Partial Transcript: I believe you were mentioning earlier to me and we might want to get this on this tape at this particular time, that whenever he felt a sense of embarrassment, you could always tell and would you please recount that at this time?
Keywords: WW2; World War 2; World War II; cigarettes; shrimp cocktail; smoking
CATES: I am with Mrs. Patricia Collins Andretta, and we are about to discuss herassociation over the years with the late Senator Richard Brevard Russell. Mrs. Andretta, would you mind just recounting how you happened to meet Senator Russell? Before you answer the question, I might just summarize what you told me a short time ago which would explain why you were in Washington. You, as I understand it, went to Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. You obtained a law degree from Emory University and you were doing legal aid work in Atlanta, as well as doing some other legal work, I think, for Smythe Gambrell, and you were able to come to Washington to work for a governmental agency. You might want to relate 00:01:00how that came about and then, maybe, say how you happened to meet Dick Russell.
ANDRETTA: Well, I was talking with Smythe about the possibility of coming toWashington after, as I told you, I had had these interviews. Smythe said "Now, one of the things you are going to have to have, Pat, is political clearance"; and I said, "Smythe, what in the world is political clearance? I never heard of it." "Well, he says, "you have to get the endorsement of your senators. This is very important. In those days, believe me, this was important. The whole set-up was very, very political.
CATES: This was 1933?
ANDRETTA: This was 1935. And I said, "Well, I don't know a thing about that.""Well," Smythe said, "don't worry about that, I'll take care of all that." He said, "I'll write Senator George," (Senator Walter George was the senior senator then) "and I'll write Dick Russell. I know them both very well and they'll get a 00:02:00letter, and this is what you need. This is required in the department before they can approve you for the job. That's what the clearance is."
CATES: Department of Justice?
ANDRETTA: Department of Justice. So I thought nothing further of it, and one daySmythe called me and said he had a very nice letter from Senator George. Senator George would be happy to approve the employment of a constituent, Miss Patricia Collins, at the Department of Justice. We thought that was fine. And some time later, Smythe called me and he was terribly upset and disturbed. He said, "I've just had a letter from Senator Russell, and Senator Russell is holding back. He is not at all pleased about giving an endorsement." He said, "Do you know Senator Russell?" And I said, "No, I've never laid eyes on him. I don't know him at all." He said, "Does anybody in your family know him?" And I said, "No. I 00:03:00know him, of course, as having been governor and a senator but we don't know him." So he said, "Well, I can't understand this letter." So, anyway, sometime later he did give a sort of grudging endorsement, at least sufficient, after Smythe had contacted him. It was sufficient to clear me with the Department of Justice especially in the light of the very gracious letter from Senator George. So I always had, you know, a little grudge against Senator Russell. I just didn't understand why in the world he had acted this way when he didn't even know me.
Well, at a Georgia State Society dance that I went to sometime later-it musthave been, in the light of later circumstances, it must have been sometime in 1937--I was introduced to Senator Russell, and I couldn't help but recall the 00:04:00fact that he had written this letter when we got a chance to chat a little. I didn't have much chance to chat because you can imagine how he was lionized at this big party. He was on of the principal guests and he was very, in those days, he was an extremely good-looking, slim man--you've seen pictures of him, I'm sure-and very pleasant, and very gay with the girls, all of whom were making a fuss over him. But when I had a chance I did say something to him about it, and, of course, he didn't know a thing about it, he couldn't recall. He hadn't seen the letter. I guess maybe he had seen the letter but he didn't recall much about it, at least he said he didn't know anything about it.
But sometime after that, he called me up and said he would like to talk to meabout this letter. Well, it was a subject, of course, that we always had great fun about because I never let him forget it; I was always teasing him about it. 00:05:00It seems that Leeman Anderson who was then his AA (Administrative Assistant) had gotten to the point where he was a little tired of giving out endorsements for the Senator for people that the Senator didn't know. He said he thought politically this was just a losing game, that he was making anything out of this sort of thing, that he could be endorsing Republicans, for all he knew. And as far as I was concerned, of course, I hadn't been a Republican or a Democrat at that time; I had never voted in my life. At any rate, Leeman went in to the Senator one day and he took this letter that he had gotten. "For example," he said, "here's this letter from Smythe Gambrell for a Miss Patricia Collins. Now," he says, "you don't know Patricia Collins, Senator; you just ought not to be giving out these endorsements like this all the time. And I think it's time you put a stop to it." So Leeman had written this letter and had said that, whatever was in the letter, I don't remember now, but it was anything but 00:06:00generous. Dick had, you know, Leeman handled all these affairs in the office and he didn't pay much attention to it.
