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This volume preserves the public papers and letters from the five-year period when Lawrence W. Wetherby was governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Relatively little of this material has been available heretofore to the general public. And its inaccessibility may explain why the Wetherby administration has yet to be fully appreciated even by historians and political scientists.

The years 1950 through 1955 offered problems and opportunities that made being governor both a challenge and a joy. It was a period of economic growth fostered by the artificial stimulus of the Korean War, and sudden economic readjustment when the war ended, that resulted in financial problems for Kentucky’s government. There was depression in the important coal industry that caused a mass exodus of people from eastern Kentucky. A brief drought impaired agricultural production. While President Harry Truman had been quite solicitous of the state’s needs, the new Republican administration in Washington was less so.

Yet, of a positive nature, there was an influx of tourists, a concerted effort to diversify the state’s economic base through industrialization, and an attempt to mitigate a characteristic isolation both within and without through the construction of toll roads and rural highways. The papers in this volume reflect the thought of Kentucky’s executive branch on all of these issues.

John E. Kleber is professor emeritus of history at Morehead State University. He has served as director of the Academic Honors Program (1973-1988) and interim dean of the Caudill College of Humanities (1993-1995). Kleber received both the Outstanding Teacher (1982) and Distinguished Researcher (1993) Awards from Morehead State. He was given the Outstanding Service Medal by the United States Army (1971), the Governor's Outstanding Kentuckian Award (1992), and the Catholic Alumni Award by the Archdiocese of Louisville (2002). He is the editor of six books, including The Kentucky Encyclopedia, A Home for Children: A History of Brooklawn, and Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky: An Uncommon Life in the Commonwealth.

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Lawrence W. Wetherby, Kentucky, Government, Politics


Political Science


John E. Kleber was the editor.

The Public Papers of Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby, 1950-1955
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