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Charles T. Wethington UK Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project: D - G: UK Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project: Eaton - Fergus

This guide will help you find primary source oral history interviews pertaining to the history of the University of Kentucky, faculty and alumni.

Annotated Guide to the Charles T. Wethington UK Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project: Eaton - Fergus.

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.

 

75OH30 A/F 07

W. CLEMENT EATON 

Date:  November 5, 1975

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  William Cooper

Length: 50 minutes

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

W. Clement Eaton, Professor Emeritus of History, came to the University of Kentucky in 1946 after publishing a book entitled Freedom of Thought in the Old South. UK Professor J. Winston Coleman had purchased the book and invited Eaton to visit him in Lexington, Kentucky, where he met members of the Book Thieves Club, Coleman, Dr. Frank L. McVey, and Thomas D. Clark. Clark called to offer Eaton a position teaching southern history after Wendell H. Stephenson resigned. Eaton states he would never have come to Kentucky if Coleman had not invited him. He recalls the limitations the state constitution had placed on faculty salaries, which he felt was a serious handicap.  His impression of students and faculty was, based on previous teaching positions, “mediocre”.

Eaton recalls that after World War II, the G.I. Bill allowed returning veterans to attend colleges and universities, and he remembers teaching larger classes at Frazee Hall.  He describes his teaching methods and mentions teaching athletes like Don “Dopey” Phelps, a football halfback.  Black graduate students were admitted at UK for the first time in 1949. Eaton remembers there was not a strong opposition to this, although he notes this might have been different if undergraduates had been allowed to enroll.

Eaton recalls no personal restrictions on academic freedom but states that Dr. Herman L. Donovan sometimes had difficulty maintaining autonomy due to pressure from politicians. He talks about the effect McCarthyism had on the country as well as the university in the early 1950s. He also recalls several UK presidents and his relationship with Dr. Thomas D. Clark. He comments on President John W. Oswald’s decision to institute the policy of rotating department chairman. Eaton emphasizes his dislike of the commercialization of college athletics, and talks about the shift from teaching to research at UK.

 

89OH240 A/F 377

BETTY TEVIS ECKDAHL

Date:  September 22, 1989

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Terry L. Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour 10 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript: First Draft

Restrictions: None

Betty Tevis Eckdahl attended Henry Clay High School and graduated in 1943.  Eckdahl enrolled at UK and she talks about her experiences. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1946 with a B.S. degree in Journalism.  Eckdahl describes the homogeneous nature of the student body at UK, stating that religious and ethnic diversity was a rarity on campus. She discusses the quality of the curriculum and mentions a few of the faculty members including Dr. Thomas D. Clark. She states that she felt there was really no difference between men and women academically at UK, and she describes the social life on campus during World War II. Eckdahl worked as a reporter for the Kentucky Kernel and talks about her experiences.  She was credited as the first female reporter to interview a basketball player at UK in the dressing room, but states that this was simply for public relations purposes.  She does explain, though, that she was the first woman to sit at the press table at Madison Square Garden.

Echkdahl worked at WLAP radio in Lexington for one year, and then in radio publicity in Cincinnati, Ohio and New York City. She married and had a child but moved back to Kentucky with her mother in 1964 after her marriage ended.  She worked in public relations at Eastern Kentucky University and received her Master’s degree in English from EKU.  She taught at Berea College before returning to UK. She talks about the “good old boy approach” at UK and the unequal treatment of women in the administrative and academic ranks. She says she would like to see the personal approach return for students at UK.

 

76OH30 A/F 31

ADOLPH M. EDWARDS

Date:  March 31, 1976

Location:  Washington, D. C.

Interviewer:  Terry L. Birdwhistell and William J. Marshall

Length: 1 hour 45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Adolph M. “Moco” Edwards, Jr. recalls he came to the University of Kentucky in February of 1924, after he graduated from Walton High School in Walton, Kentucky. He remembers that Dean William S. Taylor from the College of Education spoke at his high school graduation ceremony. He mentions his sister attended the Kentucky College for Women (KCW), once the women’s school at Centre College. Edwards describes the memorial service for President Woodrow Wilson, held in the chapel on the second floor of the Administration Building (Main Building). Every Wednesday the entire student body was required to attend chapel where a lecture series featured speakers of national prominence.  Edwards also mentions former Governor William Jason Fields.

Edwards entered law school in 1926 and states that UK was considered the best law school in the state. He describes the curriculum requirements, his first semester schedule, and several of his teachers, especially Dr. William Funkhouser.  Edwards received his J.D. in 1929. He talks extensively about campus life, and states that college life is great training for a young person.  He discusses his participation on the football team, and remembers that A.D. “Ab” Kirwan was captain of the team his freshman year. He mentions several other team members including Jimmy Pence and Jack Works. He recalls a Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity brother who was later governor, Earle Clements.

Edwards talks about UK President Frank L. McVey, and states that he was an ideal president for that period. He emphasizes the importance of having a strong state university.  Edwards mentions the Men’s Student Council, the Discipline Committee, and the University Senate. He remembers several campus “scandal sheets,” including the Polecat Bugle and the Injun’s Ear.  He states that there was no class distinction among the students. He believes there was very little political activity on campus at that time. He remembers Warren Wright, owner of Calumet Farm, who was refused membership the Lexington Country Club. Edwards talks about his Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) experiences, including training at Camp Knox (now Fort Knox).  He talks about having cancer, and credits Dr. Fred Rankin for saving his life. Edwards compliments the UK Oral History Program.

