Alaska Statehood Pioneers: In Their Own Words

Episode 7: Katie Hurley

Episode transcript

Katie Hurley: Bob Bartlett said I had a Ph.D. at the College of Ernest Gruening. He wrote me that when we were all going out of office.

Opening Titles

Narrator: Katie Hurley, born Kathryn Torkelson in 1921, was the daughter of Norweigan immigrants who met in Juneau. She was a long-time staffer to territorial Gov. Ernest Gruening, and chief clerk of the Alaska Constitutional Convention. In 1960, she remarried and moved to Wasilla. She was the first woman in Alaska to win a contested primary election for a statewide seat and is a member of the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame.

Intertitle: Growing Up in Juneau

Katie Hurley: My parents were Norwegian immigrants who met in Juneau and my father was a fisherman and a carpenter. He had worked in the AJ Treadwell Mine as a carpenter, but he had fished – I think he was fishing when I was born, but he – halibut fisherman.

My oldest sister was Helen and my youngest sister was Ruth. And my mother named me Kathryn, but my first name was Olga. And I don’t know how come I had enough sense when I went to school to say my name was Kathryn. Olga, and I was Olga until I started school and there are some of my contemporaries who used to give me – tease me by calling me Olga in school.
And I think that my mother named me that because my father’s name was Olof and I think that was the closest she could get to that.

And he died when I was only a freshman in high school. But he had been working for the city when he died. He was – they were very education was utmost and we couldn’t goof off at all, my sisters and I, had to toe the line. I came home with a C in citizenship and my mother had a fit. She didn’t look at all those other grades. She wanted to know why? And I had told her I had talked too much.

I think there were only 35 in my graduating class, but my sister who was just a year behind me there were 70 in hers. That happened to be a big class. So there were only about 150 to 200 in the whole high school.

Because my father had died and my mother said well wouldn’t be any money to go more than one year so I’d go to business college and I would have done better to have just had one year of college, but that was the way she figured it out. It was to help my sister because my sister was married to a medical student and so I had to live with them so that my mother paid them and that was a big help for them. It was not very good for me, but living with your older sister isn’t the greatest.

Binky Walker Business College and it is defunct now. But I made some wonderful friends and loved living in Portland. In fact I had a job that my mother was very strong-willed and I didn’t dare go against what she wanted me to do. And she insisted I came back – come back to Alaska, which I blessed her for because in Portland I was going to work in an insurance office, which it certainly would have been a dead end.

Intertitle: Working for Territorial Gov. Ernest Gruening

Katie Hurley: But when I came back to Juneau, why it was 1940 and there was the beginning the build-up of not in Juneau but around the state for like Fort Richardson and they were building something over in Sitka. And there was a lot of activity, but there weren’t very many jobs for secretaries. So I went through the employment service and I got a temporary job working in the Game Commission, cause my eighth grade teacher was working in the Game Commission then and he gave me a good job referral. And then they ran out of money or I would have stayed there. It was just amazing how things worked out.

So I went to the employment service. I had gotten to know the guy there in charge and he sent me up to the Governor’s Office. They had a call out for a stenographer. And there were three or four other women and some of them I knew from high school and I knew how good they were. I knew they were way better than I was, so I didn’t really think that I would get the job. But because I – the mother of one of my classmates was working there and someone else knew me and the Governor had only been in Alaska a year and his secretary had come from Washington, DC and she had only been there a year but she was the one who did the hiring. And afterwards she told me that those women had made me out that I was such a goodie-goodie that she almost didn’t hire me.

Her name was Estella Draper. And she was from Maine and she was a pistol. She liked off-color jokes and I’ll tell you people would come in to tell her these jokes and I was sitting across the desk from her and I just laughed you know with her and then afterwards I’d say, what was that all about? Then she would tell me and so I got quite an education. My mother was not very keen on my working there. She thought she was a little fast, you know, that was a good word in the 40’s.

But she taught me a lot and she was very clear as to you know how I should stand up for myself, that Ernest Gruening was very – he was not easy to work for she said because he had such an education he expected everybody else to be up to that level. And she said whenever he says something you don’t understand just stop and ask him. Well that was kind of scary you know. Here he was Governor of Alaska, graduated from Harvard, medical doctor.

He had been working in the Interior Department and he was I think when he first came here felt pretty isolated and that is when he – Bob Bartlett was the Secretary of Alaska, which is like the Lieutenant Governor when Gruening came. He was a holdover. And they became good friends because of this bond of both having been newspapermen before they went into governmental service.

And anyway the first day I went – for the test I had to take letters from him. And his letter – he was getting rid of all of his correspondence and the letter I got was written to the Governor of Puerto Rico and it had all of these Spanish names and talking about something that I’d never heard of. And I was amazed that I passed that test, but that was my beginning.

And the next day he was starting on his message to the legislature in 1941. This was December of 1940 that I started. So he was already working cause it was going to be his first session and he had me bring my typewriter in and he would dictate to me on the typewriter and I was a very fast typist. And then with triple space and rip it out and then he would take it and work it over. So that was a new experience I had never even done that before and I was very pleased that I could do that.

But for the first six months every time the buzzer rang at my desk to come in I would shake. I can remember I was so afraid that I wouldn’t get it right or wouldn’t be able to understand him. You know he had a very Eastern New York accent you know when I first met him and being raised in Juneau I certainly had not been exposed to anyone who had been from the East.

He was very wonderful cause I would stop him a lot of the times and ask him what the word meant and he would take the time and it was like I was his daughter. He had just three sons and I was kind of that age and he was so patient with me. And I think it was because I was so enthusiastic about everything. I knew it was a big adventure you know every day was not like going to work.

That was the thing that was so amazing was how patient he was with me and I think it was because he – I really realized that I was making history, that I was part of history.

I guess I started calling him Governor you know and then other people called him Ernest, but I told him I couldn’t I didn’t think that was – I just couldn’t call him that so I – he always signed his personal notes EG and that’s how I – it just kind of – I never asked him. I just started, but mostly I referred to him that way when I was talking to people – EG.

But it was so amazing after about a year how I could think of him as more of a friend. But I’ll tell you for those first six months it was and I would on all of the women in the office were about twice, not twice, but they were in their 40’s and I was like 20 years old with very little life experiences. But we had lots of fun.

Intertitle: 1941 – Gruening’s Income Tax Bill

Katie Hurley: You know the legislature was so anti — it was – they didn’t want him to be governor in the first place and then he had all these ideas about taxation and making the fishing industry pay more taxes and the gold mine industry pay more taxes and they would – but there were a few people who realized how good he was going to be for Alaska and they – he made good friends with them. But he was fixated. If he got something in his head and he kept going and no matter if he had maybe only one vote that for him he wouldn’t give up with it you know.

He had an income tax bill introduced in that 1941 session and it failed and it was the last, almost the last week in the session it had gotten through.

The house was very good. It was Democratic and there were 16 members, but there were only eight senators and so it only took to stop something it only took four people.

There were four divisions, the judicial districts and you know the people in Nome had as much representation as the people in Juneau in the Senate. There were two senators from the Nome area, two senators from the Anchorage area, two senators from Fairbanks, and two senators from Southeast and that was it.

And they killed it in the Senate and so he decided to introduce it in the other house and I had to type that bill and I had to stay there all night long typing the bill because it had to be typed in a way that they could make – it would match their typewriters. We had elite type and they had pica type and so I had to and the other women in the office fixed all. We had carbon paper. I had to make three copies and it was all numbered paper. They had to set up these sheets of paper and I had to remember to be sure to put it in the typewriter the right way.

And I had to type that bill and I remember going home and the birds were singing. It was about six o’clock in the morning that I – all alone in that building, except for the when I think about that and I was like 20 years old. Nobody else was there except me.

That was how determined he was about and there was no hope that he was going to get that bill passed but he was not going to let it go by without another chance at it.

He was so angry about the way the legislature had acted
And they were getting by with very little taxation on the crop, you know the canned salmon, and the fact that they were also handpicking legislators and financing them.

Well he was outraged that they didn’t pay – that it was a resource that was you know a renewable resource but that they weren’t paying their fair share. It was you know something like the constitution says it belonged to all the people of Alaska

And he – and there had been very little coverage of the session because in those days they didn’t send reporters down to cover and the Juneau Empire was so anti-Gruening that they wouldn’t print – you know they’d just print the negative stuff.
And he realized that was the only way he was going to let the people know what had happened.

He sent a message to the people. I have a copy of that.
Right up there on the shelf. And that — he couldn’t get it. The Chamber of Commerce in Fairbanks refused to – I guess the News-Miner refused to print it.

And of course we did mail it out, but that was the first release. And there is a wonderful alliteration in there that I use all the time. Penny pitching pretended patriots. That is what he referred to the people who wouldn’t support having a National Guard Building built. He loved alliterations, but that one I have never forgotten.

And after the 41st session he started working with Tony Dimond to see if they couldn’t increase the size of the legislature and that bill passed so that in 1944 there were six – they doubled the size of the senate and there were 24 in the house and I think it was 16 in the senate. And that’s when change came. In 1945 session was like night and day between ’43.
So this way there was more chance for the legislation to get through.

Intertitle: Anti-Discrimination Act

Katie Hurley: The discrimination law that he put forth the first session in 1941 and you know Elizabeth Peratrovich gets a lot of credit for passing it, but it was – he had put it in in ’41 and in ’43 and that was a plan. I mean we all knew that she was going to be there and he had worked behind the scenes to be sure that she would be recognized so that she could do that. But he was very generous in his book to give her credit too so I have soft pedal my feeling about the fact that he didn’t really get the recognition for having fought for that.

He was just stunned that people had signs up. Oh the one that got him the most was No Dogs or Natives you know. That really – when he saw those he’d go in and shake it at the – but it was pretty sad commentary on Alaska still.

And he went over to the bar – I remember him going over to the bar in Douglas and talking to the guy there and he was Italian and he said how would you like it if somebody put up a sign and said No Italians Allowed. And he did it with a Greek restaurateur in Anchorage the same thing. And he was not afraid to call it to their attention, how wrong that was. But it was a different era. But it was at such a different kind of campaigning that you know there wasn’t the money being thrown around like it is today. It was a pretty much one on one and I’m not sure but what they would have used that against him that he was too sophisticated too much from New York.

You know when he was out in the Bush those Native people just adored him because he really was very much down to earth with them and he was the one who to me brought this message back about how well educated – I mean they just had education from within and some of their talents that they could – I remember his first tale saying how they could take motors apart and put them back together and make them go and no one else could. And he was so fascinated by the people out there.
They called him the Great White Father or something like that.

Intertitle: Hostile Press

Katie Hurley: We got all the papers. That was one of my jobs was clipping those newspapers and my kids thinks that’s my fixation. I’m still doing it. Because I had to – Estella would mark the stories. He had kept wonderful scrapbooks. They must be up in the archives up there because all that stuff was put in a scrapbook and you know the pros and the cons. Oh, yeah, he – it was – it sort of rubbed off, but I know it couldn’t help but get to him you know when everybody would be so negative.

It was hard to think that people could be so mean. I mean they were on him. They were just – they were really – even when he first came up here there was a lot of anti-Semitic approach you know. Jew from New York and I didn’t even know what that there were what Jews were when I was growing up in Juneau. My father was working with the Mayor of Juneau, who was a Jew, but nobody ever talked about it in a negative way.

Cap Lathrop hated him and Murium, his secretary. …
Murium Dickey, she was not – we didn’t care much about her either….

I mean some people I found out you know later on they were really quite nice people, but EG – they were the enemy because they didn’t support his programs. Or they influenced people in the legislature to oppose, but Cap Lathrop was oh, my he used the power of his newspapers to – and he still owned the News-Miner.

He had the power of the press and he used it very well, very well.

Chuck Herbert was sent down to Juneau. He told me this story himself that he was sent down to Juneau by the people in Fairbanks to fight Gruening. And when he came down and met him and talked with him he realized that they were all wrong. That this person was somebody who could make Alaskan’s realize that they had a voice and he became very supportive of his program.

When Chuck Herbert came down he had no idea you know until he talked with him what a person of vision he was and depth as far as knowledge of government. And but that was what everybody had been fed.

I don’t know what happened to him when he got back home, but they probably, I think he tried very hard to convince them otherwise, you know the people, the chambers – the Chambers of Commerce were notoriously against taxation and they were against EG’s program but it was – he just never gave up.
And I mean they had nasty editorials even when it was at the end you know.

Thanks, good-bye, good riddance or something like that you know. We’re glad you’re going.

Intertitle: “A Ph.D. at the College of Ernest Gruening”

Katie Hurley: I was just a clerk stenographer a couple of years and then I was the assistant secretary and then I became his secretary, which was like chief of staff. … It was in May of 1945 that I became his secretary. By that time you know we had been through a lot of battles. …

But he had such a wonderful gift of using words, as you know. That was what was so exciting about when I finally got over my nervousness was just the way – just taking his dictation was a pleasure because he knew exactly how he wanted to say something. And he oftentimes would walk around and when especially he was writing speeches. He smoked cigars and he’d walk around smoking a cigar.

Text: Her first husband was a Juneau photographer named Joseph Alexander.

Katie Hurley: And when I became pregnant with my son while I was working, my husband was in the service, and he said well how long can you work? I said I have to work. And so I worked up until the day before my son was born which was unheard of because you weren’t supposed to be in public when you were showing.

I’ll never forget when I told him that I was pregnant and I said you know I really hadn’t planned to get pregnant you know. I wasn’t exactly ready for that but anyway I said I was pregnant and he said, was it the Immaculate Conception? And that’s the first time that’s – but it was just blew me away you know. I thought what do I say now? But he realized that – and he had this twinkle in his eye you know. And that was in the next breath he said, how long can you work? And then he said does this cigar bother you, you know? And I said oh, no, I wasn’t having any problems like that.

And that was the thing that always made me so unhappy when people criticized him as not being very human, but it was just his way he had been raised you know. And he just couldn’t it was hard for him to be – show his emotions.

And you know the other thing that he did which I thought was – says something about his personality. His term was four years every time and when Eisenhower came in he was inaugurated you know in January and he wanted to – he was ready to appoint the new governor. The governor said my term doesn’t end until April 13th and the legislature they were so angry because they wanted their own governor there then because the Republicans had been a big sweep in the legislature too. But he stayed there and we all stayed there until the 13th of April right in the midst of the session they had to make the change. Of course they didn’t do much cause they held all the legislation until he couldn’t do any of his mischief.

Bob Bartlett said I had a Ph.D. at the College of Ernest Gruening. He wrote me that when we were all going out of office.

Intertitle: Writing State History Pre-Statehood

Katie Hurley: He started working on it while he was in the – still governor. He was writing some things and I worked on it at home.

He was reading a lot of stuff doing research in all that time and getting stuff from the library there in Juneau and you know he told me that he was going to call it the State of Alaska.

I typed those chapters and sent them to the – worked at home and did those and he was living out at his cabin.

And then it was during the Constitutional Convention that his son committed suicide.

Oh, it was very hard and especially hard because he was in a down time in his career. There was nothing going on. He had – of course he was – how old – he was in his 60’s.

And yeah, it was very tough. And I know that EG wanted to be the National Committeeman for the Democratic Party and he was very upset with me because I didn’t support him for that because it was not good for the party. He was not experienced in that. And Alex Miller, he was doing a good job. I mean that’s the kind of a person you need in that job and it was very upsetting to him and it was just sort – it was doubly bad for me because he had this tragedy of Peter. And so, but I just – it was hard for him to understand why I didn’t think that he would be and I think that’s part of the reason why he hung around the convention quite a bit too. He was just at loose ends.

Intertitle: The Alaska Constitutional Convention

Katie Hurley: Commons, it was the Commons. It was a very new building. And the bookstore was there and they just gave the bottom part over to the delegates. And they had made a stage so that Bill Egan was one level above, but he was the only person up on that level and I was right below him. I have a picture. It is very primitive. It is not fancy. It is just this table and everybody smoked who smoked. Can you believe it? You can see everybody smoking during the session. Bill Egan was a chain smoker and I never smoked, but I certainly breathed enough smoke during that convention.

I was the Chief Clerk. And that meant that I was the person who took the minutes of the Plenary Sessions. Plenary I guess everybody knows that that is when everyone was together and all 55 delegates were there. And I had been the secretary of the senate in the 1955 legislature and had a similar role of taking action minutes and I worked 12 years for Ernest – territorial Governor Ernest Gruening. And I had – I was in charge was what they call the boiler room which was where the stenographers and typists took care of committee reports and so forth, but we had a very small staff I think of about six people.

One thing that I had an advantage that I had met or knew of all but one of the delegates before I got there.

You know everybody when they came through town on — in those early 40’s it was – the boat would be in town for a short time and people from up North would always come to the governor’s office. It was a busy place and that’s how I got to know so many people around the state that when I went to the convention I knew almost all of the delegates.

And also Bill Egan was a very good chair and he would call them by name and so I could you know get that down fast, but also, yes, it was – I had to concentrate.

The election of the president was pretty – there was one person who really wanted it badly, Vic Rivers, and he had been a very good legislator and he would have been an adequate chair but he would not have been the kind of chair that Bill Egan was and really bringing people together. And that was so amazing how people – they may have come there some of them with an agenda. But they certainly – they never showed because it was just so much – but there were some real healthy debates and it good to see and good that it was cause the results were much more effective because they had debated them so heartily.

He didn’t care about being a star himself I guess is the best – the reason why he – and he was so willing to look at people individually and not be judgmental. And yet you know there were people who he had worked with and I think were on opposite sides but he saw his role, just did it, and much more – much better than anyone could have imagined that he had a very you know just a gentle way.

My favorite is when he would stop – he’d see somebody who was inexperienced, hadn’t been in a legislative body or hadn’t served on a city council or had any kind of experience and he could tell that they wanted to make a motion or make an amendment and he’d stop and call a recess and motion to them to come up and he’d say yeah. Cause I could hear him cause he was – they were right beside me and he’d say did you want to have – say something or did you want to make a motion. And he’d help them write it and that’s a real gift in a presiding officer.

He would call a recess when he thought that people just needed to cool off and but Style and Drafting Committee was getting very irritated that their work was being – like they had lost – that the members had – were so critical of their changes and what they were doing was trying to make the language simple and straightforward and it did turn out that it is, but they had to go through some battles like that, but and they were – in fact Mr. Davis did resign. Nobody would let him go I mean he was ready to walk away. …

They could work those things through and you never could do that in the legislature. …

They were long days at the end.

And I had an apartment in Northward Building and they provided me a typewriter there because there was only one bus a day out and one bus a day back and I didn’t have a car and we all rode out most – a lot of people didn’t have cars. So I would bring my notes back that I wasn’t able to do while we were still at the University back to my room and type away. And sometimes until four o’clock in the morning towards the end, but I was always up and ready to go at eight o’clock.

You know we had just the basic things that we still had to do and there was no way that you could rush just typing and that kind of thing. It takes so much time to do certain things.

Then the minutes were – I just did a rough draft and then I brought it in the next morning to the staff and then they cut stencils. Do you know what that is?

Well in order – they had mimeograph machines and in order to print the stuff on the mimeograph to make more than one copy. They were blue and you had to readjust the typewriter so it didn’t – there was a lever on the typewriter where it would not be ribbon typing and it would set the thing down and then they would type up and then they had to run the copies off on a mimeograph machine.

Oh, yeah, one of my little pet peeves is with the Rules Committee that adopted that the – my minutes would be – I wouldn’t get to sign my minutes. They were signed by Tom Stewart as the Secretary and he wasn’t even there. They were my – but that’s the difference I mean as a woman now I would have screamed my head off, but then I was just so glad to be there that wasn’t important but historically it is important. But the minutes then when he was out of town I got to sign the minutes as the Chief Clerk.

