Interview with Thomas D. Clark, December 10, 2002

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

In this interview, historian Thomas D. Clark describes some significant events throughout his career at the University of Kentucky. He states that he first came to Kentucky in 1928 and he remembers putting together a checklist of important documents that the University of Kentucky needed to save during the summers of 1929 and 1930. Around this time he was hired to work part-time collecting historical material for UK's library. Clark describes an early morning adventure with J.W. Martin to save state documents that were being sold as scrap paper. Through help from A.B. "Happy" Chandler, Clark and Martin were able to save the documents and take them to UK for storage. Until the state developed an adequate records program, Clark continuously moved important documents from Frankfort to the University of Kentucky. Clark also talks about his experience collecting country store records in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina between 1942 and 1943. The records were used in two of his books "Pills, Petticoats, and Plows" and "Southern Country." Clark tells a story about a politician who traveled through Knott County, Kentucky on a mule, and his own experience riding a mule in Elliott County, Kentucky in the rain. He describes Otto Rothert, who was the editor of the Filson Club Historical Quarterly. Clark discusses his relationship with the Filson Club and how it differed from his relationship with the Kentucky Historical Society. Clark talks about his many attempts to get Kentucky governors like Julian Carroll and Louie B. Nunn to establish a state archives. Clark states that Julian Carroll finally agreed to provide funding for a building for the state archives, and Clark recalls finding a location and an architect. He also describes difficulties when federal funds were cut off. Clark describes his relationship with Judge Samuel Wilson and the Book Thieves Club. He recalls the development of the Book Thieves Club, which included himself, Judge Wilson, Winston Coleman, Dr. Frank McVey, and other scholars. Judge Wilson's library was donated to the University of Kentucky after his death. Clark discusses changes to the Kentucky Historical Society after Bill Buster became director. Jim Klotter, a former UK student, also later became director. Clark also describes his role on the Kentucky Historical Commission, and finding the funding to process the Henry Clay Papers.

Interview Accession

2003oh008_af648

Interviewee Name

Thomas D. Clark

Interviewer Name

William J. Marshall

Interview Date

2002-12-10

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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Clark, Thomas D. Interview by William J. Marshall. 10 Dec. 2002. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Clark, T.D. (2002, December 10). Interview by W. J. Marshall. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Clark, Thomas D., interview by William J. Marshall. December 10, 2002, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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