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Charles T. Wethington UK Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project: C  

This guide will help you find primary source oral history interviews pertaining to the history of the University of Kentucky, faculty and alumni.
Last Updated: Aug 28, 2013 URL: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCOHWethingtonC Print Guide Email Alerts

UK Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project: Ca - T. Clark Print Page
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Annotated Guide to the Charles T. Wethington UK Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project: Ca - T. Clark.

If not available online, audio copies and/or transcripts of the interviews in this project are available in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.

 

92OH160 A/F 498

JOAN C. CALLAHAN

Date:  April 15, 1992

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Bradley Duncan

Length:  1 hours 45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Poor

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Joan C. Callahan is a professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, and she describes her teaching experiences at UK. She talks about teaching nearly 100 undergraduate students in a 300-level professional ethics course, as well as eight students in a graduate level course on moral reasoning. As a professor, her time is equally divided between her undergraduate and graduate students.

In addition to her teaching, Callahan states that she spends nearly 20-30 hours a week on her research, which she focus mostly on reproductive research as well as how institutions compromise professionals. Callahan describes her research methods, and states that she enjoys working for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Callahan explains that she has encountered problems at UK.  One problem is the budget, and the fact that Kentucky is not allocating enough money to the University of Kentucky for faculty and research. Another problem she sees at UK is the lack of racial diversity. She explains that out of a class of eighty students, only two of them were black.  Professor Callahan also would like to see the Commonwealth of Kentucky get more serious about higher education.

 

85OH28 A/F 192

DOROTHY CAMENISCH

Date:  January 30, 1985

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Mike Duff

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Dorothy Cook Camenisch, a home economics county extension agent in Lincoln County, Kentucky, was born in Nicholasville, Kentucky on January 27, 1920. She states that she attended college at the University of Kentucky and graduated in 1940 with a B.S. degree in Vocational Home Economics. She secured a job as a Warren County assistant agent in home economics, and she describes the methods she used in training. She discusses living conditions and her job in rural Lincoln County, where she became a home demonstration agent in 1941.

Camensich explains the differences between the county approach and the area approach and says that most people preferred the county approach; she also explains the council hierarchy from county to area to state. Camenisch then describes how the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture has helped with in-service training. She recounts some stories of her encounters while working with the College of Agriculture Operative Extension Program.  Camenisch also describes her two daughters Caroline and Susan, her son Bernie, and her husband Bernard and how they were all members of 4-H and state project winners. Caroline and Susan are UK graduates.

 

85OH139 A/F 250

O.H. CAMPBELL

Date:  June 18, 1985

Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Interviewer: Mike Duff

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Ollie Howard Campbell, an agricultural cooperative extension agent in Nelson, Logan, and LaRue Counties, was born in Fulton County, Kentucky on March 18, 1917. He attended college at Murray State University from 1935 to 1937; he then transferred to the University of Kentucky and graduated in 1940 with a B.S. in Agriculture. He describes the College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension program, the county-wide and area-wide councils, Farm Bureau, 4-H, and the Southern States Cooperative. Campbell also briefly discusses his relationship with the Red Cross which began while he was prisoner of war in Italy during World War II.

Campbell, a 4-H member since the age of ten, recounts stories of going to 4-H weeks and 4-H camps.  He also explains some of the changes in 4-H over the last fifty years. He compares farming conditions then and now, and talks about sitting in on University of Kentucky classes to stay abreast of new techniques and research. Campbell discusses his various titles and positions among the many organizations with which he was a member. He also talks about his parents, two brothers, wife Sara, and his children.

 

00OH68 A/F 597

FRANK CANNON, JR.  

Date:  March 25, 1997

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Sharon Childs

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript: No

Restrictions: Permission of Sharon Childs Required

 

85OH117 A/F 239

DANA G. CARD

Date:  May 30, 1985

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Mike Duff

Length:  1 hour 20 minutes

Audio Conditions: Excellent

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Dana George Card, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky from 1947 until 1968, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1898. His father was a professor of horticulture who attended Cornell.  Card followed in his father’s footsteps and received his Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Cornell.  He then attended the University of Kentucky where he received his Master’s and doctoral degrees.   Card describes his father’s career as a teacher and as a textbook writer.

Card discusses his 48 years of service in the UK College of Agriculture and the Cooperative Extension Service. He was an extension specialist in agricultural marketing and describes what his job entailed and how he worked with the cooperative. Card also talks about the Tobacco Cooperative and his lack of knowledge about tobacco before coming to Kentucky. He was also a research assistant at UK and describes the work. Card coauthored several publications including Burley: the Adaptable Leaf and What Role Should Government play in our Free Private Enterprise System?

Card then discusses the role for statistics in agriculture and explains how he has helped people using statistics. He talks about the understanding of agricultural forestry as an economic enterprise. He also describes his wife, lists some of the honors and titles he has won, and then discusses his retirement.

 

89OH84 A/F 356

CECIL CARPENTER

Date:  April 4, 1989

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Joseph Massie

Length:  2 hours 15 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Cecil Carpenter, a native Kentuckian and alumnus of the University of Kentucky, was born in Mercer County, Kentucky on February 10, 1904.  He talks about his hometown and his family’s move to Boyle County when he was five.  He describes doing chores around the family farm, and remembers having subscriptions to newspapers and magazines.  He recalls stories about the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, and the Great Depression.

Carpenter attended a one room school house in grade school. In high school, he took subjects such as literature, chemistry, and algebra.  He describes some of the faculty at his high school. His principal was Henry Haggin, and Carpenter explains that Haggin was so adamant that Carpenter attend college, he accompanied Carpenter to Lexington to help him look for a place to live and work.

Carpenter describes his life at the University of Kentucky and some of the people who had a major impact on him here including President Frank McVey.  Carpenter also met his future wife in Lexington while she was attending Transylvania. Carpenter began college majoring in journalism, but explains that he soon switched to commerce. He graduated in 1926 and attended the University of Illinois for his Master’s degree and PhD. Carpenter recounts his subsequent position teaching at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia during the Great Depression. Carpenter eventually moved back to Lexington and returned to the University of Kentucky.

 

89OH87 A/F 357

CECIL CARPENTER

Date:  April 6, 1989

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Joseph Massie

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

In this interview with Cecil Carpenter, he recounts his high school days, and then delves into his college years at the University of Kentucky. He talks about some of the professors that he had in school and recalls observing the way classes were taught at the University of Kentucky.  He describes teaching classes at the University of Illinois. Carpenter also discusses his relationship with the State Banker’s Association and explains how the Kentucky Bankers Seminars began.

