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Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program

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.

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer "Kil" Townsend

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer "Kil" Townsend served 27 years in the Georgia House of Representatives and was among the first Republicans elected to the House from Fulton County in the 1960s. This followed a series of historic court decisions that overturned Georgia's county unity system of apportionment. Townsend was born on Long Island, New York and attended both Williams College and the University of Virginia.He was brought to Georgia following his service in the United States Army where he practiced law prior to entering politics. Townsend was first elected to office in 1965 and served until his retirement in 1992.; Interviewed by Mel Steely on March 1, 2000 at an unknown location.; This interview features Kiliaen "Kil" Townsend reminiscing over his time in the Georgia Republican Party and his introduction to politics during the political campaigns of Thomas Dewey and Dwight D Eisenhower. Townsend talks of what it was like being a Republican in Georgia during the 1960s and the difficulties he faced against a predominantly Democratic majority. The interview ends abruptly in the middle of a conversation about electing women to political office.