Interview with Carl B. Cone, July 23, 1981

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Carl B. Cone was born in Davenport, Iowa in 1916. His family moved to Iowa City, where his father worked for the telephone company. Cone entered the University of Iowa in 1936 at the age of 19. He received his M.S. in 1937. Cone accepted a temporary teaching position for one year at Allegheny College, then returned to Iowa as a research assistant, and received his Ph.D. in 1940, at the age of 24. Cone worked at the Iowa Historical Society for one year, and at Louisiana State University as an assistant English professor from 1942-1947. He left LSU and came to the University of Kentucky as a professor of English history.

Cone talks at great length about his teaching responsibilities in terms of course load and research work under Dr. Thomas D. Clark. He discusses the difficulties of hiring faculty today due to the changes in recruiting practices. Cone refers to the issue of academic freedom in the classroom and recalls that these concerns were handled by President Herman L. Donovan. He mentions the lack of philanthropic efforts in proportion to the money available in the Lexington community to support U.K. and other public purposes. In 1961, Cone served on the Curriculum Committee of the Kentucky State Commission on Public Education. He describes at great length the University of the Kentucky Research Foundation (U.K.R.F.), begun during Donovan's tenure. In 1962, during President Frank G. Dickey's tenure, Cone was appointed Chairman of a committee formed to make changes to the U.K.R.F. A new medical center was being planned, and Cone notes that the function of the U.K.R.F. is to accumulate research funds.

Cone became Chairman of the History Department in 1965. He talks at length about the criteria for evaluating faculty in terms of teaching, research/writing, and service. He recalls the issue of Black students attending U.K., and that integration was a legal battle fought outside the departments. Cone discusses the history of university athletics from "a long perspective, since he grew up in Big Ten college town", and emphasizes that "university athletics is a corrupt institution in every institution in the country, deeper in some places than others". He feels that athletics dominates U.K.'s thinking, and that U.K. is not able to separate the two. Cone holds university presidents responsible for the "mess in college athletics today". He makes observations about his experiences with the university through several U.K. presidents' tenures, until his retirement. Cone thinks that universities are losing the sense of purpose he believes existed in the minds of the founders, which is "education and training of young people and addition to the stock of human knowledge through faculty contribution by way of research and publication." He emphasizes that "the library is the heart of a university."

Interview Accession

1981oh085_af142

Interviewee Name

Carl B. Cone

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1981-07-23

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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Cone, Carl B. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 23 Jul. 1981. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Cone, C.B. (1981, July 23). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Cone, Carl B., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. July 23, 1981, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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