Title: Pedro Vila Fernandez
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Title: Pedro Vila Fernandez
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Sub: Pedro Fernandez

Int: Tom King

K: Dr. Fernandez when and where you born?

F: Well, I born in 1896 in Oviedo, Spain.

K: And you came to this country when?

F: I came to this country in 19...1 think it was in 1914.

K: Why did you decide to leave Spain and come to the United


F: First of all, I went to Cuba where my family had a business.

I thought that I would be with them, but I didn't like

Havana at the time. Then I came to this country. I believe

it was two years later, though I don't remember exactly.

The past is always very...I forget the past very easily,

dates and so forth. I never pay any attention to them. But

I think I was in Havana two years, and then I came here.

K: So you would have been approximately twenty years of age

when you came to the United States.

F: That's right.

K: How much education had you received in Spain before you came

to the United States?

F: Well, I had received a public and a high school, or what

they call there the institute. It's equivalent to, supposed

to be equivalent to, four years high school and two years

college. But there are some subjects that were required in

this country that we didn't cover. For instances the

schools in Spain didn't have the laboratories that you have

here in chemistry and biology. So my credentials were not

recognized in certain aspects. Those courses I had to take

over again, chemistry and biology, I think that was all I

took. I had done very good work in math, and, as far as I

remember, those are the only two courses that I was required


K: Well, at that time in life, what did you intend to become

later on?

F: Well, the reason for my coming here was to study medicine.

Because I intended to study medicine in this country, then

after I finish, I will go to Paris and get a postdoctoral in

Paris, and then go to Madrid. Then with the Spanish and

French and English, in Madrid I could do very well. But

things turned out different.

K: Were there any medical people in your family background?

F: There was an uncle, he was a doctor, and I also have now a

cousin who is a doctor in Oviedo.

K: Of course, medical schools take some money. Perhaps you could

tell me what sort of business your family was in, and

whether or not they were well to do.

F: My father was not well to do. My uncles were. One of them

had perhaps the largest cigar factory in Cuba.

K: Oh.

F: He must have been....

K: What is the name of the cigar?

F: Romeo and Julieta, yes. They had approximately 2,000

employees working in the factory. He had paid one of my

brothers studies here; he studied business in this country.

I counted on him and his helping me on my work, I mean pay

for, take care of expenses while I was here.

K: What was your uncle's name?

F: His name was a Pepin Rodrigues. He was very well known in

Havana; as a matter of fact, he was one of the founders of

the country club only Castro had changed the club. His

painting was there, I mean his portrait was there in the

country club, as one of the most important founders of the

country club in Havana. He knew French and English and

traveled a great deal. He was very, very wealthy.

K: Did he have any influence in the United States?

F: Well, I guess his influence was related to his business in a

way, because those cigars were sold illegally in the United

States. He used to stop at the Waldrof Astoria when he came

always. He was very generous, or with a entertaining. I

guess that was the way in which he sold his merchandise. He

lived most of the time in Paris; outside the city of Paris,

he had a chalet there.

K: Was he able to ease your passage into this country in any way?

F: I didn't ask him.

K: You didn't ask him.

F: No. I came first class. I came in the Saratoga of the Ward

Line. I came first class. Then when the first time I left

the country, I left in tourist.

K: Where did you come into the country?

F: In New York.

K: Was there any difficulty in your....

F: No, in those days if you came second class or worse, then

they ask all sorts of questions. But if you came first

class, they didn't bother you at all. I came in, you see, I

was well dressed, and I traveled in first class. They just

looked at my name, and that was that. No question about it.

K: Was there anyone here to meet you?

F: Well, I had a cousin that I had never seen. He was very

kind, and not much help in the way of....He had been away

from Spain for many years, and he was considerably older

than I was, because I come from a family of fourteen. I was

number twelve. In terms of age, he could have been my

father; he was rather an old man already when I met him. He

was kind to me; he helped me wherever he could, not to a

very great extent.

K: Did he live in New York?

F: Yes, he lived in New York.

K: And did you live with him after you came into this country?

F: I never lived with him, no. I had some money in my pocket,

I mean I brought some money along. That's the only question

they asked me, by the way.

K: Did you have any money?

F: "How much money are you bringing into the country." I told

them I'm coming first class, and with the money I have,

there was no question at all about it. So I prefer not to

live with my cousin; I preferred to live alone. So I lived

alone until things began to go bad; until, my money began to


K: Did you speak English well?

F: No. I don't speak English well today either.

K: Does that present any problems for you?

F: Any problems? Many problems, many problems. The attitude

towards foreigners was quite different from today. We have

become used to foreigners. When I tried to find work, there

were two things against me: one, that I didn't know the

language well, and two that I was a foreigner. Now if you

are a foreigner and you belong to your part of a colony, a

large colony, like the Italians have a large colony in New

York, then the colony has sort of a protective attitude

towards somebody who comes from the same country--you know

the foreign colony. They have organizations, too. But the

Spaniards in New York were very, very few. Very few

Spaniards. As a matter of fact, even in those days there

very few Latin Americans in New York. So I was really on my

own, and for awhile I had a hard time, but I survived.

K: When did you start in medical school?

F: I didn't start medical school. I went to New York

University, and I study the premedical work. I think it was

in 19, I can't remember the time because I never know. But

it was after some years after I was in New York. I went to

Washington Square, took premedical work. Then a man who was

in charge of the premedical work, seemed to be waiting for

me, for the end of the year to come, to see how I would do.

