Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Richard Ernst Cooper, July 7, 1993

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:13 - Cooper's father / Children's education

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit about your--your father, his background.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses his father's early life and career. Cooper talks of the education that his siblings received.

Keywords: Biblical names; Brothers; Coal operators; Collector of Internal Revenue; County judges; Diphtheria; Economic depressions; Economic recessions; England; Fathers; Friendships; Houses; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky College for Women; Law firms; Lumber; Masonic College; Mothers; Mutual friends; Neighbors; Prohibition; Schools; Sisters; Somerset High School (Somerset, Ky.); Superintendent of schools; Timber; Wealth; Whiskey barrels

Subjects: Bell County (Ky.); Business; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Danville (Ky.); Death; Education; Harvard University; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lincoln County (Ky.); Marriage; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Teaching; Tennessee; University of Kentucky; Virginia; Washington and Lee University; Yale University

00:09:32 - Father's death / Finances

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Partial Transcript: . . .He--he died.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper recalls the circumstances surrounding his father's death. Cooper details how difficult it was financially for the family after his father's death.

Keywords: Acreage; Bright's disease; Brothers; Doctors; Don Cooper; Estates; Farmer's National Bank; Fathers; Friends; Hospitals; Inheritance; John Sherman Cooper; Land; Magnolia Beach (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.); Manchester-by-the-Sea (Mass.); Mothers; Sisters; Sons

Subjects: Augusta Military Academy (Va.); Business; Children; Cincinnati (Ohio); Coal mines and mining; Death; Debt; Education; Harvard Law School; Health; Home; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Massachusetts; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Retirement; Somerset (Ky.); Strokes; University of Kentucky; Virginia; Yale University

00:17:39 - Life after father's death / Mother

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Partial Transcript: What's interesting though is, the paper reported where people were. . .

Segment Synopsis: Cooper describes what his life was like after his father passed away. Cooper talks of his mother and her career as a teacher, as well as her family background.

Keywords: Aunts; Brothers; County judges; Elementary schools; Fathers; Grandfathers; Houses; John Sherman Cooper; Lawyers; Mothers; Sisters; Successors; Teaching certificates

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Correspondence schools and courses; Death; Eastern Kentucky University; Education; Holidays; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Marriage; Money; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Retirement; Somerset (Ky.); Students; Teaching; United States Military Academy; University of Kentucky; West Point (N.Y.)

00:23:21 - Early education of children

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Partial Transcript: . . .They--they taught--they actually almost held school at night. . .

Segment Synopsis: Cooper reflects upon the type of education that he and his siblings had as young children and at university. Cooper emphasizes the importance of education to his parents.

Keywords: Aunts; Dean of Students; Elementary schools; Family; Friends; Hamilton College (Lexington, Ky.); Harvey's Hill (Somerset, Ky.); High schools; Husbands; John Sherman Cooper; Private schools; School teachers; Schools; Tutors; University

Subjects: Brothers; Childhood; Children; Education; Examinations; Fathers; Georgetown College (Georgetown, Ky.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Mothers; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Sisters; Somerset (Ky.)

00:31:05 - Siblings' lives

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Partial Transcript: . . .I remember John brought me to town the first--first time.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses his siblings and their adult lives, including marriages and divorces.

Keywords: Alumni; Dances; Dentists; Expenses; Fraternity; Inheritance; John Sherman Cooper; Naval officers; Newspapers; Nursing home administrators; Social workers; U.S. Army; U.S. Navy; War records; World War II

Subjects: Brothers; California; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Children; Death; Divorce; Fathers; Friendship; Honolulu (Hawaii); Husbands; Income; Italy; Japan; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Manila (Philippines); Marriage; Mothers; Philippines; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Siblings; Sisters; Teaching; United States Military Academy; War; West Point (N.Y.); Wisconsin; World War, 1939-1945

00:43:02 - Family and politics / John Sherman Cooper's first county judge race

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Partial Transcript: . . .He ran for the state legislature.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper illustrates the strong political connections in his family, including his uncle and father. Cooper remembers his brother's difficult race for Pulaski County judge in 1929.

Keywords: Brothers; Bull Moose Party; Congressman; Contested elections; County judges; Don C. Edwards; Elections; Family; Fathers; Friends; Funerals; Incumbents; John Sherman Cooper; Judge Adams; Law schools; Lawsuits; Lawyers; Mothers; Political advertisements; Political campaigning; Political campaigns; Political candidates; Political factions; Political opponents; Political rallies; Politics; Republicans; Richard Ernst; Roscoe Conkling; Roscoe Tartar; Senators; Sisters; Teddy Roosevelt; Uncles; Votes

Subjects: Attorneys; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Cincinnati (Ohio); Death; Depositions; Education; Fraud; Judges; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Loans; Marriage; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Roads; Schools; Somerset (Ky.); Speeches; Washington (D.C.)

00:56:28 - John Sherman Cooper's second county judge campaign / Richard Cooper's speech impediment

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Partial Transcript: . . .And--and from 1929 to 1933, Pulaski County had sold some bonds.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper highlights some of the major issues in his brother's re-election campaign for county judge in 1933. Cooper talks of his speech impediment and how it has impacted his life.

