Social Security Pioneers
Clark Bane Hutchinson
on her father
Frank Bane, from an oil portrait commissioned by Clark. There were four paintings made by artist John Husband, based on a photograph of Frank Bane. This particular portrait was painted in 1983. Donated to SSA History Archives by Clark Bane Hutchinson.
Clark Bane Hutchinson, during her oral history interview, July 18, 1997. SSA History Archives.
Soundclip excerpt from Mrs. Hutchinson's interview (in RealAudio format)
Highlights of Frank Bane's Career
Born: Smithfield, Virginia, ; son of Charles Lee and Carrie Howard (Buckner) Bane, April 7 1893;
A.B., Randolph-Macon College,1914;
Student at Columbia University, 1914-15;
Cadet-Pilot, Aviation Corps, U.S. Army, World War I, 1917-1918;
Married Lillian Greyson Hoofnagle, August 14, 1918, Children: Mary Clark, Frank;
High School Principal, Nansemond County, Virginia, 1914;
Superintendent of Schools, 1916-17;
Secretary Virginia State Board of Charities and Corrections, 1920-23;
Director of Public Welfare, Knoxville, Tennessee, 1923-26;
Associate Professor of sociology, University of Virginia, 1926-28;
Commissioner of Public Welfare, Virginia, 1926-32;
Member of the President's Emergency Employment Commission, 1930-31;
Director of the American Public Welfare Association, 1932-35 ;
Lecturer in public welfare administration, University of Chicago, 1932-;
General Consultant to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, 1933;
Consultant on Public Welfare Administration, Rational Institute of Public Administration, 1930;
Consultant, Brookings Institute, 1931-35;
Executive Director of Federal Social Security Board, 1935-1938;
Director of the Division of State and Local Cooperation, Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense, 1940-41;
Member of Civilian Protection Board, Office of Civilian Defense,1941;
Director of Field Operations, Office of Price Administration, 1941-42;
Homes Utilization Division, National Housing Authority, 1942;
Secretary-Treasurer, Governors' Conference, 1938-1958;
Executive Director, Council of State Governments, 1938-1958;
Chairman, Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1959-1966;
Regent's Professor, University of California, 1964;
Lecturer, Seminar of American Studies, Salzburg, Austria, 1966;
Lecturer, various universities, 1966-1976;
Guest Speaker and Lecturer, various Washington-area universities, 1977-1982
Died: January 23, 1983, in Alexandria,Virginia at age 89. Buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Clark Bane Hutchinson
This is an interview with Clark Bane Hutchinson. The interviewer was Larry DeWitt, SSA Historian. The interview took place on July 18, 1997 at Mrs. Hutchinson's home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Before the formal taping began Mrs. Hutchinson was reviewing some of the documents she had regarding her father, including material she had previously sent to a researcher in Virginia.
Clark: All my brother sent him was the birth certificate and the death certificate and my daughter was calling me about it. She had a summer home near my brother's in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
So I sent all of his stuff to him and then sent his papers to the University of Virginia and that is in here. I have a double of that. I called to thank him and he said, "I've gotten so interested that I want to write a book."
I: You haven't heard from him and followed up with that?
Clark: No. His job is to write for the Historical Society of Virginia. I'm sure if he did he would let me know and part of it would go to the University of Virginia Library. Daddy used to lecture there.
Do you smoke? Does smoking bother you?
I: No. No go right ahead.
Clark: Oh great. I don't smoke in other peoples houses, but I like to smoke in my own!
Now I had all of these notes I made, because I thought that I would discuss various things with you. But before we start taping I wanted to look through some of this material.
(At this point Mrs. Hutchinson showed the interviewer some news clippings about a prank her father participated in during his college years at Randolph Macon Men's College. Bane was on the football team and he and his fellow team mates were suspended due to the prank and could not play. President William Howard Taft intervened to get the suspensions lifted. One of the young men who approached President Taft was H. Barett Prettyman, who would go on to serve as Soliciter General during the Taft's tenure on the Supreme Court. The two had a good laugh years later over this episode.)
Randolph Macon had two hundred students (during this time). I met somebody in Florida who, believe it or not, he and I were born in the same hospital, I met him six months ago, and his father was in the same fraternity with my father--two hundred people at Randolph Macon Men's College and he was in on this.
Now this is just for you to read for fun, it will only take you a second. They don't tell you what they did to get in trouble, but what they did was they had a little too much to drink and they put a cow up in the steeple at church!
I was just thrilled to death with this.
I: Yeah. Yeah. This is really nice. This is great that you got a copy of this.
Clark: You must read fast.
I: Well I'm not going to read every detail of it now.
Clark: Well you should, because it is the funniest story that I've ever heard.
I: That is a nice line. "You boys have your little fingers caught in the crack of the log and you want the President to put his big fingers in the crack so that you can get your little ones out." (Referring to President Taft.)
Clark: Yes, and he weighed 375 pounds!
I: (Reading another quote from the article.) "If they were locked up in the Federal Penitentiary over which he had authority he could release them."
Clark: You know that he never wanted to be President, it was his wife that wanted him to be President.
I: The President pleaded their case so that they could get released by the faculty to play.
Clark: And they weren't going to get any money from the alumni either.
I: Yeah I bet that is true. This is a cute story.
Clark: And then I just have this. . . This will give you an idea of what kind of a young man he was. He had the best sense of humor that you have ever seen in your life. And you know when you think of somebody you don't think of their personality.
I: Right. No, no. That is important, I am very interested in things like that, because it really helps to make the history vivid to people. If you can give a little of that color and a little bit of the personality then all the facts and figures have some life to them. Football, Baseball, and Latin. (Shown as Frank Bane's interests at school.)
Clark: He flunked Latin five times.
I: Is that why they put that in?
Clark: Yes, and I flunked it twice. So I had to take a Bachelor of Science degree because I couldn't pass Latin. And when the University of Chicago Dean said, "You can pass it." I said "No I can't. I am just like my daddy and he flunked it five times in college . . ."
I: And look at him he was a success! Now before I forget let me show you something that I brought you. About what I did with the portrait and how we are using it. Now I didn't take a photograph of it yet, because this roll of film isn't ready to be developed so I didn't have a chance to take a photograph. But I took a photograph with my little digital camera, which doesn't use film, it just plugs into the computer and then you can see it on the computer screen and print it out in the printer. So I just printed out a copy to show you and later I'll take a photograph.
Clark: Then we will all come to see it.
I: Yes, certainly. This is the entrance to our History Room. There is a big room here with all kinds of displays, but it is right in the front entrance in display with the portrait. And then there are a couple of other things there, a couple of pictures of your father. These are 8 x 10 pictures I had of him and a picture of him with members of the Social Security Board. And a copy of an article that he wrote for our employee magazine in 1977.
Clark: Yes. You call that OASIS. I gave you a copy of that, because I didn't know if had copies.
I: And this is of course a little description, a little bio, a little description of your father and his role in the organization. So that is right in the door as you walk in the door it is right by the plague.
Photo gallery of Frank Bane as Director of Council of State Governments
Clark: And I have something here that I am giving you. Have you ever heard of Louis Brownlow?"
I: Yes, sure.
Clark: Well he was like my grandfather and I have something here just for you to read. This is the first time that he ever met my father. . .
"Frank Bane has a knack of getting group consent to a specific program because he is a genius at simplification. Time and time again I have seen him go into a meeting where the most diverse views were held by the most belligerent persons, each declaring that he would never yield a jot or a tittle, and yet Bane would come out at the end of a long discussion with a unanimous agreement. Invariably that unanimous decision will have the form of three, four, or five propositions. Always they are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Never are there more than five. Rarely does one of them exceed a sentence in length. Rarely does the whole document cover more than a page. The reason Bane gets them together is that he is able to distill out of intellectual discussion and the emotional quarrels basic propositions on which the group can be brought to agree, and he has the knack of writing them out in simple, direct and brief form. His success is largely due to the fact that he is able to add to his genial personality this particular piece of technical skill."
I: This is from Brownlow's book?
Clark: Yes. And Brownie took daddy. . . Daddy said that he learned everything from social workers, and women social workers. And some of the smartest people he ever met were women. And daddy and Brownie would go to meetings . . .
Daddy loved to dance and my mother had two left feet. And so he had bet somebody ten dollars that I could dance before I could walk, and he won. He took me when he was a Principal of a school he'd take me to the school band and put my play pen right next to it and he won his ten dollars. And I did the same things with my two grandchildren.
I: They would dance to the music?
Clark: I had them dance before they could walk.
But this the first time Brownie ever met daddy. I read his book and stayed up to 5 o'clock reading this. It starts right here . . . My dad at this time is like 28 years old.
I: What was he doing at this time? What was your dad doing?
Clark: There was no Social Security then. His job was to work with the jails and the insane asylums and the reformatories.
I: In the state of Virginia?
Clark: Yes, and the poorhouses. Brownie, if you didn't know, he was very pompous.
I: So tell me about him. I would be happy to hear you tell me about many of these people that you met--these famous people that we've all heard about. I would be delighted to have you talk about them.
Clark: Well he was like my grandfather from the time I was two years old.
They would go to all of these meetings together and then they would go to dances and Brownie couldn't dance. So one time Brownie was telling daddy not to tell anybody, and he was 58 years old, but he said, "I am sick and tired of sitting at the table when you dance. So I went to Arthur Murray and took dancing lessons."
And so mother and daddy gave Brownie a coming out party at the Quadrangle Club at the University of Chicago. I get a phone call at 9:30, "Toot's get dressed in an evening dress and come right over. None of the women know how to dance the new dances that Arthur Murray taught Brownie."
So up unto he was 80, Brownie and I went dancing together all of the time.
They used to have tea dances at the Press Club every Saturday. And if I was ever in Washington working or anything we went every Saturday to tea dancing. And the last time we went dancing he was 79, and he died at 80 making a speech on a platform.
I: I didn't realize that. How interesting.
Clark: Fourteen of my family were here for a child that got married. I have one married for 20 years. I have five children, and none of the others were married and then I had three get married in 3 years.
I: Oh? How nice.
Clark: I have one left who isn't married, and he is in Kuala Lumpur. I thought that . . .
I: You can proceed however you want.
Clark: So this recorder is turned on? So you have got all of my crazy conversation?
I: Yes that is fine, don't worry about it.
Clark: I thought this would explain something about daddy. Karl Menninger was on a lot of daddy's boards throughout the years. One time he said to daddy, "Tell me about your childhood. You are the best adjusted person I've ever met in my life. How come?" And dad said, "Well my mother died when I was three and I was raised by a colored mammy." And I said that my dad is the only person that I ever knew with no prejudices against any group or any person.
Mary Bethune used to come and stay at our house and when different colored people would come and make speeches they would always come and stay at our house when they couldn't stay at hotels. And we had the same maid for 26 years and she was just as close to me really as my mother was.
Bill Robinson, the tap dancer, was from Richmond Virginia. And he built a settlement house for children in Richmond. Daddy always arranged to go to the settlement house one Saturday a month to see the woman that ran it. (This was part of his job for the State of Virginia.) And he would take me when he went to the settlement house. That is where I learned to do the Charleston and the Black Bottom. And I played as much with colored children as I did with white children. There were white children in my neighborhood.
But as a result I ended up with no prejudice. As a result all of my kids have friends that are colored. And I like that word much better than "black" and "African-American," and as long as there is the National Association of Colored People, I'm going to call them colored.
And all of my children were saying, "How come you are more comfortable with our colored friends than we are?" And I said. "Because I've known them all of my life and I have never felt any different with them."
I: Tell me, just give me a outline, where you lived over the years. Because it sounds like the family lived different places over the years.
Clark: Yes, you will find the whole history of where we lived in that oral history, which is a great history. (Referring to a previous oral history her father gave to the University of California in 1965.)
I: Yes. I'm anxious to get my hands on that. It turns out that I can't get it for two to three months. For some reason it is going to take them three months to send it to me.
Clark: Well I bet that they are going to have to re-tape it.
I: Yes, well I think that they have to redo the transcript or something, I am not sure what.
Clark: I wasn't going to send you this one, it is the only one that we have.
I: Well I understand.
Clark: Well he started out . . . Do you want to know where he was born?"
I: Yes, tell me. Just give me the outline of where he was and then we will go back and talk about each of those periods.
Clark: His father was a minister, a Methodist minister, and he was born in Smithfield, Virginia. And Tom Dewey would always introduce him, in every speech that daddy made when Dewey introduced him, he would introduce him as "Frank Bane from Smithfield, Virginia--where the hams come from."
I: Ha, ha, ha! That's good.
Clark: And then his mother died when he was three. Then he had a brother and a sister and they moved in with his grandmother in Ashland, Virginia. They had lived in Charlotte, Virginia and the colored nanny is the one that raised daddy.
His brother later went to Randolph Macon and he became a lawyer and he worked for the Federal Trade Commission. Then he was head of the Legal Section of the Securities and Exchange Commission. When President Roosevelt appointed Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy, as Securities and Exchange Commissioner, my uncle asked him why and Roosevelt replied, "It is just to put the fox in the hen house."
I: Oh that is good. That is funny!
Clark: And then he went to a prep school. There are two Episcopal high schools in Virginia--one is in Lynchburg. And he played semi-pro baseball for Lynchburg--did you know that there is a Lynchburg league?
I: I didn't know that.
Clark: Yes. In fact there is--oh what was that movie? Bull Durham. It was in the same league. And he did that all the way through college.
Then he went to Columbia. Daddy told me that he had taken Political Science at Columbia and he had told my daughter that he had taken Law, and that in the summer he had worked at Sing Sing (the state prison). So when this man who was doing the biography of him went to look at his papers he found that daddy had taken Law and didn't like it and had switched over to Political Science.
Then the war came and he was in the Air Corps for two years, I think. He was in the Air Corps from 1916 to 1918, I think, and then he married my mother.
When the war was over he went to Nansemond County, Virginia, that is where Suffolk is and not too far from Norfolk, as Principal of a school. And all of this will be in the oral history. At 23 they made him Superintendent of the school. I was a year and a half old so I guess he was there for maybe a year-and-a-half or two years. And then he went to Richmond and that is where he met Brownlow. Because we moved to Richmond when I was 18 months old and stayed until I was three.
Brownlow was made City Manager of Knoxville, Tennessee and asked daddy to come to set up a Welfare Department there. And the fascinating thing was that daddy got there and found out the doctors were splitting fees.
I: What does that mean?
Clark: Well I send you a patient and then you give me half of what you charge that patient. So daddy took that to the courts and that isn't written up any place that I have read so far. But anyway he did away with it and he reorganized the whole medical profession. And so they said that if he got sick or if anything happened to us we were in "real trouble," because nobody, no doctor, would wait on us. Then mother had my brother when I was there and the doctor did do it, but the doctor said he should name my brother after him,(the doctor), since he was so nice to be the doctor after the trouble with daddy.
But then I'll get back to what I was doing about commenting . . .
I: Now I am going to take some pictures of you while we are talking . . . just keep talking don't let it distract you.
Clark: I never wear glasses except when I read, because I have cataracts.
Let's see, I remember when we were living in Richmond from the time I was six years old until I was eleven. That is the longest that we have ever lived anywhere when daddy was Director of Public Welfare.
