The Charlie Wilson Oral History Project
The Launch of the Project
In the spring of 2010, the Liberal and Applied Arts College at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), under the leadership of Dean Brian Murphy, launched the Charlie Wilson Oral History Project directed by Paul J. P. Sandul, Assistant Professor of History. On March 25, 2011, ten individuals who knew Charlie Wilson came together at the SFA campus to participate. Since then, the project has grown to include more than 30 interviews with more than 45 hours of recorded histories. The project, and hence this website, is ongoing as more interviews are currently being conducted and subsequently transcribed.
Who Was Charlie Wilson?
Charles Nesbit Wilson served as United States Representative for the Second Congressional District of Texas, which stretched from Nacogdoches to Beaumont in East Texas, from 1973-1996. Today, largely thanks to the book and Hollywood movie, Charlie Wilson's War, many people only think of Charlie in connection to the Soviet-Afghanistan War because he appropriated funding to the Afghanistan Mujahedeen's (freedom fighters) fight against the Soviet Army in the 1980s. Charlie, however, had a much longer list of accomplishments than this war, many of which greatly improved the lives of East Texans.
Charlie was born and raised in the small East Texas town of Trinity. After graduation from Trinity High School, he briefly attended Sam Houston State University before going to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1952. While he worked as a weapons specialist at the Pentagon, Charlie ran for and won his home district's State Representative race in 1961. While representing East Texas as a State Representative from 1961 to 1966 and as a State Senator from 1966 to 1972, Charlie befriended Arthur Temple, Jr., the East Texas timber baron, moved to Lufkin, and managed the Big Tin Barn retail outlet for Temple Industries. He won the Second Congressional District seat in 1972 running on a platform of utility regulation and economic development for East Texas. In Washington, Charlie served on the House Defense and Foreign Affairs Appropriations Subcommittees and used this position to assign monetary aid to his constituents and Cold War allies around the globe.
Charlie did much more than help fund the Soviet-Afghanistan War however. He labored to improve the lives of his constituents and "underdogs." As revealed in the oral histories from those who knew him, Charlie advocated social security, veteran's affairs, environmental issues, and what he called "taking care of the home folk." His is the story of East Texas and, in many ways, the people of East Texas.
These oral histories provide a picture window into not just the life and times of a congressperson, valuable for just that, to be sure, but also a venue for understanding who and what East Texas and East Texans imagined themselves to be through the continuous selection of Charlie to Congress. Certainly a good politician who knew how to get elected, his story is not the whole story of East Texas. But Charlie Wilson is an East Texas icon and hence an East Texas story. He is also a human story. He was made of flesh and bones. We invite you to listen and/or read some of the oral histories that capture some of the nuances of the man known as the "Liberal form Lufkin."
The Oral Histories
Below are links to oral histories from Charlie's family members, friends, coworkers, and more. A brief biography and subject list is immediately provided while clicking on the link will take you to a particular interview site that features a more detailed biography and the audio of the oral history as well as the transcript.
The Charlie Wilson Oral History Project seeks to both honor and bolster the legacy of the remarkable Representative from East Texas. The East Texas Research Center (ETRC) at the R. W. Steen Library of the Stephen F. Austin State University is the official repository of Charlie Wilson's Congressional Papers. The Project seeks to complement, enhance, and draw more attention to the Representative's archival holdings through the collection, preservation, and diffusion of oral history interviews with those who knew and worked with Charlie Wilson. Oral history interviews help expand the University's archival collection by adding more variety and diversity, particularly through the mixed memories of many of Charlie Wilson's closest friends, colleagues, and staff, as well as by focusing on issues and topics not well covered in existing archival papers. The Project also seeks to move beyond the sensational Hollywood image of Charlie Wilson to deepen an understanding of the Representative's many years of significant service, strength and complexity of character, and veritable impact on American and world history. The oral history interviews bolster the scholarly endeavors of researchers by generating more primary sources while also providing new opportunities for University students to work with primary materials, construct theses, and develop projects utilizing the oral history interviews and archival documents. To further educate the public about Charlie Wilson, spotlight the University's collection, and further work to understand and document East Texas' history generally, the Project will sponsor several products from transcriptions to finding guides, websites, exhibits, and, hopefully, documentaries concerning Charlie Wilson. Likewise, the collection of oral history interviews will be an ongoing task. More generally, the Project and archival collection highlights the role and function of the University's ETRC as the archival repository for East Texas. It will hopefully spark other notable East Texans to donate their materials and collections to the University and signal to both researchers and the general public alike that the University and the ETRC take seriously their leading responsibility to collect, preserve, and honor East Texas memory and history.
