Simeon Slavens Willis papers

Abstract

The Simeon Slavens Willis papers (dated 1845-1964, undated; 6.9 cubic feet; 16 boxes, 1 folder) consist of correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, speeches, and scrapbooks documenting Willis' tenure as governor of Kentucky and judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Simeon Slavens Willis papers
Creator
Willis, Simeon S.
Extent
6.9 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Pamphlets.
Election returns.
Governors -- Kentucky.
Speeches, addresses, etc.
Governors -- Correspondence.
Elections -- Kentucky.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by format.
Finding Aid Author
Ida Sell
Preferred Citation
69m9: [Identification of item], Simeon Slavens Willis papers, 1845-1964, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Born in Ohio, Simeon Slavens Willis (1901-1965) 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, 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 wartime 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 Kentucky Republican party.
Scope and Content
The Simeon Slavens Willis papers (dated 1845-1964, undated; 6.9 cubic feet; 16 boxes, 1 folder) consist of correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, speeches, and scrapbooks documenting Willis' tenure as governor of Kentucky and judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence regarding a wide range of political topics, such as endorsements, petitions, and resolutions. The letters from the year 1943 are primarily congratulatory notes to Willis. 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, Kentucky in March 1946, and newspaper clippings mostly documenting Willis' gubernatorial administration.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1914-1963, undated

The Correspondence series primarily contains letters sent to Simeon Slavens Willis pertaining to his career as a judge and politician. Many letters confirm endorsements from Kentucky leaders for his bid for a position as a judge for the court of appeals or as governor. Most of the correspondence relates to his office as governor from 1943 until 1947. Following his term as governor he resumed his law practice and remained politically involved and some the correspondence reveals his interest in federal courts and the national Republican Party.

1915-1927

  • Box 1, folder 1
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1928

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Endorsements of Willis for Judge of Court of Appeals, 1928-1932

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Court of Appeals Commission, 1928 January-1930 October

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Supreme Court endorsements, 1930

  • Box 1, folder 5
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1930

  • Box 1, folder 6
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Endorsements of Willis for Judge of Appeals Court, 1931 October-1932 April 23

  • Box 1, folder 7
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Appellate judgeship, 1932 May-June

  • Box 1, folder 8
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1932 July 1-19

  • Box 1, folder 9
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1932 July 20-August 8

  • Box 1, folder 10
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1932 August 9-31

  • Box 1, folder 11
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1932 September 1-1933 January 11

  • Box 1, folder 12
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1933 January 16-23

  • Box 2, folder 1
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1933 November-1938 November

  • Box 2, folder 2
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1938 December-1939 December

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Ashland Junior College, 1940-1941

  • Box 2, folder 4
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1942

  • Box 2, folder 5-10
  • Box 3, folder 1-8
  • Box 4, folder 1-8
  • Box 5, folder 1-3
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1944 January-May

  • Box 5, folder 4
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1944 June

  • Box 5, folder 5
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Campaign fundraising and state appointments, 1944 July-December

  • Box 5, folder 6
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National Federation of Republican Women's Clubs, 1944 September 7-8

  • Box 5, folder 7
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From Ralph Human, 1944 October 7

  • Box 5, folder 8
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From Alben W. Barkley, 1944 October 10

  • Box 5, folder 9
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From Ralph Homan of the Republic National Committee, 1944-1945

  • Box 9, folder 15
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Boyd County Bar Dinner, 1945-1946

  • Box 5, folder 10
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1947 January-June

  • Box 5, folder 11
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Reaction to the Governor's call for a special session, 1947 July 10-14

  • Box 6, folder 1
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Appropriations for special session, 1947 July 14-19

  • Box 6, folder 2
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1948 January-June

  • Box 6, folder 3
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1949 February-1950 May

  • Box 6, folder 4
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1950 July 18-August 18

  • Box 6, folder 5
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1950 August 22-December 8

  • Box 6, folder 6
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Phoenix News Bureau, 1950 February-May

  • Box 9, folder 16
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1951 February 14-July 21

  • Box 6, folder 7
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Governor's Highway Safety Conference, 1951 April-May

  • Box 6, folder 8
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Court of Appeals Judge, 1951 July 13-1951 August 8

  • Box 6, folder 9
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1951 August 9

  • Box 6, folder 10
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1951 August 10-11