Oh, he left Knoxville and then came back to Richmond when Bird became Governor and Bird wanted to set up a Welfare Department and I think it was the second Welfare Department that they set up in the United States. New York had the first one and Richmond had the second one. I don't know where Brownie went, when daddy went back to Richmond.
They used to take me to Sunday School. And my dad having had a father who was a minister, having gotten so many demerits when he was in college, and every time you got a demerit you had to memorize a chapter of the bible, so daddy knew any part of the Bible backwards and forwards.
I told daddy that I didn't like Sunday School. All that I heard about was the devil and damnation and I thought that religion should be happy. So daddy said that you don't have to go anymore.
So daddy started taking me to the colored churches, whenever we would be driving around the church would be in session, and we would sit in the back of the colored church. And so I don't know many hymns, but I know all of the spirituals from all of the colored churches. I can sing any of them.
He knew so many brilliant women and as I said they are the ones that really trained him in social work and made him the welfare worker and he brought some of the best ones in the United States to come and work with him in Richmond.
When I was seven he gave me a book on the Famous Women of The World and he said, "There isn't anything professionally that a woman can't do that a man can do, as long as she has the brains and the motivation." And I don't know if you've ever heard of Edith Abbot and Grace Abbot or Sophonisba Breckinridge?
Clark: Edith Abbot was head of University of Chicago Social Work School, but Sophonisba Breckinridge started it. And they were from Kentucky and her father is the one who ran for President and was a Senator or Congressman during the Civil War time. She was one of my favorite people. I never came home to Chicago that she didn't have a present waiting for me.
Anyway we had that book for years and we moved so much that when I was away working I lost the book--I mean we had thousands of books, and I lost that book. But the thing was that I didn't have the motivation or the intellect . . . Well, I ended up with a Masters Degree in Social Work, but I majored in "social life" during high school. And now there isn't a single subject you bring up that I can't tell you about, because I'm hooked on Public Radio and I listen to it 24 hours a day.
I: That's good.
Clark: So now I'm bright, but at school I wasn't, but I had a glorious time.
I: Now your father, I think, had the view that a life outside of work was also important. Right?"
Clark: Oh yeah. But you know in those days you worked 48 hours a week and then he always worked overtime.
Did I send you the article of me that I was talking about meeting with Mrs. Roosevelt for the first time?
I: Was that in that newspaper clipping?
Clark: I went to my son's 40th birthday party and met this young man who was fascinated about government. And I was talking to him, about it. So the man came and interviewed me about knowing Mrs. Roosevelt and I ...
I: Well tell me that story again and we will put it down on the tape.
Clark: Well let me, well what I will do is I'll give you a copy of that. I am pretty sure that I gave you a copy.
I: Let me look maybe I have it.
Clark: You know you can just put this in here and just read this later. Now what was the question that you asked me?
I: You were going to tell me a couple of things, you were going to tell me . . . why don't you tell me the story of meeting Mrs. Roosevelt?
Clark: Starting when I was two years old daddy took me on all of his business trips all around Virginia. So I went to all of the insane asylums and all of the reformatories. And the people in the prison made me a doll bed. And I would go up to every body in the jail or reformatory that I met and I would go up to all of them and say, "What did you do?" And then I would say, "You promise that you will never do it again?" And that went on until I was five years old and then I stated kindergarten.
But he would take me all over Virginia to all of these different institutions. He had a very beautiful voice and he taught me all of the World War I songs and all of the songs from 1910 to 1930 and then from 1930 I taught him all of the songs. But on these trips he would sing to me and he would quote poetry.
I: So he took you around . . .
Clark: From the time I was two. And at the University of Virginia he would sit me down on a bench and then he would go and lecture and then he would come back and pick me up on the bench. And he would show me where the lavatory was, and where to wait for him.
When they moved from Suffolk ,Virginia . . . they grew up in a little town called Ashland, Virginia. It still is a little town. The population is now two thousand four hundred and when they grew up there the population was like two thousand five hundred. It is the only place that hasn't changed. The house where my mother lived is still known as the Hoofnagle house. The houses are still known. The Prettyman's house is still known as the Prettyman's house. The man that owned the race horse "Citation" lived four houses down from where my grandparents lived, and right behind their house was a minister named Hepburn, and that was Katherine Hepburn's grandfather.
I: No kidding? Isn't that amazing?
Clark: So one time (Katherine Hepburn) came and did Jane Eyre in Washington when I was around sixteen or seventeen. I saved all of my money to go to see the play and when she came out I was standing outside and she said, "Did you like the play?" And I said, "I loved it!" And I said, "Do you know that my grandfather lives right behind your grandfather?" And she said, "Isn't that fascinating? Why don't hop in the car and we'll talk about it?" Imagine this gracious lady doing this to this seventeen year old kid.
I: Wow! What a great time. What a great story!
Clark: That little town is still exactly like it used to be.
Instead of reading poems like A. Milne and all my father would read me Kipling and Robert W. Service--starting when I was four, five, and six years old. And when I was in the second grade . . . did you ever read Robert W. Service or Kipling?
I: I read some Kipling.
Clark: Well he wrote some things about India and then he wrote some very naughty ones.
I: Oh I see, the ones that I read were about India.
Clark: In the second grade I had to memorize a poem and do it. And so daddy taught me Kipling's "If You Had Your Choice Of Two Women To Wed." And it goes, "one is beautiful and kind of sinful and the other is ugly and a puritan," and it ends asking "would you take a scarlet saint or a sparkling sinner?" And when daddy came home from work that night he came rushing in and said, "How did you do your poem and what did you say?" And I said, "The teacher said that I said it well, but it was not appropriate"
I: That's funny! I am very interested in the fact that your father took you around as a young girl and let you watch his work and see where he went and what he did.
Clark: Well he had to drive all over the state and he thought it was more fun to (take his little girl along). When mother was pregnant he said, "Nobody will believe it, but I hope it's a girl, because a girl you can spoil."
We did all of the singing together, but I did not inherit his singing voice, I can't carry a tune and I have to mouth things.
He would come home from work every day and I would meet him at the door and I would reach in his pockets and he had Hershey Kisses and so I would call them "Pocket Kisses" instead of Hershey Kisses.
We had a big broom for my daddy and a little broom for me, and then we would walk around the dining room table before dinner and be soldiers and sing all of the war songs from World War I.
My brother was born seven years later. When he was born that is when daddy was Director of Public Welfare, and then he was very young. After that we moved to Chicago and as head of the American Public Welfare Association he was only home a week out of a month. So he never got to know my brother as well as he got to know me. And so I was lucky as a "duce" to be around (in the early days).
I: Now you mentioned a minute ago that your father said, that a lot the women in the social work field were an influence on him and a lot of women were important in his career. Can you think of anybody specifically that he had in mind? Anybody that you want to mention now or are you going to mention them later?"
Clark: Well Edith Abbot and Grace Abbot and Sophonisba Breckinridge and there was somebody named Hoey.
I: Oh yeah she worked at Social Security.
Clark: I've got some material . . .
I: Oh good, oh good. I am very interested in her.
Clark: Where he is giving her a farewell party and then he wrote her a letter about the "red-headed gal" that he talked into coming down from New York, because she really didn't want to come down to Virginia, I mean to the Social Security, to Washington.
I: Okay yeah, Jane Hoey.
Clark: Jane Hoey was there a lot longer than daddy was.
I: Right she stayed a lot longer after he left.
Clark: And then I don't know if you have ever heard of Maurine Mulliner?
I: Oh sure, and as a matter of fact . . .
Clark: Did you see her in US News and World Reports?
I: No, but she was on ABC TV just two weeks ago. They interviewed her about . . .
Clark: It was some exercise thing that she did?
I: Recently? In U.S. News?"
Clark: Yeah it was two weeks ago. I have got that in here for you.
I: I think they interviewed her on ABC News too. I have been thinking of going to talk to Maurine about her oral history.
Clark: It is going to be hard trying to find her. She is not listed in the phone book.
I: I know where she is, I have her address.
Clark: Oh you do?
I: I have her address and phone number. I didn't bring it with me. I have it in the office. I will call you and give it to you.
Clark: Oh my heavens! I will call and get it. When my daughter was here from Puerto Rico she went down there to try and find Maurine and she is not listed in the book.
I: Yeah I've got it. I'll give it to you.
Clark: But they said in here that she is still active in the Unitarian Church.
I: Oh how interesting!
Clark: So I said to call the minister there.
I: In fact, I have an oral history interview by her in which she mentions your father a lot and I was going to ask you about some of the things that she said about him. She says some very flattering things about him.
Clark: One time after my daddy was a widower . . . Maurine did not like children and I have never seen Maurine really laugh. And I have known her . . . she came, she was Executive Secretary of Social Security Board.
Clark: And was hired by Winant. You know who Winant was? When they fired Joe Kennedy, Winant went over to England and she went with him.
I: That's right.
Clark: And another time when she went to England--I put this out, because I thought that you would be interested--she brought this back to daddy. That is after Truman fired General MacArthur.
I: Oh yeah. These are bottle stoppers (shaped to look like MacArthur and Truman).
Clark: But Maurine did not like children and she had a very peculiar growing up. She grew up in Utah and her parents were Mormons. Is this in her biography?
I: She didn't talk about that in her oral history.
Clark: She didn't get along with her parents and then her brother disappeared and she never found her brother. She kept in touch with her sister, but she went with Winant.
You will find here that daddy worked for Winant, to help setup, reorganize his government, when I was twelve years old, and that is where he got to known him.
I: To help Winant when Winant was Governor?
Clark: Yes, of New Hampshire.
I: Okay. So that is how he got to know Winant? And you met Winant then too?
Clark: Yes. And that is why daddy left Social Security. This is one of the things that I want back--daddy's description of Winant. And I have given you some things that are kind of private, but you can use them, I thought, with everybody dead now.
I: Sure. Okay, good.
Clark: Because Winant's wife . . . when we were in New Hampshire we never met her, she raised dogs and that was all that she was interested in. And she didn't go to Washington with him and she didn't go to England with him and then when he came back from England he committed suicide.
Clark: Daddy had a secretary, who he had for years, as Head of Council of State Governments, and she died and Maurine took off six months from work to go out and be daddy's Office Manager and get things straightened out that Mary Lou had done. And get the things all organized.
"Mr. Bane is the kind of man that is not only a lot of fun, but a rate privilege to work for. He is always gentlemanly, pleasant, and cheerful. He has a sparkling wit, and is one of the country's best story-tellers, I think, yet he give sober attention to the job at hand. He is generous with his time--and I should know--to the little fellow as well as the big one. You'll notice how his office door here is never closed. He keeps his staff well informed of all phases of our work, he details jobs to others, then lets them go ahead without interference and with a feeling that he has confidence in them."
I: That's when he was at the Council of State Governments?
Clark: Yes. She just took a six-month leave of absence and then went back to Health, Education and Welfare. They were just the very best of friends. But life to her . . . it was so funny, because daddy was one of the few people who could really make her laugh. "Life was real and life was earnest" always with Maurine.
And when she had gone to take up ballet lessons at, she went to ballet school and was in the Chicago Ballet and then did something to her back, and so then went to the University of Chicago and got a Ph.D. I think, if I am not mistaken, in psychology. And she wrote a book, when she was a student, with the man who taught psychology there, a man named Mandell Sherman. And his graciousness is unbelievable. On the book he puts his name and her name just as big, as authors. Now you know most people will just list you in the credits or not even mention it.
I don't know how she got into Social Security. I did not know her during the Welfare years.
I: Actually I know that story. She worked for Senator Wagner from New York, and Senator Wagner recommend her to Winant, and that is how she got there.
Clark: Oh? She got there through Senator Wagner?
I: Yes. She got there through working for Wagner. Well why don't you just tell me about Winant too?
Clark: I know nothing about him, but there is a write-up in here, that daddy describes Winant. And he was the most peculiar person. Daddy was a day person and went to bed every night at nine. Winant could never make up his mind. As daddy was saying, Winant was the most unique and kind of peculiar person he had ever met. They would have a meeting and they would decide what they would do and then daddy would get a phone call from Winant at 2 o'clock in the morning saying, "Frank I am not sure that this is what we are supposed to do." And after three years of this, daddy went with the Council of State Governments.
Daddy said anyway that he loved taking different a job every three years, because that broadened his interest in things. Because if you stay too long you get stale. And you really don't add anything to the organization.
Frank Bane," declared Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, "is the best administrator in the country."
I: Tell me how about Winant, could you give me any description of him?
Clark: I never saw him.
I: Okay. So you never met Winant?
Clark: I never met Winant. We stayed out on Lake Winnipesaukee and daddy would go in to the Capital (to help Governor Winant) but Winant never had us for dinner.
Two years before he had done the same thing (consulting on government organization) for Tudor Gardener, who was Governor of Maine. And they had us for dinner and then they also took us down Kennebunkport River in a Criss-Craft. I had never been in a Criss-Craft before! And Tudor Gardener had a big place at KennebunkPort and he had us there for the weekend. And it was his son that later married a champion skater, who became a doctor and later they were divorced. But he was utterly charming.
I never saw Winant at all. I don't know if my mother ever saw Winant. We never had him over and we always had people over for dinner. But I don't remember Winant ever wanting to come.
Daddy was on the First Hoover Commission. That was the next thing. Back when daddy was in Virginia Hoover put him on this board to find out why they had the Depression. And I have the different articles that they wrote about where daddy told Hoover that there was no way that the private agencies could do it. You had to have public agencies coming in.
But daddy said that he made the biggest mistake that he ever made. He never made it again. A New York Times man came to interview him after one of the meetings and he said that Hoover was dead wrong, that there was no way that they could have private agencies do the things, and they had to have a welfare set-up. Hoover called him in on that. And daddy said that after that he was never "Frank," he was always "Mr. Bane."
And about 30 years later, or something like that, he gets a phone call from Hoover to come to New York and met him at the Waldorf Astoria. And then he said that he was setting up the Second Hoover Commission and he wanted daddy to help him set it up. So he had forgotten about the past.
I: So he worked on the Second Hoover Commission too?
Clark: No. No. He didn't go and work for them. But he was very flattered that Hoover asked him too.
Clark: So the next thing was Frances Perkins. . . and you will see this in daddy's write up. Roosevelt was very much against welfare--he was running as a conservative Democrat. And if we wasn't against welfare he would not get any votes. So nobody could talk him into welfare.
But Mrs. Roosevelt, was very much interested in it. And Frances Perkins was one of her best friends and she was interested in it. And when she became Secretary of Labor, she suggested, and that is to Brownlow . . .
Oh, when daddy was on the Hoover board about the Depression, a man named Woods from The Rockefeller-Spelman Foundation was on it. And he became very impressed with daddy. So he went back and talked to the Rockefeller-Spelman Foundation about it and that is when they set up the American Public Welfare Association.
Clark: And that was financed by the Rockefeller-Spelman Foundation.
And then Woods retired and a man named Guy Moffett took his place. Then daddy and Miss Perkins and Guy Moffett and Louie Brownlow and . . . oh let me think, Beardsly Ruml, who was a Professor, always wanted to be a Professor, but his father unfortunately owned Macy's Department Store, so when his father died he had to go back and take Macy's over. But I knew him when he was a Professor at the University of Chicago and I was a little girl. And a lot of them went to Europe, they went three times to study the European system. There was a German, years ago, not von Hindenberg, but one way back, that started the first Social Security setup in any government.