Really, this was a kind of stepping-off stone for our early acquaintance. Thisis how we really got further than just an opening conversation, and then I saw a good bit of him after that. We went to the theater and we'd go out to the Shoreham an awful lot to dance. He liked to call at the last minute. Of course, he very seldom made engagements ahead of time and he would call and I always remember his kind of a call because he never said, "Hello, how are you?" or what not. I was then living at the Democratic Club on New Hampshire Avenue, and it 00:07:00was a very dignified and formal sort of place and we ate dinner at about oh, 7:30 in the evening, and he knew if he called about then he would catch me and the maid would come in and tell me that I was wanted on the phone. He would have to wait for me while I got to the phone, and, invariably, I would pick up the phone and he would say something like, "Well, I suppose caught you right in the midst of your dessert, did I?" He never said, "Hello, how are you?" or what not; or else he would say, "How much of your dinner have you eaten?" And I would say how much I had, and he'd say, "Well, why don't you come and have dinner or finish dinner with me?" And that was usually the way we got together. It would be an evening when he could get away from the Senate or else I remember lots of times I used to go down to the Senate. I was fascinated with the whole Senate procedure in those days, and I'd go down; and there were times when he'd look up 00:08:00in the balcony and see me, and then we'd meet afterwards and do something, you know, go dancing or go out and have dinner or something like that. And these were usually the ways that we got together. But I think the Leeman Anderson incident was sort of interesting because, even at that point, he was so young in the ways of the status set up. He didn't feel sufficiently strong about Leeman Anderson's philosophy of this whole thing to stop him. He, as a matter of fact, these endorsements didn't really mean too much. You know, they were-- 00:09:00
CATES: Perfunctory, sort of?
ANDRETTA: Perfunctory sort of things, and it wasn't worth making the issue thathe made with the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice was quite upset about this thing and it really wasn't ...in later years, he wouldn't have thought of doing a thing like that.
CATES: But you did get the job?
ANDRETTA: I did get the job, yes, as it worked out.
CATES: Mrs. Andretta, did you hear him make speeches on the Floor of the Senateduring the time you weredating him?
ANDRETTA: Yes, although in those days he was not making speeches as much as hedid later on. He was not as vocal in the Senate, I don't believe in those days. I used to have the experience, though, of having him call me sometimes. I remember one time he called while I was in the library of the Department and asked me for--he was looking into some old appropriations statute or something, and he was puzzled about some legislative history or something. I just can't 00:10:00quite remember what now. I remember going into some of the old reports and getting him some information that he relied on for some of his appropriations material. And he'd call like that every now and then and have something in mind.
When he used to talk about things, I think I said to you earlier, he used totalk about things that happened in the Senate. He gave me a lot of priceless insights into his thinking about future things and his estimates of people. Time and again he'd say, "Now, I haven't said this to a soul and I don't want you to talk to a soul and I'll deny it if you do tell it," you know, something along that line.
CATES: Do you recall any of these that you feel like maybe you could recount now?00:11:00
ANDRETTA: Well, he used to worry a lot about the whole racial problem, ofcourse. He was pretty--he kept the feeling he had for which he became famous actually that the states rights ideas that he had about the blacks, and the fact that they were really given better treatment in the South and that the North would one day have itself to thank for it. Often, when he would refer to the blacks who were coming up from the South, I think, he never wavered really in his attitude about this sort of thing, and many people thought this was a weakness in his thinking here. But he felt very strongly about it. 00:12:00
CATES: I believe this would probably have been prior to 1938, is that correct?
CATES: I believe that it was in the forties, or perhaps even fifties, that heset forth the idea of the possibility of paying the way of blacks back to Africa. Do you recall that?
CATES: Did he hold those views at this time?
ANDRETTA: He could have held those views. I don't remember them as specificallyas that; and they would be consistent with views he did express, but I don't know that I ever heard it as specifically as that.
CATES: You mentioned the fact that you used to go dancing quite a bit. What kindof dancer was he?