It Takes A Village
Pulling off a project of this size and scope requires a lot of help and collaboration. First of all, Dean Brian Murphy conceived of the project and made it happen. It is thanks to him this project ever began. Paul J. P. Sandul has served as the project's director since its inception, overseeing any and everything from contacts to interviews, transcriptions, funding, and more. Texas historian M. Scott Sosebee, as well as the late and revered giant of Texas history Archie P. McDonald, has been at the forefront of conducting interviews and providing historical context and guidance. Moreover, the history department faculty have helped interview as well. The history department has also helped fund travel, the purchase of equipment, and the support of graduate students for transcription. Mark Barringer and the Center for Regional Heritage Research have also played a vital role with providing equipment, web design, and transcription services. So many more people need to be mentioned of course. And we intend no slight if they have not been mentioned here by name. But perhaps the most important of all are the interviewees themselves. Their desire and willingness to be interviewed has made it all possible.
The original recordings for all the interviews and full transcripts are held by the East Texas Research Center, R. W. Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas. All copy rights in all the transcripts and audio files, including the right to publish, are reserved to the East Texas Research Center, R. W. Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas. Excerpts up to 1,000 words from the interviews may be quoted for publication without seeking permission as long as the use is non-commercial and properly cited. Requests for permission to quote for other publication should be addressed to the East Texas Research Center, R. W. Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University, 1936 North St., Nacogdoches, TX, 75962. Their online form can be found at http://libweb.sfasu.edu/proser/etrc/services/forms.html.
Allison is married to Sharon Allison, the sister of Charlie Wilson. Sam and Sharon had a very close relationship with Charlie that included travelling the world with him and serving as his confidants, and support system. Sam currently lives in Waco, Texas with his wife Sharon.
- Subject Guide for Sam Allison Interview (approx. 60 minutes): Coming Soon.
Allison is the son of Sam Allison and Sharon Wilson Allison, the sister of Charlie Wilson. Allison and his family, including his sister Elizabeth, had a very close relationship with Wilson. He spent some additional time with his uncle when he worked as a House page in Washington, D.C. in 1985-86 when he was 16-17 years old.
- Subject Guide for Sam W. Allison Interview (approx. 60 minutes): Introduction; background information; Washington, D.C. page experiences; Wilson's legislative style; Wilson's office environment, staff, and administrative style; Wilson's secretiveness about Afghanistan; Wilson and family time; Allison and Wilson as World War II buffs; Wilson's vicarious reading habits; Good Time Charlie image; Books in Wilson's library; Wilson's potential depression; Wilson as an Uncle and family member; gift giving; Allison's recall of a favorite memory about Wilson [page experience]; more of Allison's background.
Sharon Allison is the sister of Charlie Wilson, both of whom grew up in Trinity, Texas. Sharon was on the Planned Parenthood board at the local, regional, national, and international levels and is credited with promoting women's rights with her brother Charlie.
- Subject Guide for Sharon Allison Interview, Session 1 (approx. 88 minutes):Planned Parenthood; Waco Foundation; Pro-Choice; Relationship with African Americans/Civil Rights; Growing up/Family; Annapolis; Kennedy Campaign & Beginning of Political Career; Affects of being in the military; Travelling Office; Not Interested in Fame; Liberal; End of Career; Donna Peterson; Karl Rove; Newt Gingrich; Pakistan; Knighting; Benazir Bhutto; Milt Bearden; Gust Avrakotos; Khyber Pass; Dhara; Tora Bora; Jim Rooney; Stingers; Jalalabad; Saudi Arabia; Cairo; Nicaragua; Mujahideen-Taliban; Afghanistan; Afghan-Russian War ; The Big Thicket; Not Interested in Fame; Good Time Charlie; Foreign Operations Committee; Tip O'Neill; Linda; Sandinistas; Kennedy Center; 60 Minutes; Charlie as a person.