During the signing everything was – it wasn’t you know it wasn’t – it was exciting, but it wasn’t as emotional as after that they went back over to close the thing sine die and that when I called the roll the last time I got so choked up saying their names that when I looked up there are these guys that I never would think that they had tears in their eyes, the ones that were sitting like Steve McCutcheon and Herb Hillshire. I mean those are hard-nosed guys and I had – oh, it was – it’s on the tape, the official tape and somebody sent me that from I couldn’t believe how choked up I was, but it was – we had been together and been – it was like Jim Hurley gave the presentation. He was just a very outstanding delegate at that time. I had not ever dreamed that I would be married to him, but he gave this little talk of giving – honoring Bill Egan and he said it was something like being in a battle with your fellow soldiers and having won and that you always would be close because of having done that. …

It was so emotional at the end.

Because it was like we had been through – I mean starting out with 55 different individuals who had such – so many of them such wide backgrounds and that they could – they did come together so well.

Just the other day I said it was the biggest thrill of my life looking back to have had that opportunity to be there in that capacity because holding that position was way better than what – in my book – then what Tom Stewart was because he wasn’t present on the floor but rarely and then he had – he was gone during some of the most exciting debates in December when they were debating the judicial article and so forth.

I felt that I had witnessed statesmanship that I’ve never seen since.

Intertitle: “The Day That We Became a State”

Text: After voters approved the convention’s constitution, Alaska’s statehood bill gained traction in Congress.

Katie Hurley: And during the convention I don’t think anyone had any conception that it would happen so quickly. Looking back it is amazing that it was just two years and they thought – that’s why hardly anybody of the lobbyists came to the convention. They thought it was an exercise in futility. Too bad those guys are so carried away that they are spending all that time writing it – the constitution.

Bob Bartlett had called to let me know that this was going to be the day, some time that day he was sure it was going to be the vote cause they had been arguing it and he was quite sure. And so I had called Bill and said I want to come by and we had connected and I volunteered during election to help with counting and stuff. So we were out there and it came on and we – I think I was even driving and Thane it was about three or four miles and we dashed in. I parked the car and ran up the steps, two at a time, I was so excited to get up there. Cause I knew I wouldn’t see all of it but David was so excited, too, about it. And we got up there and saw the –

Saw it coming over the Teletype. They were calling the role. I still – by the time we got there I guess there was some argument I knew I was able to get there cause you know in the senate they still – they don’t use automatic they still call the role and it takes a while to call. At that time of course there were 98, no 96 senators because Hawaii came in after us.

To me that was the day that we became a state because there had been no much work and we had been so long. I had been in Washington in 1950 when the house had passed the state – I was in the gallery. I was with Mary Lee Council. Bob had seen to it that we were there when they passed the statehood bill in 1950. So this is like eight years later. So that was very exciting to be there.

Intertitle: Moving On

Katie Hurley: I served through the first state legislature and then I married Jim Hurley and moved here in 1960 – in the summer of 1960. So I got out of things sort of cause I had a couple of young kids.

Everybody always wanted to know why I didn’t go to Washington with Gruening. Well I didn’t want to leave Alaska then and so I didn’t want to go with him and anyway I was going to marry Jim and moved up here. And he was on the Central Committee and doing things and I was just taking care of kids. And you know we were living on a farm and I loved it. It was such a change from Juneau. My friends in Juneau couldn’t believe that I was living on a farm and we had a cow and I had a vegetable garden. I didn’t milk the cow. I said I’m not doing that. But then I got you know I was doing things with PTA and things like that with my school.

Text: In 1968, Mike Gravel beat Gruening in the Democratic Senate primary election. Gruening tried to get reelected as a write-in candidate.
Katie Hurley: I had a sign – we went to the ballot box and I knew it was futile but of course I had to do it and we had a lot of fun. It was a cold day, but he was pretty crushed by Bob Bartlett’s endorsement of Gravel. And I was shocked and I think that Bob was not well. He was dying you know and I think he was on drugs and so forth. I don’t think he would have done that if it hadn’t been because I remember hearing it. His voice was not very strong but it was hard for EG because he talked to me – he did talk to me about that.

He couldn’t understand why he did and I just – I really told him that I just thought that Bob was not in his right senses when he did it. I thought he needed to have some closure to it because it really had bothered him. What did I do you know? Well I knew what he had done. It was just his – there were plenty of times that he certainly got in the way of Bob and he was just because of his personality and I don’t think he realized how hurtful that was for Bob you know so.

Text: In 1972, Gruening discovered he had cancer. After his autobiography “Many Battles” was published in 1973, he made one last trip to Alaska.

Katie Hurley: And he knew that he didn’t have much more time. And you could tell from his demeanor that he went around to see everybody. Came out here to see me and you know spent time and he was very mellow and reminiscing and that was at Christmas time and then he died in June I think it was.

I was there in Washington and had gone over to see him and while I was there or when I had called ahead of time and someone said that he wasn’t doing well, but for me to come on out. And Mrs. Gruening was there and so I went in the ambulance with him and she went in a car. And we got over there and who should be there but George McGovern. And then I stayed a little while and then I left, but he died that night. But he was in terrible pain and cause he had – I forget what his cancer was, but he was on – and he was ranting – he was just railing against all the powers that be. And you know Nixon he had been the impeachment came shortly after he died and all I could think of was that oh, if EG had only lived that long so he could see that he was right. He called him a crook you know when he was campaigning for McGovern when he was up here in Alaska. Never could see Nixon.

Intertitle: Playing Politics

Katie Hurley:In ’71 when or ’70 when Bill was elected again, I said to my friend Alex Miller I said you know how come Bill hasn’t appointed me to anything? I thought he would think of me and he said have you asked? And I said no, I didn’t know I had to ask. I thought he’d think of me. So I told him I wanted to be on the State Board of Education and so I got appointed to the State Board of Education. So then I said to Alex I said well you know I think the best thing to do is to be the president. I said how do you do that? He said you have to ask. You have to do your ward. You have to go and call all those people and tell them you want to be the president. Well that was a new role for me. I’d never – everything had been handed to me before. I never had to have an interview you know for to go to work at the senate or to do any of that stuff. So I – anyway I got to be the president of the State Board of Education and I did that for eight years. And they never had an election so after I got – I don’t know how come we never had an election but anyway I just continued to be the president.

So my husband said to me you know he said you ought to run for lieutenant governor and I said I’ve always been a king maker. I’ve never been – I’ve always been behind the scenes. He said well you got the experience I think he had another reason for wanting me to run.
He was beginning to be called Mr. Katie Hurley and he didn’t like that. And it was very sad in a lot of ways because he was – I still loved him and it was hard, but anyway some of the teachers asked me you know would I – that they looking for somebody to run and I said, oh, I don’t have any money so what am I going to do? Oh, we’ll get the money and so forth. Anyway I decided to file and Jim was very supportive. In fact we had to mortgage our house to get some money cause they weren’t giving women candidates much money in those days.

I didn’t have much money so I wasn’t able to travel to as many villages, but I had those seven years on the State Board of Education and I had no idea that so many people knew me.

I wasn’t very good in the beginning I know that. It was tough for me to have make speeches and as I said I really felt like I was you know over my head for a while until I met some of the other candidates and watched them.

Text: She soundly won the Democratic primary, but she and her gubernatorial running mate took third in the general election. She lost to incumbent Republican Gov. Jay Hammond’s ticket and former Gov. Wally Hickel, who ran as a write-in.

Katie Hurley:I – it was downhill – it was just terrible because there were so many, the write-ins started and I – there was no way we were going to win I could see that, but had to be a good soldier and act like we were going to win, but it was pretty much of a disaster.

Even though I spent a lot of time paying off the debt, but it was worth it. I mean I really did have fun. And I learned a lot too. It was good experience.

So then I ended – as a result I got a job – I was asked to head up the Alaska Women’s Commission. And so I got that in 80’s and I enjoyed that very much. That was three years. And then I was tired of commuting to Anchorage. It was really tough to do that and my girls were in college and I was – Jim was over in Kodiak and wasn’t coming back.

So anyway I – somebody said there was going to be an open seat here in the valley. So I decided to file and I had just token competition so it wasn’t so difficult, but I was running against a Republican who didn’t spend one cent and he didn’t do very much, but – except he was at all of the places nettling me about my position on abortion and my position on gay rights and my position on what was the third thing? Anyway every time and you know this is such a conservative – I won by 120 votes and he hadn’t spent one cent. So when I ran for re-election, my son said – well when I ended he said you know mother they didn’t know how liberal that you were when they voted for you in the first place and of course when they saw my record. I thought it was a good record, but they didn’t think it was – they didn’t think I was patriotic enough cause I voted against saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Cause I said we already have a prayer and I don’t think that makes you any more patriotic to say the Pledge of Allegiance. And my knowledgeable Democratic friends came up to me and said Katie you should change your vote. I said why? Well you’re going to get crucified in the valley and I said well, so be it. I’m not changing my vote when I believe what I said cause I don’t. And when you watch people saying it like that it is just like so many words. And they used it, not publicly but whispering type of thing. They didn’t attack me publicly on it so.

It really was fate because I developed cancer that next year and I would never have paid attention to my own health like I did because of what I was doing so. And I caught it. It was not a mammogram that caught it. I’d had mammograms. I discovered the lump myself and so I always said that it was fate that I should not have had that career.

Credits:
Recorded February 4, 2004, at Katie Hurley’s home in Wasilla. .
Conducted by Dr. Terrence Cole, UAF Office of Public History

 

Full interview transcript

Katie Hurley
Interviewed by Dr. Terrence ColeTerence: Okay, so today is February 4th, is it 4th? I’m pretty sure it’s the 4th, yeah, 2004 and we’re really proud, pleased to be at Katie Hurley’s house right off of Lake Wasilla. Is it Lake Wasilla?

Hurley: Yes. Lake Wasilla.

Terence: Okay. And so Katie, thanks for letting us come in here and take over your life here for a day. So actually let’s talk a little bit about that Constitutional Convention. Let’s just like – what was your role at the Constitutional Convention? What did you do there?

Hurley: I was the Chief Clerk. And that meant that I was the person who took the minutes of the Plenary Sessions. Plenary I guess everybody knows that that is when everyone was together and all 55 delegates were there. And I had been the secretary of the senate in the 1955 legislature and had a similar role of taking action minutes and I worked 12 years for Ernest – territorial Governor Ernest Gruening. And I had – I was in charge was what they call the boiler room which was where the stenographers and typists took care of committee reports and so forth, but we had a very small staff I think of about six people. I think I have a picture of that maybe they could take a look at.

Terence: Who were the people on the staff? Do you remember everybody’s name?

Hurley: My assistant was – oh, I should have written these down.

Terence: Well is D.A.

Hurley: No Doris Ann was a historian. Doris Ann Bartlett and she wasn’t ever – she was up in the library taking care of the delegates questions and so forth. And a black woman, wonderful smart, was my assistant and we became great friends and I still communicate with her although her health isn’t very good now. And then the other people were typists. And those people all came from Fairbanks and I hadn’t known them before, but we found them. And some days they you know they were long days at the end. And I had an apartment in Northward Building and they provided me a typewriter there because there was only one bus a day out and one bus a day back and I didn’t have a car and we all rode out most – a lot of people didn’t have cars. So I would bring my notes back that I wasn’t able to do while we were still at the University back to my room and type away. And sometimes until four o’clock in the morning towards the end, but I was always up and ready to go at eight o’clock.

Terence: Oh, man –

Hurley: We had to be out there by eight o’clock so.

Terence: So you went out well with –

Hurley: With the bus. I didn’t have any extra time because of the transportation thing and there was no way to stay late because the buses didn’t run except that one special bus for the delegates. And it was really tough when the weather was cold. It was 60 below day after day in January. I think even in December. It was one of the coldest winters Fairbanks had had.

Terence: Was that a manual typewriter or an electric?

Hurley: Oh, yeah, it was a Royal. In fact I have one down in my basement. It is exactly like the typewriter that I had when I was working for Ernest Gruening and when they had a surplus sale I got one of them and I have kept it all these years. Every once in a while I’ll go back, but it’s hard to type on a regular one after you’ve been typing on an electric you know, but yeah that is what it was.

And then the minutes were – I just did a rough draft and then I brought it in the next morning to the staff and then they cut stencils. Do you know what that is?

Terence: No, how does that work?

Hurley: Well in order – they had mimeograph machines and in order to print the stuff on the mimeograph to make more than one copy. They were blue and you had to readjust the typewriter so it didn’t – there was a lever on the typewriter where it would not be ribbon typing and it would set the thing down and then they would type up and then they had to run the copies off on a mimeograph machine. Sort of like – oh it’s so different it’s hard. I like to every once in a while some of the kids at school and trying to explain to them what a mimeograph machine is or a Royal typewriter cause everybody now is on computers.

Terence: Yeah, they might know what a Xerox machine is but they don’t know what a mimeograph machine is right?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: And so in essence did everything have to be typed twice?

Hurley: Yeah. Well, I just – mine was a rough draft. I mean I typed off from my shorthand and they had to cut the stencils and those stencils were destroyed after the copies were run off. And I have the copies that you could take a look at of those journals. Then the delegates checked it over and corrected by giving the wrong motion to somebody and so forth, but there were not very many mistakes that were substantive, but maybe somebody wanted a comma some place that I hadn’t put in.

Terence: And you sat right below the president. Where did you sit?

Hurley: There was all of the people were in the hall that is now called Constitution Hall and at that time it was the what do you call a gathering place? They ate there and –

Terence: Like the Commons?

Hurley: Commons. It was the Commons. It was a very new building. And the bookstore was there and they just gave the bottom part over to the delegates. And they had made a stage so that Bill Egan was one level above, but he was the only person up on that level and I was right below him. I have a picture. It is very primitive. It is not fancy. It is just this table and everybody smoked who smoked. Can you believe it? You can see everybody smoking during the session. Bill Egan was a chain smoker and I never smoked, but I certainly breathed enough smoke during that convention.

Terence: Did – so your clothes must have smelled like cigarette – well in those days you didn’t notice that so much.

Hurley: I don’t know. It was pretty big room and I know a lot of the people who smoked sat in the back and Bill was right behind me and I think there might have been Bob McNeely smoked, but there were not too many of them. There were only six women and I think – I don’t remember them smoking during the session, although I know Kathryn smoked but I don’t think she did during the session.

Terence: Did you know in a way you must have had to concentrate?

Hurley: Oh, yes because one thing that I had an advantage that I had met or knew of all but one of the delegates before I got there. And also Bill Egan was a very good chair and he would call them by name and so I could you know get that down fast, but also, yes, it was – I had to concentrate. But I was only let me see 34 years old, but I had had several years of experience of working for Ernest Gruening was an education in itself because I had only had one year of business college and I had a wonderful high school education. My son said that after he went to college and he learned what I had taken in high school he said you had the equivalent of two years of college in that high school course that you took.

Terence: Well, let’s talk about that. Where did you go to high school, where was that?

Hurley: In Juneau.

Terence: Okay, so –

Hurley: It was about – it was a very I think there were only 35 in my graduating class, but my sister who was just a year behind me there were 70 in hers. That happened to be a big class. So there were only about 150 to 200 in the whole high school.

Terence: Now you were born in Juneau, right?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: And did your parents work for the mine or the government or what was that?

Hurley: My parents were Norwegian immigrants who met in Juneau and my father was a fisherman and a carpenter. He had worked in the AJ Treadwell Mine as a carpenter, but he had fished – I think he was fishing when I was born, but he – halibut fishing. And he died when I was only a freshman in high school. But he had been working for the city when he died. He was – they were very education was utmost and we couldn’t goof off at all, my sisters and I, had to toe the line. I came home with a C in citizenship and my mother had a fit. She didn’t look at all those other grades. She wanted to know why? And I had told her I had talked too much. And I think that was true.

Terence: Okay, right.

Hurley: Somebody was always turning around whispering and the teacher was always having to call me down. That was when I was in the early grades not so much in high school. They had music and art and chorus and four years of English with Shakespeare and very – languages. We had French and Spanish.

Terence: Now that’s in high school?

Hurley: Yeah, in high school and then because my father had died and my mother said well wouldn’t be any money to go more than one year so I’d go to business college and I would have done better to have just had one year of college, but that was the way she figured it out. It was to help my sister because my sister was married to a medical student and so I had to live with them so that my mother paid them and that was a big help for them. It was not very good for me, but living with your older sister isn’t the greatest.

Terence: Now you and you had two, what your sisters’ names?

Hurley: My oldest sister was Helen and my youngest sister was Ruth. And my mother named me Kathryn, but my first name was Olga. And I don’t know how come I had enough sense when I went to school to say my name was Kathryn. Olga, and I was Olga until I started school and there are some of my contemporaries who used to give me – tease me by calling me Olga in school.

Terence: How do you spell Olga?

Hurley: O-L-G-A. And I think that my mother named me that because my father’s name was Olof and I think that was the closest she could get to that.

Terence: And what was your dad’s last name?

Hurley: Torgelson.

Terence: That’s not Norwegian.

Hurley: Torgelson, no.

Terence: Hardly, right.

Hurley: He was –

Terence: Olof Torgelson.

Hurley: Olof Torgelson, right. And one of my grandsons is Jewish and my daughter named him Jacob Olof. It is like greatest – I just love it of the David, the Rabbi was going to do the (inaudible) and he gave the history of the names. It was like everybody was just tickled to death. And my other grandson is named Adan Torgel. So they’re blessed with the Norwegian names.

– Break –

Terence: Okay, so. Let’s see where were we?

Hurley: Too much personal stuff.

Terence: No, no, that’s okay. So you went to after graduating from high school you went to business college out –

Hurley: In Portland, Oregon.

Terence: What was the name of the school?

Hurley: Bakke Walker Business College and it is defunct now. But I made some wonderful friends and loved living in Portland. In fact I had a job that my mother was very strong-willed and I didn’t dare go against what she wanted me to do. And she insisted I came back – come back to Alaska, which I blessed her for because in Portland I was going to work in an insurance office, which it certainly would have been a dead end.

But when I came back to Juneau, why it was 1940 and there was the beginning the build-up of not in Juneau but around the state for like Fort Richardson and they were building something over in Sitka. And there was a lot of activity, but there weren’t very many jobs for secretaries. So I went through the employment service and I got a temporary job working in the Game Commission, cause my eighth grade teacher was working in the Game Commission then and he gave me a good job referral. And then they ran out of money or I would have stayed there. It was just amazing how things worked out.

So I went to the employment service. I had gotten to know the guy there in charge and he sent me up to the Governor’s Office. They had a call out for a stenographer. And there were three or four other women and some of them I knew from high school and I knew how good they were. I knew they were way better than I was, so I didn’t really think that I would get the job. But because I – the mother of one of my classmates was working there and someone else knew me and the Governor had only been in Alaska a year and his secretary had come from Washington, DC and she had only been there a year but she was the one who did the hiring. And afterwards she told me that those women had made me out that I was such a goodie-goodie that she almost didn’t hire me.

– Break –

Terence: Where were we? Oh, Gruening, so Gruening.

Hurley: So I got the job –

Terence: And whose the –

Hurley: And the first day –

Terence: Who was his secretary?