Carpenter remembers many important events that occurred during his life, such as the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Great Flood in 1937, the building of Memorial Hall on UK’s campus, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Carpenter then describes some of the changes that came about during World War II. He also lists some of his honors, titles, and boards that he served on.  He talks about positions he held such as administer of the Student Loan Fund. Carpenter then describes some of the presidents at the University of Kentucky from Frank McVey to Thomas Poe Cooper and Herman Donovan, as well as some of the faculty with whom he worked.

Dr. Carpenter repeatedly refers to Dean Edward Weist of the business school, and describes the difficulty they faced in recruiting faculty. He talks briefly about his wife and son; she was a high school teacher but then became a homemaker after the birth of their son. Carpenter finishes the interview by telling where he lived in both Lexington and Jessamine County, and he names and describes some of his neighbors.

 

89OH94 A/F 359

CECIL CARPENTER

Date:  April 13, 1989

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Joseph Massie

Length:  2 hours

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Cecil Carpenter became a member of the University of Kentucky faculty in 1935.  He later succeeded Edward Wiest as the dean of the College of Commerce, which eventually became the College of Business and Economics. Carpenter describes the procedure for selecting a dean under President Herman Donovan, and he explains the hierarchy of the university. Carpenter also describes the old UK campus and the usual course load for a professor at that time.  He discusses the measures by which a university compared itself other institutions of higher learning.

Carpenter recalls some of the professors he worked with, including Professor James W. Martin, who developed the Bureau of Business Research. Carpenter also talks about the low turnover rate among faculty in the 1950s and the addition of a Master’s degree program in Business Administration. He then talks about President Frank McVey on a personal level, and describes him as being not only a colleague but also a friend. Carpenter then briefly talks about President Frank Dickey, President Donovan’s successor, and elaborates on the selection process.

Dr. Carpenter also describes some of the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences during the 1950s.  Carpenter recalls meeting President John W. Oswald for the first time at Spindletop Hall, and he describes Oswald both as an administrator and as a person. He then explains that the University of Kentucky received funds for a new building for the College of Commerce/Business and Economics, and elaborates on the construction of the building on South Limestone.  Carpenter also compares the administrative styles of President McVey, President Donovan, President Dickey, and President Oswald.

 

90OH336 A/F 434

CECIL CARPENTER

Date:  January 10, 1974

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Charles Talbert

Length:  1 hour 10 minutes

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Cecil Carpenter was a graduate of the University of Kentucky, the dean of the College of Commerce at UK, and UK President Frank McVey’s former neighbor.  Carpenter was a student in one of McVey’s international law courses. During the interview, Carpenter describes Dr. McVey both personally and professionally. He recalls that McVey was one of those people who did not delegate very much, but rather liked to do everything himself.

Carpenter describes the international law course conducted by Dr. McVey.  He provides examples of some of the course work including oral reports and term papers. Carpenter attended the University of Illinois where earn his master’s and doctoral degree.  He also worked as a records assistant to support himself.  He remembers that in 1936, he received a call from Dean Edward Wiest asking him to return UK as an assistant professor.  Carpenter describes working under President McVey.  He recalls McVey’s liberal ideas towards labor unions and discusses McVey’s opinions on the distribution of raises and cuts in the salaries of the faculty and staff.  Carpenter also reminisces about his personal relationship with Dr. McVey and Mrs. Frances Jewell McVey. 

 

92OH112 A/F 476

CHRISTINE CETRULO

Date:  March 30, 1992

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Jason Vandiver

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript: No

Restrictions: Permission of Christine Cetrulo Required During Her Lifetime

 

92OH138 A/F 487

CHRISTINE CETRULO

Date:  April 9, 1992

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Jason Vandiver

Length:  50 minutes      

Audio Conditions: Poor

Transcript: No

Restrictions: Permission of Christine Cetrulo Required During Her Lifetime

 

92OH164 A/F 502

CHRISTINE CETRULO

Date:  April 17, 1992

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Jason Vandiver

Length:  15 minutes

Audio Conditions: Poor

Transcript: No

Restrictions: Permission of Christine Cetrulo Required During Her Lifetime

 

 

90OH48 A/F 397

ALTA MAE CHANDLER

Date:  March 26, 1990

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Alta Mae Chandler, a former University of Kentucky student, was born in 1893 in Owingsville, Kentucky fifty miles east of Lexington. She describes her family and what life was like growing up in Bath County at that time. Chandler then gives details about attending school in a one room school, and then attending a larger high school. She explains how she became a teacher when the school board asked her to teach the first and second grade after she graduated high school in 1913. Chandler attended the University of Kentucky and describes what it was like to be a student at the University of Kentucky in the early 1900s. She remembers some of her roommates at Patterson Hall and some of the people she knew in college, including Sarah Blanding.

Chandler explains that she did very well in math and chemistry, and was one of the only women at the university taking such classes. She also discusses the role of women at that time from both a social and political standpoint.  Chandler states that she was one of the few “independent women.”  She describes social life at UK including dances at Patterson Hall, and she discusses the women’s dress code explaining that they had to wear dresses and skirts and often wore hats.  The interview ends with Chandler briefly discussing the changes she saw both in herself and in the university after her college years.

 

76OH33 A/F 33

LUISA D. CHENAULT

Date:  April 7, 1976

Location: Brentwood, Missouri

Interviewer: William Cooper

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Luisa D. Chenault, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, attended the University of Kentucky in the years immediately following World War II and received a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.  She was a recipient of a $1000 Distiller Scholarship, which is why she came to UK. Chenault describes dorm life at UK and states that living conditions were inadequate.  In fact, three or four girls had to sleep in a room designed for two. During her years at UK, she studied music but was an education major because there was no music building. Chenault emphasizes the fact that music was not an option for her back then, and wishes it would have been.

Chenault discusses some of her professors and some deans of the College of Education including William Taylor and Frank Dickey. She also explains the significance of being in a social sorority as opposed to an academic sorority, and states that she was a member of an academic sorority.  Chenault remembers homecoming as the biggest social event on campus, and illustrates the importance of athletics as opposed to academics. She also talks about the lack of cultural events at UK, and describes having to go to Cincinnati to see many concerts. She concludes the interview discussing the political climate at the university in the late 1940s and early 1950s and she describes the Lyman T. Johnson case which resulted in the desegregation of UK.

