Albert B. Chandler

Historical Marker #2309 in Henderson County commemorates former Kentucky Governor Albert B. "Happy" Chandler. During two terms in the governor's office, Chandler oversaw improvements in schools, roads, health and welfare programs, and penal institutions.

Chandler was born on July 14, 1898, near Corydon, Kentucky, to Joseph and Callie Chandler. His childhood, however, was marred with tragedy when his mother left the family when he was a young child. In addition, his only brother was killed when Albert was sixteen.

Chandler graduated from Corydon High School in 1917, and enrolled at Transylvania University, where he excelled in football, baseball, basketball, and track. There, he received the lasting nickname "Happy." After earning a bachelor's degree from Transylvania, he enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he studied for a year. In 1925, however, he graduated from the University of Kentucky law school. That same year, Chandler married Mildred Watkins. They had four children. After law school, Chandler opened his first practice in Versailles. He also assisted high school and college sports teams in the area.

Chandler's career in public office began in 1929 when he was elected to the state senate. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1931. Chandler began his first term as the nation's youngest governor in 1935, and his term was considered to be one of the most productive in the state's history. Chandler's administration used federal New Deal funding to create a free textbook program, participate in a federal rural electrification program, and establish a teacher's retirement program. His administration erased much of the state's debt. Chandler's term was nagged by accusations of corruption, especially in the administration of New Deal programs and in pressuring state workers politically. Still, Chandler left office popular.

Between gubernatorial terms, Chandler served as a United States Senator and as the national commissioner of baseball. He was commissioner when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Chandler threatened to suspend managers and players who taunted Robinson and other Black players. He was considered a "players commissioner," and established a players' pension fund with money from brands who advertised during the World Series radio broadcasts.

Chandler was overwhelmingly elected to a second term as governor, assuming office in 1955. During this term, major improvements were made in the highway department, as well as public schools. Chandler also made national headlines when he used state police and National Guardsmen to enforce desegregation in the public school system.

Chandler died June 15, 1991, at his home in Versailles, but not before publishing his autobiography, "Heroes, Plain Folks, and Skunks."

The marker reads:


This Henderson County native was state senator and lt. gov. before becoming governor in 1935 & 1955. U.S. senator, 1939-45. As baseball commissioner, he approved contract making Jackie Robinson first modern black major league player in 1947. Chandler was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.


(Reverse) This colorful orator and two-term governor was born near Corydon, Ky. As governor, Chandler was the driving force behind establishment of the Univ. of Ky. Medical Center, later named in his honor. Buried at Pisgah Presbyterian Church in Versailles. Park Field in Henderson was site of the 1996 Bambino World Series dedicated to “Happy” Chandler.

This marker was dedicated in 2010.