Collection Title: William "Bill" Harold Cunningham Collection
Series Number: MS20-08
Processed and Cataloged by: Sarah Hardaway
Date Listed: February 1, 2021
Date Span: 1965-2019
Size of Collection: 12.63 linear feet
Number of Boxes: 29
Type of Material: Papers, audio cassette tapes, audio compact discs, and a flash drive; 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional awards; ephemera, photos, and court case materials.
Condition of Material: Good
Arrangement: Physical size and type of material.
Biographical / Historical Information: Judge William "Bill" Cunningham was born in Eddyville, Lyon County, Kentucky on October 15, 1944. He graduated from Murray State University in 1966 and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1969. He held various positions in the court system including Eddyville city attorney from 1974 to 1991, public defender at the Kentucky State Penitentiary from 1974 to 1976, Kentucky Commonwealth's Attorney for the 56th Judicial District from 1976 to 1988, hearing officer at the Kentucky Board of Claims from 1981 to 1985, and trial commissioner for the Lyon County District court from 1989 to 1992. Cunningham was elected to the Circuit Court Bench in November 1991 for the 56th Judicial Circuit, and re-elected in 1999. Before retiring on February 1, 2019, he was elected in 2006 to sit on the Kentucky Supreme Court. He authored the book, "Castle: The Story of a Kentucky Prison" about the Kentucky State Penitentiary at Eddyville, Kentucky in 1995.
Scope and Content: This collection includes many speeches, articles, and eulogies by Bill Cunningham as well as correspondence between various city, state, and national officials, inmates, and colleagues. Also included are notes and information about the gubernatorial campaign of Steven Beshear in 2006 and the Kentucky gubernatorial campaign of Wallace Wilkinson in 1986. Various awards, publications, and newsletters relating to Cunningham's judicial service are also found in the collection.
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