Hurley: Her name was Estella Draper. And she was from Maine and she was a pistol. She liked off-color jokes and I’ll tell you people would come in to tell her these jokes and I was sitting across the desk from her and I just laughed you know with her and then afterwards I’d say, what was that all about? Then she would tell me and so I got quite an education. My mother was not very keen on my working there. She thought she was a little fast, you know, that was a good word in the 40’s.

Terence: Racy or fast.

Hurley: Yeah, fast, yeah. But she taught me a lot and she was very clear as to you know how I should stand up for myself, that Ernest Gruening was very – he was not easy to work for she said because he had such an education he expected everybody else to be up to that level. And she said whenever he says something you don’t understand just stop and ask him. Well that was kind of scary you know. Here he was Governor of Alaska, graduated from Harvard, medical doctor.

And anyway the first day I went – for the test I had to take letters from him. And his letter – he was getting rid of all of his correspondence and the letter I got was written to the Governor of Puerto Rico and it had all of these Spanish names and talking about something that I’d never heard of. And I was amazed that I passed that test, but that was my beginning.

And the next day he was starting on his message to the legislature in 1941. This was December of 1940 that I started. So he was already working cause it was going to be his first session and he had me bring my typewriter in and he would dictate to me on the typewriter and I was a very fast typist. And then with triple space and rip it out and then he would take it and work it over. So that was a new experience I had never even done that before and I was very pleased that I could do that.

But for the first six months every time the buzzer rang at my desk to come in I would shake. I can remember I was so afraid that I wouldn’t get it right or wouldn’t be able to understand him. You know he had a very Eastern New York accent you know when I first met him and being raised in Juneau I certainly had not been exposed to anyone who had been from the East, but.

Terence: Do you remember any words that he said that you couldn’t figure out, I mean like you say?

Hurley: Oh, this one word that I thought I’d never forget it.

Terence: Well when he talked with his accent like what did he say?

Hurley: Oh one time when he was dictating to me, this has nothing to do with his accent I don’t think, I think it was just me and my typewriter, but he was talking about muskeg, the muskeg in Petersburg or something and it came out musket. And he laughed about it, but the “t” and “g” you know it is just not too, you know they’re – one is on the third level and one is on the middle level and it was just I think I thought I heard him say musket but it didn’t make any sense. But he got a big charge out of that telling me about that. But I had to really listen to get to be sure that he – I can’t think of the word, any words that I had – I wish I had kept a journal of those years because every day.

I do remember that I had a list of words when I came out that I wrote down and looked up in the dictionary for their meaning. Every you know words that I would spell out in your shorthand. You know you can do with all the characters and so forth. But I would look them up to get the meaning and it was a real education.

Terence: I mean cause he had – so you took shorthand right?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: And then you did the typing?

Hurley: Yeah. Uh-huh.

Terence: Or did Estella do the typing at all or did you?

Hurley: No, she looked over my letters before she took them in and if she saw something that she thought I might have, she would help me that way. But he very often just changed his mind and wanted to emphasize something. It wasn’t necessarily that I had made a mistake. He was very wonderful cause I would stop him a lot of the times and ask him what the word meant and he would take the time and it was like I was his daughter. He had just three sons and I was kind of that age and he was so patient with me. And I think it was because I was so enthusiastic about everything. I knew it was a big adventure you know every day was not like going to work.

And we got the New York Times by mail and there would be a whole week of the New York Times that would come in on the boat. I knew the next day that I would have letters cause he knew so many people and he would come in and I’d have my notebook would be just filled and it would take me the whole day to type up all those letters that he had. People – somebody who had died that he knew or somebody was you know there wasn’t much direct radio at that time. You know you had to have a short-wave radio to get really much news, national news and it cost a lot to talk on the telephone. So we were pretty isolated. Took a couple of weeks or 10 days at least for a letter. There wasn’t airmail service then. So you’re kind of isolated and he had been working in the Interior Department and he was I think when he first came here felt pretty isolated and that is when he – Bob Bartlett was the Secretary of Alaska, which is like the Lieutenant Governor when Gruening came. He was a holdover. And they became good friends because of this bond of both having been newspapermen before they went into governmental service.

Terence: But Gruening must have been an intimidating guy for somebody don’t you think for –

Hurley: Oh, in the beginning he you know to me, but it was so amazing after about a year how I could think of him as more of a friend. But I’ll tell you for those first six months it was and I would on all of the women in the office were about twice, not twice, but they were in their 40’s and I was like 20 years old with very little life experiences. But we had lots of fun.

Terence: Did he have – I mean what the hardest thing about working with him would you say? You know did he have like a big temper?

Hurley: No.

Terence: Was he somehow not explaining things I mean what was –

Hurley: No, he was – to other people he seemed that way but that was the thing that was so amazing was how patient he was with me and I think it was because he – I really realized that I was making history, that I was part of history and that this was. And I also you know the legislature was so anti. It was – they didn’t want me to be governor in the first place and then he had all these ideas about taxation and making the fishing industry pay more taxes and the gold mine industry pay more taxes and they would – but there were a few people who realized how good he was going to be for Alaska and they – he made good friends with them. But he was fixated. If he got something in his head and he kept going and no matter if he had maybe only one vote that for him he wouldn’t give up with it you know.

He had an income tax bill introduced in that 1941 session and it failed and it was the last, almost the last week in the session it had gotten through. And they killed it in the senate and so he decided to introduce it in the other house and I had to type that bill and I had to stay there all night long typing the bill because it had to be typed in a way that they could make – it would match their typewriters. We had elite type and they had pica type and so I had to and the other women in the office fixed all. We had carbon paper. I had to make three copies and it was all numbered paper. They had to set up these sheets of paper and I had to remember to be sure to put it in the typewriter the right way.

And I had to type that bill and I remember going home and the birds were singing. It was about six o’clock in the morning that I – all alone in that building, except for the when I think about that and I was like 20 years old. Nobody else was there except me.

Terence: Was that the third –

Hurley: That was the 1941 session.

Terence: What floor of the –

Hurley: We’re on the third floor and the legislature was on the second. And there was a watchman in the place, but that was. session.

Terence: What floor of the –

Hurley: We’re on the third floor and the legislature was on the second. And there was a watchman in the place, but that was.

Terence: But it is still the same spot where it is today?

Hurley: Yeah. Uh-huh. Governor’s office suite, well it is very much more grand than it is now, but that was how determined he was about and there was no hope that he was going to get that bill passed but he was not going to let it go by without another chance at it.

Terence: Do you know – do you remember if he got any votes at all in the house or the other body, whichever one that you know did it ever –

Hurley: Oh, this is senate that was he – the house was very good. It was Democratic and there were 16 members, but there were only eight senators and so it only took to stop something it only took four people.

Terence: So that was it? It was just a –

Hurley: And there were two – there were equal representation from each of the – there were four divisions, the judicial districts and you know the people in Nome had as much representation as the people in Juneau in the senate. There were two senators from the Nome area, two senators from the Anchorage area, two senators from Fairbanks, and two senators from Southeast and that was it. And after the 41st session he started working with Tony Dimond to see if they couldn’t increase the size of the legislature and that bill passed so that in 1944 there were six – they doubled the size of the senate and there were 24 in the house and I think it was 16 in the senate. And that’s when change came. In 1945 session was like night and day between ’43.

Terence: Yeah, because I mean –

Hurley: Because they were –

Terence: One was only just four – two people from Nome and two people from Fairbanks could block anything, right?

Hurley: Yeah. Uh-huh. And so anybody, so this way there was more chance for the legislature to get through.

Terence: But what do you think about Gruening cause that was the issue right if Gruening felt someone wasn’t with him I mean that’s the difference isn’t it? Do you know what I mean for the people he thought like Judge Arnold or? Do you remember Judge Arnold?

Hurley: Oh, yes, he was a good friend. He became a very good friend and you know the thing about Judge Arnold is that people we liked him because you always knew exactly where he was and he would come up to the Governor’s office. But then and he would tell you know where he was going to be, but some of these other lobbyists would just you know pretend to your face that they were and they would be working against you. And we found out who those people were. But Judge Arnold was – he was very powerful, but it wasn’t as if you didn’t know it ahead of time.

Terence: I mean Gruening sort of said somewhere maybe it is in one of the messages to the people that you know – it must be in like the autobiography you know that basically Arnold would tell the legislature how much the salmon industry would –

Hurley: Oh, that was –

Terence: Was it – go ahead take drink.

Hurley: That was in his first I think he was speaking about that the first session, 1941 session, that he – they didn’t become friends that early. But there were certain group of legislators who were like Stan McCutcheon was always somebody that you could count on and also Bill Egan and oh, he was a graduate of the University of Alaska in Mining, oh why I can’t say his name. He became Commissioner of –

Terence: Oh, Chuck –

Hurley: Chuck Herbert. Chuck Herbert was sent down to Juneau. He told me this story himself that he was sent down to Juneau by the people in Fairbanks to fight Gruening. And when he came down and met him and talked with him he realized that they were all wrong. That this person was somebody who could make Alaskan’s realize that they had a voice and he became very supportive of his program. And I guess he got, I don’t know what happened to him when he got back home, but they probably, I think he tried very hard to convince them otherwise, you know the people, the chambers – the Chambers of Commerce were notoriously against taxation and they were against EG’s program but it was – he just never gave up.

Terence: What did – did you call him in his office, Gruening, I think that was a clock, Tim, that was just striking.

Tim: I heard a little, yeah, okay.

Terence: Did you call EG?

Hurley: Yes, I called him EG. Uh-huh.

Terence: How did that start? What was the –

Hurley: I don’t – I guess I started calling him Governor you know and then other people called him Ernest, but I told him I couldn’t I didn’t think that was – I just couldn’t call him that so I – he always signed his personal notes EG and that’s how I – it just kind of – I never asked him. I just started, but mostly I referred to him that way when I was talking to people – EG.

Terence: Did – so he arrives and Gruening’s wife was –

Hurley: Dorothy.

Terence: Dorothy, what was she like?

Hurley: Well she was pretty New England – Boston proper and she had ideas of her own, but she wasn’t too politically astute and she would kind of – I remember sometimes people telling about how he – she would start talking about something and he would have to tell her that – he would just tell her that she better change the subject that she didn’t know much about that. But they had a very – he had to order and he was very proud of her painting and so forth and they had a very – he worried that she spoiled the children cause he would talk to me later on about that because I was close to the age of his youngest son who was a problem because he was not adherent to some of – he didn’t take care of his money and was quite spoiled. And he would talk to me about that later on you know how would I react to something like that.

But I said I can’t tell you that because I didn’t have the kind of background that he had. He went to a private school and he was away from home at a young age and it taught me a lot about that I didn’t want to do that with my children, just send them, no matter what the education was I certainly didn’t want to send them away from parental guidance. Cause I had a daughter that school was quite elementary here, wasn’t very challenging and my husband wanted to send her out to a private school and I talked to some of the teachers and I didn’t want to do it. But this one teacher who had gone to Marquette and had studied for the priesthood and was really a highly educated, he said to me, what she has living here and in this family is way more important than what she might learn for college prep. And he said she’ll do okay. She’ll get to college and she will catch up on the things that she missed and she did.

Terence: Now on Gruening’s – so that had a big impact on you, seeing that with Gruening’s kids and the boarding school?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: And his kids were Huntington?

Hurley: Huntington. Well his first child died and his first child was Ernest, Jr. and he was at prep school and got an infection. It was mastoid and he died before and the irony was that his father was – Ernest Gruening’s father was a specialist in Ear, Nose & Throat in New York City. But it was before the use of –

Terence: Penicillin.

Hurley: Penicillin, which of course if they had it. That was a great tragedy for Ernest Gruening. He was 15 years old. And as a result he wrote absolutely the most sensitive beautiful letters to people who lost children. I remember my sister’s oldest boy was killed when he was 18 and Ernest Gruening was no longer – he was a senator but he heard about it and he remembered my sister and he wrote her a beautiful letter because he would empathize but he had such a wonderful gift of using words, as you know. That what was so exciting about when I finally got over my nervousness was just the way – just taking his dictation was a pleasure because he knew exactly how he wanted to say something. And he oftentimes would walk around and when especially he was writing speeches. He smoked cigars and he’d walk around smoking a cigar. And when I became pregnant with my son while I was working, my husband was in the service, and he said well how long can you work? I said I have to work. And I worked up until the day before my son was born which was unheard of because you weren’t supposed to be in public when you were showing. I hope I’m not moving around too much, I just realized.

Terence: You’re doing great Katie. Well that’s so interesting. So when he dictated he’d pace back and forth. Did he move his arms around? How – what did he look like?

Hurley: Well he would kind of just think – you could tell that he was you know in deep thought but he would move – no he wouldn’t move his arms, but he would – and then he would sometimes it would be a story you know and then he’d kind of explain to me what – why you know the background of something. Of course that was always fun when he took that time to tell me why he was writing or talking about this particular issue.

Terence: So in a way for you that was kind of like your college, right?

Hurley: Right. Bob Bartlett said I had a Ph.D. at the College of Ernest Gruening. He wrote me that when we were all going out of office.

And you know the other thing that he did which I thought was – says something about his personality. His term was four years every time and when Eisenhower came in he was inaugurated you know in January and he wanted to – he was ready to appoint the new governor. The governor said my term doesn’t end until April 13th and the legislature they were so angry because they wanted their own governor there then because the Republicans had been a big sweep in the legislature too. But he stayed there and we all stayed there until the 13th of April right in the midst of the session they had to make the change. Of course they didn’t do much cause they held all the legislation until he couldn’t do any of his mischief.

Terence: Cause I think some of that session was particularly bad, the ’53 session, do you remember that one?

Hurley: Oh, yeah, it was.

Terence: What was wrong with it?

Hurley: The leadership. I think – I can’t remember. I have books to tell me that.

Terence: There was a lot of drinking and you know, I heard it, alleged, I don’t know if this is true that they never actually adjourned when things came to an end. Do you know that story that the speaker might have gotten a little drunk?

Hurley: Oh, I was gone. I don’t know that was.

Terence: That was maybe after you left?

Hurley: Yes, see I was in town but I wasn’t around the halls you know because we were persona non grata, you know, they didn’t want any of us around there.

Terence: So you worked for Gruening I think from December of 1940 to April 195 –

Hurley: 1953.

Terence: 3 – 53.

Hurley: And then I typed his book. I worked for him personally his history of –

Terence: The state of Alaska.

Hurley: The state of Alaska. I typed those chapters and sent them to the – worked at home and did those and he was living out at his cabin. And then he – and then it was during the Constitutional Convention that his son committed suicide.

Terence: What impact did that have? I mean that must have been awful.

Hurley: Oh, it was very hard and especially hard because he was in a down time in his career. There was nothing going on. He had – of course he was – how old – he was in his 60’s cause he was 50 when he became governor in 1939. I think he was born in 1887 and so in ’56 he would have been close to 70. Cause I think he was in his 70’s when he ran the first time for the senate. I mean those facts, I mean if I did my subtraction I could figure it out right now, but.

Terence: So he was at least – he was over 80 by 1968, I remember that. So he was over 80 by then, so you’re right. So he is in his high 60’s or low 70’s for sure.

Hurley: Uh-huh. I know he was 70 the first, past 70 when he first ran in 1959.

Terence: ’59.

Hurley: ’58.

Terence: ’58 I guess.

Hurley: I think he would have been just 71.

Terence: You know I think you’re right. I think he was born in 1887, I think you’re right. Well, but so do you remember when – was he in Fairbanks when he got the news about the suicide or where did you hear about that? Do you remember where you were, you may not?

Hurley: I think it was –

Terence: Was it during the time of the convention?

Hurley: I think it was during the convention cause or else it was during the Democratic Convention because I think it was in the spring, but I remember that he didn’t go down there. He sent his son Huntington down to take care of things cause he didn’t want to leave Dorothy because it was very devastating. But he had been having – he knew that Peter was having problems. He had a marriage that hadn’t worked out and he had gotten this job I think he was working for United Press or something. And yeah, it was very tough. And I know that EG wanted to be the National Committeeman for the Democratic Party and he was very upset with me because I didn’t support him for that because –

Hurley: – was doing a good job. I mean that’s the kind of a person you need in that job and it was very upsetting to him and it was just sort – it was doubly bad for me because he had this tragedy of Peter. And so, but I just – it was hard for him to understand why I didn’t think that he would be and I think that’s part of the reason why he hung around the convention quite a bit too. He was just at loose ends.

Terence: He would have a terrible.

– Break –

Hurley: No, he was – but Kathryn was a National Committeewoman I think after the Constitutional Convention, but she might have been one during that time, but I don’t think so. You know, the bios are in the Dick Fisher book)

Terence: That’s okay. Here.

Hurley: No, I don’t need to go and get it. I was just going to show you something.

Terence: Well, what’s that, pictures or the?

Hurley: In – oh, the book, up on the top shelf there, there’s a book, paperback that says Dick Fisher State of Alaska Constitutional Convention.

Terence: Oh, yeah, right here.

Hurley: It has got a whole bunch of papers in it, yeah, bring me that. This is what I use to check up on people. I think – I must have just done this a few years ago because this book was published in the fall of 1954.

My autographed copy was presented to me by the author Ernest Gruening, November 29th 1954. My son was eight years old. The following year on Alaska Day, October 18, 1955 I sent him to school with the book. The passage marked which relates what happened in Sitka, October 18, 1867, he was to read it to his class. He was eager to share the story. He had a keen interest in history and Ernest Gruening was not only the Governor of Alaska, he was my boss and friend. I had typed the manuscript at home the summer and fall of 1953. We had also visited Washington, DC the summer of 1955.

I would send the book with him each year. It was a different story when I told my oldest daughter, Susan, she was to read the passage on Alaska Day in 1967, but I also made them take it every day and I told them that they better read it because I was going to call the teacher and check on whether they did it or not. Oh, they would just roll their eyes when I did that but it is a very short paragraph because there is still ignorance as to the difference between Seward’s Day and Alaska Day and I find even reporters calling Seward’s Day, Alaska Day and otherwise. And so I thought well this is my chance to educate a few kids.

Terence: What was the passage?

Hurley: It’s right in the first part of Russian occupation. I can’t believe I don’t have it marked.

Terence: Especially if you have to read it every year.

Hurley: Here it is.

Terence: Mom, –

Hurley: I don’t have my glasses on. I think.

The ceremonies attending the formal transfer of Russia America to the United States took place on October 18, 1867. Sitka Harbor, beautiful with its backdrop of steep forested mountains, was crowded with shipping, which had ridden patiently at anchor for 10 days. On the morning of the 18th the USS Ossopy arrived with Brigadier General Lowell H. Rossaw, United States Commissioner, aboard. At mid-afternoon of a “bright and beautiful day” the Russian troops numbering a hundred formed in front of the house of the governor.

I don’t where he found all this but anyway this I don’t need to read all of that.

Terence: That’s okay. Just that tape of it that’s the idea. What page is that on?

Hurley: It’s on page 25.

Terence: Oh, that’s great.

Hurley: But you could almost picture it from his description and of course there are some paintings and so forth of that, but my son was really interested in history. And he had gotten to go to the Constitutional Convention too when he was nine, ten, I brought him up for a visit and he loved it.

Terence: Well we’ll talk about that in a second. Let me just finish one thing with Gruening. When you said about that he – just went out of my head now, oh, the first message to the – remember after the 1941 session.

Hurley: He sent a message to the people. I have a copy of that.

Terence: Right.

Hurley: Right up there on the shelf and that he couldn’t get it. The Chamber of Commerce in Fairbanks refused to – I guess the News-Miner refused to print it. The only way the message got out was Senator, oh he had a dress shop, I can’t think of his name.

Terence: Nerland.

Hurley: Huh?

Terence: Was it – not Nerland?

