Interview with Paul Keen, March 30, 1976

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Paul Keen is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law. This interview was conducted at the National Lawyer's Club, where Keen hosts an alumni chapter of Phi Alpha Delta once a month. Keen worked as a high school principal in Alabama for two years to save money for law school. He states that he considered several other law schools, before deciding on the University of Kentucky. He recalls his trip by train to Lexington, Kentucky, and a taxi that took him all over town, and then dropped him off a block from the train station. He remembers Judge Lyman Chalkley and other classroom experiences at UK. He states that UK's law faculty was very conservative. Keen received his law degree after two years, in December of 1926.

Keen remembers when the Sergeant-at-Arms asked Lieutenant Governor Henry H. Denhardt if "he wanted anyone shot" after several futile attempts by both to call the Kentucky Senate floor to order. He talks about his membership in the Clay chapter of Phi Alpha Delta. Keen was a member of the Patterson Literary Society. He assisted the executor of President James K. Patterson's estate in carrying out his "very meticulous" will, which established the Patterson School of Diplomacy.

Keen discusses President Frank L. McVey. Keen did not participate in many social activities on campus except football and basketball games, but worked at the bowling alley in the basement of the Phoenix Hotel, which had two lanes. He talks about Kathleen Mulligan, the one woman law student at the time, who was the daughter of Judge James H. Mulligan, author of the famous poem "In Kentucky." He mentions the rivalry between Transylvania University and UK, and recalls that it was considered dangerous to be on the wrong side of Main Street. Keen describes in detail the public hanging at sunrise of a black man, next to the courthouse, while he was in law school. He was also present at an official electrocution in Washington, D. C. several years later. He recalls seeing vaudeville at the Ben Ali Theater, and discusses how the theater was built and tells several stories about Ben Ali Haggin. He talks about the law library. He also gives his impressions of Presidents Frank L. McVey, Herman L. Donovan, Frank G. Dickey, John W. Oswald, and Otis A. Singletary. Keen discusses the changes in UK and Lexington since he left Kentucky.

Interview Accession

1976oh028_af030

Interviewee Name

Paul Keen

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1976-03-30

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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Keen, Paul Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 30 Mar. 1976. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Keen, P. (1976, March 30). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Keen, Paul, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. March 30, 1976, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7kpr7ms89g


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