Interview with Edward Breathitt

  • Identifier1977 OH 016
  • Date3/15/1977
  • InterviewerEllis, William E.
  • IntervieweeBreathitt, Edward
  • DescriptionMr. Edward Breathitt is a native Kentucky born in 1924. He served as a member of Kentucky House of Representatives from 1952-58 and as Personnel Commissioner from 1959-60. He then served on the Kentucky Public Service Commission from 1961-62. Mr. Breathitt then served as Governor of Kentucky from 1963-67. He has since served as Vice-President of the Southern Railway.
  • LocationWashington, D.C.
  • Time Summary0-6 Introduction
    17-30 First recollections of Martin, Martin's candidacy for and election to Superintendent of Public Instruction, Martin's support of a sales tax for education
    31-37 Martin's candidacy for Superintendent of Public Instruction
    38-43 Should office of Superintendent of Public instruction be appointive?
    43-54 Comparison of Martin with other Superintendents of Public Instruction; Martin's political qualities
    54-63 Martin's involvement in development and implementation of Minimum Foundation Program
    63-74 Relationship with Chandler concerning education in Kentucky
    75-121 Reaction to Martin's involvement in Combs campaign of 1959; initiation of Combs gubernatorial organization of 1959 race
    122-161 Importance of school vote as a political base in Kentucky; tax structure in Kentucky; underfinanced education system in Kentucky; political, taxpayer resentment after funding; Combs-Ford gubernatorial race in 1971 evidence of anti-educational feeling
    161-191 Martin's effectiveness as a political campaign manager, relationship with Clements; political tactics of the campaign
    191-209 Martin's further political ambitions- limited to presidency of Eastern; service as Commissioner of Finance; passage of sales tax, Martin's role
    210-233 Relationship with Martin-Breathitt: Commissioner of Personnel, Martin: Commissioner of Finance
    233-246 Martin's service as Commissioner of Finance; how experience and knowledge gained there aided him as President of Eastern
    247-257 Martin's role in enactment of sales tax
    258-275 Martin's role in truck controversy
    276-284 Those who knew that Martin desired to become president of Eastern
    300 Intimate relationship between politics and education in Kentucky; necessity for political expertise for any measure of success
    300-327 Growing power of Council on Public Higher Education (CPHE) may reduce institutional competition; Education creativity of Martin; law enforcement program
    328-363 Reaction of others to Martin's election as President of Eastern; necessity of political awareness on part of university presidents
    363-384 Relationship with Martin from 1960-1963; contacts with Martin prior to Breathitt's gubernatorial campaign in 1963
    384-426 Strong competition between state educational institutions; competition intensified between 1964 and 1966 as available revenue declined
    426-502 Telephone interruption
    503-530 Competition between regional universities and UK
    531-581 Martin's role in helping regional institutions achieve university status; attitude of UK; Breathitt's reasons for supporting university status for institutions; role to be played by CPHE
    581-605 Contributions of EKU to state and region; continued efforts by Martin in improving quality of university's services
    606-628 Reasons for realigning membership of CPHE
    629-645 Competition between higher education and public education; Gubernatorial primary race between Ford and Combs
    645-676 Martin's role in integration of public education
    677-695 Martin's expertise in fiscal management
    695-727 Impressions of Eastern in mid-sixties
    727-772 Governor's role in appointment of regents; relationship with Martin in selection of regents
    773-817 Relationship with Martin while Breathitt was Governor
    817 End of reel 1
    7-32 Breathitt's relationship with other university presidents; Doran, Thompson, Woods, Oswald
    33-60 Martin's relationship with other Kentucky governors; Combs, Johnson, Chandler, Waterfield, Clements, Nunn, Ford
    60-71 Martin's relationship with the press
    71-83 Martin's political philosophy; progressive, committed to public education
    84-102 Characterization of Martin's personality
    102-130 Assessment of Martin's strengths and weaknesses as an educational administrator
    130-140 Martin's main contribution to Kentucky education: saw the need for a strongly suppored comprehensive educational system in Kentucky; innovative policies that he introduced
    140-147 Breathitt's reaction to Martin's candidacy for state senate
    147-159 Final comments
  • Restrictionsno
  • RightsContact Special Collections and Archives, Crabbe Library, Eastern Kentucky University for reproductions, rights and permission to publish.
  • IndexerAaron Moore


“Interview with Edward Breathitt,” William H. Berge Oral History Center, accessed July 19, 2024,