  • Box 6, folder 11
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Republican primary, 1951 August 14-15

  • Box 6, folder 12
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1951 August 15-December 3

  • Box 6, folder 13
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Mailed election pamphlets, 1951

  • Box 6, folder 14
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1952

  • Box 6, folder 15
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From Kentucky Colonels, 1953-1959

  • Box 6, folder 16
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Interest in a position for Federal Court of Appeal, 1953 January 5-12

  • Box 6, folder 17
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1953 January 13-16

  • Box 6, folder 18
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Federal Court of Appeals, 1953 January 17-21

  • Box 6, folder 19
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1953 January 22-31

  • Box 6, folder 20
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1953 February 1-15

  • Box 7, folder 1
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1953 February 16-28

  • Box 7, folder 2
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1953 March 1-15

  • Box 7, folder 3
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1953 March 16-April 15

  • Box 7, folder 4
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1953 April 16-July 1

  • Box 7, folder 5
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1953 July 1-December 31

  • Box 7, folder 6
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1960-1963

  • Box 7, folder 7
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Personal, 1942-1959

  • Box 7, folder 8
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undated

  • Box 7, folder 9
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Cards, certifications, and tickets, 1914-1953

  • Box 7, folder 10
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Christmas cards, invitations, announcements, 1925-1958

  • Box 7, folder 11
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Professional materials, 1845-1964, undated

The Professional materials series includes memorandums, notes, articles, and other ephemera from Willis' career as a judge and Governor of Kentucky. It is not evident why the nineteenth century notices and Ashland Tragedy narratives are included in the collection but perhaps the documents influenced his career. Most of the papers relate to work in the Kentucky politics and the legislature.

Receipts, checks and notice of past due bill in Cincinnati, 1845-1854

  • Box 7, folder 12
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Ashland Tragedy clippings and accounts, 1884

  • Box 7, folder 13
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Judge election broadside, 1916

  • Box 7, folder 14
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Judicial re-election endorsements, 1932

  • Box 7, folder 15-16
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7th District Court of Appeals election advertisements, notes, receipts, 1932

  • Box 8, folder 1
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Court of Appeals election advertisements, clippings, and results, 1932

  • Box 8, folder 2
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Commonwealth of Kentucky receipts and disbursements, 1933-1943

  • Box 8, folder 3
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Fragmented notes, poems, speeches, 1934-1949

  • Box 8, folder 4
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Kentucky Lawyers directories, circa 1935

  • Box 8, folder 5
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Notes, articles, statements, 1938-1949

  • Box 8, folder 6
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State Republican Party county notes, 1940-1945

  • Box 8, folder 7
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Republican National Committee press release and radio broadcast, 1940-1946

  • Box 8, folder 8
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Republican campaign announcement, 1942

  • Box 8, folder 9
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Memorandums, 1943-1944

  • Box 8, folder 12
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Tax and legislative statements, 1943-1944

  • Box 8, folder 13
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Interview of Willis by B.F. Forgey, 1943 February 8

  • Box 8, folder 14
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Radio broadcast on the relation of taxation and industrial development, 1943 April 18

  • Box 8, folder 15
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Kentucky A.B.C. law, 1943 June 30

  • Box 8, folder 16
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Gubernatorial Race pamphlets, tablature, press release, 1943 November

  • Box 8, folder 17
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Department of Revenue Back Tax Session, 1943 December 2

  • Box 8, folder 18
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Political pamphlets, 1943-1949

  • Box 8, folder 19
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Republican party pamphlets, 1944

  • Box 8, folder 20
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GOP Convention programs and attendance list, 1944-1955

  • Box 8, folder 21
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Governor's conference report and schedule, 1944 August

  • Box 9, folder 1
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Southern Governor's Conference program and pamphlets, 1944-1945

  • Box 9, folder 2
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Department of Revenue Back Tax Session, 1945 April 30

  • Box 9, folder 3
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Willis on national campaign trail magazine articles, pamphlets, and certificates, 1946-1949

  • Box 9, folder 4
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Republican State Central Committee reports about Kentucky, 1946-1948

  • Box 9, folder 5
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Kentucky Female Orphan School program from centennial celebration, 1947 April

  • Box 9, folder 6
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Committee on Un-American Activities, House Report No. 209 and What is Communism essay, 1947

