Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 044 Bobby RowanReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 044 Bobby Rowan

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 044 Bobby Rowan

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 044 Bobby Rowan
Creator: Rowan, Robert A., 1935-
Dates: 2008 August 11
Extent: 1.0 interview
Collection Number: RBRL/220/ROGP
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: In 1962, Rowan ran a successful campaign for the Georgia Senate. He was the youngest senator at the time. In 1974, he made an unsuccessful bid for governor. In 1989, he ran successfully for public service commissioner, and retired in 1994. Rowan discusses his campaigns, his service in the state legislature, his experiences with other legislators and politicians, the mental health system in Georgia, and how his personal life has affected his politics.

Collection Description

Biographical note

Robert A. "Bobby" Rowan was born in Enigma, Georgia, on November 17, 1935. He attended the University of Georgia, studied agriculture, and was elected campus leader. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and then returned home to work as a schoolteacher and farmer. In 1962, Rowan ran a successful campaign for the Georgia Senate. He was the youngest senator at the time. He served as secretary of the Rules Committee. He was also a key figure in sponsoring the Mental Health Bill of Rights and the Special Education Act. In 1974, he made an unsuccessful bid for governor. Rowan was appointed by Governor George Busbee to the Board of Human Resources, where he served for eight years, and then to the Children’s Youth Commission by Governor Joe Frank Harris. In 1989, he ran successfully for public service commissioner, and retired in 1994.

Scope and Content

Rowan discusses his childhood as one of nine children and his experiences at he University of Georgia, where he met Marvin Griffin and Ernest Vandiver.

Rowan talks about memories of Georgia figures such as Carl Sanders, Lamar Plunkett, Peter Zach Geer, Leroy Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Talmadge McKinnon, Celestine Sibley, Lester Maddox, Roscoe Dean, and Zell Miller.

Rowan discusses his career in the state senate, including his 1962 campaign and his early authority resulting from his knowledge of Senate rules. He recalls being the youngest senator ever elected and how that influenced his work. Rowan also recalls his work with mental health issues and the bad conditions of Milledgeville mental hospitals in the 1960s. He also discusses the events of the 1962 Governor's race, the 1966 Governor's race, and his own campaign for Governor in 1974.

Rowan discusses his re-entrance into politics with his successful campaign for the Public Service Commission in 1989 that coincided with his personal financial struggles and the discovery of cancer. He comments on the decline of the Democratic Party of Georgia and links it to public television.


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 044, 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

Administrative agencies--Georgia--Reorganization.
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Dean, Roscoe
Democratic Party (Ga.)
Georgia--General Assembly--Senate.
Georgia. Governor (1963-1967 : Sanders)
Georgia. Governor (1967-1971 : Maddox)
Griffin, Samuel Marvin.
Johnson, Leroy Reginald, 1928-
Maddox, Lester G., 1915-2003.
Mental health.
Milledgeville (Ga.)
Miller, Zell Bryan, 1932-
Oral histories.
Political campaigns--Georgia.
Sanders, Carl Edward, 1925-
Sibley, Celestine, 1914–1999
Television programs, Public service.
University of Georgia.
Vandiver, S. Ernest (Samuel Ernest), 1918-2005.

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

ROGP 044 Bobby Rowan video, transcript, and interview index in OHMS Access Online
ROGP 044 Bobby Rowan video (Extent: 159.0 minutes ) Access Online
ROGP 044 Bobby Rowan transcript Access Online