His name was Millard. At the end of the year, I came out

with a grades that were As and Bs, and, mind you, it was

very difficult for me because sometimes I didn't understand

the lecturer, the professors. I understood them in science,

because in science the vocabulary is not to different. But

in other subjects, in political science for instance, and

all the courses.....His idea apparently was that I was going

to fail, and he wouldn't have any problems. Well, when I

finished with this course, and he realized that I finished

with an average of about B+, or something like that, he

called me to his office. He said that he could not accept

me for the recommendation. I have kept this, and I really

feel that this, really I don't like to speak about it. Dean

Graham called me to his office and told me that he was

terribly sorry, but that the only thing he could do as dean

of Arts and Sciences is transfer me to arts and sciences.

Of course, I felt that they were lost years. But there was

no nothing I could do under those conditions, you see. When

a person is in a foreign country and alone, as I felt that I

was, you seem to be, I felt that I was being hit by all

sides, all the time. So I was extremely grateful to Dean

Graham and I told him that under the conditions there was no

alternative for me. Because New York University did not

recommend me for the medical school, on the basis of

personality and I don't know what else Professor Munhard had

in mind. I could hardly go to another university to help

me. So then I changed to arts and sciences. After having

finished two years of premedical. That's how I ....

K: How were you getting money for tuition?

F: Well, I did get from a, I had besides my uncle, I had two

brothers who were very well off. One was very much favored

by my uncle. And I used to work in the summer; sometimes I

tutored. For instance I tutor a Ben Phippe, who lives here

in Florida now. They were multimillionaires. I tutor him

too; so he would be able to enter Yale University. I never

knew and I don't believe yet that a multimillionaire was

ever turned down by Yale. And a when I told Mrs. Fipps

that, do you do you think he'll he'll be able enter Yale, I

said any multimillionaire has the doors open to come into

Yale, whether he knows anything or not. Anyway I put him

through, I stayed with him and I went to Palm Beach with

him during the summer and I tutor some other people. Later

on in my life I tutor Guggenheim, Harry F. Guggenheim, when

he was named ambassador to Cuba. I made some money that

way; I mean I earned some money that way. Then all the

jobs, I worked for the steamship company; a company that was

called the Caribbean Steamship Company. In no time at all,

I went there for my vacation, and in no time at all I was

the man who was in charge of the forwarding department, that

is dispatching the ships, take care of the bill of lading's,

and invoices, consular invoices, and writing shipping

documents, and I was left in this position. When September

came for me to go back to school, I combined, which was very

difficult in those days. The head of the shipping company,

Mr. Plassitus, was so satisfied with my work that he said

you can do this and continue studying. I didn't think I

could, but he gave me a very confident typist, very good

typist. He was an Indian, a Mexican Indian. He could turn

out an awful lot of work if he was told what to do. So I

managed to do that, and I studied for, continued studying

for two and half years and working in the steamship company.

And I could work at night, any hours I wanted. That was a

godsend; it was really very, very wonderful. I was very

happy during those two and a half years.

K: What did you get your degree in, your bachelor's degree?

K: What subject?

F: What subject? This is strange because everything I did

always turned out different. I majored in psychology, I

don't know why I majored in psychology. I laugh when I

think of it. But I was interested in literature, and I took

all the courses in literature, the Spanish literature, some

in French. I already knew, because I used to read a great

deal our literature, I mean the spanish literature. But I

also read Russian and German and English literature and

always was very much interested in literature. But I felt

that in literature there was a great deal of psychology, and

other things. It was like a laboratory, a social and human

laboratory, the psychology was there. Domestic conditions

and emotions and so forth, you know, and in all kinds of

literature. The russian novelists like Turgenev or

Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy or you take novels like Madame

Bovary, they are real psychological stories. I feel that

this literature was a tremendous help for me in the field of

psychology. That contributed so much that others didn't

have, who were taking the same courses. But I meant to go

in psychology. In those days if you were a Russian, they

expected you to know about psychology, see. But if you were

a Spaniard, they didn't expect you to. Really there are

some things that are almost amusing when I look back now.

However, I did not listen, people call it to my attention.

A professors of psychology and that they thought that I had

followed a wrong line, and I thought perhaps I was. Before

this was tested, as far as my experience is concerned, a

woman died in the department, a teacher of spanish

literature. I had finished my B.A. and I was starting my


K: Was your B.A. in psychology, that was the degree?

F: Yes. I had finished my B.A., with major in psychology. I

could have said that I had majored also in...

K: Literature.

F: Literature, because I had enough credits in literature to

call it a major, but I call it a minor. Because they say no

you your supposed to have a... You know, sometimes there

was certain rules in the universities, that as I look back

they were very unusual and they were very square. You know,

you had a major and two minors, that's all, you see. But

they didn't recognize two majors, see. Well this woman die,

and the head of the department, who knew me very well, his

name was Barlow, told me to, can you take her classes?

Well, I was not afraid of taking any, I wasn't afraid to

take any class in literature, because I always felt that in

these classes I knew a great deal more than the professors,

and I knew I knew more than the professors. I had read not

only in the spanish, but in the french, and in russian, and

in german, and english, I had read the whole all the

important novels in England, including the Forsythe Saga

from beginning to end, by Gals Worthy, and so when I asked

me, he asked me to take courses, see he didn't ask me to

take elementary courses, they were advanced courses, you

know. Her name was Theresa Flores. Well I took this

course, and continued studying. And this if funny, I

developed an ulcer, and I used to teach attend classes and

then go to the infirmary and lie down in the infirmary. By

the end of the year Professor Barlow asked me can you come

back in September? I said what conditions. He said, well a

member of the department. So that was the a circumstances

leading me away from anything that I had ever intended.