Keywords: Brothers; Caldwell Banking Company; Circuit judges; Community colleges; County judges; Doctors; Elections; Great Depression; Handwriting; Jobs; John Sherman Cooper; Judge Adams; Mothers; Newspapers; Officer Candidate School (OCS); Pay; Political campaigns; Political opponents; Political primaries; Relief committee; Relief workers; Republicans; Roscoe Tartar; Salary; Sisters; Speech impediments; Stammers; State officials; Stutters; Uncles; Votes; Wage rates; World War II

Subjects: Bonds; Business; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Death; Depressions--1929; Kentuckians; Kentucky; New Deal, 1933-1939; Politicians; Public speaking; Public works; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Speech; State governments; Tennessee; United States Military Academy; University of Kentucky; West Point (N.Y.); World War, 1939-1945

01:06:25 - Mother's family

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Partial Transcript: They were all smart--all--all of my mother's family.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses his mother's family and some of their accomplishments.

Keywords: Aunts; Brothers; Courthouses; Family; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; John Sherman Cooper; Mothers; Postmistresses; Roscoe Tartar; Sisters; Speech impediments; Uncles

Subjects: Bible; Cancer; Death; Department stores; Dressmakers; Italy; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Magistrate; Mayo Clinic; New York (N.Y.); Paris (France); Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Speech; Travel; University of Kentucky

01:10:59 - Great Depression

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Partial Transcript: . . .In 1933, well--the--is--the banking holiday, I got on the train to go to Fort Benjamin Harrison. . .

Segment Synopsis: Cooper recalls his life during the Great Depression in Pulaski County. Cooper discusses his brother's position as county judge and how he assisted the poor in their county.

Keywords: Brothers; City workers; County judges; Fiscal courts; Forestry camps; Great Depression; Jobs; John Sherman Cooper; Mental exams; Mothers; Movie theaters; Movies; Physical exams; Post offices; Postmasters; Pulaski County Relief Committee; Relief work; Salary; Schools; Social legislation; Social programs; Uncles; Voting records

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Depressions--1929; Education; Federal government; Fort Benjamin Harrison (Ind.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; Liberal; Money; Newspapers; Politicians; Poverty; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Teachers; United States Military Academy; West Point (N.Y.)

01:17:52 - John Sherman Cooper's mental health

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Partial Transcript: He--he apparently had health problems near the end of his term--of his second term as county judge. . .

Segment Synopsis: Cooper discusses his brother's mental health issues due to the stress of being a county judge during the Great Depression. Cooper considers how this experience impacted his brother.

Keywords: Brothers; County clerks; County judges; Cousins; Democrats; Donations; Examinations; Fathers; Governors; John Sherman Cooper; Leave of absence; Money; Mothers; Political campaigns; Relationships; Schools; Treatment; Wife

Subjects: Boston (Mass.); Budgets; Depressions--1929; Early life; Education; Families; Health; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Massachusetts General Hospital; Mental health; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Sickness; Somerset (Ky.); Stigma (Social psychology); Stress; University of Kentucky; Washington (D.C.)

01:32:23 - John Sherman Cooper's campaign style / 1939 gubernatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: And in 1939, he ran his first statewide race--.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper characterizes his brother's campaign style of leaving personal problems of opponents out of the race. Cooper describes his role in his brother's 1939 campaign for governor of Kentucky.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Brothers; John Sherman Cooper; King Swope; Lawrence Wetherby; Political campaigning; Political campaigns; Political candidates; Political opponents; Virgil Chapman

Subjects: Death; Hospitals; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Mental health; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.)

01:37:14 - Life during high school

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Partial Transcript: I was at high school. . .

Segment Synopsis: Cooper reflects upon his life during high school, including a near-death accident that his brother-in-law suffered.

Keywords: Aunts; Brother-in-law; Brothers; Comas; County judges; Courthouses; Horse shows; Horses; Injuries; John Sherman Cooper; Mothers; Near-death accidents; Polo; Salary; Sisters; Somerset High School (Somerset, Ky.); U.S. Army

Subjects: Education; Families.; Fort Sill (Okla.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lawton (Okla.); Oklahoma; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.)

01:43:32 - John Sherman Cooper's personality

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Partial Transcript: Normally, no matter where he went or what he did he had this great capacity.

Segment Synopsis: Cooper describes his brother's outgoing personality, which made him liked by most people he met.

Keywords: Brothers; Character; Charles Taft; Classmates; Dean Acheson; Esquire Magazine; Friends; Fundraising; John Sherman Cooper; Lawyers; Lorraine Cooper; Political campaigns; Presidents; Sisters; Skull and Bones (Yale); U.S. Ambassador to France; Votes; W. Averell Harriman; William Howard Taft

Subjects: Charisma; Cincinnati (Ohio); Death; Friendship; Harvard Law School; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Marriages; New York (N.Y.); Personality; Politicians; Pulaski County (Ky.); Society; Somerset (Ky.); Staff; Virginia; Washington (D.C.); Yale University