Simeon Slavens Willis papers, 1915-1959, 1932-1943 (bulk dates)

Descriptive Summary

Simeon Slavens Willis papers, 1915-1959, 1932-1943 (bulk dates)
Willis, Simeon S., 1879-1965.
3.8 cubic ft.
Combs, Ballard French, 1877-
Donovan, Herman Lee, 1887-1964.
Dummitt, Eldon S. (Eldon Steven), 1896-1973.
Underwood, Tom R. (Tom Rust), 1898-1956.
Vinson, Fred M, 1890-1953.
Willis, Simeon S, 1879-1965.
Kentucky.--Court of Appeals.
Republican Party (U.S.)
Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950.
Election returns.
Organized: Correspondence, Speech file, Miscellaneous reports and budgets related to gubernatorial term, Clippings file of articles about Kentucky government and politics. Each category is arranged by subject and thereunder chronologically except for the Speech file which is arranged only by subject.
Finding Aid Author
Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Governor, jurist. Born in Ohio, Willis settled in Kentucky at an early age. In 1901, he passed the state bar examination and established a law practice in Ashland, Kentucky. Willis was appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals where he served from 1927-1932. In 1943, he became the sixth Republican Governor elected in Kentucky history by narrowly defeating Democratic candidate, J. Lyter Donaldson. Viewed as a significant off-year election, this vote was interpreted as a protest against President Roosevelt's war-time administration. After serving as Governor (1943-1947) Willis was defeated in an election for judge of the Court of Appeals from the Seventh District in 1951. Throughout his life, Willis remained active in the state Republican party.
Scope and Content
These are some of the papers accumulated by Simeon Slavens Willis while he served as governor of Kentucky and judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Much of the papers contain correspondence. The letters cover a wide range of political topics, and include endorsements, petitions, and resolutions. The large number of letters from the year 1943 are primarily congratulatory notes to Willis. In addition to correspondence, there are budget reports, financial receipts, and texts of speeches given by Willis on a variety of topics. Among the political ephemera are materials such as election pamphlets and flyers, ballots, election returns, invitations, convention programs, and Republican party publications. Miscellaneous items include photographs, a scrapbook that concerns Mrs. Willis' trip to Harlan, Ky. (March 1946), and newspaper clippings mostly documenting Willis' gubernatorial administration.

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Researchers are encouraged to request collections at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Questions? Contact us at