- Subject Guide for Sharon Allison Interview, Session 2 (approx. 88 minutes): Coming Soon.
Butler was born in Bryan, Texas in 1948. She had seven siblings and attended Kemp High School. In 1979, Butler moved to East Texas and shortly thereafter began working for the Deep East Texas Council of Government. Butler then changed jobs, working for Charlie Wilson in his district office as a caseworker for Veterans Affairs.
- Subject Guide for Norma Butler Interview (approx. 44 minutes): Introduction; Butler's childhood; Working for Deep East Texas Council of Governments; Working for Charlie Wilson; Job Duties; Veterans Affairs; Race difficulties; Minority Relations with Work; Charlie Wilson Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic; Typical Day working in Veterans Affairs; Relationship Between Washington Staff and Lufkin Staff; Good Time Charlie Machine; Butler's experiences as an African American Woman Caseworker; Helping as Many People Possible; Charlie Wilson's character; Story about Charlie and Woodville, TX; Charlie Wilson Political Motivations; Charlie Wilson fit with Texas Democratic Party; Charlie Wilson's Honesty.
Christie was born in Rising Star, Eastland County, TX, on June 6, 1933, graduated from the University of Texas Law School in the 1960s and served as a Texas State Senator from El Paso the same years Charlie Wilson served in the Senate (1966-1973). Among other things, he worked for the State Insurance Board, oil and gas businesses, and, notably, traveled to the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan with Wilson.
- Subject Guide for Joe Christie Interview (approx. 107 minutes):Bio info; Texas Senate run; Texas Senate; Democratic conservative-liberal split in Texas politics; corporate tax bill; Liberal from Lufkin; Arthur Temple, Jr.; overturning Texas's liquor-by-the-drink law; Wilson's success in a conservative district; Wilson's electability and honesty; Wilson's interest in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Christie's involvement with Wilson in Afghanistan and the Middle East; Trip to Darra; Meetings with Mujahideen; Christie helps Wilson get weapons to Afghanistan; Wilson's reasons for confiding in Christie; Egyptian and Swiss involvement; Wilson's ability to pull off aid to Afghanistan; Wilson and guns; Wilson's drinking; Wilson's loneliness; Good Time Charlie image; Accuracy of George Crile's Book and movie; Charlie's 60th birthday party; Wilson's reason for leaving Congress; Barbara's dislike of Lufkin; Darra; Liquor by the Drink.
Davis grew up in Southeast Texas with his parents. He worked for KTRE Television Station and as a forest ranger, a fire fighter, and a musician while living in Nacogdoches, Texas. Through his job as a jingle writer for a small advertising agency and film production company, Davis was able to work on a campaign commercial for Charlie Wilson in 1984. Davis met Wilson in 1986 while working on a commercial campaign. His first job with Wilson's staff was District Assistant working as the campaign bus driver. Davis later became Charlie Wilson's District Director.
- Subject Guide for Shaun Davis Interview (approx. 68 minutes): Introduction; Shaun Davis Background; Davis began working for Charlie; Staff Strange Backgrounds; Case Work; Wilson the Team Captain; Playing Charlie Wilson; Electable Image; Sticking it to the man; Important issue to Charlie; Relationship with Colleagues in Congress; Typical Wilson Campaign; Serious Female Contender; Reason for Leaving Congress; Wilson's Views on Divided Congress; Afghanistan; Thoughts on Present Afghanistan; Afghanistan's Go to Guy; Davis Career after Charlie; Staff Remains Close; George Crile/The Book; Good Time Charlie; Davis Personal Stories of Wilson; Hiring the Gorgeous Woman; Plans for Joint Oral Interview Session; Final Remarks.
Donnahoe was born in 1952 in Kentucky, but grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father and grandparents were interested in politics that influenced her. She moved to Lufkin, TX in 1988 and worked as a caseworker at the Texas Department of Human Services. She began working for Charlie Wilson with Social Security casework in 1993 and until he resigned.
