Scope and Content Note
Transcripts of selected oral history interviews conducted in 1976 with University of Massachusetts alumni, former faculty and administrators,
and their spouses. Most transcripts are typewritten drafts with handwritten
corrections or annotations presumably inserted by interview subjects.
Interviews available here for digital access were selected because they
relate in some way to issues of female education at the University, particularly
early coeducation at Massachusetts Agricultural College.
||Barnard, Ellsworth (MAC
1928) and Mary Taylor Barnard (MSC 1934)
||Ellsworth Barnard taught English at Massachusetts State College from
1930-33. After subsequent teaching positions at a number of U.S.
colleges and universities, he returned to the University of Massachusetts
to teach from 1968-73.
Barnard and his wife describe undergraduate life in the 1920s and 1930s,
with particular reference to Ray "Doc" Torrey (a professor of Botany) and
Professors Prince and F. P. Rand (both in the English department).
Ellsworth Barnard describes his work as University Ombudsman, ca. 1969-70.
Mary Barnard discusses the issue of course requirements and Prof. Torrey's
reputation as a woman-hater.
||Members of the Class of
||Joint interview with four members of the class:
Interviewees discuss Professors MacKimmie, Ashley and Fernald; the chapel
requirement; college dining; Physical Education and Home Economics programs;
the library in Stone Chapel; relations between male and female students
and between graduating classes at MAC; war work; rivalry with students
from Amherst College; and reflections on being an alumnus/alumna of MAC
in the light of the many changes it underwent since they left. Also,
Anna Liebman Shore talks about her experience as an Orthodox Jew at MAC.
Anna Liebman Shore: Chemistry major who worked as a chemist for
Arthur D. Little in Boston and quit when she got married.
Mary Garvey: Chemistry major who specialized in Microbiology; taught
on the faculty of MAC from 1919 to 1962.
Willard French: Pomology major who taught first at MAC, then in
the Worcester (Mass.) city schools district, serving as principal at Clark
High School from 1953 until his retirement in 1966.
E. Sidney Stockwell: Agricultural Economics major who was
an itinerant worker in the western U.S. for several years and eventually
ran his own business as a custom house broker.
||Conant, Eudora Van Meter
||Eudora Van Meter Conant received training as a nutritionist and was
the wife of Ralph Van Meter, a Professor of Pomology and President of the
University from 1947 to 1954. She mainly discusses her duties as
the wife of the President (social activities, entertaining guests, furnishing
the President's House, and working for the Advisory Council of Women).
She describes her husband's goals as President during the post-World War
II period, the tremendous growth that the University underwent at that
time, and particularly the increased enrollment of female students and
the expansion of facilities and academic programs that they required.
She reads from letters she received from the first two female graduates
of MAC, members of the Class of 1905 (Monica Lillian Sandborn Taft and
Esther Coles Cushman). Faculty members mentioned include Ray Torrey
(Botany), Frank Waugh (Horticultural Division) and Fred Sears (Pomology).
||Helen Curtis served as Dean of Women at the University from 1945 to
1973. In this interview, Curtis outlines the broad changes in women’s
enrollment and campus life which occurred during these years, and she explains
her involvement in University decision-making. She describes the
early influence of President Butterfield and the Advisory Council of Women;
the design of women’s dormitories, dorm organization, life, and regulations;
women's academic interests and performance; campus leadership of the WSGA
and women’s honor societies; efforts to increase financial aid for
women; the admission of returning women students; the University's first
efforts to address women's health issues such as sex education, unwanted
pregnancies, and mental health; approaches to issues of campus safety including
rape and the use of alcohol and drugs.
||Helen Mitchell became Dean of the School of Home Economics at the University
in 1946, after teaching at several colleges and working as a Nutritionist
for the U.S. Government during World War II. She describes the development
of the School of Home Economics, the building of Skinner Hall, and the
use of the Homestead. Mitchell explains the research on nutrition
and children's growth in Japan which she performed while an exchange scholar
at Hokkaido University. She also addresses the evolution of Home
Economics as a discipline, its approach to educating women, and its status
at the University. Helen Mitchell retired in 1960. A bibliography
of her published work is included.
||Wheeler, Mae F. Holden
||Mae F. Holden Wheeler was a member of the Class of 1916 and later worked
in the Department of Botany at MAC. She recalls her coursework, specific
teachers (Professors Osmun, Gordon, and Hasbrouck), and her immersion in
her studies at MAC. She also describes campus living arrangements
(including her year in the home of President Butterfield), the physical
education requirement, Stockbridge Hall, and the shared library and chapel
building. Emphasis is placed on the "family" of women students and
faculty wives in the years before women's enrollment increased.