 

77OH34 A/F 60

MRS. KATHERINE HERRING EICHELBERGER and MRS. JOSEPHINE HERRING YOUNG  

Date:  May 31, 1977

Location:  Lexington, Virginia

Interviewer:  William Cooper

Length: 50 minutes

Audio Conditions: Excellent

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Mrs. Katherine Herring Eichelberger is assisted in this interview by her sister, Mrs. Josephine Herring Young.  Although she was born in Virginia, Eichelberger’s family moved to Kentucky when she was five years old.  She enrolled at UK after completing college prep work at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia.  Eichelberger studied Journalism and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1921. She talks about Daniel V. Terrell, a UK professor who was from Orange, Virginia, and knew her family. She mentions Sarah Blanding, who was the Dean of Women at UK, and recalls that she and her sister both knew her well.

Eichelberger was a member of the Chi Omega sorority and became president of the chapter in her senior year. She talks about daily life and social events on campus, such as fraternity dances, tea dances on Saturday afternoon at the gymnasium, and Pan-Hellenic Association functions. She roomed with the sister of John Marsh, who married Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind. She recalls the influenza pandemic of 1918 when all campus activities were suspended and the school was closed. She helped build background sets at the Guignol Theater, which was once called the Romany Theater. She talks about the Presidential election of 1920, the first year women were allowed to vote. She remembers Dr. Frank L. McVey and Mary Frances Jewell McVey. During this time, John Phillip Sousa’s band used to play in Lexington, but he refused to play “The Star-Spangled Banner” because he was German, so the band was not asked to come back. She talks about the year the basketball team won the Southern Championship in Atlanta, Georgia and the entire student body met the team at the railroad station.

 

79OH119 A/F 97

JAMES EMBRY

Date:  November 14, 1978

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  John Jason Peter

Length:  35 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: Yes

Restrictions: None

Richmond, Kentucky native James Gilbert Embry talks about the student uprisings on the University of Kentucky campus during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was kicked out of school for attempting to burn down some buildings with gasoline cocktails, and was banned from campus in 1969. He recalls he went to trial in 1970, was found guilty, and put on a year’s probation. Embry was still involved with the Black Student Union (BSU), and participated with other black students as well as whites in the “bitch-ins” held either on the Student Union patio or behind Memorial Coliseum. He remembers these gatherings would revolve around discussions regarding various issues such as the Vietnam War, the Cambodian killings, the student code, and other concerns. He recalls articles in the student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, regarding the need for student representation on UK’s Board of Trustees, legal aid for students, banning the song “Dixie” from being played at football games, and student and faculty relations.

Embry remembers that these activities were occurring during the height of the civil rights and black power movements, and that Huey Newton, a leader of the Black Panther Party, and William Kuntsler, a radical attorney, were asked to speak on campus. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a radical organization, also had a group on campus. He mentions the Student Mobilization Committee and the Lexington Peace Council, which included people from the Lexington, Kentucky community population. He talks about the UK students’ reaction to the Kent State shootings by the Ohio National Guard including a rally and a candlelight march to the Administration Building (Main Building). Embry describes the march to the Buell Armory building, where the headquarters of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) was located, which was burned as part of the protest. Embry remembers that Governor Louie B. Nunn ordered that the students be barred from campus and sent the Kentucky National Guard to UK.

 

87OH110 A/F 311

JAMES EMBRY 

Date:  November 14, 1978

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Doris Weathers

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

Former University of Kentucky student, James Gilbert Embry was born 1949 in Richmond, Kentucky. In this interview he talks about the establishment of the Office of Minority Affairs at the University of Kentucky. He came to UK in 1967 and recalls a group active on campus called Orgena, which later led to the establishment of the Black Student Union (BSU) in the spring of 1968. He recalls that this group was “very much concerned” with the life of black students on campus in terms of academic, social, and cultural experiences. The BSU developed programs to assist students with classes and to get a better sense of their own black culture. A committee called Black Voices was formed to organize programs such as Black History Month, and to schedule activities and events which highlighted various black cultures. The BSU sponsored art exhibits at the Student Union, and also held dances and book discussion groups. He emphasizes that the BSU felt that black students needed the information and experiences to survive the four years on campus. He recalls that all the students knew one another because there were so few of them. The BSU submitted over twenty demands to UK’s administration which covered nearly every area of the black student’s experience on campus and received $15,000 to utilize for their programs.

Embry remembers that the BSU recruited black students from the high schools and that members also met with graduate students touring the campus. He describes how other universities recruited black athletes during this time, and the perception by the black community that UK basketball coach, Adolph Rupp, was a racist. Embry recalls meeting with Rupp, and notes Rupp’s refusal to integrate the team. He notes that black members of the Lexington community were hostile towards UK due to poor treatment by white students and white staff while on or near campus. He remembers that black students often had to defend themselves for being a UK student on campus and also in the black community.