Because literature to me was a cultural thing, but never did

I intend to go into that field at all. So this is how I a

became a instructor first in spanish. And to give an idea,

and to stop in this for a second, to give you an idea of how

circumstances sometimes lead you into directions that you,

directions that you didn't intend to, that you didn't intend

to go. I used to take courses in the New School of Social

Research in New York, in economics and in political science.

And then I was terribly surprised when the head of the

Department of economics asked me to take a course in

economics, teach a course in economics. And I, I ended up

by teaching two courses in economics and two courses in

literature, peculiar combination when you think of it. When

I came to Florida I was teaching economics and literature.

K: You got your master's degree in what in French?

F: No. I got my master's degree in a spanish, and a the a my

economics, I mean my work in economics came after my

master's. See? When I felt that I wanted to take a little

time off and do the things that I wanted to do, and I

continued teaching with my master's, which wasn't difficult

in those days. I attended the schools in the New School of

social research in New York.

K: Did you get you master's degree from New York University?

F: Yes.

K: And what about your PhD?

F: I never had a PhD.

K: You never got one.

F: No. I started writing, and writing, and you see I published

seven books. So I didn't want to take off time to go for

the PhD because I was getting credit for my writings.

K: When did you publish your first book?

F: You have, ask me a question there that would be difficult to

answer. Must have been 1938 or 1940, I don't know. A...

K: When did you begin teaching?

F: You see, when you ask me questions like that, it is very

difficult for me to answer them.

K: I'm sorry.

F: I must have begin teaching about 1928, 1927 or 1928--I don't

know, about that time. But I'm not certain, I want to be

very truthful in all these things. I never remember when

people ask me when did you arrive in this country, when did

you do this...

K: Yeah

F: Because, to me it's unimportant, except that those questions

are always asked, see. Evarra, here, Professor Evarra, who

took my place in the University of Florida, he remembers

every little thing, you know. And to me those dates aren't

important. See? I came to this country I did this, I did

that and all that. But, when it comes to the chronological

part, I never, I never know when I got married for instance,

see--my wife gets very angry. But I, it's not important, I

got married, it's important.

K: Um hum.

F: The day that I got married, it may important in that you

want to celebrate it when the time comes--she wants to

celebrate it. But it's not important to me, it never had

been important to me. If a, I have a wonderful memory, I

can go to classes and in two days I remember the names of

all the students in the class. And, but, when you ask of

things in the past--for instance, when I they ask me to go

and work for the Office of War Information to broadcast in

New York during the war. If you ask me, I don't know when I

went into the Office of War Information. Then they sent me

to Algiers, I don't know when they sent me to Algiers. I

know that I broadcast in the office of war information for a

long time, teaching at the same time in the university. I

know that then they asked me to go to London first, then

they asked me to go to Algiers, to broadcast in Algiers. I

don't know when.

K: Could you tell me when you became a citizen of the United


F: Yes, I think I can. I think I became a citizen of the

United States in 1926.

K: Why had you decided to give up spanish citizenship, and become

a citizen of the United States? A, earlier you had

mentioned that you had hoped to return to Europe and

practice medicine.

F: Remember what I intended to do.

K: To practice medicine.

F: Yes. It's easy to make a living, a good living, in Spain if

you are a doctor in Madrid, and can speak two languages.

K: Um hum.

F: Or three languages in this case. But a teaching literature,

there are many many competent and wonderful persons in Spain

who can teach literature. I wouldn't come to this country

to study literature in order to teach in Spain, because all

I could do is to learn to play the guitar and collect

pennies. No, it's not easy.

K: Yeah.

F: And they are usually a class, you know, that they protect

each other, and I wasn't part of it, I came from a from a

family that was not related to them, and they were not in

that sphere at all. See? So now after that I realized that

the only thing here I had a position, and the only thing for

me to do was become an American citizen. It was even

important for the position at the university, and I was

advised to become a citizen.

K: Yeah. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, did you have any

reaction to that?

F: Oh, I was very active in it, in connection with the Spanish

Civil War. I spoke all over the Northern part of the United

States, collecting for milk and medical supplies for Spain.

I never took charge of the collections, a group whoever

organized the meeting Springfield, Massachusetts, or in

Minneapolis, or someplace, they took care of this matter--

but I was one of the speakers, for the speakers, I called

into the meeting.

K: For which side now?

F: Oh, I could only speak for one side.

K: But which one?

F: Franco, I I I mean I mean Franco, the government, my God the

government, God forgive me. No.

K: I don't know this, you know.

F: You don't know? Well Franco was a fascist, and...

K: Oh, I know all about Franco, but I don't know for which side

you [inaudible] ....

F: Oh, no.

K: So I had to ask you questions like that.

F: No, No, I was a 100% for the republic, because, you know...

K: I see.

F: Later on, not later on, I had already translated the

constitution of the republic into english, which was

published in the New York Sun, and then in Current History

magazine June 1932, and that was a that was a constitution,

it was about 10,000 or 11,000 words, and rather difficult

because I had not studied law. I always undertook to do

something that I knew, sometimes or circumstances forced me

into that, I was asked to translate it. No I was very

closely identified with the people of the republic. And a,

I worked during the whole time of the Spanish Civil War in

as much as I could to help a that side. Franco, I would

rather die than work for Franco.

K: Did you work for the republicans in a formal capacity, or was

this entirely voluntary something that you did on your own?

