|Title:||Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 051 Betty Vandiver|
|Creator||Vandiver, Betty Russell, 1925-|
|Dates||2008 October 3|
|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. She elaborates on her childhood as part of the Russell family, discusses various political campaigns, and recalls the many political personalities she and her husband encountered.|
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.
Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 051, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.
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.
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 campaign successfully 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. They remained active in the business and community affairs of Lavonia.
Vandiver recalls growing up as part of the Russell family in Winder, Ga. She talks about meeting Ernest Vandiver and their early courtship. She recalls moving to Atlanta so Ernest could work for Governor Herman Talmadge's campaign, and Ernest's subsequent appointment to Adjutant General.
Vandiver discusses her tenure as first lady of Georgia, including governor's conferences, campaigning around the state, and moving into the Governor's mansion. She recalls Ernest Vandiver's struggles with integration in Georgia and their conversations regarding the topic.
Vandiver recalls her work in establishing the Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia, including her work with fundraising, establishing a church on the hospital grounds, and her personal friendships with the patients. She also discusses her work with the Mayor's parade in Milledgeville as well.
Vandiver talks about Governor Vandiver's experiences working for Senator Richard Russellcampaign for President, and his disappointment in not being appointed to succeed Senator Russell. Vandiver recalls her husband's 1966 run for Governor and his 1972 race for U.S. Senate.
Vandiver discusses her children and extended family as well as Ernest's other work in prison reform, infrastructure, and the port authority.