 

85OH258 A/F 210

JOHN KENNETH EVANS

Date:  March 11, 1985

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Mike Duff

Length:  1 hour 5 minutes

Audio Conditions: Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

John Kenneth Evans was born in 1929 at Oakley, Kentucky in Laurel County, and graduated from Annville Institute High School in Jackson County in 1946. He earned his B.S. from the University of Kentucky in 1957, and his M.S. from UK in 1960. He took a ten month sabbatical leave to attend Oregon State University to study nuclear science radiation biology from 1967-1968. Evans was active in 4-H programs in Laurel County and worked with contour work (crop management) after high school.

Evans describes his work with a special extension research program on Johnson grass control in Franklin County, Kentucky in the summer of 1957.  Evans also performed research work in forage crops management in Christian and Owen counties between 1958 and 1961. Then he worked as a specialist in Agronomy with the Eastern Kentucky Developmental Resource Project (EKDRP).  In 1963, he became an extension specialist in Rural Civil Defense at UK in Lexington, where he advocated a radiation education approach, in addition to providing information on nuclear shelters. In 1967 Evans became the extension specialist in Agronomy as well as an assistant to the dean of the College of Agriculture. In this position, he states he did everything from coordinating to investigating to demonstrating.  From 1968 until 1969, Evans assisted in planning the Agronomy Research Farm. He talks about problems in forage issues, especially Kentucky 31 Fescue and opportunities to improve renovation of pasture. He became an extension specialist in Forages in 1974. Evans discusses the problems associated with the implementation the Area Cooperative Extension Program, and talks about the Cooperative Extension Council.

Evans emphasizes that the College of Agriculture offered the support for him to develop his potential, to do what he likes to do, and to perform his duties in an independent environment. He mentions his membership in several professional organizations. Evans felt he was most successful when he was helping to educate the farmer, and states that the issue of developing resources to support other crops besides tobacco needs to be addressed. He also talks about his family.

                          

85OH101 A/F 232

GEORGE A. EVERETT  

Date:  May 10, 1985

Location:  Princeton, Kentucky

Interviewer: Mike Duff

Length: 1 hour 30 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

George Allison Everett was born in 1922 in Wickliffe, Kentucky.  He spent two quarters at Murray State University where he planned to study law, but decided to transfer to the University of Kentucky. He received his B.S. degree in Agriculture from UK in 1949. He then returned to UK in 1954, and earned a M.S. degree in Agronomy in 1955. He became interested in extension work after attending meetings sponsored by the county agent in Ballard County, Kentucky where he met many of the extension specialists from UK’s College of Agriculture. Everett describes each county he worked in, and talks about the responsibilities, programs, and projects he was involved with in each of these appointments from 1949 to 1952.

In July of 1952, Everett resigned from the extension service and joined an automobile business. He recalls talking to UK College of Agriculture’s Dean Frank Welch about this career move. In 1954 Everett decided to come back to work for the extension service and worked in Logan County, Kentucky for seven months, and then became a tobacco specialist under Dr. William Dorney Valleau. He also mentions Dr. Granville Stokes and others who were in the department at that time. In 1956 he transferred to the Substation at Princeton, Kentucky to work as an extension specialist in tobacco. Everett mentions his work in McCracken County where they upgraded livestock with the help of the Sears and Roebuck Foundation, and improved the facilities at the Western Kentucky Fairgrounds. He talks about the increase in tobacco use after World War II, and the switch from dark to burley tobacco. He discusses different types of tobacco, poundage control, and his study of various breeding and production practices here and overseas. He talks about the State, Area, and County Extension Councils. He also talks mentions his family and his involvement with the Shriners.

 

85OH145 A/F 254

PAUL E. FEHR  

Date:  June 26, 1985

Location:  Alexandria, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Mike Duff

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Paul E. Fehr was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1905.  He graduated from the eighth grade, attended one semester of high school, and then came home to help on the farm. He had his first experience with the College of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Services in Campbell County, Kentucky, when County Agent W.W. Worthington came to the family farm to assess the soil. Fehr has served as chair of the County Cooperative Extension Council. He talks about the function of commodities committees in the areas of beef, agribusiness, and horticulture. He also served on the Soil Conservation Board of Supervisors and the Campbell County-Newport Planning and Zoning Commission. Fehr worked with the Carroll County Farm Bureau and was director of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation. He served on the Eden Shale Farm Horticulture Committee as well as the Finance Committee, which assisted in the purchase of land for this program. Fehr worked with the Cincinnati Produce Growers Association and the Southern States Campbell Cooperative, where he was chair of the first board. He describes the purpose and scope of the cooperative.

Fehr was a member of the Campbell County Park Board, and an associate member of the Alexandria Fair Board. He served on the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Conservation and Natural Resources Committee (OKI), which serves nine counties; two in Indiana, three in Kentucky, and four in Ohio. Fehr explains the committee worked very closely with the OKI region council of governments to provide help in the various counties in all areas pertaining to conservation of natural resources. He recalls his first experiences with 4-H Clubs and notes he was president of the first 4-H Club organized in Cold Spring, Kentucky, in 1920.

 

84OH97 A/F 154

CONRAD FELTNER 

Date:  October 15, 1984

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Mike Duff

Length:  45 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Excellent

Transcript: No

Restrictions: None

John Conrad Feltner was born in London, Kentucky in April of 1913. He attended the University of Kentucky and received his B.S. in Agriculture in May of 1935.  He later pursued a Master’s degree in Extension Education from the University of Wisconsin.  He secured a position as a soil improvement assistant for the Rural Rehabilitation Corporation in Whitley County, Kentucky.  After five months, he became an extension assistant, working with the 4-H programs in Rockcastle and Madison Counties in Kentucky.  Feltner was later promoted to county agent, and reminisces about working with Robert Spence, a “pioneer in extension work.”  He also describes his work as a county agent in McCreary County, Breathitt County, and Owen County.

