Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Alben W. Barkley Papers

Dates: 1953.

Vice President of the United States, 1945-1953.

The Alben W. Barkley Papers consist of transcripts of interviews conducted with Alben Barkley by Sidney Shalett. The interviews include recollections of Barkley's personal life and political career, including his service as Harry S. Truman's Vice President. The interviews served as the basis for a series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post and the subsequent memoir by Barkley, That Reminds Me (1954).

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ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 5 linear inches (800 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: This material is in the public domain.
Processed by: Willie L. Harriford (1962); Lauren E. White (2011).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1877 (November 24)Born near Lowes, Ky
1897Graduated from Marvin College, Clinton, Ky.
1901Admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Paducah, Ky.
1905-1909Prosecuting attorney for McCracken County, Ky.
1909-1913Judge of McCracken County Court
1913-1927Congressman from Kentucky, U.S. House of Representatives
1919, 1924Chairman of the Kentucky Democratic State Conventions
1920-1940Delegate to all Democratic National Conventions
1927-1949U. S. Senator from Kentucky
1932, 1936Temporary Chairman, Democratic National Conventions
1937-1947Democratic Majority Leader, U.S. Senate
1940Permanent Chairman, Democratic National Convention
1947-1948Democratic Minority Leader, U.S. Senate
1949-1953Vice President of the United States
1955-1956U. S. Senator from Kentucky
1956 (April 30)Died, Lexington, Va.

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Alben W. Barkley Papers consist of a collection of transcribed interviews with Alben Barkley conducted by Sidney Shalett in 1953. Barkley's wife, Jane Hadley Barkley, was included in a couple of the interviews. The interviews contain recollections of Barkley's childhood, his life and work as a U.S. Senator, and his service as Vice President under President Harry S. Truman.

The interview transcripts include information concerning Barkley's ancestry; his first experiences with radio; his marriages; his law practice; his previous occupations as a salesman and teacher; his role in the 1952 Democratic National Convention; his campaigns with Franklin D. Roosevelt; his Congressional career and associations; his observations and recollections of President Woodrow Wilson; his race for Governor of Kentucky; his Senate duties; and other stories about his life.

Correspondence with or relating to Alben W. Barkley can be found in the Harry S. Truman President's Secretary's Files, President's Personal File (PPF 1694), and Post-Presidential Papers. The Truman Library also has sound recordings of the Barkley-Shalett interviews, from which the transcripts were derived.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.Series
1INTERVIEWS FILE, 1953
Transcribed interviews of Alben W. Barkley conducted by Sidney Shalett. Arranged chronologically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Reel 1 [Barkley ancestral narrative]
  • Reel 2 [childhood stories, atrocity camps in Germany, first law practice, etc.]
  • Reel 3 [first job practicing law, jobs as a teacher and salesman, family stories, etc.]
  • Reel 4 [first marriage, early law days, introduction to Franklin D. Roosevelt, etc.]
  • Reel 5 [Franklin D. Roosevelt, beginning of Truman era]
  • Reel 6 [campaigning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, events leading to the 1952 convention.]
  • Reel 7 [events leading to the 1952 Democratic National Convention]
  • Reel 8 [beginning of Barkley's congressional career, recollections of President Woodrow Wilson, stories about Governor Adlai Stevenson, etc.]
  • Reel 9 [President Woodrow Wilson administration continued, World War I under President Wilson, they story of how he met his wife, Jane Hadley Barkley, etc.]
  • Reel 10 [Barkley and wife continued, World War I trip to Europe, discussion of President Herbert Hoover, etc.]
  • Reel 11 [Barkley's race for Governor of Kentucky, rules of the House and Senate, etc.]
  • Reel 12 [Senate duties, trips to Korea, Russia, and London, etc.]
  • Reel 13 [discussion about the 12 years of Republican administration]
  • Reel 14 [airplane campaign of 1948, Dewey and Warren, Pearl Harbor Day with the Japanese, Roosevelt's death, etc.]
  • Reel 15 [meeting with King Michael of Romania, discussion of famous personalities, etc.]
  • Reel 16 [recollections of Charles L. McNary, Charles Curtis, Kenneth S. Wherry, Senator Robert M. LaFollette, Sr. and Jr., George W. Norris, Woodrow Wilson's love for vaudeville, Marian Anderson at the White House, etc.]
  • Reel 17 [Albert Chandler as governor, recollections of Huey Long, Fred Vinson, Joe Robinson, Col. E.M. House, etc.]
  • Reel 18 [recollections of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Yalta story, agricultural relief, National Recovery Administration (NRA), etc.]
  • Reel 19 [the gold clause, social security, bank deposits, the rise of Hitler, etc.]
  • Reel 20 [the Pearl Harbor investigation, SEC investigation, Franklin D. Roosevelt's early career, etc.]
  • Reel 21 [recollections of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Barkley joining the Elks Lodge, etc.]
  • Reel 22 [convention speech, lend-lease bill, investigations of the Senate, etc.]
  • List of Tapes from Sidney Shalett

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