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1981-05-13 Interview with Stanley F. Reed, Jr., May 13, 1981 Reed001:1981OH065Reed15 01:40:06 Stanley F. Reed Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980 Stanley F. Reed, Jr.; interviewee Terry L. Birdwhistell; interviewer 1981OH065_Reed15_Reed 1:|18(10)|35(14)|47(3)|62(1)|71(9)|85(10)|93(12)|107(4)|121(8)|130(2)|144(6)|171(13)|205(1)|230(8)|244(7)|259(4)|286(1)|312(10)|326(11)|356(5)|376(11)|386(15)|404(12)|425(5)|467(5)|480(6)|491(12)|517(2)|526(3)|539(3)|560(6)|573(2)|602(9)|621(2)|635(7)|664(12)|686(15)|713(3)|733(8)|764(3)|778(8)|792(11)|810(7)|824(1)|840(11)|852(10)|861(2)|875(8)|889(6)|919(7)|941(1)|951(9)|969(5)|993(1)|1003(4)|1017(10)|1037(15)|1059(2)|1082(2)|1102(5)|1119(11)|1136(5)|1159(1)|1175(8)|1195(10)|1211(13)|1233(10)|1257(2)|1268(1)|1286(4)|1311(8)|1342(2)|1360(6)|1378(2)|1391(3)|1405(3)|1417(13)|1446(1)|1469(12)|1480(8)|1500(7)|1516(1)|1529(6)|1540(5)|1553(2)|1571(9)|1584(8)|1610(12)|1635(5)|1663(2)|1685(5)|1696(15)|1723(3)|1744(7)|1761(12)|1772(2)|1788(9)|1810(9)|1819(14) audiotrans SFReed reed001:interview REED: . . . start it here? Does that interfere? BIRDWHISTELL: No, that'll be all right. REED: I don't think it can be turned off. BIRDWHISTELL: I don't think so either. That's . . . that's one of the hazards. It'll . . . it'll just have a . . . a background noise, but it won't be . . . it won't be a real problem. REED: I can look in one of the conference rooms, but I think they have the same . . . BIRDWHISTELL: I'm sure they do. REED: . . . problem. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: That'll be fine. I guess the best place to start in an interview of this nature is to ask you if you can recall some of your earliest recollections of your father, some of your earliest impressions of him as a . . . as a young boy. REED: That is somewhat difficult for me because I'm going back a good many years now. BIRDWHISTELL: That's . . . that's understandable. REED: But I suppose you know that we lived in the . . . what we call the "log house" on the hill near Maysville. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. REED: It was a house which my father bought, oh, around 1917 . . . `18 . . . `17 or `18 or `19, somewhere along in that period when I was quite small. I was born in 1914. And that's really the first house that I can remember our living in, and we still own it. And, of course, one of Father's early interests was the purchase of the so- called "Nutigate Farm" and its subsequent subdivision by him. As you may know, the Nutigate Farm ran on the hills overlooking the Ohio River south of . . . south of Maysville proper. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. REED: And Father and a very good friend of his by the name of Sud Calhoun bought it and then subdivided it, and Father kept as part of his share the . . . the old log house. And it was . . . I think for the time, was probably a very for- . . . unusual [chuckle] event, because subdivision in 1920 or so was . . . was a little unusual, at least in . . . in that part of Kentucky. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right. For a town that size in that part of Kentucky. REED: And we . . . we lived in . . . in the log house, which, as I say, is still standing, and which we still own. And I'm thinking back now to when I was a few years old, I'm not quite certain what. It . . . Father, I think, was always an extremely busy person, . . . BIRDWHISTELL: I'd . . . I wouldn't doubt that. REED: . . . and to some extent was there less than my mother. And he . . . I think also at that time, he was very apt to be away for certain periods of time and particularly when his law office opened a branch in Ashland, in Kentucky. As you may know, his law firm represented the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in Kentucky. I believe it was limited to the Kentucky section of the railroad. And I . . . I understand that the railroad decided that the office of their local counsel should be in Ashland rather than . . . than Maysville. Now, this may have been somewhat affected by the fact that Le Wright Browning, who was Father's partner at this time, I believe moved to Ashland, and I'm not entirely certain whether it was because of the [chuckles] . . . of the shift or . . . or the shift was because of his removal. My brother John might possibly know a little more, as he is three and half years older than I. [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But anyway, Father, in those years after the Ashland office was opened, spent part of nearly every week in Ashland and went back and forth on the railroad, a matter of an hour and a half or two hours. So that, certainly, in those years he was away a great deal. BIRDWHISTELL: Did you travel with him as a . . . as a young man on any of the trips? REED: The . . . the only ti- . . . I . . . I went to Ashland once. I remember that Father had been sort of suggesting that I or my brother or both of us, I'm not certain, come up and see his Ashland office. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] And one day, I imagine during the summer while school was . . . was out, I did go to Ashland with him and stayed for two or three days. And that was my only trip to Ashland. However, we used to take trips every now and then in the summer. I can remember all of us going out West one year to Yellowstone and Glacier National Park and back. And I have a very dim recollection of going to Michigan one summer for a few weeks' vacation. Those are the only two extensive trips I can think of. Obviously there were occasional trips of short duration. BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. Sure. What was Maysville like at the time you were growing up there? It was just a small agricultural community more or less, wasn't it? REED: Yes. I would . . . I would call it a small agricultural community. It really hasn't [chuckling] changed a great deal, though obviously there is . . . there has been an extension out into the county areas. But I think it's undoubtedly correct that pretty much everyone knew everyone else and probably had for more than one generation. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] Certainly my father's family had . . . had generally been in the Mason County area for . . . for quite a few generations. And, of course, my father's perhaps chief interest other than his law practice were . . . were his farms near Minerva, which he had inherited from my Grandfather Reed, though they had been in . . . in the family prior to that. BIRDWHISTELL: Now, did he have people running these farms for him at the time? REED: The farms then and still are . . . were on a tenant system, and Father went out very frequently on Sunday, perhaps not every Sunday but certainly very frequently and, as I'm certain is always the case, why [chuckle] the tenant was never adequate. [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And I think in those days--there are two farms, one on opposite sides of the road--I think in those days there were two tenants. Today, we only have one for . . . for both farms. The . . . but I think Father had been very much interested in what I guess today would be called conservation or ecology or things of that kind, because there is still a silo, which he built when he was fairly young and which is still in use, which I understand is . . . was sort of developed at that time as sort of a round, concrete silo, and there are still on the farm some contour ridges, which I believe he . . . he had in- . . . installed to prevent erosion and . . . and all of that. And even until he was well in his eighties, he loved to go to the farms. And in his later years he frequently carried a . . . a machete so that he could cut down stray [chuckles] bushes. And he thoroughly enjoyed, all of his life, walking over the farms, and even when in he was in Washington on the [Supreme] Court he carried on long correspondence with . . . with either the tenant or whoever [chuckling] was managing the farms. I think it was always a source of relaxation and . . . and great interest. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. It . . . I guess I was surprised when I talked to your father at his chambers at the Court building a few ye- . . . back in `76, I guess . . . `7- . . . around `76, and he'd been gone so long from Kentucky as a . . . as a res- . . . as a full-time resident, and yet he still had a Bank of Maysville calendar on his wall. And I . . . I . . . I didn't . . . I guess this represented something about how he stayed in touch with . . . with his . . . REED: Well, of . . . of course, Father went to Washington at the . . . oh, during the [Herbert] Hoover administration, when he was asked to come up and be general counsel for the Federal Farm Board. At the . . . at that time, and it was meant to be only a temporary [chuckle- -Birdwhistell] visit to Washington, he was counsel for the Bank of Maysville as well as, I believe, for the State National Bank and . . . and one or two other banks in the county, . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I . . . REED: . . . which is . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . see. So he had a . . . REED: . . . is most . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . business rela- . . . REED: . . . unusual. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. REED: But equally, he was a director of the Bank of Maysville and stockholder for . . . for many years. And my grandfather, his father, had been . . . my grandfather was a doctor, but he also had been, I think, president of a predecessor of the Bank of Maysville, so that there was a long association. And at the time, I guess, that Father went to Washington, the president of the Bank of Maysville was Jim Kehoe, who had married my father's first cousin, [which was] a second marriage for both of them. And when Mr. Kehoe died, he was succeeded by Jim Finch, who equally was a father of my [chuckle] . . . I mean a cousin of my father's, and whose son is still the president of the bank. BIRDWHISTELL: Oh. So, it was many . . . REED: It . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . relationships . . . REED: . . . it was a long . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . with that bank. Umhmm. REED: . . . relationship. Family, friends, . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Business and . . . REED: . . . business and . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . and hometown . . . REED: . . . and all. So that . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . and everything. REED: . . . so that there . . . there . . . there is still a . . . in a sense, a family relationship with . . . with the Bank of Maysville and with Jim Finch, who . . . who is the present present an- . . . president and is really Young Jim Finch, [chuckles], . . . BIRDWHISTELL: [inaudible]. REED: . . . though he's a little older than I am. [laughter] BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting. Of course, at the time you were born, your father was already involved in politics, in the legislature in Kentucky, and I suppose you grew up hearing political talk around the house because your mother was involved in politics. In `28, I think, [she was] state chairwoman? REED: Yes. Mother was very active at that time. Well, actually I . . . I may be wrong, but I think my father had ceased to be in the legislature by the time I was born. Certainly by the time . . . BIRDWHISTELL: You were old enough to . . . REED: . . . I was old enough to know anything about it. So, I have no recollection of his connection with Frankfort. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: I do remember as a child hearing a little bit about political events, not very much. And I can remember, I believe, Senator [Alben W.] Barkley staying with us when I was quite young. I suppose it . . . he must have been campaigning for senator. I don't know. But it was a . . . a long time ago. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. It would . . . yeah, [inaudible] . . . REED: And Father, I think, got less interested in or less active in politics. I think he was always interested. But I think that as his legal work . . . business increased, he was less personally involved in politics thr- . . . than when he started as a . . . as a . . . as a young man. My father . . . my mother was interested in many things, including politics. She was quite active in things like the Daughters of [the] American Revolution and local women's [chuckle] activities of the time. And she was . . . as I recall it, she was Kentucky president of the Women's Club . . . I believe it was called the Women's Club . . . in the middle `20s, and then she was asked to be women's chairman of the [Al] Smith campaign ,which I guess was 1928. BIRDWHISTELL: `28, right. REED: And so that she was quite active during those . . . those years. And then, of course, soon after that, my parents went to Washington so that [chuckle--Birdwhistell] some of that ceased. But I think she continued during the Roosevelt campaign to . . . the first campaign to be active, though I don't believe she had any official [chuckle] position. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Of course the Al Smith campaign in Kentucky was interesting. Vinson was very involved in that-- Fred Vinson--as a . . . as a chairperson . . . chairman of the . . . of the campaign in Kentucky and . . . REED: Well, I've . . . I've known . . . I knew Mr. Vinson as a child, and have known . . . I knew him, not well, but . . . BIRDWHISTELL: And . . . REED: . . . through my parents for . . . for many years. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. He got in a little trouble over the th- . . . over the Al . . . Al Smith campaign in terms of a . . . a political problem, I suppose. He . . . you know, he was defeated the next time he ran for Congress after that, and some people attribute it to his support of Al Smith, who was unpopular in some parts of Kentucky. I was wondering if your mother had any of that . . . REED: I . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . probably not in Maysville. REED: . . . I don't recall that she did. Of course, she was not a . . . a candidate. [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. I do not recall that she had any particular criticism, though I suspect that some of her friends [chuckle--Birdwhistell] disapproved of her [chuckle] supporting Smith, because . . . I think probably because he was a Catholic, which I think . . . BIRDWHISTELL: That was . . . REED: . . . in those days in Kentucky was . . . BIRDWHISTELL: It's still a little suspect in some areas. [chuckle] REED: . . . was a little suspect. And I . . . I think probably--I don't really recall--I think probably the liquor question also that came in with the Smith [chuckle] campaign, and there were many "drys" in [chuckle] Maysville and throughout Kentucky. But I don't think there was any . . . I never heard of any . . . any serious criticism [chuckle] or problems. BIRDWHISTELL: Of course, your father, as you said, went to Washington with the Federal Farm Board in 1929. Did he--I . . . I think you probably touched on this a little bit--he viewed this as just a temporary assignment to . . . to go up there and . . . REED: Yes. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . and help? REED: I don't know whether you know the history of why he went. Father had been the general counsel of the Burley Tobacco Association, and--this came along in the `20s--and the . . . I think, the head of the Burley Tobacco Association in Kentucky was a man by the name of Jim Stone. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Right. REED: And Mr. Stone went to Washington as the . . . as a member of the Federal Farm Board, and they were . . . as I heard the story, they were looking for someone to act as . . . as general counsel. And Mr. Stone said, "I think I have the perfect man if . . . if we could persuade him to come, and if it doesn't matter whether he's a Democrat." [laughter] And apparently it didn't matter, and Father did go. And I think, as I understood it, really went on a . . . thought that it would only be for a . . . a year or two, then he would return to his [chuckle--Birdwhistell] . . . his law practice. But, obviously, he never did. BIRDWHISTELL: It didn't work that way, did it? Were you already away at school then, or were you still in . . . REED: I went . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . at home? REED: . . . to prep school in 1927. BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. REED: So . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Where did . . . where did you go to prep school? REED: . . . I went to the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. So that, in a sense, I w- . . . was not present when the decision was made [chuckle--Birdwhistell] about going to Washington. I . . . I can't really remember when I heard about it. I have a feeling I was at . . . at prep school, but it . . . possibly not. BIRDWHISTELL: Do you have any recollection of your mother's reaction to this Washington appointment, having to . . . to go up there for a while? REED: Not really. I think she probably liked the idea because she was quite an energetic and active woman and, I suspect, she thought it might be interesting. [chuckle]. Certainly after they got there, she . . . she found it interesting and was very . . . very helpful to Father, I think, in his career because she was . . . she's very . . . at that time was very good with people and circulating and getting to know people, which she continued to do all of her active years in . . . in Washington. BIRDWHISTELL: In reading the interview with your father that Columbia [University] did, it seemed that he had some definite ideas about public service, about the need to . . . to be involved in . . . in politics and in government work in . . . in some way or another. Did you get that feeling from . . . REED: Well, I don't know . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . him as you . . . REED: . . . that I ever heard him particularly talk about it, but certainly he was active over the . . . over the years beginning, as I say, before I was born, with the Kentucky legislature. I think it was probably something that lawyers in Kentucky [chuckle] thought of as . . . as doing. I think he . . . I think he probably was interested in that. I . . . I do know, however, that he was offered a position on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, I believe it was, by . . . I believe it was . . . it was by Governor [William] Field[s]. And he felt that he was unable to accept that because of his financial obligations, I suppose, to . . . with two small [chuckle] . . . with two small children. I think the salary in those days was very small, and his independent means were not sufficient to enable him to . . . to accept. But other than that, I think he probably did go ahead with Washington as a form of public service and continued because, I think, he found it interesting and . . . and enjoyed it . . . or both of them [chuckle] enjoyed it. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Umhmm. Then, of course, you went to Yale, I suppose, in about `31, wasn't it? You . . . REED: Yes. I graduated from Taft in `31 and . . . and . . . BIRDWHISTELL: You were . . . REED: . . . from Yale in 1935. My brother preceded me, and he went to Taft for one year. I went for four. And then my brother was four years ahead of me at Yale and, of course, my father had gone [there], graduating in 1906. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Did you have any reservations about leaving Maysville to go to prep school? Of course, your father had been to a number of different schools in the East and then in . . . in France for a time, and I suppose that his outlook had broadened beyond the public schools of . . . of Maysville. But did . . . as a young man growing up in a small town like that, did you have any reservations about . . . REED: I don't believe so. I think it had always been sort of assumed that I would go off to school. BIRDWHISTELL: And, of course, your brother had gone . . . REED: And my brother had gone . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . away. REED: . . . had gone before. I think that my family . . . my . . . both of my parents felt that education was very important. And both my brother and I had, I suppose, gotten some educational assistance from my mother, because we were both a couple of years ahead of our age group, which is both good and bad. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I think my parents felt that the education one received from the local schools was . . . was not adequate for a . . . hopefully a career . . . a law career that might come along . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: . . . for my brother and me. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: I think my father really felt we ought to practice law, and I guess we sort of went along [chuckle--Birdwhistell] without thinking much about it one way or the other. [chuckle]. BIRDWHISTELL: That . . . that goes way back then, . . . REED: Yeah. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . the feeling that he was a lawyer, and that you all would . . . REED: I think it . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . follow in . . . REED: . . . I think probably both my brother and I sort of assumed that we . . . we would be lawyers, and that we would go east to school, whether . . . at what point, I don't think I was old enough to [chuckle] . . . to think about one way or the other. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right. Did you have much contact with your parents, then, while you were at Yale? I guess you saw them in the summers and . . . REED: Well, yes. BIRDWHISTELL: Did you go down to Washington and . . . REED: We . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . see them? REED: . . . we . . . I went to Washington occasional weekends, mostly vacations, and . . . and, of course, sometimes during the summer. Actually, I think probably while I was at Yale, certainly several years, I had summer jobs so that . . . away from Washington, so that I . . . I did not see them as . . . as much during those years as . . . as one might have e- . . . expected. BIRDWHISTELL: I think it's interesting that you were at Harvard working towards your law degree at the same time your father was Solicitor General during a very controversial period, arguing . . . arguing the New Deal legislation before the Supreme Court and . . . and trying to work with the Roosevelt administration in . . . in making these things come about. I suppose as a . . . as a law student, you followed his activities, by that time, pretty closely, didn't you? REED: Well, certainly, to a . . . in a general sense. I . . . I think that . . . that probably Harvard Law School, at that time, was probably more pro-New Deal than [chuckle] . . . than not and, of course, people like Felix Frankfurter were . . . were professors at that time, who knew my father and kept in touch with him, you might say. So that I would think the general feeling in . . . at the Harvard Law School was, and equally among . . . among the younger . . . among the students, was that these were all things that were very good to . . . s- . . . to be going on. I never really discussed cases with my father, or certainly very rarely if ever. I . . . I think he basically did not feel that he should discuss cases. He might have discussed them as Solicitor General if I had been in Washington, because those were . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: . . . were more public, you might say, but certainly when he was on the bench he rarely, if ever, mentioned anything about cases before the Court. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So, as a student you got to know Felix Frankfurter, then, as a . . . REED: Yes. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . as a professor. That's interesting. Well then, not in regard to particular issues that he was arguing as Solicitor General, but just in terms of your impressions of how he liked that job, was . . . did he find it frustrating? You know, he had some setbacks trying to get the New Deal legislation through the courts. REED: Well, . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Any recollection of that at all? REED: Yes. You probably would do better, as far as that, with his [chuckle] . . . some of the people who worked with him [laughter] at the time, but my impression is that he found the job fascinating but also extremely difficult and . . . requiring him to spend extremely long hours working. I . . . I think he gathered a . . . a very good staff around him of quite a few people, as . . . as he had also done at the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Quite a few well known lawyers worked for him during those years, or who were subsequently well known and [chuckling] . . . and quite well considered at that time. And I'm sure that he did feel some frustration when the Supreme Court ruled against him, but I think on the whole he felt that the period was a . . . a successful one. And I suppose you have heard of his fainting in the Court at one of the arguments? BIRDWHISTELL: No. No, I haven't. REED: Well, I . . . I don't recall exactly what . . . what year that was, but he had been very active with quite a few cases in all, and . . . and this was a fairly important case which he was arguing, and apparently just before his argument finished, he fainted in court and . . . fro- . . . I think from . . . purely from . . . from overwork, and had to . . . obviously the argument was stopped, and he went away to relax for a . . . a week or two and then [chuckles] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: And [chuckling] hit it again. REED: . . . came back more [chuckling] . . . more active than ever. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Well, that's the impression you get of that period in his career, of the . . . the . . . just the busyness of the whole . . . the activities that were going on and were so, almost, overwhelming that . . . REED: Well, he . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . things were moving so fast. REED: . . . I think they really were overwhelming. And Father always, I believe, whether it was before or after he was on the Court, insisted upon going into every detail and satisfying himself as to whether the proper argument was . . . was being made. So that I'm certain that, while he was . . . was Solicitor General, that he particularly was involved in that and consulting with his assistants and associates, and that at the same time he was leading a . . . an active life socially and otherwise. During those years, it was very difficult, I think, for Father and Mother to get to Kentucky at all. After he was on the Court, he had a little more . . . more time and . . . and did what . . . go back to Kentucky in . . . many summers. But I think he . . . I think he impressed everyone who knew him with his hard work. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Umhmm. Of course, the same . . . at the same year you received your law degree, he was appointed to the Supreme Court. Did this have any effect on your career plans? To . . . REED: Not really. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . to be a starting lawyer and your father just appointed to the [chuckle] Court? REED: It . . . it . . . it really didn't. I can remember when . . . when his nomination was announced. I wa- . . . I was in Cambridge, at the . . . at the . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Let's see, . . . REED: . . . law school at . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . that would have been in January of the . . . REED: . . . at the . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . year. REED: . . . time, and one or two newspaper people came to interview me. BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? REED: And I think maybe there was a picture or two [chuckle] or something. And I don't believe I went to the Court when he took his seat. I don't know why. It may have been exams or something of that kind. I don't . . . I don't recall that . . . that event. No, I had decided to look for a job in New York City, and I've forgotten whether I had already been offered one or whether it . . . I . . . I rather think I had already been offered one, and I think I continued and . . . and went to . . . on with the plan that I had at that time. I think that it really has had surprisingly little [chuckle-- Birdwhistell] effect on my [chuckle] legal career. You might think it would, but I don't think it really has. BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And I guess in looking back, if your father was going to be appointed to the Supreme Court while you were in school, Yale or Harvard would be one of the places to be wi- . . . be . . . it would cause the least amount of [chuckle] attention, I suppose, because of the tradition there of . . . of people . . . REED: Yes. I don't think . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . being involved in that. REED: . . . I don't think many . . . I don't think it made any . . . any real difference in any of my plans or in my associations with other young lawyers or would-be [chuckle] . . . would-be lawyers. BIRDWHISTELL: Did your father . . . at that time, did you get a feeling that he . . . he was . . . that he wanted to be appointed to the Supreme Court? Was this something in his . . . that he had . . . was looking ahead and thinking that he might get and would want, or do you have any recollection of that? REED: I . . . I think that he probably felt that if there was an appointment by . . . he might be appointed, but of course the first appointment of Mr. [Franklin D.] Roosevelt's was . . . was Justice [Hugo] Black. I think Father thought that possibly he might be appointed to the Court, though he wasn't really thinking very seriously of it. I . . . I think if he hadn't been appointed to the Court, he probably would have gone on and practiced law again rather than . . . than be with the government at all. BIRDWHISTELL: Do you think he would have returned to Kentucky and practiced law? REED: No, my guess is he would have come to New York, but . . . but I don't know. He had many . . . many friends who had been lawyers in New York, who had worked with him or . . . or together with him or hi- . . . had argued against them in [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. One way or another . . . REED: . . . in the Court. BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. REED: And . . . but I think he . . . he was offered by President Roosevelt, I believe, an appointment as a district judge or Circuit Court of Appeals, both of which he . . . he declined during his . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, he was? REED: . . . while he was Solicitor General. BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't realize that. REED: Well, I don't suppose it was generally known and, possibly, it was not a formal appointment. But certainly, I think, he was given to understand that if he had any interest, why, [chuckle] he would be appointed. And I've forgotten who . . . whether Homy . . . Homer Cummings was still the Attorney General when Father was appointed? I think he probably was. BIRDWHISTELL: I think so. REED: I think he might have accepted that if [chuckle] . . . if the opportunity had . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Attorney General? REED: . . . had arisen, but having been Solicitor General, I'm sure you would like to be Attorney [chuckles] General. But, of course, as long as Mr. Cummings was . . . was there, why, that was that. BIRDWHISTELL: One person I talked to thought that your father would have liked to have return to Kentucky and run for governor. REED: Well, I don't [chuckling] know. I think he has alway . . . or always had a very great affection for Kentucky, and really I . . . I think after he retired from the . . . from the bench, he thought about returning to Kentucky, and I believe would have done so except my fa- . . . my mother was not enthusiastic about the idea. BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that was going to be one of my questions toward the end about why they didn't come back to Kentucky. And your mother didn't want to, then? REED: I think Father would have probably done that, and I . . . just what he would have done, I'm not certain, but I think he might have . . . might have enjoyed it. But I think my mother was not [chuckle-- Birdwhistell] . . . not enthusiastic. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I'm sure she'd built a . . . a circle of friends, and . . . REED: Yes. Well, I think she enjoyed Washington and moving from . . . from Washington to . . . to Maysville might not have [chuckle-- Birdwhistell] . . . might not have [chuckle] been as interesting from her point of view. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: She might not have enjoyed walking around the farm as much as your father, right? REED: She rarely . . . she went to the farms, but she didn't really [chuckle] have much interest in them. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Hmm. So, you think your . . . your father probably would have come to New York, then, if . . . REED: Well, that would have been my guess. But I think, like all such things, it depends on . . . it would have depended on the . . . on the timing . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. The right time. REED: . . . and you just never . . . you just never know. BIRDWHISTELL: Did your father ever talk with you, prior to going on the Court, about the Court in terms of the criticism of the Court by the Roosevelt administration as the "nine old men" when they couldn't get legis- . . . you know, they couldn't get the New Deal legislation approved? REED: Well, I'm not certain that he really talked to me about it, but I think what . . . what his position more or less was, that he as Solicitor General had to argue important cases for the government before the Court and, therefore, it was difficult if not impossible for him to . . . to take any position contrary [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. REED: . . . to the . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. REED: . . . Court. BIRDWHISTELL: At least publicly. REED: And I . . . I don't really recall, but I think that--this would have to be checked--I . . . I sort of have the impression that he wrote some noncommittal letter in regard to the [chuckle] court-packing plan. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: But was not . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, he was able to stay out of that pretty well. REED: . . . but he pretty much stayed out of it, and I think wisely so, considering that his . . . his position at the time. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: Of course, he knew many of the members of the Court at this stage in his life, both because he appeared before them, but also because as Solicitor General you went to dinner with members of the Court and you saw them at . . . at dinners, and my mother and father entertained members of the Court. I can recall going to a dinner for the chief justice, for example, at this point, where one or two other members of the Court [chuckle] were present. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Of course, when your father was appointed . . . I think he was appointed and then three weeks later he was on the Court. I think it was a very quick approval . . . you know, a confirmation. REED: I . . . I think unusually so, partly because of, I think, the fact that . . . that everyone in Washington at that time knew of him and thought favorably of him. I think also there may have been a little reaction from the [Hugo] Black situation, the Ku Klux Klan excitement, which . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. That was such [chuckle] . . . REED: . . . I'm sure upset the [chuckle] . . . up- . . . upset official Washington. I . . . I'm sure that . . . that . . . I don't know why I say I'm sure, but I suspect that the president wanted to nominate someone who was more than acceptable because of his legal services rather than . . . than political, and that Father was the ideal person at that . . . at that point. BIRDWHISTELL: It's interesting how in a situation like existed in Washington in . . . then and now, where you have factions and political arguments and sides to each issue, that your father moved rel- . . . relatively easy through both . . . with all factions, it seemed like. And I think this is the easy time he had with the Senate hearings and the confirmation is an example of this. I was wondering if you could say something about his personality at this point in his life, that . . . what was it about him that . . . that enabled him to . . . to do this? Was it a . . . the same characteristics that makes a good politician, or was he [chuckle] . . . ? REED: I'm not sure that he was a good politician in the . . . in . . . maybe in the worst sense of a [chuckle] politician. BIRDWHISTELL: I was thinking in the best sense of a politician, I suppose. [chuckle] REED: Possibly in the best. I think the answer to it was that he came to Washington with the Federal Farm Board in the Hoover administration. Obviously, at that time the Depression was . . . was getting worse, and he was asked to shift from the Federal Farm Board to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and he was general counsel to that with, I guess, . . . whether . . . I have kind of forgotten whether it was Eugene Myer or . . . or Jesse Jones at . . . at the end of the Hoover administration. You may recall that . . . that the day Roosevelt was sworn in, or the day before, all the banks were closed, and Father, as the general counsel of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, was in the midst of . . . of that activity and was advising the Reconstruction Finance Corporation board as to . . . [End of Tape 1, Side 1] [Beginning of Tape 1, Side 2] BIRDWHISTELL: I think when the tape went off you were saying he was advising the Reconstruction Finance . . . REED: He . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . Corporation . . . REED: . . . he was advising the Reconstruction Finance Corporation as to what to do in this financial crisis. And you might expected that as a Hoover appointee that he would have [chuckle] left, but I think the powers that be at the Reconstruction Finance Corporation said, "We . . . we have to have someone like Stanley Reed to get us through this period." And I think very quickly that President Roosevelt and the people around him realized that Father was an unusually able lawyer to have in . . . in that position. And I think at the Reconstruction Finance Corporation there had been several people who . . . who had some connection with . . . with the Roosevelt advisors, and I suppose, in a limited sense, Felix Frankfurter [chuckle] may have been one of them. But you had Tommy Corcoran and . . . and Ben Cohen, who were . . . who were there. And I think that he went on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for a year or two, as I recall it, and then the then Solicitor General, who was a gentleman by the name of J. Crawford Biggs from North Carolina, who was a . . . as I remember, was a charming and attractive older gentlemen, but not a great . . . great lawyer. I think [chuckle--Birdwhistell] the . . . someone realized that . . . that they needed a capable lawyer to argue these very important cases that were . . . that were coming up for the government. And I . . . I believe that . . . that Father was appointed Solicitor General because of his legal capacity rather than any political background or . . . or influence. And so that I . . . I think his career in Washington was primarily that of a lawyer rather than a . . . a political person. But he . . . he was . . . if you've met him, you will remember he was a very quiet person, a very nice person. I mean, he . . . he did not indulge in unpleasant remarks about [chuckle] . . . about people he might not [chuckle] see eye-to-eye with, and there were very few people that I ever heard [of] who ever thought he was [anything but] a charming, courtly, Southern gentleman to [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Gentleman, I think's the . . . REED: . . . to use the [chuckle] rather trite expression. And I think in that my mother was . . . was very helpful because she . . . she enjoyed people and she made a . . . an effort, or a habit, of getting to know various senators or . . . or cabinet members or . . . or whoever they were. It . . . it really . . . she liked . . . liked everyone and enjoyed going out to dinner, and . . . and if she met someone she hadn't met before, why, I think she made a point of . . . of speaking to them and . . . and going on. This . . . this she continued throughout her life. I mean, when . . . when she was on the Court, she [chuckle] was just the same way. She . . . and I think that was very good for my father, because I think, to some extent, he would have stayed in his office [chuckle] and never have gone to dinner unless [chuckle] Mother had . . . had insisted. BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting. REED: And I think they were extremely popular in the Washington social life of whatever the time was, whether it was the Roosevelt administration or . . . or later on. And it's therefore that I suspect that when . . . when Father's name was sent to the Senate for confirmation, why, most of the senators knew both Justice and Mrs. Reed and . . . and had dinner with them or been at dinner with them [chuckle] or . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. Sure. REED: . . . or . . . or liked them, and . . . so that there . . . there was no . . . no reason or . . . or possibility of any [chuckle] . . . any real opposition. BIRDWHISTELL: It's interesting. Someone said . . . or has written that they very seldom saw your father smile, but they very seldom saw him get angry. REED: I don't think he ever got angry. I don't . . . I don't think anyone ever saw him angry. BIRDWHISTELL: It's just a . . . REED: I . . . I . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . it's really amazing, I think, that . . . REED: . . . I . . . I would doubt that . . . that . . . that that happened very often, and if it did, I suspect that no one ever [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Would [chuckling] have seen it. REED: . . . ever knew it. I think that . . . I think he was always very courteous and interested in . . . in what the other person said. And I think he was interested in his law clerks and the people who worked for him and . . . and made an effort to bring them into . . . to his thinking or to help them out, shall [chuckling] we say? BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. We . . . as you well know, your father had been a successful lawyer at the time he was appointed to the Court, yet he had never received a formal law degree and had never served as a judge. Do you think this worried him a little bit going on the Court, or was he . . . REED: Oh, I . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . quite confident of . . . REED: . . . I don't . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . [inaudible]? REED: . . . think in the slightest. No. I think . . . well, I think, of course when Father was . . . he graduated from Yale in 1906, and then he went to the University of Virginia for . . . for a while, and I'm a little vague on my timing, but my Grandfather Reed became ill while he was at Virginia. And I've forgotten whether it was his first year or his second. And someone in Maysville wrote to my father that they thought he should come home and . . . and check on his father because he was failing. So he . . . he did, and . . . and then they . . . he took my grandfather on a trip to . . . south, I believe it was, and part of the purpose was to . . . because of his health, but I think also was to have him checked on by . . . by other, better known medical authorities, shall we say. And I think that was done both in . . . in New Orleans and . . . and Philadelphia, I think. But anyway, he wanted to be with his father because I . . . I think the impression he got was that he couldn't live much . . . much longer, which was the case. He died soon after. And then . . . I suppose I'm a little vague on the . . . on the timing again. I think that he probably, after my grandfather's death, had certain business problems by reason of . . . of his death, and then, I think, he and my mother got married reasonably soon thereafter. And then they went to Columbia [University] and lived there on the west side for a year while he . . . he went to . . . to Columbia. I . . . I don't think that probably he worried much about a degree one way or the other. I don't think in those days it was quite as important as . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. REED: . . . as people think it is today. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: Then they went to . . . to Europe for . . . for a year and he went to the Sorbonne for a while. Or . . . or he went . . . I guess first he went to study French to . . . so he would able to go to the Sorbonne. I don't think his French was that good before [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and I'm not sure how good it was even [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: He talks [inaudible] . . . REED: . . . while he was there. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: . . . about that in his interview with Columbia. REED: I have a little . . . BIRDWHISTELL: [inaudible]. REED: . . . I have a little bit the feeling that [chuckle] the Sorbonne . . . the French part of the Sorbonne was . . . was a little too much at . . . to pick . . . pick that up. But anyway, they . . . they were there and enjoyed Paris for . . . France for some months and then, I think, went to . . . to Egypt and then back to . . . to the United States, where he started practicing law, I think, at first by himself for a year or two, maybe. I'm not sure how long. And then he went in with a firm in Maysville, which was called Browning, Cochran and . . . no, let's see. Worthington, Cochran, and Browning, I think was the name, and then Father joined and they added his name soon thereafter. [chuckle] And Mr. Worthington and Mr. Cochran either had retired or soon retired [chuckle] or died, so that he and Le . . . Le Wright Browning then continued for quite a few years in both Maysville and . . . and Ashland. And then a younger man by the name of Ernest Zeigler joined them, and . . . but they had a very good practice for that part of Kentucky and sort of a continuation of an earlier practice. But I think Father was very well considered as a lawyer at that time. BIRDWHISTELL: When your father first went on the Court, did have any trouble adjusting to the different pressures that being a Supreme Court justice would have on a person's, oh, lifestyle or the . . . the pressures of the job? Anything about it that bothered him? REED: I don't really recall. It seems to me the only thing I ever heard him say was that he couldn't smoke at conference. [chuckle- -Birdwhistell] And I think at that time he . . . he smoked a good deal. He later gave it up. But I think at that period he was probably a little more tense or intense [telephone rings] than . . . than later. I think Justice [James] McReynolds objected to anyone smoking in his presence [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and so the . . . the justices did not smoke at . . . at conference. No, I think Father had . . . at that stage had been in contact with the . . . not only with the Court, but also with the type of case that came before the Court, so that I think his . . . his legal preparation was . . . was very good. I don't think he ever had any feeling of inadequacy or [chuckle] pressure or whatever you want to call it. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And as you pointed out earlier, he couldn't have been any busier than he was as Solicitor General. In fact, as you said, . . . REED: Oh, I think he was . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . he would have had . . . REED: . . . I think he was much less busy. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] I think he . . . I think he was much less busy as . . . on the Court than he had been before. And in that sense, I think it was very [chuckle] good for him to retire. Obviously, I think it's true of any Supreme Court justices . . . justice, to some extent you have to withdraw a little bit from . . . from your active life and also from . . . from [chuckle] some of your lawyer friends. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. And . . . REED: It . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . I suppose in his case, I know . . . I . . . in the interview with him, he mentioned having to, maybe, take himself off of . . . of cases that he'd worked on as Solicitor General. REED: Oh, I'm sure that for a year or two he was unable to participate in many government cases. BIRDWHISTELL: And I suppose, too, that when you go to a party and his former colleagues were still working on these things, you'd have to be careful about what he talked to them about, [chuckle] I would assume. REED: Well, I . . . I think Father was unusually meticulous in . . . in such things, so I'm sure that he was in . . . in that. I remember some years after he was on the bench he recused himself--if that's the correct word--from sitting on a case in which his former law partner appeared. And I think one or two of his colleagues said, "I don't see why you do that." And then, you may remember, there was sort of a furor a little later about someone sitting [chuckle] on a case. BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I can't remember which one . . . REED: I can't remember . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . it was. REED: . . . now what it was, whether it was [Robert] Jackson or Black or [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: I think it was Black. REED: . . . or someone who . . . anyway, [chuckle] whoever it was said [chuckle], "Well, Stanley, maybe you had more sense than I had [chuckle] in . . . in not sitting in [chuckle] . . . in that situation." So I think Father was unusually meticulous in . . . in any situation involving the Court or him. And I . . . I'm sure that . . . that he was very meticulous in . . . in not sitting on cases in which he had had any connection whatsoever. And I think after he went on Court, for example, he . . . he never bought a share of stock. He thought that . . . he did not sell the few that he had, but he didn't . . . didn't buy any more. BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So, in . . . in several ways, then, it . . . it made a difference in his . . . REED: Oh, I'm sure it made . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . [inaudible] . . . REED: . . . made some difference, but I don't think it was anything that . . . that caused any great change in his activities or career. I . . . I think it . . . I think the Court is bound to make you a little less outgoing [chuckle], shall we say. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. When he was appointed, he was the second Roosevelt appointment, as you . . . as you pointed out. Black [was] first, and then your father. And then eventually it became known as a "Roosevelt Court," as Roosevelt made more and more appointments. Do you think your father felt particular pressures being the second Roosevelt appointment after the struggle that F.D.R. had waged against the Court earlier on? Was he . . . REED: I . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . sensitive to that? REED: . . . I never . . . never heard him discuss that in any way. I . . . I'm certain that he would have decided cases as he thought [chuckle] were appropriate, regardless of whether the president was [chuckle--Birdwhistell] promoting them or not. And I . . . I think, however, that most of the litigation . . . principal litigation, anyway, was over by the time he went on the Court, so that I don't think there were . . . there were too many instances where . . . where that . . . where . . . where you might . . . where one might have said, "Well, you owe a . . . an obligation to the person who appointed you." I don't think that that would have had any effect on Father. In fact, I . . . I think that when you say a "Roosevelt Court," of course they were all appointed by the Court . . . by . . . by Roosevelt, but they were not necessarily . . . they did not vote as a [chuckle] . . . as a group by any means. BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's the interesting thing about that Court [chuckling], I think, is how . . . Court historians have had a . . . an interesting time looking at how it later . . . REED: Well, it's . . . it's, of course, very difficult to . . . to know h- . . . what anyone is going to do after they're on the Court, and I think the fact that [William] Douglas and Black were appointed by Roosevelt as well as my father and Bob Jackson and a few others, they certainly never saw eye to eye on . . . on many points. [chuckle] But I think that's . . . I think that's natural. BIRDWHISTELL: It's interesting, looking at your father's career on the Court, a lot has been written about the Roosevelt . . . the so-called "Roosevelt Court," and some of the historians have pointed out that your father, without using "liberal" and "conservative," he at least started out on the Left side of the Court with a group, and ended up in the latter part of his career moving more with what would be termed the Right side. Some would say he became more conservative in . . . in his opinions. Did . . . did you see this in his career on the Court? REED: I . . . I'm sure my father would have thought that he stayed exactly the same. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's the other side of that coin. He . . . REED: And . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . the Court moved away from him. REED: . . . maybe the Court moved a little towards him. I . . . I'm . . . I'm . . . I'm sure that so far as he was concerned, he felt the same way all along. Whether, in fact, that is the . . . is the case, one would have to leave to a [chuckle--Birdwhistell] more serious student of the [chuckle] . . . of the Court and his opinions than . . . than I. I think he undoubtedly thought certain things should . . . should be decided by the Court and argued those . . . those beliefs, whatever they were. I think in many cases he persuaded people to join him. Sometimes he . . . sometimes he did not. I think he and Justice Vinson . . . Chief Justice Vinson, to some extent, were sort of in the middle of the [chuckle] . . . of the Court. BIRDWHISTELL: And with Justice [Harold] Burton, too, I suppose? REED: Justice Burton. They all were all very . . . BIRDWHISTELL: More . . . REED: . . . very . . . somewhat similar. But . . . but I don't know. To me, "liberal" and "conservative" doesn't mean very much. I think it depends on the type of case you're talking about, and the . . . the Supreme Court has a variety of cases, and . . . BIRDWHISTELL: It . . . it's certainly easy to oversimplify what . . . REED: Yes. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . is brought before them, I suppose. REED: Yes. I . . . I'm . . . I . . . I never really discussed my father's legal philosophy with him. He . . . but I'm sure that he was a person who was willing to . . . to discuss things with his . . . his brethren, but I'm equally certain that when he got through, why, he [chuckle--Birdwhistell] voted the way he [chuckle] felt he should, regardless of . . . of other opinions or other ideas. BIRDWHISTELL: I've been told that sometimes Justice Frankfurter had some discussions with him about votes. REED: Oh, I'm sure [chuckle--Birdwhistell] they had many discussions. I think there's no question of that. There . . . there were frequent discussions of all kinds. BIRDWHISTELL: Did you ever . . . did your father . . . since Frankfurter was a professor of yours and . . . and . . . and then a colleague of your father's, did . . . did your father ever talk with you about his attitude toward Justice Frankfurter? REED: Not really. I think he got along with him . . . with him very well. I . . . I'm not sure that my mother and Justice Frankfurter got along too well. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] At least that . . . that appears in some of [chuckle] Frankfurter's [chuckle] correspondence. I think they were perfectly friendly. They were not intimate away from the Court, my father and Justice Frankfurter. They were . . . they were . . . they discussed, obviously, many things in . . . while they were on the bench together. They were not intimate away from the Court. But I'm not sure that there is any justice who is . . . that . . . that that would be true of. BIRDWHISTELL: With your father . . . close . . . who were your father's friends at that time? I mean, who he would consider his personal friends, not colleagues. REED: Well, I . . . I think it's very difficult to . . . to know. I think it was . . . I don't think there were any what I would call "close personal friends." There were lots of . . . lots of friends, . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Lots of friends, but no . . . REED: . . . but no . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . people . . . two, three or five . . . REED: . . . no real group of . . . of persons that I would . . . I would think that were . . . were intimate. And I suppose that's because of the life in Washington. You're busy on the Court, you're . . . you're busy going out to dinner or whatever function [chuckle] goes on, whether it's at the White House or . . . or somewhere else, and you have a multiplicity of . . . of friends and acquaintances. But I don't think there were what I would really call many very . . . very close friends. I . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Not one person he would have called first or . . . REED: I don't . . . I don't really think so, at . . . at any stage of . . . of . . . of his Washington career. BIRDWHISTELL: I suppose that's not unusual for . . . REED: And . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . Washington. REED: . . . and he had more or less grown away from his Maysville friends, and . . . and one or two who had been closest to him, I guess, had moved away from Maysville, so that I . . . I'm not sure there was a . . . anyone I would call a closest personal friend or someone he would consult [chuckle] or anything like that. BIRDWHISTELL: I wanted to talk a minute about his relationship with Vinson. Of course they . . . there are many similarities in their careers, Maysville, Ashland, Kentucky politics, working with the New Deal. In `46 when . . . when Fred Vinson was appointed chief justice, did you get any indication of what your father's reaction was to that? REED: No, I was not in Washington at the time. I imagine he was delighted that . . . that someone he had known well all of . . . for many years, anyway, wa- . . . was appointed. I think that Vinson was . . . was the congressman from . . . from our district going back a good many years, and I've kind of forgotten the sequence at the time, but there was some . . . some suggestion that . . . that my father might run for that office, or I think maybe there was a . . . an election . . . not an election, but a selection by . . . by the people. And I don't think my father had too much interest in it, and Vinson was appointed, and Father, I think, was very pleased that he was. My grandfather also had . . . my . . . my mother's father had known Vinson for . . . very favorably for some years. And I don't think there . . . there was any . . . ever any . . . anything other than the most pleasant relations between my father and . . . and Fred Vinson. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. You don't think your father wanted to be chief justice? REED: Oh, I think he probably would have . . . would have liked it, but . . . BIRDWHISTELL: I suppose that's only natural, right? REED: . . . would have liked it, but, you know, it doesn't happen to [chuckle] . . . to very many people [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And . . . BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. REED: . . . he had known President [Harry S.] Truman quite well, going back to his senatorial days. And I think he . . . I . . . I'm sure that he would have enjoyed being chief justice because after you've been an associate justice, why, you . . . BIRDWHISTELL: There's only one way to go [chuckle] . . . REED: . . . know a good deal . . . you know a good deal about it, and it would be a . . . a promotion or a cap to your career. But I don't think he ever expected to be appointed. I mean, if . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. I guess . . . REED: . . . it . . . if it happens, fine. If it doesn't [chuckle- -Birdwhistell], why [chuckle] . . . why, fine. I'm sure he was delighted that Fred Vinson, who, as I say, had been an old friend, and who . . . they had . . . had gotten along well for . . . for many years, was . . . was appointed. And I think they worked together quite well on the bench. I think . . . I think their votes were fairly similar on many . . . on many things, and Father . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: . . . was very upset when . . . when the chief justice died. BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I . . . I suppose some, though, looking at it would think that if Truman wanted to appoint a Kentuckian to the [chuckle] chief justice, he had one on the Court already. REED: Well, I don't imagine that [chuckle--Birdwhistell] . . . that the appointment from Kentucky is what . . . BIRDWHISTELL: I . . . I don't think so. REED: . . . what mattered. BIRDWHISTELL: Of course, Vinson was . . . REED: Obviously Vinson had been . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . close . . . REED: . . . very close to . . . to Truman and . . . closer than . . . than my father, who had . . . had known him, but only as a . . . as a member of the Court, while Truman was a . . . was a senator. BIRDWHISTELL: Did your father ever talk to you about the criticism of Vinson, having come out of politics, maybe not getting out of it all the way when he was on the Court, still playing cards with Truman and staying involved in the administrative . . . or what was going on in the administration? Did that bother your father at all? REED: I never heard him mention it, no. And I don't think he would have been upset by it. Certainly [chuckle--Birdwhistell] your . . . your activities at the Court are . . . are somewhat circumscribed, but I don't think Father would have . . . have objected to Vinson playing [chuckle--Birdwhistell] poker with Truman, if he did. I don't know whether he did or not. I know he enjoyed playing poker with [chuckle] . . . with lots of people. BIRDWHISTELL: Of course, from what you said, though, if your father objected, he probably wouldn't have said anything. REED: He certainly wouldn't have said anything [chuckle--Birdwhistell], either . . . either to Vinson or to anyone else [chuckle], except possibly my mother. But I don't think he would have . . . he would have objected. I . . . I think he . . . he did feel, I think, that . . . that a member of the Court should be careful not to get too involved in non-Court activities, and . . . though he did once himself get involved. I was trying to remember now what it was. The . . . the only two things I ever heard of his doing or considering was . . . one was . . . there was a commission on civil service, which he did, I believe, at President Roosevelt's request. And then President [Dwight D.] Eisenhower asked him to do something . . . BIRDWHISTELL: That was after the . . . REED: Was this after he had retired? BIRDWHISTELL: . . . after he'd retired. It was a commission on civil rights. REED: A commission on civil rights. And he initially agreed to do it and then began to be concerned that . . . that if he did, he had to resign rather than retire. And I know that he inquired, I think, of the Attorney General whether there was any possible conflict and, I think, got some opinion from the Attorney General of the time--and I've forgotten who it was, probably Brownell--and I think that concerned him. And I have a little bit the feeling that maybe Chief Justice [Earl] Warren, I guess it must have been at the time, indicated that he wasn't thrilled. So that [chuckle--Birdwhistell] Father decided not to do it . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: . . . and resigned before he [chuckle] became appointed, you might say. I know he . . . he did talk to . . . to my brother and me about that, as I recall it, and was concerned about it and decided not to do it. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. This next question might be a little difficult, I suppose, but a person like yourself, whose father has been in public life all their career and subsequently there's a lot written about their . . . their careers that . . . that you read, and you knew the man as a father and . . . and personally. But one of the major criticisms about your father has been his votes on civil liberties or civil rights . . . both, I suppose. Did you ever talk with your father about these types of issues, or do you understand, maybe, better than some of his critics how he was arriving at these decisions, or . . . I guess what I'm saying, that knowing him personally, can you shed light on these . . . REED: I think . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . opinions? REED: . . . I think the answer to whether I discussed it with him, the answer is no. My father and I very rarely discussed legal problems or his . . . his ph- . . . legal philosophy. I've . . . I've always thought, myself, that his . . . his decisions were . . . were very logical given his time of birth and earlier life and . . . and legal career and all of that. That he, I do not think, would have been a . . . what many people in later years, a militant liberal. I don't think that was in keeping with his background or his . . . his ideas. I think he considered himself a . . . a liberal, but a . . . a liberal going back more to the earlier days. I think, for example, when he was in the . . . the Kentucky legislature, why, he in- . . . introduced quite a few bills that were considered very . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah. Very [chuckle] . . . very liberal. REED: . . . [chuckle] left-wing . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, almost far out for [chuckle] the time, I suppose. REED: . . . at the time and, I think, probably contributed to his retirement from [chuckle] political life. BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you know . . . REED: Well, that . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Go ahead. REED: . . . that was in 1910, `11, `12, . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: . . . some period like that, rather than 1940 or . . . or `50, when . . . when these . . . these things were getting more militant [chuckle], shall we say. BIRDWHISTELL: One . . . one writer has said that . . . suggested that it's . . . quote, "It's not easy to label Reed. He tended to be an economic liberal and a civil rights conservative." REED: Well, I suppose all of those things depend upon how you paraphrase or how you describe your liberal or conservative. I imagine that on the . . . on the civil rights, and . . . and I presume on this you're thinking primarily of the black . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Well, and . . . and . . . REED: . . . situation. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . well, plus the . . . REED: I . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . just the civil liberties cases in general, I would guess. REED: . . . I think that probably his having been born in Kentucky and brought up in Kentucky from 1884 to 1930 or `40 must have some effect on your thinking. And I . . . I think he . . . I think he really was a representative of . . . of his time and his sort of economic [chuckle] background. He was never . . . never rich, but he was . . . he always had . . . his family had always had a . . . some money. And I think all of those things have a . . . have an effect on you, particularly if you get a little older, maybe. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Well, I've read that . . . one writer was saying that your father really never advocated a social philosophy through the Court. That it was more a view of the Court in judicial restraint in terms of . . . of the . . . the Court not being the place to advocate change in society. That that was the role of the legislature . . . the legislative body and the . . . REED: I would . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . administrative. REED: . . . I would guess that that was the case. That he would have felt that you decide each case. That you don't really try and change the [chuckle] . . . the government or the social mores. That that is not really the function of . . . of the Court. But I . . . I don't feel that I am very . . . that I can really speak for . . . for him in the sense that we discussed it. BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I see. REED: It . . . it really was something which . . . which we did not discuss. And when the Brown versus the United States [sic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka] was up, I don't think Father ever even mentioned it to me. [laughter] He . . . he had a feeling, and . . . which followed pretty much throughout his . . . his life, that he really should not discuss Court affairs with someone who is not meant to be privy to them. And I'm sure he discussed them with his law clerks or his brethren on the Court, but I don't think he would have discussed it in general with . . . with many people, and certainly if a reporter had come to him for comment, there [chuckling] would have been no comment. BIRDWHISTELL: No . . . no comment on that. Right. Besides his activities on the Court, what did your father like to do? REED: Well, I think his interest in the farm is . . . was certainly long continued and . . . and . . . BIRDWHISTELL: Tha- . . . that would be sort of a . . . a business interest plus a . . . more or less a . . . a hob- . . . not a hobby, but along those lines, I guess. REED: Well, of course, the . . . the farms that we have are working farms, and they always carry themselves. They don't really produce any [chuckle--Birdwhistell] . . . any income, but they . . . they . . . they're not an expense. I . . . I think that was his . . . his . . . you might say, his sort of chief interest, and I think that was less the economic than the . . . than the idea of trying to improve them or . . . or see . . . see what . . . what you could do to do something different or to keep track of the cows [chuckle] and all that sort of thing. He was not a person who had many hobbies or . . . or other activities. He . . . he played golf occasionally, not very well--I always thought surprisingly badly considering that he was a . . . a fairly active person and presumably well coordinated. [chuckle] But he rather enjoyed playing. He . . . he played at Burning Tree a good many years with various friends and went quite frequently, I think, to their Sunday breakfasts. I don't know whether you've ever heard of those or not, but they were quite famous, and they're probably still going on. Many members, who obviously include many people in official life, have a breakfast Sunday morning, and then they all play in a tournament. I think probably you put up five dollars or [chuckle] . . . or something like that, and they start on all different holes simultaneously. And it's sort of a . . . a pleasant event. He . . . he did that from time to time until . . . until he was fairly old. I think he really . . . it was his . . . his work, his . . . his reading. He was . . . read a great many things. He got many books from the Library of Congress, both on law and . . . and related things, or other things. And, oh, I don't know. It's . . . I don't think he really had many hobbies. I mean, he did not collect stamps or [chuckle] things of that kind. So I . . . I think his . . . his life was pretty much concentrated in his . . . his career. BIRDWHISTELL: Did your father talk to you about retiring in . . . in `57? REED: No. No. I . . . I think maybe he told me before I read it in the paper, but [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: He didn't [chuckling] consult with you? REED: . . . he did not consult me. And I think he decided that he should retire, and I never really knew quite why he picked the time he did. I think . . . I suspect . . . I suspect that he felt that he should not retire while there was a Republican president, but that after Eisenhower was re-elected, that he . . . BIRDWHISTELL: That would have meant another four years. REED: . . . that would have meant another four years, and that he thought he should not continue that long. BIRDWHISTELL: I wondered about that. If that . . . and having been on the Court for, what, nineteen years, if he still felt obligated to retire as a . . . when a Democrat was president? REED: I would suspect that he did. I don't know. He never . . . never said so, but I just wondered by the fact that he continued through Eisenhower's election whether that wasn't in the back of his mind. I . . . I don't know the answer to that. I think . . . I think he felt that he had reached a point where he should retire. That he was . . . that he wanted to retire before he became a . . . a drag on the . . . on the Court. I think he had a certain feeling that . . . that one should be able to keep up with . . . with your part of the . . . of the burden. And I suspect the other thing, though I . . . here again I don't know, is that Roosevelt had indicated that people on the bench should retire at seventy, and he had been appointed very close to that period. And whether he thought, "Well, maybe I have some obligation not to go much beyond [chuckle] seventy." He went to seventy-two, as I recall it. BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's interesting. REED: Whether . . . whether that had any effect on him, I don't know. But I think he . . . he simply decided that he had gotten to a point where . . . where he should retire, and I think decided to do so and went right ahead. I don't know that there was any immediate stimulus for it. My mother might have known, but she would . . . she would not remember today. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. And, of course, your . . . your father had had some problems with his health during the time he was on the Court, and . . . REED: I don't think they were serious. BIRDWHISTELL: But it pretty much . . . REED: I think . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . I think it had much better actually, over . . . REED: . . . I think that except for that incident I remem- . . . I mentioned before of his collapsing in the Court, I think his health was reasonably good. He . . . as you probably know, soon after he went on the Court he went to Duke [University] and started the Rice Diet. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. I've heard . . . I've heard people talk about . . . REED: And . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . that. REED: . . . he went down. He . . . I think . . . I think he felt he was a little heavy. He went to . . . to Duke and spent, oh, a couple of months, I think, and lost a good deal of weight, became inspired with the Rice Diet, and really continued it to a limited extent the rest of his time in . . . in Washington. He usually took rice from the apartment to the Supreme Court and had it for lunch along with, I think, some honey and maybe . . . well, hello, John, come in. [Interruption in taping] BIRDWHISTELL: Let's see. We were talking about the Rice Diet, I believe. REED: Oh, the Rice Diet. BIRDWHISTELL: Yes. [chuckle]. A couple of his law clerks have mentioned that. I think they felt sorry for him, having to eat [chuckle] rice all the time. REED: Well, he . . . he stayed on it for . . . for many years. As I say, it . . . I think my mother or someone prepared it at home very frequently, and then he took a jar of whatever it was of . . . [End of Tape 1, Side 2] [Beginning of Tape 2, Side 1] BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. REED: He had the . . . almost the same lunch every day, and I think it became quite famous at the . . . the Court. [chuckle] I don't think very many other people liked it [chuckle] and felt sorry for him, but he always . . . I think it was one of the reasons, maybe, he enjoyed going out to dinner, because he [chuckle] . . . BIRDWHISTELL: He got to bring . . . REED: . . . he could go off of his diet. [chuckle] So it . . . it went on for . . . for many, many years, really, until . . . until he was quite elderly, when the doctors told me they really didn't think he ought to [chuckle] continue it. But I think he did until he left Washington. And I think the result of it, I always felt, was that he . . . he did lose a good deal of weight. He was quite thin in his later years. I wondered whether he had quite the energy that he had had before, but since he lived to be ninety-five, it's hard to feel that it . . . BIRDWHISTELL: You can't quest- . . . REED: . . . had any adverse effect. [chuckle] BIRDWHISTELL: . . . you can't question it too much, I suppose. That's right. And, of course, after he retired he continued to sit on . . . sit . . . REED: Yes, he . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . on cases. REED: . . . went . . . he went frequently, at the beginning to, I think it was, the Court of Claims and maybe the Circuit Court of Appeals. But I would say that after six or seven years, why, he really didn't sit anymore, and I would assume that he really shouldn't have continued beyond that. His . . . his retention span began to decrease as he got into his . . . his eighties and . . . and certainly as he got into extreme old age, why, it . . . it got more and more . . . more difficult for him to . . . to understand . . . or not understand, but to remember the . . . the day-to-day things. His . . . his memory of 1910 and 1911 was very [chuckle] good, but not of . . . of day-to-day activities. BIRDWHISTELL: Right. REED: It . . . it was strange that a person of his intellect, really, and mental capacity, that . . . that old age seemed to have that effect on him even . . . even more than . . . than many people, I think. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Well, that's about all I have. Is there anything else you'd like to add, that . . . REED: Well, there's so . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . you think would . . . REED: . . . there's so many things that one might think of. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] BIRDWHISTELL: Well, . . . REED: How . . . how . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . I was thinking in terms of things that you would think would help someone understand your father better. You know, there's going to be, in years to come, a lot written about him, and a lot of people looking at his career and his life, and I think what you've done today will be quite helpful. REED: Well, it's . . . it's sort of hard to say, of course. You . . . you probably see your father in a different way from . . . from anyone else. I . . . I think it's sort of trite to say I really didn't appreciate some of his capacities until I was considerably older. BIRDWHISTELL: Of course, that's sometimes not unusual for a son to [chuckle] . . . REED: I . . . I think that . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . [inaudible]. REED: . . . I mean, when I was growing up, or even at college or law school, I really didn't appreciate it. But later on, I . . . I thought he really was quite a . . . an unusual person, both intellectually and . . . and personally. He . . . he was quite a . . . quite a fine person. I get a little emotional when I think of it now. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Umhmm. Well, it's certainly no small thing to move from a small-town lawyer to . . . to the Supreme Court, through the different positions that he . . . that he had. REED: Well, I think there's no question but what he had a great mental capacity and equally a . . . a capacity to work hard to understand what was going on. He may not have had the great mental agility of a Felix Frankfurter, but I think he, in many ways, had . . . was much more thorough and maybe more conservative. But [he] thought things out and decided what he thought was correct, and I'm sure went right ahead and . . . and did it. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. You sort of get the impression [of] that old saying that "Whatever he did, he meant to do." [chuckle] He . . . he just didn't . . . REED: I don't . . . BIRDWHISTELL: . . . happenstance. [chuckle] REED: I'm sure that . . . that he, in writing his opinions, and I'm hopeful that some of the papers in . . . at the University of Kentucky will . . . will illustrate that to someone who [chuckle] makes the effort to [chuckle] . . . to go through them. I think that he did spend long hours worrying about the details, and I . . . I . . . I think maybe that is both . . . both good and bad. I think you . . . I think it was very good that he went into all the details. I . . . I have a little bit of a feeling that his opinions may have been a little long, maybe a little too detailed. But I . . . I'm sure that he decided in any case the way that he thought it should be done, and while he would talk to anyone else and be persuadable, I'm . . . I imagine equally [that] once he made up his mind, why, [chuckle] he went right ahead. BIRDWHISTELL: It . . . it was interesting what you said there, because one of the clerks mentioned that with some justices their writing would flow as their opinions were coming out, but with Justice Reed, you would . . . you could almost see where he'd built the opinion . . . REED: Oh, I don't . . . I . . . I think his . . . my impression is that his writing was . . . it took a great deal of time. You get the impression from . . . from Bill Douglas and the people who [chuckle--Birdwhistell] . . . who knew him and all, that . . . that he could write an opinion in half an hour [chuckle], and a very good opinion. And Father, by the way, thought . . . thought very highly of . . . of Douglas' legal capacity. I've heard him say so many times. They got along very well, also. But I think he felt that Douglas was . . . was very brilliant and very capable, though I'm sure they disagreed on [chuckle] . . . on many things. BIRDWHISTELL: I'm sure. REED: But I . . . I . . . I . . . I know that my father, when I was in Washington, very frequently he would retire to his library and spend the evening, and you could tell that he was working on some . . . some opinion or other, and that it did not come [chuckle] easily. BIRDWHISTELL: Well, and I guess, you know, there's so much pressure on a . . . on a justice in that sense, because it's like a . . . writing in a fishbowl. As soon as that opinion is published, it's going to be gone over with a fine-toothed comb by lawyers and judges around the country, . . . REED: Oh, sure. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . you know, and it's . . . REED: Well, not only that. You also have the problem that if you're writing an opinion, that you have to keep your majority with you if it's a [chuckle--Birdwhistell] . . . if it's a controversial opinion, so that you . . . there may be some things that you would like to say, but which will . . . will lose you your cohorts. So I'm sure all of that entered into . . . into major opinions. Perhaps that's not true of [chuckle] unanimous opinions. But I think Father worked very hard at it. I think he took it extremely seriously. And I think that his whole idea was to uphold the Supreme Court tradition, not to in any possible way subject any . . . the institution to . . . to any criticism. And I'm sure that his whole life was . . . or his judicial life was . . . that was a . . . a guiding factor. And I've never heard of any . . . any criticism of him individually. BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Right, I think every- . . . from what I can tell in our research and . . . and in the oral interviews, [chuckling] I don't think we're going to find any criticism of him as a . . . as you said earlier, as a gentleman and a . . . REED: Well, I would be surprised. You may have people who disagree with his opinions. That's . . . that's . . . BIRDWHISTELL: But no one . . . REED: . . . one thing. BIRDWHISTELL: . . . disagreed with the way he went about it. REED: But . . . but not . . . not with his personal . . . personal life or personal characteristics. BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I want to thank you again for taking the time. REED: Well, I . . . I think it couldn't have been nicer. I don't mean nicer, but I mean, I've enjoyed doing it and trying to remember a few things. As I say, I will be down in Kentu- . . . [End of Interview] Stanley Reed Jr. begins by talking about his parents' political activities. Stanley Reed Sr. was asked to be on the Federal Farm Board counsel for the Bank of Maysville, the State National Bank, and two other county banks. He also worked with the Burley Tobacco Association. Governor William Fields offered him a position on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, but he declined it. Mrs. Reed was involved with the Al Smith campaign and several local organizations. Reed Jr. goes on to discuss his father's work as Solicitor General, trying New Deal cases before the Supreme Court. He recalls Reed Sr. fainting during one of the cases. Then he describes his father's relationships with Tommy "The Cork" Corcoran and Ben Cohen, who worked with him on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Finally, he discusses his father's appointment to the Supreme Court, and describes Justice Reed's relationships with William Douglas, Hugo Black, Robert Jackson, Fred Vinson, Harold Burton, Felix Frankfurter, and the law clerks. Other topics mentioned in the interview include civil liberties and civil rights, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Reed Sr.'s farms in Kentucky, his retirement, the position of chief justice of the Supreme Court, Reed Sr.'s support of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the rice diet. Kentucky Politics