In 1953, Feltner moved to Lexington to work with the Kentucky State 4-H office as a field agent in the Purchase and Pennyrile area of the state. In 1970 he was appointed Assistant 4-H Extension Director for UK. He made the support of quality staff a prerequisite to accepting the position, and he emphasizes that Dean Charles E. Barnhart gave his full support to the 4-H program. Feltner talks about his responsibilities and accomplishments with this position, and improvements he helped make with programs such as the 4-H Camp. He feels that one of his main achievements was in making the position of 4-H agent the same level as a county agent and home economics agent. He discusses the efforts of one of his committees to convince executives from large corporations to support 4-H programs. This committee also convinced these business executives to get involved by developing programs and presenting ideas to 4-H groups. Feltner talks at great length about various individuals who supported 4-H and extension programs during his career. He retired from UK in 1978.

 

74OH29 A/F 01

ERNEST N. FERGUS

Date:  October 4, 1984

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  J. Allen Smith

Length: 1 hour

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript:  Yes

Restrictions: None

Ernest N. Fergus grew up on a farm northwest of Dayton, Ohio. He recalls he taught for two years to save enough money to attend college. He enrolled at The Ohio State University in 1912 where he earned his B.S. degree in Agriculture. He married in 1916, decided to continue into graduate study, and received his M.S. in 1918. After graduation he accepted a position at Purdue University’s Agricultural Experiment Station where his principal job was to study red clover (forage) failure. Fergus worked under S.C. Jones and C.O. Crummer. He worked in Indiana for two years before accepting a position with the Agronomy Department at the University of Kentucky in 1920. He recalls that UK’s Agronomy Department was divided into four divisions: soil, field crops, plant pathology, and agricultural engineering.

Fergus taught courses in forage crop varieties and production during his first year, and developed courses in the commercial grading of grain and crop ecology. Fergus continued his studies in red clover failure, along with Dr. Norman Taylor.  This research was conducted in cooperation with the U.S.D.A., and led to the development of the Kenland variety of red clover.  Fergus recalls the history of the Kentucky 31 fescue research, named for the year that this research work began, and remembers H.K. Wells, who took him to W.M. Suiter’s farm where the grass was first discovered. Fergus remembers individuals who worked on this including William Johnstone, an extension specialist in Agronomy, and Dr. R.C. Buckner. He recalls Dr. William Seay, who was the assistant director of the Experiment Station during the conflict in official policy regarding Kentucky 31 fescue.

Fergus describes the beginning of the Kentucky Research Foundation (now the University of Kentucky Research Foundation) during President Frank L. McVey’s tenure. This committee continued planning during President Herman L. Donovan’s administration. He recalls that Dr. Leo Chamberlain was the first director of the foundation.  He describes the purchase of Spindletop Farm from the Yount Estate. He mentions the University Committee on Graduate Research and Staff Research. Fergus remembers the pasture experiments and insect control at the Princeton (Kentucky) Agricultural Substation, and mentions faculty members such as William Dorney Valleau, George Roberts, and P.E. Karraker. He talks briefly about his work in sorghum syrup production research.

 

84OH79 A/F 149

ERNEST N. FERGUS

Date:  August 14, 1984

Location:  Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Mike Duff

Length: 45 minutes

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Ernest Newton Fergus was born in Shelby County in March of 1892. He attended the Miami University of Ohio for one summer, taught school for a couple of years and then enrolled at Ohio State in 1912 where he received his B. S. degree in Agriculture, with an emphasis in Chemistry. He performed graduate and laboratory work in chemistry for two years, and received his Master’s degree in Soil Chemistry in 1918. Fergus worked at the Purdue University Experiment Station in Soil Research and was also employed at the same time by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to perform red clover (forage) failure research. He came to the University of Kentucky to continue this research for the USDA, and worked in various positions for the Agronomy Department from 1920 to until his retirement in 1966. Fergus discusses his research with forage crops such as fescue, timothy, and bluegrass. He talks about the research work done at UK to develop the Kenland variety of red clover, and mentions several co-workers who helped him with this project. Fergus was also involved with pasture research at the Princeton Substation near Princeton, Kentucky. Research work with pasture and forage from both facilities grew into the Green Pasture Program.

Fergus was appointed by Dr. Frank L. McVey to the chairmanship of a committee to develop research programs in departments other than agriculture which would augment teaching efforts.  Fergus explains that this committee, originally named the Committee for Graduate Work and Staff Research, was in place for several years, although it was disbanded during World War II. The group resumed its work after the war, during Dr. Herman L. Donovan’s tenure.  Fergus recalls that Donovan saw the need for an independent organization to handle appropriations of research funds from industry and other sources. The University of Kentucky Research Foundation was eventually formed for this purpose.

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

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.