F: No, it was voluntary. The organizations here administered

it and then after that, when I translated the constitution,

the Spanish government offered me a certain amount of money

for me to continue, I mean for me to continue, excuse me, to

continue with the translation. And translate the

supplementary laws of the constitution. And Harvard

University was interested in this project too. But then the

civil war came a ended, unfortunately on the side of Franco.

And the whole thing came to a stop. But the constitution

published is my translation.

K: Did you ever consider returning to Spain, during the Spanish

Civil War?

F: During the Spanish Civil War?

K: Yes.

F: To go there and fight?

K: Yes.

F: Well, one always has an impulse, but when I went my I was

married, and a had a position in the university and, besides

I remember that a my age already...

K: Oh.

F: I was not a young boy. And some of my students went to

Spain, and I hope I wasn't instrumental in influencing them.

It was a it was a very terrible thing for me, because I

wanted so much for the republic to survive. And the

intellectual in Spain too, they had taken all them, I don't

know intellectuals are necessarily good in government, but I

felt they would be. I was very very disappointed when

everything turned against Spain, including all the

countries, democratic countries, France, every democratic

country, the United States wouldn't sell anything. But they

had all the help they wanted from Germany, and from Italy,

the other side, see. Well I, you see a, a the civil war,

when the civil war came, I, that was in 1936, and I was over

40 by that time. A so I, one feels, you know, I had a very

good friend a painter who went to Spain, and he was killed

in Spain, well he was 52. At 52 he was a very well known

artist and I know all the people who went there at quite an

advance age, considering military service, but I a.... then

another thing, you see, I had adopted a little girl, and

she's now married. I had responsibilities.

K: You said earlier that you had worked for the office of war

information, in the United States, after World War II broke

out. Who contacted you about that? Did you volunteer your

services, or did the government send somebody?

F: No, no, no they contacted me. You see I was doing, I had

been doing public speaking. You see, one war followed the


K: I know.

F: And I had been doing public speaking all over the North,

Northern part of the United States, so the, mostly in the

Northeast, I guess that's how they found out about me.

K: You had been doing public speaking in the cause of republican

Spain, or something else?

F: Republican Spain, that was before the ...

K: Yeah, it was...

F: Before the World War.

K: But that ended in 1939.

F: That's right.

K: So for two years, between 1939 and 1941, what, did you

continue to teach...graduate work?

F: I continued to teach, yes.

K: At where, New York University?

F: New York University, yes.

K: And then in 1941 you were contacted by the War Office, or whom

ever it was?

F: I I it was a surprise to me, I received this letter and I

took it to the dean, and the dean said well go ahead, and

see what they want, see. So they wanted me to broadcast.

I used to broadcast, a a do six broadcasts every night.


K: From, from where?

F: From New York. The office was in Broadway and I think it

was a a Broadway and 49 or 47 around there, up there. And

um, well I broadcasted in the night, I used to come back

about one or two o'clock in the morning, and teach classes

the next day. I got special permission from the university.

And it was then that I was asked to go to, first to London

to continue my broadcasts from there, because here

broadcasting to Latin America.

K: Um hum.

F: And then they changed there mind and asked me to go to

Algiers. And a I accepted although I was losing one salary,

I had two salaries.

K: Yes.

F: I was teaching in the university, with the permission of the

university broadcasting in the office of war information.

This is as long...

K: What sort of frame were you broadcasting?

F: Well war news, war news, of course war news that's just

propaganda. You see, all the news during the war, are a

combination of news and propaganda, either by omission,

because omission can be propaganda--see, if you are defeated

some place and you don't you don't say anything about it, in

all the news you are victorious in such and you claim the

victory be more important than defeat.

K: Um hum.

F: There is a great deal of propaganda in it, I had to write

the scripts. I had directives, you know, the moment you get

out of line, they call it to your attention. For instance

once when I was sent to North Africa, and then from North

Africa I was sent to later on to Morocco. And in Morocco,

while I was in Morocco they had a strike in Spain, Franco

was against this you know. And I protest this, to me it was

very important, showing that things in Spain were not, they

moving in our side. My, in 48 hours I got very strict

instructions form Washington not to touch on anything

relating to Spain without their consent. Because that time

I was in charge of the registration, see. In Rabat, and I

got page that long instructing me all the things that I

could not do in connection with the Spain. And this is

interesting if you are interested in that. Algiers used to

broadcast to New York ...

K: Oh, I didn't know that.

F: For the press, you see, they have the United Press, and

Associated Press, and so on, broadcasting for publication,

for publication in New York. Then I found one day through

the monitors, my monitors I had in the station, I could hear

the broadcasting that apparently hit the mountains of Spain,

and then bounced back to Rabat[Morocco]. So I was getting

the news ahead of New York, or just as fast, and I began to

broadcast news that New York hadn't broadcast because or

published in the newspapers

K: Uh hun.

F: Because I had, you see, I didn't have a big organization.

So I got this and immediately I would write the scripts,

immediately I got from Washington instructions that I should

not broadcast and not only that I must tell them how how I

got this information, see. When I told them I don't how I

get it, my monitor just get it, and they said no, not they

gave me a limit of time, I think it was two days or

something like that, I could not touch on this news that I

was getting from some mysterious mountain somewhere. Well,

of course this has nothing to do with the University of


K: You went into Morocco long after it had been occupied, is that


F: Oh, yes. I went to Morocco after it was occupied. By the

time, well of course first I went to North Africa, I went to


K: Um hum.

F: I was in Algiers for some short time I realized that they

were not making use of me in Algiers.