Hurley: No, no.

Terence: Nerland?

Hurley: No. He was a Democrat and he took the speech to the Chamber of Commerce and read it and that’s the only way that the people in Fairbanks heard about that. And of course we did mail it out, but that was the first release. And there is a wonderful alliteration in there that I use all the time. Penny pitching pretended patriots. That is what he referred to the people who wouldn’t support having a National Guard Building built. He loved alliterations, but that one I have never forgotten.

Terence: And did – do you remember anything about Gruening’s relationship with Lathrop cause obviously he was running the –

Hurley: Oh, he hated – Cap Lathrop hated him and Murium, his secretary.

Terence: Dickey, Murium Dickey.

Hurley: And Murium Dickey, she was not – we didn’t care much about her either. I learned about – I mean it was so – I mean some people I found out you know later on they were really quite nice people, but EG – they were the enemy because they didn’t support his programs. Or they influenced people in the legislature to oppose, but Cap Lathrop was oh, my he used the power of his newspapers to – and he still owned the News-Miner. But of course when Snedden, he – it was a different story because he really cared about statehood.

Terence: I mean that changed dramatically when Snedden came in, right?

Hurley: Oh, Fairbanks.

Terence: Was that important when Snedden sort of shifted the paper’s politics?

Hurley: Oh that was – because it was a very popular newspaper. It was one of the best papers in the – it was a much better paper than the Juneau Empire and it was bigger than the Anchorage Times until Bob Atwood took over that paper.

Terence: Yeah, and that –

Hurley: And actually it wasn’t until Bob Atwood came into money that they really did a lot more than what – well I guess he got some help from Elmer when he –

Terence: Oh, from Elmer’s dad, E. A.

Hurley: Elmer’s dad, yes.

Terence: Did you ever meet E. A. Rasmuson? Do you remember Elmer’s father or you never met him?

Hurley: I knew of him when he was a figure in southeast Alaska from Skagway when I was a child, but I never – I think I met him when he came to the office because I think he was still alive when Ernest Gruening became governor and I think he had served on the Board of Regents or else – I know that –

Terence: Well he was on the regents, but he was the Republican Committeeman a long time.

Hurley: He was a big, yeah. I know that one of the things that the Democrats were very upset with Ernest Gruening when he appointed Elmer Rasmuson to the Board of Regents and because he was a Republican and the Democrats were furious with him that he couldn’t find a good, but EG knew what he was doing because Elmer, huh, just think of what he did. And he knew that he would because of his background would be what the University needed. And he also tried to appoint Louise Kellogg from here to the Board of Regents and the Democrats turned her down. And then of course she became a Regent for the Pacific Alaska Methodist University and gave all of her – I mean the University could have had because she would have done that if she had serving on the Board of Regents. So they were not very practical in that, but there were too many Democrats that wanted to be on the Board of Regents.

Terence: You know did you – did Lathrop ever come down to the governor’s office? I don’t know if you ever seen him down there, did he ever –

Hurley: I don’t recall that he ever, but it was a very – we had all of the you know everybody when they came through town on those early 40’s it was – the boat would be in town for a short time and people from up North would always come to the governor’s office. It was a busy place and that’s how I got to know so many people around the state that when I went to the convention I knew almost all of the delegates.

Terence: Now you said you had either known or heard of everyone except one. Who was the one that you –

Hurley: Tommy Harris from Valdez, who was elected by having only – I think he only needed – he was 29 votes or something is all he had and he was elected, but I hadn’t heard of him. I think he was – is it all right for my kitty to be here?

Terence: Is that okay for the camera?

Terence: She’s cute, yeah.

Hurley: She can go down. Kitty, you don’t need to be up here now. Go down, okay.

Terence: How come he only had 29 – he only had 29 votes total or?

Hurley: I think, well that’s another thing that we can check that right in here, but the legislature when they drafted that bill they wanted to have as wide a representation as possible and so they set up election districts that were so that all areas would be represented and that was before the one man, one vote. Nowadays it is not possible, which is why they could never have the same makeup in the constitution and that’s why it would never be brought forward because of the fact that was so representative. And some people you know who ran statewide they had to have over I think 7,000 votes is what elected Ralph Rivers and so it was when you look at the – there was an imbalance in that – in the number of votes, but for dividing up representation it – but it didn’t work out in the villages and that was too bad and they thought that it would. But the people who were in – very few people you know Natives got elected. Lonborg was from Unalakleet and he got elected whereas a Native Alaskan or Eskimo. One of the things that I want to do is to look at in hindsight to look at who actually was running and have to get those from the archives to see how many people filed for those particular out of the way places. Cause Frank Peranovich was the only Alaska Native and he had been a Senator so he had name recognition.

Terence: But there were some other former Native legislators that could have been I mean like from – I forget now. Weren’t there some from Nome or –

Hurley: Oh, yes, Bill Beltz for instance. And I don’t know whether I think he had run, but you know I think that was Bill got a brain tumor and was not able to run and died very young from that. But I was going to check to see whether he had even tried because he certainly had been in the legislature already.

Terence: Well you know Katie let me double back to one thing. One thing that I wanted to ask you about with message to the people.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: From Gruening, that was kind of radical thing that he did, wasn’t it?

Hurley: Oh, yes. He was so angry about the way the legislature had acted and he – and there had been very little coverage of the session because in those days they didn’t send reporters down to cover and the Juneau Empire was so anti-Gruening that they wouldn’t print – you know they’d just print the negative stuff. And he realized that was the only way he was going to let the people know what had happened.

Terence: Lou Williams I think said that at some time Helen Monson stopped using Gruening’s name and would refuse to use his name, do you remember that – the stories just said the governor and they would never mention Gruening’s name?

Hurley: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. They – well they had –

Terence: Why did she hate him so much?

Hurley: When he – when there was the – when his term was up and President Truman had taken over and his – there was such a movement to not have him re-appointed that a special plane was – Steve, I mean Steve and Stanley, I think Stanley McCutcheon was behind it and people paid their own way to go to Washington, DC to a hearing to be sure that he was re-appointed.

Terence: That’s okay. Because there was that big effort to blocking him, right?

Hurley: Oh, yes.

Terence: Because they thought first of all Dewey was –

Hurley: Go home, get, oh, the negative editorials were terrible. They were just. It was hard to think that people could be so mean. I mean they were on him. They were just – they were really – even when he first came up here there was a lot of anti-Semitic approach you know. Jew from New York and I didn’t even know what that there were what Jews were when I was growing up in Juneau. My father was working with the Mayor of Juneau, who was a Jew, but nobody ever talked about it in a negative way. We knew that – I knew that – I guess I realized that there was any religious – there were no synagogues or religious Jews in Juneau at that time.

Terence: And did that – what was Gruening’s response to these like if he got the News-Miner and would come down in the mail I guess and how would that be? Would he read the newspaper? Would he read a lot of the paper?

Hurley: Oh yes, we got all the papers. That was one of my jobs was clipping those newspapers and my kids thinks that’s my fixation. I’m still doing it. Because I had to – Estella would mark the stories. He had kept wonderful scrapbooks. They must be up in the archives up there because all that stuff was put in a scrapbook and you know the pros and the cons. Oh, yeah, he – it was – it sort of rubbed off, but I know it couldn’t help but get to him you know when everybody would be so negative.

Terence: Now did he ever say anything or do you remember when – so would he read the paper and then mark the articles or would Estella do that or would he?

Hurley: Oh sometimes he marked them and sometimes she marked them and took them in to him so that he would haven’t peruse the whole paper and I think that was why she marked them and then they would come to me, passed on to me to clip.

Terence: But you think – was Lathrop – it seemed to me it was – got quite personal between – I mean that it was really awful between Gruening and Lathrop, don’t you think?

Hurley: Oh, yes, it was.

Terence: Lathrop was so –

Hurley: Oh, yes, he was, very – he was so powerful and he didn’t take any you know – took – he had the power of the press and he used it very well, very well. Because, as I said, when Chuck Herbert came down he had no idea you know until he talked with him what a person of vision he was and depth as far as knowledge of government. And but that was what everybody had been fed. And I mean they had nasty editorials even when it was at the end you know.

Terence: Do you remember –

Hurley: Thanks, good-bye, good riddance or something like that you know. We’re glad you’re going. But Bob Atwood they raised a fund and bought him a car. I remember when that happened, that was very moving cause EG was hard for him to – for – to show emotion. He was always – I always thought it was because he was born in a very – I think his father must have been terribly cold and he had four sisters and they – he was the youngest. I think they gave him a lot of attention and encouragement, but he didn’t have – his father gave him a lot of wonderful attributes but I think the one thing that he never had was real love shown cause he was – never was demonstrative at all in any way.

Terence: Was it hard for him even you know with his kids I mean to show it – I mean it probably – I guess it was hard for him?

Hurley: Yes it was and you know I thought that – and I think I helped him you know because I would tell him you know after I – after all I had been with him several years and became in 19 – let’s see it was – I was just a clerk stenographer a couple of years and then I was the assistant secretary and then I became his secretary, which was like chief of staff when it was the same in 1945. It was in May of 1945 that I became his secretary. By that time you know we had been through a lot of battles. And that was when I – he would talk to me about Peter you know. And you know I told him that you know I thought it was hard for kids to be so far away from home at such a young age and that it was trusting in them to have – cause of the lack of even telephone service you know. And he never went to school in Alaska. They left him in a private school back when he came here.

And we talked about stuff and I’ll never forget when I told him that I was pregnant and I said you know I really hadn’t planned to get pregnant you know. I wasn’t exactly ready for that but anyway I said I was pregnant and he said, was it the Immaculate Conception? And that’s the first time that’s – but it was just blew me away you know. I thought what do I say now you now, but he realized that – and he had this twinkle in his eye you know. And that was in the next breath he said, how long can you work? And then he said does this cigar bother you, you know? And I said oh, no, I wasn’t having any problems like that. But he was and that was the thing that always made me so unhappy when people criticized him as not being very human, but it was just his way he had been raised you know. And he just couldn’t it was hard for him to be – show his emotions.

Terence: Did you think – some people said that he was really good you know like a lot of people – loving the people in the abstract? I mean you know as far as good causes. Cause you know he was on the right side of a lot of –

Hurley: Oh, yes.

Terence: But that it was difficult for him as far as even a politician taking care of individual people sometime or maybe that’s not –

Hurley: No, I don’t – yes, I think that’s true and you know I never got to see him much in Washington, DC. I always wondered how you know because so much of that constituent work is you know taking time to see people when they come back there. But he had a lot of staff, a lot more staff than Bob Bartlett because I think Bob Bartlett liked – he was a real people person.

Terence: Bob was and not Gruening. I mean Ernest, Bob was. Bob was people.

Hurley: Bob was, yeah, right, yeah.

Terence: Well, so let’s go to the or DA was telling us the other day a little bit about Bob and you know the family and all those family problems you know. The uncles and her dad or the uncle who murders the – do you remember the story? The Molly Walsh story. I don’t know if you know that Bob’s uncle.

Hurley: I don’t.

Terence: Do you guys remember that?

Hurley: I don’t remember that story at all.

Terence: The famous story of Molly. It’s in the thing that was –

Hurley: Is that –

Terence: Bob Dunkel murders –

Hurley: Is that in what’s his name’s book?

Terence: It’s in by P. R. Burton, the Klondike Fever.

Hurley: Oh, is it. I’ve read that book, but I don’t remember.

Terence: Well then Mike Bartlett in there is Bob’s uncle.

Hurley: Oh, really.

Terence: And anyway, so when DA was a kid, Mary told us this and so we brought it up to DA and she explained how Bob never told them the story. They didn’t know that. And this was a very famous story I guess in Alaska during the Gold Rush Days cause the uncle had killed this Molly Walsh. It is a very, you know, murdered her in a state of heat I guess.

Hurley: Up in the Klondike?

Terence: It was in Seattle. She had been with this other guy and then anyway he was then found innocent by version of insanity and went six months in the pen and Morningside or maybe it was pre-Morningside. And then he later committed suicide. So there were all kinds of bad things and then DA said when Bob went to the senate he refused to have a genealogy done because he didn’t want them you know.

Hurley: That he –

Terence: Right and the whole and all the uncles cause apparently all the brothers at one time or another served time or were committed to the insane asylum even his dad Ed Bartlett, briefly. I don’t know if he ever went, but I think he was you know back in those days of course they sent everybody to the insane asylum. So what do you think about sort of his, Bob, and kind of his you know his personality, his makeup you know, what was he like? Cause you saw him sometimes in DC right I guess, right?

Hurley: Yes, I lived with them when in 1948 I went back with Ernest Gruening and there was only money for plane fare and so I had to – I lived with Mary Lee and her mother for part of the time and then I stayed with Bob and Vie. They had – Doris Ann was in college I think. So I was able to have her room so anyway I stayed with them.

Terence: Now was that the 19 – that was the time when he was battling for re-appointment in ’48, was that when you went back or was that after? Had he already been re-appointed, do you remember?

Hurley: ’48 –

Terence: Cause he was re-appointed.

Hurley: Well it must have been – he had been re-appointed by Roosevelt cause he was appointed in – he came to Alaska in ’39 and four years would have been ’43 and or ’44 and Roosevelt was still alive. So it was in Truman’s sort of end of Truman’s term the second time. And I think it was ’49 when they went back for my memory is, but it might have been.

Terence: I think it was ’48, cause by ’49 was the income tax. It might have been. I can’t –

Hurley: ’49 was the legislature, yeah, it would have been ’48 and it was in ’48 in the spring so.

Terence: Probably (inaudible) or something.

Hurley: All I know is that –

Terence: Well how did you go back, Katie? Did you guys drive?

Hurley: Oh, no, flew. I flew in a plane where you had to stop in Nebraska and get out and buy your own lunch you know. They didn’t – it was like a DC3 or something that went across country. It was a long trip I remember that. And see what were we talking about.

Terence: You were going back to DC.

Hurley: Oh, I was going and he –

Terence: And –

Hurley: Had trouble having secretaries back there. I think the new director of the Division of Territories wasn’t very cooperative and so he wanted me to – he just felt that he just needed to have somebody there to do his work. While it was the easiest job I ever had it was nothing like working in Alaska. Because he would be up on the hill and then he would be in the office a short time, so I didn’t have much to do and it was a chance for me to really see and learn about the city. It was very – I had a great time, but I was so shocked at the way the place was run. Ichy’s blew whistles or bells went off when you were supposed to be at your desk and bells went off when it was time to quit. Wouldn’t dare be in the hallway or you might be knocked down. And I had to stay until the governor got back from the hill so I didn’t have very regular hours, but it was very educational.

Terence: Now that –

– Break –

Terence: Oh, it’s beautiful. I love it. Well DA said that you drove back across country. Do you remember that? It was a trip I think right before the convention. Was there a trip that you –

Hurley: It was in –

Terence: ’53 maybe, ’54.

Hurley: Fifty, it was after – it was like ’54 because – no, it was between I think it was the summer of the ’55. I had worked in the legislature and they took my son and Biddy had invited me to come and drive cross-country with her. It was a fabulous trip because we went to see some of his relatives in Wisconsin, who lived on a farm and David, my son, was just fascinated with them because they had interesting names. He can still – I can’t remember them now, but –

Terence: These are Biddy’s relatives?

Hurley: No, they were Bob’s aunts and they were sisters of his mother, on his mother’s side of the family, but it was quite a trip with Susie and Doris Ann and David and Biddy and me. And we drove up the highway and went to Juneau first and then later that summer I worked for Bob. I went up there and worked for him part of that summer.

Terence: Was that the first time you had driven on the highway that trip?

Hurley: No, my husband and I, first husband and I had taken a trip to Seattle and had bought a car and had come back up the – just as far as Juneau, but that was not – I had never done it from the back East and we came up through Montana, I think, where we went across. No we went clear to Spokane before we went – yeah we stopped in Spokane to see some relatives. And then we came up to you know – went into the Alaska Highway. It was pretty primitive still then, not many places to stop I remember.

Terence: Did you have – so you went – after you left Gruening left office, April of ’53, and then at that time had he already started working on the State of Alaska?

Hurley: Oh yeah he started working on it while he was in the – still governor. He was writing some things and I worked on it at home.

Terence: Did he ever talk about it much about what he was doing and –

Hurley: Oh, yeah.

Terence: What did he – what was his you know –

Hurley: He was reading a lot of stuff doing research in all that time and getting stuff from the library there in Juneau and you know he told me that he was going to call it the State of Alaska. He was very –

Terence: Did he say why – what was his – how did he –

Hurley: He was thinking of it you know he was oh, something that I wanted to find to show you was this letterhead of – while he was governor he formed the Statehood Committee you know in 1949. And then he got a national honorary Statehood Committee of 100 people from Hollywood and writers and so – have you ever seen that stationery that has all those names in red, white, and blue’s letterhead? Well I had one of those and I was going to show it to you, but there should be some of it in the papers up there in the statehood stuff.

Terence: Yeah.

Hurley: But he didn’t have any – you know he could write Al Jolson and tell him all about it and everybody was eager to join and that was one of and of course he was doing lecturing across country. I don’t how he got away with that because he accepted fees and maybe he took leave. I don’t remember the details of that, but some people criticized him for that, but he loved doing it.

Terence: What was he like as a speaker – Gruening? I mean when you hear him give a speech, was he – how effective was he?

Hurley: Well he was so eloquent and he never had a note and people would just you know to me it was amazing that – tell him anything and he could give a whole speech on you know whatever without writing it down, although when he did the messages to the legislature he wanted so many facts that he had to. But he had a very quick mind for remembering statistics once he had written facts that he didn’t need them when he was lecturing across country about Alaska. And he had slides too I think sometimes. He had taken a lot of you know kind of slides that 35mm and he used those I think on when he was lecturing. I never saw him but I had a lot of people – my husband Jim Hurley had aunts who went to his lectures at Berkeley and were just fascinated by his eloquence.

Terence: So but did you ever help he had to give a speech locally – did he ever speak in Juneau?

Hurley: Oh yeah, but he never wrote those out, no. He did very little – seldom did he have to write those kind of speeches. It was mostly when he was going to be giving his address to the legislature that I remember now.

Terence: They had to be printed too.

Hurley: Yeah, right.

Terence: But in a way he really did this policy of trying to bypass the legislature, didn’t he? Cause when the program was stymied in the legislature in a way wasn’t this addressed to the people sort of a way of putting pressure on them to change their ways? Is that a fair characterization, would you say?

Hurley: Oh, yeah, that was certainly calculated that he would and he would go well for instance when the legislature in ’48 I think it was ’49, no it wasn’t ’49, must have been ’47. Yeah, it was ’47 they did away with the Development Board. And George Sonborg had been the Director of the Development Board. So what does he do? He gets a position in our office. It was open, somebody had left and he hires George Sonborg to be there. But George Sonborg was doing the work of the Development Board. I mean that’s the way he carried on the work of the Development Board was he just moved it to our office and was doing that same thing in the office, but that kept that space because it was under the governor’s office.

Terence: You know if how would you characterize Bartlett as a speaker? What was he like? We were talking a little bit about him when you first heard him in the –

Hurley: Oh, well, when he ran you know it was Ernest Gruening who pushed him to – encouraged him to run for delegate the first time. Vie was not crazy about that. I don’t if Doris Ann said that, but she wasn’t crazy about going to Washington, DC at first. And – but his first speech when we heard him on the radio and everybody was cringing because it was so bad. And yet it was beautifully written, but nobody would pay you know you have to able to project and so it was really great when he could send speeches and they were printed and people could read them. But I don’t think he ever really – I think he had to me he had a slight speech impediment and it got in the way. But he was not – he was very even. He wasn’t – he didn’t project like EG just had a natural talent for it. I think just because of his education. And the fact that he had just been – I mean he had you know seen and gone to the theater for years and had that probably had taken what they call elocution lessons even. I’m sure his father saw to that.