ANDRETTA: He was a, I guess, commonplace sort of dancer. I remember he enjoyeddancing, but there was nothing fancy about his dancing really. He just enjoyed the music and dancing and, now and again, we'd see somebody we knew, of course. 00:13:00I think he always had the feeling that he didn't want to expose me to publicity or anything like that, but he wasn't too anxious to be seen. I remember one night, though, that we went out to the Shoreham on the terrace. It was a summer evening, and we ran into some labor people. There were about four of them together and they were real blue-collar workers, I must say, and we had started off for an evening and thought we were going to have a pleasant evening together. And, of course, being Dick, the way he was, he invited them to sit at the table with us and"
CATES: Did he know these people?
ANDRETTA: Oh, he knew the men, yes, he knew them. They had been political00:14:00friends in Georgia, I guess, and I remember him saying to me in a sign, "I'm sorry, my sweet, but we're going to have to put up with them, but you can just see what you'd be up against if you were a senator's wife."
CATES: Did he like to do any particular type dance, like the Charleston? I knowthe Charleston was a little earlier than that.
ANDRETTA: No. No.
CATES: This is a continuation of my interview of April 27th, 1971, with Mrs.Patricia Collins Andretta. I believe we were talking about the type of dancing that the Senator preferred. Would you finish that statement, Mrs. Andretta?
ANDRETTA: Well, I was just about to say that he was a very conservative dancer.Personally, I must say, I don't know whether you've had much in the way of comment about Dick's social life... 00:15:00
ANDRETTA: And I do think I have some insight on that.
CATES: All right.
ANDRETTA: He used to say to me, and I think he continued this custom throughouthis career in Washington, that he rarely ever accepted an invitation. When he first came here, he used to accept invitations and, of course, he was peppered with invitations, obviously. But he rarely ever accepted an invitation. He just ignored them. Perhaps at the office they did regret them for him, but these parties and what not--hostesses used to just wear themselves out trying to get Dick. It would be a real coup for them to get Dick Russell to a party and he never would go. He always used to say, "I refuse to be window dressing for any of these people and, as far as I'm concerned, it's a waste of my time." In addition to that, socially he was really quite shy. I can remember occasions 00:16:00when we were out when he would say to me as I was sitting beside him, he'd say, "Now, what shall I do? Is this all right? Am I doing the right thing?" It was really genuine with him. And he used to, if anything, brag about the fact that "I'm just a country boy, you know." But, actually, he was very shy socially and even just recently when, I think I mentioned to you earlier that really the last time I ever saw him, when Ina was here, but as I said, I think it was about a year OF a year and a half ago--
CATES: Was that not in 1965 at the tracheotomy?
ANDRETTA: No, oh, it was after '65.
CATES: It was?
ANDRETTA: Yes. It was well after '65. It was just about a year; it couldn't be00:17:00more than a year and a half ago. The reason I think I remember that specifically, I remember the outfit I had on that afternoon and I think I've only had that two years, so it's within that time. Ina and I had made a date to go to dinner. She was here with him and she called me during the afternoon and she said, "Dick says he wants to take us to dinner." And I said, "Fine." And she came on out here and Dick's driver had brought him and we met him at the door and when we got in the car, Dick said, "Now where do you girls want to go." And I suggested a couple of places and I said, Well, were over in this part of town, why dont we go somewhere in Georgetown?" And Dick said, "It's all right with me, I just don't know the places, where shall we go?" And I said, "Well, have you ever been to the Rive Gauche? Let's go to the Rive Gauche." And he said, "It's all right with me." So I said, "It may be difficult 00:18:00to get a table there but," I said, "You won't have any trouble, Dick." And he said, "Well, you tell me what to do." And I said, "Well, when we get there, you just go in and you say to Jeanine" (who is the gal who's supposed to know everybody in Washington), I said, "You just say to Jeanine that you are Senator Russell, and could you have a table for three." So when we got there, he got out and went in and came back and he said, "Yes, she says we can have a table for three." So we went in.
Oh, we really had a very pleasant time except that it was so sad to see Dick,because he was so self-conscious about his coughing. He was terribly afraid he was going to start coughing. And he ate very little. It was so unlike Dick, you know. I've known him when he ate everything. He had a little; I know he had a little glass of sherry. Of course, he couldn't smoke or anything, but it was 00:19:00typical of him to be hesitant and so afraid he would overstep, always afraid he was going to overstep, you know, to pull some boo-boo or something like that. For a person as sophisticated politically as he was, it was unusual, you know, but I don't think anybody would contradict that, that he was really shy socially and didn't really care for social occasions very much. He really didnt.
