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MSU001 Murray State 100th Anniversary Oral History Project

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Murray State University
200 Pogue Library
Murray, Kentucky 42071

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(270) 809-6152
(270) 809-4295
FAX (270) 809-6153

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Ernie Bailey Oral History

Collection Title: Murray State 100th Anniversary Oral History Project

Series Number: MSU001

Interviewee: Bailey, Ernie R.

Interviewer: Bolin, Wesley

Date interviewed: 2013 March 27 and April 3

Processed by: O’Daniel, Hannah

Date processed: 2014 April 23

Description: 4 audio files (3 hours, 2 minutes)

Abstract: Ernie Bailey began the interview with genealogical information on the Bailey family of Western Kentucky. He described the Murray Training School in Murray, Kentucky, including the building, the years of operation and its function as primary and secondary school. He mentioned his undergraduate and graduate career at Murray State College in the early 1960s and his teaching positions in Graves and Calloway Counties in Kentucky. He delved into how became employed at Forrest C. Pogue Library at Murray State. He chronicled the history of Murray State’s libraries, from the stage area of the auditorium at Murray Middle School to the contemporary Waterfield and Pogue libraries. He discussed the process of moving library collections between the various locations over time and the development of Special Collections and University Archives. He recalled the various uses of the floors and rooms of Pogue Library throughout its history. He also detailed the role of the Works Progress Administration in the construction of city streets in Murray, Cutchin Stadium and the cataloging of local courthouse records. He named and described six of the presidents of Murray State, including Presidents Carr, Wells, Richmond, Woods, Sparks and Curris. He detailed the construction, use and change of buildings on campus, including Pogue Library, the Lowry Center, Waterfield Library, Wrather Museum, Wilson Hall, Lovett Auditorium, Carr Health, the Curris Center, Racer Arena, Old Fine Arts, Swan Hall, Wells Hall, Ordway Hall and the Faculty Clubhouse. He mentioned the role of Price Doyle in establishing the Department of Music. Bailey also recalled his campus involvement as a student at Murray State, including the marching band, singing in the choir and working at Pogue Library. He described the role of local women in operating boarding houses for students before dormitories were constructed and the establishment of the college farm. He discussed the Kentucky state legislature’s efforts and reasoning for establishing Murray State in the 1920s and the expansion of Murray State from a normal school. He explained the expansion of educational requirements for public school teachers in the 1960s and 1970s, which led teachers to return to college to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees. He recalled the quarter semester system and low enrollments at Murray State during the Second World War. He spoke of President Richmond’s role in securing grants for Federal Preflight and Naval training programs at Murray State during World War II. He remembered the ROTC program and anti-war rallies on Murray State’s campus during his time as a student during the Vietnam War and segregation during his childhood. He recounted the gradual desegregation of the town and the admission of African Americans to Murray State. He attributed the economic development of Murray and the surrounding area to the establishment of Murray State. He chronicled the history of churches in Murray during his lifetime and how Murray State impacted the local churches. He discussed the development of light industry in Calloway County, naming some of the most prominent factories and industrial employers in the area. He described the regional competition of towns in Western Kentucky over the bid for a state normal school and Rainey T. Wells’ role in winning the bid for Murray. He pointed out that the original part of Murray States’ campus was Wells’ farmland and Oakhurst, the president’s house, was Wells’ original home. He recalled the expansion of the city limits of Murray and Murray State’s role in the expansion. He largely ended the interview by describing the positive relations between Murray State and the town of Murray, which he attributes to the townspeople’s recognition of how Murray State has benefited the area.

Biographical / Historical Note: Ernie R. Bailey was born in Murray, Kentucky on October 11, 1944. He began to attend Murray State Teacher Training School in Murray at the age of five. He graduated from the campus high school in 1962. He attended Murray State for four years and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and History in 1966. While a student at Murray State, he worked in Pogue Library. After graduating from college, he taught for four years at Farmington High School in Graves County, Kentucky and one year at Murray High School. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Education from Murray State in 1969. He attended summer sessions at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, where he obtained a Master in Library Science degree in 1973. In 1971, he obtained a full-time position at Pogue Library, where he worked until his retirement in 2008. In 1977, he earned an Educational Specialist degree from George Peabody College. He later obtained a doctorate in Higher Education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. As of April 2014, he resides in Murray with his wife, Dorothy Nell Bailey.

General information: No user access to original recordings. Use audio user copies, digital derivatives, transcripts, and/or tape indexes. This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Permission for reproduction must be requested from Murray State University.

Subject Headings / Descriptors:

Bailey, Ernie R., 1944-

Murray State University – History.

Murray (Ky.) – History.