Farnsley (Charles P.) Collection, 1945-1980
- Farnsley (Charles P.) Collection, 1945-1980
- Farnsley, Charles Rowland Peaslee, 1907-1990
- 6.75 linear ft., microfiche
- Politics and Civic Affairs
- University of Louisville
- Biography / History
- Charles Farnsley was born on 28 March 1907, the son of Judge Burrell Farnsley and Anna May Peaslee Farnsley. He received his LL.B in 1930, his A.B. in 1942, and an honorary LL.D in 1950 all from the University of Louisville. He also did graduate work in Political Science at the University of Kentucky, University of Chicago, and Columbia University. In 1937 he married Nancy Hall Carter and they had five children.
- Farnsley had a varied professional career, interupted by his participation in government. Between the years 1930 and 1948, he practiced law in Louisville. During that time, he created and marketed a low-proof Kentucky whiskey under the trade name "Rebel Yell." He sold these business interests when he became mayor of Louisville, but resumed his law practice in 1954 after the mayoral term expired. For a brief period of time, he also marketed two new brands of whiskey. He and Nancy formed a micropublishing company in 1954 celled the Lost Cause Press. The business specialized in the micrographic reproduction of rare books and documents and sold internationally. Farnsley retired from his law practice in 1964 and in 1986, he and Nancy sold the Lost Cause Press.
- From 1936 to 1940, Charles Farnsley served in the Kentucky House of Representatives, and then became a lobbiest at the General Assembly for brewery and whiskey interests. In 1948, on the death of Mayor E. Leland Taylor, the Louisville Board of Alderman named Farnsley mayor pro tem. The colorful mayor gained national attention for his black string tie and unconventional political style. He was influential in the desegregation of the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library and the University of Louisville, he halted the city's economic decline by attracting new industry and encouraging old industry to remain, and he rebuilt and expanded public facilities, especially parks. He organized the "Louisville Fund," an annual fund drive to benefit arts programs in the city. The Louisville Orchestra and Free Public Library reached unprecedented heights during his tenure. Some of mayor Farnsley's more controversial moves included hiring a professional consultant to run the daily affairs of government so that he could devote his time to solving broader city problems. He based management decisions, in part, on polls conducted by Elmo Roper, his friend and by holding "beef sessions" in which constituents sat face to face to tell him their complaints. By ordering that only driving lanes should be paved, Farnsley managed to double the mileage of road repairs. Raising taxes is often considered political suicide, but Charles Farnsley introduced a one percent occupational tax just before the general election. To his credit, he was reelected. Farnsley also served in the United States Congress in the House of Representatives for the Third District from 1964 to 1966.
- Farnsley was also active in many social and civic activities. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Louisville Free Public Library, president of the University of Louisville Alumni Association and a member of the University's Board of Trustees. He was a member of the Masons, Sigma Chi Sigma social fraternity, the Pendennis, Wynn Stay, and Louisville Country Clubs, the Filson Club, the National Democratic Club, and director of the Bank of St. Helens. His support of the arts was continuous. He was a long time member of both the Louisville Philharmonic Association and the American Symphony Orchestra League. He presented papers and participated in debates pertaining to his idols, Thomas Jefferson and Confucious, and their political philosophies.
- Scope and Content
- Charles P. Farnsley, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky and a highly imaginative public servant, sought to improve the quality of life in the city. Among many contributions, Farnsley promoted the Louisville Orchestra and founded the Louisville Fund for the Arts. Farnsley, a native of Louisville, served as mayor of the city from 1948 to 1953, in the Kentucky House of Representatives in the 1930s, and was a U.S. congressman for one term from 1965 to 1967. The collection includes six scrapbooks documenting Charles P. Farnsley's mayoral years from 1948 to 1953. There are also two personal scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings and family memorabilia created from 1947 to 1976. The latter also contain material relating to Farnsley's service in Congress and as a delegate to the 1964 Kentucky Constitutional Revision Convention. In 1988 Farnsley donated nearly five linear feet of his papers to add to the collection. These materials include personal and business correspondence, publications, articles relating to Farnsley's businesses, and considerable material concerning the Louisville Philharmonic Society and its successor, the Louisville Orchestra. Documents relating to his wife Nancy's work with the Kentucky Heritage Commission are also present.
- The Charles R. P. Farnsley collection documents his personal and business activities, especially involvement with community arts programs. The collection spans the years 1945 to 1980 with the bulk primarily covering the activities of the Louisville Philharmonic Society and the Louisville Orchestra from 1947 to 1960.
- Included in the collection is personal and business correspondence, publications, articles pertaining to Farnsley's various businesses, Roper and other public opinion survey materials, and an autographed copy of Louis Harris's book The Anguish of Change. The Louisville Philharmonic Society is documented by correspondence (1946 - 1960), minutes of board meetings (1947 - 1948), and financial reports (1955 - 1957). Louisville Orchestra correspondence (1951 - 1963), financial material (1950 - 1957), including the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, and concert programs (1948 - 1957) are also found. Files pertaining to the Louisville Fund (1949 to 1960), and articles about tourism in Louisville are included.