K: Were you broadcasting in Spanish from Algiers?

F: No, in Algiers I came there, and a I had a very amusing

experience for me, they told me to take it easy, put me in

the hotel, and when a I went to see, finally I got tired of

not doing anything, I went to see Colonel Hasseltine who was

in charge of that body...

K: Colonel who?

F: Hasseltine.

K: Hasseltine. Okay [inaudible].

F: He was in charge to, of the psychological warfare, that was

the group that I was in, psychological warfare. And I told

him that I had been sent to there supposedly that I was

needed there, that I had left two positions in New York. He

said, who needed you here? Well they told me that

Eisenhower. He said Eisenhower needed you? I said well

that's what they told me, but I don't think they needed me,

but I don't why they need you either. Well I demanded that

to be sent back, and instead of that they sent me, they

asked me to go to Rabat in Morocco--to take charge of the

radio station in Morocco. That's how I came to Morocco.

K: Well what's the purpose of the radio station in Morocco?

F: Well, to broadcast to Spain, and to Latin America from

there. It's it's in the Atlantic coast.

K: I see, okay.

F: You see, a Spain is a short distance.

K: Sure.

F: And we beamed this broadcast to Latin America and to Spain.

K: But you were never to mention Spain in your broadcasts?

F: Yes, I could mention, no in theory a I mean a, things

happening in Spain I was not supposed to mention them unless

I was given instructions to do it. There is a a, you speak

propaganda, there are many very subtle aspects of

propaganda. One is the complete omission, of things that

you know that are news. Even in the case of Spain when the

omission was required because they felt that they wanted to

still hope that Franco would be more friendly to our cause.

Another reason is not to give the enemy any comfort, so I

omit as much as possible defeats, anything that was bad, and

I minimize as much as possible anything that favored the

enemy. But not to tell them truths, just to white wash them

a bit, just to change them a bit, you know, omit and

minimize and maximize according to the subject of the

broadcast--the news.

K: Did you remain in Rabat until the end of the war?

F: No. It was practically the end of the war. I developed my

ulcer--I told you that I had an ulcer.

K: Yes.

F: Came back, and I was very sick with the ulcer. And they

tell that I that I had to be operated on, go back to the

states. And in case that I wanted an operation, they said,

that it would be better if I would be operated in Washington

or New York. So they sent me back to Oran[Algeria] in North

Africa, and then I came back in a convoy. That was shortly

before the end of the war. They had already in landed in

Italy, and they were close to the end of the war. But I can

not tell you again exactly when it was.

K: Okay, let me turn this off.

F: Except that I think that I came back in 19, I I am no use,

because I I don't know exactly. I think it was sometime in

the year 1944, but I'm not certain. I should have kept


End of Tape A side 1

K: Could you tell me when you met Antoine de Saint-Exupery?

F: Well, I met him on board of a ship in the convoy that went

to Algiers. The Saint-Exupery were all in army uniforms

and Saint-Exupery appeared on board in the uniform of the

French Airforce, dark blue uniform. Strange enough he

walked almost to the length of the ship straight to me, and

spoke to me. And he said he knew me. I looked at him, I

didn't know who he was. I said, well I would be delight to

know you, but I am sure you never met me. He said, no I

never met you, but I know you. He did very remarkable

things, and the way of guessing anything that people did to

me, a it's a very it's a very strange thing to me, because I

don't believe in anything supernatural, I don't believe.

Yet Saint-Exupery used to think that was very strange when

he came to me.... And a during the trip we played chess,

and we spoke, you know, about literature. And he had a

mountains of candy, chocolate candy and cigarettes, Turkish

cigarettes. In those days I smoked, I still like candy, and

I ate a lot of chocolates and smoked cigarettes. And I have

a book that you might be interested in seeing, it's called

La Terre Des Hommes, The Land of Men, which he writes, he

writes a big autograph. And he you know he draws, the book

the LePetit Pierre, The little Peter, was illustrated by

him. And in this in this a autograph he writes of our

experiences of the trip, and a shows a summary and so forth.

But he says at the end, in remembrance of all the games of

chess that I won, and all the cigarettes and candy that I

took from you. It was the very opposite; I had no

cigarettes and candy, and he never won a game. But he, he

was very very always upset that he would lose a game of

chess. And then then well he had just published or he was

in the, had just published, yes, LePetit Pierre which was

Little Pierre, it was called in english, in english. And he

wrote an autograph for my daughter, who was a little girl,

as written by the Little Prince to her, because she was a

little girl of 8 or 9, and had this page joined to the book

by the publishers, and sent it to my little girl. Then in

Algiers nobody trusted him, nobody trusted him. They

thought that he was on the side of Vichy, Vichy wasn't it


K: V-I-C-H-Y.

F: Vichy, yes. Where the government was.

K: Why would they think that?

F: Well, there may have been some truth in it, I don't know. I

hadn't been in this line of business...

K: Umhum.

F: They didn't trust him, and for a long for some time for a

short we used to see each other, and he used to come to my

office, in psychological warfare. When I contacted the

office of Eisenhower no, the answer was no. Saint-Exupery

was not to be employed. So we saw each other until I went

to Rabat.

K: What was he doing there, if he was not to be employed? What

was his function?

F: Nothing, nobody wanted him.

K: Was anybody paying him?

F: I don't know how he lived, I don't know how he lived. He

seemed a alright. he used to eat with me, if you call that

eating, because the mess we used to eat, all we ate was

spam morning, afternoon, and night in different forms, and I

ended up by eating nothing but bread and peanut butter and

coffee--that's probably why my ulcer came back.