Terence: And Bob didn’t have those advantages.

Hurley: And he didn’t have those advantage – he went to the University of Washington, but he didn’t ever grad – I don’t think he graduated but he didn’t have that background, but he certainly wrote very well and in a way that he got his points across very well. And on the floor he – I think he was very good in the congress.

And he had such a personality with people that – it is something that I told Mary that we really should try to do something about for his 100th birthday because he was able to get bills passed and get money for Alaska and he had nothing to trade. He was a vote less delegate you know. And it was all because of the great friendships that he had with the leaders.

I mean he was very close to Lyndon Johnson for instance and he was very close to the senator from Montana who was a powerhouse – Mike Mansfield. They were personal family. You know the wives and you know they had dinners together and you know. Washington wasn’t as social, high social in those early days during the war.

I don’t know if this cat is bothering this wire. Is it?

Terence: She’s okay.

Hurley: Kitty, kitty.

Terence: You know if and he ended up on the Appropriations Committee.

Hurley: Bob.

Terence: Bob.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: Which was pretty amazing for being on the appropriations.

Hurley: But that’s because he was so close to the power you know and Ernest Gruening was not Lyndon Johnson’s friend after the Tonkin Resolution.

Terence: What about Gruening and the Tonkin Gulf? Did you ever talk to him about that or hear him talk about that? I know you weren’t working for him.

Hurley: Oh, yes, he talked about, yes. When years later, but you know the interesting thing to me is that he doesn’t – they mostly mention the senator from Oregon. They don’t mention Ernest Gruening very much in connection with that.

Terence: Morris.

Hurley: Wayne Morris. And I don’t know why that is but he wasn’t Mr. –

Terence: Congeniality.

Hurley: Yeah. He knew what he wanted to do and he did it and he – I think he stepped on a lot – he wasn’t very good at going through the steps that you’re supposed to. He saw the target and he went there and he didn’t want to go around it like in the real true political way and made I think you know I’m sure he was a thorn in Bob’s side a lot of the time because of that. And yet it was just his – I think it was he couldn’t help it. It was just his personality and he was – he was so eager that he could see that it could be done and he just wanted to get it done.

Terence: You know and if it is something that I guess with Gruening’s this thing of his personality, could he ever have been elected governor of Alaska in the 40’s do you think? Would he ever – if there had been an elected governor you know was that something that would ever have been possible do you think or given the you know –

Hurley: I don’t know because the way he enjoyed you know when he was out in the Bush those Native people just adored him because he really was very much down to earth with them and he was the one who to me brought this message back about how well educated – I mean they just had education from within and some of their talents that they could – I remember his first tale saying how they could take motors apart and put them back together and make them go and no one else could. And he was so fascinated by the people out there that –

Terence: But they –

Hurley: I think that they would have voted – they called him the Great White Father or something like that you know because of the fact that he had gotten – well first place the discrimination law that he put forth the first session in 1941 and you know Elizabeth Pradovich gets a lot of credit for passing it, but it was – he had put it in in ’41 and in ’43 and that was a plan. I mean we all knew that she was going to be there and he had worked behind the scenes to be sure that she would be recognized so that she could do that. But he was very generous in his book to give her credit too so I have soft pedal my feeling about the fact that he didn’t really get the recognition for having fought for that.

And he went over to the bar – I remember him going over to the bar in Douglas and talking to the guy there and he was Italian and he said how would you like it if somebody put up a sign and said No Italians Allowed. And he did it with a Greek restaurateur in Anchorage the same thing. And he was not afraid to call it to their attention, how wrong that was. But it was a different era. But it was at such a different kind of campaigning that you know there wasn’t the money being thrown around like it is today. It was a pretty much one on one and I’m sure but what they would have used that against him that he was too sophisticated too much from New York.

Terence: And it really was something that with the anti-discrimination act that he was passionate about that, wasn’t he?

Hurley: Oh, he was. He was absolutely. He was just stunned that people had signs up. Oh the one that got him the most was No Dogs or Natives you know. That really – when he saw those he’d go in and shake it at the – but it was pretty sad commentary on Alaska still.

Terence: And it really was like you say an orchestrated campaign by him with the Alberta Shink, the woman in Nome. I don’t know if you remember that in the movie theater.

Hurley: Well no I remember the telegram when it came in that day.

Terence: What was – what happened?

Hurley: Well you know we knew – you didn’t get telegrams all the time you know and it was very expensive –

Hurley: – and well he got the details from the mayor. I think it was Ed Anderson at the time, who was not exactly fighting for – I think he was discriminated himself but he was outraged at that girl. It was wonderful that she had the guts to send him the telegram. I don’t know who was behind that but he was very moved by it and he did. We had a hot line to – a direct line to General Buckner during the war and he really read him out about that they ought better do something about it.

Terence: Do you remember – did the telegram was brought up and you brought it in to him or how did that work? Do you remember and if not, that’s okay?

Hurley: I saw the telegram and I do think I took it right in to him because it was – no, I wasn’t in that position yet I don’t think. But I remember taking the – cause he wrote several letters about it that it was –

Terence: But I think –

Hurley: But it was happening right in Juneau too you know, but the discrimination.

Terence: It was just that this case in Nome was so stark and then she went to jail.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: And that was the whole deal refusing to move and stuff so.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: It was a perfect case for him to make.

Hurley: Well he was –

Terence: It wasn’t Elizabeth Peratrovich in a way I mean you know. It doesn’t seem to me – she’s important but it is mostly symbolic.

Hurley: No, yeah, that but it’s – I don’t ever talk you know I don’t ever say anything because –

Terence: No, I’m just saying that. No, because I think it is absolutely true. If you look at the record it’s a little bit –

Hurley: It would never have happened if it hadn’t have been for her to scream.

Terence: It wasn’t because she was in the audience that day and stood up and he set the whole thing up.

Hurley: Oh, yeah.

Terence: And he was in a sense –

Hurley: But I think that they knew that Mr. Shaddock would probably get up and be – I don’t know that they thought it would be about her wonderful response was terrific. But she was ready for it you know. They knew –

Terence: Were you going to say you didn’t know quite so dumb.

Hurley: Yeah, that would be so stupid as to get up and say what he said, but not surprising.

Terence: Do you remember – ask one more question and then let’s talk about the convention specifically, but you know who was the Democratic senator that Gruening felt so betrayed by I can’t remember the guy’s name? I think it begins with a “D”, Norm. No, not Norm.

Hurley: Where was he from?

Terence: I don’t remember. Had to have been from Nome or the west some place. No, no, it begins with a “D” his last name I think, is there –

Hurley: There’s a Democrat Ed Coffey.

Terence: No, it wasn’t Coffey.

Hurley: Because he wasn’t any special friend. He was a Democrat.

Terence: Doc somebody?

Hurley: Oh Doc Walker.

Terence: Doc Walker.

Hurley: From Ketchikan.

Terence: Yeah, yeah, okay, he’s from Ketchikan, yeah. What about – I mean cause they seemed to have a really bad relationship with him, right or maybe am I mis-remembering?

Hurley: Well I think it’s because he had promised something and then he voted the other way because he got money or something you know. Nobody knows what people do. In those days they could promise him – I think he had a drinking problem – Doc Walker and whether somebody took advantage of him when he was in his cups and he made some kind of a commitment, but anyway I know EG didn’t trust him any more after that.

Terence: Yeah, and he –

Hurley: And I guess he was a pharmacist is where he got his nickname Doc. I think he ran a – but I think it was maybe he hadn’t really been a friend all along you know it’s hard to say. But I think he was counting on him and then –

Terence: Is there something can you sort of summarize why was the fishing – why did Gruening sort of target the fishing interests as kind of his – is it safe to say – fair to say that they were kind of his main antagonists in a way or –

Hurley: Well he was outraged that they didn’t pay – that it was a resource that was you know a renewable resource but that they weren’t paying their fair share. It was you know something like the constitution says it belonged to all the people of Alaska and they were getting by with very little taxation on the crop you know the canned salmon and the fact that they were also handpicking legislators and financing them to elect and be there so that – it was really his taxation plan I think that made him and then after Bill Arnold retired from lobbying. There was Pete, he was from Ketchikan also, and his brother was a lawyer and old family in Ketchikan. I can’t say it right now; the name doesn’t come forward. I can just him but he was not like Bill Arnold. He was sneaking around you know making all of his moves behind the scenes and EG didn’t cotton to him very well. He was also he didn’t like Ernest Gruening either. He was part of the friendly with the Empire.

Terence: So Arnold – does he represent the canned salmon industry, right?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: So how did he I mean you know did he come by often to talk to Gruening in the office?

Hurley: Oh, yeah, he’d come up to the office and they’d chat and so forth, in fact –

Terence: Sort of measure each other up, is that –

Hurley: Yeah. I think that he enjoyed sparring with him you know, Arnold did with – I think he recognized his ability and I think given you know he was being paid and he couldn’t very well be a supporter and being paid by the canned salmon industry, but I think he respected him, a lot more than people thought.

Terence: Maybe we can use the voice over, we don’t have to use that picture. So that’s good. So I think that so that the fishing industry are really the core, right?

Hurley: Well it was the fish traps.

Terence: Why were the fish traps such a big problem? Why were they such you know –

Hurley: Because it was the big industry people owned most of the fish traps and it was taking some of the biologists and so forth didn’t think it was – I believe that they didn’t think it was very good for sustaining yield to have them because there wasn’t much monitoring of them. And sometimes they would put them right close to creeks and by the time they found out about that they were there there would have been no escapement and that was one thing I believe. But the other thing was that it was taking jobs away from people who had individual boats. It was a wonderful way to get a lot of fish and I think that that was a very, very, very clever thing that the constitutional delegates did was to make that an ordnance to go on the ballot at the same time that the constitution was to be voted on because it was a very, very popular issue and would get out the vote, which it did. And of course it was they were dead as soon as the day that we became a state because they didn’t have to wait for the legislature to meet.

Terence: I mean it’s fair to say isn’t it that that was probably the most popular. I mean that approach is like people’s love of the dividend today, the hatred of fish traps, don’t you think?

Hurley: Oh, yeah. I think so. Oh, yes, it was and my friend who I went to school with was a delegate from Petersburg, Elder Lee, was a very quiet person and did not get the credit that he should have for his presenting that to the convention and arguing for it and then the going along with the – cause he was a fisherman, long time father before him. And then the genius of Buckalou and Burke Riley and a couple of others in not having it in the constitution but having the ordinance so that it would – that they would be able to – the public would be able to vote on it and also read – take more interest in the constitution itself.

Terence: Why though not have it in the constitution? I guess I don’t understand that. Why not have it cause they’re voting on the constitution as well?

Hurley: Cause one of the things that they had decided in the beginning was that they – the constitution was to be broad concepts and not legislation. And that’s one criticism that – he wasn’t my husband then, but Jim Hurley said of the resources article the day that they voted on it he pointed out that he thought that there was – that just because there were so many issues that people couldn’t get together on that there is more language in the resources article that should really have been legislation, but he said he was not going to vote against it at – because of the it was too late. It had just come to him in studying it that he felt basically that they should have taken some of the language out and left it for legislation.

Terence: So the idea –

Hurley: And I think that he thought that there were certain things that were going to make it difficult as the years go on.

Terence: Let’s wait – stop right there to change his tapes.

Hurley: Excuse me.

Terence: That’s okay.

– Break –

Hurley: They have no vision.

Terence: Yeah, right, yeah.

Hurley: They just are seeing today and maybe tomorrow.

Terence: No, the distant horizon is the next election. That’s it, you know. Of course, the national scene isn’t any different. We were talking as we grew up –

Hurley: Oh, golly, I hope I live long enough to see change.

Hurley: God, isn’t it sick. You know what before you start – I want to say –

Man: It was a perfectly dry all the way out –

Hurley: That day George Sonborg was the editor.

Terence: The day the bill was passed. Let’s do that story. You were (inaudible) right. Your son was fishing.

Hurley: My son, my son was what 1957 – he was born in 46.

Terence: So it was ’58.

Hurley: ’58, he was like 12 years old and he wanted to go fishing and this friend of mine liked to fish and she had promised to take him fishing. And so I knew that it was Bob Bartlett had called to let me know that this was going to be the day, some time that day he was sure it was going to be the vote cause they had been arguing it and he was quite sure. And so I had called Bill and said I want to come by and we had connected and I volunteered during election to help with counting and stuff. So we were out there and it came on and we – I think I was even driving and Thane it was about three or four miles and we dashed in. I parked the car and ran up the steps, two at a time, I was so excited to get up there. Cause I knew I wouldn’t see all of it but David was so excited to about it. And we got up there and saw the – to me that was the day that we became a state because there had been no much work and we had been so long. I had been in Washington in 1950 when the house had passed the state – I was in the gallery. I was with Mary Lee Council. Bob had seen to it that we were there when they passed the statehood bill in 1950. So this is like eight years later. So that was very exciting to be there.

Terence: And did you see it come over the Teletype?

Hurley: I was it coming over the Teletype. They were calling the role. I still – by the time we got there I guess there was some argument I knew I was able to get there cause you know in the senate they still – they don’t use automatic they still call the role and it takes a while to call. At that time of course there were 98, no 96 senators because Hawaii came in after us.

But you know it was so exciting because there hadn’t been since 1912 you know and during the convention I don’t think anyone had any conception that it would happen so quickly. Looking back it is amazing the it was just two years and they thought – that’s why hardly anybody of the lobbyists came to the convention. They thought it was an exercise in futility. To bad those guys are so carried away that they are spending all that time writing it – the constitution. But it was I think because it was such a good constitution and the planning had been so good and having those consultants who were so well established too that – and yet they didn’t write it but they got into it too I think. I think they didn’t realize how emotional it would be for people to recognize that what they were doing was once in a lifetime.

Terence: It was a pretty emotional experience for everybody wasn’t it? Was it for you I mean how you know –

Hurley: Oh I knew it was all those years that I worked with Gruening as I said I never felt I was going to work. I thought I was the luckiest person alive to be there and that was the way I felt every day and I never was – I never was tired. I mean I must have been but I don’t have any memory of it getting to me and I just had a lot of energy and knew what – and the fact that they got it done and so well. But those – they worked not just when they were out there. Some people I guess didn’t but I know a lot of them when they went home at night were reviewing what they had done and what was going to be coming on and studying those – I have the copies of those work pages that the Statehood Committee had done.

And it was such – the other thing I think about having another convention that is that nobody was there thinking that they were going to be making a big career from having been there or it was – and they had such respect for each other, even though there were lots of Republicans and although there were more Democrats in nominally at least then, but even the people who had served in the legislature I think acted different.

– Break, phone rings –

Terence: That’s right, exactly, and worrying. Let’s see; cause you thought nobody was anticipating a career out of it.

Hurley: No, I never got the feeling about it, although I think that you know there was the election of the president was pretty – there was one person who really wanted it badly, Vic Rivers, and he had been a very good legislator and he would have been an adequate chair but he would not have been the kind of chair that Bill Egan was and really bringing people together. And that was so amazing how people – they may have come there some of them with an agenda. But they certainly – they never showed because it was just so much – but there were some real healthy debates and it good to see and good that it was cause the results were much more effective because they had debated them so heartedly.

Terence: Why was Egan good at you know at chairing?

Hurley: It was just a gift. You know I had seen him as speaker of the house but I hadn’t been in the room. I mean he was speaker of the house when I was still in the governor’s office I believe or else he was when I was in the senate, but I think it was before that. But he was – he wasn’t – he didn’t care about being a star himself I guess is the best – the reason why he – and he was so willing to look at people individually and not be judgmental. And yet you know there were people who he had worked with and I think were on opposite sides but he saw his role, just did it, and much more – much better than anyone could have imagined that he had a very you know just a gentle way.

My favorite is when he would stop – he’d see somebody who was inexperienced, hadn’t been in a legislative body or hadn’t served on a city council or had any kind of experience and he could tell that they wanted to make a motion or make an amendment and he’d stop and call a recess and motion to them to come up and he’d say yeah. Cause I could hear him cause he was – they were right beside me and he’d say did you want to have – say something or did you want to make a motion. And he’d help them write it and that’s a real gift in a presiding officer. And of course it was informal enough that you could do that too.

Hurley: Was a largely forgotten Democratic senator from Alaska named Ernest Gruening, whom I came to know not by covering his campaigns but by the accident of living next door to him when I first moved to Washington in the early 1960’s. He was already in his late 70’s, a small man, pot-bellied, slightly stooped, and appearing myopic. He had been sent to the senate by the voters of Alaska in 1958 as the final stop of a long career in public service that had included a significant role in achieving statehood.

He had a remarkable history. The son of a Jewish physician. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1911, but decided he didn’t want to practice medicine after all. He had too many other interests he once told me and he needed more time to pursue them then a career in medicine would allow. So he went into journalism starting out as a reporter in Boston and eventually serving at different times as editor of several of the many newspapers then published in Boston and New York. He was twice editor of The Nation, once running it by himself and at another time as a member of a board of directors and he wrote what for years was considered the definitive archeological history of Mexico.

But he turned from writing and public service when President Franklin D. Roosevelt chose him in 1934 to be Director of Territories, a post that put him into continuing conflict with notoriously testy Secretary of the Interior Harold Ichies.

One of Gruening’s claims to fame or at least notoriety was his policy of preaching birth control to Puerto Ricans as a first step in having themselves out of poverty. That initiative evoked such a stern reaction from the Roman Catholic hierarchy that Jim Farley, the Democratic National Chairman, asked FDR to call off Gruening or risk losing the Catholic vote in 1936.

Did you know all this?

Ernest’s commitment to birth control continued throughout his public service – public career producing one memorable press photo of him holding up a birth control coil during a senate hearing in an era when the topic was rarely discussed in public. When I came to know him, Ernest’s distinction was as one of the two maverick liberals in the senate. The other was Wayne Morris of Oregon, who were the first to oppose President Lyndon B. Johnson on the war in Vietnam. Because the president wanted unanimity behind the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution the pressure on Gruening was intense, but he seemed to accept it with equanimity that comes from genuine self-confidence. I would be cutting the grass on a hot day in the summer of 1964 when Ernest would appear in his back yard in shorts and sandals balancing precariously on his stringy legs.

I can imagine what he looked like.

That looks like hot work he would call out, time to take a break. So I would abandon the mower and accept a cold beer, then listen for an hour while Gruening brought me up to date on LBJ’s attempt to change his mind on Vietnam. What we are doing is worthwhile Ernest would say because as long as there are even a few dissenters he will feel some restraints on his freedom of action. I liked Lyndon he would say, but he tends to get stubborn about things like this. Eventually he would say the whole country will realize this war is a mistake.

Ernest Gruening wasn’t short of serious politician acting on his convictions, not only on Vietnam but on a whole list of issues on which he became a leading spokesman for the left. He didn’t last long in the senate, however. In 1968, after 10 years he was defeated on a Democratic primary by a younger, slicker candidate who ran clever commercials and once elected was never heard from again. It might have been the beginning of a trend.

Gruening was not silence by defeat. He continued to take a prominent role on liberal issues and he was particularly outraged by Richard Nixon. Campaigning for George McGovern in 1972 when he was 85 years old and assailing Nixon on matters as diverse as his Supreme Court appointments and his attempts to intimidate the press. What made him special was that he cared about getting something done, not just getting elected. There isn’t enough of that going around.