I: Right, that was Bismarck.
Clark: Bismarck! Thank you very much. So daddy was having lunch at the Dodd's house. Ambassador Dodd had taught my mother German when she went to Randolph Macon Women's College. When we moved to Chicago with the American Public Welfare Association he was Head of the German Department at the University of Chicago, and then Roosevelt appointed him as Ambassador to Germany.
Mother and dad were over in Germany doing this study and the Dodds had them over for lunch. And that is the day that von Hindenberg died and Hitler marched in. And so Mrs. Dodd after lunch was over said to mother, "Did you notice that the maid who served our lunch, changed in the middle of the luncheon?" Hitler had taken the kitchen help out and had put his people in without the Dodds knowing it.
Clark: He started writing Roosevelt, and anybody in Washington that he knew, and the professors in Chicago and everybody and telling them what Hitler was doing to the Jewish people and nobody believed it. And I had dated his son when I was in high school--you dated everybody in those days. Anyway, Hitler said that he had to be fired, so Roosevelt fired Dodd and brought him back, but he still thought that Dodd was crazy. Nobody could be doing that to the Jewish people and he never believed it. My dad didn't believe it. And I said to daddy, "Why don't you?" Because the Dodd's were telling me this and I went over to their house several times. And daddy said, "I just think that he has had a nervous breakdown."
And so Dodd would go and speak anywhere he could on what was going on with the Jewish people in Germany. He could never get a big hall, so he would go to any little church or any little community group and I would go with his son and we would pass out pamphlets about it. And then Dodd had kind of a nervous breakdown and he was walking down a lonely road one night and was hit by a car and was killed in Virginia.
Clark: But Roosevelt really didn't believe it. Honestly at that time the United States had no knowledge at all of it
I: Right, hardly anybody did.
Clark: And we didn't know about it until we found one of those concentration camps. But Dodd knew about it. He had a daughter named Martha Dodd, who became a very famous communist. That was during the McCarthy era, and so McCarthy was going to investigate her and have her arrested so she ran away to Russia and lived in Russia. I think that she was indicted for becoming a communist, and she wasn't a spy or anything. But she had such a reaction to the fact that the people wouldn't believe her father. And when Carter became President he pardoned her and said for her to come back to the United States and she didn't, but she went to Czechoslovakia and she had married a Russian.
"Bane, one of the wartime government's elite volunteer dollar-a-year men, had a reputation for handling gigantic tasks. He helped work out the nation's civilian defense plan and in three weeks was able to organize and start a rationing system."
I: How interesting! Wow! It is amazing how many different events that we have gone through here.
Clark: Oh it's unbelievable! Like when Guy Moffett took over the Rockefeller-Spelman Foundation, and at that time daddy was working for Social Security . . . Nothing is going to be in context . . .
Anyway, I was terrible in geometry and I didn't know that Guy Moffett was coming for dinner and I went down and said to daddy, "Can you help me with my geometry?" and daddy said, "No we are having company for dinner." And Guy Moffett had come and he was sitting on the back porch and he heard me and after dinner somebody knocked on my door, came up stairs and knocked on my bedroom door, and it was Guy Moffett and he said, "I'm awfully good in geometry may I help you with it?" And we became best friends from then on. Up until he died I would go and visit him where he lived in Virginia, after he retired. We wrote each other letters back and forth, we talked on the telephone, he never came to Washington that we didn't see each other and up until . . . In fact, have you heard of Luther Gulick?
Clark: Well he was head of Political Science at Columbia. You will read about Luther Gulick, he was also setting up Social Security and he is in all of this.
Clark: You said that you got some information from Columbia?
I: Well the Oral History interview. Your father had an oral history interview with Columbia, as well as the one out at Berkeley.
Clark: So Luther Gulick will be in that.
Well when Guy Moffett died, his wife married Luther Gulick. And I went to see them seven years ago and she was 96 and Luther was 99. Last time that I heard Luther was 101, but I haven't heard from him in seven years so I don't know if he is still alive.
I: How interesting. So now your father knew Frances Perkins because of his work with the American Public Welfare Association, or he knew Frances Perkins before that?
Clark: He knew her before that, and I don't know how.
But he knew Mrs. Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt came to campaign for Al Smith in Richmond, because Roosevelt could not campaign. So we had her for dinner. And then daddy drove her throughout the state to do the campaigning, and I could sit in the back seat, if I didn't say anything. This is why I talk so much now, I was raised so that I could be seen and not heard. Because everything was political, so daddy never wanted me to discuss any of the things I heard. I was eight years old and for about four days I drove around Virginia with the two of them.
And they had a program on public radio, it wasn't Terry Gross, but somebody else in the area of Philadelphia, and she had Doris Kerns Goodwin on. And they were comparing Mrs. Roosevelt with Mrs. Clinton. Well I went apoplectic and I told them. . .
I: You phoned in?
Clark: Yes. And there were other people on the line, and they said, "What are you calling about?" And I said, "I've known Mrs. Roosevelt since I was eight years old and this comparison is the worst that I have ever seen." I never knew anyone, anybody, that was more gracious and more charming and more unassuming than Mrs. Roosevelt. And I never knew anybody that was more "bossy" and ungracious than Mrs. Clinton. So Doris Kerns Goodwin said, "You mean that you knew her?" "You knew her personally?" And I want to get in touch with her sometime to give her some more information about the Roosevelt family.
When Anna Roosevelt and her mother broke up at the time that Roosevelt died, because Anna Roosevelt had been arranging for, you know she found out about Lucy Mercer.
Clark: And so for three or four years they had nothing to do with one another. And there was a man named Paul Appleby, who was Henry Wallace's Assistant, when he was head of Agriculture. And then he was Assistant Head of the Bureau of Budget and then he headed the Maxwell School at Syracuse. And I had known his daughter years ago and then I went and had lunch and dinner with Maurine one night and she said that she was having dinner with somebody else and it was Ruth Appleby. Ruth Appleby was amazed that I had known her daughter 30 years ago and she and I became best friends until she died in 1996.
And she was the most brilliant lady. Ruth Appleby became Anna Roosevelt's kind of "surrogate mother" for those four years. And she kept in touch with them. Then she got to know Anna's daughter real well and then Anna's granddaughter real well. And she was also a good friend of Paul Douglas. So I was over to Paul Douglas' for several times and Anna's daughter was there.
And the only person that I have met that I have hated, every time he has walked into the room I got up and left, daddy let me get away with it, because he had been so rude so many times, was Harry Hopkins.
I: Oh really? Well tell me about him.
Clark: I just wanted to do the most interesting things. That is a person that I just knew very, very well.
I: You knew Hopkins very well?
Clark: Hated him! He went on every vacation with us in the summer.
To get back to Anna Roosevelt. Her second husband was a newspaper editor named John Boettiger. And he had twin daughters who went to the University of Wisconsin when I went there. I knew them, I used to play bridge with one every week, and they were absolutely devastated when their father divorced their mother and married Anna. And then later he was a newspaper editor in Seattle, Washington and he jumped out of the window and committed suicide.
But anyway she kept in touch. Ruth told me the story.
Harry Hopkins was married the first time and his wife worked his way through Social Work School.
I: She supported him while he went to school?
Clark: Right. And then he divorced her and left her with two kids. And married this beautiful, wonderful gal named Barbara. And they had a child named Diane and she died, Barbara died of a brain tumor.
Anna Roosevelt's third husband was a doctor, and he was like 60 or 70, and he wanted to write a book on Harry Hopkins' illnesses from a medical point of view. And so Ruth Appleby introduced him to Harry Hopkins' daughter who was like 30 years younger than he was, and they married each other-- and so she found a father at last.
I: Let me take you back to that story of Mrs. Roosevelt coming to Virginia and you riding around with them in the back of the car. Can you tell me anymore about that?
Clark: I just remember her being the most unassuming person that I ever met in my life, and utterly charming. We lived in a little row house and she stayed at a hotel, but she was unpretentious, utterly charming, she was the one person that never changed. Nothing ever went to her head. And no, I guess, you see at that time I was eight years old.
I: Right, you were young then and you couldn't remember.
Clark: You know that Roosevelt built her a house at Hyde Park. And then she built a little furniture factory there and she gave me a doll chair that they built in that furniture factory and my daughter has that now.
I: Did you meet Mrs. Roosevelt later on any other occasions?
Clark: The last time that I saw her I was 28 years old and I had met her first when I was eight years old.
I know somebody who had sent her a wedding invitation to her wedding and she had sent her a present and then when I bumped into her when I was 28 she said, "Are you married yet because I have never gotten a wedding invitation?" And I said, "I would never presume to send you a wedding invitation."
The last time that I saw her she had been appointed by Truman to the United Nations. We had gone to a Governors Conference in New Hampshire and then we came back and stopped by to see the United Nations and Mrs. Roosevelt was there. And that was the last time that I saw her.
But after daddy met her, when she came to make that speech, they became best friends. Anytime he needed somebody to make a speech when he was head of Public Welfare (he would ask Mrs. Roosevelt). She made speeches everywhere. And he would put her next to the most militant Republican that he could find and then it was absolutely fascinating, daddy said, to watch at the end of the meeting she had that man eating completely out of her hand.
I: Because of her personal charm?
Clark: Total charm and no ego, and her interest in people. I mean, and I am sure she and daddy had been talking, but if she had been talking to me, she would have shown interest in me. If she hadn't I wouldn't have gotten that doll chair.
You know that she was not close to any of her children, except Elliott, who was her favorite child and he was the one that was an alcoholic just like her own father.
And then after she died he wrote not a nice book about her and it broke my heart, because she was the most wonderful, unassuming person. And I loved that cartoon about her in the New Yorker that they have of her down in the coal mines and somebody says, "My God there is Mrs. Roosevelt."
Everybody knew that Roosevelt was very much in love with Missy Lehand and so they lived totally separate lives. But they were very congenial. But Roosevelt had this wonderful sense of humor and he loved to play poker, and all of that, but for Mrs. Roosevelt "Life was real and life was earnest." Because of the childhood that she had, that had been so traumatic with the father she adorned, who was an alcoholic, and the mother that had died.
And then she was the "ugly duckling" in the family. She said that, I have a marvelous biography of her I'll lend it to you. She really wasn't happy until she went to Europe and went to school in Switzerland and at this wonderful school she found out that she was a person. Then she started getting very much interested in public affairs and all and became her own person.
I: Do you remember any other particular times that you met Mrs. Roosevelt? Any anecdotes that you could tell me?
Clark: No mainly just watching her, because I never set next to her at a speech. Oh I went to the teas at the White House, and she would talk to me because I was daddy's daughter.
The place that I would have liked to have been was on December the 7th 1941, my mother and father were having lunch at the White House and I was in Chicago and I was listening to the radio and we were having a house party for all these midshipmen, these 90-day wonders and all. And at 1:30 p.m. I was listening to the radio and right in the middle of the symphony they interrupted and talked about Pearl Harbor.
Mother and dad were staying at what became the Roger Smith Hotel. They were going to have lunch at the White House, and I started calling them at 2 o'clock, you know, just frantic. And I at last got them at 5 o'clock, because they kept waiting for President Roosevelt to come to lunch and at last the butler came down and said, "He will not be down for lunch because something is happening in the East." And daddy was thinking that it must be something in the Philippines.
I had two great heroes, my number one great hero is George Marshall and my second one is Edward R. Murrow. And Edward R. Murrow was invited at the same lunch, but when he came in Roosevelt had them bring him right upstairs. So mother and dad didn't meet him until years later in 1948, when I was allowed to pick the speakers for the Governors Conference. We usually had Presidents and Admirals and Generals and things like that. So I picked Edward R. Murrow and Dorothy Thompson. That is when I got to know Edward R. Murrow. And then he and dad became very, very, good friends.
Daddy was there in Germany when Hitler marched in. And they were having lunch at the White House at the time of Pearl Harbor. He was Regent Professor at the University of California in 1966 when they had the first student riots. So Brownie and everybody said to daddy, "For Gods sake don't go anywhere there because everywhere you go there is a disaster!"
I: Ha! Ha! Ha! That's fascinating. Lets go back to Harry Hopkins. You mentioned Harry Hopkins, tell me about Harry Hopkins. Tell me some stories.
Clark: There is one word that describes him: "bastard."
Clark: When daddy was head of American Public Welfare every time that we turned around the door bell would ring and there was Harry. He would come from New York and he had not been invited for dinner, we didn't know that he was coming, he just arrived and he would say that he was going to spend the night with us.
Clark: We used to go to Virginia Beach every summer and so Harry said he and Barbara were going on vacation with us to Virginia Beach. It was not suggested that he go there, he was trying to get a job with The American Public Welfare I am sure.
I came home one time, and I guess I was, gosh I am trying to think how old I was then, American Public Welfare, so I would have been about 14. And Robert Maynard Hutchins had invited my dad and my mother to come to the football game and to sit in his box. This was the last year that they had it, when Jay Berwanger got the first Heisman Trophy (1935).
My mother had gotten a new dress and a new coat and was so excited. Harry arrived the night before to spend the night and he called up Hutchins and then said to my dad, "Now Gray wouldn't be interested in a football game and I certainly would, so why don't I go instead?" And I came back from the football game and my mother was sitting in a bay window and tears were streaming. And I said, "What's the matter?" and she said, "Harry took my ticket and went to the football game."
And from then on every time that he walked in the house daddy would say, "Toots here is Harry." and I would say, "I know it," and I would then walk back to my bedroom and wouldn't eat dinner with them that night.
One time he came by in Chicago. And I said, "Harry I am raising rabbits, you must see them on the front porch." And he said, "Clark I don't have to see them I can smell them two blocks away."
But when he would go to Virginia Beach with us, he and Barbara-she was a love--and we would go fishing, he couldn't stand to get in waves, because he would get sea sick. So we would get on a boat, we would charter a boat to go fishing, and we would be there ten minutes and he would throw up and we would have to come back. But he did it for five years.
And he was Mrs. Roosevelt's friend, he was not Roosevelt's at all, Roosevelt didn't know him. And when Barbara died he then married a lady who was Assistant Editor at Vanity Fair or Harpers Bazaar.
He loved to play the races. He loved to play poker, as who didn't, because that was the first game that my children learned and their Grandfather taught them, they were playing poker when they were four years old.
But he married this gal, who couldn't care less about the child that he had by Barbara. So Mrs. Roosevelt had them move into the White House and it was soon after that . . .
Who was that wonderful man that worked for Roosevelt for years, and after he got polio he worked for him when he was Governor in New York, and then he went to the White house and worked with him, and he smoked like a house afire. He was the one who taught Mrs. Roosevelt how to make speeches. Because when Roosevelt was campaigning for President he couldn't go all of these places. He taught Mrs. Roosevelt to make all of these speeches and they became very close, I mean they were good friends anyway, and he is the one that talked Roosevelt into running for Governor even though he had polio. Anyway he died, and when Harry Hopkins moved in and took his place and then he treated Mrs. Roosevelt like dirt.
There is a man named Lewis, that wrote a book on Mrs. Roosevelt, who was a very good friend, and that is the only book that this came out in. But Roosevelt had nothing to do with Mrs. Roosevelt after that. He just, then he became Roosevelt's right hand man--Louie Howe, that's the name. Taking Louie Howe's place. But he broke her heart, because he was so cruel to her and here she was raising his daughter.
