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Interview with Hugh Peterson, Jr., March 27, 2014

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:07 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Today is March 27, 2014.

Segment Synopsis: Sheryl Vogt introduces Hugh Peterson Jr.

00:00:44 - Parents and family background

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Partial Transcript: Will you tell us who your parents were and a little bit about them?

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his parents, Hugh Peterson and Patience Elizabeth Peterson. His father was from a large family in Ailey, Ga. His mother is from Winder and Russell, Ga., and she is one of Judge Russell's many children.

Keywords: Ailey, Ga; Battle of Atlanta; Brewton-Parker; Georgia Assembly; Georgia Normal and Industrial College; Georgia State House; Highland Scots; Lucy Cobb institute; Montgomery County; Russell, Ga; University of Georgia; West Point; World War I; law

00:13:28 - Childhood in Washington, D.C., and Ailey, Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Tell us a little bit about your childhood here in Ailey and in DC how -- switching back and forth -- how that worked?

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his childhood. He would live in Washington, D.C., after Christmas, and he would live in Ailey, Georgia, in the summer and falls. These two places were very distinct and Peterson loved living in two places.

Keywords: Ailey, Ga; Congress; Connecticut Avenue; Tim Young house; Washington DC

00:16:04 - Peterson home in Ailey, Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Would you tell us a little bit about this house?

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about the house in Ailey, Ga that his parents designed and built in the 1930s. He goes into detail on who each of the bedrooms were built for, and he describes the floor plan. The house has two fronts to it because Peterson's parents could not decide which way to face the house.

Keywords: Ailey, Ga; Aunt Marie; Broad Street; Mongomery Monitor; Uncle Herman; basement; highway; living room

00:23:58 - Family presence in Washington, D.C.

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Partial Transcript: And in DC you also had a large family contingent there of Russells especially who lived in the DC area.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about the Russell family members who lived in the Washington, D.C., area.

Keywords: Cathedral Avenue; Russell family; Washington, DC; apartment; family; post card

00:25:57 - Mother's relationship with Richard B. Russell, Sr.

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Partial Transcript: I would like for you to tell us a little bit about your Mom's relationship with her dad.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his mother's close relationship with her father, Richard B. Russell, Sr.

Keywords: Georgia Tech; Georgia normal and industrial college; Judge Russell; Richard B Russell Sr; general assembly; preparation school; women's college

00:31:27 - The role of politics in the family

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Partial Transcript: Going back to politics for a few minutes.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about the role of politics in his family. The topic was regularly discussed, but it was not the only thing that was talked about.

Keywords: 1946; campaign; campaign banners; political career; politics; voting house; voting prescict

00:35:42 - Hugh Peterson, Sr.'s career in Congress

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a little bit about his career in Congress.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his father's career in Congress. He was in Congress when the New Deal legislation was being introduced, Hugh Peterson Sr was interested in land policy and highways.

Keywords: Alaska; New Deal; Pan-American Highway; congress; depression; high way committee; land policy; legislation; rivers and harbors; term; territories; the Great Depression

00:42:39 - Education in Georgia and D.C. / Yale University

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Partial Transcript: Now you went to Brewton-Parker for a period of time--

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his education. He mostly went to St. Albans in Washington, D.C., and he went to school at Brewton Parker in Georgia. Peterson also talks about how he went to Yale for undergrad.

Keywords: Brewton-Parker; Malcolm Baldrige; St. Albans; Yale; lobbying; textile industry

00:50:57 - Parents' social life in D.C. and Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: It's always been interesting to me that while your parents lived in DC they became very socially active in the community there.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his parent's involvement in social clubs in Washington, D.C. Even though the family participated a little bit in the social life in D.C., they still maintained their roots in Ailey.

Keywords: Chevy Chase Club; Congressional Club; Georgia State Society; Scottish Heritage Society; congressional wives

00:56:37 - Harvard Law School / Military

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Partial Transcript: You also went from Yale to Harvard Law School.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about going to law school at Harvard. He goes on to talk about his military career after law school. Peterson talks about how the military was a good experience because he had the opportunity to meet different types of people from different backgrounds.

Keywords: Berlin call up; Cuban Missile Crisis; Georgia Bar; Harvard Law School; Judge Advocates Core; US Army; Yale; lawyer

01:01:09 - Parent's friendship with artist Atanas Tasev

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Partial Transcript: I want to go back to just a few minutes and talk about your parent's friends.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson shares some stories about the eccentric Bulgarian painter named Atanas Tasev who was friends with his parents. Tasev would stay often with Peterson's family in Ailey.

