his father "died on December eighteenth--still American Ambassador to Great Britain."64
Bingham proved to be a perceptive diplomat as U.S. representative at the
Court of St. James's and not the Anglophile his critics charged. He was not
just a conduit of information and observer as diplomat, but worked incessantly for better Anglo-American relations at a crucial time in the histories
of both countries. He hated fascism in all its forms. His warnings about the
dangers of fascism and German militarism, and the necessity of a united
front by the Western democracies against totalitarianism, proved prescient.
If Bingham was used by Roosevelt as a diplomat stalking-horse, he was
a willing one because he implicitly trusted the leadership of FDR. He found
no alternative to unquestioning support of New Deal foreign policy, at the
same time pushing FDR toward closer ties with Britain. Moreover, he never
doubted that Roosevelt saved the United States from the ravages of the Great
Depression. The ambassadorship represented not only the highlight of Bingham's career but also symbolized to him the acceptance of himself and
his region into the American mainstream.
RWB to Margaret Mitchell, 16 February 1937, RWB Papers, Manuscript
Division, Library of Congress [hereafter cited as RWB-LC].
William E. Ellis, "Robert Worth Bingham and Louisville Progressivism,
1905-1910", Filson Club History Quarterly 54 ( April 1980): 169-195.
The cause of the publication of these books was the breakup of the Bingham family in the mid-1980s. The family sold off its considerable media holdings
after the siblings of Barry Bingham, Sr., could not agree on publication policies of
their papers. These books include David Leon Chandler and
Mary Voelz Chandler
, The Binghams of Louisville: The Dark History Behind One of America's
Great Fortunes ( New York: Crown, 1987); Marie Brenner, House of Dreams: The
Bingham Family of Louisville ( New York: Random House, 1988); Sallie Bingham
, Passion and Prejudice: A Family Memoir ( New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989); and Susan E. Tifft and
Alex A. Jones, The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of
the Bingham Dynasty ( New York: Summit Books, 1991).
William E. Ellis, "Robert Worth Bingham and the Crisis of Cooperative
Marketing in the Twenties", Agricultural History 56 ( January 1982): 99-116; and "The Bingham Family: From the Old South to the New South and Beyond", Filson Club History Quarterly 61 ( January 1987): 5-33.
RWB to FDR, 22 September 1931, Private Correspondence, 1928-32,
FDR Papers, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.