- Subject Guide for Lorri Donnahoe Interview (approx. 43 minutes): Introduction; Donnahoe's Childhood with Politics; Texas Department of Human Services; Caseworker; Working for Charlie Wilson; Day at the Lufkin Office; Process for Disability Applicants; Charlie Seen as a Friend by Constituents; Charlie Wilson's Motivation; Veterans Affairs Clinic in Lufkin; Donnahoe's Pride on a Social Security case; Social Security Administration; Charlie Wilson's Mobile Office; Things Donnahoe Wished to Accomplish; Donnahoe's love for Casework; Work as a Woman; The Relationship of the Washington, D. C. Office and Lufkin Office; Donnahoe's Two Favorite Stories about Charlie; A Phone Call about a Cat Stuck in a Tree; Conclusion.
Foley worked as a delegate to the state democratic convention in 1968 when Wilson asked him to work for him during the legislative session of 1969. Foley stayed on for six years helping Wilson with policy research, campaigning, arranging speaking engagements, and working with constituents.
- Subject Guide for Ian Foley Interview (approx. 55 minutes): Introduction; Foley Meets Wilson; 1972 Congressional Victory; Telephone Companies and Power Companies; Freshmen Congressman; Trent River Authority; Tireless Campaigner; John Dowdy; Wilson's District; African American Support; N.R.A.; Doing the Right Thing; D.W.I.; Personal Life and Blackmail; Divorce; Ronald Reagan's Tax Bill; The Contras; Party Guy; Divided Congress; Afghanistan; Foley and Wilson's Disagree; Raising Money; Respect from Colleague's; Districting; Charlie's Hopes for U.S. Congress; Bipartisanship; Taking Care of East Texas; East Texas after Charlie; S.F.A. Board of Regents; Building Relationships; L.G. Moore.
Henson was a neighbor of Wilson's in Lufkin, Texas and a long-time supporter.
- Subject Guide for Ray Henson Interview (approx. 56 minutes): Friendship; Charlie's childhood in East Texas; Mobilizing African Americans and the elderly; Relationship with East Texas businesses; the Temple family; Charlie's love of guns; Charlie's swagger; Good Time Charlie; Afghanistan.
After meeting Charlie at a luncheon as Congressman J.J. Pickle's guest in 1973, Hooper went on to work for Charlie as his press assistant and later his legislative assistant for energy. She left his office in 1978, and became vice president of a multinational energy company and legislative consultant to a major New York Law firm. When Charlie retired from Congress, he joined the lobbying firm that Candice and her husband founded, and he remained a partner there for more than five years.
- Subject Guide for Joanne Herring King Interview (approx. 68 minutes): Hooper's background; Texas Delegation - Democratically dominated; Hooper as Pickle's luncheon guest; Tony Proffitt; Hooper meets Charlie at luncheon; Bob Steele; Charlie offers job to Hooper as assistant press assistant; Johnny Apple; William Safire; Al Reinert; Longworth building; Charlie's office; Charlie's apartment; Al Reinert as Charlie's press assistant; Charlie as a boss; Charlie's mother visiting; Charlie's office atmosphere; Office setting; Constituent service; Charlie willing to be underestimated; Charlie on appropriations committee; Richard White; Bob Eckhardt; Charlie standing up to Texas Delegation; George Mahon; Charlie's first big legislative effort; Bill Green; Elimination of percentage depletion; Harry McPherson; Dick Kline; Charlie's use of the press secretary; Charlie only one to say yes on percentage depletion bill; Bob Eckhart; Charlie's campaigning; "Good-time Charlie" image; Charlie's secrecy; Charlie's negotiating strategy; Charlie's political philosophy; Hooper dealing with "good-time Charlie" image as press assistant; Charlie's Angels; Charlie's further aspirations; Hooper's favorite memory of Charlie; Charlie's relationship with the Temples.
Huddleston was born in Vancouver British Columbia. She lived in Canada for five years before moving to Berkley California. She eventually moved to the East Coast with her sister, who first introduced her to Charlie Wilson in 1976 and she began working for Wilson in 1977.
- Subject Guide for Carol Simons Huddleston Interview (approx. 52 minutes): Introduction; Huddleston's biography; How she met Charlie Wilson; How she started working for Charlie Wilson; Wilson's separation from Jerry Wilson, Linda Sullivan left for Florida; Huddleston's promotion to executive assistant; Office Life; Wilson's friends in Congress; Charlie Wilson's "style" as a Congressman; Typical constituent service; Charlie Wilson and East Texas; "Charlie's Angels" origins; Wilson's Justice Department investigation, Huddleston serving on the grand jury, and office atmosphere at that time; "Good Time Charlie" image; Charlie Wilson's War; Charlie Wilson's press image; Wilson's core beliefs; Wilson's parents; Wilson's political philosophies; Higher aspirations; Favorite memory of Wilson; Leaving the office and jobs after working for Wilson; Best office; Other memories; Showing photos.