 

90OH17 A/F 394

ROBERTA FIGGS

Date:  February 27, 1990

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Terry Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour, 30 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Good 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Roberta Figgs was a housekeeper at Maxwell Place, the home of the president of the University of Kentucky.  She worked throughout the Oswald, Singletary, and Roselle administrations.  Originally from Scott County, she graduated from high school in 1942, and married a man who was in the military in 1943.  She states that after World War II, she began working in various homes during the day and her husband became a sharecropper.  Figgs explains that by chance, she heard about a job in the President’s home on UK’s campus.  She recalls that she originally worked as an upstairs maid for fifty cents an hour. 

Figgs talks about her relationship with and her impressions of Mrs. Oswald who she states understood the plight of the working woman.  Figgs describes a typical day at Maxwell Place when she began working there.  She worked nine hours a day and even more if the Oswalds were entertaining.  Figgs also mentions her impressions of Mrs. Kirwan, Mrs. Singletary, and Mrs. Roselle.  She discusses racial issues and the role of black domestic help.  She states that she did not know much about what was going on throughout campus, because Maxwell Place was so sheltered from outside activity.  She recalls her sadness the day that Dr. Oswald resigned, and talks about her relationship with Dr. Singletary.  She states that her worst moment at Maxwell Place was the day she was told she had to leave.

 

85OH33 A/F 194

JOHN H. FINCH

Date:  February 15, 1985

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Mike Duff

Length:  1 hour, 10 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Fair

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

John H. Finch, a retired African-American cooperative extension agent, was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1906.  He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture at the Hampton Institute in Virginia.  Finch describes himself as hardworking college student and states that he graduated three months ahead of schedule.  He was able to secure a job working as an Assistant County Agent in Negro Work in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1931.  He describes his first few days on the job visiting local schools and local communities in Warren County.  He discusses formulating his own program to help the community and educating locals about UK’s extension service.

Finch started his career during the Great Depression, and he recalls that a large part of his duties became helping people to improve their standard of living.  After 1941, Finch also took over responsibility for running the extension service in Barren County.  He talks about how he measured results by the number of people participating in his programs.  He also discusses racial issues involved in his position.  From 1960-1966, Finch worked as an extension agent in Fayette, Bourbon, and Woodford Counties.  He states that the living conditions were better for farmers in these areas, but explains that he worked strictly with African American farmers until 1961.  He describes his crop and livestock projects with 4-H and his experiences with Bill Johnson who helped with electrical projects.

Finch discusses his experiences with the Farm Bureau and the difficulty that he had getting liability insurance because he was black.  He talks about his professional affiliations with the National County Agents Association and Epsilon Sigma Phi.  He describes his greatest satisfaction as an extension agent as when students say that they learned something from him.  His greatest dissatisfactions include times when he has been overlooked or did not receive the recognition that he felt he deserved.  He was not nominated to become part of Epsilon Sigma Phi until he had twenty-nine years of service as an extension agent, but Finch did win the National 4-H Award in 1967.

 

89OH272 A/F 383

LYDIA ROBERTS FISCHER

Date:  October 16, 1989

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Terry Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Former University of Kentucky student, Lydia Roberts Fischer, describes her experiences in high school and college in Lexington, Kentucky.  Fischer’s father owned Robert Furniture Company in Lexington, Kentucky.  She explains that she skipped several grades in school, even though she had a speech disorder.  She attended Morton Junior High School and Lexington Senior High School and graduated in January of 1925 at the age of fifteen.  Although her sister attended Transylvania University, Fischer decided to attend UK where she earned both her A.B. and M.A.  She majored in math and remembers many of her professors including Paul Boyd, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Elizabeth [LaSturgeon?] of the math department, and Dr. Funkhouser.  Fischer was also involved in the YWCA and the Kappa Delta sorority and she describes her experiences including sorority rush.  She remembers afternoon teas with Frances Jewell McVey and describes Sarah Blanding and Sarah Bennett Holmes who each served as Dean of Women. 

 

76OH09 A/F 19

JOHN S. FISH

Date:  January 26, 1976

Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Terry Birdwhistell

Length:  1 hour

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

John S. Fish grew up in Scott County, Kentucky.  After he graduated from high school in 1909, he taught in Scott County for four years.  He moved to Lexington in January of 1912 to attend the University of Kentucky.  Fish recalls that the students on campus were friendly and remembers the dormitories where only seniors were allowed on the top floor.  He majored in agriculture and remembers some members of the department including Dean Scovell, who was head of the School of Agriculture, Dean Nicholas, and T.R. Bryant, Sr.

Fish explains that he worked his way through school, and therefore had little time for social activities.  He recalls working at the experiment station in the chemistry department and for the city jail in Lexington.  He was also a member of the agriculture club, and the National Guard.  He mentions his participation in the freshman/sophomore tug of war and the hazing of freshman.  Fish remembers that students had to pay for tickets to athletic events whether they attended or not and he did not like this policy.  After his graduation from UK, Fish taught agriculture in Georgia, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, and London, Kentucky.  He was an Assistant County Agent for the agricultural extension service in Bardstown, Kentucky, and taught agriculture in Tennessee for 31 years.

