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on KET

5:30/4:30 pm
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William Marshall Bullitt and Oxmoor

William Marshall Bullitt was a successful Louisville attorney and avid mathematician. He was a descendant of one of Louisville, Kentucky's pioneer families, for whom Bullitt County is named.

President Taft appointed William Marshall Bullitt solicitor general of the United States in 1912; and he served one year. In 1924 Bullitt became special assistant to the attorney general of the U.S. All in all, he argued more than 50 cases before the Supreme Court during his career.

William married sculptress Nora Iasigi of Boston, Massachusetts in 1913. The couple was married for 44 years and had three children: Thomas, Nora and Barbara.

The Bullitts made their home at Oxmoor Farm and estate, a historic property that had been in their family since 1786.

The highlight of the historic home is its library, where William housed more than 10,000 volumes.

William’s extensive collection of mathematics and astronomy books included many rare editions from some of the world’s most brilliant minds. In fact, William Bullitt used to correspond with Albert Einstein.

After his death in 1957, William Marshall Bullitt’s rare book collection was gifted to the University of Louisville.

Bullitt family descendants still live in the Louisville area today, and part of the estate makes up Oxmoor Country Club and Oxmoor Center.

Oxmoor’s historic buildings were willed to the Filson Historical Society in 1991. The Filson manages them and houses the Bullitt Family Papers at its headquarters in Old Louisville.

With roughly 176 cubic feet of material, the collection is the largest under the Filson’s roof.


  • William Marshall Bullitt was the great-grandson of Alexander Bullitt, Kentucky’s first lieutenant governor, for whom Bullitt County is named.
  • William Marshal Bullitt earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton and his law degree from the University of Louisville in 1895.
  • William Marshall Bullitt ran an unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate in 1914.
  • According to "The Encyclopedia of Louisville," Bullitt was deputy commissioner for France (with the rank of major) in the last year of WWI.
  • The William Marshall Bullitt Collection at UofL contains more than 300 volumes by great minds including: Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, René Descartes, Galileo, and Copernicus. The collection is priceless.
  • No one knows who named Oxmoor. However, according to "The Encyclopedia of Louisville," the property was known by that name as early as 1785. It is commonly believed that the name Oxmoor came from the book "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman."

  • William Marshall Bullitt is buried in the Bullitt Family cemetery at Oxmoor. The cemetery is more than 225 years old.
  • Each year the University of Louisville offers the Nora Iasigi Bullitt Memorial Scholarship in Sculpture.
  • William's son, Thomas, was also a Louisville attorney. Thomas married Britain's Kay Stammers, a former Wimbledon tennis champion. Thomas willed Oxmoor to the Filson, per his father's wishes.
  • According to the Courier-Journal, the Filson Society was co-founded by a Bullitt family member in 1884.

Part of Oxmoor still functions as a farm today. Learn about the Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm, in our Season Two story.

Program 414
"Louisville Life" lights the birthday candles at ear X-tacy, paints the town with wildlife artist Ray Harm, learn about preserving Louisville's architectural treasures and more. (#414)