In 1993, Hutchinson became the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate. She first met Charlie while she was a Texas reporter covering the Texas legislature in the 1960s.
Subject Guide to Kay Bailey Hutchinson Interview (approx. 16 minutes): Introduction; How Hutchison first met Charlie; Hutchison's background; Texas State Senate; Charlie's Qualities; Hutchison and Charlie working together; Ted Kennedy; Charlie working across the aisle; Charlie's instincts in Afghanistan; Charlie as an East Texas character; Barbara Jordan; Source of Charlie's power as a congressman; Charlie not aspiring to a higher office.
Herring was born Joanne Johnson in Houston, Texas in 1929. Famously noted for her participation in the Houston social scene, the proverbial "socialite," she also hosted a popular local daytime talk show, "The Joanne King Show," from the late 1950s to 1970s. In 1973 she married the prominent Houston oilman Robert Herring, who passed in 1981. Thanks to Robert's business dealings in the Middle East, he influenced Joanne and her eventual efforts to influence the happenings elsewhere in Pakistan and Afghanistan and her work with Charlie Wilson. By the late '70s, in fact, Herring had three volunteer positions in the Middle East - she was honorary consul to Pakistan and honorary consul to Morocco. Her passion for the region pushed her into a relationship with Charlie Wilson.
- Subject Guide for Joanne Herring King Interview (approx. 90 minutes): Coming Soon
Love began working in Washington D.C. in 1970/71 for the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. From there, she worked several years for Congressman Wayne Hays. Love worked as a caseworker for Charlie Wilson from 1976-1984. Since then, she worked for the Air Force Surgeon General (1984-1989), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (1989-2002), and the Environmental Protection Agency (2002-2009). Love continues to live in northern Virginia and serves as a consultant and lecturer.
- Subject Guide to Peggy Love Interview, Session 1 (approx. 52 minutes): Early Childhood through High School; Post-High School plans; Working for the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy; Working for Congressman Wayne Hays; Working for Charlie Wilson & College; Drafting Legislation; Law School; Commuting and Parking in D.C.; Joint Committee on Atomic Energy Office Environment; Congressman Hays Office Environment; Casework; Nacogdoches Senior Center Case; Working for the Air Force Surgeon General; Working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency; Working for the Environmental Protection Agency; Charlie Wilson's '84 Campaign and Mobile Office; "Charlie's Angels"; Close Relationships of Wilson Staffers; Charlie Wilson's Impact on Office Environment; Charlie Wilson's Office Management Style; Love's Family Background.
- Subject Guide to Peggy Love Interview, Session 2 (approx. 53 minutes): Introduction; Favorite memories of Charlie; Senator Wayne Hays; Elizabeth Ray Scandal; Working with Charlie; Working in Charlie's Office; Love's Job Duties; Health Legislation; Charlie's Political Philosophy; Social Issues; Women's issues; Charlie's Personality; Relations with Constituents; Veterans; Afghanistan; Charlie's Angles moniker; Experiences being an Angel; Life After Working for Charlie; Flying in Fighter Plane; Good-Time Charlie; Charlie's Relations in Congress; Tip O'Neil; Charlie's Skills as a Congressmen; Wayne Hay's Personality; Rudy Giuliani Investigations; Charles Simpson; Love Creating New Bills; Nacogdoches; IRS; Washington Staff and District Staff; Reasons for Charlie's Retirement; Newt Gingrich; Mujahideen; Attacks on Charlie after 9/ll; and Conclusion.
Marshall was born in Bryan, Texas in 1946. He went to University of Houston to study engineering. After a year Marshall transferred to Stephen F. Austin State University and graduated with a Bachelor's of Art degree in Political Science and Economics. He started to help campaign for Charlie Wilson while attending Stephen F. Austin State University and, by 1972, Marshall became a district assistant for Charlie Wilson. Marshall campaigned and worked for Wilson until 1977.