I: How about your father and Harry Hopkins? What was their relationship?
Clark: They got along fine. I don't know anybody that my dad disliked. He had this most amazing knack of taking people as they are--you'll see this in these different write-ups. He had no prejudices against anybody, if somebody did a poor job he was terribly disappointed. And he left Social Security because of Winant. He liked Winant as a person, but he didn't like being waked up at 4 o'clock in the morning. As daddy said, "Social Security was great until they hired a bunch of lawyers and they told you all of the things that you couldn't do instead of all of the things that you could do."
He had a consultant, who was a Professor at the University of Chicago, who would meet once a month with them at American Public Welfare and on the Council of State Governments. He had the same guy who would meet with them if he ever needed a lawyer, then he would call George Bogart. And he never had a lawyer on the American Public Welfare staff or on the Council of State Government staff because he said, "All they do is tell you no."
I: So he was frustrated with Winant's indecisiveness?
Clark: Yes. Winant could never make up his mind. He liked him as a person, he thought that he was one of the most peculiar people he ever met and that is what is in this write up about it.
It is fascinating because there is a letter from Brownlow to daddy and it is strictly confidential but I thought now that it didn't have to be so confidential.
Oh I left out one part. Daddy was not planning to go to Social Security. He just helped write the Act and then he went over and Roosevelt gave him the job of selling it. And he went all over the United States making speeches for Social Security and there was something called "Town Meeting Of The Air." Well that was a wonderful program and it was on once a week on different topics, for an hour.
I: Oh yeah, we talked about, but say it again because I didn't get it on the tape.
Clark: We listened to it and somebody, I don't know who, was talking on the other side and was very much against it. And daddy was very much for it. And this one man said to daddy, "Mr. Bane how do we know that Social Security will do what they say, because it is only the government's promise to pay." And that's when my dad said, "Are there ushers here?" And they said "yes." And he said, "Would you all please bring the biggest waste basket you can find and put it at the end of each aisle?" And then he said to the audience, "Now when you all leave all of you put your paper money into those waste baskets, because they have no value at all, it's only the governments promise to pay."
I: Ha, ha! That was great. That was great!
Clark: But anyway he was not planning to work for Social Security at all, and Daddy said that he never liked to stay, I told you, at any job longer than three years.
I: He had been there three years at APW.
Clark: At American Public Welfare. So he had accepted the job to be the head of Political Science at University of North Carolina. When Graham was President, I think he is the best President that they ever had at North Carolina. But anyway we were up in a cottage, with friends--Simeon Leland was on a lot of these committees when they were doing Social Security and so you will be reading about him, and he taught at the University of Chicago and later at Northwestern. And they had a place on the lake, but they didn't have a telephone. And we were all sitting on the beach by the lake and all of sudden here comes two cars with lights on the top of one. And two men walk up and one is a policeman and one is a sheriff and they wanted to know if Frank Bane is there? And mother said, "What have you done now?" And they were saying, "You don't have a telephone and the White House, the President, has been trying to get a hold of you for days and he had you tracked down and so will you please come with us so you can talk to the White House?"
Clark: And then Roosevelt offered him the job as Director of the Social Security Board. And then there was all of this discussion that Brownlow and all these people from the Rockefeller-Spelman foundation would try and get Winant to accept daddy as the Director of Social Security. He thought that there should be two people, and half should be done by one and half should be done by the other.
I: This is Winant's idea?
Clark: That was Winant's idea.
Clark: And this is his long letter on that. Maurine had sent daddy a copy and said, "Please send it to Columbia, so that Columbia will have the history of this." Even though it was supposed to be confidential. But daddy wouldn't take the job if it was that way, and nobody backed Winant up on that, so daddy was made Director of Social Security.
"As Executive Director of the Social Security Board, Frank Bane has the 'key post' in an organization that has the tremendous task of guarding the welfare of approximately 26,000,000 people. Chairman Arthur J. Altmeyer of the Board is in charge of the general policies but Bane is on the 'firing line' in the fight for security and has to handle the details of the job."
I: So then you guys had to relocate from Chicago down to Arlington. Okay. How old were you approximately at that time? This is 1935 I guess.
Clark: I was 15 to 18 years of age. And it was really the most exciting time, because in this article this man said, "You know who did you date and who were your friends among important people?" And I said that it was such a little town that you knew all of the people and I didn't want to give to give him any names.
But I had dated John L. Lewis, the adopted son. John L. Lewis and his wife looked exactly the same--the wife even had a goatee. He was the most disagreeable thing. And the daughter looked exactly the same. That was when women would go and leave their calling cards everywhere and you would go to see his wife--mother didn't drive so I would drive her to all of these teas, so I got to meet John L. Lewis' son. It couldn't have been his real son, because he was blond and medium height and utterly charming, while the rest of the other three were "something."
I will never forget-let's talk about Ickes for a minute. They built a building for Social Security and Ickes got it for the Interior Department. (See Frank Bane's article at the end of this interview.)
He got married a second time to a woman who was much younger than he was. We didn't go to the wedding, but it is such a small town and such a small group down there, that he had all of the people in government to come to a reception picnic at Great Falls, which is a park right outside of Washington. And so when I see Harold Ickes Jr. I think "I saw your mother," he looks like his mother, "I knew you before you were even a sperm."
So who was the one who never forgot a name? Farley! Jim Farley. I met him once when daddy was head of the American Public Welfare and years later I met him in Washington and he said, "Hi Clark how are you?" Imagine remembering a name that far.
I: That was part of his skill as a politician.
Clark: But he never forgot a name. He was a computer with that.
But from the time you were sixteen you were invited to anything in the White House if your parents were invited there. And it was the most fun, because I got to go to the receptions and the balls at the White House.
I called everybody I knew, nearly everybody that I knew had gone in the Senate and all, but I called my Congressman and the few Senators I knew in Washington, to say do not put Roosevelt in the wheelchair in his memorial. That it would just break his heart, because he did everything to cover up and they are going to do it. They had decided to do that.
But when you would go down the White House reception line, and Mrs. Roosevelt knew me, and she would say, "Hello Clark" and all, and then Roosevelt would make you feel that he had been waiting the whole time just for you to get there. He had a charm, I've never seen anybody--remind me later to tell you a story about Henry Kaiser and his wife and Roosevelt-but I have never seen anybody in my life with as much charm as he had.
I'll never forget the first time that I went there they had all of these people from West Point and Annapolis to dance with the single ladies and this one asked me to dance and I danced with others, and anyway he asked my daddy if he could take me home, and when he was taking me home he asked me for dates for three or four big occasions coming up and then he said, "By the way how old are you?" And I said "15" and he said, "Forget it. I'll call you again in a year."
I: That's funny.
Clark: But when daddy was appointed head of Social Security there was a Senator from Virginia named Carter Glass. Carter Glass wanted daddy to give a job to one of his friends and daddy wouldn't do. Have you heard this story before?
I: Yes. But please tell it again.
Clark: And so Carter Glass had daddy's salary cut from ten thousand to nine thousand five hundred. Eventually this was reversed.
I: That was an amazing event.
Clark: How did you hear that story? Maurine must have told you.
I: Yeah that is in Maurine's oral history.
Clark: Because I don't know of anybody else that could have told you.
I: Yeah I think that is in Maurine's oral history, that story. Yeah I have it documented somewhere, absolutely. It is an amazing story, I just can't believe it. I mean that it is amazing on so many levels. It is amazing as a good testament to your father's integrity; but it is amazing because it is a story about politics. It is amazing to think that they could just pass a law to get just one person reduced in salary.
Clark: You know that it is fascinating my dad never made that much money and never cared about money.
When he was Superintendent of Schools he had a secretary and he took her to Richmond when he went to work in Richmond. Her husband had deserted her when her child was six months old and so daddy helped send her child to college, when daddy was head of Welfare in Virginia. And daddy got him a hardship scholarship and paid some of the money at Washington Lee. Her son later became Vice President of Ford Motor Company.
Harry Hopkins had two or three sons by his first wife, and never sent them to college, and daddy got them partial scholarships and then sent them to college--on a salary of eight thousand a year.
Clark: When he was head of Council of State Governments and Dewey was head of the Governor's Association, he raised daddy's salary --daddy was making 14 thousand--and he raised it to 36 thousand. And daddy had his secretary list all of the Governors salaries and divide them by 48 and he said he wasn't going to make anymore than the average of what all of the Governors made. And so that was 16 thousand and so he took the other 12 thousand and raised everybody on his staff two thousand dollars.
I: Really? That's amazing!
Clark: They were making 14 thousand. His secretary was making 12 thousand, daddy was making 16 thousand.
Clark: So when he retired from the Council of State Governments he called me up one time and he said, "Toots you wouldn't believe it I am getting all of these phone calls offering me a 100 thousand dollars, 60 thousand dollars, 50 thousand dollars as a lobbyist. If they think that I am going to use my influence they are out of their minds."
So what he did was join a lecture group, they gave lectures to government seminars, there is one in Charlottesville. So then he started lecturing in colleges with this lecture group. And if he ever got money ahead he would help somebody out that needed it. This would drive my mother out of her cotton-picking mind.
I: I imagine that it would.
Clark: Money has never meant anything to me either as a result of this. My kids said that I am the only person that they know that feels like they are a millionaire and yet I take boarders.
He was absolutely amazing in that he was just horrified of how he felt that people "prostituted" themselves as lobbyists, and the number of people that did.
"Probably no Virginian in this generation, in a non-elected position, has had more influence on national affairs than Frank Bane."
"No man in American history has worked with so many Governors as has Frank Bane. Certainly none has worked more effectively with them. His modesty is such that the public has heard little about him at these meetings. But we of the Governors' Conference know that the role he has filled for us is above any price."
I: Yeah, sure. You mentioned Henry Kaiser, you were going to tell me a story about Henry Kaiser.
Clark: My dad told me three things when I was very little and one was never impose on anybody, never be late, and never give any advice to people when you don't know what you are doing. He said, "Your mother didn't know how to drive a car and yet every time that I had to change a tire, she would always tell me how to do it."
And my children said that they have always loved me because of the fact that I never gave them any advise on anything that wasn't my business.
And so we were going to get back to . . .?
I: Henry Kaiser.
Clark: So anyway I read a book called "Kaiser Makes A Doctor" and he started the first prepaid medical plan.
I had been working in Washington and then I got transferred to Chicago, and it was the first time I went to the University of Wisconsin, for two years. I never even went out there to look at it, but it had eight men to every girl. So that was how I chose it--and it did. It was absolutely fabulous.
My mother said that I was being absolutely selfish to be going there when I could come and live at home and go to the University of Chicago for free, because daddy lectured there also. So I went to the University of Chicago for two years. And I went to work and so I saved enough money and the day after I graduated I hopped a train and went to Washington with two hundred dollars so I could find a job.
I: What did you do? What job did you do?
Clark: Ellen Woodward wanted me to work in her office as her "Girl Friday." And she was the best friend.
I: Where was she at this time?
Clark: She was on the Board of Social Security. And one thing that I swore was that I would never work in any job that I had to get through daddy, because of my connections with daddy, and so she had made a little office and had a miniature desk for me and I worked there for free for two months while I was looking for another job.
And I thought that I was stupid--and I mean everybody thought that I was, because of my grades. I found my grades going through here. When I graduated from the University of Chicago, Robert Maynard Hutchinson stopped the whole procession when it got to Clark Bane and handed me my diploma and said, "Is this possible?"
I: That you had done so well?
Clark: Because I had done so poorly. We didn't think for a minute that I was going to make it. I took a Bachelor of Science and we had an eight hour comprehensive on physics and chemistry and all of these things that I hadn't taken, so I had all of these "D's" and so I mean that I got through just barely, but oh I had a wonderful time though.
So then I went (to look for a job). I couldn't type, but I thought that I could get a job as a clerk. They set up a Central Administrative Services group to handle personnel for all the government agencies. So I went there to get a job as a clerk and they gave us all an IQ test, all fifty of us. When I came back she said to me, "What do you mean you want to be a clerk?" "You got the second highest IQ of the fifty." I said, "You are out of your mind, go and look it over again, because I am not very bright." And the other guy, the one that got the highest IQ, was somebody that had a Ph.D., a young colored man from some colored college--the most brilliant one of all of us.
I was a Personnel Classification Analyst for the Office of Defense Transportation, and then they transferred me to the Chicago office. My mother thought it was terrible that I should take an apartment when there were so few. She thought I should live at home.
My boss one day gave me a low evaluation and I said, "What have I done that is so wrong? My evaluation is not good and the people that I work with think I am great." And he said, "I asked you for a date your Freshman year at the University of Wisconsin and you turned me down."
I: You are kidding!
Clark: And I didn't even remember him, and that made him even madder.
And so after that I was walking down the street and I bumped into a teacher who had taught me Child Development at the University of Chicago and he said that they were setting up a 24-hour nursery school for the children of workers in the Kaiser Ship Yard.
Clark: And Lois Meeks Stokes was setting it up and she asked me would I be interested in a job? And I said, "Sure. When?" And she said that they want people right away. So I gave two weeks notice and got on the train and went out to Portland, Oregon, having never been there. Doris Kerns Goodwin was talking another time on public radio and she was saying that the 24-hour a day nursing school was Mrs. Roosevelt's idea.
I got there before it opened up and then they had a big open house and I was working with the 2-year olds. Lois Meeks Stokes came from the University of California and wanted to meet the person who had set up this room for the 2-year olds. And so the boss called me in and I met her and she said, "How in the world could you get into a 2-year old's mind like that? That is exactly like how they would go about growing." I said, "That was a 23-year old mind working her head off trying to do it right!"
But you know instead of singing Jack and Jill goes up the hill, I would sing all of the songs with them that they had heard on the radio, and one of them was "Pistol-Packin' Mama." And I was jumping up and down with all the kids on this jumping board, and we were all jumping up and down singing "lay that pistol down babe" at the top of our lungs. So I thought that I was going to be fired pretty soon!
Incidentally as I said, I never got a job that I applied for. So I went over to Kaiser's Hospital in Vancouver, Washington to get all of this material on it, because, as I said, I'd read the book. The Superintendent was kind of a smart-aleck young man named Frank. And he was on the phone for a long time while I was waiting. Then in walks this gray-haired man, soaking wet, looking so down and so unhappy. And Frank put the phone down and said, "Miss Bane, this is Dr. Nagle."
It turned out that Wally Nagle was chief of staff at the hospital. And he was waiting to talk to Frank. He asked me what I was doing and I told him I was working over at the nursery school. He asked me how I liked it. I was working with 2-year-olds, and a lot of them weren't housebroken. So every time I had to change pants, I'd throw up. So half the time, I was lying down with a wet towel on my head. So Wally said, "How would you like to come over here to work?" The nursery school was at Swan Island in Portland, Oregon. And across the river, was Vancouver Ship Yards-they built the baby flattops, the baby aircraft carriers. And Edgar Kaiser was running that.
So anyway, my new job was to be the doctor's bedside manager. Because we had so many patients, and no matter how many doctors we had, it wasn't enough. So my job was to keep the patients happy.
And it was fascinating. I learned to play pinochle. In those days, they had the Arkies and the Okies--the migratory farmers. So we had mainly Okies and Arkies working in the shipyard. Then they needed all the labor they could get, so a lot of colored people came from the south. Well, anybody who was colored who left the south had to be mighty bright, and mighty courageous. Because if you leave Mississippi and go to Oregon or the State of Washington, you were as smart as you could be.
