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Special Collections Research Center

 HOURS for December 3, 2016:  Closed

Great Depression

  • . Barkley served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1913-1927, the U.S. Senate from 1927-1949, and again from 1955-1956, and as Vice President of the United States from 1949-1953. During the Great Depression, he served a Majority Leader of the Senate. This primary source material consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, printed material, audio-visual material, and memorabilia. A complete box and folder inventory to this collection is forthcoming. See also the Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in the University of Kentucky Libraries.
  • . Chandler was twice governor of Kentucky, 1935-1939, and 1955-1959; a U.S. Senator, 1939-1945; Commissioner of Major League Baseball, 1945-1951. This primary source material consists of personal, political, and general papers, legal papers, and a subject file. There are also photographs, political cartoons, audio-visual material, and memorabilia in this collection. Chandler's first gubernatorial term occurred during the Great Depression. See also the A.B. "Happy" Chandler Oral History Project in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in the University of Kentucky Libraries.
  • Ruth Louise (Sachs) Cronin Papers, 1937-1938, 1942-1943. This collection consists of two unique sets of letters. The first set of over 200 letters covers the period 1937-1938 during the period when the relationship between Ruth Louise Sachs and Ralph Marvin (Cohen) Cronin blossomed into real romance. During this period, Ralph worked as an travelling advertising salesman for the Keller Crescent Advertising-Merchandising Company located in Evansville, Indiana before he suffered a nervous breakdown in November of 1937 and moved back to live with his parents in Dayton. From there, he attempted to start his own advertising agency and mechandizing firm, D'Arzi Laboratories, and manufactured and marketed such things as anti-wrinkle and hair removable cosmetics and implements, as well as an electric hair-growing machine. Although increasingly romantic in nature, these letters from Ralph to Ruth Louise not only document courtship practices but also the struggles of a fledgling entrepreneur during the last years of the 1930s at the end of the Great Depression, and his refusal to commit to marriage until he was financially secure. In 1938 he gave up his idea of running his own business and instead went to work for the Roger Williams Company located in Cleveland, Ohio, although he was able to work out of Dayton. This set of letters also document the social life of Dayton, Ohio during this period of the 1930s. As events unfold in Europe in the late 1930s with the coming to power of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, Ralph becomes increasingly aware of his own Jewishness and his religious heritage and begins to join and become a leader in local Jewish organizations in the Dayton area. His letters to Ruth Louise on September 18 and September 22, 1938 are particularly poignant regarding his feelings of being a Jew as well as the threat of facism and the anti-semetic sentiment spreading across not only in Europe but in the United States. The Cohen family believed the threat in the U.S. real enough that it compelled the whole family to change their last name to the Irish-sounding surname Cronin sometime after 1938, and one of his letters makes reference to at least one other Jewish family changing their last name also. After Ralph and Ruth Louise married in 1939, he shortly thereafter went to work for the Jam Handy Organization in Detroit, Michigan. The Jam Handy Organization specialized in eductional sound pictures, discussional slide films, and vocational training aids. Ralph and Ruth Louise lived in Detroit for four years before he received his draft notice the first week of December, 1942. He had been a member of the Naval Reserve and asked for and received a commission in early 1943.  There are also many letters in this collection from other family members, friends, and business acquaintances. After the war, Ralph and Ruth Louise ended up living in Louisville, Kentucky, and Ralph was vice-president of National Industries until his death on August 18, 1973 at age 65. It is believed that Ruth Louise died February 19, 1996. This collection is part of the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters (Accession #2009MS132).
  • . George H. Goodman served as director of the Works Progress Administration in Kentucky from 1934-1941. This primary source material consists of correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, and photographs. The WPA built many roads, bridges, schools, dams, and other public structures during the Great Depression.
  • Mary Catherine Norwood Letters, 1927-1936. This collection consists of nine letters mainly from Mary "Kay's" Norwood's mother, Bertha, to Mary "Kay" while she was visiting relatives in Indianapolis, Indiana. The letters document family affairs, and especially her father's employment activities during the Depression years of 1934 and 1935. This collection is part of the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters (Accession #2009MS132).
  • . Reed was Solicitor General of the U.S. from 1935-1938, and an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1938-1957. This primary resource material consists of correspondence, memo files, docket books, opinion files, a special master file, published cases, photographs, and memorabilia. As Solicitor General, Reed diligently defended the constitutionality of the New Deal's experimental legislation. See also the Stanley F. Reed Oral History Project in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in the University of Kentucky Libraries.
  • . Shouse, a native of Midway, Kentucky, served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas from 1915-1919, was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1919-1920, and served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1929-1932. This primary source material consists of correspondence, photographs, printed material, and newspaper clipping scrapbooks. Shouse, a Democrat, also was head of the American Liberty League, which was an organization opposed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legislation and the packing of the Supreme Court.
  • . Vinson served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1925-1929, and again from 1931-1938. He was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in 1945 and served until 1946 when he was appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served until 1953. This primary source material consists of correspondence, photographs, court decisions, agency reports, government documents, press releases, statistics, executive orders, and memorabilia. Vinson became known for his expertise on the issue of tax legislation during the Great Depression. See also the Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in the University of Kentucky Libraries.
  • . Lansill directed the U.S. Resettlement Administration's Division of Suburban Resettlement. The Resettlement Administration was established by executive order in 1935. Lanshill's responsibilities included the Greenbelt Town Program which relocated destitute or low-income families in newly constructed, planned communities. This primary source material consists of correspondence, reports, photographs, drawings and publicity papers relating to four model Greenbelt towns: Greenbelt, Maryland, Greenbrook, New Jersey, Greendale, Wisconsin, and Greenhills, Ohio.
  • John Sherman Cooper Oral History Project. Cooper served in the Kentucky General Assembly (1927-1929); Pulaski County Judge, (1930-1938); U.S. Senate (1946-1948, 1952-1954, and 1956-1972); U.S. Ambassador to India and Nepal (1955-1956); and first U.S. Ambassador to East Germany (1974-1976). In several interviews Cooper discusses being County Judge of Pulaski County during the Great Depression. The project is located in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Our Mission

Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection, the John G. Heyburn Center for Judicial Excellence, and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center.

SCRC collects,preserves, and provides access to materials documenting the social, cultural, economic, and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Materials are acquired regardless of format and include both primary and secondary sources; Kentuckiana is collected comprehensively. SCRC maintains the University Archives and records management program for all records generated by the University and serves as its archival repository for permanent records. SCRC advances and supports the research, teaching, and scholarship of the University and beyond by preserving and providing access to its holdings.

Associate Dean Deirdre A. Scaggs

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