 

90OH46 AF 395

BETH CLARK

Date:  March 6, 1990

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour   

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Beth Clark, wife of University of Kentucky professor emeritus Thomas D. Clark, describes her experiences with UK and the Lexington, Kentucky community.   Clark states that she grew up in South Carolina and recalls that she rushed through school as quickly as she could.  She left high school before the eleventh grade and was accepted into the Greenville Women’s College (now part of Furman University).  She was inspired to attended Simmons College’s Library School since that is where the librarian at her college went to school.  Clark remembers that she applied to the first position that became available which happened to be at Duke University.  She received the position, and worked for Duke for five years between 1928 and 1933.  She began as a member of the cataloging department, but eventually became assistant librarian of the Women’s College. 

Clark met her future husband Thomas D. Clark while they were both at Duke.  She states that, “He was always in the library.”  The Clarks came to the University of Kentucky in 1933, and Mrs. Clark states that their life changed after they came to UK because they had so little money.  She recalls her first impressions of Frank and Frances Jewell McVey and explains that she was in awe of both of them.  She remembers luncheons with Frances McVey and dinners at Maxwell Place.  Clark states that Frances McVey was not beautiful, but her personality was so warm and generous that you did not even notice her physical appearance.  Clark also remembers a definitive line between the southerners and mid-westerners in Lexington at that time.  Mrs. Clark states that she was more comfortable with the southerners, being one herself, and talks about her involvement in a “speak easy club” for women. 

Mrs. Clark describes her husband’s personality and explains that she never felt that he was the right person to fulfill of the role of the president of a college or university.  She also states that Thomas Clark needs a lot of freedom, but feels that she has been a good asset as a wife since she is good at taking charge of things.  Clark mentions the role of the faculty wife and women in general while she and her husband were raising their family.  She mentions friends of the McVeys like Sarah Blanding, and talks about parties at Judge Samuel Wilson’s home. 

 

98OH28 A/F 589

LORETTA J.  CLARK

Date:  December 8, 1997

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Helen Swain

Length:  1 hour   

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Loretta J. Clark describes her experiences as a student at the University of Kentucky, where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees.  She graduated from Douglas High School in Lexington, Kentucky in 1956, just as the first African American students were beginning to attend UK.  She states that her sister had attended college out of state and her parents had found it to be quite expensive, so her they encouraged her to attend UK.

Clark recalls living at home while taking classes at the university.  She states there was not an inclusive climate on campus and that many people were not genuinely friendly and open towards the black students.  She compares her experience at UK to that at Douglas High School.  Clark talks about segregation and remembers stores that she was not allowed to go into and having to sit in the back of the bus.  She describes Martin Luther King marches on UK’s campus and her first experience with one of these marches.  Clark explains how her Christian upbringing and the support she received from teachers and family helped her to deal with racism.

Clark describes the social atmosphere at UK, and explains that she dated another black student whom she later married.  Clark discusses her trouble with freshman composition, even though she was an English major, and remembers that many people did not come back to UK after the first year.  Clark states that there were not many activities at UK for African American students.  She recalls going to a basketball game on campus and attending the ROTC Ball.

Clark talks about her thirty year teaching career.  She states that she regrets spending most of her career teaching in a school that was predominately white.  She describes one of her first job interviews from which she was turned away.  She believes her skin color was the deciding factor.  She states that she would advise current students interested in attending UK to come prepared and to become involved in their communities and churches.  Clark currently works as the director of Minority Recruitment in UK’s College of Education.

 

76OH32 A/F 32

RHODES V. CLARK

Date:  April 6, 1976

Location:  St. Louis, Missouri

Interviewer:  Charles Atcher 

Length:  1 hour   

Audio Conditions:  Fair

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Rhodes Clark graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1925.  Clark grew up in Lexington.  His father was a graduate of Transylvania University and taught school in Richmond, Kentucky and in Fayette County, Kentucky.  Clark’s father later worked for the Burley Tobacco Company.  Clark attended Lexington High School, and lived in Lexington with his mother while he was going to UK.

Clark recalls the experience of registration, and states that there were no electives at that time.  He describes the “welcoming committee” that clipped his hair so badly that he had to get it shaved.  Clark majored in engineering and was a member of the Triangle Fraternity, although he did not join the fraternity until his senior year.  He discusses some of the professors he had while at UK including Dean Paul Anderson of the College of Engineering, Professor William E. Freeman, who was Acting Dean, and Pat O’Bannon. 

Clark also discusses social activities on campus.  He remembers the freshman-sophomore tug of war, and he describes The Strollers, a theatre group, and literary societies.  He talks about his classes and remembers that he did have trouble in some courses, but states that he was a good listener.  He recalls when a member of the football team died after injuries he sustained in a game against the University of Cincinnati.  Clark states that he remembers very little drinking on campus, but does recall a bootlegger who lived on Euclid Avenue.  He discusses regulations toward women on campus, and recalls some of the dormitory and sorority rules.  Clark talks about dances mentioning the ROTC Ball and the Engineering Ball.  He also describes his experiences at class reunions and talks about some of his friends namely Tom Benson, Jim Willis, and Sam Cassidy.  

 

79OH108 A/F 94

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: March 1st and 6th, 1979

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: William Cooper

Length:  3 hours 10 minutes 

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

Thomas D. Clark was born on July 14, 1903 in Louisville, Mississippi. His father was a farmer and his mother was a school teacher. She taught Clark until he was about sixteen years old.  Clark attended Choctaw County Agricultural High School and states that he played football all four years. After graduating in 1925, Clark attended the University of Mississippi. He discusses two of his professors who really made an impression on him, Charles S. Sydnor and Arthur P. Hudson. Clark describes the economy of Mississippi at the time and various jobs he undertook while he was in college including serving as Chief of Police at the University of Mississippi.  Clark also recalls the effect of the boll weevil on Mississippi when he was growing up. 

Clark describes how he first became a part of the UK community when the president of the University of Mississippi urged him to apply for a scholarship to UK.  He finished his last quarter of his A.B. degree at the University of Virginia, and then enrolled at UK in the fall of 1928.  Clark recalls that there were only four professors in the history department at that time, and only two of them taught graduate courses. Clark was the first history graduate student who was not a UK graduate.  He talks about the miserable condition of the library and explains that the history department was not fully prepared to teach graduate students.  During the summer 1929, he was offered a position to create a catalog of American history resources in Kentucky libraries, and he describes his work.