We had integrated housing--the first integrated housing for the workers. And one day a colored minister who worked there came and wanted to know if he could have an appointment with me. And I said, "Sure." And he said, "Miss Bane, would you do me a favor? Would you talk to Mr. Kaiser and ask if we could have segregated housing?" And I said "segregated housing? I have been for you people having integrated housing all my life." And I said, "Why in the world do you want that?" And he said, "We can't stand having our children playing with the poor white trash."
I: The Arkies and the Okies?
And the Arkies and the Okies had lots of fights with the colored people down on the ways in the shipyard. And I would get a phone call from Edgar Kaiser. And he would say, "Clark, I'm sending up a car; would you come down on the ways and talk to these people?" And I'd crawl in the ship and say, "What's wrong with you all?" And so the southerners - the Okies and Arkies felt I was Southern, so I would be on their side; the blacks didn't know what I was--the colored people. So I would handle the disputes among the blacks and the whites.
That was very, very interesting. Where I had this very little job, by doing these things I got to know him (Edgar Kaiser) a lot better. I didn't get a raise in pay, but I did get to know him much better.
Eventually I got an apartment. And when Kaiser would have the doctors coming up from Oakland, California-which was where the first Kaiser plan was- he would sometimes ask me to host them before the meeting. He would send over wine and drinks and ask if I would have a little cocktail party for them before the meetings.
He had a daughter; he had 5 children. And one daughter was the middle daughter. She was always in the hospital--she really wasn't sick, she didn't get enough attention. So I got to know Edgar and Sue that way.
So Edgar was telling me one story. His father hated Roosevelt with a passion. And so did his mother; they felt that Roosevelt was just terrible. And his father wanted to run for President--I don't know if you ever heard of Henry Kaiser.
Clark: This was in 1944, I think. I was there from 1943 to 1945. And so Ed said, "I've got the funniest story to tell you." "Roosevelt came and made a speech in Seattle, and Daddy and Mother went up there; they were invited up there." And he said, "My mother and dad , you know, both hated Roosevelt." And I said, "Yeah." And he said, "Roosevelt got up from his place at the table and walked with his cane, and walked from where he was sitting to my mother. And he said (Henry Kaiser's wife's name was Bessie). And he said, "Miss Kaiser, I just wanted to talk to you. Because I have heard so much about you and so many marvelous things about how bright and charming you are, and how you helped your husband in all his businesses. And I know you want him to run for President. And he'd make a good President. But I don't like the idea that you hate me at all." So Edgar said from then on he felt his mother and dad were going to divorce because his mother started campaigning for Roosevelt!
I: That's a wonderful story. Let me take you back for a minute to El describe her and tell me about your time with her.
Clark: She was the most charming woman. Her husband had been a judge in Mississippi and died when she was quite young. She then went into welfare work. Daddy met her when he was with the American Public Welfare. She was pretty as a picture.
You know how they talk about the Southern women being so helpless? Well, it's like an iron hand in a velvet glove. Because during the Civil War, they had to do everything. And their mothers taught them to be strong. So you found the strongest women in the United States, up until the last two generations, were Southern women. So Daddy suggested Ellen for the Social Security Board.
I had known her when she had come to the American Public Welfare meetings. We just adored each other. Every time she used to have a party, she would have me, so I could meet all these feminists, and all these fascinating people. And she was like a best friend. Some of my friends--like Ruth Appleby who I told you about who died in 1996-I considered best friends. And I would say Ellen Woodward was my best friend. A lot of times, when I was living other places, she would come to Washington. And she would have me come stay with her. She had the best cook I ever saw. When I got married, the only thing I could do was fried chicken, and I learned that from Ellen's cook.
She is the one who got the senators to vote, she and my dad, to vote for Social Security. And I think she got more than my dad did. Because she would entertain them; you know, she would have all these dinner parties for them, and play the piano and sing. Whereas Maurine was stiff as could be. Have you interviewed Maurine?
I: No, I haven't yet. But I want to.
Clark: Maurine was always just as stiff as she could be. And Ellen had so much Southern charm that you could make 20 cans of it. And I'll never forget the last time I saw her ; it was Chris' 7th birthday. I took the children to Glen Echo. And we went by to see Ellen, and I hadn't seen her for 3 years. Because by this time, I had 3 children in 4 years. So I went by, and she had the same maid. And here was
Ellen in just a dress but barefooted. And she had no idea who I was. She apparently had--we didn't know what it was then--but it was Alzheimer's disease.
She's one of the people that I dearly love.
Another person--when you talk about my favorite people--I was very good friends with Charles Edison, who was Thomas Edison's son and we were friendly with each other until he died. But I was never allowed to have any opinions at any Governor's Conference. One time Daddy took me to the Greenbrier. It was the time of the McCarthy hearings, and he was just arranging for a Governor's Conference there. We bumped into the Edisons. Charles Edison used to be Governor of new Jersey, and then Minor followed Edison. And Edison was saying to Daddy, "Don't you think that Joseph McCarthy should be the next President? Isn't he the most brilliant, fascinating man?" And I turned to him and said, "Are you out of your cotton-picking mind?" Well, I looked at my dad, and my dad's eyes had turned to dry ice. My dad had a terrific temper. It only lasted for about a minute or two or three, but boy, when he blew, he blew like an eruption.
So I quickly left immediately to go and play bingo. And I hoped Daddy was asleep when I got back at 11 o'clock to my room. Daddy called me and he said, "Where have you been?" I said, "Playing bingo." And I asked him, "Why aren't you asleep? Are you going to ball me out?" And he said, "No." "But every half an hour, Charles Edison calls, and he wants you to come up and have a nightcap in his suite with his wife and himself."
I had taken the book, "The Last Hurrah" with me and read it on the train going there. And Edison had taken the one--that wonderful book about this little country that decides they are so broke so they'd pretend like they had some Communists, so they'd get all this money-- "The Mouse that Roared." So I gave him "The Last Hurrah," and he gave me "The Mouse that Roared." And then we started writing each other. And my husband was ecstatic that I met him. And so I wrote in one of the letters saying that, because my husband's hero was Thomas Edison.
So Edison had us come to New York and we had dinner with them at the Waldorf Astoria. They lived there. So we went down to dinner. And I balled Hutch out for ordering the most expensive dinner, because I always ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. And he said, "But he's a millionaire."
But he and I wrote each other for years. And he would write me, "Dear Misinformed." And I would write him--I've forgotten what I used--but I had some funny thing. But I became a best friend. And Daddy hadn't known him that well. So he was my friend.
Someone asked me, "Who is my favorite Governor?" Daddy used to say that Dewey was his, because there is no substitute for brains. Mine was Governor Lehman, have you ever heard of him?
Clark: His grandfather started the Lehman Brothers.
Our first Governor's Conference was in New York. Instead of going to the state dinner he said, "Why don't you have dinner at the Governor's Mansion, because you'll be so bored at the state dinner." (I was 22 then I think.) "You'll be so bored at the state dinner. My sons are going to a movie, and Eddie Cantor's going to be on the stage that night. He's invited them to come back after the movie and meet him." So we went back, and I got to meet Eddie Cantor.
Two years later, we went to a Governor's Conference; that was in 1939. In 1942, we went to one in Asheville, at the Grove Park Inn. And I went in one morning for breakfast and Lehman was sitting there looking towards me at a table for two. There was a man sitting facing him. And he said, "Clark, Clark, come have breakfast with us; there's somebody here who would love to meet you," instead of somebody that you would love to meet. And the somebody was Lord Halifax from England. Imagine asking a 22-year-old girl to come and have breakfast with you and Lord Halifax, and that Lord Halifax would love meeting you.
I: That's nice; that's a great story. All right, let's go back to the Social Security Board period and talk about, just concentrate on that for a little bit. You moved to Alexandria, the family moved to Alexandria?
Clark: The family moved to Arlington.
I: I mean, Arlington. Tell me about the early period of getting Social Security established. Is there anything that stands out in your mind at the startup of that, when your father was going to establish it?
Clark: Well, the main thing was that there were absolutely fascinating people. But in terms of his job, what I remember most were the phone calls at 2 and 4 o'clock in the morning. And then he traveled; that was the first time. Well, at American Public Welfare, he traveled all the time. And at the Council of State Governments too. But when he worked for Social Security, I guess, he would be gone one week a month. At Social Security he was gone 1 week; at American Public Welfare he was gone 3 weeks; and then at Council of State Governments, he was gone most of the time.
There was a Father O'Grady at Catholic University. He used to come out for dinner, at least once a month. He was for all of the money going through private charity and they had terrific arguments about that, and about Social Security and American Public Welfare. And yet, always laughing, and always teasing together, and always best friends.
The main thing, I just remember the fascinating people I met; they would come for dinner, because we had company for dinner at least three nights a week.
I: All right, talk about that. Tell me about all of those dinners and some of the people there. There are a couple of people that I want to specifically talk about and others you want to talk about. I want you to tell me about the Altmeyers, Arthur and Ethel Altmeyer. Tell me as much as you can about Altmeyer. because I'm really anxious to talk to somebody who knew them.
Clark: Daddy got to know him first, when--wasn't Art head of public welfare in Wisconsin, if I'm not mistaken?
I: I don't know if it was public welfare, it was Workmen's Compensation or something.
Clark: I thought that is what Aubrey Williams was.
I: Well, you might be right. But he was a State official in Wisconsin.
Clark: But when daddy set up American Public Welfare, Art Altmeyer was on the board and he would come down to all the meetings. So I got to know him then; he would come down from Wisconsin. I didn't see him when they were at the University of Wisconsin; but when they were in Washington.
He looked just like his picture; he was quiet, thoughtful, not a great sense of humor. At least, I didn't think so. Although I learned how to play charades with them.
They lived a mile down the road from us. They didn't have any children. I always found people who didn't have any children, because they spoiled me to death. And so I would go down there for dinner a lot. Because you know, as I told my children, "I'm not supposed to be your best friend; I'm supposed to be your parent." So I always look for best friends who are not my parents. I found people who had boys who wanted a girl or people who had no children. Well, the Altmeyers, who had no children, were dying to have children. So they would have me over for dinner a lot when I was a child. And they had my parents down for dinner; they always included me. They had lots and lots of friends.
Not like Aubrey Williams--you've heard of his name. He had a wonderful sense of humor. And he was much more of an extrovert.
But Art and Ethel were one of the happiest married couples I ever saw. But the only disappointment was that they didn't have any children.
So when I went to work in Washington after I got out of college, I would go over there any time I didn't have a date on Saturday night, they told me to come over and play charades. And there were 10 people; there were 5 couples that played.
They had dinner and then they played charades. And watching Art do all these ridiculous things like acting out a dog or acting out something. And from that, I learned it. Now my children and all their friends come down New Year's Eve and do that. But Art did it with 10, and they have 40. But he absolutely loved that. And so there was a sense of humor that he did not show at work.
When I would go over there real often, it was like I had two parents who thought I could do no wrong. Which was just great. And they were just warm, wonderful thoughtful people. I never talked ideas with them. Because my ideas came as I got out of college and started thinking about them.
I: Now who else would be at these dinners and these charades? You said there were 10 people. Who else?
Clark: I can't remember the names, because they weren't Social Security people. One was from the Bureau of the Budget. I only knew one couple who was there. So he might have kept business kind of separate from social life. I mean, acting like a dog and doing all these crazy things, as the head of the Social Security Board they probably didn't think that was the right thing.
Now the last time I saw them was when they moved to Baltimore. I didn't see them after they moved to Baltimore. And then when Bobby (who is now 34) was 2 years old, the Altmeyers came to spend Christmas with best friends of theirs from Wisconsin, whom Art had worked with in Wisconsin years before. So they came over here after Christmas dinner. And we had a visit for about 3 hours. And it was just gorgeous. And then I didn't see them after that. Ethel died first, I think.
I: No, he died first, and then she died later. He died in 1972.
Clark: How old would he have been then? He was older than Daddy.
I: Gosh, I don't remember. He died in 1972, that's all I can tell you.
Clark: Wilbur Cohen was 25 when they started Social Security. So I used to see him. I guess I would go in daddy's office sometimes. Daddy and mother entertained everyone that worked there. Wilbur Cohen was a very bright young man, and a very ambitious young man. And he later became the head of Social Security (Secretary of HEW). And I'll never forget, I had a party over here. And this man was saying that he worked for Du Pont and he had been trying to see Wilbur Cohen who was head of Social Security and wasn't able to get to see him at all.
I: He was Secretary of the Department.
Clark: Of Health, Education and Welfare. Truman appointed him, didn't he?
I: No. Kennedy, and then Johnson. He came back to government in Kennedy's administration. When Eisenhower came in Wilbur Cohen left Social Security shortly thereafter and went to Michigan as a consultant.
Clark: University of Michigan. I was surprised to read that.
I: And then he came back to government when the Kennedy Administration came in, and stayed through the Johnson Administration. And Johnson made him Secretary. He was an Assistant Secretary, then Undersecretary, then Johnson made him Secretary.
Clark: But anyway there was this man trying to see him. And I said, "Next time you call, tell him you're a friend of Clark Bane, and maybe you could get in sooner." And he said, "That's not going to make any difference at all." When he at last got his appointment, he said, "I have a friend named Clark Bane Hutchinson." And he said, "Well, if I'd know that, I would have seen you months ahead of time."
Now another person I detested was Johnson. And I only saw him once.
When Aubrey was head of the National Youth Administration (Aubrey Williams) whenever they brought in the regional heads, and they didn't have enough women at the table, Nita Williams would call me up and say, "Put on an evening dress and come over."
And I never heard my father even say "darn." And he didn't like dirty jokes (I love dirty jokes.) But I never heard him tell one. The first dirty joke I ever heard was when I was in college, because I was told not to listen in. Anyway, Johnson was there. And he told a dirty joke, which horrified me. And he either pinched my fanny or the woman on the other side of me. And people didn't do things like that in those days. So I watched with horror when he got into that.
I: When he was President?
Clark: No, long before he was President.
I started the Young Democrats in northern Newcastle County. I was a Democrat, which was very rare. I mean, here was a husband who worked for Du Pont. And in this district when I was Democratic Committeewoman, there were 9 registered Democrats, 18 registered independents, and 355 Republicans.
But anyway, later on, I worked in Phoenix, and I got to meet Barry Goldwater.
I: Oh, That's where I'm from.
Clark: Really? I lived right off Indian School Road. I was a psychiatric social worker. I went and got my master's degree in psychiatry; this is just a brief thing.
I: That's all right, go ahead.
Clark: When I worked for Kaiser, I got rheumatic fever. So they said I had to get out of that climate because they didn't have penicillin then, except for the Army. And we had quite a few fatalities with rheumatic fever. My sedimentation rate had gone up, but it hadn't hit my heart. So I joined the Red Cross to see the world. Got assigned to Saint Elizabeth's Hospital, working with the Navy psychotic patients.
But then I worked in Phoenix, and that was in 1948 and 1949. Now that was a job I was offered. I got a scholarship. The one scholarship that they gave at Tulane; because I had worked at the best mental hospital in the country. So I knew more than any of my teacher's knew, because I worked with brilliant psychiatrists. Anyway, they offered me a job; they were doing a demonstration clinic in Phoenix. And they gave this option to Phoenix College, which is now Phoenix University, I hear.