K: I guess so.

F: But Saint Exupery who didn't eat spam so often, he didn't

seem to find anything wrong with it, and once in awhile he

would go to a restaurant where he would find, and they's

prepare something different, and it tasted good to me, I

think it was cat or rabbit or I never asked--one waiter told

me don't ask any questions about the food. And a I was very

sorry not to see Saint-Exupery. When I came to Oran when I

was ill, I saw him again. He came to see me to the

hospital, I was in the hospital. And he told me that he was

going to disappear and that they were going to report that

he was dead. But I should never believe it. He was going

to go to some islands in the Pacific to keep away from our

civilization--that he didn't like it.

K: How did he intend to do this, to get to the Pacific?

F: Well, he didn't tell me. But then when I came to New York I

told my wife, told my wife, she said, how about Saint-

Exupery. I told her what he had told me. And about two

weeks later on a Sunday morning, my wife came rushing back

to me with the New York Times and said, look, Saint-Exupery

has been lost and they found a little bit and this little

thing that was supposed to be on his plane, the plane that

he was flying. Well I always hoped that what he told me was

true, and that the report was not true. But he told me, if

you were to meet Mrs. Fernandez, as I told her, that this

was going to be reported, and that I should never believe

it, because he would be hiding from this world.

K: Did he tell you why he wanted to hide from this world, why he

wanted to leave?

F: Well, he was disgusted with the civilization here like

Little Pierre. Well Little Pierre is indicative of his

escapist personality, of Saint-Exupery. Very charming

little book, very charming. In my conversations with him on

board and later on in Orana he manifested his disgust with

present day conditions, in terms of that time. His wife was

a woman who was very much interested in spiritualism, and

she was at the same time a club woman. He told me I never

met this woman. He seemed to be a loner from that point of

view. I can't describe him. He was very spiritual. He was

very gentle very sweet in personality. And he looked like a

dreamer, very much of a dreamer, in his eyes large eyes.

And a very soft voice, voice. Perhaps his personality can

best be illustrated by the fact that he hardly spoke to

anyone on board the ship. He spoke to another man whose

name was Southworth, who had also been in the Office of War

Information and who was quite an intellectual and used to

call him Fritz. And a beyond that I don't think that he

spoke more than a dozen words or so with some of the men he

spoke to.

K: Now he died shortly after rather he disappeared shortly after

you had returned to the United States then?

F: Yes, yes. And I still fell today I still hope that he will

be found. Because why did he choose to tell me of this, or

this intent to commit suicide and that was the way so I

would know, so I would think that he would be alive when he

wasn't. I don't know.

F: But I lived for many years hoping that Saint-Exupery would

be found in the South Pacific someplace where he said that

one could live very happily in a very pure atmosphere,

speaking one must speak in the social sense the economic

sense and so forth political. Perhaps, I don't know.

K: Well after the war ended did you return to teaching?

F: Yes, I returned to teaching.

K: Again at NYU?

F: Yes. I taught again economics and Spanish literature. I

was so pleased because they seemed to be so happy to get me

back. And then I came back to I received a letter from the

University of Florida asking me inviting me to teach at the

University of Florida. I didn't that there was such a place

as the University of Florida. I asked a professor there do

you know what sort of a university is this, is it only all a

little bit of a university in the backwoods of the state, a

cow college? You see? And then when I spoke to the dean

the they invited me to teach here he said, well it might be

a growing university but it I were you I wouldn't go but

because you are alright here but you may visit it and see

what you fell about it. And a when I visited during

Christmas time, I was a New York was a cold you know dark

and rainy and cold, and my daughter had bronchitis and came

here and it was a nice sunny day golden day beautiful. The

University had 5,600 students so it was really a cow

college. But it was a cow college a is a is not related to

the numbers I found because I found universities colleges at

which I spoke that are very small colleges and they were not

cow colleges. But a cow college was a mentality. Some

people who where there in the administration and teaching

would not like to hear this. But really it was, when they

say they spoke to me and discussed this because I wasn't

particularly eager to come in some respects. But I liked

the place. And they told me they praised the university and

how everything was or everything was everybody was happy

here. I said, Well people are happy in the cemetery too.

The question of cow college I discussed it with one of them,

and then later on I found out that it was true--it was a

mentality. For instance if I may tell you what things

were... They require a language for everyone to graduate

you know in arts and sciences, to prepare for something else

a language was required, a foreign language. In this

university they have a rule that a student coming from

Germany or France or Latin American or Spain who knew

english and spanish that did not say that he had to study a

foreign language because he did know a foreign language.

And when I said to the university but he knows a foreign

language, oh no that's his language. But the foreign

language is english. I couldn't get them I couldn't

convince them. Imagine what mentality that is, see. Here

is a person we can teach a student four years or five years

in some of our instructors, and the student doesn't know the


K: Right.

F: My students did learn the language, believe me. Because I

spoke to them in spanish. Therefore after four years after

of working on a language they go to Latin america and they

have a hard time. But here was a student coming from France

or Spain or Germany and knowing both languages, and no that

was not recognized see. They're required that you study

another language see. And when you, I had gone through this

in trying to study courses in another language from my own

when I my own and I realized how difficult it is. And I

tried to convince the administration that they know they

already knew a foreign language and their reply was no that

isn't a foreign language that's their language. Now if that

gives you an idea of the kind of a mentality they had. For

instance a fight that I continued for years from my part and

the school of education. In the school of education they

had one of our students who had one year of spanish or

french or something like that, and give him pump him full of

methodology courses--the community and the child, the child

and the community and the classroom and all that. I went to

P. K. Yonge where the classes were being given and I went

from class to class and I couldn't tell one class the

difference between one class and the other. They all

sounded the same to me. But they had to take all these

courses to be a certified to teach courses in education.