Clark decided to go to Duke University to pursue his doctorate in history and he describes working with Professor William K. Boyd on his dissertation, which focused upon the building of the Southern railroad before 1860.  Clark returned to the University of Kentucky in 1931 as an instructor for the history department and as a collector for the library.  Clark discusses the struggles that UK professors and students confronted during the Great Depression, and mentions that many students at the university were assisted by the National Youth Administration (NYA).  Clark talks about meeting his future wife at Duke University. 

Clark describes Dr. Frank McVey’s role in building the reputation of the university, and touches on the anti-evolution law debated in the Kentucky legislature.  Clark discusses the social science research grant he received in April of 1932. This grant was the first one awarded to anyone in Kentucky for the completion of a manuscript. Clark also talks about some of the books and articles he’s published including History of Kentucky, The Beginning of the L&N, Exploring Kentucky, The Rampaging Frontier, Pills, Petticoats, and Plows and The Southern Country Editor.

 

80OH52 A/F 113

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: March 26, 1980

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: William Cooper

Length:  2 hours 10 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Thomas D. Clark discusses his early teaching years at the University of Kentucky.  He recalls his relationship with President Frank McVey and Frances Jewell McVey.  He remembers hearing about the primitive conditions on campus when McVey became president of the University of Kentucky.  In fact, the family of former president James K. Patterson still lived in a home on campus which had chickens and a garden.  Clark describes Frances Jewell McVey’s outgoing personality and states that she wanted to make Maxwell Place a welcoming place for students and faculty.  Clark remembers that many people felt that Dr. McVey was too formal, but states that he never felt that way.  Clark talks about attending dinners at Maxwell Place, and recalls how well Mrs. McVey mixed “town and gown.”

Clark remembers stories he heard about former UK presidents James K. Patterson and Henry S. Barker.  He explains how McVey stimulated a more rigorous academic program at UK, and changes in the teaching methods of the history department with the implementation of a senior seminar in the early 1930s.  Clark also recalls the establishment of a history Ph.D. program, and talks about the early Ph.D. students at UK.  He describes various professors in the history department mentioning Professor Hall and Paul Clyde

Clark recalls what the University of Kentucky was like during the Great Depression.  He talks about the assistance that the National Youth Administration (NYA) offered to UK students, and explains the role of the Public Works Administration (PWA) in the construction of new buildings on campus.  During the Depression, Clark became director of the Kentucky Historical Records Survey, and he discusses some of the problems that he encountered in this capacity including an incident in Magoffin County.  Clark talks about saving the records of the state government of Kentucky from being sold as scrap paper.  He also remembers Dean Paul Anderson of the College of Engineering.

 

81OH75 A/F 136

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: May 27, 1981

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Bruce Denbo

Length:  2 hours 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

Thomas D. Clark recalls his arrival at the University of Kentucky as a student in 1928.  He states that he one of the first graduate students in the history department and held the first scholarship.  He remembers that in 1928 UK was still attempting to make the transition from an agricultural college to a state-wide comprehensive university.  Clark describes UK President Frank McVey, stating that he was one of the best educated and most thoughtful presidents that Clark has served under.  He talks about Thomas Poe Cooper, Dean of the College of Agriculture, and the separation of the College of Agriculture from the rest of the university.

Clark confronts the topic of the struggle between research and teaching at the university.  He describes the difference between his own teaching philosophy and Martin M. White, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  He recalls that during his graduate school days and his early teaching years, the library was not fit for doing research.  Clark states that McVey worked very hard to build the library.  Clark also mentions the evolution controversy on campus.

 Clark talks about the struggle of attracting talented scholars to the history department at UK, especially his own struggles after becoming chairman of the department.  Clark mentions A.B. Kirwan whom he helped to get into the graduate program at Duke University, and he talks about Homan Hamilton.  Clark describes the establishment of the University Press of Kentucky and talks about the anti-intellectualism in the United States and in Kentucky.  He describes his 1957 book Frontier America and how it helped him to realize that a new South was forming. 

Clark discusses his feelings toward UK President John W. Oswald.  He feels that Oswald was a man who was “irritated with the past.”  He describes UK President Herman L. Donovan, and recalls going to the University of Wisconsin to teach in 1959 or 1960.  Clark also talks about his views on academic freedom.

 

Annotated Guide to the Charles T. Wethington U.K. Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project: T. Clark.

If not available online, audio copies and/or transcripts of the interviews in this project are available in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.

 

81OH77 A/F 137

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: May 6, 1981

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes 

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

Thomas D. Clark was the chairman of the University of Kentucky’s Department of History for 23 years.  In this interview, Clark recalls his first impressions of the University of Kentucky and his opinions of Dr. Frank McVey.  He discusses his travels throughout the state to identify materials in Kentucky libraries, and about his first faculty position at UK of which one of his duties was to collect materials for UK’s library.  He recalls the important Kentuckians that his collecting put him in contact with including Senator A.O. Stanley, Urie Woodson, Judge Benton, Judge Samuel M. Wilson, and Judge Kenton.  He describes important collections that UK’s library acquired at this time including the records of J.P. Morgan and Company.  Clark states that he came to Kentucky during a transitional period in its history, and he talks about the problems in the state at the time.  He also talks about his involvement with the “Book Thieves,” a group that exchanged writings and discussed sources, books, and writings.

Clark talks about his research and writing.  He wrote the first scholarly history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1937, along with twenty-five other books.  He mentions some including The Rampaging Frontier; Frontier America; Pills, Petticoats, and Plows; Travels in the Old and New South; and The Emerging South. Clark describes research on Kentucky that he feels still needs to be completed.  He talks about the importance of research at UK and President McVey’s role in making research more highly prized there.  He explains his role in creating a top twenty history department, mentioning how the University Press and bringing the Journal of Southern History to UK helped.   Clark also names other professors responsible for the success of the history department including Clement Eaton, Carl Cone and James F. Hopkins.

Clark talks about general social issues faced by Kentuckians during the twentieth century, and the obligation of the scholar to his community.  He mentions the construction of a new state library and archives building, and Kentucky’s model archives law which was passed in 1958.  He discusses his involvement in attempts to revise the Kentucky Constitution.  He also talks about civil rights in Kentucky during the twentieth century mentioning the Day Law, the Lyman Johnson case, and the Carmichael plan in Louisville. 