Keywords: Atanas Tasev; Bulgaria; Prague; Tasev's Palace; Uncle Herman; artist; chewing tobacco; paintings; portraits; yogurt

01:12:11 - Post military life / Law career

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Partial Transcript: And so- when you came out of the military, then you joined the firm of King and Spalding in Atlanta.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his thirty-year law career in Atlanta at the prominent King and Spalding law firm.

Keywords: Atlanta; Atlanta housing authority; Bill Fincher; Coca-Cola Company; Jimmy Carter; King and Spalding; St. Andrew's Society; law firm; tax; white-collar criminal practice

01:20:51 - Story of meeting wife

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Partial Transcript: In your first ten years there, you met your wife.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson tells the story of how he met his wife Mary Jane. He also talks about her family, and Mary Jane's father was a Georgia State Senator.

Keywords: American Bar Association; Biltmore Hotel; Chatsworth; Georgia State Senate; Leb's; Murray County.; Papa Johns; dancing girls; firm

01:29:58 - Patience Elizabeth Russell Peterson

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Partial Transcript: I want to talk a little bit- let's go back to your mom again.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his mother's life and all of the organizations she was involved with such as the Daughters of the Revolution, Women's Society of Christian Service, Daughters of the American Colonists, and the Magna Charta Dames.

Keywords: Chevrolet; Daughters of the American Colonists; Daughters of the Revolution; Mayflower hotel; National Conventions; Pontiac; Southern Women; Women's Christian Society; Women's Society of Christian Service; correspondence; dead presidents; heritage groups

01:47:32 - Naval stores

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Partial Transcript: So let's switch gears a little bit and go back to the Naval Stores and the Petersons.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about the naval store that his father bought and ran. Peterson then took it over and turned the store into a store that sells building materials.

Keywords: Ailey manufacturing plant; Vidalia, Ga; army; building materials; naval store

02:02:42 - Relationship with grandparents in Russell family

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Partial Transcript: Uh Hugh, let's talk now a little about your relationship with Senator Russell...

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about the relationship he had with his grandparents on his mother's side. He remarks how he has very few memories of Richard Russell Sr because he was so young, and he mentions how his wife reminds him so much of his grandmother.

Keywords: Ina Russell; Richard B Russell Sr; Washington, DC; Winder, Ga

02:08:31 - Relationship with Senator Russell and Robert Russell

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Partial Transcript: But getting back to Senator Russell...

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about the relationship he had with his uncle, Richard B Russell Jr.. He shared some stories about Russell such as his visits to the Peterson's apartment, opinions on marriage, and having drinks in the bathroom in Ailey, Ga. He also briefly talks about Uncle Robert.

Keywords: Aaron Ford; Ailey, Ga; Chevy Chase Club; Civil Rights Bill; James Earl Ray; Lyndon B Johnson; Pat Collins; Robert Russell; Theodore Green; Uncle Dick; Washington, DC; opera; parakeet

02:36:28 - Writing Richard B. Russell Jr.'s will

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Partial Transcript: Now he had -- as we said, he was very close to Bobby and a lot of his nephews.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about helping write Richard B Russell Jr's will along with Richard Russell III. He talks about how much thought Russell put into his will, and he made sure that every niece and nephew inherited a small amount from his will.

Keywords: Walter Reed; Winder, Ga; estate law; inheritance; land; lawyers; probated; tombstone; will

02:41:25 - Peterson's reflection on Russell's political influence

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Partial Transcript: I remember also -- going back on something entirely different.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson talks about his observation of Richard B Russell's power and respect that he earned in his many years in the Senate.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; Eugene Talmadge; Herman Talmadge; LBJ Ranch; Lyndon B Johnson; State senators; Walter George; emphysema; political challenge; politics; ranch; senate election; tumor

02:45:24 - Thoughts about 'Uncle Dick'

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Partial Transcript: I really saw more - because Uncle Dick did not have much in the way of political challenge.

Segment Synopsis: Peterson shares his reflections on his Uncle and his legacy in history.

Keywords: Anti-missile missile system; Aunt Ida; Capital; Civil Rights; Connecticut Avenue; Family Gallery; Milton Young; Spiro Agnew; Washington, DC; Winchester rifle; Winder, Ga; cat; debate; emphysema; intelligence; national defense; principle; racist