- Subject Guide for Bill Marshall Interview (approx. 51 minutes ): Introduction ; Bill Marshall's Childhood; Campaigning for Charlie; John Dowdy and Dowdy's wife; Meeting Charlie and Impressions; Motivations for Charlie; Natural Politician; Vietnam; Charlie's interest in Foreign Affairs; Constituents; Working for Charlie; Regular Duties at Work; Charlie Liberal?; Race Issues; Charlie, Ideological or Pragmatic?; The Big Thicket National Preserve; Dealings with Constituents; Texas Democratic Party; Buddy Temple; Presidential Administrations; Dislike for President Nixon; Speakers of the House of Representatives (Carl Albert, Tip O'Neal, Jim Wright, and Newt Gingrich); House Appropriations Committee; Last time Seeing Charlie; Wilson Associates; Charlie tired of Incivility in Politics; Charlie's care for constituents; Charlie's DWIs; and Conclusion.
Murphy came to Washington D.C. when she was just 20 years old. Her marriage to a U.S. Congressman introduced her to the world of congressional politics. It was in this world that she met and became friends with Charlie Wilson. Murphy returned to Washington in 1993, after being asked to work in the office of Tipper Gore as a volunteer. Murphy reconnected with Charlie and he offered her a paid position in his congressional offices. She worked on the House Appropriations Committee and quickly gained experience in Defense and Foreign affairs. In the years following her time with Charlie, Murphy worked for the Clinton Administration and became a Congressional Liaison for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
- Subject Guide for Kathleen Murphy Interview (approx. 59 minutes): Introduction; Background; Friendship with Charlie; Work Before Charlie; Going to Work for Charlie; Defense; Afghanistan; Zvi Rafaih; Working with Charlie; Charlie and the Underdog; Charlie's Like in Texas; Flashman; Good Time Charlie; Relations with Jerry; Charlie's Personality; Relations in Congress; Comparisons to LBJ; Charlie's Power in Congress; Senator Jack Murtha; Kay Bailey Hutchinson; Appropriation's Committee; Telemedicine; Texas; Lockheed; Bell Textron; First Congressional District; Charlie's Power in Congress; Reasons for Charlie's Retirement; Newt Gingrich; Contract with America; Hostile Congress; Donna Peterson Scandals; Bubba Groce; Charlie and Elections; Texas Politics; Charlie's Relations with Constituents; Liberal for Lufkin; Social Issues; Gun Control; Medicaid; NRA; Women's Rights; Planned Parenthood; Working Environments; Charlie's Angels; Peyton Walters; Adventures in France; Favorite Memories of Charlie; 9/11; Bush Administration; General Jay Garner; Mujahideen; Joanne Harry; Charlie's Responsibilities; Charlie as a Friend; Murphy on Being a Pacifist and Working Defense; Charlie's Political Philosophy; Blue Dog Democrat; and Conclusion.
Rafiah was born and raised in Israel. He attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, majoring in the History of Modern East and also Arab Literature and Language. After serving his compulsory time in the military he joined the Israeli foreign service where he served in Teheran, Iran and Ankara, Turkey. He was then sent to Washington where he was asked to institutionalize the Congressional Liaison Office of the Embassy. While serving in Washington, Rafiah attended Georgetown University where he got his Master's Degree. After serving six years, three more than the average, he retired to Israel and started his own business as a consultant to Israeli businesses in dealing with the United States, mainly in Washington. Rafiah was Wilson primary Israeli contact throughout his Congressional career.
- Subject Guide for Zvi Rafiah Interview (approx. 86 minutes): Background and meeting Wilson; Congressional Liaison Office; Yom Kippur War; Commentator; Charlie Being Unusual; Israel; Lebanon; Egypt/Pakistan; Trip to Egypt with Carol Shannon; Mujahedeen; Israel Government Owned Defense; American-Israeli relations; Portrayal in the Movie and Book; Character; Jerri; Barbara; Family Man; Political Philosophy; Lavi/MoscheAren; Retiring; 9/11; Joanne Herring.
Born in 1932, Schnabel graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Bacteriology and a M.A. in Public Administration. Schnabel served the Texas Senate as the Reading Clerk to the Texas House of Representatives. He was promoted to serve as the Secretary of the Senate and held this position for twenty-three years. He began his career with Charlie Wilson in 1985 as his second Administrative Assistant till 1991.
