Robert Samuel Kerr: Oklahoma’s Pioneer King (1896-1963), By Paul William Bass
With Foreword by Governor Mary Fallin
2012 [ISBN: 1-58107-223-6; 250 pages; 6 x 9 inches; soft cover] $22.95
Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas, McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation, first Oklahoma governor and senator born in Oklahoma– all of these relate to Robert S. Kerr. This book is a biography of his life and accomplishments. Born in a wilderness log cabin in the last decade of the nineteenth century, he died leaving a mansion built for his family. Born into a family of poverty, he died a multi-millionaire. Born in an area of lawlessness, he died as the most powerful man in the U. S. Congress. Struggling to find meaningful employment as a young man, he died as the head of a company that employed thousands across the country. Experiencing the early, sudden loss of his family, he died leaving a large family. He struggled as a public speaker in his early life, he died as one of the most powerful orators in the Senate and the country. Born into a pioneer family, he died as the acknowledged “King of the Senate.”
Robert Kerr fought for the common people of Oklahoma and provided benefits to the surrounding states. Early in his life he risked sharing his big dreams with others. He was a very successful risk taker in business. He was a deeply religious person who contributed regularly and generously to charitable causes. He dared to take unpopular positions on controversial issues because of his moral beliefs. He knew how to compromise on legislative concerns and when to apply pressure on others to support his causes. U. S. presidents submitted to his legislative leadership.
Although he died over a half century ago, his legacy continues and is enjoyed by a new generation largely unaware of his contributions. His life is a model for any who would dare to dream big dreams and work for the betterment of mankind.
Paul William Bass dared to dream the big dream of becoming an author of an important published work. As an administrator, adjunct faculty and intercollegiate debate coach at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Bass became aware of the untold story of 1907 Ouachita alum, Henry Garland Bennett. During his research, he discovered the close relationship between Bennett and Robert S. Kerr. In 2007 he had published the first in the Bennett trilogy, No Little Dreams: Henry Garland Bennett, Educator and Statesman. As a result of writing No Little Dreams, Bass had the honor of being named a Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellow by the School of International Studies at Oklahoma State University. One year later came Fellow Dreamers: Oklahoma, Education and the World. Then in 2009, the trilogy was completed with Point Four: Touching the Dream.
He also authored in 2010 the religious books, In Jesus’ Names and Minor Characters of the Bible. During that year he was commissioned by Oklahoma