 

77OH66 A/F 70

WILLIAM FISHBACK

Date:  September 15, 1977

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Bill Cooper

Length:  40 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

William Fishback is a 1932 graduate of the University of Kentucky.  He states that he attended UK because it was a school that he could afford.  He remembers that while he attended UK he lived with his aunt in Versailles and hitch hiked to class.  Fishback originally majored in engineering, because, he states, it was the thing to do at the time.  He describes his difficult schedule and mentions that he failed chemistry and physics and changed his major to commerce during his sophomore year.  He remembers some difficult professors like Dr. Kopius, his physics professor and Dr. Knight, who did not like engineering students.  He also describes Dr. Best of the psychology department, who was deaf, but could read lips.

Fishback also discusses the impact of the Great Depression on the university and remembers that there were a number of students who had no money at all.  He would do odd jobs in the afternoons to make some money.  He remembers the large role of athletics on campus and scalping his tickets to athletic events to make extra money.  Fishback remembers the difficulty he had finding a job after graduation.  He eventually secured employment baling paper for Woolworth’s, but within five years he was a store manager.  After World War II, he took an engineering job with the Union Bag and Paper Company in Savannah, Georgia.

 

90OH154 A/F 402

ROBERT FREDERICK FLEGE

Date:  July 13, 1990

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Shawn Metts

Length:  1 hour

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Robert Frederick Flege was born in Grant County, Kentucky in 1898.  His father was a teacher and a farmer.  He states that he began attending school at age six in the one-room schoolhouse where his father taught.  Flege states that he attended high school in Williamstown, Kentucky, and he and his older brother both graduated from high school in 1914.  Flege and his brother both enrolled at UK in the Fall of 1914 on scholarships.  He recalls that they first lived on Upper Street where they rented a room for $12 a month.  During their second semester, Flege and his brother were able to move into the dormitory in White Hall. 

Flege talks about the areas surrounding campus, and discusses the social life of students which he recalls consisted of card games, sports, and parties.  He remembers that there were some fraternities on campus, and talks about the freshmen-sophomore tug of war.  He remembers that when he was a freshman, the sophomores won.  To celebrate they rallied in downtown Lexington near the streetcar lines.  One student was killed when a motorman struck the cable.  Flege also mentions freshmen hazing, and remembers a student protest when the university mandated that all students who lived in the dorms had to eat at the on-campus cafeteria. 

Flege recalls the impact of the First World War on the university.  He discusses the role of the university battalion and states that students were required to serve in the university battalion during their first two years.  As the war in Europe became more intense, Flege states that certain teachers would turn their classes into discussion groups about the war.  When the U.S. declared war in the spring of 1917, the university decided that seniors who wanted to enlist would be able to graduate early.  He explains that while his brother and a friend enlisted, he decided to stay on at the university since he was too young to be drafted.  In the fall of 1917, he recalls that a French officer came to UK and that there was a War Speaker’s Campaign on campus.

Flege remembers the first student causality of the war, Stanley Smith, who was washed overboard and another classmate, Harold Kinney of Somerset who was killed shortly after that.  Flege mentions training detachments that were on campus in the Spring of 1918 and a fire in the mining building.  He graduated in June of 1918, and joined the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) through which he took pre-med classes at the University of Cincinnati.  Flege also talks about the flu epidemic of 1918.  He recalls that of thirteen draftees from Grant County, seven came back home in coffins due to the epidemic.  Flege remembers that the signing of the armistice came at the end of the flu epidemic.

 

79OH220 A/F 108

ANN FORD

Date:  June 12, 1979

Location: Littleton, Colorado

Interviewer:  Bill Cooper

Length:  35 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Fair

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Ann Ford is a 1939 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s degree in Library Science.  She was born and raised in Nicholasville, Kentucky and states that she chose to attend the University of Kentucky because it was close to home and she had monetary concerns.  She remembers some of her favorite professors including Dr. McFarland of the botany department and Dr. Clark of the history department.  She describes the library science program at UK as very adequate and states that she had tremendous preparation for a career in library science.  She remembers that all of her professors in library science were women, although all of her professors in other subjects were men.  She recalls getting to campus from Nicholasville in a bus.  She describes Dr. McVey as very likeable and remembers going to Maxwell Place for tea. 

Ford was also a member of the Tri Delta sorority and she remembers attending social events on campus.  After graduation, Ford worked in a library in Jefferson County, Kentucky for four years and then in the University of Kentucky library for three years.  She states that she enjoyed working for Margaret King, who she calls a “very special lady.”

 

84OH101 A/F 157

THOMAS R. FORD

Date:  November 5, 1984

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Grace M. Zilverburg

Length:  1 hour, 15 minutes

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Thomas R. Ford discusses his involvement with the University of Kentucky’s Center for Developmental Change (CDC).  Ford explains that he worked with Lee Coleman, the acting head of the department of sociology as one of the initiators of the project that developed into the CDC.  Ford recalls that the basic motivating principles behind the center were an interest in international development and concern with the problems of rural Appalachia.

Ford describes the involvement of A.D. Albright in the formation of the CDC.  He states that the CDC was involved in Peace Corps training, and that the CDC advanced greatly under the assistance of John Oswald, president of the University of Kentucky.  Ford describes the focus of the CDC on education and discusses the role of Art Gallagher in the CDC.  Ford explains that the first director of the CDC was Ed Weidner. Yet, Weidner stayed for only one year.  Luckily, Howard Beers, former head of the sociology department had recently returned from Indonesia, and soon took charge of the CDC.  He served as the director of the CDC until 1974.  Ford also describes the involvement of the CDC with the Office of Economic Opportunity, and a large rural development project in McCracken County, Kentucky.  He explains the attempt to organize an academic program in developmental change.