  • Box 9, folder 7
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Kansas City trip newspaper clipping and tickets, 1949 September 13-15

  • Box 9, folder 8
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Republican National Convention pamphlets and attendance list, 1948

  • Box 9, folder 9
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Butler County Republican Executive Committee report and financial statement, 1948 November 10-1949 February 1

  • Box 9, folder 10
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GOP and Kentucky Republican magazines and pamphlets, 1948-1950

  • Box 9, folder 11
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Names and numbers of votes cast in Judge of Appeals election, 1951 November

  • Box 9, folder 12
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Historical, economic, and academic pamphlets, 1944 January-1947 July

  • Box 9, folder 13
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Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation resolution and policy statements, 1944 January 14

  • Box 9, folder 14
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Appellate Court Race notes, tabulations and sample ballots, 1951

  • Box 10, folder 1
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Kentucky Senate Bill No. 1 about penal corrections, 1963 June 26

  • Box 10, folder 2
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New Kentucky constitution petition, 1964 March 19

  • Box 10, folder 3
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Event programs, 1941-1948

  • Box 10, folder 5
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Constitution Revision Assembly bills and memorandums, 1964 February-April

  • Box 11, folder 1
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Constitution Revision Assembly Coordinating Committee memorandums and assignments, 1964 May

  • Box 11, folder 2
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Constitution Revision Assembly Local Government Committee workbook, 1964 May

  • Box 11, folder 3-4
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Constitution Revision Assembly Revision Process Committee workbook, 1964 May

  • Box 11, folder 5
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Court of Appeals of Kentucky Harrison Preece, 1953 March

  • Box 11, folder 6
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Retirement from the Bench presentation, undated

  • Box 11, folder 7
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Biographical information, undated

  • Box 11, folder 8
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Compensation schedule for Kentucky, undated

  • Box 11, folder 9
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Reports, 1939-1947

The Reports series includes statements from Willis' term as governor of Kentucky. The reports discuss state budget issues and proposals. also included are the papers for employees of the state and the office administrative documents from his five years as governor.

Kentucky Tax Research Association reports, 1942 Mach 6-1943 October 15

  • Box 8, folder 10
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Kentucky Annual Report, 1942 July 1-1943 June 30

  • Box 8, folder 11
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Monthly Report to the Governor, 1943 November

  • Box 10, folder 4
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To Board of Trustees at University of Kentucky, 1946 September 21

  • Box 10, folder 6
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To Board of Trustees at University of Kentucky, 1946 December 10

  • Box 10, folder 7
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To the Board of Trustees at University of Kentucky, 1947 February 25

  • Box 10, folder 8
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On District Activities for Smaller War Plants Corporation, 1943 August 31

  • Box 10, folder 9
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On Evans McGraw, 1947 December

  • Box 10, folder 10
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State expenditures, 1947 January 31

  • Box 10, folder 11
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State expenditures, 1947 May 31

  • Box 10, folder 12
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State receipts, 1947 May 31

  • Box 10, folder 13
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Kentucky Annual Report Teachers' Retirement System, 1944-1945

  • Box 10, folder 14
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Kentucky Executive Budget, 1944-1946

  • Box 10, folder 15
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Rules and Regulations for Department of Finance, 1943 March

  • Box 10, folder 16
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Kentucky State Highway Patrol Bulletin, 1943 December 10

  • Box 10, folder 17
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State Officials and Board of Commissions, 1947 September 1

  • Box 10, folder 18
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State employee memorandums, 1939-1941

  • Box 10, folder 19
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Governor's office administrative, 1943-1946

  • Box 10, folder 20-21
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Newspaper clippings, 1930-1950

The Newspaper Clippings series includes articles from Kentucky newspapers about the Willis administration, as well as, major figures and events from his time in office. Official press releases from his office are also included.

