Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Alice B. Blanton, October 30, 2008

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Childhood at the distillery

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Partial Transcript: My name is Tom Troland and today we are interviewing Alice Bacon Blanton who is the niece of Albert Bacon Blanton.

Segment Synopsis: Alice Blanton is introduced. She talks about her father, James Bacon Blanton. She talks about her childhood memories of the George T. Stagg Distillery (now called Buffalo Trace), including learning to roller skate on the property. She talks about the workers she remembers there during Prohibition and their means of transportation to the distillery.

Keywords: Commuting; Driving; Employees; Fathers; George T. Stagg Distillery; James Bacon Blanton; Lumber milling; Model T; Repeal; Roller skating; Streetcars; Workers

Subjects: Buffalo Trace Distillery.; Childhood; Distilleries--Kentucky; Frankfort (Ky.); Prohibition.; Transportation--Kentucky

00:05:52 - Family home

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit about the house where you lived.

Segment Synopsis: Blanton describes her family home and the people who lived there when she was a child. She talks about the many beech trees that were once on the property.

Keywords: "Beeches"; Beech trees; Great grandfathers; Houses; Land grants; Property; Relatives; Rooms

Subjects: Families.; Genealogy.

00:09:32 - Her parents

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit about your parents.

Segment Synopsis: Blanton describes her mother and father and their personalities. She tells stories about her parents, including how she learned the truth about Santa Claus. She also talks about her sister.

Keywords: Burglaries; Complaints; Fathers; Head of household; Honorable; Husbands; Life lessons; Mothers; Parents; Personality; Schools; Sisters; Teaching; Tennis; Thanksgiving; Truth; World War II

Subjects: Families.

00:18:54 - Uncle Albert B. Blanton

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Partial Transcript: Now there was, uh, someone else living, of course, in that house when you were very young, namely Albert B. Blanton of, uh, bourbon fame.

Segment Synopsis: Blanton talks about her uncle, Albert B. Blanton, former president of the distillery now called Buffalo Trace. She talks about his personality, his feelings on being called "Colonel Blanton," and her memory of him moving into an apartment at the distillery.

Keywords: Albert B. Blanton; Apartments; Aunt Betsy; Bachelors; Butter; Colonel Blanton; Mr. Rosensteel; Personality; Publicity; Schools; Teachers; Town; Uncles

Subjects: Distillers.; Families.; Frankfort (Ky.).

00:23:53 - More on the distillery

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Partial Transcript: By that time obviously he had been working at the distillery for some time.

Segment Synopsis: Blanton talks about how the city of Frankfort was affected by the end of Prohibition and the revival of bourbon distilleries in the area. She talks more about her childhood memories of the distillery.

Keywords: Albert B. Blanton; Church; Employees; Employment; Groceries; Mac Miller; Married; Ministers; Owners; Renaissance

Subjects: Buffalo Trace Distillery.; Distilleries--Kentucky; Distillers.; Frankfort (Ky.).; Prohibition.; Whiskey industry--Kentucky

00:30:52 - Studying mathematics in college

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Partial Transcript: Where did you go to college?

Segment Synopsis: Blanton discusses why she chose to study mathematics in college, how she was treated as the only female student in her classes, and how she has used her degree in her life since graduation.

Keywords: Accounting; Calculus; Dr. Cohen; Fathers; Mathematics; Percentages; Professors

Subjects: College students--Social conditions; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.

00:34:01 - The distillery during World War II

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Partial Transcript: Uh, you said that you knew, uh, uh, some of the members of the Johnson family.

Segment Synopsis: Blanton talks about the Johnson family, and how several of the family members have worked at the distillery over the years. She talks about her memories of World War II, including rolling bandages for the Red Cross.

Keywords: Bandages; Bridge (card game); Customers; Employees; J. B. Blanton Company; Jimmy Johnson, Sr.; Johnson family; Men; Red Cross; World War II

Subjects: Childhood; Distilleries--Kentucky; World War, 1939-1945--Women

00:37:42 - Albert Blanton's parties

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever develop a taste for bourbon yourself?

Segment Synopsis: Blanton says that she was too young to attend her Uncle Albert Blanton's parties, but did attend many family dinners during which his cooking skills were displayed.

Keywords: Bourbon whiskey; Cooking; Entertaining; Family dinners; Parties

Subjects: Distillers.; Families.

00:40:43 - Working for her father

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Partial Transcript: I have a question about the--your dad's company.

Segment Synopsis: Blanton talks about how her father's businesses were started, and talks about working for him as a bookkeeper after finishing college. She talks about how her father's businesses survived the Great Depression.

Keywords: Bookkeeping; Fathers; Great Depression; Influence; James Bacon Blanton; Kentucky River; Mothers; Plaster mills; Quarries; Riverboats; Sand; Surveyors; Working; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Subjects: Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Employment--Kentucky; Families.

00:45:06 - Stories of her grandfather

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else you'd like to say that I haven't asked you?

Segment Synopsis: Blanton talks about how her grandfather became involved in the bourbon business after first serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Albert B. Blanton; Bourbon business; Confederate Army; Confederate bonds; Gold rush; Grandfathers

Subjects: Buffalo Trace Distillery.; Distillers.; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.; Whiskey industry--Kentucky