They pay no attention at all how much spanish or how much

french or how much german the student knew. The important

thing to take the courses in education. Well I fought that

with all I could and I made myself very very very unhappy

made others very unhappy. I remember that in the first time

somebody told me that I was rocking the boat, I said, I hope

it sinks. Today it's a little different but still the

emphasis is still the methodology courses: but they are

they want them to study more the language. Because these

students would go to the high schools and know all about the

child and the community and the community and the teacher,

and the teacher and the child and so forth, whatever the

titles were that were like that. They sometimes took a

course which I believe in the history of education. But

most of the things didn't help them that much in teaching

the language. Knowing the language fluently knowing the

grammar of the language knowing the literature knowing the

history of the country of the language they were teaching

that was disregarded completely disregarded. And a that

again is part of my saying we were a cow college. Each...

K: Why then did you decide to come to the University of Florida?

F: Well, this is a you see I'm a story writer I have published

quite a lot of short stories, and there's a story on that.

I was living with Professor Hays, who's still here.

K: That's Francis Hayes, right?

F: Francis Hayes. He wanted very much for me to stay here, to

accept the position. And I didn't want to hurt his

feelings. On New Year's night or Christmas Night, again I

don't know, but it was either Christmas Eve or New Year's

Eve, I went down town to telephone my wife in New York to

tell her that I was coming back that I wasn't going to come

here. The telephone company was, if you know where the

Episcopal church is, right across from the Episcopal church-

-not in front of the church but on the side of the church.

There was an old building there where it's occupied now

completely by Wilson. But in the second floor of that

building was the telephone company--that's all the telephone

company that was here and locomotives on Main Street. And

down stairs they had two telephone booths. So I came there

to make a long distance call so Hayes would not hear me make

the telephone call. And the woman told me the operator told

me that I had to wait about fifteen or twenty minutes that

she would call me down stairs told me where.... I was waiting

there when there was the most beautiful music came from

somewhere. Then I noticed that the church was lit up and

there was music and singing. And then around the corner

appeared a group of people dressed in church clothes playing

one was playing a viola and the other was playing something

else and the other were singing. They marched along the

sidewalk and came in through the other door through the side

door of the church. They came into the front came out

through the front went around the church and went into the

side door exactly across from where I was standing. It was

a very beautiful music. And when I was watching them going

into the church the telephone rang I went to the telephone

the operator said the connection is made. I said how is

everything there? And my wife said oh terrible, the little

girl is pretty sick and I don't feel to well either

terrible weather in New York. And here I was in a place

where it was warm and sun shine, it was beautiful. I said I

was going to tell you that I was coming back that we would

not come here but I wonder. She said anywhere I will go.

She said I'll go anywhere. Well so I went back and I asked

the dean whether he'd give me permission to leave the

university. He said, no I'm not going to the permission but

if you want to leave you can do it he said. So I came here

in January of that year.

K: Could you make as much money here as you were making at


F: No, no my salary was not it was about the same or perhaps

even a 200 dollars less--I don't remember.

K: Can you remember what it was what you were making?

F: 4,400 dollars or 4,600 dollars. You know salaries were

quite different in those days. I think it was 4,600 or

4,800 or something like that.

K: And you were brought in as a member of what faculty?

F: Language and literature. Because in those days the head of

the departments of the department of english was also head

for all the foreign languages, although he didn't speak he

didn't know any foreign language himself. He was Archie

Schields, no no Archie Robertson, Robertson. Archie

Schields is the manager in Henry Hull, the publisher of my


K: Oh.

F: Archie Robertson. He was very good to me, and he was very

friendly to me always.

K: But you taught some economics courses as well, I believe?

F: Here?

K: Yeah.

F: No, not here.

K: You never taught economics here at all.

F: No, I never taught economics here.

K: Okay, I misunderstood you. I thought that you had.

F: No. I taught economics in New York University but not here.

K: And you arrived at the University of Florida in what year?

F: You know that I have to find I had to call the head of the

department to answer you today. I thought I arrived here in

1948 or 49, and he told me no I arrived in 1947.

Chronologically, you can't take my word for anything--I

mean in terms of time.

K: How many members were there of the language and literature


F: I don't know, because there was english and german and

spanish and and french and italian, there weren't many.

There are more in one department now than there were in the

whole department of romance languages at the time.

K: That's why I asked. Was anybody else teaching spanish?

F: Yes, Hayes and Wershow.

K: Oh, he's been here that long.

F: Yes, Wershow was here--he's dying now. It was very very

there were three of us teaching and there was an instructor

an assistant or something like that.

K: Did any of you have you PhD?

F: Yes, Hayes had it and Wershow had it. Yes, they all had it

in Spanish.

K: Yeah.

F: In French, I don't know; I don't think so. In french I

think there were two people teaching three two I don't know.

K: Shortly after you arrived at the University of Florida the

McCarthy Era began.

F: Hum.

K: I'm wondering if this caused you any problems, since you had

represented republican Spain in the United States?

F: Lots of problems.

K: Can you tell me some of them?

F: Yeah. When I arrived here oh there was a man who was in

charge of Latin American students.

K: Can you remember his name?

F: Martin, Martin-- I usually forget names too but after a

certain time--but Martin was the name. He was married to a

woman from Chile. She was a very very religious woman and

he had been a Presbyterian, and she convert him to


K: Oh.

