Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler, May 28, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Governor Ruby Laffoon leaving Kentucky during Happy Chandler's political career

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Partial Transcript: --Professor Charles P. Roland of the U.K. History Department.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the time when the Governor of Kentucky, Ruby Laffoon, left Kentucky, which affected Chandler's political career.

Keywords: Ashland (Ky.); Biographies; Frankfort (Ky.); Georgetown (Ky.); Governor Laffoon; Governors; Legislatures; Open primary elections; Primary elections; Ruby Laffoon; Senators; Talbot; Versailles (Ky.)

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Laffoon, Ruby, 1869-1941; Law and legislation; Politicians--Kentucky; State governments--Officials and employees; Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Location of the interview: Chandler's home in Versailles (Ky.).
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
00:07:18 - Further details about Governor Laffoon leaving the state of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Governor, uh, you said that, uh, Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Justice called from Pikeville.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his and his associates' discovery that Governor Laffoon had left Kentucky, which may have involved a spy. Chandler claims he received this information from official sources.

Keywords: Governor Laffoon; Justice; Pikeville (Ky.); Private sources; Ruby Laffoon; Special sessions; Spies; Stevenson

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Government and the press.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Laffoon, Ruby, 1869-1941; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; State governments--Officials and employees

00:10:59 - Chandler moving on from the Laffoon administration with the help of supporters

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Partial Transcript: You've told me about, uh, the fact that you had split, uh, irrevocably with the Laffoon administration.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the actions he took following the Laffoon administration's departure from Kentucky. He remembers his supporters in the Kentucky State Senate fondly.

Keywords: Average citizens; Classes; Income taxes; Luxuries; Repeals; Ruby Laffoon; Supporters

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Laffoon, Ruby, 1869-1941; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; State governments--Officials and employees; Taxation--Law and legislation--Kentucky; United States. Congress. House

00:17:00 - Chandler's life-long relationship with politician John Young Brown

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Partial Transcript: I, I--you--I know of course the account. I have your account of the later break with, uh, John Brown--John Y. Brown.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses how he came to know John Young Brown as a child and later as a college student through collegiate sports. He claims that Brown was a habitual gambler on sports games. Chandler then discusses the intersection of their political careers, especially regarding a particular legislation issue regarding a sales tax.

Keywords: Baseball; Centre College; Childhood; Football; Friendships; Gambling; John Y. Brown; John Young Brown; Law schools; Sales taxes; State House of Representatives--Kentucky; State Senate--Kentucky; State government; Transylvania College; Union County (Ky.)

Subjects: Brown, John Young, 1900-1985; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky--Politics and government; Law and legislation; Politicians; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government; State governments; Taxation--Law and legislation--Kentucky

00:22:29 - Chandler's return to politics after leaving his position as Commissioner of Major League Baseball

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Partial Transcript: Governor, I'd like to, uh, talk to you now for awhile about another phase in your career.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his home life as a father and husband during his adult years. He also discusses the phase of his career following his stint as commissioner of Major League Baseball, which involved him returning to politics at the national level.

Keywords: 1951; Centre College; Children; Cincinnati (Ohio); Football coaching; Governor Arnold; Homes; Insurance companies; Investments; Jackie Robinson; Lawyers; Low pay; Major League Baseball (MLB); Millionaires; Money; Poindexter; Prayers; Public officials; U.S. Senate; Versailles (Ky.); Washington, D.C.; Wives

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Politicians' spouses; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:35:27 - Chandler's private financial decisions during his adulthood

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Partial Transcript: Was it at this time that you acquired stock in the security?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler lists the types of investments he made in order to increase his monetary wealth, such as government bonds, stocks, insurance policies, and law cases that he handled.

Keywords: Attorneys; Debts; Government bonds; Insurance; Investments; Kentucky banks; Law clients; Local banks; Real estate; Stockholders; Stocks; Taxes

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

00:41:32 - Chandler's law career

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Partial Transcript: These--this law practice--you say you'd been, uh, this, uh, man's lawyer for forty years.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler recounts several times where his law career intersected with his political career. He also talks about several clients he worked with during his law career.

Keywords: Law clients; Law practices; Sons

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Law and legislation; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical

00:46:16 - [Poor audio quality] 00:57:29 - Chandler's 1955 election victory

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Partial Transcript: You, uh--did you feel confident from the very beginning that you could win in '55?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about issues surrounding his election victory in 1955. He later mentions events surrounding his stint as a member of the board of trustees at the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: "Little judge"; Elections; Political opponents; Political organizers; Republican Party; University trustees; Voters; Votes

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Democratic Party (Ky.); Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Republican Party (Ky.); University of Kentucky; Voting