- There is some information regarding Farnsley's political activities, mostly his tenure as Louisville mayor (1948 - 1954). Box VI contains some material relating to his term as a Representative in the United States Congress, while Box X (accession 88-104) provides a more comprehensive collection of correspondence and other materials regarding that term in the 89th Congress.
- In addition to miscellaneous items, the collection contains material from Nancy Farnsley's involvement with the Kentucky Heritage Commission.
- For additional information, see also Farnsley Family Scrapbooks at the University Archives, and the Douglas and Thurman Family papers at the Filson Club.
- THIS MICROFILM PUBLICATION CONTAINS SIX SCRAPBOOKS KEPT BY A CLERK IN THE OFFICE OF CHARLES P. FARNSLEY DURING THE YEARS FARNSLEY SERVED AS MAYOR OF LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, 1948-1953, AND TWO ADDITIONAL SCRAPBOOKS OF CLIPPINGS AND FAMILY MEMORABILIA FOR THE YEARS 1947-1976. THE EIGHT VOLUMES WERE FILMED IN 1984 BY THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ARCHIVES AT THE REQUEST OF MRS. CHARLES P. FARNSLEY. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ARTICLES ABOUT LOUISVILLE DURING THE FARNSLEY ADMINISTRATION IS FOUND AT THE BEGINNING OF REEL 1.
- Charles P. Farnsley, 1907 -, served as the colorful mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from 1948 through 1953. During those years, Louisville made early progress toward racial integration, attracted important new industries, improved traffic flow, rebuilt public facilities, and received attention as a regional center of education and the performing arts. After serving as mayor, Farnsley practiced law, was involved in several area businesses, was a staunch community "booster," and, from 1964 to 1966, served in the U. S. House of Representatives. The Charles P. Farnsley Scrapbooks, 1947 - 1976, consist of six chronologically arranged volumes of newsclippings that reflect the interests and day-to-day activities of the city mayor, followed by two less-well-organized family scrapbooks that contain family photos, memorabilia, clippings, and some correspondence. Charles P. and Nancy Farnsley loaned the eight scrapbooks to the University Archives for microfilming and generously underwrote part of the project's costs.
- The six mayoral scrapbooks appear to have been updated regularly by someone close to the mayor. Those clippings document Farnsley's plan for "half-soleing" the city streets, his weekly citizen's "beef" sessions, the air-pollution controversy in the city's west-end, and Louisville's early efforts at downtown revitalization and historic preservation. There is also discussionof the mayor's controversial one-way street proposals, the movement to abandon the downtown produce market, the crusade to clean-up polluted Beargrass Creek, the construction of the city's floodwall, proposals to merge the Louisville and Jefferson County schools, the coming of expressways, the city's relationship to the University of Louisville, and Farnsley's satirical description of Jefferson County neighborhoods as provinces of "Mouse Country." The two family scrapbooks include material from Farnsley's term in the U. S. House and refer to his being a delegate to the 1964 Kentucky Constitutional Revision Convention. In addition, clippings, brochures, and other published materials document Farnsley's venture into the luxury compactcar business, his ownership of a historic hotel in Scottsville, Kentucky, and family investments at Vevay, Indiana.
- While the bulk of the newsclippings are from the Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times, some items are from the Louisville Defender, a black weekly, and possibly several neighborhood newspapers. The numerous clippings without dates or source were filmed in place, while items found out of chronological order were placed where they belong. Some frames may be difficult to read since the various originals on a page may contrast sharply. A bibliography of writings about Charles P. Farnsley, compiled by Joan Ten Hoor, a University librarian and former bibliographer for the Farnsley family's Lost Cause Press, was filmed at the beginning of the microfilm. A group of Farnsley mayoral office records are at the State Archives in Frankfort.
Contents of the Collection
Personal and Business
4. Paper written by Charles Farnsley and George Hendon, Democracy v. Platonism: Confucius and Jefferson or Plato and Hitler. Paper is not dated and has not been published
5. Condensed version of Democracy v. Platonism, as given to a class at the University of Louisville; Aug. 7, 1944
6. Copies of letters and articles used in writing draft of Democracy v. Platonism
7. CBS Radio Program: Invitation to Learning, 1947
8. Published articles about Farnsley
c. Personal Interests
d. Business items
14. Miscellaneous items related to Whiskey business and the Lost Cause Press
Roper Surveys and Public Opinion Survey material
1. "People's Attitudes concerning Mental Health," September 1950
2. "A Study of the Opinions of Louisville Citizens," August 1953
3. Scouting Investigation into the Democratic Chances of Winning Race for Mayor and County Judge, 16 October 1953
4. American Association of Public Opinion Research Annual Conference, 13-16 May 1965
5. Book, Harris, Louis, The Anguish of Change. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1973. Autographed by author
