Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Elizabeth P. Underwood, January 6, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:01:23 - Ruby Laffoon / New Deal in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: But, uh what my--the basis of my thesis is going to be is, is the New Deal in Kentucky. But I have a strong hunch that, uh,the New Deal and its philosophy never made it very far in Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Underwood talks about the development of the New Deal programs in Kentucky. She talks about Ruby Laffoon's campaign and her mother's visit to Laffoon's office when he was governor. She describes banks closing during the Depression and the impact of the New Deal programs.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Democratic Women's Club; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Happy Chandler; Ruby Laffoon; The Great Depression

Subjects: Depressions--1929--Kentucky.; Kentucky. Governor (1931-1935 : Laffoon); New Deal, 1933-1939--Kentucky

00:12:25 - Alben Barkley / the Great Depression

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, about Barkley, why do you think he was so strongly in favor of New Deal?

Segment Synopsis: Underwood talks about Alben Barkley's support for the New Deal. The interviewer talks about Barkley's influence and the politics of western Kentucky. Underwood talks more about how Kentucky was affected by the Depression, especially the financial institutions.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Banks; Farmers Bank of Mayfield; Financial institutions; Liberty Bank; Louisville, Kentucky; Mayfield, Kentucky; New Deal; Western Kentucky

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Depressions--1929--Kentucky.; Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; New Deal, 1933-1939--Kentucky

00:20:53 - Kentucky Senators / the Congressional Club

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Partial Transcript: What about legislators here? I--Virgil Chapman was the, was the Congressman here, wasn't he?

Segment Synopsis: Underwood talks about state representatives of Kentucky. She talks about the appointment of her husband, Thomas R. Underwood, to state senator. She talks about her experiences in the Congressional Club. She describes how other members of the House and Senate and their wives reacted to her being from Kentucky.

Keywords: Congressional club; Eighty-first Congress; John Sherman Cooper; Prejudice; Thomas R. Underwood; Virgil Chapman

Subjects: Congressional Club (Washington, D.C.); Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; Legislators--United States.

00:32:18 - Education in Library Science / Alben W. Barkley papers

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Partial Transcript: What, what exactly was your position at the university library in respect to the Barkley papers, the Barkley collection?

Segment Synopsis: Underwood talks about seeking her master's degree in Library Science at the University of Kentucky. She describes her work with the Alben W. Barkley papers. The interviewer discusses his research using the Happy Chandler papers.

Keywords: Alben W. Barkley papers; Albert B. "Happy" Chandler Collection; Cataloging; Education; Librarians; Political papers; Research; University of Kentucky Libraries; University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; University of Kentucky. Libraries. Division of Special Collections and Archives

00:41:39 - A.B. "Happy" Chandler

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Partial Transcript: Well Happy was always out for Happy, too. I don't know whether you realize that from the--.

Segment Synopsis: Underwood talks about her and her husband's relationship with Happy Chandler. She talks about other Kentucky politicians. Underwood and the interviewer discuss Chandler's career and personality.

Keywords: Careers; Ed Breathitt; Happy Chandler; Jim Martin; John Y. Brown; Mary Chapman; Politicians; Ruby Laffoon; Thomas R. Underwood

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950

00:48:50 - Kentucky politics / Thomas R. Underwood

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Partial Transcript: I think Kentucky politics has changed. It's not the old kind of, uh, Democrat, Republican.

Segment Synopsis: Underwood talks about changes in political party affiliations in Kentucky. She discusses current political scandals in the state. She talks about how politicians are generally perceived. She talks about the start of her husband’s political career.

Keywords: Careers; Committees; Crooked politicians; Democrats; Harris Williams; Newspaper; Political party changes; Republicans; Thomas R. Underwood; Writers

Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; Party affiliation--Kentucky.; Politicians--Kentucky.; Voting--Kentucky.

00:57:56 - More on New Deal in Kentucky / Eleanor Roosevelt

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Partial Transcript: The New Deal in Kentucky, I suppose, is--it's hard for me to decide, because I know that the TVA did a tremendous amount in western Kentucky. And I know that the handouts in eastern Kentucky were essential, because half the coal miners were on--were laid off and so on and so forth.

Segment Synopsis: Underwood talks about the impact of the New Deal in Kentucky and the lack of support for President Roosevelt. She describes Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to Kentucky. Underwood discusses being in Courier Journal articles. The interview is concluded

Keywords: Courier Journal; Eleanor Roosevelt; Great Depression; Newspapers; Thomas R. Underwood; William Jennings Price

Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950; New Deal, 1933-1939--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky.; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945