Press releases, 1932 July 12-1949 September 10

  • Box 11, folder 10
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Photocopies, 1936-1948

  • Box 11, folder 11
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1943

  • Box 11, folder 12-14
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1944

  • Box 11, folder 15
  • Box 12, folder 1
  • Box 12, folder 4
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1950 July 18-August 18

  • Box 12, folder 2
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undated

  • Box 12, folder 3
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1945

  • Box 12, folder 5
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Kentucky politics, 1946-1947

  • Box 12, folder 6
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Tuberculosis sanatoriums, 1950

  • Box 12, folder 7
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About Sarah Lesley Willis, 1943-1944

  • Box 12, folder 8
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About Ida Lee Willis, 1944

  • Box 12, folder 9
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Court of Appeals judge, 1930-1939, 1951

  • Box 12, folder 10
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Henry Arrowood column, 1943-1944

  • Box 12, folder 11
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About D.C. Moore, 1943

  • Box 12, folder 12
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State politics, 1943

  • Box 12, folder 13
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1949-1950

  • Box 12, folder 14
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Articles by J. Howard Henderson, 1943-1944

  • Box 12, folder 15
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About Lyter Donalson, 1943

  • Box 12, folder 16
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About Rhodes K. Myers, 1943

  • Box 12, folder 17
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About Ben Kilgore, a democratic candidate for governor, 1943

  • Box 13, folder 1
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About taxes, revenue, schools, old age pensions, state institutions, 1943

  • Box 13, folder 2
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Speeches, 1907-1952, undated

The Speeches series includes orations given by Simeon Slavens Willis during his professional career. Some speeches given by his colleagues and political opponents are also present in the series. The speeches were often historical, political, campaign, or celebratory. Many of the speeches contain Willis' argument to eliminate sales tax in Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln Dinner, 1908-1950

  • Box 13, folder 3-4
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Bluefield, West Virginia, 1930 July 28

  • Box 13, folder 5
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Ashland, Kentucky, 1943 February 5

  • Box 13, folder 6
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Mount Sterling, Kentucky, 1943 September 29

  • Box 13, folder 7
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Newport, Kentucky, 1943 October 28

  • Box 13, folder 8
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Lexington, Kentucky, 1943 October 29

  • Box 13, folder 9
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1943 October 30

  • Box 13, folder 10
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Ashland, Kentucky, 1943 November 1

  • Box 13, folder 11
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Frankfort, Kentucky, 1943 December 7

  • Box 13, folder 12
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Frankfort, Kentucky, 1944 January 10

  • Box 13, folder 13
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Franklin, Kentucky, 1944 February 27

  • Box 13, folder 14
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Anco, Kentucky, 1944 April 21

  • Box 13, folder 15
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1944 April 25

  • Box 13, folder 16
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Frankfort, Kentucky, 1944 May 19

  • Box 13, folder 17
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1944 June 23

  • Box 13, folder 18
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1944 August 31

  • Box 13, folder 19
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Washington D.C., 1944 September 19

  • Box 13, folder 20
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Maysville, Kentucky, 1944 October 11

  • Box 13, folder 21
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1944 November 17

  • Box 13, folder 22
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Paintsville, Kentucky, 1944 October 28

  • Box 13, folder 23
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Lexington, Kentucky, 1944 Ocotber 31

  • Box 13, folder 24
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Evansville, Indiana, 1944 November 4

  • Box 13, folder 25
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1946 November 29

  • Box 13, folder 26
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The Guns Are Silent , 1946

  • Box 13, folder 27
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1947 July 31

  • Box 13, folder 28
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1947 September 26

  • Box 13, folder 29
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Louisville, Kentucky campaign address, 1947 October

  • Box 13, folder 30
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Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 1949 November

  • Box 13, folder 31
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New York, New York, 1950 May 16

  • Box 14, folder 1
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Patriotic and memorial, 1907-1941

  • Box 14, folder 2
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Law, Order and Justice , 1930-1952

  • Box 14, folder 3
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Delivered in official capacity as governor, 1943-1945

  • Box 14, folder 4
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Address by Hon. J. Lyter Donaldson, 1943 September 25

  • Box 14, folder 6
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Address by Alben W. Barkley, 1943 September 27

  • Box 14, folder 7
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Corbin, Kentucky, 1943 October 15

  • Box 14, folder 8
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Walter E. Ernest, 1943 November 15

  • Box 14, folder 9
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Opening Address of S.S. Willis, 1943 September 29

  • Box 14, folder 9
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Speech of Hon. Rhodes K. Myers, 1943 August 7

  • Box 14, folder 10
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Commemoration of Centre College, 1944 January 21

  • Box 14, folder 11
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Red Cross Fundraiser, 1944

  • Box 14, folder 12
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To the General Assembly, 1944 March 7