The Louisville Philharmonic Society
1. 1946 - 47
4. 1947 - 1950
5. 1952 - 1954
6. 1953 - 1954
9. January through June 1955
11. 1959 - 1960
12. Board Meetings, 1947 - 48
The Louisville Orchestra
b. Financial Material
7. 1950 - 1957
Louisville and the Arts
1. Louisville Fund, 1949 - 1960
2. American Symphony Orchestra League, Inc.
3. Miscellaneous orchestral programs and literary articles on music
4. Miscellaneous published materials on music
5-9. Articles about Louisville and Tourism
1. Printed Material, Published
2. Printed Material, Not Published
4. Material on Louisville
5. Louisville, Street Traffic Plan, 1950
7-12. Campaign Literature about Hubert H. Humphrey
Nancy Farnsley, The Kentucky Heritage Commission
1-2. Both folders relate to above title
- Box VIII.
C. Farnsley Congressional Files
89th Legislation, General. 10-19-66 ----- 1-22-65 misc. correspondence and copy of Cong. act.
89th Agriculture Legis., General. 6-3-66 ----- 1-15-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Act 65, (P.L. 89-321) 5-16-66 ----- 6-11-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Agriculture, R.E.A. Legislation. 9-15-66 ----- 6-16-66 misc. correspondence.
89th Appropriations Agriculture. 4-16-65 ----- 3-8-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Appropriations, Labor; Health, Education and Welfare 10-21-66 ----- 3-29-65 misc. correspondence.
89th (1) Appropriations Committee General. 5-9-66 ----- 11-23-64 misc. correspondence.
89th (1) Armed Services Committee, General. 6-21-65 ----- 10-27-65misc. correspondence.
89th Atomic Energy Committee Legis. one letter dated 8-19-65.
89th (1) Banking and Currency Committee, General. 5-11-99 --- 5-6-66.
89th (1) District of Columbia Committee - General. 9-21-65 --- 3-9-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor; Economic Opportunity Act - PL 88-452 Legis. 9-3-66 ----- 6-28-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor; Elementary and Secondary Schools (H.R. 2362). 9-29-66 ----- 8-2-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor, Leg.; Arts and Humanities (PL 89-209) 1-3-66 ----- 12-21-64 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor; Library Assistance Act Amend. S.597 Library Services. 3-24-66 -----3-30-66 misc. correspondence
(HR 9567) 10-28-66 ----- 3-9-66 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor; Older Americans Act (PL 89-73) 4-1-65 ----- 4-2-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor, Legis.; Minimum Wage - II. 9-22-66 --- 1-3-66 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor, Right-to-Work (Supplemental file #2) 3-3-66 ----- 1-18-66 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation (PL 89-333) 9-1-66 ----- 6-17-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor, Legis.; Labor-General. 9-29-66 --- 3-12-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Education and Labor, Amend. N.L.R. Act, re: strike at sites of construction. 7-25-66 ----- 7-22-65 misc. correspondence.
89th (1) Foreign Affairs Committee, General Legislation. 10-10-66 -5-31-65 misc. correspondence.
89th (1) Government Operations Committee, General Legislation. 10-11-66 ----- 5-11-65 misc. correspondence.
89th (1) House Administration Committee, General. 8-8-66 --- 1-5-65 misc. correspondence.
89th (1) Interior and Insular Affairs, General 9-12-66 ----- 8-19-65 misc. correspondence
89th Commerce Committe, Leg.; CATV, 1-25-66 ----- 3-17-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Commerce Legis.; Communications, 2-7-66 ----- 2-3-66 two letters.
89th Interstate and Foreign Commerce; Federal Power Act Amendments. 10-18-65 ----- 5-11-65 misc. correspondence.
89th (1) Interstate and Foreign Commerce; Transportation Legislation. 9-30-66 ----- 2-19-65 misc. correspondence.
89th (2) Interstate and Foreign Commerce; Fair Packaging and Labeling 9-23-66 ----- 4-21-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Interstate and Foreign Commerce; Railroad Retirement Act Amendments. 10-31-66 ----- 6-2-65 misc. correspondence.
89th Interstate and Foreign Commerce Legislation Health Bills. 10-24-66 ----- 3-18-65 misc. correspondence
89th Commerce (3rd file) Humane Treatment of Animals. 8-9-66 ----- 4-19-66 misc. correspondence and newspaper clipping.
89th (1) Interstate and Foreign Commerce, General. 11-29-66 --- 1-29-65 misc. correspondence and copies of congressional acts and reports.
Table of Contents
- Descriptive Summary
- Collection Overview
- Preferred Citation
- Contents of the Collection