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U.S. Senate Historian Donald Ritchie to Deliver Prichard Lecture at UK

By Mariana Moreno

(Sept. 21, 2015) — Donald A. Ritchie will deliver the University of Kentucky Libraries 2015 Edward F. Prichard Lecture, sponsored by the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Center. He will deliver a talk titled "Where Is Henry Clay Now That We Really Need Him? Political Compromise in an Uncompromising Era." The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, in the UK Athletics Auditorium of William T. Young Library.

Ritchie is the historian emeritus of the United States Senate. He earned his bachelor's degree from the City College of New York and obtained a doctoral degree in history from the University of Maryland before joining the Senate Historical Office in 1976. 

For the Senate, Ritchie conducted oral history interviews, created exhibits and brochures, and fielded reference questions from senators and the media. He also prepared previously closed documents for publication, as well as five volumes of the closed hearings of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. 

Ritchie served as president of the Oral History Association and on the council of the American Historical Association. He has offered historical commentary on C-SPAN, NPR and other networks. 

A published author, Ritchie's books include "Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide," "Press Gallery: Congress and the Washington Correspondents," "Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps," "Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932" and "The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction."

The Ford Public Policy Research Center supports research and public and educational programming dealing with issues relating to public policy, politics and Congress. The center provides UK faculty involved in teaching and research in these areas the opportunity to work closely with the Ford Center on specific or general topics. Exhibits are made available on the UK campus as well as other institutions and agencies throughout Kentucky. In addition, the Ford Center works closely with the UK Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center to support digitizing primary source materials pertaining to public policy, politics and Congress and placing them on the Web. The center also supports interns in processing related collections.

The Ford Center is a member of the Association of Centers for the Study of CongressDeirdre Scaggs, UK Libraries associate dean for special collections, serves as director of the center.