Interview with J. Winston Coleman, January 9, 1974
Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project
Interview SummaryUniversity of Kentucky history professor J. Winston Coleman describes his experiences with Dr. Frank McVey and the Book Thieves Club. The Book Thieves Club was a group of book lovers composed of University of Kentucky faculty and friends of the university including Thomas D. Clark, John S. Chambers, William H. Townsend, Charles R. Staples, Judge Samuel Wilson, and C.W. Trapp. Coleman describes the book collection of C.W. Trapp, which had a large number of first edition novels.
Coleman recalls a road trip that the Book Thieves Club took to Michigan in the Spring of 1938. He states that it was the only time that he saw Dr. McVey get a little tipsy. Coleman describes the only woman who ever attended a book thieves club meeting, Constance Rourke. Coleman also mentions tricks that the members of the Book Thieves played upon one another, and that their wives played on them. Coleman also discusses the meetings of the Cakes and Ale Club hosted by Judge Samuel Wilson between 1926 and 1940. He remembers that forty-five to fifty authors and historians from throughout the country would attend, and comment on the rare books and manuscripts that they each brought to the gathering.
Coleman spends much of the interview talking about Dr. Frank McVey, a former University of Kentucky President. Coleman remembers McVey as a stern person. He states that McVey had a good sense of humor, but he does not remember seeing McVey laugh. Coleman talks about McVey's first wife Mabel Sawyer, who he states was reserved and stiff. In contrast, Coleman recalls that after McVey's marriage to Frances Jewell, Maxwell Place became very open and teas, gatherings, and alumni reunions were constantly taking place. Coleman also describes some of the history of Maxwell Place.
Coleman was a student at UK when Henry S. Barker was President of the University. He states that it is difficult to compare Barker and McVey. Barker was not an academic. McVey was an academic who brought UK up to true university status. Coleman also briefly mentions other events in UK history including the consolidation of the Department of Engineering and the falsification of records by Dean Rowe.
Interview RightsAll rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Coleman, J. Winston Interview by Charles G. Talbert. 09 Jan. 1974. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Coleman, J.W. (1974, January 09). Interview by C. G. Talbert. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Coleman, J. Winston, interview by Charles G. Talbert. January 09, 1974, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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