Ford believes that the growth of the CDC was stunted in the late 1960s by the national climate which began focusing more closely on internal change.  Ford also states that the change in the administration at UK also caused some changes with the CDC.  President Singletary was not as interested international affairs as President Oswald had been.  Also the cut-backs during the Nixon era and the growing importance of Vietnam had some impacts on the CDC.  Ford recalls when Sue Johnson took over as Director of the CDC.  

 

85OH143 A/F 252

THOMAS R. FORD

Date:  June 11, 1985

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Grace M. Zilverburg

Length:  1 hour

Audio Conditions:  Good

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Thomas R. Ford, a professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky, describes his involvement with UK’s Center for Developmental Change (CDC).  Ford became the director of the CDC in 1975, although prior to this he developed research proposals for the CDC.  He recalls working with Bill Schweri and developing proposals with the national science foundation. 

Ford describes criticism of the CDC and having to re-organize the center.  He discusses developing a database of faculty research interests and the environmental research that the CDC was involved in.  He talks about the establishment of a survey research center and the occupational training program with which the CDC was involved.  Ford discusses international projects of the CDC and a current proposal for developing family planning health in India.  He describes difficulty in getting funding and recalls a series of proposals that he assisted with that were not funded.  He talks about the differences between tenured and non-tenured faulty, and states that tenured faculty are more likely to get involved in things that expose them to risks like the multi-disciplinary projects of the CDC.  Ford describes how he wants to see the CDC more involved in helping developing nations and discusses his own plans for retirement.  He recalls some of his successes namely in helping to establish the Appalachian Center at UK and getting the survey research center organized.

 

92OH94 A/F 473

HAZEL FORSYTHE

Date:  March 4, 1992

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Gabrielle Billings

Length:  1 hour, 5 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Fair 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Hazel Forsyth, is a professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Kentucky.  She was born in 1948 in the South American country of Guyana and attended the University of Bristol in England for her undergraduate degree.  She worked as an assistant principal at the School of Home Economics in Salzburg.  She then enrolled in the graduate program at Oklahoma State University where she concentrated in nutrition planning for community services and she eventually received her PhD.

Forsyth describes her family background.  Her mother was a teacher and her father was a communications specialist.  She recalls the people who influenced her educational pursuits including teachers and friends.  After finishing her PhD, Forsyth worked with Unicef in Asia for a year.  She then worked as a substitute teacher in Maryland until she was able to secure a position at UK in January of 1989. 

She describes her day-to-day responsibilities which include research, teaching, and community services, along with working on university and college committees.  She discusses how time-consuming her research is and states that it is difficult on her two young children.  Forsyth is a member of the international student committee and the international committee at UK, along with being involved in three research projects.  She describes these projects which look at nutrition and pregnancy, teenage pregnancy, and preschool nutrition.  She also discusses the skills needed for a person in her position and explains the need for university professors to be good at resolving conflicts.        

   

92OH142 A/F 491

HAZEL FORSYTHE

Date:  April 1, 1992

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Gabrielle Billings

Length:  50 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Fair 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

In this second interview with Professor Hazel Forsythe, she describes her work and the organizations with which she is personally involved.  She is a member of several Caribbean Associations.  She describes her job as one that is good for personal development, but that does require certain skills such as working with others.  Forsythe also discusses her teaching methods.  She sees her research as the most difficult aspect of her position, but talking with students the most fun.  She describes some of her travels including trips to Indonesia to collect information for Unicef.  Forsythe also talks about UK in general and the outside perception that Kentucky is not interested in education. 

Forsythe discusses the influence of gender on academic career possibilities and reacts to people who consider her work “women’s work.”  As a native of Guyana, she describes racial influences upon her career at UK, but explains that that she has never seen any racial tension on campus.  She talks about working conditions, stating that the expectations for the amount of work that the faculty should do is unrealistic.  She also describes her work experience stating that after receiving her B.S. degree, she worked with the Ministry of Education in Guyana as lecturer in the College of Education.  She then taught teachers strategies for nutrition and worked with the Carnegie School for Home Economics, which organized home economics and nutrition programs throughout Guyana.  She also worked as a part-time lecturer at the University of Guyana and as the principal of a school. 

 

92OH168 A/F 506

HAZEL FORSYTHE

Date:  April 22, 1992

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Gabrielle Billings

Length:  55 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Poor 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

In this third interview, Hazel Forsythe discusses her career in academia and at UK.  She states that her greatest rewards come from teaching and with helping women during pregnancy.  She describes the importance of communication in her field and states that she feels well-informed about matters at UK and in her college and department.

Forsythe discusses the affect of her work on her family and the affect of her family upon her work.  She states that her frustrations in her work involve students not taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them.  Forsythe explains the “distribution of effort” does not reflect what she does at all.  She describes how her time is split between teaching, research, working with students, and administrative work.  She states that the most important problem that she is working on is trying to find nutritional risks for pregnant women.  Forsythe describes the classes that she teaches which include Maternal and Child Nutrition and Community Nutrition.  She discusses her teaching style and also states that she feels that student teaching evaluations are not adequate, because many students just want easy classes. 