  • Box 14, folder 13
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The Spender , 1944 October 21

  • Box 14, folder 14
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Address by A.M. Lyon, M.D., Director of Hospitals and Mental Hygiene, 1944 May 20

  • Box 14, folder 15
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Statement of Principles, Policies and Objectives of Republican Members of Congress, 1946 September 15

  • Box 14, folder 16
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About the Governor's car, 1944 September 24

  • Box 14, folder 17
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Kentucky's Frontier , 1946 August 17

  • Box 14, folder 18
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Louisville, Kentucky, 1946 October 5

  • Box 14, folder 19
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Moorehead, Kentucky, 1946 October 2

  • Box 14, folder 20
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Campaign address, 1946 October 31

  • Box 14, folder 21
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Special Session of the General Assembly, 1947

  • Box 14, folder 22
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Campaign address, 1947 October 14

  • Box 14, folder 23
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Address by Clinton Presba Anderson, 1949

  • Box 14, folder 24
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Republican Rallies, 1936-1947

  • Box 14, folder 25
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Analysis of Women , undated

  • Box 15, folder 1
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Defender of Democracy , undated

  • Box 15, folder 2
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Developments of State Industry , undated

  • Box 15, folder 3
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The Family Doctor by Rueben A. Miller, undated

  • Box 15, folder 4
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Lessons from Lincoln for the United States Today , undated

  • Box 15, folder 5
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Mount Sterling, Kentucky, undated

  • Box 15, folder 6
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Oration on the Life of H.H. Ramey by A.T. Patrick, undated

  • Box 15, folder 7
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Perils of Justice , undated

  • Box 15, folder 8
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Position of the States in the American System of Government , undated

  • Box 15, folder 9
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Reconversion and Post War jobs , undated

  • Box 15, folder 10
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Sketch of Eldon S. Dummit, undated

  • Box 15, folder 11
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The Stars and Stripes , undated

  • Box 15, folder 12
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State Federal Tax Coordination , undated

  • Box 15, folder 13
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Address by Thurston Morton, undated

  • Box 15, folder 14
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Toll Free Bridges , undated

  • Box 15, folder 15
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Education Today by Mr. Williams, undated

  • Box 15, folder 16
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Untitled, undated

  • Box 15, folder 17
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Scrapbooks, 1943-1946

The Scrapbooks series includes two albums belonging to Simeon S. Willis and his wife, Ida Lee Willis. Mrs. Willis visited Harlan, Kentucky and filled a scrapbook with clippings and postcards of the small Kentucky town. The second album is filled with newspaper clippings about Simeon S. Willis' governorship from his hometown's newspaper, Ashland Independent.

Ida Lee Willis' trip to Harlan, Kentucky, 1946

  • Box 15, item 18
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Newspaper clipping of Simeon S. Willis in Ashland Independent newspaper, 1943

  • Box 15, item 19
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Photographs, 1944, undated

The photographs series contains images from the turn of the twentieth century as well as from the Southern Governor's Convention in 1944. Some of the names are given in the photographs from before Willis' term as governor but there is no indication of the relation to the Kentucky governor. The images from the convention are entirely from a banquet.

Ethel Wakefield and Mrs. Stevenson, undated

  • Box 16, item 1
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Group of unidentified women seated near a lake, undated

  • Box 16, item 2
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Unidentified man and two women standing beside railroad tracks, undated

  • Box 16, item 3
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Gypsy, Harry Schilp, and Amy, undated

  • Box 16, item 4
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Studio picture of three unidentified men, one is wearing a Kentucky letter sweater, undated

  • Box 16, item 5
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Southern Governors Conference banquet, 1944 November

  • Box 16, item 6-13
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Group of men including S.S. Willis and Thomas E. Dewey, 1944

  • Box 16, item 14
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Dewey's Kentucky Campaign, seated [L to R]: Kenneth Tuggle, Lieutenant Governor; Thomas E. Dewey, Simeon Willis, Governor; Ralph Homan, Governor Secretary. Standing [L to R]: Harry Wildon, J. Fred Williams, Pearl Hyden, two unidentified persons, Charles Brown, Dr. Moore of Eastern State College, C. I. Ross, Tom Vinson, Harold Browning, and Stephen Watking., 1944

  • Folder 1
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