Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joseph J. Leary, January 30, 1981

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:01:36 - Impact of New Deal programs in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, what I'm going to try to prove or disprove is that you--you know, I've read all kinds of books about the effects of the New Deal on society and econ--economics and so on and so forth. I'm more interested in what the New Deal did to the politics of the state.

Segment Synopsis: Leary talks about the immediate effects of the New Deal programs on the state of Kentucky. He discusses changes in state government divisions over time.

Keywords: A. B. "Happy" Chandler; Frankfort, Kentucky; Paul Elwood Hunley; TVA; Tennessee Valley Authority Act

Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; New Deal, 1933-1939--Kentucky

00:09:14 - Happy Chandler as governor / Kentucky roads

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Partial Transcript: In the first two years or three years of the Chandler--first Chandler administration, um, it was able to accomplish through the reorganization and other things, a remarkable fiscal turn-around.

Segment Synopsis: Leary talks about the first administration of Governor Happy Chandler, and discusses managing Chandler's campaign for his second administration as governor. He talks about the Kentucky Turnpike Authority and the state debt contributions of other governors. Leary talks about the state parks.

Keywords: A.B. Happy Chandler; Alben Barkley; Bert T. Combs; Bluegrass Parkway; Bonds; Campaigns; Edward T. Breathitt; Federal highways; Governor terms; Kentucky Department of Parks; Kentucky Turnpike Authority; Kentucky state debt; Mountain Parkway; Purchase Parkway; Toll roads

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; Kentucky. Governor (1935-1939 : Chandler); Kentucky. Governor (1955-1959 : Chandler)

00:20:24 - President Roosevelt / New Deal supporters in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Do you think that--and I know the federal government spent a lot of money and commodities and relief, money and so forth, in Kentucky. Uh. But do you think it brought about any demographic changes in the way people voted?

Segment Synopsis: Leary talks about changes in voting patterns during Roosevelt's presidency. He discusses politicians who supported the New Deal, especially John L. Lewis and his influence in eastern Kentucky. He talks about President Roosevelt visiting Kentucky. Leary discusses the influence of unions in Kentucky politics.

Keywords: A.B. Happy Chandler; Bodyguards; Coal miners; Harlan County, Kentucky; John L. Lewis; Kentucky Labor Association; Unions; United Mine Workers of America

Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; Labor unions--Political activity--Kentucky.; New Deal, 1933-1939--Kentucky; Party affiliation--Kentucky.

00:34:01 - 1955 gubernatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: Remember, in 1955, Chandler again was fighting all of the ins. Earle Clements came to Louisville. 'Course this was the year Lyndon Johnson had a heart attack.

Segment Synopsis: Leary talks about the relationship of Earle C. Clements and Happy Chandler. He talks about Alben Barkley's speech against Chandler. He discusses other potential candidates for the gubernatorial race in 1955. He discusses choosing Harry Lee Waterfield as lieutenant governor.

Keywords: 1955 gubernatorial campaign; A.B. Happy Chandler; Alben Barkley; Bert Combs; Earle C. Clements; Elections; Governors; Harry Lee Waterfield; John L. Lewis; Labor support; Lieutenant governors; Politicians; Politics; Speeches; Thomas Rhea; United Mine Workers of America

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; Lieutenant governors--Kentucky.

00:49:06 - Happy Chandler's campaigns

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Partial Transcript: More currently, Chandler intended, and this, nobody seems to, to, to give much attention to it, but it's true. Chandler lost his job as Baseball Commissioner.

Segment Synopsis: Leary talks about Chandler's return to Kentucky after serving as commissioner of baseball. He talks about Chandler's endorsement of Lawrence Wetherby and Chandler's aversion to television appearances. He describes Chandler's campaigning techniques. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: A.B. Happy Chandler; Advertisements; Campaigns; Commissioner of baseball; Hotel Henry Watterson, Louisville, Kentucky; Lawrence Wetherby; Politicians; Television; Versailles, Kentucky

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky--Politics and government; Kentucky. Governor (1955-1959 : Chandler)