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The Public Papers of Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby, 1950-1955

The Public Papers of Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby, 1950-1955

John E. Kleber Editor
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    The Public Papers of Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby, 1950-1955
    Book Description:

    This volume preserves the public papers and letters from the five-year period when Lawrence W. Wetherby was governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Relatively little of this material has been available heretofore to the general public. And its inaccessibility may explain why the Wetherby administration has yet to be fully appreciated even by historians and political scientists.

    The years 1950 through 1955 offered problems and opportunities that made being governor both a challenge and a joy. It was a period of economic growth fostered by the artificial stimulus of the Korean War, and sudden economic readjustment when the war ended, that resulted in financial problems for Kentucky's government. There was depression in the important coal industry that caused a mass exodus of people from eastern Kentucky. A brief drought impaired agricultural production. While President Harry Truman had been quite solicitous of the state's needs, the new Republican administration in Washington was less so.

    Yet, of a positive nature, there was an influx of tourists, a concerted effort to diversify the state's economic base through industrialization, and an attempt to mitigate a characteristic isolation both within and without through the construction of toll roads and rural highways. The papers in this volume reflect the thought of Kentucky's executive branch on all of these issues.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5693-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvii)
    Bert T. Combs

    The editor of this collection of Lawrence Wetherby’s public papers says that the Wetherby administration has yet to be fully appreciated even by historians and political scientists. I agree. Lawrence was not a good press agent for himself. He has little of the ego that causes most politicians to publicize and sometimes exaggerate their good deeds. He was less controversial than the hard-driving Earle Clements who preceded him or the flamboyant Happy Chandler who followed him. He was like the all-star infielder who made difficult plays look easy. The news media thus failed to highlight the solid accomplishments of his...

    (pp. xviii-xviii)
    R. F. S.
    (pp. xix-xxii)
    J. E. K.
  6. GOVERNOR LAWRENCE W. WETHERBY November 27, 1950, to December 13, 1955
    (pp. 1-3)

    The forty-eighth governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Lawrence Winchester Wetherby, was born on January 2, 1908, in Middletown, Kentucky. The son of Samuel David, a physician, and Fanny Yenowine Wetherby, he was the first governor to be born in Jefferson County, but was one of many Methodists to hold the office.

    Even though Middletown was located only a short distance to the east of Louisville, Wetherby grew up in a rural environment. As a youth, he worked on his father’s farm and was an active member of the Junior Agricultural Club, a forerunner of 4-H Clubs. He attended Middletown...

  7. OATH OF OFFICE Frankfort / November 27, 1950
    (pp. 4-8)

    Greater honor falls to the lot of no man than to be permitted to serve his fellowmen, whether it be in the realm of government or another chosen field of endeavor. I am both proud and humble as I undertake the duties of governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, proud to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Governor Clements¹ and other great Kentuckians, yet humble before the Almighty Father of us all as I seek to properly discharge the duties of the office to which I have been called under the constitution.

    Advancements have been made during the past three...

  8. INAUGURAL ADDRESS Frankfort / December 11, 1951
    (pp. 9-13)

    The course of events in Kentucky’s history makes this an important and memorable day. One chapter ends and another begins in the exciting history that extends from the Isaac Shelby¹ inauguration through all the 159 years of this Commonwealth. Time has shown the importance of that first inauguration which launched Kentucky’s statehood in 1792. In contrast to today’s spectacle it was marked with simplicity, and the lone newspaper of the new Commonwealth devoted only a few words to describe the proceedings.

    With the population growth and pride of the people in having a state government of their own, Kentuckians attached...

    (pp. 14-72)

    Because of emergency conditions which have developed, I have today decided to issue a call for the General Assembly to meet in an extraordinary session on Monday, March 5, 1951. The purpose would be to consider appropriating for schools, public assistance, and welfare additional funds which apparently will be available for expenditure during the coming fiscal year and for the further purpose to enable governmental employees in Kentucky to come under the new Social Security Act.¹

    It is possible to make the increased appropriations without new tax levies because it has become apparent that the state’s general fund will have...

    (pp. 73-112)

    The assignment given me is indeed an honor, yet it hardly seems necessary to introduce one of the best-loved men in America, the greatest political campaigner of the past quarter century, and a great Democrat, a spiritual disciple of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson—the men we honor tonight—and if our welcome seems to be warmer than that we usually accord our distinguished visitors I feel sure none will be offended, for it must be remembered that we are not only honoring the vice president but an illustrious son of our own beloved Commonwealth.

    Kentucky has ever been a...

    (pp. 113-148)

    It is a pleasure to be here with you and a privilege to speak before an organization which has a history of distinguished achievement in a field of vital importance to Kentuckians.

    When the automobile became a part of our civilization a half-century ago a man did not often say that he was a Kentuckian. More often, he styled himself as being from western, central, or eastern Kentucky. Our people were region conscious and did not generally feel a strong kinship for residents of each part of our state, as do Kentuckians of today. I do not think it amiss...