 

77OH99 A/F 81

STUART FORTH

Date:  December 1, 1977

Location: University Park, Pennsylvania 

Interviewer:  Bill Cooper

Length:  1 hour, 30 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Excellent 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Stuart Forth, former Dean of the University of Kentucky libraries, recalls his tenure at UK.  He was the Associate Director of Libraries at the University of Kansas when he heard that the University of Kentucky was looking for a new dean.  He recalls his first impressions of the campus when he came to UK for an interview stating that there was a wonderful sense of growth and excitement.  Forth also talks about some of the faculty members at Kentucky whom he already knew, namely, Thomas D. Clark, Paul Nagle, and A.B. Kirwan.

Forth compares the University of Kentucky libraries with those of the University of Kansas.  He describes his relationship with UK President John Oswald, and his feelings about the role of the University Librarian.  Forth explains the most urgent needs of the library system when he was appointed.  He states that his first priority was to bring some kind of rational administrative leadership.   He recalls the proposal for the building of a separate undergraduate library which he felt was completely unnecessary.  Forth also describes departmental libraries, especially the home economics library and the life sciences library.  

In September of 1968, the Vice President of Student Affairs left the University of Kentucky, and Ab Kirwan asked Forth if he would be willing to take the interim position.  He describes the situation on campus at this time recalling student protests.  He remembers the attempt of a student group called the Free University to become an official student organization and Singletary’s refusal to allow this to happen due to the group’s radical nature and their offensive acronym.  He describes the administration’s reaction to other student protests including the burning of the ROTC building in May of 1970.  In the summer of 1970 Forth returned to his job with the library.  He discusses the plans for an addition to the library, and the acquisition of the large manuscript collections of John Sherman Cooper and A.B. “Happy” Chandler.  He also discusses his work at Penn State and his dealings with the library school at UK. 

 

85OH182 A/F 267

ALLEN C. FRANKS

Date:  July 16, 1985

Location: Lexington, Kentucky 

Interviewer:  Mike Duff

Length:  45 minutes 

Audio Conditions:  Good 

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Allen C. Franks is a farmer in Todd County, Kentucky who has vast experience working with the Cooperative Extension Service.  He was born in northeast Ohio in 1934, and graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture.  He first became involved with the cooperative extension service in Ohio as a child when he was active in 4-H programs.

Franks and his family moved to Kentucky in 1965 where he quickly became a friend and supporter of the UK Extension Service.  Franks talks about his farm operation where he owns 520 tillable acres and produces wheat, beans, and corn and runs a large hog operation.  Franks talks about the role of the farmer in the 1980s, and his own reliance on the extension services for help in the areas in which he is not an expert, namely finances, marketing, and estate planning.  He describes the help that agriculture engineers have provided in the construction of buildings on his farm.

Franks also describes his involvement with the Kentucky Farm Business Analysis Program.  In December of 1981, he spoke at the National Pork Producers Council Profit Symposium on the need for farmers to keep meaningful records.  He discusses breeding programs and a program on his farm to recycle swine waste.  He describes his involvement with the Soil Conservation Service, and recalls being selected as the Farm Home Administration’s farm family of the year and being awarded a National Soil and Water Conservation Award.  He talks about his involvement with the extension finance committee where he has attempted to express to the need for more money in agricultural programs to government officials.  He recalls when the Secretary of Agriculture John Block visited his farm in October of 1984.  He also discusses his involvement with 4-H club programs including his work with young people from Chile and France.  Franks describes the role the Farm Bureau plays for the farmers in Kentucky, namely providing representation for the farmers in Washington.   

 

85OH67 A/F 216

RUFUS FUGATE

Date:  March 20, 1985

Location: Hyden, Kentucky

Interviewer:  Mike Duff

Length:  40 minutes 

Audio Conditions: Fair

Transcript:  No

Restrictions: None

Rufus Fugate has been a county agent in Leslie County, Kentucky since 1957.  He was born in Kryton in Perry County, Kentucky in 1932, and attended the University of Kentucky where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.  He served in the navy before Paul King, a Perry County extension agent, helped him to apply for a job with the UK Extension Service.  In August of 1957, he became Assistant County Agent in Leslie County, Kentucky.  Fugate discusses the unique role of an extension agent in a mountainous county.  He explains the effect of poor roads on the isolation of the communities.  He also describes Judge Wooten, who he sees an influential in the development of Leslie County.  In 1958, Fugate was appointed as County Agent in Leslie County. 

Fugate discusses some of the projects with which he has been involved including 4-H, the county fair, demonstration gardens, and farm visits.  He describes his use of the news media to promote the extension service.  He talks about his involvement with the ACIP (Appalachian Community Impact Project), the major goal of which is to use local leaders to get people to become more personally involved.  He also describes community development programs through which improvements in the waste and water systems in Leslie County were completed.  

Fugate discusses his involvement in state extension council, the Farm Bureau, the UK’s College of Agriculture.  He provides his opinions of the reclamation of land damaged by strip mining.  Fugate discusses his and his daughter’s involvement in 4-H, his participation in professional groups such as the State Association of County Agricultural Agents, and dissatisfying and satisfying experiences throughout his career.  He talks about his family, his hobbies, and his involvement with the Frontier Nursing Service.  He remembers Mary Breckinridge and her interest in conservation.  His many awards are also mentioned.     

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