Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 107 Betty VandiverReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 107 Betty Vandiver

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 107 Betty Vandiver

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 107 Betty Vandiver
Creator: Vandiver, Betty Russell, 1925-
Dates: 2010 February 25
Extent: 1.0 interview
Collection Number: RBRL/220/ROGP
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Betty Vandiver helped her husband Ernest Vandiver run a successful campaign for lieutenant governor in 1954 and in 1958, when Ernest Vandiver was elected governor of Georgia. As first lady, Betty Vandiver was instrumental in setting up Milledgeville's Central State Hospital, Georgia's first mental institution. Vandiver discusses a recent Russell family reunion, her friends and associates while her husband was in office, and her daughter Jane Kidd.

Collection Description

Biographical note

Sybil Elizabeth "Betty" Russell Vandiver was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1925. The niece of Richard B. Russell, she grew up in Winder, Georgia. In 1947, she graduated from the University of Georgia and married Samuel Ernest Vandiver of Lavonia, Georgia, with whom she had three children. She helped him successfully campaign for lieutenant governor, a post Vandiver was elected to in 1954. In 1958, Vandiver was elected governor of Georgia. As first lady, Betty Vandiver was instrumental in setting up Milledgeville's Central State Hospital, Georgia's first mental institution. Ernest Vandiver’s subsequent campaigns for governor (1966) and U.S. Senate (1972) proved unsuccessful, and the Vandivers retired from politics.

Scope and Content

In her second Reflections on Georgia Politics interview, Betty Vandiver discusses her experience at a recent Russell family reunion. She discusses how the reunions started, which family members host which meals, and the process by which deceased family members are honored and newborn family members are introduced.

Vandiver recalls her uncle Gordon Green who invented M16 key firing, and several other aunts and uncles related to the Russell family. Vandiver recalls some of her and her husband's friends that spent time around the mansion. She names Fanny Smith, David Walker, drivers T.A. Smith and Ben Gaw. Vandiver recalls living in the old Governor's residence and discusses raising her children while her husband was in office. She recalls her husband making plans to have dinner with her every night and discusses her daughter's success in legislature and as the chairperson of the Georgia Democratic Party.


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 107, 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

Democratic Party (Ga.)
Georgia. Governor (1959-1963 : Vandiver)
Georgia. Office of the Governor.
Kidd, Jane Brevard Vandiver, 1953-
Oral histories.
Russell family.
Russell, Richard B., (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971
Vandiver, S. Ernest (Samuel Ernest), 1918-2005.
World War, 1939-1945--United States.

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 013 Betty Vandiver and Jane Kidd on Ernest Vandiver

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 051 Betty Vandiver

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 108 Jane Kidd

S. Ernest Vandiver, Jr. Papers


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

ROGP 107 Betty Vandiver video, transcript, and interview index in OHMS Access Online
ROGP 107 Betty Vandiver video (Extent: 20.0 minutes ) Access Online
ROGP 107 Betty Vandiver transcript Access Online