CATES: Do you know of any occasion where he was embarrassed by lack of knowledgeof what to do ad when to do it in a social situation?
ANDRETTA: No, I dont really recall any time that he"he was always upto anything, but he would hardly ever push himself. It was a part of what you 00:20:00said earlier--he was a very modest person, extremely modest.
CATES: Do you know if Pearl Mesta ever invited him to a party?
ANDRETTA: Yes, I'm sure she did. And he told me about Pearl one time. I rememberhe said, his expression was, "She's a good old gal and always has good food and good liquor and good entertainment." But he never--he went there a few times and he, of course, could have gone times that I didn't know about. But certainly in the early days, he was still--she was a hostess many years back, of course, the Truman days and so forth. He expressed himself as not being really interested in that sort of thing at all. He used to send flowers when he declined invitations. I don't know whether he kept that up or not.
CATES: Just as a small gesture?
ANDRETTA: Yes, just as a gesture. But I think the hostesses caught on to thefact that it was impossible to get Dick to accept an invitation. 00:21:00
CATES: You have indicated when you were dating him back in the middle '30's,that you would go dancing. What would you do maybe on other dates? Would you ever go and take in a movie? This is before television.
ANDRETTA: We mostly dined out because his dates, as you say, dates with me, wereusually unexpected because he never knew when he was going to be through, or they were late in the evening when he was able to get away. Sometimes I used to go down to the office with him if he had things to do and I'd go down to the office with him. That was seldom but I did do that, I remember. Or else, we'd go to Ina's. He and Gene and Ina and I used to go out a lot together. I remember one funny occasion when we all were, all four together, and this was quite a conversation piece with all of us. Gene and I had a great argument about the 00:22:00islands that are spelled P-a-g-o P-a-g-o, you know?
CATES: Pago Pago?
ANDRETTA: And Gene just faced me down that the pronunciation of those was PangoPango. And I said, "It can't be, Gene. How can it be Pango Pango when it's only P-a-g-o?" And Dick got the greatest kick out of our argument. And Gene's estimation was that when the missionaries went out there they didn't have an "n" in their printing operation and that it just came to be known as P-a-g-o, although it was pronounced Pango Pango. So we had a big bet up, and Dick was very interested and he was going to come out on top. And, of course, I lost to Gene. 00:23:00
CATES: You did?
ANDRETTA: Yes. Apparently, well, he had some proof that it was pronounced PangoPango so I lost my bet; and Dick always used to tease me about that-that I had gotten myself in over my head.
CATES: So many persons have commented about his prodigious memory. Would youcomment about that?
ANDRETTA: Yes. He did have a marvelous memory, he really did. A marvelousmemory. I don't know that I can remember any startling and exciting evidence of it, but he did have a wonderful memory, I think. I can attest to that.
CATES: Not only as far as names and faces would be concerned but just a"
ANDRETTA: It was part of his political savvy, yes, and it did him a world ofgood. He did know people. Even aside from names and faces, as you say, he did have a wonderful memory. But history, I remember one of our, oh, several of our trips around the battlefields--you know, he was quite a Civil War buff. I'm sure 00:24:00others have spoken of that in their--
CATES: Yes, but I'd like for you to comment. Did he ever tease about calling itthe Civil War?
ANDRETTA: No, he didn't. I don't remember that he did. But he'd take me aroundand show me the battlefields and his memory of the personalities of the generals and everything, you know. He had read so much that he was extremely interesting and he could get very, wax enthusiastic when he got into that sort of thing. He loved to talk about it, and loved to commiserate with the soldiers and, you know, go through the battles.
CATES: Did he ever talk to you about the New Deal legislation in which he wasparticipating in the Senate in the '30s?
ANDRETTA: Well, I don't recall. You know I'm sure he did, but I don't reallyremember too much about the theory of the legislation or that sort of thing. I don't know. 00:25:00
CATES: Did he ever tease you about being a lady lawyer?