I got there 3 months before anybody else was hired. So I got to know everybody.
I called up the Junior League and I went with them around to all of--you know, with Junior League, you go around to all of their public agencies. So I went to the mental hospital. And there was a man I had met at Saint Elizabeth's who was teaching hypnotism. He just died last year at Harvard. Ninety-nine years old, Eric Erickson.
I: Oh sure, that's a famous name.
Clark: He was doing hypnotism. Anyway, Barry Goldwater was head of the Community Chest, also president of banking and ran the Goldwater team. So I couldn't get an appointment with him.
He had the first desegregated Air National Guard in the United States; this was done in 1947. And that was Barry Goldwater. He had no prejudices at all, he did more for the Indians. He was the greatest humanitarian I ever met.
So in 1964 I campaigned for him instead of Johnson. So I got kicked out as a Democratic Committeewoman. My daddy voted for Johnson, and thought I was crazy.
Anyway, they brought all these travel editors to Phoenix. Then they asked a bunch of women to dance with the travel editors. I was dancing with the editor of Field and Stream. All of a sudden he started shaking while we were dancing. And I said, "Are you having a heart attack? Are you sick?" And he said, "No. I just saw my first love. And I proposed to her. She turned me down. And I never got over being in love with her." And it turned out, she was dancing with Barry Goldwater; it was Barry Goldwater's sister. And then they were talking. So Goldwater and I had to do something. So we started dancing. He could rumba and samba and jitterbug and cha-cha; he was one of the best dancers I ever danced with.
I worked for Goldwater. So I got fired. And all of my Republican friends voted for Johnson.
But years later, my son was working as a Senate intern. He got on the elevator and nobody was there but Goldwater, and he was on crutches. And he said "So I turned to him and I said, my mother said you were the best dancer she ever danced with." And he said, "Oh lord, how long ago was that?"
I: That's nice. That's a great story.
Clark: I was at the Governor's Conference meeting in Orlando about, oh God, I don't know how many years ago. Clinton came and made a speech on education. Then I was telling all my kids to vote for him. They were Republicans. They voted for Clinton, I was so impressed. And my son calls me up every week and he says, "You voted for that guy? And you told us to vote for that guy?"
Bobby voted for Bush. Because he and I both worked for Reagan. And it was the only mother and son that had ever worked in the state for him. So we got a little write-up in the paper. So when Bush would come to town or Reagan would come to town, the Secret Service would ask my son to come out and help drive the people in from the airport. And he got to know Bush. And so he met him through the Secret Service men. He thought it was great.
But what was I coming to?
I: You were going to tell me a story about the Senator from Georgia--Max Cleland.
Clark: Oh yeah. Well, I was having a wonderful time dancing. And I looked and under this tree in a wheelchair was Max Cleland sitting in the wheelchair, the head of Veteran's Affairs. And nobody noticed him. We were all dancing and having the best time. So I left my partner and went over, and I bowed and said, "May I have this dance?" And he said, he'd be delighted. So I took his one hand and wound it around the wheelchair like I was jitterbugging. I had a wonderful time.
When I went back to my table, everybody had left. And there were two messages left for me from my friend saying that they had never seen anything so rude in their life. And I felt just terrible that I had hurt his feelings.
The next morning, I went to hear his speech. I was sitting in the audience and they had moved him into a chair and he beckoned me. Because as soon as I had danced with him, everybody saw him, and everybody asked him to come and asked him to sit at their table, and so I didn't see him again until the next morning. And I went up to the table and he said, "I just wanted to thank you for that dance; it's been years since I danced and it was so darn much fun."
I: How nice; what a great story.
"Frank Bane is a gentleman in the finest sense of this word. He is wise and tolerant, warm and witty. He is a master of one of the most difficult of all political arts--the art of resolving opposing viewpoints to secure agreement."
Clark: So when I was telling Carl about that, he said, "Did you remember you danced several dances with Clinton that night?" And I didn't remember. So Clinton must not have been a good dancer. But he made a darn good speech.
I: Oh yes, I know Carl (Stenberg). He's the one who brought the portrait to me.
Clark: You said you didn't know him that well.
I: I don't know him that well. But we had a nice conversation when he came to bring the portrait.
Clark: He followed daddy different places: the Council on Intergovernmental Relations, and the Council on State Governments. And his wife would not move to Kentucky. In fact, that is how the governors pulled out. When Langley was Governor, and who was the one that--his son just ran in Ohio; He ran the Studebaker Company and was a senator for a while, and ran for President? Anyway, he and Langley were furious when they moved from Chicago to Kentucky; Kentucky gave them a building for free. And then the governors moved away from the Council of State Governments then.
I: While I'm on the subject, while I'm thinking about it, tell me just about the background of the portrait, how you came to commission this and how they were used.
Photo of Clark Presenting the Portrait
Clark: Clarkey graduated from college and then she went to Cochran Art School. She thought she was going to be an artist.
I: That's your daughter?
Clark: My second daughter. Daddy never would let anybody paint his portrait. Several places that he had been wanted to paint his portrait. And he said, "That's a silly thing, and under no circumstances." I don't know if the Council of State Governments wanted to or who. But he never would let anybody do it.
So when Clarkey was in art school, I commissioned her to. She had painted a portrait of my husband and he had a beard in his captain's uniform and it looked like "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." So I commissioned her to do daddy; and she couldn't. Now there was a guy in her class . . .
I: Now, did he pose for it, or was it a photograph?
Clark: No. I gave a picture. This was a picture when daddy retired from Social Security that they did. But the best one, and I'll show you. I've got three of them now, and you've got one. But the best one is down the hall. And John painted that. And I took it to daddy one time to show him. I had it hanging here. And daddy was crazy about it and I never could get it back.
I: Who is the artist who did it?
Clark: John Husbands. He was a student at Cochran Art School when Clarkey was--a very good portrait painter.
I: And he painted it from a picture?
Clark: Yes. He gave that to Clarkey. And then we showed it to Daddy.
I: It's a beautiful portrait.
Clark: He never sat at a head table at any of the meetings he ever ran, he always sat in the background. Any article he wrote, he wrote it under a governor's name. You can't find any articles that daddy wrote.
I: There are a few--he did a couple for Social Security later on.
Clark: Yes, but when they wanted him to for Collier's or they wanted him to do it for the Saturday Evening Post and all that, he never would. But he would do it with the governor's name on it. I've never seen such a competent man. He didn't have to build up the ego, because he was born with it, as they said in that college write-up.
So this was the first portrait. And then they were having the 50th anniversary of the Council of State Governments and they invited me to come. And we took daddy, and Clarkey and I went. And we took daddy's portrait ( the one that I have back here). We had another one taken, so there are four of them now.
So then the Council on Intergovernmental Relations paid John to do William Coleman; I don't know if you have heard of him.
I: Oh sure.
Clark: This isn't the lawyer one you talk about, he was one of Clarkey's best friends, at the Department of Transportation.
I: Secretary of Transportation, wasn't he?
Clark: Yes. Clarkey eventually worked up to be the liaison between FAA and the Secretary of Transportation.
This William Coleman worked on the Council on Intergovernmental Relations. And John did both of the portraits. And then they had a party. Reagan was President then for the 15th or 20th anniversary--they started it under Eisenhower.
So that portrait was the one that you have from the Council on Intergovernmental Relations. And then I had one painted that I took to Lexington.
A friend who works in Delaware for the legislature said that she went down there. When I was there, Carl was the head of it. And he left and went to the University of Virginia. And she said when she was there she was asking the man, the new director, if he had known Frank Bane and he said "no." But she said outside of his office, he had one whole room that was daddy's portrait and all of these features and all of these things and all of these awards; copies of these awards that daddy had.
Now all the awards that Daddy had were divided among all the grandchildren. So I don't have any of those.
I: So that's how the portrait came to be. Oh by the way, the portrait--do you know Blanche Coll, do you know a woman named Blanche Coll? She's a historian; she's a freelance historian who lives in Washington, D.C. She recently wrote a book about the history of the AFDC program. In any case, there's a publication called "The Dictionary of American Biography." And the publishers are getting ready to put out a new edition of that. And they commissioned Blanche to do the article on your father for the Dictionary of American biography. And she contacted me--as a matter of fact, she contacted me the day after Carl called me about the portrait. And she said, "I'm doing this biography of Frank Bane for the Dictionary of American Biography and they want a photograph to illustrate the article." And she said, "You know, I saw an oil painting portrait of him once upon a time. It was so beautiful--I'd really like to get a picture of that. Do you have any idea of where that would be?" And I said, "You've called the right place!"
So I ended up taking a nice color photograph of it and I gave it to Blanche. And she said, "The editors are going to use it for the article." And some time next year, it's supposed to be out. So we'll try to get a copy.
Clark: That name rings a bell. And I ended by taking something out of the papers I gave you that might have had something to do with that. One woman had written this very, very vicious thing about American Public Welfare and Social Security. And this woman sent daddy a copy of the letter. The vicious letter wasn't there. But her letter to daddy was there, and said that she had gotten this letter from this woman and what did he want to do about it? And daddy, instead of dictating a letter back, he wrote and said that woman didn't have anything nice to say about anybody that had ever worked for American Public Welfare or Social Security. And he had never been as disappointed. And apparently, this lady was like she had met daddy, and her letter was long. But she was sending this other one too. Apparently she was horrified about it too. But I didn't include that although now you brought her name up.
I: So that should be out next year; we'll have to watch for it.
Clark: And then afterwards, he lectured all over the country. Oh, one thing about the lectures. At 81, he moved into Washington House, which is a retirement house. And he . . .
I: By the way, that's where Maurine lives.
Clark: Is she there? Because that's where daddy was. Billy Mitchell is there, Ralph Spear is there, and all these people are there. Because poor Clarkey was there seeing Billy Mitchell and all.
I: I believe it's Washington House. And I have her apartment number and her phone number and everything back at the office. Anyway, you were starting to say he moved into Washington House . . .
Clark: When daddy moved there, you had to have lived there for a year without anything happening, or your contract could be broken. So he stopped traveling and lecturing. And at Berkeley, and at the University of Virginia where they have a seminar--the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, he would do lectures there. And then he did it at Williamsburg.
The Government seminars where they bring Government people to hear him. They did them at Williamsburg and all. And a lot of them apparently they taped or they make television things of it. And so from the time he was 81 on, at least once a week, or once a month anyway, he would lecture at the University of Virginia or California, or one of these seminars, and they would tape his lecture. And then they would call daddy in his apartment and he would answer all the questions on his telephone from his apartment to all the audiences.
I: How interesting.
Clark: And the gals at Washington House . . . Maurine isn't listed in the book, because Clark's gotten stuck in the Virginia book.
But the girls at Washington House mainly were students at James Madison College. And they got daddy--they talked with him about government and the courses; they would ask him when they had tests and all about different courses. And so they went back. And the political science professor came over and asked daddy if he would come over and lecture. It was only a block. So he was lecturing until he was 88, about maybe once a month.
I: That's great.
Clark: And you know, imagine being on television twice--6 months before he died.
He could barely talk. He got prostate cancer when he was 83. I went there one time to his apartment and I knocked on the door and he didn't answer. Then I went in. He was sound asleep. He looked so pale, that I called the doctor; I got the doctor's name from downstairs, because I didn't want to wake daddy. The doctor said, "He has aplastic anemia." This was when Carter was running the first time. And he said, "Your dad most probably has about 3 months to live." So I said, "If he didn't keep him alive until November, he wasn't going to pay any of his bills." Because he wanted to vote. And he said, "Don't plan to have him around until after January." And I said, "anemia?" he said, "That's just as serious as leukemia." They gave him a new medicine for his arthritis and the anemia, spontaneously, was cured.
So daddy's doctor, who seems to have gone to college with my doctor--medical school --died 3 years later. Daddy outlived him by 6 years.
But he was on the program, as I told you, on Roosevelt's hundredth birthday--they came out and interviewed him.
Remind me to bring up Frances Perkins.
I: Oh yeah, good. That's somebody I want to talk about.
Clark: What was I saying before then?
I: Well, you talked about he was lecturing and Roosevelt's hundredth birthday-- they interviewed him.
Clark: They interviewed him; they interviewed him for an hour at Washington House. And they gave him like 3 or 4 minutes (maybe 5 at the most).
But as a result of that, about 4 months later, they came out. And by this time, he had prostate cancer; it metastasized to his back and his lungs. And he said if he couldn't go back and live in his apartment--a normal life--he didn't want to live. So he had like one of those living wills, just on a life-support system.
But when he was so feeble, this man called him from the Washington Post and wanted to interview him. And he wouldn't do it unless he could go up into his apartment; he was not going to do it from a hospital room. And I have tapes of that. And when I listen to them, I cry, because daddy died the next week.
I called the man who wrote the article to thank him. He said, "don't thank me; I've been away from the Post for years. And I've never been picked up by more than 25 papers; this was picked up by 138 papers." And the International Herald Tribune put it on its whole back page, the article.
I got all these letters from--you know, daddy lectured at the Salzburg Seminar--I got all these letters from all of these people in Europe; so excited that daddy was well and doing so well. And I had to write them all and say, "He died 2 weeks after that interview."
To be recognized again at 89 right before you die.
I: That is nice.
Clark: Well, it's a miracle, a complete miracle.
Oh, and Frances Perkins, I was going to tell you about her. We came back to her several times today. She used to come over to our house quite a bit. And daddy liked her immensely and enjoyed her immensely.
And she came one time and she was so excited; she'd just gotten back from Paris. For years, she had been looking-- she always wanted a beautiful pocketbook. But it was so expensive. And she really splurged. She had bought the prettiest pocketbook she'd ever had in Paris. We had a little dog, and he had never done this before or since. We had a giant four-poster bed. The dog jumped on the four-poster bed when she went to get the purse. The dog had chewed her purse.
I: Oh no.
Clark: Well, poor daddy, found where she had bought the purse. And the next friend he had who went to Paris daddy had him to go to that place and buy the purse for Frances Perkins.
I: Tell me about her; describe her. I mean, can you give me any idea?
Clark: As I say, when they had important people for dinner, I was seen and not heard. Starting when I was 8 years old, my parents used to have election parties. and then they would have parties, you know, and then later on with their jobs, these important people came about the Governor's Conferences. And I could come to every party that they ever had if I never expressed an opinion. And so when we had the important people for dinner, I just listened.
And anyway with daddy, I talk now as much as daddy did. When daddy came to the dining room table, we all listened. And he had all these exciting things to tell us; all the stories. It was when I left home that I started talking and I never stopped. And my kids just can't believe that I went to Holton-Arms (which I didn't like at all).
But Betty Beale (have you ever heard of her?) She wrote a society column for the Star. She was Brownie's niece. She was tall and homely and awkward. I used to get her blind dates all the time, because I dated people quite a bit older. I have the best time now when people say how I never shut up. So I get out my high school annual and I say, "This is the kind of person I was before I left home."
Do you know the Gore that worked for Mitchell, worked for the housing department and went to jail?
I: Yeah. (Deborah Gore Dean)
Clark: Her mother was in my class. And she ran the Jockey Club, which was a very in thing in Washington.
Clark: This was the one whose daughter went to jail and who was Mitchell's girlfriend. But just read what she wrote in my high school annual: "Her quiet and attentive manner should prove a great help."
