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Interview with Norman Underwood, February 12, 1971

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:14 - Working for Senator Russell through the patronage program

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Partial Transcript: Norman, would you mind telling me where you live here in Atlanta and a little something about yourself?

Keywords: 4-H Club; George Washington University; doorkeeper; internship; mail; students

00:09:14 - Russell's interest in sports

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Partial Transcript: I found out in my experience with the Senator that he was not a person who was given to small talk.

Keywords: Francis Tarkenton; Ty Cobb; baseball; football; personality; reticence; small talk

00:18:32 - Learning about Russell through his letters / Russell's vocabulary

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Partial Transcript: The experience, which in retrospect, I think has had a greater impact on me personally than almost any other in working in Washington was acting as a general office boy in the Senator's office...

Keywords: clerical work; copies; correspondence; filing; letters; paperwork

00:25:47 - Russell's influence /Russell's effective use of language

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Partial Transcript: It's well known that the Senator was a great power in the Senate and that he was respected and revered by his colleagues...

Keywords: Latin; UN; United Nations; appropriations; classics; intelligence

00:32:27 - Senator Russell's personalized responses to mail

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Partial Transcript: It was Senator Russell's policy to view personally every piece of mail that went out of his office, even routine letters.

Keywords: corrsepondence; letters; memoranda; signature; signing

00:36:51 - Russell's influence on Underwood / Russell's humble advising of President-Elect Kennedy

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Partial Transcript: Norman, I might ask you a question at this point concerning your personal life: How did the Senator influence you mostly on a personal basis?

Keywords: Kennedy; appointments; networking; patronage program; seniority

00:43:09 - Russell's impressive knowledge of European literature and Western history

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Partial Transcript: One thing that is not widely recognized about Senator Russell, which I found out firsthand, is the extent to which the Senator read.

Keywords: Don Quixote; Greek; Homer; classics

00:52:00 - Russell's stability during the Cuban Missile Crisis / Russell's daily habits

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Partial Transcript: You say that you were up there during 1961 and 1962; I believe the Cuban crisis probably occurred while you were in Washington, is that correct?

Keywords: National Security Council; work schedule

00:57:23 - Russell's sympathetic responses to constituent concerns

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Partial Transcript: There's one other thought that I have about the way the Senator handled his mail, which I think is interesting and reflects something about his personality.

Keywords: advice; letters; mail

01:04:46 - Being accused of losing the Senator's car keys / Russell's simplistic apartment

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Partial Transcript: What was the most amusing thing that happened to you while you were up there with Senator Russell that concerned the Senator, most amusing or most unusual thing?

Keywords: Woodner Hotel; finances; furgality; humility

01:14:35 - Russell's controlled temperament

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Partial Transcript: Norman, what was the temperament of the man?

Keywords: Earl Leonard; manners; press; sincerity

01:24:57 - Russell's dedication to Senate work

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Partial Transcript: How large was his circle of friends in Washington; would you have any knowledge of this?

Keywords: Robert's rules; Senate rules; character; discipline; personality