I’ve cone across quite an interesting find. This find is an interview of Senator Herman Talmadge where he speaks mostly on the topic of his legendary father, Eugene Talmadge. It’s a very engaging piece of history coming from a first-person source. Herman gives us an insight on his father and his early life as a boy and seeing his dad’s early career as an insider as a young man in the 20s and 30s. This is the first time I’ve personally come across anything deep that Herman had written or said on Talmadge with the exception of the biography written on Governor Eugene Talmadge, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek. Herman actually was disappointed with that book despite helping with it. Herman gives a full account of what it was as a campaigner for his father and how much of an underdog his father truly was not to mention the massive populist appeal he had with the common folk of Georgia. We should note that Herman Talmadge was 13 when Eugene was first elected to office as Sectary of Agriculture in 1926. His victory that year is mentioned by Herman heavily. Herman also gives us a story of how Eugene wasn’t some demagogue but instead an independent statesman who did what he thought was necessary to save and protect the people who elected him. Herman does an excellent job of giving the rundown on Eugene’s career and personality. This is probably the best oral source I’ve heard yet on the great Governor Talmadge. The interview is also a very intriguing insight on Herman himself and his family. We get to hear how Herman looked up to his father and Huey Long. We can clearly see that Herman was indeed his father’s son. He was a loyal son who did what he could to aide his father and makes no qualms about giving credit for his own career to his late father. He was a brave man and a true statesman like his dad. Both men were some of the fiercest defenders of states’ rights and the South of their time.
I’d like to make sure our readers know that the site doesn’t own this interview tape, so I’ll drop the link below as well as the description.
Senator Herman E. Talmadge
Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, July 15 and 24, 1975. Interview A-0331-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.