Interview with Robert F. Houlihan, February 13, 1986

Project: Edward F. Prichard, Jr. Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Robert Houlihan gives some background information about himself including his military service and early days as a lawyer. He describes his first meeting with Ed Prichard when he asked Prichard for a job at his law firm. Houlihan describes Ed Prichard's personality, and how his expectations of him did not necessarily match with reality. He talks about Prichard's tendency toward arrogance, especially towards those he disagreed with, but says that Prichard was nothing but kind to him personally. Houlihan talks about why he decided to leave Prichard's law firm to take a job with another firm. He talks about Prichard's many political connections and his friendships with powerful people. Houlihan discusses some of the work that was being done by Prichard's law firm at the time he worked there. He talks at length about their efforts lobbying for rural electrification, including Prichard's public speaking skills on the topic, and his talent at remembering politicians who were involved. He talks briefly about why the firm was disbanded.

Houlihan tells the story of how he introduced Prichard to his friend Lucy Elliott, who Prichard married a year later. He describes from their first date to their wedding, at which Houlihan was an usher. He talks about some of the famous and powerful guests in attendance. Houlihan talks about meeting Prichard's father, "Big Ed Prichard," and talks about Ed Prichard's relationship with his mother.

Houlihan talks about Prichard's interest in politics and his work for the Clements campaign in 1947. He talks more about the disbanding of Prichard's law firm, partly due to his partner working for the opposing Waterfield campaign. Houlihan describes in detail Prichard's involvement with a ballot box stuffing scandal during the 1948 election. He talks about how this type of corruption was common in Kentucky, why Prichard may have done it, and his political enemies who would not drop the case. Houlihan describes attending Prichard's trial for the ballot box stuffing scandal. He talks about Prichard's legal representation for the case, where the trial took place, and his own role as a witness for Prichard. He talks about why Prichard believed he had attorney-client privilege with Judge Ardery and why that was overruled, forcing Judge Ardery to testify against Prichard. Houlihan says that this testimony sealed the case against Prichard. He commends Prichard for not taking the opportunity to testify for himself and lie on the stand regarding his innocence. He says Prichard was sentenced to prison immediately. Houlihan says he told Prichard's wife Lucy about Ed's sentencing, and talks about how she and the children coped with the situation. He talks about Prichard being pardoned by President Truman, and his work to get his life back on track. He once again commends Prichard for not lying on the stand and for not revealing his accomplices. He discusses Prichard's diabetes and eating habits. Houlihan discusses why Prichard and Happy Chandler may have been antagonistic toward one another due to their opposing views during World War II regarding where the war efforts should be focused. Houlihan discusses how Prichard's views of himself may have changed in his later years because he was able to focus on the positive impact he had made in the field of education instead of focusing on the ballot stuffing scandal. He says that Prichard also became less arrogant after the scandal and had more sympathy for others. The interview is concluded.

Interview Accession

1986oh090_prich032

Interviewee Name

Robert F. Houlihan

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1986-02-13

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.

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.

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Houlihan, Robert F. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 13 Feb. 1986. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Houlihan, R.F. (1986, February 13). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. Edward F. Prichard, Jr. Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Houlihan, Robert F., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. February 13, 1986, Edward F. Prichard, Jr. Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt74f47gt63v


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