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.
Thomas Bertram Lance was born in Gainesville, Georgia on June 3, 1931. His graduate studies in banking took him to Louisiana State University and Rutgers University, but he returned to Georgia to work at Calhoun National Bank, which had been established by his wife's family. He rose to become bank president and also established a close friendship with rising Democratic political star Jimmy Carter. Lance worked in Carter's gubernatorial administration as state highway director and was appointed to head the federal Office of Management and Budget when Carter won the presidency. Lance resigned in September of 1977 due to allegations of irregular banking practices, but was later found not guilty in a federal trial. He chaired the Georgia Democratic Party from 1982-1985, and remains active in political and civic affairs.; Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely in an unknown location on June 2, 2005.; Lance begins the interview by discussing his childhood and growing up in the Georgia Mountains. He talks about his family history, and his exemption from the draft, as well as his rise to the presidency of the National Bank in Calhoun, GA. He talks about his times in college and his entrance into politics after a big experience with Jimmy Carter at Berry College. The conversation takes a turn and they begin to talk about opening Atlanta up to become a national city when professional sports like the Atlanta Braves came to the city. Back in politics, they discuss the 1970 campaign for governor extensively. After a discussion about his role with the highway department, the second half of the interview focuses on his decision to run for governor. They talk about the race, his relationship with other politicians, and his ultimate loss to George Busbee. They conclude the interview by discussing the changing roles within Georgia politics and Lance's time with Jimmy Carter when he was the president.