Interviews

The Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., Papers Project includes an extensive oral history component made up of in-depth interviews with Senator Weicker, Mrs. Weicker, major staff members, and others with whom Weicker worked closely. Clicking on the link for any interview below will take you to a complete transcript for that interview.

The Interviewer: Phyllis Leffler

All of the interviews in this oral history project were conducted by Phyllis Leffler, Professor of Public History in the University of Virginia’s Corcoran Department of History. Phyllis Leffler is the Director of the Institute for Public History and Professor at the University of Virginia. She worked for many years with the UVa Library's oral history collection, engaging generations of students to digitize over 250 audiotapes. Leffler has published award-winning articles in public history in The Public Historian and the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. From 2000–2014, she co-directed with Julian Bond Explorations in Black Leadership — a videotaped oral history project with 51 African American leaders. A book, Black Leaders on Leadership: Conversations with Julian Bond was published in 2014.

All the interviews in the Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., Oral History are fully indexed. If you are looking for discussion of a particular topic, visit the Index. From there, clicking on any time code will take you directly to the interview transcript section where that topic is discussed. Interview Index


Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.

Main Topics Discussed
Weicker’s background and early interest in politics | Law school and working for a law firm | Weicker runs for seat in Connecticut Legislature | Weicker runs for office of first selectman and wins | Weicker runs for seat in U.S. House of Representatives | Weicker’s campaign style | Issues Representative Weicker focuses on in first term | Weicker runs for U.S. Senate seat | Inspiration to speak out on issues | Re-election to Senate in ’82 and loss to Lieberman in ’88 | Reagan and conservative agenda | Decision to run for Governor as an Independent

Main Topics Discussed
Weicker’s early Republican background | As Congressman, Weicker takes a more progressive stance | Weicker named to Watergate Committee | Weicker adds his own personnel to the Committee staff | Importance of Republicans taking a lead in Watergate hearings | Weicker seeks out John Dean | Patrick Gray’s role in Watergate

Main Topics Discussed
Weicker’s interactions with Haldeman and Erhlichman at Watergate hearings | President Nixon and the IRS | Weicker’s handling of campaign contributions | The risk involved in accusing the President of the United States | Weicker reflects on how taking unpopular stands affected his career | Weicker’s view of what America learned from Watergate | Weicker’s interest in oceans | Concerns about funding oceans research | Weicker discusses two situations in which he was a hypocrite | The challenge of NOAA being under the Commerce Department | Meeting with Fidel Castro in Cuba regarding oceans | Trip to Cuba to bring imprisoned American women home

Main Topics Discussed
Weicker’s work on disabilities legislation | Eunice Shriver and the Special Olympics | The fight for funding for the disabled and the mentally ill | Weicker champions disabled through congressional Committee work | Reagan administration undermines progress for disabled | Early advocacy for people with AIDS | Importance of advocacy for NIH and NOAA in Weicker’s career | Advocacy for people with AIDS | Funding for AIDS research | Philosophy on taking stands on controversial issues | Working to defeat apartheid in South Africa

Main Topics Discussed
Weicker’s immersion in Constitutional issues through Watergate | The Constitution and the right to bear arms | Importance of separation of church and state | View of the first amendment of the Constitution | Views on school busing | States’ rights and gay marriage | War powers and the executive branch | The importance of teaching the Constitution | Thoughts about U.S. immigration policy | Benefits of having third party candidates