Interview with Kit Carson Elswick, November 12, 1974

Project: Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Mr. Elswick practiced law in Louisa, Kentucky, became county attorney, was appointed to the Department of Justice in 1934, and eventually served in the United States Attorney's office until 1955. Elswick's family and Fred Vinson's family have been "friends for a long time," which is one reason Elswick, as county attorney shared an office with Commonwealth attorney Fred Vinson. He discusses Vinson playing baseball in Louisa. Vinson's mother's influence is mentioned. Elswick talks about Vinson's ability to remember names as well as his interest in mathematics and taxes. Elswick drove Vinson to political affairs in Kentucky, including American Legion meetings. According to Elswick, Vinson was a life member of the American Legion. Vinson's religious background is mentioned. Elswick talks about how Vinson got Governor W. J. Fields' congressional seat. Vinson's loyalty to the Democratic party during the Al Smith presidential campaign of 1928 and the impact on his Congressional campaign are discussed. Elswick gives his opinion of Vinson's view of prohibition and how Vinson rarely drunk alcohol. Vinson's changing relationship with Fields is talked about. Kentucky Democratic politics of the time are looked at. Elswick reminisces about Vinson's wife, Roberta and her participation in politics. Some background is given on Vinson's potential presidential campaign in 1952. Elswick gives his impression of Vinson's campaign abilities and how he received Republican support. Reasons are given for why he moved his law practice from Louisa to Ashland. Elswick comments on Vinson's family feeling, which even extended to distant relatives. Vinson's "falling out" with Robert W. Bingham and the Louisville Courier-Journal over the Economy Bill of 1933 is discussed as is his general relationship with the press (local papers, Republican papers). Elswick talks about Vinson's relationship with John Y. Brown, Sr. and the rest of the Kentucky congressional delegation. Elswick mentions Vinson's opinion of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Vinson's motivation for his involvement in social security legislation is looked at. Elswick tells of his surprise when Vinson left politics for the judiciary, especially in light of how much Vinson had enjoyed politics. He comments on the possibility that Vinson could have run for governor. He mentions Vinson's relationship with A. B. "Happy" Chandler after the [1931 ?] Kentucky Democratic convention and possible political reasons for Roosevelt appointing Vinson to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Elswick mentions Vinson's love of cards. He states his opinion of Vinson's appointment as chief justice of the Supreme Court. Elswick gives his reading of Vinson's philosophy on segregation judgments and the background that contributed to Vinson's views on civil liberties and immigration. He finishes by upholding Vinson's reputation as a "great conciliator".

Interview Accession

1974oh035_vin005

Interviewee Name

Kit Carson Elswick

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1974-11-12

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Elswick, Kit Carson Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 12 Nov. 1974. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Elswick, K.C. (1974, November 12). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Elswick, Kit Carson, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. November 12, 1974, Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt705q4rmt8r