Martin, Dorothy 1990-02-15

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Dorothy Martin discusses her career as an executive secretary and association with Congressman George H. Mahon.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Dorothy Martin

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: February 15, 1990

Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Interviewer: David Murrah

Length: 2 hours 15 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Background, Early life and Cleveland, Mississippi, Education, Attended college in New Orleans, Transferred to Baylor University, Graduated in 1940, World War II, Joined American Red Cross, Went overseas in May 1943, Assigned to U.S. Army, Third Infantry, Traveled to Casablanca, Sicily, Naples and Southern France, Returned home in November 1945, Career, 1946 worked in Army liaison office, 1948 worked for congressman from Mississippi, For eleven years worked for Overton Brooks from, Shreveport, Louisiana, Worked for three years with select subcommittee, 1965 began working for Congressman Mahon, Mahon Staff, Savannah and Helen Boyle were Martin’s contacts, with George Mahon, Size—5 or 6 people, Moved to Rayburn Building in 1966, Staff Responsibilities, Not well defined, Executive secretary top person, Everyone did everything, Daily activities of staff, Open mail, Select new legislative problems to discuss with Mahon, Mondays transcribes Mahon’s tapes, Dorothy Mahon, Discussion of her personality, Activities with Mrs. Mahon, Daily activities of staff (again), Telephone calls and mail monopolized most days, Correspondence, Mahon looked at every letter, Made sure staff personalized letters, District, Discussion of Mahon’s relationship with district, Listened to people’s ideas, Worked hard for a successful bond with district, Mahon’s work habits, Worked six days a week, Carried two briefcases, Arrived at work early until time to go to the floor.

Tape 1, Side 2: Dorothy Mahon (again), Her role in office, Gathered and read papers from district, Reviewed invitations, Gave tours of the capitol, Mahon’s health, Health conscious, Exercised and played golf regularly, Mahon’s work habits (again), Daily dairies, Kept chronological list of significant days, Maintained two books—one filled with poetry and the second with names of people from district, Mahon’s personality, Optimistic outlook, Loved to read, Interested in stamps, Particular man—very precise, Sometimes carried precision too far, Large ego but very humble, Wore expensive shirts.

Tape 2, Side 1: Mahon staff (again), Discussion of important members, Savannah Walker and Keith Mainland, Other people in office, Mahon remained in touch with former employees, Trips, Toured Europe with committee members, Friendships, Became friends with Richard Nixon, Discussion of legislative friends.

Tape 2, Side 2: Friendships (continued), Relationship with George Bush, Friendship with Lyndon Johnson, Visited White House many times, Good friends with Johnson family, Texas delegation, Mahon isolated from many, Les Aaron and Bob Poage close friends, Participated on Board of Education with Sam, Rayburn and refused to drink with him, Media, Discussion of Mahon’s opinion of the press, Cooperated with media, Charlie Guy an editor Mahon liked, Crises in office, Supported Nixon during Watergate, Received bomb threat when on appropriations, committee, Social changes, Mahon progressive man, Vietnam did not really affect him, Tenure in Congress, Very effective, Wanted to retire sooner, Recollection of last days, Retirement, Remained in Washington, Martin continued to work for him, Spoke at various groups.

Tape 3, Side 1: Reputation, Widely respected, Asked to service on Smithsonian Board of Regents, Personal, Mahon attended Metropolitan Memorial Methodist Church, Discussion of Mahon material.

Tape 3, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1920s-1980

Bulk Dates: 1965-1980

Access Information

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