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This volume presents the important speeches and correspondence of Governor Martha Layne Collins, the only woman to be elected governor of Kentucky. Papers from state archives chronicle the agenda and rhetoric that Collins, a former schoolteacher, used to accomplish her intertwined goals of education reform and economic development. Also included are Collins’s letters to automobile makers urging them to consider Kentucky as a manufacturing site and her triumphant announcement that Toyota had selected Georgetown, Kentucky for its North American plant. An introductory essay by Elizabeth Duffy Fraas’s summarizes Collins’s life and career and assesses the impact of her administration on the state. The editor’s notes provide context and background for each of the 199 speeches or documents included. The volume contains Collins’s pivotal speeches during her rise to leadership in the Democratic Party, which chose her to chair its 1984 National Convention, and presents her vision to position Kentucky in the global marketplace. Other sections deal with related issues of labor and management, energy and environment, and health and welfare. For those interested in learning more about the challenges facing women with careers in politics, Fraas has assembled a section including Collins’s statements on gender issues, motherhood, and the role of women in the political sphere.

Elizabeth Duffy Fraas is professor emerita at Eastern Kentucky University, where she taught journalism and was faculty adviser for The Eastern Progress. She is a contributor to Kentucky’s Governors and Kentucky Settlement and Statehood, 1750–1800.

"Women considering careers in politics will find a chapter that includes Collins's statements to a variety of audiences on gender issues, motherhood, and the role of women in politics."—Back Home in Kentucky

"This collection of Collins’s speeches and correspondence provides a much needed view into the administration of a pivotal Kentucky leader and a pioneering woman politician."—Caryn E. Neumann, Miami University (Oh), Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Collins left a significant imprint upon Kentucky. A volume of her papers is a major and welcome contribution to the political history of the state."—Caryn E. Neumann, Miami University (Oh), Spring 2008

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Martha Layne Collins, Kentucky, Government, Politics


Political Science


Elizabeth Duffy Fraas was the editor.

The Public Papers of Governor Martha Layne Collins, 1983-1987
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