I: There you are!
Clark: But I mean "the quiet and attentive manner." But that was me until I went out on my own.
I: Do you have a picture of yourself like this, other than a young picture? Well, let me ask you what I really want to ask you? Can I borrow this book for a few days and send it back to you? What I'd like to do is take this and scan this picture into my computer so I can put it in your interview; this would be a nice picture for your interview.
Remember Senator Hatch of the Hatch Act? His daughter was in junior high there then. Then there's Bretton Sterdivan, who was the first woman member of the Patent Commission. And there I am; this is Clark as a little kid.
I: Yeah. As I was going to say, you look so young.
Clark: Yeah. At Wisconsin, when I went there, when I'd have a date and we would go to the movies they would ask if I was under 14? Because it was half price. And I always paid half price because my dates would always say I was under 14.
I: So they could pay half price. This is nice; this is great. Yeah, I'll borrow this. I'll send it back to you this Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
I: Thank you. Then we'll come up with this other stuff.
Clark: Then if you want to do that Brownie thing; if you would be interested in reading about Brownlow, this is a fascinating book.
I: Yeah, well, I'll find the book; I'll get the book out of the library. Any more about Francis Perkins before you go on any more?
Clark: Just that she came over quite a bit. And she was the one who wanted Social Security more than anybody else. She was very close to Mrs. Roosevelt.
Grace Abbott was head of the Children's Bureau. But Frances Perkins was the first Cabinet member--woman Cabinet member.
I: That's right.
Clark: I don't have any pictures of her, and I didn't find any there. But she and my dad were very good friends. And she did come out quite often for dinner. She was just very, very nice.
But nobody had the charm that Mrs. Roosevelt had. Because Mrs. Roosevelt, honest to God, was interested in you, no matter who you were. And she wasn't the least bit interested in talking about anything that she did; she was interested in finding out about you. Well as I said, Daddy said every Republican he introduced her to, she would win them over.
Oh, this is what I wanted to show you. Because all these people were working under Eisenhower. When Eisenhower became President, Dewey and Daddy pretty much picked his staff for him. They did not pick the Anderson who was Secretary of the Treasury and went to jail. They picked the Anderson who was president of Atlantic Ritchfield. But Daddy picked out Sherman Adams. And I sent you the thing; Howard Pyle worked in the office; he was Sherman Adam's assistant.
For some reason, people thought that Daddy looked like Eisenhower and would stop him and ask him if he was Eisenhower.
And I know Eisenhower used to have Daddy come up to the apartment a lot. He was a man's man. At the first governor's Conference that he attended he didn't want to have any of the women with the governors. And Daddy said, "No, you've got to have the women; they've always been invited." And Eisenhower said, "Well, when I was in the service, I never had the women when I had a dinner party, I just had the officers." And Daddy said, "This is different."
But they got to know each other quite well. And he was also talking about his son and his grandchildren. David was the light of his life. Apparently, he was not that close to his son. He asked Daddy one time if he had any grandchildren. And Daddy said, "four"-I hadn't had my fifth one then. And he was asking him if he enjoyed them. Then Eisenhower sent each one of the children a card with "Eisenhower" signed on it. I thought that was very nice. I put them somewhere and lost them, and found one. Then I found another one; and I found a third one; a fourth one is still missing. They sell for $350 now.
I: I bet they do, yeah.
Clark: And they were valuable because Eisenhower would not give autographs.
Marx, who manufactured toys, did a thing of all the Presidents going up to Eisenhower's time. And his daughter was married to that guy whose psychiatrist's office was broken into.
Clark: Yes. They were later divorced. But Marx was a good friend of Eisenhower.
And Eisenhower had all these little Presidents that Marx had given him-toys of the Presidents, going up to Eisenhower. So Eisenhower got a box of them for Daddy to give to his grandchildren.
I thought that was so thoughtful. And apparently from someone who was remote supposedly. They were very close.
I: Did you ever meet Eisenhower?
Clark: No, but I met Nixon once. I'm the only person to see him in blue boxer shorts. I bet I'm the only person in the United States.
I: Richard Nixon? You saw Richard Nixon in blue boxer shorts? You'll have to tell me that story.
Clark: I'll tell you that story. I'm sure nobody would think that anybody else could tell you whether he wore briefs or boxer shorts.
Dewey was having a Governor's Conference at Lake George and Eisenhower was supposed to make a speech. But Milton Eisenhower died the day before, so Nixon came to make the speech. And he wrote it coming up on the train; it was one of the best speeches I ever heard. And I was not fond of Nixon, particularly when he was Vice President. Because of that Checkers thing and what he did to Helen Gahagan Douglas, and all the other things. But the speech was fantastic.
So Daddy said, "Would you like to meet him?" And I said, "I'd be delighted." So we knocked on the door. And a man's voice said, "Who is it?" And he said, "Frank Bane." So the Secret Service opened the door. And Daddy pushed me through first. And there was Nixon standing there getting dressed with nothing but blue undershorts on. So the Secret Service pushed me out faster than anything you ever saw. So I didn't stay long enough to notice his legs or anything.
I: That's a great story.
Clark: Read that. And then read the letter under it. (An article about a scandal involving Sherman Adams.) And Daddy said the day after this happened, he went to the White House to see Sherman Adams, and nobody was speaking to him.
I: Now what was the incident?
Clark: The vicuna coat and an Oriental rug.
I: He had gotten gifts, and a big scandal erupted.
Clark: A vicuna coat and an Oriental rug from somebody. He had arranged for him to meet somebody; it had nothing to do with politics at all; it was like somebody was dying to meet the Secretary of State. And then the man sent him this, and then the papers got hold of it.
So as soon as that happened, he went and had lunch with him. And Daddy said, "Nobody came to the table at all."
And then, I've got a letter from Pyle, that's in one of these things to you. Apparently, Pyle worked for Sherman Adams, and Pyle was let go too.
I: You're going to hang on to this?
Clark: Would you like to have it?
I: Yes. I'd like to photocopy it and send it back to you with the stuff that I'm sending you back.
Clark: Okay. Because I think there's a letter from Pyle in there for you to send back too-when he is thanking Daddy for being so nice to him because he was let go too.
And then Oveta Culp Hobby--remember, she messed up on the polio vaccine when she was head of HEW. So Eisenhower let her go. Daddy had known her husband, when he was editor of the Houston Chronicle or whatever. And had known her, because she was very active in public affairs and a very brilliant woman. So the day when she was fired, Daddy called her up and took her to dinner. But I don't have any letter from her.
That's the kind of person he was.
I: In fact, let me tell you what Maurine said about him in her oral history. She said that he was--the way she described him was that he was the best harmonizer that she had ever seen. He would take people who were in conflict and he would find some way to harmonize them and resolve their conflict. And he was more skilled at that than anyone she had ever seen.
Clark: That's what you will read in everyone of these things.
You know, he never sat at the head table. He always called everybody "Governor."
There's a letter that you should sent back. When he was sworn in as head of the Council of Intergovernmental Relations--Chief Justice Warren swore him in. And instead of Chief Justice, he wrote, "Dear Governor." He met Warren first when he was Attorney General, years ago in California. William O. Douglas ran the Supreme Court. Warren was the nicest person, the sweetest person. And his daughter and I used to double date. One of them married the guy who used to be on "What's My Line," John Daley. When he died - he died about 6 months ago-and they did not put down that his surviving wife was Earl Warren's daughter, Virginia Warren. So I assumed that something happened to that marriage.
I was so lucky; I had two newspaper reporters as friends in Washington. One worked for United Press. And the other was head of Mutual Broadcasting Radio. One was Cedric Foster. And one was Warren Duffy. These were friends of mine. Every time I went to Washington, I used to go with them and then get all of the gossip of what was going on. I don't know what that was leading up to . . . But I know I always got a Christmas card from Warren Duffy. And I hadn't heard from him for 12 years. So I called up, and nobody had heard from him. So I called up one time and Helen Thomas, years ago, answered the phone by mistake. And I said, "Would you happen to know what's happened to Warren Duffy; I haven't heard from him for 15 years, and I heard from him every year before." And she said, "He died 15 years before."
What were we talking about?
I: That your father could make everybody . . .
Clark: She called him a harmonizer. That was a good word.
There was no ego that he had. You see what the Governor's Conferences are now; they're just cat fights. But in daddy's day you would go to a Governor's Conference and at the Governor's Conferences you always saw Democrats and Republicans sitting together that didn't agree.
Romney was the one that brought the Governor's Conferences away from the Council of State Governments, along with Langley. But he had a way of--as I said, no ego at all. He was a true Southern gentleman. My children kept asking, "How come they never met anyone like Daddy?" And I said, "Well, he was from the South." There was a graciousness of a Southern gentleman in those days that you don't see anymore.
Dewey was a militant Republican and Dewey worshiped the ground Daddy walked on. It was the strangest combination. Because that little gamecock with that unbelievable ego, and he just worshiped him. But I never knew any governor that wasn't crazy about Daddy. I didn't know anybody at Social Security that wasn't.
Way back when--I guess when he was the great baseball player in the minor leagues, and then was the big football star as you read in that thing. I guess in college he got . . . I guess by not having parents and being raised by these great aunts and going away to prep school . . . Somehow he gets . . . I don't know, I guess you're born with it.
I: It's about character and it's about personality.
Clark: The thing that I will always love most about him was the fact that he gave me absolutely no prejudice at all, or my brother. And I'll never forget, I went nuts when I moved to Wilmington because I couldn't find anybody who would talk about public affairs or government. Well, I think the most boring people I know are engineers, chemists and physicists. Except my husband, who was an engineer and who was anything but boring.
But I mean, I felt totally like a fish out of water. One time I was going looking for a washing machine. And the man said, "Well, I don't have it on the floor. But if you go back into the back where I have them stored, the janitor will show you around."
Well, the janitor had his master's degree in political science from Howard University; he was working as a janitor here.
And I used to have parties once a month. I never had more than 2 couples that knew each other. That way, the conversation was unbelievable. And one time I had Governor Boggs and the janitor, to talk politics. I mean, I had 12 people, and it was right before an election, and I had them over to an election party. He was very smart--he knew more about government than all the rest of us put together.
I: Fascinating, fascinating. Do you have anything else on your list that we haven't covered? I know you were looking through it. I don't want to miss anybody.
Clark: Maurine is not listed; you couldn't find it in the phone book.
I: I'll give you her address when I get back.
Clark: No, I think we've done it all.
There was one--oh, Edward R. Murrow. This was fascinating because I listened every night to Edward R. Murrow. Gerrick Utley-the one that's on TV--his father used to be professor at the University of Chicago, and he was on every Sunday night, and I used to listen to him. During World War II, they took five English children to live with them, all during the war.
But anyway, Edward R. Murrow, I never missed. So I read that he had come back. And that's when I asked Daddy if he'd ask him to speak at the Governors Conference, and he did. And he came. The governors for the dinner always sent all the governors' wives orchids, and so Daddy would send me one. Well, Governor Hare was governor and his daughter was a friend of mine. So he had sent me an orchid, and Daddy sent me an orchid. So I got 2 orchids.
Daddy at that time had a secretary who thought she was God. When Edward R. Murrow came into the office, he said, "Was Mr. Bane there?" And she said, "He's very busy. You'll leave your name and I'll have him call." And I said, "It's Edward R. Murrow. Just a minute." And I went and got Daddy right away.
And so I called up Edward R. Murrow's suite. So I called up to see if Janet (his wife) would like a corsage, because I had two. He said, "She's taking a bath. Let me ask her." She said, "I'd love it." And then he said, "You all are having drinks with us before dinner?" And I said, "Daddy can't because he's so busy." He said, "How about you and your mother?"
So we went to the cocktail lounge. And Edward R. Murrow left about every half an hour. And we were there for about an hour and a half. And I looked at Janet, and I said, "Is he sick?" And she said, "No, he's terrified." She said, "If you look the next time he gets ready to go, you'll see that his shirt is soaking wet. He's never spoken in front of an audience before in his life."
I: Even though his is a broadcast voice heard around the world?
Clark: He'd always been a voice on the thing. And she said, "He's literally terrified to make his speech." She said, "He's been a nervous wreck." And they had come on different planes up there because they had waited 10 years to have Casey (their child). If you've read--there was a biography Pamela Harriman, and I didn't realize she'd had that long affair with Edward R. Murrow. He ended it when Janet had Casey. Did you read that book?
Clark: Anyway, it's a book that was written two years ago. Then Pamela followed him to the United States and then talked him into marrying her again. And he said, "Well, he'd go back and talk to Janet in England." And then he sent her a cablegram: "Sorry, Casey wins." And that was in the book.
But anyway, he made a wonderful speech. And then Dorothy Thompson made a much longer one. And then he said to Daddy, "Frank, there's this new thing called television that they are going to make me go on. And I am literally terrified about the idea." And he said, "So any time you want me to speak,"--that was when the Council of State Governments had the legislators, the Supreme Court justices, the Attorney Generals were all under the Council of State Governments--"Any time you want a speech for any group, I will make it." Now you didn't pay --Daddy never paid speakers. And he said, "And I don't want you to pay for my hotel, the hotel or my transportation. Because CBS has a heck of a lot more money than the Council of State Governments." And they became best friends.
I: So Murrow wanted to make these speeches so he could learn the skills?
Clark: To learn the skills of having to get up in front of a group. First time on television, and then he was going to have to make speeches.
Clark: Then the last time I saw him was 1960. And that was two years after Daddy retired. I don't know if I put that letter in there.
The Governor of Montana was one of Daddy's favorites. So he asked him to come back for that Governor's Conference. And we all met on a train in Chicago, and we went on a train to Glacier National park, you know, that had the domed top. And Edward R. Murrow had just made a speech in Chicago. And he told me, when I first met him, that he could not stand Stanton, who was president of CBS. So he had put in his contract that if anything happened to Paley he no longer had a contract for CBS.
Well, he found on the train, he told me that he had found out it was really Paley behind his problems, and Stanton was doing his dirty work. Because after he did the program on McCarthy, CBS got so much trouble about it, that they took away his "I Can See It Now" program from him.
I: Oh yeah.
Clark: So when he got on the train, he had too much to drink. He and Daddy and I were eating together. And then Daddy left and he was telling me that he had made the speech that was going to make Paley so mad that he was going to leave. And then Kennedy came in and made him head of the information service.
But the fact that he had been able to break McCarthy . . .
I: Oh again, and looking back in history, that's considered to be a high point. That's a great moment when he made that program; he's much admired for that.
Clark: And Paley took all of his big programs away, and they just gave him little things to do, like interview Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot, or things like that. So he'd had it.
It was fascinating. Because all at this Governor's Conference; lord, everybody was there. And I know, I sat next to Alan Drury at dinner that night. And I had just read "Advise and Consent." And I said, "this is Magnuson, and this is Jackson, and this so-and so."
But when all the newspaper reporters were trying to mix with the governors, nobody could find Edward R. Murrow. And where he was, he went up to the dormitory of the employees that worked at Glacier and asked them their opinions every night on politics and all.
Clark: So they all got to know him. And that was the kind of person he was.
He was like Daddy, in a sense, he was perfectly secure. And I met a young man on the plane coming back from Portland, Oregon last year. And he just then was in a museum; he works for Public Broadcasting in Seattle, doing a museum for Edward R. Murrow where he grew up in Washington State. So he still is remembered.