And I was there the night he died. I went with him to the – I was visiting Washington, DC and I’d called on him and while I was there he’d say –

– Break, phone rings –

Hurley: Even writes a column any more does he?

Terence: I don’t think – I think he is retired, yeah.

Hurley: I was so stunned when I was reading this book and I came to that point. I couldn’t believe it.

Terence: Is that a pretty good estimate do you think of what you admired about Gruening?

Hurley: Uh-huh. Yeah. I think it’s amazing that he – that as a newspaper person that he recognized those things in him. Yeah, that was – they called the ambulance and –

Terence: Yeah, you said you were that night.

Hurley: I was there in Washington and had gone over to see him and while I was there or when I had called ahead of time and someone said that he wasn’t doing well, but for me to come on out. And Mrs. Gruening was there and so I went in the ambulance with him and she went in a car. And we got over there and who should be there but George McGovern. And then I stayed a little while and then I left, but he died that night. But he was in terrible pain and cause he had – I forget what his cancer was, but he was on – and he was ranting – he was just raling against all the powers that be. And you know Nixon he had been the impeachment came shortly after he died and all I could think of was that oh, if EG had only lived that long so he could see that he was right. He called him a crook you know when he was campaigning for McGovern when he was up here in Alaska. Never could see Nixon.

Terence: What was he railing in the ambulance?

Hurley: Yeah, he was railing in the ambulance. It didn’t make any sense but he was on very high pain Morphine and it was – but he knew me when I came there. Mrs. Gruening said this was the governor’s – she was telling everybody I was the governor’s secretary.

Terence: And so he was just like saying things but it was like complaining about stuff right?

Hurley: Yeah, just – he was shouting you know I can’t remember exactly but it seemed to me he was saying Nixon’s name or something. Yeah, it was quite a trip. I just didn’t – it was quite by accident that I happened to be when I was on the State Board of Education and I think I was at a meeting there.

Terence: Did you go back when they dedicated this stature in the Statuary Hall? Were you there that time or?

Hurley: That was something that my brother-in-law – I was very upset. My sister was having heart surgery in Boston and my mother had given me a ticket to go back there to be with her and she had had the surgery and my son was in Washington, DC and he had worked – he had been working for one of the – he had been working on the program for that and he told me when it was. I wanted to go down and my brother-in-law said he needed me there and my sister you know wasn’t in very good shape and so. But I thought I could go down and come back but I stayed and I resented it for the rest of his life that he did that to me cause he didn’t need me any more than he needed anybody you know. It was a crutch and made me miss and I think he did it deliberately because he never thought Gruening was very great. But I would have loved to have been there.

Terence: Did you think that when he was defeated in ’68 about the write-in, what did you think about – what were you doing in ’68, Katie, and were you at that time?

Hurley: I was here. Oh, I went out and I knew he couldn’t make it, but I went with, I went – I met with a whole lot of good people that day because I had to sign – we went to the ballot box and I knew it was futile but of course I had to do it and we had a lot of fun. It was a cold day, but he was pretty crushed by Bob Bartlett’s endorsement of Gravel. And I was shocked and I think that Bob was not well. He was dying you know and I think he was on drugs and so forth. I don’t think he would have done that if it hadn’t been because I remember hearing it. His voice was not very strong but it was hard for EG because he talked to me – he did talk to me about that.

Terence: What did he say? Do you remember what he said?

Hurley: He just you know couldn’t understand why he did and I just – I really told him that I just thought that Bob was not in his right senses when he did it. I thought he needed to have some closure to it because it really had bothered him. What did I do you know? Well I knew what he had done. It was just his – there were plenty of times that he certainly got in the way of Bob and he was just because of his personality and I don’t think he realized how hurtful that was for Bob you know so. Gravel – I mean it was – for me it was because it was Gravel who I knew was a real jerk. I guess he’s still living, but he didn’t do much for Alaska while he was there.

Terence: And you know –

Hurley: And then the tragedy that Clark ran such a good campaign, but didn’t make it.

Terence: Yeah, in 1980.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: Or won the primary.

Hurley: The primary, well he won the primary.

Terence: Primary but lost the general to Murkowski.

Hurley: Yeah, gee how history might have been different. I think somebody had mentioned that, was in this morning’s paper, yeah, I think it was. It was talking about Anchorage News talking about the conference and what a smart decision that was for Murkowski to appoint Clark to that committee.

Terence: Yeah, he’s a sharp guy.

Hurley: Yeah. Complimentary.

Terence: But do you think that Gravel – wasn’t Bartlett worried that Rasmuson might win the election, wasn’t it that a Republican might win I mean don’t you think that’s?

Hurley: Oh, I’d forgot that Rasmuson was.

Terence: Remember he was the nominee you know and I mean I had just had the idea. I mean it shows how loyal you were really were loyal to Ernest, I mean weren’t you?

Hurley: Oh, yeah.

Terence: I mean.

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: But Bartlett I looked in this correspondence he was furious that Ernest did it you know, ran the campaign you know – or ran the write-in I mean to say.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: Cause of his age and all that other stuff I guess.

Hurley: Uh-huh. Well I didn’t think he would you know he should have either but I didn’t think he’d win either and write-ins are almost impossible to win and but that film was such a bunch of false information.

Terence: What film was that, what was that about?

Hurley: The film that is what he alludes to in the story about the Gravel and the primary had this – that was the first time that anyone had done a very elaborate television campaign and he had a film produced of his life and it looked like he had been in the underground during World War II and all kinds of pictures that couldn’t possibly have been true because he was too young. And you know films can – and that’s the beginning of what you can do with a good film to make a candidate look entirely different from what they are. It can just depend on and that is what has been happening with a lot of campaign since then but that was the first one and boy did it pay off. Because people did think he was too old.

Terence: That Gruening was too old?

Hurley: Gruening was too old and he was old, but he was how old – 80.

Terence: He was above 80.

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: Ted Stevens is now –

– Break –

Hurley: He had got sick during the nomination – during that convention and they took him to – and he had what they talked about was a blocked intestine, but that’s when they discovered the cancer and he made a last trip up here after many battles as – and he knew that he didn’t have much more time. And you could tell from his demeanor that he went around to see everybody. Came out here to see me and you know spent time and he was very mellow and reminiscing and that was at Christmas time and then he died in June I think it was.

Terence: That was ’74, right?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: Yeah, that’s the only time I ever saw him. I saw him in April that year at the University. I remember he came in and he was – I thought he was a great guy.

Hurley: Well that was in –

Terence: A young guy was shepherding him around. I don’t know who that was.

Hurley: That was when he made that trip I think it was maybe. I had the feeling that he had been here in the winter, but it might have been April, but.

Terence: He was complaining about the D-2 lands and he was campaigning against you know Andrews and stuff. What did – did he ever mention anything what he thought of Gravel giving that speech at the convention in ’72? Do you remember? You didn’t go to the convention that year though?

Hurley: No. No.

Terence: But remember when Gravel –

Hurley: Oh, I know everybody was so embarrassed. Gravel reading the Pentagon Papers kind of acting – I mean somebody had already revealed them you know and it was just – it was I think everybody just thought it was poor taste, but I don’t –

Terence: You mean the nominating themselves or the Pentagon Papers?

Hurley: Oh, nominating himself and yeah.

Terence: Remember he nominated himself as president.

Hurley: Oh, I forgot about that too, yeah. He had a great ego.

Terence: But I wonder cause Gruening would have been at that convention so I wonder – if you probably didn’t see him though, but that –

Hurley: But that convention, was that in –

Terence: ’72.

Hurley: ’72, yeah that was down in Florida and I’m sure I don’t know it could have happened when – cause he got ill during the convention, so I don’t know how much he saw you know, but.

Terence: That would have surely made him sick. Since he compared Gravel to Joe McCarthy you know in the memoir you know so. But okay so –

Hurley: We left the conv – we were at the convention and now we are –

Terence: You said one thing I thought this was a very good point, you said that many of the people, even the legislators, acted differently in Fairbanks, is that – do you know what I mean? They didn’t act quite the same as they did in Juneau that they were acting on a different –

Hurley: To me there was such camaraderie you know that oh when they disagreed they disagreed you know not personally at all and seemed to me that there was such a high level of states – I called them all statesmen as far as to me. You know I was talking with someone or writing something the other day that I said that I felt that I had witnessed statesmanship that I’ve never seen since.

Terence: Yeah, how do you rank being there at that convention for all those months and –

Hurley: Just the other day I said it was the biggest thrill of my life looking back to have had that opportunity to be there in that capacity because holding that position was way better than what – in my book – then what Tom Stewart was because he wasn’t present on the floor but rarely and then he had – he was gone during some of the most exciting debates in December when they were debating the judicial article and so forth.

And oh, yeah, one of my little pet peeves is with the Rules Committee that adopted that the – my minutes would be – I wouldn’t get to sign my minutes. They were signed by Tom Stewart as the Secretary and he wasn’t even there. They were my – but that’s the difference I mean as a woman now I would have screamed my head off, but then I was just so glad to be there that wasn’t important but historically it is important. But the minutes then when he was out of town I got to sign the minutes as the Chief Clerk, so.

– Break –

Terence: This is so much fun. I mean I think this is just I’ve just enjoyed this whole project so much just cause I learned so much and it’s so fascinating.

Hurley: Oh, it’s so good to get this – people – it’s so sad that it wasn’t started a long time ago.

Terence: I know.

Hurley: Cause you know my friend Burke Riley has Alzheimer’s and it is just killing me. I went to see him when I was there. God, it’s so hard because he was so sharp and he just was that resources articles and working with that. He was up here and he was so upset that he couldn’t see Burke too and talk with him.

Terence: Oh, Ostrem?

Hurley: Yeah, Ostrem. You ought to get him.

Terence: We’re going to try to get him, yeah.

Hurley: Oh, he’s fabulous. He is just –

Terence: He is really the key sort of the –

Hurley: Yeah and the funny thing is that he was a replacement that the guy that was first to be – was first – Burke told me this some time ago. That the guy who was the first consultant for the resources didn’t work out. He was just – anyway they had to get rid of him. He just wasn’t up to what they had expected. And it was just by accident that Ostrem was somebody they had heard about but he was in between jobs or something and was able to get up and oh he feels that you know what – how wonderful those people were and he had worked with Burke so closely to help. Burke would call him and send his drafts and so forth so he had a chance to really help them come to a good decision. So I hope you do get a chance to talk with him.

Terence: Well you know I’ve seen –

Hurley: He’s very sharp.

Terence: I’ve seen sort of memoir or compilation of things that he compiled for that conference when he was up here I guess Ostrem, just recent, last year or last summer before – last summer I guess it was and it is clear in there that Riley and Ostrem were corresponding and that they gave Bartlett the idea for that keynote address that he gave about natural resources.

Hurley: Yes.

Terence: So anyway we talked though to Wally Hickel, who didn’t remember it quite that way, so surprisingly.

Hurley: Oh, Wally Hickel was the National Committeeman at that time and I don’t think he was paying that much attention to the convention. He came up there once and there is a picture I have that have him with Alex Miller and so forth. But I never saw him around the convention very much at all and whether he was following it you know that was – well it was soon after that that he did run for office for governor, but I can’t remember.

Terence: Well he was in the running for territorial governor but then it was passed over in favor of Heintzleman.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: But and Burke Riley, I worked with him in 1979. I never asked him about any – I never even knew about any of this though I was a kid and I didn’t – worked in this Division of Forest –

Hurley: Oh, really.

Terence: With him, yeah –

Hurley: When he was –

Terence: Must have been his last job you know I don’t know.

Hurley: When he was with the Field Committee.

Terence: No, this is after he worked for the state and I didn’t even know who he was. I mean I knew he was –

Hurley: Oh, he was working – I think he was working –

Terence: In DNR. It was a DNR job.

Hurley: And the limited – he was on the Limited Entry Commission.

Terence: Yeah, yeah.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: But and I never really –

Hurley: Well it’s too bad.

Terence: Yeah.

Hurley: Yeah, that you didn’t have that.

Terence: I didn’t know who he was – I was –

Hurley: And he would never ever have tooted his own horn. Burke was so modest about everything.

Terence: Yeah.

Hurley: He knew Gregg shorthand and he – when his first job in Alaska was working for the Clerk of the Court in Fairbanks in the 30’s when he came here out of college and he wrote so perfect characters just like the Gregg shorthand textbook that I could read his shorthand better than my own. And he still sends notes to me – even in his condition he can still write the shorthand. It is fascinating.

Terence: Even with Alzheimer’s?

Hurley: Yes.

Terence: Isn’t that something.

Hurley: Well he’s in the past and he has some days that he is you know just sharp as can be and then other days he calls me and he calls a lot and – cause he relates me to the past I think and he wants to remember something. And last time it was his kids phone numbers and I said I don’t even know their names you know, but.

Terence: Do you think we could talk to him or not? Would it be I don’t know – I don’t want to embarrass him or record anything –

Hurley: I would talk with his daughter. He has a daughter or I’ll talk to her and ask her if there would be some short – if there would be a possibility of something that would be – cause I think his memory of the convention is still great. But he looks you know he was always so proper about the way he dressed and that is the thing that is –

Terence: So maybe –

Hurley: People have seen him downtown unshaven and walking around and I just hate seeing – for people to remember him that way and I wanted him to go to the Pioneer’s Home where I thought he would be protected a little bit but he doesn’t want to go. He has that much sense.

Terence: So he’s staying at home is that right?

Hurley: He lives by himself and his daughter lives in Juneau and she was staying with him, but she was – she needed – she had done it for a year and needed a relief. She is living and taking care of somebody’s house, but she goes over there every day, but he doesn’t – he’s looking for everybody. He needs to have somebody live – he has a big enough house, but to find somebody it is really hard.

Terence: Well you can have the daughter call us that would be –

Hurley: Yes.

Terence: If you could talk to her and maybe –

Hurley: Yeah, I’ll talk to her and ask her if you could call her and talk to her.

Terence: That would be great.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: That would be wonderful.

Hurley: Cause I’d like to give her some background about who you are and so forth. She is Doris Ann’s daughter.

Terence: Okay, okay. Doris Ann’s daughter.

Hurley: And she is very – she is just doing great with him but it is so sad. Are we taping all this?

Terence: This is all right.

Hurley: That’s okay.

Terence: That’s not for – we won’t use that for anything, but just for information for me cause I do want to talk to him, so. Let’s see, so we were talking about natural resources.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: And you know so why was this an emotional thing for you? Were you there at the day of the signing of the thing? Do you remember that day, the signing?

Hurley: You should listen to the tape of that. The signing, oh, yeah, I was there until the very end and during the signing everything was – it wasn’t you know it wasn’t – it was exciting, but it wasn’t as emotional as after that they went back over to close the thing and (inaudible) and that when I called the roll the last time I got so choked up saying their names that when I looked up there are these guys that I never would think that they had tears in their eyes, the ones that were sitting like Steve McCutcheon and Herb Hillshire. I mean those are hard-nosed guys and I had – oh, it was – it’s on the tape, the official tape and somebody sent me that from I couldn’t believe how choked up I was, but it was – we had been together and been – it was like Jim Hurley gave the presentation. He was just a very outstanding delegate at that time. I had not ever dreamed that I would be married to him, but he gave this little talk of giving – honoring Bill Egan and he said it was something like being in a battle with your fellow soldiers and having one that you always would be close because of having done that. Only he did a better job of the words but it is in the those volumes too how he – how everybody that this very wonderful warm feeling about Bill as a person. And it was really hard for Bill and he Irish as Irish you know and could I’m sure but he only could say a few words and that was it because it was so emotional at the end.

Because it was like we had been through – I mean starting out with 55 different individuals who had such – so many of them such wide backgrounds and that they could – they did come together so well. And there were some funny nights when they got a little hot and that story is in Fisher’s book.

Terence: What was that?

Hurley: The – it was on the Bill of Rights one of the – they had drafted it in the committee and I think that was the committee on – oh, it had gone to Style and Drafting, which is the last place. And Style and Drafting had the authority to you know make the English flow better or make changes and this particular article is the one – oh, dear I should just stop for a minute so that I could get – because it would be a better story if I could tell you which one. Can you stop for just a minute?

Man: Sure.

– Break –

Hurley: Anyway – it was like 60 below that – it was a late session and they had been going all day. And the Style and Drafting had made a lot of changes and people were getting a little irritated because they thought they had already done all of the work and they thought they were doing too much. And Helenthal, who was a lawyer from Anchorage, John Helenthal, and Buckalew, who was Judge Buckalew Seaborn. He was a young – he was like in his early 40’s, one of the younger member’s maybe late 30’s. Oh, he was more like 35 and he had been on the ordinance and what do you call – the Bill of Rights only they had a another name – he had been on that committee and anyway, they thought you know they had used basically the language of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Well they got so agitated between the lawyers and it is the first time that all the lawyers were arguing and so forth about these changes.

And Ed Davis, who was a lawyer, was on the Style and Drafting Committee and he was ready to throw in the sponge and resign because people were getting so upset. And John Helenthal and Buckalew had a wonderful sense of humor and he liked to needle Helenthal and this happened quite a bit during the convention and it was kind of good because it would sort of take away from the tenseness and everybody would have a good laugh. And Bill Egan didn’t ever stop that sort of thing. He let it go and then he’d call them to order you know but he was grinning at the same time.

Well, this night it got so hot that Bill hit the gavel and said it is so cold out the temperature has fallen so badly that people better get out and put in their headbolt heaters. Only the language is fantastic because it has to do to the tempers in the hall too. But so they took a recess and came back and everybody was cooled off and making – but they were just mad because they wanted that special language the same and Helenthal and some of them and so Buckalew comes back and he gets up and he makes a motion to change – to go back to the original language and he said and then Mr. Helenthal can read that to his son with the background of the – I missed the punch line – oh –

Terence: That’s all right.

Hurley: No the song that – Battle Hymn of the Republic and everybody exploded in laughter and –

Terence: Say that again, so he said Mr. –

Hurley: Mr. Helenthal, who had been complaining the most about wanting to keep this original language, he moved that we go back to – that they amend the Style and Drafting to go back to the original language so that Mr. Helenthal could read it to his son to the tune of – to the strains of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. And everybody just cracked up and that was – but it was a tense night.

But there were several tense things like that, but Bill had the – he could – he would call a recess when he thought that people just needed to cool off and but Style and Drafting Committee was getting very irritated that their work was being – like they had lost – that the members had – were so critical of their changes and what they were doing was trying to make the language simple and straightforward and it turn out that it is, but they had to go through some battles like that, but and they were – in fact Mr. Davis did resign. Nobody would like him go I mean he was ready to walk away, but so –

Hurley: What I mean about the fact that they you know did overcome those is that they could work those things through and you never could do that in the legislature. It was because of Bill’s handling and 55 people is a lot more than – I mean it was before statehood it was like 24 and 16 you know and in those – so it could be more personal too maybe. But they were so differential to people who had, except for – well they were even differential to him but they gripe out you know afterwards. The guy from Homer Yul Kilcher, cause he liked to talk and sometimes he’d talk things to death, but Bill was – he would somehow get him to move on in a very gentle way cause time was important towards the end. It was really – they were working long hours and you know we had just the basic things that we still had to do and there was no way that you could rush just typing and that kind of thing. It takes so much time to do certain things.

Terence: What impact did it have when what’s his name resigned, you know?

Hurley: Beg pardon.

Terence: When what’s his name resigned –

Hurley: Oh, well, they called a recess and talked to him and –

Terence: Oh, you mean Davis?