 

86OH42 A/F 282

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: January 13, 1986

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Thomas D. Clark discusses events at the University of Kentucky during the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s.  He recalls the retirement of President Frank L. McVey and transition to President Herman L. Donovan. Clark discusses the abolishment of the faculty senate and its affect on the environment within the university. He also touches upon various internal conflicts at UK during this time, such as the transfer of Pat O’Bannon to the College of Agriculture.

When Donovan was first appointed as president, Clark took a leave of absence to conduct research for his book Pills, Petticoats, and Plows.  Yet Clark recalls that he was critical of Donovan’s appointment.  When Clark returned to the university, the atmosphere was tense but there was also a “period of renaissance” within the field of southern history. Clark notes the founding of the Southern Historical Association, The Journal of Southern History, and university presses.

Clark also talks about Charles Merriam Knapp, Huntley Dupree, and other members of the history department. He describes the difficulties of developing an outstanding history department.  Clark mentions the influx of students during World War II, adjusting to the military programs on campus, and sustaining the department with little funding and staff.

 

86OH52 A/F 284

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: January 24, 1986

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Good 

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

Thomas D. Clark, former chair of UK’s Department of History, describes the campus immediately after World War II.  He discuses the end of army programs on campus. Clark recalls that faculty members of other departments helped out in the history department during the war including Dan Hegemann of the German department. When these faculty members returned to their regular positions, Clark was left with almost no staff at all. He discusses the difficulties created with the influx of former soldiers as well as an increase in women on campus while the history department was so understaffed.  Clark recalls that he was able to keep peace within the department by hosting monthly departmental dinners to discuss various affairs. Clark also talks about his drive to create a strong department. He states that he never wanted to serve in a mediocre department or a mediocre university and he saw endless possibilities in the both the University of Kentucky and its library. Clark also recalls the lack quality of students during this time but also lists various students who did excel.

In 1945, Clark became vice president of the Southern Historical Association. He later became president. He also served as editor of the Journal of Southern History for four years. In 1946, Clark was named a distinguished professor, and he describes the role of this award as a way to stimulate the professorship on campus.  Clark takes time to give President Frank L. McVey plenty of credit for the development of the graduate program at the university.  He states that McVey also wanted to develop the University Press.  Both Clark and McVey saw the importance of the press in stimulating the research and writing of university faculty. McVey even became chairman of the press committee after he retired. Clark talks about some of the success of the press.

 

86OH82 A/F 286

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: February 4, 1986

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 25 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

Thomas D. Clark recalls attending graduate school in the University of Kentucky’s Department of History.  He states that he started working on his master’s thesis right away, so that he could get out of Kentucky in one year.  He remembers that he was unable to find anything in UK’s library to really help him with his thesis, but he explains that Charles Merriam Knapp was very ambitious to develop a graduate program at the university.  Clark was offered a job during the summer of 1929 checking Kentucky’s libraries for books that would be helpful to a graduate program in history.  He remembers that Centre College had an excellent collection of congressional serials and that the basement of the State House in Frankfort also had a wealth of materials.

In 1931, after beginning the work for his doctoral degree at Duke University, Clark came back to the University of Kentucky to be a history instructor and collector for the library.  Although he was assigned to teach fifteen hours his first semester, he did begin collecting immediately.  He recalls that some of the first things he did was put together the government documents of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  He also went from one courthouse to another to collect documents.  Clark talks about acquiring the Judge Simmons collection, the serial set from Centre College, the Pratt Collection, the Polk Collection, the records of the Burley Tobacco Association, and the J.P. Morgan Company Collection.  He collected documents from states throughout the South during the summer of 1932.  He discusses his involvement with the Historical Records Survey in 1933 and recalls saving a large amount of state records with the help of J.W. Martin. 

In 1941, Clark received a leave of absence to write a book, which would become Pills, Petticoats, and Plows.  He describes gathering the country store records used to write this book.  He talks about his determination to build a good library and his struggles when the university did not want to buy books or collections that he felt were valuable.  He also talks about his personal relationship with Judge Samuel Wilson and the donation of the Wilson collection to UK’s library.  Clark explains how UK ended up with a copy of the Perkins Gold Rush Diary.

 

86OH108 A/F 291

THOMAS D. CLARK 

Date: March 18, 1986

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 5 minutes 

Audio Conditions:

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Thomas Clark discusses the Lyman T. Johnson desegregation case.  Johnson was an African American seeking a Ph.D. in history and applied to the University of Kentucky for admission.  When he was denied admission, he brought a court case against the school.   Clark gave testimony in the case, and he recalls his experience in court.  Clark states that he had not had access to Lyman Johnson’s file or transcript at the time, so he did not know if Johnson was qualified to attend the program.  Clark provides his impressions of Thurgood Marshall and states that he believes that there could not have been a better lawyer for the case.  Clark describes the judge’s decision to allow black students to attend special courses at UK, and Johnson’s short time at the University of Kentucky.   He also discusses a separate UK law school program that educated African Americans in Frankfort, and threatened the law school’s accreditation. 

 Clark believes both members of the faculty and the community saw race relations being pushed forward.  Clark describes growing up in Mississippi where African Americans were the majority. He states that he knew discrimination was wrong but was very aware of it as a southern historian.  Clark recalls being asked to give a statement to the New York Times upon the decision of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.  He states that he was working on his book The Emerging South at the time.  He remembers a memo UK President Herman L. Donovan sent asking professors to seat black students separately from white students.

Clark states that he feels that the University of Kentucky did the right thing with the Johnson case.  He explains that if the university had admitted Johnson right away they would have left themselves open for prosecution in violation of the Day Law, Kentucky’s segregation law.  He also feels that if the university had not gone through the trial, it would not have been as quickly accepted throughout the state.  Clark talks about the atmosphere on campus after integration.

 

86OH125 A/F 292

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: April 21, 1986

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

Thomas D. Clark discusses some of the specific collecting for University of Kentucky’s library especially for Special Collection and Archives.  He remembers the acquisition of the Wilson library, and describes why it took two years to move to the University of Kentucky.  He discusses some of the rare books in the collection including some pertaining to the frontier movement, the early West, and the Ohio Valley.  Clark talks about Judge Samuel Wilson.  He recalls that Wilson became hard of hearing in his old age, and that this led to some shenanigans by the Book Thieves Club of which both Clark and Wilson were members.  Clark also recalls the dedication of the Wilson library.

