Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 021 David GambrellReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 021 David Gambrell

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 021 David Gambrell

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 021 David Gambrell
Creator: Gambrell, David Henry, 1929-
Dates: 2008 November 24
Extent: 1.0 interview
Collection Number: RBRL/220/ROGP
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: David Gambrell worked as campaign treasurer during Jimmy Carter's campaign for governor, and was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor Carter after the death of Richard Russell. In this interview Gambrell discusses the highlights of his service in the Senate, such as his vote against a resolution to withdraw troops from Vietnam and his support for the Lockheed bailout when he served on the Banking Committee. Other topics include family life, campaign finance, shifts in party politics, the career of Griffin Bell, and the Watergate scandal.

Collection Description

Biographical note

David Henry Gambrell was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 20, 1929. He graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1949, and Harvard Law School in 1952. Gambrell served in the reserves of the U.S. Army. Gambrell began his political career as an "advance man" for Herman Talmadge's 1950 campaign. During college summer breaks, Gambrell would promote Talmadge speeches and appearances in Georgia, tacking up posters and announcements. He returned to Atlanta as an associate and partner in the law firm, King and Spalding. In 1963, he founded his own law firm, Gambrell and Stolz, LLP. He served as president of the Atlanta Bar Association from 1965 to 1966, and as president of the State Bar of Georgia from 1967 to 1968. He continued his work with various political campaigns, helping Paul Webb, Adlai Stevenson, Ernest Vandiver, and Jimmy Carter. He worked most closely with Carter, serving as his campaign treasurer. He also served as chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party. In 1971, Gambrell became known as the "Instant Senator" when, after the death of Senator Richard B. Russell, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat by then Governor Carter. He served until 1972, when he was defeated in the Democratic primary by Sam Nunn. Gambrell entered the Georgia gubernatorial race in 1974, but was unsuccessful. He has since served on a variety of boards for corporations and universities.

Scope and Content

Gambrell discusses his appointment to the Senate by Governor Jimmy Carter in 1971 and the highlights of his tenure there, such as his vote against a resolution to withdraw troops from Vietnam and his support for the Lockheed bailout when he served on the Banking Committee. He also addresses his work as campaign treasurer for Jimmy Carter during Carter’s run for governor. Other topics include family life, campaign finance, shifts in party politics, the career of Griffin Bell, and the Watergate scandal.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Custodial History note

Reflections on Georgia Politics began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College, as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Georgia political veteran Bob Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century.

Preferred citation

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 021, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2013.


Related Materials

Access Points

Bell, Griffin Boyette, 1918-
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Lockheed Corporation.
Oral histories.
Russell, Richard B., (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971
United States--Congress--Senate.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975.

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection

David Gambrell U.S. Senatorial Election of 1972 Materials


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

ROGP 021 David Gambrell video, transcript, and interview index in OHMS Access Online
ROGP 021 David Gambrell video, 2008 November 24 (Extent: 89.0 minutes ) Access Online
ROGP 021 David Gambrell transcript, 2008 November 28 Access Online