- Subject Guide to Charles Schnabel Interview (approx. 66 minutes): Introduction; Charlie Schnabel's Career; A Different type of Senator; Working for Wilson; Wilson's D.W.I.; Divided Texas Senate; Creekmore Fath; Populist Wilson; Civil Rights; Congress Partisanship; Girlfriends; Working for the Homefolk; The Russian Girlfriend; Compassionate Side; A Communicator; Afghanistan; C.I.A.; Money; Camels for Afghanistan; Early Feelings of Afghanistan; War Involvement; Health and Retirement; Jim Turner.
Simpson met Wilson while he was a professor of Political Science at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Simpson had a student in his night class wanted to research Texas State Senator Charlie Wilson and asked to be put in touch and then later to be accompanied to meet Wilson. Wilson later asked Simpson to accompany him to Washington as his Administrative Assistant while he was in Congress. Simpson served as Wilson's A.A. for twelve years.
- Subject Guide to Charles Simpson Interview (approx. 75 minutes): Grand Jury/Drug Charges; Navy; Meeting Charlie; Race; Nacogdoches; Staff; Arthur Temple; Character; Administrative Assistant; After Congress; Big Thicket; Same Rayburn/Toledo Bend; Politics; First Arrive in Washington/his animals; Cuban Missile Crisis; Texas Delegation; Lloyd Bentsen; Good Time Charlie/Key Street Bridge Incident
[Charles Simpson biography listed above] Kyle is the son of Charles Simpson and got to know Charlie Wilson as well, through his father, at an early age. During his relationship with Wilson, Kyle helped to put up campaign signs and Wilson also found him temporary positions in the Folding Room and Document Rooms at the Capitol. Kyle remains in Washington and works as a Lobbyist on Capitol Hill.
- Subject Guide to Kyle and Charles Simpson Interview (approx. 80 minutes): Lloyd Bentsen; Campaigns/hanging posters; Folding Room; Document Room; Dibs on Office; Office Staff; Pakistan; Career and it ending; Good Time Charlie; Donna Peterson; Anwar El Sadat; Israel/Egypt/Saudi Arabia; Six Day War; Lining in Washington; Elan; Retiring/Leaving Washington; Barbara Wilson; Kennedy Center; Administrative Assistant; Politics; Mobile Office; 9/11; Zvi Rafiah/Israel; Coastal.
Temple is the son of Arthur Temple and was good friends with Charlie Wilson. Temple met Charlie Wilson in 1963 at a Democratic Inaugural Ball and became good friends after moving back to the East Texas area in 1964. Later Temple became a state congressman in Texas and also served on the Railroad Commission.
- Introduction; Temple & Charlie Wilson's Introduction & Early Friendship; Charlie Wilson's First Wife; Temple's Background; Wilson's 1966 Campaign; John Hannah; Wilson's Electoral Support / Lack of Nacogdoches Support; Wilson in the Texas Senate and Legislative Style; Wilson's Constituent Support; Campaign against John Dowdy; Driving Incident; Wilson's Employment with the Big Tin Barn; Temple and Wilson's Diverging Political and Personal Paths; Temple and Wilson's Friendship in Later Years; "Diboll Machine"; Wilson's Later Congressional Races; Wilson and Afghanistan; Wilson's Relationships with Women; [restricted]; Wilson's Relationships with Women; Wilson's Casework for Constituents; Wilson's Attitude in Politics; Wilson's Health & Relationships with Parents; Wilson's Death; John Wing.
Thomas was born in Prescott, Arkansas and moved to Texas in her late childhood. Thomas married and moved to East Texas where she and her husband lived in Timpson. She created the R.S.V.P. (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) that covered twelve counties and was managed by the Deep East Texas Council of Government (D.E.P.C.O.G.). Thomas's program worked with elected officials and was employed by D.E.P.C.O.G. It was through R.S.V.P. and D.E.P.C.O.G. that Thomas met and befriended Charlie Wilson. In 1992, Wilson asked her to be his campaign manager. She managed Charlie's last two campaigns in 1992 and 1994.