ANDRETTA: Well, as I said, as I said sometime earlier, he wasn't too anxious toadvertise the fact that I was a lawyer. You know, the most he used to tease me was he'd tease me about being smart. He was always talking about how smart I was and, you know, I sort of took it with a grain of salt; that this was just his way of teasing. He used to tease me an awful lot and say to other people, smartest gal I ever knew, smartest gal I ever knew." That was a great expression of his.
CATES: Did he ever take you to a baseball game? I know people have said that inlater life he was very enthusiastic over baseball.
ANDRETTA: A baseball enthusiast. No, because he wasn't really here as much thenin the summer, you know~ I don't think I ever went to a baseball game with him.
CATES: I just didn't know, maybe, I'm not really much of a baseball fan, whereTy Cobb played. I think he played at one time for Detroit but they, you know, 00:26:00jump around from team to team, and I believe he was a personal friend of Ty Cobb's.
ANDRETTA: Yes, I think he was, too.
CATES: And I was just wondering if you had ever met any, maybe Ty Cobb or anyother famous personalities through Senator Russell? Do you recall any of these--?
ANDRETTA: No, I don't really recall experiences like that. There could havebeen, but I just don't recall. It comes to mind just at the moment that Dick [Richard] Courts was up here one time when he had a [one word inaudible] meeting with Dick Courts. Do you know Dick?
CATES: Was he with Courts & Co.?
ANDRETTA: Yes, he was the senior partner.
CATES: He's deceased now, isn't he?
ANDRETTA: Yes, but he was a great friend of Dick Russell.
CATES: He was a great tennis enthusiast, was he not; and if it's the same Courtsthat I read about in the paper--
ANDRETTA: Yes, he was. Maylon actually was the more famous of the tennis00:27:00enthusiasts and that was his younger brother.
CATES: There was one Courts who died actually on the tennis courts in Atlanta.
ANDRETTA: Is that so?
CATES: During a set of tennis. I was just wondering if, perhaps during thisperiod, if he did maybe introduce you, maybe not necessarily to sports personalities but just to famous personalities--
ANDRETTA: Well, it would more likely be people in the Senate. I met peopleworking in the Senate and we'd run into people, you know. Actually, we didn't mix too much in big groups or anything because of the very reasons I have mentioned. Our get-togethers were unexpected in terms of his responsibilities and they were mostly getting together with Ina and Gene; he was more relaxed with them than anybody. He was always very--Ina was closer to him than any of the rest of his family, and we'd go out there and cook a steak, you know, and we 00:28:00were with them, I'd say, as much as anybody.
CATES: I believe you were mentioning earlier to me and we might want to get thison this tape at this particular time. When he felt a sense of embarrassment, you could always tell and would you please recount that at this time?
ANDRETTA: Well, he'd sort of cover it up by being over--
ANDRETTA: Talkative, yes, and kidding. He would always be, he would kid someonea great deal, you know, poke fun when he felt sort of as if there was a little embarrassment about anything. He would pass it off or cover it up by kidding. Well, of course, having grown up in a big family, for one thing, kidding came very easily to him. He enjoyed making something out of nothing, actually to the 00:29:00point of kidding someone.
CATES: Someone described his wit as being so dry that a lot of times that theperson, unlss they were listening very intently and was aware of it, that they would escape his humor? Would you say that that's true?
ANDRETTA: Well, no, I always felt that his humor was sharp and incisive. I don'tthink I ever had any trouble following it.
CATES: At this particular time, was he a heavy cigarette smoker?
CATES: How many packs did he smoke a day?
ANDRETTA: Well, I can't say I'm sure, but my estimate would be that he used tosmoke about two packs a day. He was pretty much a chain smoker really.
CATES: Was this due to maybe nervous energy?00:30:00
ANDRETTA: He was constantly flipping a cigarette, constantly flipping acigarette. Whenever there was a hesitation at all, he would light a cigarette. Always, always smoking cigarettes. He seemed to enjoy them and he smoked and he inhaled deeply.
CATES: So you think maybe this could be attributed to his social insecuritymaybe in social situations?
ANDRETTA: I don't know. I think he was a tense individual in all respects. Ithink he had a lot going on in his mind all the time and he had very few outlets for confiding. I don't know who he--these problems in the Senate, I don't know who he talked over those with. Maybe there were people in his office but I always had the feeling he contained himself pretty much and worked things out in his mind, and I think he had a lot of tension. This was just my impression. 00:31:00
CATES: I don't mean to imply that he was a heavy drinker, but everybody has acertain brand that they do indulge. How did he like the--did he take an after or before the meal cocktail?