Hurley: Davis.

Terence: No, I mean the guy at the end who refused – Robertson?

Hurley: He didn’t –

Terence: Okay, one thing I want to ask you about the ’78 campaign but seeing that picture of Gruening in that party. Why don’t you describe that part, what was that party – it was a party in –

Hurley: Oh, it – you know there was a newspaper called the Independent that struggled to compete with the Empire and after we were out of office. Hugh Wade and Kathryn and I, we would go down and help get the paper out, just for free and we’d have – it was so much fun, lots of laughs and struggle and then afterwards we’d go to dinner. And this was celebrating that – somebody was leaving. I think it was the editor who was kind of in the center of the paper – Jack – he went to Kodiak. He got – the poor paper was just you know it was really good. George was writing. Nobody was getting paid hardly anything to keep it going, but we had such fun and it was between – before 19 – it was after the convention I think. Could have been ’55, but it was after ’53. It was like ’54 and in the summer we had this celebration out there at Gruening’s cabin and kind of a potluck dinner or something.

Terence: Those were all Gruening loyalists in that picture, right? Isn’t that fair to say the photograph of the party?

Hurley: It was Bartlett – it could have been Bartlett’s campaign for the congress cause he isn’t in the picture and Hugh had lost out you know he lost an election too because of Republicans. And that was in the summer of I think ’55.

Terence: You know Tim’s dad, BG Olson, ran the Independent.

Tim: Briefly.

Terence: Briefly after George Sonborg left.

Hurley: Who?

Terence: His father was BG Olson, who worked – he worked for the University then later.

Hurley: Oh, really.

Terence: He –

Hurley: Did he run – did he take over the –

Terence: Yeah, for about –

Hurley: Last – not very much longer?

Terence: Right, exactly, yeah.

Hurley: Cause George took it over from Jack –

Terence: Wasn’t Pegkeys?

Hurley: Jack, Jack, Jack – huh?

Terence: Wasn’t Jack Pegkey?

Hurley: No. Uh-uh. No. It was – he went to Kodiak and I think his son – I think I saw his – I think his son has been mayor of Kodiak. I mean he was born in Juneau. I mean that makes sense. It is just hard to believe that his son would be old enough to be mayor. But we had – it was a party you know. We just had lots of laughs and Bob would come by when he was in town and have coffee. And it was one of those but we had to get the paper out. We had to stamp you know addresses on those for the mail and –

Terence: What was the theme of the Juneau Independent? What was the whole idea? It was independent of what? What’s the –

Hurley: Well I think it was just to give a political picture that wasn’t absent you know like the Empire you know.

Terence: And what did the Empire sort of stand for? I mean what would you say you know – what’s the –

Hurley: Well the Empire when Mr. Troy had it was a very – it was a Democratic philosophy and caring about all of Alaska and development and everything and the Empire just became because of the daughter who she was so possessed with hate that you know because Gruening was partly responsible for her father having to resign from the governorship and it wasn’t the governor’s fault but it was his staff person who didn’t watch out for you know you had to sign a waive if you accepted a contract or you had to explain it and they hadn’t done that and so you know the government in those days complained. You know somebody found out and – but Bartlett, I mean Gruening was the head of the Division of Territories and Island Possessions and he wasn’t – didn’t do it expecting it to be governor of Alaska.

That was the last thing actually Roosevelt appointed him without even checking with Ichies and so to answer to question directly I don’t know why – I just know that the paper was started to get another voice in and a lot of people in Juneau you know who cared. You know gave some money to get it going but they didn’t much advertising and you know that is what it takes is advertising to keep a paper going. But they had – they covered the legislature better because George Sonborg was writing for them for nothing. And a lot of people were working there and not getting paid.

Terence: Cause it really was like a part of the cause of the statehood –

Hurley: Yeah, exactly.

Terence: Combination of the statehood cause, right?

Hurley: Yeah, right, it was. That was I think that kept it going.

Terence: And did they see the Empire as a mouthpiece of the absentee interests sort of –

Hurley: Yes.

Terence: – is that fair to say?

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: I mean.

Hurley: We always thought that they spoke for canned salmon. Outside interest was mostly Alaska Steamship and canned salmon in Seattle actually was the Seattle interests, but that’s people – a lot of people in Juneau you know in the olden days before they changed the times so that we had that they adhered to. The fact that there was a different time zone. Juneau used to keep – to be always on Seattle time. When I was a kid we had our clocks set to deal with Seattle not to deal with the rest of Alaska and it was always an hour’s difference between Anchorage and Juneau, even when I was in the governor’s office and we were still on Seattle time.

Terence: You mean just –

– Break –

Hurley: But when I started working in the governor’s office before the war and I was in charge of – I remember that the population of Anchorage was like 3,500 before the war – before World War II. And then the war came and it really increased because of the military buildup and construction. And then in the 50’s you know they had that homesteading in this area in ’51 and that brought a lot of people here, but it was mostly the soldiers who served here –

Terence: The day of Pearl Harbor – cause that was Gruening tells that story of him –

Hurley: Oh, this is a great story because I was organist at the Lutheran Church and I was the person who was in charge of the code – military code that we had to send messages with and I was the only person in the office who coded and decoded. We had somebody from the Base had come down and trained me and I had to be – do it in a secret place. And I was playing and I heard the phone ringing in the office during church, which was very unusual that the phone would ring and I didn’t think anything of it until after church somebody came up to me and said Estella called and said for you to call the office right away.

So I went to the – this little Lutheran Church and the office was all part of the – where the church was open. Went in there and called her and she said, as I told you, she used pretty rough language sometimes and she said get your up here. We’re at war and I said I thought – I couldn’t believe what she was saying. I said what do you mean? Get up here, you’ve got to send a telegram and get up here. And so I went up there and she told me that Pearl Harbor – you know that they had gotten the message, even though we had a direct line to Buckner, he hadn’t called to let us know. And he – somebody called the – somebody who had a short wave radio had called the governor on Sunday morning. See it was about eight o’clock, no, noon here. It was eight o’clock – there was a big time change because of our being on Seattle time. And I know that Pearl Harbor was at eight o’clock in the morning and I know it must have been – well church started at 11 and it was in the middle of the ser – must have been you know like 11:30 when she got the message. And I didn’t get until it was close to noon when I got it.

And the church was just a block away from the capitol building so I went up there and spent – I don’t know when I went home because there was all kinds of stuff that we had to do and we had black outs and everything else started then.

Terence: Were you – was there ever any – you weren’t asked to leave because you had a job I mean during the war?

Hurley: Well, I was – the only people who were asked to leave were wives of military and I wasn’t married then. And – but they immediately – they had had practice for some reason there had been some talk about you know not like what they call homeland but they had a citizens –

Terence: Militia?

Hurley: Militia type of thing. And I know my stepfather was called upon to go down and guard the cold storage and they called it some kind of guard, civilian guard I guess it was. And so they had known enough or were organized enough that they had people out right away and everybody was pulled their shades and got all – but it was – it was unbelievable you know until you know we didn’t have – unless you had short-wave you didn’t get direct broadcasts. And so we didn’t know too much but of course the paper had news the next day. But we were – governor was in daily touch with Buckner.

Terence: I think I remember reading his diary. He was on his way outside. He was taking a ship outside and then he stopped because of the news or something. I remember something like that. Cause it occurred to me you know did you traveled to Anchorage – did you ever during the war did you ever leave Juneau with the governor?

Hurley: Oh, I went on – I had planned a vacation for the summer of ’42. I was going to visit a friend of mine who was in college and I got to go, but I couldn’t – almost couldn’t get back in. I had – they weren’t going to let me back in when we went to get on the ship or called to check our reservations. And I had to call the governor’s office and they had to you know give me clearance and I was a resident because nobody – women were not allowed into the territory – even if we were resident and I was a resident. And yet because of the war and actually it was when I came back it was – they had bombed Dutch Harbor just a few days before. And I think that was why they were just being so careful then, but the governor had to call – they called and got clearance and we got home.

Terence: Now you never traveled out to the Aleutians with him did you?

Hurley: No. I never traveled around at all, except to Anchorage one time. It was a free trip. We flew in a CAA plane, jump seats, that was in ’47, during the war.

Terence: Was that your first time?

Hurley: To Anchorage.

Terence: So that was your first trip to Anchorage right ’47?

Hurley: Yes.

Terence: So what was that – cause Anchorage was still of course you had never seen it before the war – that was your first trip to the Westward, right?

Hurley: To the Westward right.

Terence: So what was that –

Hurley: Oh, it was very exciting because they were – Bob Atwood was wanting to impress anybody who came up here from Juneau you know and of course he knew that I was such a Juneau – he and Fred Axford who was the president of the Chamber of Commerce took me on a tour and showed me all the stuff. This is where they are going to have a new federal building and there – and oh, and out here they’re going to build this University and you know there was only one paved street still you know and out of town Stanley McCutchen took and his wife took me out to Fort Starns. I don’t know why all these names I can remember when I can’t remember something else, but that was outside of the city limits and so there were all night bars and go-go girls and all real night life like I’d never seen and. But he was – they were both working during the day. They were – the Chamber of Commerce really telling me how much more progressive they were. And of course they were and Ernest Gruening loved going to Anchorage because Evangeline and she always loved having him and showing him off and had parties and they were living then on L Street. It was just a little cottage. I remember that, but she had a great party and everybody dressed up. I didn’t even know I was supposed to bring a formal to come up here but I didn’t have one so I just had to go. But she always liked everybody to wear long dresses.

Terence: Is that right a formal dress is that right, no kidding.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: That’s what all the other women had those on except you?

Hurley: Yeah. Yeah. Uh-huh. Every time she’d – and especially when she moved to that bigger house they – she had a party when they dedicated the house and I was living here then. That was in the 60’s and she invited Jim and me and you had to wear – the women all had to wear black dresses. Nobody could wear anything but black. I remember I had to make something to wear because I didn’t have an appropriate dress. I think the reason for that is that she was wearing a white, gorgeous white dress. But all the men were to wear tux and it was a black and white party she called it. It was a wonderful evening I mean. But people – she had so many guests that they were having to set up tables in the bedrooms even you know. It was quite a party.

Terence: Now that was the house that went down in the earthquake?

Hurley: Yeah, that’s –

Terence: That was the log cabin – log house?

Hurley: The log house.

Terence: That must have been like the fence. Is the log cabin ever built –

Hurley: No it wasn’t in the log house that she had the black and white party was dedicating their new house.

Terence: Oh, after the earthquake.

Hurley: After the earthquake.

Terence: Oh, with the circular staircase?

Hurley: Yeah. Uh-huh. Oh, yeah.

Terence: That was like quite a house.

Hurley: Oh, wow, that was fun. And one night we were – there was – every year there was – she was in charge or was very active in a – they had a ball and I can’t think of the name of it. Oh, it was the World Affairs Ball. It was a big money raiser and the first time that we were invited to go and be in their party I wore my Norwegian costume. My Norwegian country dress and we – it snowed that night and they closed the road to Wasilla and Palmer. We were living in Palmer then.

So she invited us to spend the night and the next day she was having a fancy brunch and I didn’t have anything to wear except that Norwegian dress I was still wearing. And Jim was in his tux and nobody around I think Bob Atwood he was a lot slighter guy than – I think Bob Atwood gave him a shirt or something anyway. At least he didn’t have to wear coat, but she was very nice to me and surprisingly that she was pretty high society. But she was somewhat part of it she never talked much about being Swedish but I think she kind of liked that I was Norwegian or something that she could.

But Elmer, I always thought he was such a stuffed shirt, but you know when I think of what he has done for this state was amazing how lucky the University is to have had him on that Regent Board to do what he did. I guess they just – did they pay for the renovations and so forth of the library or was that local.

Terence: No, but they made big contributions of millions of dollars you know and they put five million into that new museum.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: Up there.

Hurley: Is the museum finished?

Terence: Under construction now still so. But yeah, so that was probably the best appointment Gruening ever made I suppose with him to the Board of Regents. And like you said the Democrats got really upset about it right. I mean they –

Hurley: Oh, yeah. He was – oh, yeah, they really were. There was no excuse for doing that in their book and especially then – but he got confirmed you know but one of Louise Kellogg, which was a terrible mistake.

Terence: Yeah, the partisanship on the Board of Regents in the 50’s, remember, weren’t there some Democrat nominees that the legislature refused to.

Hurley: Oh, yeah.

Terence: I forget who that was now, but there were some other Democratic – right that –

Hurley: I think one of them was a woman who had been serving and she was up for re-appointment – Etta, she had a clothing store I think. She was a real heavyset gal, woman.

Terence: I don’t remember her. Well, but so that little bit of that first trip do you think Gruening feel more at home in Anchorage because Juneau was so relatively anti-statehood, was that – I mean.

Hurley: I was so – there was always – there was such camaraderie for him with Bob Atwood you know and he was so supportive and pushing all at that time because of the statehood and there were a lot of other people here. And there were more people here and it was – there was more social things than in Juneau wasn’t very formal and they didn’t have too big a budget, but they did do a lot of entertaining.

Terence: The Gruening’s did?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: What about you know we talked a little bit to Bob D’Armand you know who worked for Heintzleman.

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: And didn’t you know he said so let me ask you about this is what he said that he thought that Gruening might have done more to hinder statehood than to bring it along so.

Hurley: Oh, there are a lot of people that think that and I don’t know what he based that on because in the beginning certainly he was the one who knew the people outside of Washington, DC who were – who he got to support which was part of the movement that they wanted to get people writing letters from small towns and to get their congressmen and senators in the fold. But all I remember about Bob D’Armand is that he was going to take over my job and the day after I was up in the halls and outside they had thrown out all of the governor’s annual reports and all of the messages to the legislature from the past years. They were in the trash and I remember grabbing a few of them to take home. They couldn’t throw away files because we had to send those to the archives and I had done a lot of that but I thought that was pretty chintzy because those were public documents too and people still would write and ask for old reports, but they threw them all out.

Terence: Well it sort of signified the change of regime I guess.

Hurley: This is it. We don’t want anything that has Ernest Gruening’s name on it in this office. That’s what I felt it said.

Terence: Because you know Heintzleman really was either opposed to statehood, lukewarm to statehood, what would you – what’s the you know – the people say I mean I heard statement people –

Hurley: Oh, I think it was really bothered people that he got to make an address at the Constitutional Convention cause he had not been supportive of statehood, but after all he was the governor and I think he signed the bill in ’55.

Terence: That’s right –

Hurley: That created the convention.

Terence: Now D’Armand didn’t come up though with him did he? I don’t –

Hurley: I never saw him there.

Terence: Yeah.

Hurley: But I don’t think Bob traveled very much with him. He’s you know he’s a very good historian and has done and when I’m in Sitka I go and see him and his wife because and he has softened in his old age too and –

Terence: Well he was a pretty tough customer?

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: The guy was going to get rid of you know the Gruening’s appointees or weed them out or something.

Hurley: Beg your pardon?

Terence: What they said was that he would get rid of the Gruening appointees or weed them out or at least that is what I’ve heard alleged you know that he was really you know –

Hurley: Oh. There’s a lot of that going on right now.

Terence: But I think if – so let’s talk a little about after you –

Hurley: After I left the governor’s office?

Terence: Well after you –

Hurley: The convention.

Terence: And then you were back in the legislature in the staff. How long did you?

Hurley: Well I served through the first state legislature and then I married Jim Hurley and moved here in 1960 – in the summer of 1960. So I got out of things sort of cause I had a couple of young kids.

Terence: What was that – say in that first session – what was the financial state of the state in that very first session? What was that like? You know the first session.

Hurley: Well I tell you one thing that the people who were elected they didn’t have any staff. There was no staff for the members cause and if they wanted to write letters, if they couldn’t do it themselves, they had to pay somebody and get a private secretary to come up and do any secretarial work. There was no – and well you saw the staff. There wasn’t much staff either for to run the senate. And it wasn’t any bigger than it had been under territorial days.

Terence: It was like ten people or so?

Hurley: Yeah. I think there was maybe ten on that –

Terence: On that photograph.

Hurley: On that photograph and some of those were pages. I mean they were not secretarial staff. And – but it was also the first time and you could people to come and work because it was an adventure and even those first legislators they didn’t mind having to do that but and they set the salary at $2,500 a year and all – and the per diem wasn’t much more than it had been and of course there wasn’t a lot of money. Everybody felt that they wanted to balance the budget and get things going but and they had the holdover of the income tax you know that had been passed in ’49 so that there was income but there hadn’t been a big jump in the population or in development at the beginning of statehood. There was lots of people coming up here as a result. A lot of good young people came to Alaska at that time.

Terence: And the costs were –

Hurley: Beg your pardon?

Terence: The costs were rising weren’t they/

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: Because the state was going to cost a lot more than the territory?

Hurley: Yeah. We were taking over a lot more functions that the federal government had taken but there – you know they got – Bob Bartlett got a very good bill through so that we got that land, but it wasn’t too long before – well they had discovered oil I think in ’58, wasn’t it?

Terence: ’57.

Hurley: ’57, so they knew there was something you know some of the development would eventually pay off but –

Terence: So, Katie, so then you and you settled then here and a couple of young kids here?

Hurley: Yeah. Uh-huh. And I didn’t ask – everybody always wanted to know why I didn’t go to Washington with Gruening. Well I didn’t want to leave Alaska then and so I didn’t want to go with him and anyway I was going to marry Jim and moved up here. And he was on the Central Committee and doing things and I was just taking care of kids. And you know we were living on a farm and I loved it. It was such a change from Juneau. My friends in Juneau couldn’t believe that I was living on a farm and we had a cow and I had a vegetable garden. I didn’t milk the cow. I said I’m not doing that. But then I got you know I was doing things with PTA and things like that with my school.

But in ’71 when or ’70 when Bill was elected again, I said to my friend Alex Miller I said you know how come Bill hasn’t appointed me to anything? I thought he would think of me and he said have you asked? And I said no, I didn’t know I had to ask. I thought he’d think of me. So I told him I wanted to be on the State Board of Education and so I got appointed to the State Board of Education. So then I said to Alex I said well you know I think the best thing to do is to be the president. I said how do you do that? He said you have to ask. You have to do your ward. You have to go and call all those people and tell them you want to be the president. Well that was a new role for me. I’d never – everything had been handed to me before. I never had to have an interview you know for to go to work at the senate or to do any of that stuff. So I – anyway I got to be the president of the State Board of Education and I did that for eight years. And they never had an election so after I got – I don’t know how come we never had an election but anyway I just continued to be the president.

And then in ’78 –

Terence: Well what made you decide to run –

Hurley: That’s – then I had – so my husband said to me you know he said you ought to run for lieutenant governor and I said I’ve always been a king maker. I’ve never been – I’ve always been behind the scenes. He said well you got the experience I think he had another reason for wanting me to run, but and the –

Terence: What was that?

Hurley: I think he wanted to get rid of me. I think – he was beginning to be called Mr. Katie Hurley and he didn’t like that. And it was very sad in a lot of ways because he was – I still loved him and it was hard, but anyway some of the teachers asked me you know would I – that they looking for somebody to run and I said, oh, I don’t have any money so what am I going to do? Oh, we’ll get the money and so forth. Anyway I decided to file and Jim was very supportive. In fact we had to mortgage our house to get some money cause they weren’t giving women candidates much money in those days.

Terence: This house –

Hurley: This house.

Terence: – you lived in this house, yeah?

Hurley: Uh-huh.

Terence: Okay. So you mortgaged and then you ran –

Hurley: And I ran and –

Terence: Who did you –

Hurley: Against seven men.

Terence: And you came in last, right?