I: I did want to take you back a little bit just for a second about the Social Security period again. And you mentioned earlier that your parents used to have lots of socials and dinners at the house and invite the Social Security folks over.
Clark: Everybody at Social Security.
I: Do you remember any? Who would be at those dinners? Can you think of who some of the people would be?
Clark: Well, I don't remember Winant coming over. The Altmeyers came over a lot. And we had election parties too. And then Maurine was over a lot. And Ellen Woodward was over all the time; she was like a member of the family.
Mostly, we saw the Altmeyers and Ellen Woodward. And then once or twice, Tom Eliot, whose grandfather was president of Harvard and his father was a minister, and was thought of tremendously. He was the first lawyer that they hired for Social Security.
I: That's right.
Clark: And he was really young. But he talks about when he was young coming over. And then we were at Salzburg together, and I got to know him real well. And I went down several times when we drove Shelley to visit him at Washington University. But he died 3 years ago on the tennis court.
I: Is that right?
Clark: In fact, when I called Lois, she said he died in Bar Harbor.
I: Is that right? He had a book published--his book was published posthumously.
Clark: I didn't know he'd written one.
I: Yeah, he has a very nice little book. John Kenneth Galbraith edited it and published it posthumously. And it's a very nice book. It's called "When People Mattered" is what the title of it is. It's the story of his time with the Social Security Board and with the Committee on Economic Security; it's a nice little book.
Clark: Washington University would be interesting (Eliot was the President of Washington University). When they had a riot in Washington University--first they had it at Berkeley. And then--there used to be David Suskind who had a talk show and he had the president of Colgate on at one time. Conant had said when they were going to have one at Harvard, he said, "Everybody that rioted would be immediately expelled." So it was this guy -- Perkins was this guy's name at Colgate-and he said, "I think that's inexcusable, because the students have all these rights and all." Well, 6 months later they had one at Colgate, and they almost tore it down, and they fired him. Then they had one at Washington University and I don't think Tom Eliot handled that too well. And a year later, he was gone from Washington University.
I: Those were hard to deal with. It was a no-win proposition if you were a university president during that time.
Clark: I loved it when that man at Colgate got fired.
But Daddy followed Conant when he was Regent Professor at the University of California. And they asked Daddy to come back the next year. It was the first time they had ever asked. Because they said most of them just stayed and talked to the professors. Daddy went and lectured to the social work classes and to the political science classes. But he found it just fascinating. I went to visit him for a week there.
I: While he was at Berkeley?
Clark: Yes, Berkeley.
Mort Grodzins--he was head of Political Science at the University of Chicago; he used to work with Daddy, and he wrote a book about interning the Japanese. Now that was 6 months after Pearl Harbor. And the guy who was Attorney General when that happened--he was Attorney General or Governor then--was Earl Warren. And Mort Grodzins wrote this work for the Council of State Governments before he became head of political science at the University of Chicago. And he wrote this blistering book about Warren and them doing it. The reason they did it--the head of the National Guard and Warren did this--the reason they did this, they wanted the Japanese land. Because the Japanese were doing all that farming.
So they confiscated all their land and put them into concentration camps. And as Daddy said, he thinks that this was the worst mar on the history of our country when we did that.
I: All right Clark, what else? We've talked about just about everything I had on my list to talk about. And more things I never imagined; so many great stories, I can't believe it.
Clark: I've really been the luckiest person.
Somebody else was on public television and I called them. And they kept me on for 10 minutes talking about that. I talked about Ms. Roosevelt. And after I hung up, they talked about that--they were talking about the guy who had written the book on the Clinton campaign-- "Anonymous."
I: Sure, sure.
Clark: Now they have fired him apparently from Newsweek. And so I called in. And I was lucky I got in first on this. Not that many people were interested in this area. They had the woman who's head of communications for Boston University, and they had the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and they wrote an editorial that he should be fired right away --the editorial page and everything else.
And so I got in first. And I said, "I am actually fascinated, the reaction to this." Now Bob Woodward wrote a book about the CIA man who had been in a coma for 8 months. And his wife had not been able to speak to him for 8 months; the doctor hadn't been able to speak to him for 8 months. And yet, nobody said there was anything wrong with that. This guy writes an anonymous thing and gets an okay for this anonymous thing. And the hostess said, "You know, I was just talking to the people about that before we went on the air --why they didn't do that." And the woman who was head of communications said, "You know, doctors and wives can lie. And I said, "With somebody who has had a stroke and has been totally out of it for 8 months?" Well, from then on for that whole hour, they were defensive; not a single person called in on their side.
I: Yeah, I can imagine.
Clark: So that's what I love doing.
I: I don't blame you.
Clark: I wrote letters to Presidents and Senators and all; now I have arthritis so badly that I can't read my own writing.
But I wrote a letter to Johnson. I'd written him very four letters. But I'd written him this one and it was the only one I didn't get an answer too. It was at the time of the Tet offensive. Daddy was so impressed with it that he took it and had it copied and gave it to all the Governors and the Senators he knew.
I: So you were writing to Johnson about the war?
Clark: Well, I was writing to him about how to run the whole government. And at the very end I said on the war, "You will be very glad to know that I can't give you any information or anything on Vietnam. Because I don't know anything, except from what I listen to."
The man who wrote "Hell in a Very Small Place,"--who had been the print journalist and who was killed when he was in Vietnam. Well, when the French were fighting in Vietnam, he was over there. And he went back when we were there and got killed over there. But he wrote "Hell in a Very Small Place"-and that let me see if I can find . . .
You can keep this. It will tell you all the places we moved.
I: Oh, wonderful; this is great.
Clark: And as I said, I couldn't stand Johnson. But I had to say something nice, so I lied.
(Quoting from her letter) "Now these shouldn't be necessary because I just solved many of your fiscal problems in running the domestic economy. You'll be amazed and relieved to know that I have come to no conclusion about how to handle Vietnam. I leave that entirely up to you and with my sympathy and prayers. And then on the whole, you're doing a whale of a job (which is a lie). But with all the skill and power at your disposal, you could do even better."
I: So you were giving him some advice?
Clark: Oh yeah, about everything. All the economics, and tax reform, unemployment compensation, Social Security; throw out Henry Wallace's agriculture program; Walter Heller's one-time plan. (He was a good friend of mine.) Government agencies generally. And last, and decidedly most important from my bias and place, the social framework; the minimum wage deal.
But I wrote Carter several letters. I never got any back. And the last one I wrote him was that I had a feeling that his whole family had come from Dog Patch, and it was too bad Al Capp wasn't still alive.
I: No wonder he didn't answer that.
Clark: You can keep those.
When I came here, several of my doctors said, "Is your dad the Frank Bane that wrote the study on the physicians?" So many of the doctors had read it. This I would like back, because this is the only one I have. Daddy brought it here for Hutch to read. And Hutch said, "How did you get that one done in a month?" And Daddy said, "Well, I wrote it first, and then I talked to all the doctors!"
I: How interesting.
Clark: And Daddy was in the very first Life magazine, with Arthur Altmeyer, in 1936. Do you have this? This is a reproduction, the original got ruined in a flood in the basement.
I: No, I'm sure I don't.
Clark: And then I put this in your material: "Your Stake in the fight over Social Security." This was in Consumer Reports, in September of 1981, with all kinds of remarks Daddy wrote in the margins in red pencil.
I: So those are all his red pencil edits?
Clark: Yes. And so this should come back too. You can put that in with the other things.
I: Yeah, all those will come back.
Clark: Well, this has been absolutely fascinating.
When I read this pamphlet you wrote on Social Security history, because Carl sent it to me, I was a little disappointed because they had not mentioned Winant in here or Daddy in here.
I: Well, I wrote this pamphlet even before I took over the job as the Historian. And I didn't have any background really in the history of the program at all. I was a policy analyst in the Commissioner's office. And they were going to abolish the history job at SSA; and they weren't going to have it anymore. And when I heard that -just because I have a sort of amateur interest in it, I went to the executive in charge and I said, "Listen, this would be a big tragedy if you canceled the history function and got rid of the Historian's job. Because this is an important history, and we should preserve it."
Clark: Well, it's the most important history.
I: It's the most important domestic program. I didn't know anything when I wrote this. And I wrote it 6 months before I came on the job while I was still in my other job. Because it was done for the Independent Agency ceremony that happened in 1995 at the end of March. And so I wrote it out of complete ignorance. If I were to rewrite it today, it would be very different. There are lots of people, like your father, and Winant and lots of other things that I would now include. And I am going to rewrite it by the way.
Clark: John Callahan is the head of Social Security; he's the acting head, and not director, right?
I: I'm sorry?
Clark: The head of Social Security is acting head.
I: That's right.
Clark: Well there was a Social Security official on a radio program sometime back and I called in. So I called to give a little bit of the history of what Social Security was, and that it was not meant to cover college, and that it was not meant to be a disability program. These were things it was not supposed to. And I told them that my father started Social Security. And the lady said, "May I ask you a question? Are you Arthur Altmeyer's daughter? And I said, "No." And she said, "You don't know about Social Security." And they hung up on me.
I: Well, that's a shame. Your father's role is very important in this story. I mean your father--the way I conceive of his role is that he was the chief operating officer, in effect. He was the one who ran the business.
Clark: Well, as you can see, these are articles that Daddy wrote up until the 1960's about what should be done in terms of cutting down the cost of living raises. As he said, "It was never supposed to be for full retirement; it was a cushion for people." And he said, "Johnson wrecked it, by putting everything under the sun under it."
I know my children got money to go to college--$250 a month. And then it was under Reagan that they did away with that. And so my last one, instead of getting it for 12 months, it went down to 9 months, then it went down to 6 months, then it went down to nothing.
I: That's right. I'm going to rewrite this; I don't know if it will come out this year or next year. But I'm going to rewrite it. It'll be a new version of things, much better.
Clark: And the history of it - there are just tons of history that Brownie wrote about that. Should it be off the record? Like Winant not making up his mind? And about wanting two people there. I mean, there were all kinds of people who had different ways it should be done. And Wagner had a different idea --Senator Wagner.
Clark: But tell Maurine that Clarkey tried to find her, and I'm going to call her.
I: Thanks Clark, this has been wonderful.
(The following is an article written by Frank Bane in 1977 for SSA's employee magazine.)
Getting FDR's Help In Finding A Home
by Frank Bane
IN THE CAMPAIGN of 1932, Governor Roosevelt did not strongly stress the subject of social security. Incidentally, he called it economic security. His great emphasis was on the other part of that two-ply program--recovery-- rather than reform. In the early days of his administration, his two main programs were the National Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act.
Both Raymond Moley and Rex Tugwell, Assistant Secretaries of State and Agriculture, respectively, had thought in terms of social security as a national program to be advocated immediately after the beginning of the second term. The situation is somewhat comparable today in that there is controversy relative to the priority for curbing inflation on the one hand and meeting the unemployment needs on the other.
But there were others throughout the land who believed social security should not wait. Dr. Francis Townsend, a physician from Long Beach, Calif., began pushing his "Townsend Plan" to cure the depression. His idea was to give everyone over 60 years of age a Federal pension of $200 a month provided he spent it. The idea went over big in California, where many elderly and retired lived, and soon spread countrywide. There were other such schemes being proposed, including one by Senator Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana, who wanted to present every American family with a $5,000 house, $2,000 annual income, and other benefits.
These men really had the administration worried. So, the plan was changed, and it was decided to expedite social security. On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act was signed.
And the Old-Age Benefits Program (we were careful not to use the word insurance lest the Supreme Court--"the nine old men''--find it unconstitutional) was to start operating January 1, 1937.
The Social Security Board (I was Executive Director at the time) had to register 26 million people--all the industrial workers in the country. Using post offices, we registered the workers during the fall and winter of 1936-37.
With the registration, our troubles began. For then, as now, the major problem in Washington was where to put a desk. We knew that in the spring of 1937 we would have 26 million pieces of paper arriving to be tabulated. We had to have a building able to withstand the weight and vibration of the machinery we would be using, so we began searching Washington for proper space.
No building seemed to be available. Time was passing rapidly and I feared that if the paperwork was not handled as it came in, the whole process might collapse. You can imagine what the press (we did not know the word "media" then) would say to that.
In desperation I went over to the White House to see Marvin McIntyre, one of the secretaries to the President and a man from Kentucky whom I had known for a number of years. He suggested I "go up to see the old man at Hyde Park," and an appointment was made.
When I arrived, the President was in his little office just off the entrance to the Roosevelt home. After listening for a few minutes, he said he had the answer. The new Interior Department building had just been completed, and "Harold [Secretary of the Interior Ickes] would be moving into it." He believed the old Interior building would provide just the type of space needed for Social Security.
The President picked up the phone and called Harold. To my surprise, Ickes did not seem to argue. When he got off the line, FDR said, "There's your solution. What else is bothering you?" I had no other problem. I was so relieved with that solution I felt I had earned my day's pay.
Back to Washington I went, on a Thursday or Friday, I believe, and told the Social Security Board staff of our good luck. We all relaxed.
There was no particular hurry about looking at our new space and as there were other matters that needed my immediate attention, I didn't go over to look at it until Monday. When I arrived, I found that it was already occupied by an agency under the supervision of Interior Secretary Ickes. Colonel Waite, the Director of the Public Works Administration, and his staff had moved in over the weekend!
What to do? I couldn't very well go back to see the President because I knew he didn't like what he called "whining people." There was nothing to do except scour Washington again for a building. We found nothing suitable. Eventually, I heard that there was a building with adequate space in Baltimore on the harbor front--the Candler Building.
A few days later I went over to Baltimore to see the Candler Building, and as we walked through that old warehouse-type structure, my heart sank. There seemed to be no other choice, however, so late in 1936 the Bureau of Old-Age Benefits moved to Baltimore. We did have one consolation. The move was to be a temporary one. How I cherished that word, for we were already in the process of getting legislation through for the construction of the Social Security Board building at 4th and Independence Avenues, S.W., in Washington. The building would be ready by 1939.
The move to Baltimore, however, was not to be as temporary as we had hoped and believed and as was widely advertised, especially among the Bureau employees. Just as our new building was completed, the war in Europe had become critical and Washington was gearing up the defense program. Mr. Roosevelt retired "Mr. New Deal" and gave the priority spot to "Mr. Win the War." Defense agencies got preference everywhere.
It so happened that I joined the defense agencies in 1939 and was moved into the Social Security Board building. I got the same office that we had originally designed for the Executive Director of the Board. As soon as I got settled, I picked up the phone and called Arthur Altmeyer, then Chairman of the Social Security Board, and invited him to come over to see our building and my new office. His indignant response was, "I won't put my foot in that damned building until I move with the rest of the Board folks into our own space." Even after the defense agencies finally vacated the Board's building, the Bureau didn't move back to Washington for the age-old reason that's well-known to the administrator of every large agency. Baltimore and the State of Maryland had become accustomed to this large agency and its payroll and wanted to keep it where it was. The Maryland delegation in Congress persuaded other congressmen to join them in successfully blocking the transfer of the Bureau back to Washington.
Cooperating with the inevitable, it was decided to construct buildings for the Bureau in the Baltimore suburbs, where the complex is now located.
This experience confirmed what I learned many years ago--good judgment is the product of experience, but experience is the product of poor judgment.