ANDRETTA: Yes. He got a highball before the meal. And he had a favorite meal;practically every time I ever saw him he had the same meal.
CATES: What was that?
ANDRETTA: Shrimp cocktail, steak--
CATES: Salad, maybe?
ANDRETTA: Salad, yes. But that shrimp cocktail, he loved the shrimp cocktail anda steak.
CATES: Would he take his coffee with the meal or after the meal?
ANDRETTA: I just don't know. I think he'd take it after the meal. I just don't remember.
CATES: And he loved a dessert, did he not?
ANDRETTA: Yes, yes, he had a sweet tooth. But he loved a highball or two beforehis meal. He enjoyed it very much. This was a way of relaxing for him.
CATES: We've been talking now about the middle '30s. And you indicated that in00:32:00later life you didn't see him really too much. Did you have a chance to observe his reaction to the international situation leading up to World War II? Did he ever express concern to you about that?
ANDRETTA: Oh, yes.
CATES: Do you recall anything maybe he said specifically about either theEuropean situation or the Asiatic situation, as relates to our country or is related to our country?
ANDRETTA: No, I couldn't remember that well enough to really make any statementon it. I can remember myself going home in those years and talking about the gathering storm, as has been described, and I can remember my mother saying to me, "The people down here are not interested in that. If you pick that up in Washington, just don't bring it down here because nobody thinks there is going to be a war here." And I would say, "Well, mother, there are men in uniform in 00:33:00Washington and it's clear that it's something we're preparing for." And she said, "Well, people just don't want to hear about it, don't want to talk about it." Now, I know I was gathering some of that from my conversations with Dick and with the feelings picked up, but I just don't remember things that he said specifically enough to quote them or to describe them. I'm sure he was terribly concerned.
CATES: You indicated that he felt more relaxed around his brother-in-law GeneStacy and his sister Ina. How would he relax, kind of unwind?
ANDRETTA: Well, he'd just walk in the door somehow or other and take off hisjacket and stand around the kitchen and watch Ina cook and have a drink and just tease and tell jokes and stories. 00:34:00
CATES: He wouldn't bring his legislative problems there?
ANDRETTA: Oh, no. He very seldom did. He very seldom talked about anything veryserious under those circumstances. He'd talk about the family and down home and who'd been here recently.
CATES: I believe that you said that, in later life, that actually your husband,Sal Andretta, who was, I believe you said, the Assistant--
ANDRETTA: The Assistant Attorney General in charge of Administration in theDepartment of Justice.
CATES: Really had more to do with him in later life than you did. Do you knowany particular amusing or interesting incidents that happened during the course of these conversations that your husband had with the Senator about business?
ANDRETTA: No, I really don't. That's sort of remote from me. I just don't think00:35:00about it now. I don't think of anything during those years. Sal had, of course, as everybody did; Sal had great admiration for Dick. He thought he was a great man and an outstanding man as to, you know, responsibility and integrity and a man that you could take his word and so forth, as everybody had, he's got that reputation with everyone. It's very evident all through his life and, as you say, will grow.
CATES: When did you and your husband become aware of the fact that the Senator'shealth was really deteriorating?
ANDRETTA: I think it was through the papers.
CATES: Through the papers?
ANDRETTA: Yes, through the newspapers. He became ill just about the same time myhusband became ill.
CATES: When was that?
ANDRETTA: It was the same thing; they both had a tracheotomy at just about thesame time.
CATES: That'd be '65.
ANDRETTA: Yes. Sal went into the hospital March 1, 1965, and I don't remember00:36:00just when Dick's tracheotomy was, but I remember, I think I wrote Ina a little note at that time and told her that I was terribly concerned to hear about him and it was not too long after that that Sal's condition worsened to the point where, he was then at the time at John Hopkins in Baltimore, and he had to have a tracheotomy. Of course, a tracheotomy had seemed remote to me when I heard about Dick. I wasn't altogether sure, to tell you the truth, just how, what the effect was but I certainly realized after that, my husband had to have two tracheotomies and I think Dick did, too.
CATES: You mean Senator Russell had two?
ANDRETTA: It seems to me he did, I'm not sure; but the first one he, of course,he was fortunate in being able to get over it pretty much and he was able to get 00:37:00his breathing back.