Clark talks about Ms. Margaret I. King and states that he is glad that the library was named for her. Clark mentions collectors for the library after he moved to teaching full-time including Hamilton Tapp and Ben Wahl.  He states that Wahl was a very good collector bringing in the Hallam Family Collection and the Barkley papers.  Clark discusses the selection of Lawrence Thompson to run the library after Ms. King’s retirement.  He also talks about interviewing Jane and David Barkley.

 

86OH174 A/F 296

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: June 27, 1986

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

Throughout this interview Dr. Thomas D. Clark discusses his writing career. Clark states that his first experiences with writing began in high school when he helped start a school paper. He was also a reporter while he was in college. Once Clark returned to UK after finishing his dissertation, he started writing History of Kentucky.  Clark remembers that for four years, he spent nights working on History of Kentucky. From this book, he created Exploring Kentucky with Lee Kirkpatrick which was published by Prentice Hall.  Clark describes his pride in the History of Kentucky, and his reasons for writing it.  During the summer of 1936 or 1937, Clark spent time researching at Mount Brilliant Farm.  Clark describes how this research resulted in the publication of The Rampaging Frontier in 1939.  He recalls visiting the Bobbs Merrill publishing company in hopes of getting this work published, and reactions and reviews of this book. 

Clark remembers meeting Constance Rourke, who had been invited to UK to talk to the women at the university.  Constance was writing a book on the Ohio River, which Clark explains opened the door for him to write a book on the Kentucky River.  He describes his research for this book which including tagging along with the revenue service on an attempt to find illegal moonshine operations.  Yet Clark states that he had the most excitement writing Pills, Petticoats, and Plows which was published in 1944.  During this year-long research period Clark was able to write Simon Kenton, Kentucky Scout as well.  Clark talks about the demanding experience of writing and the increasing pressure on university faculty to publish in the mid-1940s and throughout the 1950s. 

Clark discusses some of his good friends like A.B. Guthrie who were also writers. He lists Sunny Day, J. Winston Coleman, Bill Townsend, Rupert Vance, W.T. Couch, Howard Oldham, George F. Milton, and many others. Clark talks about his affiliations with the Southern Historical Association and the Mississippi Valley Historical Association. Clark also discusses collaborating with a group of writers on a bibliographical volume of the south after receiving a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, which resulted in Travels in the Old South and Travels in the New South.

 

86OH178 A/F 297

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: July 1, 1986

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

Thomas D. Clark reflects on his writing experiences and his passion for the South as well as the frontier. Clark describes the time period when he was writing The Emerging South as a very emotional time for the South.  Only four years had passed since the decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.   In addition, the South was becoming industrialized through livestock and the timber industries. Clark recalls being asked by The New York Times to make a statement on the Brown decision.

Clark discusses many of his personal contacts and people who have helped him with his research. He talks about interviewing editors from newspapers including Ralph McGill and Harding Carter. Clark’s personal contacts only added to his materials, and he notes that this type of documentation could not have been found in a library. He also discusses the importance of the Southern Historical Association.

Clark touches on the Harper and Row series of books on the states to which he contributed Kentucky: Land of Contrast in 1966. Also in 1966, Clark was asked by Oscar Winter to take a combined position as a distinguished service professor and university historian at Indiana University. He agreed and this professorship allowed him to publish four volumes. Clark discusses various lectures he delivered which were later published and South Carolina: The Grand Tour which was published in 1970.

In 1979, Clark returned to Kentucky and published Agrarian Kentucky which was part of the Bicentennial Bookshelf series. In the following year, he published The Historic Maps of Kentucky. Clark describes The Greening of the South as a combination of all his interests and which was a result of his first-hand experience and knowledge. He discusses working on his autobiography and various friends he has remembered through the process. Clark also recalls various practical jokes he and his friends played on one another.

 

87OH05 A/F 298

THOMAS D. CLARK 

Date: January 14, 1987

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Thomas D. Clark discusses the political atmosphere surrounding the University of Kentucky. He first addresses the revision of the Kentucky Constitution during the 1940s, and states that many people opposed the revisions even though they did not know much about it. Clark was appointed by Governor Edward T. “Ned” Breathitt to be historian of the convention in the mid-1960s during which a new constitution was drafted. Clark recounts the animosity and tension around the debate.  Clark believed that Kentucky could live up to its potential under a modern constitution. Clark also explains that he tried to stay away from politics while at the university, and how important it is to separate politics from academia.

Clarks describes the governors of Kentucky while he was a professor at UK.  Clark believes Simeon Willis, who served as governor during World War II as a man with real integrity.  He states that Willis kept Kentucky politics calm during the war years and gained the respect of both parties. Clark, though, questions Governor Earl C. Clements’s tactics, but adds that Clements always accomplished what he set out to do.  Clark describes Governor Lawrence Wetherby’s position on immigration in Kentucky, and talks about how Wetherby brought in the Elizabethtown-Louisville toll road which provided a major link in the north and south in Kentucky. Clark states that Wetherby was not very aggressive but brought leadership to Kentucky when it was needed. Clark also sees Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler as a major contributor to the state through upgrades to the highway system.  He described Chandler as a “political animal.”

Clark describes three stages the university went through during his tenure there.  By 1940, he states the University of Kentucky had ceased to be an old university. Then, from 1945 to 1950, the university was revolutionized with the enrollment of the returning soldiers. The new, mature students forced a revision of courses and curriculum. Clark then saw the university’s mission start to focus more on research, teaching, and service to the state.

 

87OH07 A/F 299

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: January 16, 1987

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Dr. Thomas D. Clark discusses his involvement with the Committee of Fifteen, a centennial planning committee at the University of Kentucky.  Clark explains that this committee was also responsible for an analysis of the university intended to investigate the future of the university. Clark was appointed as chairman of the committee, and states that he appointed other members of the faculty to subcommittees to issue reports on the various colleges. Clark recalls that faculty members were supportive and he believes that this committee had a lasting affect on the university.  During this time, Clark also served as chairman of the Committee for Arts and Science Lectureship, and wrote the basic program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Clark also served as chairman for the planning committee for the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. Clark describes the university’s centennial celebration in 1965, and recalls that he was not impressed with President Lyndon Johnson’s speech.  Clark also discusses awards given to one hundred distinguished alumni to symbolize the university’s one hundred years, and the struggles of the Committee of Fifteen to select this group. 

