Interview with Alben W. Barkley, August 5, 1953

Project: Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Alben W. Barkley recalls members of the Senate whom he has worked with over the course of his career. He describes Senator Thomas J. Walsh and their friendship. He remembers Hiram Johnson as an isolationist during World War Two, and describes Senator Carter Glass who was incapacitated by illness but continued to serve in the Senate, although he was criticized by other members. Barkley discusses how Senate committees dealt with an absent senator and the role of the pair clerk who voted for a senator who was not present.

Barkley explains the old role of the Senate as a Gentleman's Club in which one member would come to the rescue of another who was criticized by some outside force. He describes the friendship among senators who called each other by their first names. Barkley remembers Senator Robert Wagner who played an important part in the New Deal legislation and who wrote the Wagner Labor Relations Act. He describes Senator Charlie McNary and Horace Wilkie, who changed his party allegiance. Barkley remembers Bob La Follette whose father has also been a senator but who became recognized on his own as an able legislator. Barkley describes his role in attempting to convince La Follette to join the Democrats.

Barkley explains the use and the rule of the filibuster and states that a member of Congress can read anything he wants, including the telephone book in order to keep a filibuster going. He recalls bills that have been filibustered and his disagreement with the use of this legislative tool. Barkley takes on some lighter issues near the end of this interview including his love of the old-fashioned minstrel show and his memories of seeing President Woodrow Wilson at shows in Washington.

Interview Accession

2006oh051_bark017

Interviewee Name

Alben W. Barkley

Interviewer Name

Sidney Shalett

Interview Date

1953-08-05

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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Barkley, Alben W. Interview by Sidney Shalett. 05 Aug. 1953. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Barkley, A.W. (1953, August 05). Interview by S. Shalett. Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Barkley, Alben W., interview by Sidney Shalett. August 05, 1953, Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt77m03xtf3g