CATES: When your husband passed away, did Senator Russell contact you or writeyou a note?
ANDRETTA: Yes, he wrote to me. I had a very sweet letter from him. Another oddthing about our relationship was that in the early, early years, I used to follow the Congressional Record religiously when I was interested in all the things Dick did. It got so I could just go down the page and pick up Russell without any trouble at all. Of course, he put me on his list. I was R 76 on his list at the Congressional Record. It was only the other day that that Record stopped. I'd gotten it all these years, R 76.
CATES: What did R 76 stand for?
ANDRETTA: I would guess that was Russell, you see, on the list of the senatorswho, they're entitled to a certain number of copies of the Congressional Record 00:38:00to send to constituents. This was, you know, gratis. I don't know how many of those copies he had, 125, 150 or something like that, but my number was R 76. I guess when the Senator [David] Gambrell moved in just recently, why he refurbished the Record. I was getting it some time after he came in, but Dick never wavered that all those years. I always got this. Interestingly, Ina says the will has not all been worked out yet but there's a remembrance for me in the will, something. I was asking her if it was the SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity) pin, because he had said years ago that he was going to mark the SAE pin for me, but I think he gave that to one of his nephews who was an SAE. 00:39:00
CATES: I see. When was the last time you saw the Senator?
ANDRETTA: That time that I told you about when we went out to dinner.
CATES: You went out to dinner about a year and a half ago?
ANDRETTA: Yes. I talked to Ina, of course, at the last, too. I talked to herregularly while he was in the hospital and, of course, she told me that before he died he had gone down to 118 lbs. I wrote him a little note while he was in the hospital, but I never went up there and saw him. Really he was too sick; desperately, desperately ill. I mean, far more so than I think is generally known.
CATES: Would you say that he was a lonely man?
ANDRETTA: Yes, I would. I certainly would and he lived a Spartan life, actually.To see his quarters you'd never think, you know, certainly not his home quarters and I used to see his home quarters a lot. He was a very orderly, neat and 00:40:00orderly person, and there was very little around to give the idea that he, that he -- he never strewed things around at all. He was always very systematic but it was a Spartan type of life that he led. I remember going out to the -- I guess it was the restaurant in that hotel out on 15th Street with a group of people one night and I saw him sitting over in the corner eating his dinner and reading the paper, and I didn't interrupt him at all. I didn't even go over and speak to him; so it was typical to see him like that, sitting in a restaurant by himself, eating his dinner and reading. 00:41:00
CATES: Would this have been Donnelly's, the seafood place?
ANDRETTA: No, no, it was out 16th Street at one of those big hotel apartmentcomplexes up, I forget right now. I remember Ina saying though -- I think she had been up with him after, really after his illness set in, sometime since '65, when she's been with him -- and this night that we went out to dinner when we went over to the Rive Gauche, she kept saying, "Dick, you ought to get out, you ought to go out and eat." And he'd say, "I just don't want to. I just don't feel like going out by myself." He said, "I go down to the Army-Navy Club some but I don't like it." And she said, Well, how about Pat now? How about going out with Pat?" "Well," he said, "All right, if she'll select the place." But 00:42:00actually he didn't remember to pick that up. He just didn't feel up to it. He was embarrassed about his coughing and he had very little appetite. I think her concern was that he eats something actually. So, as it ended up, she stayed up here with him most of the time to try and get him to eat.
CATES: I was not really aware that Senator Russell had had this tracheotomy orthat his emphysema was as bad as it was until I saw the three-hour documentary, and I didn't really see all the three hours, but I was shocked when I heard him speak and the effort with which he spoke. I don't know if that was so much due to the tracheotomy or the emphysema, it was probably the emphysema. Were you overly concerned when you would see him, because you didn't see him too often in his later years and could you noticeably see the deterioration?
ANDRETTA: Yes. I remember when he came by that evening and he picked Ina and me00:43:00up for that dinner and he stood there in the door as we walked out, held the door open for us and I was so conscious of the fact that he looked so thin. He was thin, and he was a big-broad-shouldered man, and he just, he sort of shrunk.
CATES: Do you think that his influence will be felt in the Senate in years to come?