Clark describes the search for a new president to replace President Frank Dickey.  As a member of the committee, Clark recalls meetings to discuss what the University of Kentucky needed in a new president.  Clark discusses the decision to hire John W. Oswald, and his disagreements with the rest of the committee.  Clark describes various controversies on campus and how politics complicate university matters.  Clark also provides his opinion of President Dickey, who he feels was never able to pull the university together. 

Clark touches on his role as a faculty representative to the UK Board of Trustees.   He explains why it is important to have faculty members on the board.  He discusses various issues that came before the board like changing the university’s retirement system and the motion to dissolve the university school. Clark also talks about faculty salary issues and explains why some faculty members never got the money they deserved.

 

87OH08 A/F 300

THOMAS D. CLARK  

Date: January 21, 1987

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Dr. Thomas Clark starts this interview by discussing the transition from President Frank Dickey to President John W. Oswald. Clark states that he believes that Dickey was unable to meet the challenges of a university presidency.  He sees Oswald as someone who was highly enthusiastic and had great plans for the university.  Dr. Clark represented the faculty and made a speech at Oswald’s inauguration which was hopeful and positive.  Yet Clark believes that Oswald was too easily influenced by members of the faculty. Clark talks about the reorganization of the university during Oswald’s administration and explains his removal as head of the history department in 1965.  Still, Clark does continue to give Oswald credit for his accomplishments during his presidency such as the development of the community colleges and increasing the number of faculty members.

In 1966, Clark was asked to represent Indiana University as a centennial professor.  Clark explains that while he was in Indiana, the University of Kentucky went through a rough period especially after Oswald left.  Clark makes the observation that most university presidents did not have much security and the time of service was very short. Clark returned for one year, while he was writing Kentucky: Land of Contrast, to insure his retirement pension and then returned back to Indiana.

Clark was at Indiana University for a total of six years. He describes it as a very pleasant, but busy experience.  Clark taught classes, lectured, and wrote a history of the University of Indiana for the university’s centennial.  Clark did return to Kentucky, and even though he said he was not going to have any more association with the university or the state archival situation, he again became engrossed in both.  Clark describes the personal sacrifices he made and acknowledges that he could have been more selfish with his time.

 

87OH54 A/F 301

THOMAS D. CLARK 

Date: April 20, 1987

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Dr. Thomas D. Clark discusses various southern writers and other literary figures who were producing major commentaries on the South. He starts off with a story about meeting William Faulkner on the golf course that Clark took care of while attending the University of Mississippi. Clark talks about John Crowe Ransom with whom he became good friends while teaching at Memphis State Teacher’s College (now Memphis State University) and who wrote I’ll Take My Stand which was an influential collection of essays. Clark lists other influential writers including George F. Milton, William Hesseltine, Frank Owsley, Allen Tate and Andrew Lytle.

Clark talks about the younger generation of scholars that he encountered like David Jackson, Robert Weaver and Rupert Vance.  Clark also states that he knew many members of the Dunning School, an older generation of Southern historians, including Mildred Thompson, Ben Kendrick, William K. Boyd, J.G. De R. Hamilton and Tom Staples.  Clark mentions other great historians such as A.B. Moore, Dumas Malone, William K. Boyd, and Fletcher Green.  He describes the forming of the Southern Historical Association as a way the history of the South came to the forefront.  Clark states that history departments were strong and university presses were good outlets for writing. The Journal of Southern History allowed the contribution of more essays on southern history, and library material grew “phenomenally.”

Clark talks about several Kentucky writers including Elizabeth Maddox Roberts, Jesse Stuart, Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Harriette Arnow.  He describes how Wendell Berry captures “the essence of the land” and how James Still “captures the quiet turning of the human experience.” Clark then touches on race relations as a theme of southern literature.  Clark states that the South is in a very transitional period today.

 

87OH69 A/F 302

THOMAS D. CLARK 

Date:  June 15, 1987

Location:  M.I. King Library, Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Terry Birdwhistell 

Length:  1 hour 45 minutes    

Audio Conditions:  Fair 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Dr. Thomas D. Clark, University of Kentucky Professor of History emeritus, describes his trips abroad.  He recalls traveling to Salzburg, Austria in 1949 for the second meeting of the Salzburg Seminar.  He states that southern history courses were popular in Austria at that time as a result of interest in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.  While in Europe he formed a friendship with Sam Williams, who was the head of education and cultural affairs in Vienna.  Clark states that Williams and Bill Howland offered him a professorship to teach at the University of Vienna. 

Clark describes teaching at the University of Vienna starting in the fall of 1950.  He recalls how poor the Austrian students were and the limited resources available on U.S. history.  Clark remembers that he had some students who were involved in interesting activities, though.  One student’s father was in charge of the imperial clothing, another was a member of the Vienna Boys choir, and one student worked in the bibliotheque and allowed Clark to come for a visit.  Clark describes some of the lectures he gave including one on Elizabeth City, New Jersey, of which he knew very little, and other lectures on Native Americans.  After coming back to the United State, the State Department asked Clark to go to India, lecture, and report back on the communist situation in India.  Clark describes his experiences in India and recalls that there was a lot of anti-imperialism in India at the time.  He complains about the Indian educational system and states that he became very conscious of the class structure.  He explains that he came back to the United States with a pretty clear perspective that we needed to solve the race problem, and he talks about the Supreme Court decision in Board v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

  

91OH374 A/F 458

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: October 9, 1991

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Betty Ellison

Length: 

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Dr. Clark discusses the administrations of the various presidents he served under including Herman L. Donovan, Frank Dickey and John Oswald as well as each of their associations with the University of Kentucky Athletic Association. Clark has a great amount of respect for Donovan but believes the university could have progressed further if Donovan had placed as much emphasis on academics as he did on athletics. Clark describes the type of pressure put on Donovan to support athletics. Clark does give Donovan credit for his contributions to the establishment of the University Press. Clark recounts the point shaving scandal that occurred during Donovan’s administration and touches on the relationship between Bernie Shively, Donovan, Adolph Rupp and A.B. “Happy” Chandler.

Clark discusses the differences between Donovan’s and Frank Dickey’s approach to athletics. Clark believes that Dickey was just too nice to run a university. Under John Oswald’s administration, Clark states that the decisions were made before the committee meetings and Oswald went along with them.