- Subject Guide to Delores Thomas Interview (approx. 65 minutes): R.S.V.P.; D.E.P.C.O.G.; Working with Charlie Wilson; the Travelling office; Republicans and Newt Gingrich; being campaign manager; campaigning; fundraising; staff; campaign bus; Afghanistan; Annapolis; veterans; German P.O.W.s; Charlie Wilson statue at the V.A. clinic in Lufkin; V.A. clinic; Temple Inland Company; The Big Thicket; social gatherings at Hawkeye and Scrappin' Valley; Joanne Herring; women's rights; minorities; Johnny and June Cash; Ann Richards.
Walker was born in Vernon, Texas as Susan Streit in 1948. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1970 and went to work in the Texas legislature for Charlie Wilson. She married musician Jerry Jeff Walker in 1974, has two children, and, in 1984, became Jerry Jeff's manager.
- Subject Finding Guide for Susan Walker Interview (approx. 45 minutes): Biographical information; Wilson in the Texas legislature; Wilson's 1972 US Congressional Campaign; Walker to DC to help hire staff in DC for Wilson; Good Time Charlie; Encounters with others in DC; Working with Charlie in the Texas Senate; Charlie's civil rights advocacy; Good Time Charlie Image revisited; Wilson's success in a conservative district; Wilson's passing; Wilson's wife Barbara; Friendship over the years; Jerry Jeff Walker; Walker at UT; Wilson as a boss and work environment.
Walters grew up on a farm in Polk County. He attended Sam Houston State University. Upon graduating, he worked for Shell Oil Company, received his surveying license and later went on to work for a private business in Livingston. Walters was county judge from 1967-1972 and in that position he had occasion to meet Charlie Wilson who was running for state representative of the district including Polk County. The two men became friends and Charlie asked Peyton to work for him. Peyton Walters worked for Charlie from the local office as his district manager, in the mobile office, and, finally, also in Washington D.C. as Wilson's third and last Administrative Assistant.
- Subject Finding Guide for Peyton Walters Interview (approx. 48 minutes): Introduction; Walters Education and Political Involvement; Walters Meets Charlie Wilson; Working for Charlie; Charlie's love for People; Charlie's visits to the Lufkin Office; Civil Rights in East Texas; Charlie's Honesty to Constituents; Charlie Being Responsive to Constituents; Charlie the Liberal and his Ideology; Two Charlies; Charlie in D.C.; Partisan Divide; Charlie's Power in D. C.; Appropriations Committee; Charlie Balancing Rural and Urban Areas; Issues Charlie Fought For; Walters Opinion on Charlie's Greatest Achievement; Big Thicket (part 1); Arthur Temple, Jr.; Big Thicket (part 2); Ralph Yarborough; Big Thicket (part 3); Texas Democratic Party; Equal Rights Amendments; Texas Sale Tax; Charlie's Navy Career; Charlie Wilson's War; Charlie Being Secretive about Afghanistan; Charlie's feelings about Afghanistan; Charlie's feelings about the War on Terrorism; Charlie leaving Congress and Last Elections; Walters' loyalty to Charlie; Charlie a Great Boss; Charlie Being Genuine to People; Charlie's Thoughts on Changes in Texas; Conclusion.
(In order of seating and introductions) Peyton Walters, L. G. Moore, Ian Foley, Ray Henson, Charles Schnabel, Delores Thomas, Bill Marshall, Peggy Love, Lorri Donnahoe, and Norma Butler.
- Subject Guide to Group Interview (approx. 65 minutes): Charlie Wilson's character; Lyndon Johnson; Labor; John Hannah; Charlie Wilson's humor; Donna Peterson; Pragmatic ideologist; Taking care of the home folks; Wayne Hayes; Expectation of employees; Larry Murphy; Congressional offices; Inez Tims; Charles Simpson; Ralph Yarborough; Bob Eckhardt; John Dowdy campaign song; Al Reinert; Mobile office; Liz Wickersham; Annelise Ilschenko; Firearms; Threat to Jerry Wilson; Roast of Charlie Wilson; New York Mayor Ed Koch; Ann Richards; 401K issue; Casework; Tip O'Neill; Kennedy Center appointment; Reagan State of the Union address; Larry King; Gary Cartwright; Birdwell incident; Lufkin African American dinner; USS Constellation; IRS.