ANDRETTA: It's hard to tell, really, isn't it? He was certainly a majorinfluence all the time he was in there. In ways that, I guess, senators really understand the best because I think he was a counselor and advisor and he was 00:44:00responsible for keeping things.his judgment was so much felt that he kept things at an even keel in crisis, for instance, like the MacArthur hearing and that sort of thing. He was very influential in steering to a safe harbor. Whether his philosophies, if that's what you mean, will be influential, it's just hard to tell. I just don't know.
CATES: I know that you really have indicated that you didn't see him too muchduring that time period, but do you have any special knowledge about the MacArthur-Truman hearings, that he conducted the hearings and, also in 1952, his being a candidate, a possible candidate for the Democrats, whether or not he'd 00:45:00ever discussed that with you in maybe later years?
ANDRETTA: Oh, no, no. I only knew what I read in the paper of those things.
CATES: This might be a difficult question for you to answer as far as maybeputting it in a few words, but what do you think was his most outstanding personality trait, or characteristic?
ANDRETTA: Well, he just struck you as a Rock of Gibraltar, really. He was thesort of person that other people felt was the last word in integrity and sound judgment. He was the sort of person who inspired confidence and if he counseled you, you felt you'd had the best counsel there was. I think that was the impression you got of him, and that he was impersonal, completely impersonal in 00:46:00his judgments and wouldn't pull his punches. Even in his gracious, courteous, gentlemanly way, he would still talk straight from the shoulder. I think that's the impression that I would have of him. He did retain, as far as he personally was concerned, his own feelings so that I think it was difficult to get his feelings about his personal life and about himself personally. But I think he was willing to give and to help. He was very helpful, and I think he was a person, as I say, of great judgment, very good judgment, and far-seeing judgment.
CATES: Of course, you have indicated your meeting him for the first time, and00:47:00the fact that he had been governor and was senator and, of course, I'm sure you must have had an image of Senator Richard Brevard Russell. Did that image change after you got to know him?
ANDRETTA: No, no, it really didn't.
CATES: It didn't?
ANDRETTA: No, I was always fascinated with him. He was a fascinating person tobe with and I really never tired of being with him. There was a, oh, a great period of adjustment when I didn't see him again, and I missed seeing him. He was always entertaining to me and, of course, he was so smart, he was a terribly smart man and stimulating, very stimulating. And my impression of him didn't change, really. I had great respect for him.
CATES: I was talking to someone who was analyzing his intellect and his abilityto have total recall almost and he described it this way--that he did have this 00:48:00ability of total recall. Other people have the ability of total recall, but Senator Russell had the ability to categorize and classify everything, to put it in the right slot and when he needed it, it came out. Would you say that that would be pretty accurate?
ANDRETTA: Well, I don't know, I don't know that I could say that now after allthese years. I'm not sure I recall that particular quality, but I do remember his amazing memory, and a very competent person. He used to describe himself, though, in that connection. He always used to say that he, he'd say, "I'm not a very smart person, I'm a superficial person. I'm very superficial. I'm not profound." He had great admiration for brains, great admiration for brains, and 00:49:00really pushed himself to study. He spent a great deal of his life, you know, reading and studying and becoming proficient and expert in things. He had great patience with reading. Of course, he made himself a parliamentarian par excellence.
CATES: Do you think he meant by that that he didn't have deep thoughts?
ANDRETTA: Well, I don't know whether he -- I don't think he was fishing when hesaid that. But I think he had the feeling that possibly other people seemed smarter to him than he was.
CATES: And do you think that maybe the reason that he drove himself and wantedto become almost a perfectionist was to kind of over-compensate for what he considered not being as smart as the next person?
ANDRETTA: Yes, yes, because he did have great admiration for brains.00:50:00
CATES: Mrs. Andreta, I know you've been real patient talking all this time withme and I don't know really how much we've got on tape now as far as time is concerned; but I know that weve been chatting for a number of hours here, either on tape or off the tape. I was just wondering before we close if you have anything that you would like to add in any area of your relationship with the Senator over the years and your friendship with him?
ANDRETTA: Well, I think we've covered pretty much the gamut of my memories nowbecause, as I said, there is a great gap in my knowledge of the Senator from the late '30s and early'40s until really recently when I saw him again. So I don't 00:51:00think there's anything else particularly that I want to add.
CATES: Well, I want to thank you again on behalf of the University of Georgiaand the Richard Russell Foundation for this very excellent interview on your part. ANDRETTA: Well, you are very welcome.