Kentucky Historical Society
Unsealed Prichard Interviews Featured in Kentucky Historical Society Publication
Frankfort, KY - Transcripts of selected recorded interviews with the late Edward F. Prichard Jr., one of the state's most influential leaders in politics and education, have been published in the latest issue of The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. The Prichard interviews were sealed until his and his wife's deaths. Ed Prichard died in 1984. His wife, Lucy Prichard, died in June 2006.
Prichard, a native of Bourbon County, was a Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate, protégé of Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, and served in the Franklin Roosevelt administration during World War II. Prichard's promising political career was derailed when he was convicted of vote fraud at age 34, but he later became known as the ultimate Kentucky political insider, helping shape important legislation and advising Kentucky governors across several decades. Always a champion of educational reform, Prichard chaired the state's committee on education that came to bear his name (the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence) and launched the effort that ultimately resulted in the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990.
Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called Prichard "perhaps the most brilliant man of my generation." Katherine Graham, longtime publisher of the Washington Post, described him as "the most impressive man of our generation, the one who dazzled us the most."
The transcripts featured in The Register are the result of a project of the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC), which is a program of the Kentucky Historical Society. Two years before his death, the commission launched an oral history project to document Prichard's life. Vic Hellard, head of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, conducted the interviews from November 1982 through October 1984. The transcripts were published in an issue of The Register that celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the KOHC.
Prichard once observed that "our politicians are not as colorful as they used to be." Register editor Kenneth H. Williams notes, "Anyone reading or hearing Prichard's own words in these interviews will have to agree."
The transcripts are part of the Edward F Prichard Jr. Oral History Project consisting of 21 interviews with Prichard. The recordings and transcripts are part of the Kentucky Historical Society's Special Collections at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. Copies of the transcripts and recordings can be ordered through the KOHC for a nominal service fee by calling 502-564-1792, ext. 4434.
Copies of The Register are available for $7 at the 1792 Store at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. For more information, call the Kentucky Historical Society's membership office at 502-564-1792, ext 4490.
An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Historical Society, since 1836, has provided connections to the past, perspective on the present, and inspiration for the future. KHS operates the Old State Capitol, the Kentucky Military History Museum, and its headquarters, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Since 1999, the thirty-million- dollar Center has welcomed more than one million visitors. For more information about the Kentucky Historical Society and its programs, visit the Web site.