The Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program is comprised of over 3,000 linear feet of archival collections, along with an extensive number of oral history interviews, that document the unique political culture of the state of Georgia.
Robert A. "Bob" Irvin served in the Georgia House of Representatives during the 1970s and the 1990s, acting as House Republican Leader. Running for the U.S. Senate in 2002, he lost the race to Saxby Chambliss. In 2005, Irvin was the first Republican to call for conservative activist, Ralph Reed, to withdraw from the race for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia.; Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely on May 29, 2009 at UWG-TV studio.; Irvin was born in 1948 after his parents had meet in Atlanta during World War II. He grew up in Roswell, GA and attended high school just as integration was federally enforced and was moved to a private school for fear that Governor Vandiver would close public schools in response. He got involved in politics at an early age and aligned himself with the Republican Party, joined the Young Republicans, and supported Barry Goldwater for president in 1964 and Bo Callaway for governor in 1966. In the early 1970s, Irvin obtained a law degree from Emory University while running for, and subsequently serving in the legislature. Irvin talks about becoming the Republican Caucus chair and the initiative he took to develop the program and continual leadership of the program, noting a shift that was beginning to take place in the party, citing events such as Watergate and the election of President Ronald Reagan as key events. The conversation ends with Irvin speaking about his decision in 1978 to temporarily leave politics in order to pursue a degree at Harvard Business School.