    (pp. 149-155)

    Kentucky, rich in scenic grandeur and with a wealth of historical landmarks, enjoys the privilege of playing host each year to millions of the American traveling public. Our Commonwealth, through the cooperation and efforts of various agencies of state government and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, began about three years ago to make her bid to increase her tourist industry.

    During this period tourist trade in our state almost doubled. Long before this program was initiated, however, John Lair¹ of Renfro Valley was a self-appointed one-man Chamber of Commerce for the Blue Grass State. By use of the air waves...

    (pp. 156-176)

    In attending this year’s Somerset Chamber of Commerce annual meeting I realize that I follow a series of distinguished speakers, and I appreciate the honor which this occasion bestows. Through the years, this meeting has become a highlight among community gatherings both in Somerset and throughout southeastern Kentucky.

    You have kindly granted me wide latitude in choice of speaking subject, but, to my way of thinking, the ties and sentiments of home overshadow all else in importance and there is no need to wander far afield.

    I believe the advancement of this community and our state are primary interests of...

    (pp. 177-190)

    Soil conservation retains its place among the most vexing, important and challenging problems confronting the Commonwealth. By nationwide reputation we are considered a rich state agriculturally but here at home, as far as soil is concerned, we know that only a part of our state is rich.

    Nature endowed the Commonwealth with mountains, rolling plains, and vast stretches of flatlands. The first settlers found the earth of Kentucky fortified against the ravages of erosion, the number one enemy of the soil. Under the brunt of heavy rains, trees and brush held the topsoil to the hillsides and mountainsides. Grass and...

    (pp. 191-205)

    I know of no challenge as great or as important to the welfare and security of our country as that offered in the field of agriculture. The basic resources of food, clothing, and shelter must be provided through agriculture for an ever-increasing population. These needs must be met both in our time and in all generations to come.

    Farming today is no ordinary occupation. It is a business that prospers in direct proportion to the special skills that are employed. The successful farmer utilizes every skill he can learn and employs every tool at his command. He uses wisely the...

    (pp. 206-222)

    “The Sun Shines Bright in My Old Kentucky Home.” The thought expressed in Foster’s immortal song has lived with us down through the years and today, as Kentucky is taking spectacular steps forward in every field of endeavor, these imperishable words become more and more impressive and meaningful.

    Those Kentuckians who have traveled the road home during the 1950 Mid-Century Homecoming are, I am confident, keenly aware that our state is on the march and rapidly going forward. We are proud of the Kentucky that is described in song and story, the Kentucky which is the “home that our feet...

    (pp. 223-231)

    Since the beginning of recorded history man’s social organization and political concept have afforded a rich and most interesting field for study and scholarly enterprise. Varying with climate, geography, time, and national origin, civic society has found expression in many different ways. As each has existed, it is possible to compare the difference between communism and private enterprise, hereditary rulers against elected magistrates, a dictatorship as contrasted with a democracy.

    With the brief mention of these opposites, it is apparent that continual change and adjustment through the ages have characterized our political development. While conflict and bitter wrangling have had...

    (pp. 232-267)

    It is graduation time across the nation. From thousands of schools this week countless young men and women will walk the last time as high school students. Although the ceremony we are enacting is everywhere the order of the day, commencement, and these who graduate here tonight, are special to me.

    As a youngster I went to grade school in the old green schoolhouse at Middletown. Twenty-six years ago I was a member of the graduating class of the Anchorage High School. Through the years I have been closely associated with the school program. My son graduated from Anchorage, and...

    (pp. 268-296)

    Some few weeks ago I had the disappointment of seeing my plans to attend a Kiwanis meeting here in Wheelwright cancelled because of the weather. As enjoyable as that visit would have been, I feel your scout program tonight and the luxuriant beauty of the mountains in springtime compensate for that disappointment, and make this assignment truly one of pleasure. In addition, it is my understanding that each Kiwanis Club in the Sandy Valley area sponsors a scout troop and is represented here tonight. This program thereby appears to be an expansion of the earlier one, and we definitely have...

  20. CRIME
    (pp. 297-304)

    [To W. G. Hoagland, Louisville]

    This is an acknowledgment of your August 15 letter. During the past several weeks I, like you, have been concerned with the unfavorable publicity certain limited areas of our great state have received as a result of investigations made of law enforcement or the lack of such enforcement. As a citizen, a Christian, and a public official, the conditions exposed are reprehensible and constitute blotches on the name Kentucky. However, these conditions are isolated rather than general. They reflect locally rather than statewide.

    The fact that these conditions are so restricted in area points to...

    (pp. 305-308)

    We are ready to turn another page toward the future of Kentucky. In the pages of the future we will find sharp and severe challenges confronting the new administration and the citizens it will govern. From intimate experience, I can say the duties ahead are rugged. Your new chief executive¹ will face vast horizons for endeavor and achievement. The progressive aspects of his program deserve the support of all Kentuckians. I wish him well as he takes up the struggle for a better Kentucky.

    In recent years, I believe, I know, Kentucky has moved forward brilliantly. I have attended many...

    (pp. 309-312)
  23. INDEX
    (pp. 313-328)