Hurley: I came in first.

Terence: Oh, first.

Hurley: The worst thing that happened to me was that I got more votes in the primary than the three candidates for governor because that was that election with Wally Hickel ran against –

Terence: Hammond.

Hurley: Yeah, Hammond.

Terence: I think Hammond was –

Hurley: And he only lost by 100 votes so he had that write-in in the general and it was downhill after the primary. I had my glory day at the night of the – oh, it was so much fun. My mother was still living and she was like – oh, she must have been close to 90. And there was this one candidate who was from Haines I think and he came door to door in Juneau and my mother let him in. And he sat there at the dining room table and was handing her the literature and she said, well my daughter is running for this same job. And he tried to grab the literature back and she wouldn’t give it back to him when she told the story. And boy was he embarrassed – you know of course he was out of there like a flash she said. But she just loved that story. Of course I loved it too.

My mother was very much interested in politics from the time that I started working for Gruening and she loved Bill Egan and she got really involved in you know doing the kind of things that were so surprising to me like really watching how and she’d watch the TV and she would tell me what she thought of the candidates and she was always right. She didn’t know much about it, but she always – she had a good sense of people.

Terence: So what was it like for you making speeches and stuff, cause you were the first woman –

Hurley: I wasn’t very good in the beginning I know that. It was tough for me to have make speeches and as I said I really felt like I was you know over my head for a while until I met some of the other candidates and watched them.

Terence: Who were the other candidates, I forget?

Hurley: Oh –

Terence: Was Red Swanson?

Hurley: Red Swanson was one and Bob, the young fellow. He had been in the legislature – Bob – but there were some that were more credible. Well Red Swanson I think had been in the legislature at least, but I had done you know I hadn’t been elected to office before. And I really think that it was just because of – it wasn’t – I think most people didn’t think that I had a chance and so they voted for me you know. And as it turned out you know there were so many people that got into the other race. You know we didn’t have the open primary then. You had to vote on one side or the other I think.

Terence: I can’t remember. I remember – I think maybe we might have –

Hurley: Oh, I think it had changed, yeah, I know it had changed because it turned out that several of the people that worked in the – told me that there were a lot of ballots that said Hammond – Hurley. They voted for Hammond and they voted for me. So you know it was – if it had been a straight party ballot I probably wouldn’t have made it because you know a woman. It was – I – they didn’t hold that against me. At least it didn’t show that in the – but it was really hard for me.

What really was hard was that there was a recount by Ed Merdes and Ed Merdes called for a recount because he was close to Croft. And during that time I had to go around and make speeches and Croft hadn’t told me you know they hadn’t had much connection with me to tell me you know his positions or anything and I had to wing it and that was so embarrassing. I was so mad at them for not giving me the information. At one time I had to go to Sitka with the Chamber of Commerce and be on the podium with –

Terence: Terry Miller?

Hurley: Hammond – oh, what was that?

Terence: Terry Miller, wasn’t it him?

Hurley: No, Terry Miller wasn’t there, but he was – it was all the governor candidates, except me. It was Hammond and the guy the Independent –

Terence: Joe Vogler?

Hurley: Huh?

Terence: Joe Vogler?

Hurley: No, he was a very handsome guy from Kelly – what’s his name – his name was Kelly?

Terence: Tim, no not Tim.

Hurley: No. No.

Terence: I don’t –

Hurley: But there was a woman running on the Republican ticket too and she was a friend of mine. She had been a Democrat but she ran on that Independent ticket with Kelly. She was from Kodiak and now I can’t say her name. And there was a woman running – Mike Dalton was running on the Republican ticket, but Terry Miller of course got way more votes than anybody.

Terence: But you were the first woman to –

– Break –

Hurley: Partisan.

Terence: Partisan election.

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: Yeah, but not in the convention, I mean.

Hurley: Because the convention had women and that was a nonpartisan and also there had been a woman who ran but it was not a contested election, who ran against –

Terence: So Katie, so you were the first woman to a contested statewide election is that it?

Hurley: Partisan, yeah.

Terence: Contested –

Hurley: Partisan.

Terence: So you must be proud of that?

Hurley: Oh I am. It was – and it was so much fun as I said. I didn’t have much money so I wasn’t able to travel to as many villages, but I had those seven years on the State Board of Education and I had no idea that so many people knew me. And the other – what was the governor – he was in the legislature and he ran for congress – he was – then he ran for governor and made it. He had been in the legislature.

Terence: Oh, Cowper.

Hurley: Cowper. And he – when I filed, he told me that I should have a poster that was in color cause he said it will stand out. Everybody just has black and white and that was the best advice. And I went up to Fairbanks and had my poster made and the picture taken. I took it up there and they did such a good job in the News-Miner.

Terence: Commercial Printing, yeah.

Hurley: Yeah, Commercial Printing. And it did and the people out in the villages they loved having that poster and they were up for a long time afterwards and some of them they were just – but they you know when they saw my picture they knew me more than my name. And so that was a very big help for and with so many men it stood out too. And the picture that I had was taken right out here in my yard by one of the birch trees and I was – but –

Terence: So were you disappointed –

Hurley: But it was –

Terence: – did you expect to win the general, what did you think? I mean I guess –

Hurley: I – it was downhill – it was just terrible because there were so many, the write-ins started and I – there was no way we were going to win I could see that, but had to be a good soldier and act like we were going to win, but it was pretty much of a disaster.

Terence: Because you guys came in third, right. Didn’t you come in third?

Hurley: Yeah, yeah. I believe so.

Terence: Well I voted for you. It’s all right.

Hurley: Were you voting then?

Terence: Oh, yeah, I voted for you, but I think that was such a seesaw election – Hammond, then squeaked it out, right. That was the –

Hurley: He just squeaked out by a hundred votes.

Terence: Yeah.

Hurley: And then Wally – then Wally immediately started talking about the write-in and actually what happened in Juneau the Democrats there they were more afraid of Wally Hickel then they were of you know Hammond was very popular and even though they were loyal to the party, they – we got word the night before that they were – that the Democrats had decided that they were afraid that Hickel was going to win and so they – so it was pretty sad results. And – but I – it was even though I spent a lot of time paying off the debt, but it was worth it. I mean I really did have fun. And I learned a lot too. It was good experience.

So then I ended – as a result I got a job – I was asked to head up the Alaska Women’s Commission. And so I got that in 80’s and I enjoyed that very much. That was three years. And then I was tired of commuting to Anchorage. It was really tough to do that and my girls were in college and I was – Jim was over in Kodiak and wasn’t coming back.

So anyway I – somebody said there was going to be an open seat here in the valley. So I decided to file and I had just token competition so it wasn’t so difficult, but I was running against a Republican who didn’t spend one cent and he didn’t do very much, but – except he was at all of the places nettling me about my position on abortion and my position on gay rights and my position on what was the third thing? Anyway every time and you know this is such a conservative – I won by 120 votes and he hadn’t spent one cent. So when I ran for re-election, my son said – well when I ended he said you know mother they didn’t know how liberal that you were when they voted for you in the first place and of course when they saw my record. I thought it was a good record, but they didn’t think it was – they didn’t think I was (inaudible) enough cause I voted against saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Cause I said we already have a prayer and I don’t think that makes you any more patriotic to say the Pledge of Allegiance. And my knowledgeable Democratic friends came up to me and said Katie you should change your vote. I said why? Well you’re going to get crucified in the valley and I said well, so be it. I’m not changing my vote when I believe what I said cause I don’t. And when you watch people saying it like that it is just like so many words. And they used not publicly but whispering type of thing. They didn’t attack me publicly on it so. And then I voted – and my opponent also was handicapped and he was a young man and I was getting older then, not feeling older, but I was.

Terence: Who were you running against?

Hurley: Dr. Menard. He was a dentist and he had lost his hand by a foolish climbing up – anyway, caused – he was doing something without turning off the power. And he lost his hand and so he used – you know he was always running and showing that he could still – and he went back to dentistry and so forth. And then he was in there a year and then he became a Democrat. He ran as a Republican and was elected as a Republican. Then he changed his party and he served a few years after that, but it was the greatest – it really was fate because I developed cancer that next year and I would never have paid attention to my own health like I did because of what I was doing so. And I caught it. It was not a mammogram that caught it. I’d had mammograms. I discovered the lump myself and so I always said that it was fate that I should not have had that career.

Terence: We have a great attitude for all these things that people – you know what I mean, I just think there’s something that when people you know expect good things sometimes good things happen. You know what I mean you know.

Hurley: Uh-huh. Well I had my music and that was a greatest gift my mother gave me.

Terence: So what’s your –

Hurley: Piano. Well I play the piano and I play the organ and it was my mother who we didn’t have much money but she saw to it that we all had piano lessons and it has filled a big – whenever – it is just so much for my life just that love of being able to be not a performer but just what it does for me inside and I volunteer at the Episcopal Church now and I’ve done it for 20 years. My only caveat is that when I’m gone I don’t get to substitute, they have to find a substitute because it is too hard to find them and I don’t want that responsibility. But I do it now because it is good for my mind and it is good for my hands and it is just – I just like the music that much, doing it and feeling like it keeps me going every day.

Terence: Do you play still now?

Hurley: Oh, yeah.

Terence: Every day?

Hurley: Oh, yeah. I always have music on the piano and I just play for my own enjoyment, old songs. One of the things that we did at the Constitutional Convention was not much entertainment cause everybody was you know pretty pooped out and there weren’t – it wasn’t a real partying crowd like at legislative sessions. Because they had to come into town and everybody lived around, but frequently I would have a potluck at my apartment. People would bring or I’d cook and it wasn’t a very big apartment. But Bill would always come and we would end up singing, you know, just old songs and he had a very good voice and he knew all the words. I was – I thought I knew all the words to the songs, but you know more than I do. And we had – that was just fun thing that we did.

Terence: Was there a piano in your apartment?

Hurley: No, there was no accompaniment. No, I didn’t have a piano. That was what was so amazing is that Bill would be the one who would lead off. He’d think of some song and then he would start singing. We didn’t have any words so you had to have known the songs, but –

Terence: Do you remember any particular that he particularly liked? Was there any particular song or anything? If not, that’s okay.

Hurley: Oh, I can’t think of them now, but it was like songs from the 40’s you know – 30’s mostly. I think those good old songs from musicals and things that we had heard in the theater. But not necessarily barber shop type. They were just popular songs. You know Sweet Adeline or Goodnight Sweetheart or you know, mostly those.

My class is having – the Juneau High School is having 100 years of Juneau High School, because the first class graduated in 1904. So I’m in the group of the 30’s class because I graduated in ’39. So I’ve been looking through my music for the songs that were popular. They’re in the 30’s and I’m realizing now that some of the songs that we thought were so popular were even older than the 30’s.

Terence: At the convention did they play the Alaska Flag Song? Did they or sing it or sing the flag song, what was the –

Hurley: The choir at the college sang it at the graduation – at the graduation – at the signing and there was a very fine artist who was in charge of the – and she played a little kind of a portable keyboard it seemed to me. It was a very small looking piano that she directed from. It was in the old gym. It was not much place for very many people either. They were hanging from the rafters. Cause a lot of the families came up and – of the delegates and their kids and –

Terence: Now you said that your child – your son had come up.

Hurley: I had him come up a couple of times. I think he came up at Thanksgiving and then he came up – his birthday was in February and so I – I think he came up for the signing because he was very interested in history and he had a very good time.

Terence: And did he –

Hurley: He was very precocious. He was going around getting autographs and talking to everybody. He was not shy at all.

Terence: And he walked around among the desks?

Hurley: Oh, yeah. Well they didn’t have desks. You know they just had those tables and so forth and well he had to – no, I made him stay in the visitor’s room. I didn’t want him to be a brat, but he was very good.

Terence: You know you said one thing at the luncheon at the Chancellor’s house about Dennis Egan?

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: So that song – do you know what the song was?

Hurley: Yeah.

Terence: Can you sing some part of that song – Constitution Hall?

Hurley: Let’s see how was that melody?

Terence: Constitution Hall –

Hurley: Constitution Hall. Constitution Hall. All the people talk too much in Constitution Hall. Something like – he had – it was just a melody he made up. And I – the other verses are some place, but I can’t remember them but I do remember and he waved – he was – he moved his body, I mean he was kicking and you know he was about two years younger than David and I remember him just – Bob was just – get that cat down. Kitty.

– Break, cat walking through –

Hurley: Yeah that was – but I think he did right in the – I think we got him to sing it right in the hall and we were so amazed. You know Neva hardly had a chance to come up because she was running the store and you know it was really hard time for them. And she did come up that one time and he was there and I thought it was such a great observance for a kid you know because everybody was – he was there during some of that hot time when people were really vying for position and trying to get the president’s attention and – the other verses I was wondering where they were. Neva said she doesn’t have a copy of it and I said I can’t believe that it must be on the tape someplace because I know he sang it. And I think during a session one time.

Terence: Did you say or someone – maybe Neva said that maybe he actually participated in some of the votes?

Hurley: Oh, he might have – voice votes – I wouldn’t be a bit surprised because he was pretty – he was quite – I wouldn’t have let my kid behave at all like that, but he was –

Terence: He was the president’s son so –

Hurley: So I guess everybody, but he was pretty much of a little devil.

Terence: Because in voice votes you just go yay or nay, is that right, so is that what the voice vote is if you had a voice vote?

Hurley: Voice vote is just yeah.

Terence: Yay or nay.

Hurley: Yay or nay. They don’t call the roll on a voice vote so, yeah. He probably did cause he would be that you know he wouldn’t even think about it that it would be illegal.

Hurley: Really cause the voice – see finish up.

Terence: Something else, right. I had – just give me a second, wasn’t about that.

Hurley: Well you know the 55 Club –

Terence: Don’t film me.

Hurley: The 55 Club was something that was kind of a surprise.

Terence: Now what is that all about? What’s that?

Hurley: Well when they finished you know and ended somebody said well, you know maybe someday we should have a reunion you know. And everybody sort of rolled their eyes you know about that because after all they were pretty mature people and reunion, not like college. And then they decided to have a pin made with 55 on it and they all put in some money for the pin and I don’t know whatever happened to the money, whether that – I think they found it some place in some bank that the treasurer was this guy named W. W. Laws, Chief Laws was his name and he was – they all thought that he ran off with the money cause he never made any accounting when they had a reunion a few years later. But the but – pin is a jade – it’s a small lapel and it has 55 in the center of it and I think George Sundborg had his on when he was there cause he is one that he didn’t – my husband lost his so he didn’t have it. There is a picture of Jim signing the constitution, my daughter got it for me from the museum not long ago.

Terence: But did –

Hurley: One thing I wanted to tell you that really just really amused me is that the oldest person at the Constitutional Convention was E. B. Collins and he was 82 years old. And I thought he was so old and this year when I turned 82 I thought, ah, I don’t feel old at all. I wonder if E. B. Collins felt like I do. What a disgrace that I thought that he was so old, but –

Terence: That’s right, because he was a member of the first –

Hurley: First territorial legislature in 1913 and he was a lawyer and he was still sharp, but he was kind of – he didn’t get around too well, but he was the oldest and the youngest was 27 I think.

Terence: Who was –

Hurley: No, I think the next to the youngest was Jack Coghill and the youngest was Tommy Harris.

Terence: The guy – 29?

Hurley: He was the one who got in about 29 or maybe it was 45, but it was a very small number.

Terence: I know what I wanted to do. I wanted to ask you and I don’t know if you guys can do this but to play something on the piano for us? Could you do that? Could we shoot something?

Man: Sure.

Terence: That is what I wanted to ask you. I kept thinking now wait, wait.

Hurley: Oh, sure. I don’t want to play Alaska’s Flag Song.

Terence: No, no, you can play whatever you want.

Hurley: Play something that I like.

Terence: Absolutely.

Hurley: I used to be able to sing with it you know and now it makes me so mad that I didn’t make some tapes for fun for my kids because my singing voice is getting scratchy. That’s one thing about aging it does not do well for your vocal cords. Neva Egan used to sing the Alaska Flag Song wherever we went you know when she was and at the reunion or with the 25 years of statehood somebody was supposed to from the University was coming up and was supposed to play for her, but I used to play for her. She’d have the music folded up in her purse cause she knew somebody was going to ask her and she knew I couldn’t play without music. And that night when that person didn’t show up they came to me and I said well I can’t – I don’t – I haven’t memorized it. I can’t play it. Neva comes she has got the music in her purse. And so she sang it that night but that’s about the last time that she sang it cause she said she didn’t want to sing when she couldn’t be up to par.

Terence: Well I can –

Hurley: But we had such a good time.

Terence: Cause you love to sing though too, right?

Hurley: Oh, yeah. I love that. Oh, yeah, the singing part you know those old songs.

Terence: So just what kind of music was your favorite? What was your favorite kind of music for you, you know, Katie, from you what music?

Hurley: Oh, playing, you know playing or popular songs?

Terence: Playing or listening?

Hurley: Oh, I got them right out there. I was playing them last night. How deep is the ocean, Irving Berlin I think wrote that.

Terence: But I mean you have a lot of opera here, so you enjoy opera?

Hurley: Oh, I listen to opera. I don’t ever sing opera.

Terence: Do you listen to the Saturday – the Texaco?

Hurley: Yeah, I used to – I think that’s where I got it was as a child listening to the Saturday when we finally got radio and I listened to that. I love going to the symphony and the Judicial Council I was on, they gave me a gift of season tickets to symphony this year and they gave me two tickets, which I thought was so nice and so each time I take one of my grandchildren with me cause they’re getting into music and I want them to love it and appreciate it and I don’t care what they do with it, but just for themselves.

My son is so upset because I quit – I got too tired of making them practice and so he quit piano lessons. He said why did you let me do that? I said you remember how you were about it? I didn’t have the patience and I was tired of arguing with you. He said well some day I’m going to have piano, cause he remembers enough of it. He had enough lessons, but my daughters, one of them really continued with it and she now has a daughter who is – because she works with her, is just doing wonderful things. And that’s one of the great things that I finally got to be a grandmother when I was 71. And now I’m so glad that I’m able to you know still be active so I can enjoy them.

Terence: And share it with them, how wonderful thing.

Hurley: Yeah. I’m aiming to live as long as my mother did at least, so hopefully my health will stay with me.

Terence: You know okay I got to ask you one more question. This goes back hours ago. Was there anybody else in Juneau besides Ernest Gruening who got a subscription to the New York Times? You said Ernest Gruening got the New York Times.

Hurley: Oh, yeah. No I doubt it.

Terence: Did anyone else ever read the New York Times I mean – had you ever seen the New York times before that?

Hurley: No, no, no, no. That’s one of the things I remember telling – that’s one of the things that Estella Draper taught me was the New York Times and do you know my daughter tells a story or my son – I love getting the New York Times and there was a time when they actually delivered the Daily out here in the valley. Can you believe that? Well they don’t do it anymore, but I can get the Sunday New York Times without going to Anchorage, but before that my daughter said that I on the snowiest day of the year I drove into Anchorage to get the – they were furriest with me because it was so chancy but I wanted to get the Sunday New York Times on the day but they expanded – and he also the Nation Magazine of course I learned about that and the Progressive and all of those. And I became a member of the ACLU because one of the things he was attacked by – when he came up here was he was a card-carrying member of the ACLU and that was – you were almost a communist, you know, in the 30’s you know to be carrying – being a member of the ACLU.

Terence: Especially in the 50’s, right with the –

Hurley: Yeah, in the 50’s it was really bad.

Terence: Well, Katie I’m so – thank you very much and we will close this up and I would like you to play us something – you want –

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