dickey's resignation. He talks about Oswald's attitude toward the university when he came to UK.

Keywords: California; Committee of Fifteen report; Dr. John Oswald; Governor Bert T. Combs; History; Personality; Political interference; Research; Resignation; Search process; Steve Diachun

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College administrators--Selection and appointment.; College presidents; Kentucky--Politics and government; Universities and colleges--Administration.

00:11:20 - President John Oswald--Decision to replace Clark as chairman of the History Department and the Press Committee

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Partial Transcript: Now Jack, I took him down and introduced him to Fred Wachs of the Lexington Leader.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about Oswald's mishandling of several situations, and says that he believes that many of Oswald's actions would have been more easily accepted if his attitude were different. He talks about Oswald's dismissal of several faculty members, including his own dismissal as chairman of the History Department and the Press Committee, and discusses his feelings about the situation.

Keywords: A. D. Albright; Bruce Denbo; Bud Cochran; Changes; Curriculum; Dr. Carl Cone; Dr. John Oswald; Fred Wachs; Head of department; History department; Influence; Investigations; Lexington Herald Leader; Mores; Press Committee chairman; Press consortium; Resignation; Rude; Social climate; University Press

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College department heads; College presidents; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Curricula.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Public relations; University of Kentucky. Department of History; University of Kentucky. Press

00:22:38 - President John Oswald--Followers

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Partial Transcript: Oswald was tinkered with by faculty members.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about some of the people who agreed with and followed Oswald, as well as those who influenced him.

Keywords: A. D. Albright; Bud Cochran; Casey County (Ky.); Clark Kerr; Curriculum; Doug Schwartz; Dr. John Oswald; Dr. Stanley Zyzniewski; Frank Peterson; History department; Influence; Paul Nagel; Personality

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Social conditions; Kentucky--Politics and government; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Curricula.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky. Department of History

00:28:50 - President John Oswald--Dismissal of faculty members

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, Jack would do such -------?? things, like, uh, dismissing Cecil har--Carpenter.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks more about Oswald's dismissal of faculty members and gives his opinion on the mishandling of the situation.

Keywords: Attitudes; Conservative; Dean Cecil Carpenter; Dean Martin White; Dr. John Oswald; Fired; Firing; Lyman Ginger; Mishandling; Past; Professor Herbert Riley

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College department heads; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.

00:32:03 - President John Oswald--Relationship with his wife Rose

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever get a chance to know him well enough to, to, to try and find out what it was about him personally that may have made him feel that way about the past?

Segment Synopsis: Clark tells a story about John Oswald's wife Rose calling him to ask him to recommend a speech writer for John. He talks about Rose's personality and her relationship with her husband.

Keywords: Demanding; Illness; Maxwell Place; Personality; Professor Holman Hamilton; Role; Rosanel Oswald; Rose Oswald; Rudeness; Speech writing; Speeches

Subjects: College administrators; College presidents; College presidents' spouses; College presidents--Dwellings; Universities and colleges--Administration.

00:37:03 - President John Oswald--Accomplishments

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Partial Transcript: We had--what could you do?

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about some of the things Oswald accomplished during his presidency at UK, including the success of the community college system.
[An interruption in taping occurs during this segment.]

Keywords: Accomplishments; Changes; Dr. Frank Dickey; Dr. John Oswald; Personality; Regional universities; Success; Successors

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College presidents; Universities and colleges--Administration.; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:42:03 - Improving the quality of university faculty

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Partial Transcript: The ones I talked to had a thorough dislike for him.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about the need to improve the quality of the university faculty after World War II. He talks about how the library and university press contributed to a better faculty. He talks about why he chose to focus mainly on American history due to a lack of resources, and discusses attitudes in the history department about his decision.

Keywords: Abilities; American History Association; American history; Attitudes; Department chairman; Discipline; Dr. Carl Cone; Dr. John Oswald; Head of department; History department; Improvements; Indiana University; Investigations; Paul Nagel; Post-World War II; Press consortium; Public service; Quality; Resources; Scholars; Successors; University Press

Subjects: Academic libraries.; College administrators; College department heads; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Rating of.; College teachers--Selection and appointment.; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Training of.; College teaching.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky. Department of History

00:54:52 - Retirement

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Partial Transcript: So then after, after this low point then you did go to Indiana for the year.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about returning to the University of Kentucky for one year after his work in Indiana in order to qualify for his retirement. He talks about how he was treated during his last year, and talks about the regrets he had about how he had spent his time throughout his career.

Keywords: "Kentucky, Land of Contrast"; Demonstrations; Dr. John Oswald; Fired; Governor Louie B. Nunn; History department; Involvement; Leaving; Legacy; Receptions; Regrets; Retirement; Sacrifices; Sadness; State archives; Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA–CREF); Treatment

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Pensions; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Kentucky--Politics and government; Politicians--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky. Department of History

01:02:02 - Support for research

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Partial Transcript: But I guess now that, uh--you know, we'll skip ahead then to now.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about the Spindletop Research Farm and the University of Kentucky Research Foundation, and discusses the level of administrative support they received.

Keywords: Actions; Dr. John Oswald; Earl Wallace; Funding; Haggin Fund; Historians; History department; Spindletop Research Farm; Support; University of Kentucky Research Foundation (UKRF)

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College presidents; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky. Department of History

01:05:13 - Writing "History of Indiana University"

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Partial Transcript: It's kind of ironic too, Dr. Clark, that you would leave the university to write the history of Indiana University when, when you'd been at this university so long.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about teaching at Indiana University and giving speeches across the state. He talks about his relationship with Governor Roger Branigin. He talks about being contacted by Elvis Stahr to write a history of Indiana University.

Keywords: "History of Indiana University"; Distinguished professorship; Distinguished service professorship; Elvis Stahr; Governor Roger Branigin; History of the University of Kentucky; Speeches; Wife

Subjects: Authorship.; College teachers as authors.; College teachers--Selection and appointment.; College teaching.; Educators; Historiography.; Indiana University; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--History; Universities and colleges--Research

01:12:07 - Writing "History of Indiana University"--Gaining access to records

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Partial Transcript: So I went up and started two research assistants.

Segment Synopsis: Clark talks about beginning his research on Indiana University. He discusses being denied access to some of the records at Indiana University and how he gained permission to them. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Access; Archivists; Athletics department; Bernie Clayton; Herman Wells; Kinsey Institute; Permission; Records; Relationships; University archives; Volumes

Subjects: Authorship.; College environment; College teachers as authors.; Historiography.; Indiana University; Universities and colleges--History; Universities and colleges--Research