 

92OH137 A/F 486

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date:  March 20, 1992

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  JoAnn Smith and Robert G. Figg

Length:  1 hour    

Audio Conditions:  Fair 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Thomas D. Clark describes his earliest experiences on the University of Kentucky campus.  The focus of the interview is the layout of campus buildings, but Clark expands to include significant events that occurred within those buildings.  Clark joined UK’s faculty in 1931, but attended graduate school at UK in the late 1920s.  He recalls the original buildings on campus, the Administration (Main) Building, the White Hall dormitory, the Presidents’ home (Maxwell Place) and the Neville Hall Classroom Building.  He states that the Administration Building was the first center of campus and recalls an important janitor, who became very much a part of the structure.

Clark states that the first time he laid eyes on the Administration Building was in September of 1928.  He describes the president’s office and the layout of the building.  He recalls the stenographic bureau on the first floor, and states that there was a reading room and chapel on the second floor.  The Dean of Men, the Dean of Women, and the cafeteria were all in the basement.   Clark recalls the dedication of McVey Hall in 1929.  In 1930, the history department was moved to Frazee Hall, and Clark describes an assembly room that was on the third floor of this building at the time.  He discusses some scandals within the political science department when a faculty member had an affair with a secretary.

Clark describes his interview for the job at UK.  Dr. McVey told him he had to convince three people he could do the job, which Clark proceeded to do.  Because Dr. McVey had bypassed the usual procedures for hiring a faculty member, James Edward Tuthill, the head of the history department, loaded him with classes in British history.  Clark also describes when Tuthill threatened to cut his salary.  Clark describes the establishment of the University Press, writing for a magazine that lambasted the Kentucky Utilities Company, and dealings with the UK Board of Trustees.  Clark discusses a basketball scandal, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s resignation, and the desegregation of the basketball team.  He talks about the Taylor Building, and a fire in the Administration Building in the 1950s.  He describes the campus during the Great Depression and states that he taught in Paris, Ashland, Salyersville, Frankfort, and Louisville for the University Extension Service.  Clark recalls that in the early years of his career, the faculty was small and like a family.

  

02OH49 A/F 632

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date:  July 10, 2002

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  James Giesen

Length: 1 hour 

Audio Conditions:  Good 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

In this interview, Thomas D. Clark remembers his experiences growing up on a cotton farm in Mississippi.  He talks about his parents and his ancestors, but he concentrates on the effect of the boll weevil upon the farmers in his native Louisville, Mississippi.  He states that the people knew that the boll weevil was coming, but did not know how devastating that it would be to their way of life.  He recalls that during the height of the infestation, his parent’s farm produced almost no cotton, and to help support his family he went to work on a dredge boat.

Clark discusses the chemicals used to kill this insect and attempts at diversification of farm products to help lessen the blow.  He states that the 4-H Club attempted to introduce hogs and peanuts, and tried to improve varieties of corn.  He remembers when extension agents introduced terracing, and states that after World War I, the extension service hosted field days during which they would demonstrate new techniques for the farmers.  Clark describes some of his father’s struggles due to the boll weevil and the large debts that he became responsible for when a cooperative body of farmers failed.  He recalls migration north, especially among blacks. 

Clark graduated from the County Agriculture High School and states that there were a limited number of high schools in Mississippi.  He attended college, received his PhD, and secured a job teaching at the University of Kentucky.  He explains the situation which prompted him to research the affect of the boll weevil on the southern country store.  He recalls that Howard Odem had asked him to write a book, but the funding was cut at the last minute.  Since he had already taken a leave of absence from UK, he went out on his own and collected the records of various country stores.  He describes convincing the merchants to donate their records, and remembers interesting people and records he found along the way.  He describes some of the products that the merchants were selling and how diverse the stores were at the time.

 

03OH08 A/F 648

THOMAS D. CLARK 

Date:  December 10, 2002

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  William J. Marshall

Length:  

Audio Conditions:  Fair

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

In this interview, historian Thomas D. Clark describes some significant events throughout his career at the University of Kentucky.  He states that he first came to Kentucky in 1928 and he remembers putting together a checklist of important documents that the University of Kentucky needed to save during the summers of 1929 and 1930.  Around this time he was hired to work part-time collecting historical material for UK’s library.

Clark describes an early morning adventure with J.W. Martin to save state documents that were being sold as scrap paper.  Through help from A.B. “Happy” Chandler, Clark and Martin were able to save the documents and take them to UK for storage.  Until the state developed an adequate records program, Clark continuously moved important documents from Frankfort to the University of Kentucky.  Clark also talks about his experience collecting country store records in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina between 1942 and 1943.  The records were used in two of his books Pills, Petticoats, and Plows and Southern Country.

Clark tells a story about a politician who traveled through Knott County, Kentucky on a mule, and his own experience riding a mule in Elliott County, Kentucky in the rain.  He describes Otto Rothert, who was the editor of the Filson Club Historical Quarterly.  Clark discusses his relationship with the Filson Club and how it differed from his relationship with the Kentucky Historical Society.  Clark talks about his many attempts to get Kentucky governors like Julian Carroll and Louie B. Nunn to establish a state archives.  Clark states that Julian Carroll finally agreed to provide funding for a building for the state archives, and Clark recalls finding a location and an architect.  He also describes difficulties when federal funds were cut off.     

Clark describes his relationship with Judge Samuel Wilson and the Book Thieves Club.  He recalls the development of the Book Thieves Club which included himself, Judge Wilson, J. Winston Coleman, Dr. Frank McVey, and other scholars.  Judge Wilson’s library was donated to the University of Kentucky after his death.  Clark discusses changes to the Kentucky Historical Society after William R. Buster became director.  James C. Klotter, a former UK student, also later became director.  Clark also describes his role on the Kentucky Historical Commission, and finding the funding to process the Henry Clay Papers.

 

90OH346 A/F 439

THOMAS D. CLARK

Date: May 6, 1974

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer: Charles D. Talbert

Length:  1 hour 40 minutes

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Historian Dr. Thomas D. Clark describes Dr. Frank McVey and various events that occurred during McVey’s administration as president of the University of Kentucky. Clark believes that McVey had a very lasting effect on the university especially in regards to the library and the university press.  Clark states that while McVey was not very good at working with the Kentucky legislature, he was very supportive and encouraging to the whole faculty especially when resources were limited. Clark also states that McVey brought style and dignity to the University of Kentucky.

 

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