F: And from that time on he felt that he to convert all

humanity. Well he came to see me one day I had a house in

Hibiscus, and he told me that he was very glad glad I was

here because they needed me for something besides teaching.

Well I didn't know that this man had anything to say on my.

I said, "What do you need me for?" And he told me that many

Latin American students didn't go to church, and he wanted

to be a spiritual leader of the Latin American students. I

said, spiritual leader. I have a lot of trouble with my own

spirituality. What do you expect me to do? He said, "Well,

these boys come from good families Catholic families, and

many of them don't go to church on Sunday." I said, "Well,

a I don't go to church either." He said, "You don't? You

are a Spaniard you are a catholic." "No," I said, "You say

I am a catholic, I was a Catholic. I'm not a catholic. No

I will not undertake such a thing, Martin." I'd had totally

enough in that field to take care of my own life, I'm not

going to be a spiritual leader of any any men or group of

men. Absolutely no, the answer is no. And he he was very

surprised and he asked me did I belong to any to any church?

And I said, "Well, no I don't, but my little girl goes to

the Episcopal church. She sings in the choir there." He

said, "Then you are a traitor." I said, "No more a traitor

than you are. Except that I came out from the dark into the

light, and you went from the light into darkness," I said.

Well, I guess I was a little rough with him. I resented

this man coming with that. So then a suddenly this

accusation came. I had published some books, a one book we

were using of the books. I was in Fort Myers during the

summer when I heard the news over the radio that I was

accused of being an unfit Christian, and therefore a

communist. I said, "That I didn't know that they were

related." Well, I felt that I should come to the university

immediately. And I came to the university and I saw Dr.

Miller. Dr. Miller said, "Any truth in this?" I said, "How

can there be any truth?"

K: This is the president, President Miller, J. Hillis Miller?

F: President Miller. He said, "Well, I want to know is this--

can I defend you?" I said, "Well, I don't need your

defense, they'll have a hell of a time proving that I am a

communist, because I'm not." He said, I said "Neither of

you are saying that I am an unfit christian and therefore a

communist." I didn't know, because others are unfit

christians and I don't think jewish people are very

christian either, but that is their concern. Well he said,

"No no I want to come to your defense." I said, "Please

don't don't don't take any chances. Leave it to me. I can

defend myself." So the dean of the law school had regular

meetings than they had here. Trussler, he had never seen

me, a stupid man, very stupid man.

K: Trussler?

F: Trussler was it Trussler--yes Trussler. And Martin and

Father Mahoney, Mahoney of the church joined forces. The

priest came to see me one day to my office and told me to

recant. Well you know for a Spaniard who had turned away

turned away from Catholicism to tell him that's war. I got

up from my chair, I said, "Get the hell out of this office."

And I push him out and slammed the door. Well the

accusation came then and of course I had a friend who was a

very very good friend of mine as different from me

ideologically as any two people can be--but very good

friends. He was the editor and owner of the Gainesville

Sun, Bill Pepper Bill Pepper. Bill Pepper was not only a

Republican, but he was a very he was a very extreme right

Republican, you know the puppet establishment. We never

discussed politics because I realized that there was no no

use in talking politics with him.

K: Um hum.

F: But Bill was a very good friend of mine. We used to play

golf together. And he practiced Spanish with me, he spoke

spanish well. Later on he wrote a dictionary of printing

and journalistic terms--a very good dictionary. He

consulted with me all the time during these years. But Bill

knew the way I felt. Bill knew that I was not a communist.

Bill used to write the most terrible editorials that I ever

read,they were really in line with Gainesville as it was

then. But a...

K: In line with who?

F: They were they they seemed to manifest the small town that

it was at the time. Terrible editorials, incredible. I

never told him. I didn't want to hurt his feelings. But

Hays and I had a name for this editorials because an

editorial in Spanish is articulo de fundo means depth

article in depth. The diminutive of fundo is fundillo, see?

So we began to call articulos de fundillo, but fundillo also

means droop. Well, Bill Pepper when this thing came up, he

blew up, he blew his stack, and he came to my defense. And

he wrote the only editorial not only that but a very good

editorial in my defense. He came to my defense. Of course

when they came and interview me--this is funny--they came

five men from Tallahassee a. What do you call the ones from

Tallahassee? Congressman or... They came to my house in

Hibiscus. And I had a very nice house, had nice paintings,

and very good furniture. I always had been rather fond of

that. And they came and looked around. They told me what

they came for. They look around my house a living room with

a high very high ceiling, cathedral ceiling. And a one of

them said, "This doesn't look like the house of a


K: What is the house of a communist supposed to look like?

F: I said to him, "If you go by that you are making an awful

mistake. Communists can have very good houses if you give

them the rent." I said, "Don't go by this, go by me. But

not by house. Because by my house I would be a capitalist

and I'm not either." Well after they spoke to me I said,

"You are going to get yourself in the worst trouble that you

can imagine. I'm not a communist I've never been a member

of any organization right or left. And this is strange.

And for your benefit I tell you that the book that they

mention one of the books that they mention is being used by

28 catholic colleges, and some of them have used it three

times. And this stupid man in the church Mahoney and Martin

who is almost out of his mind and the stupid dean of the law

school are going to find themselves in trouble because I'm

going to sue them. I'm going to sue anyone who tries to

blacken my reputation." Well this one man said to the

other, "this this man is no communist. We got to be careful

with this man." I went to Tallahassee and Trussler was

interview there and I was sitting next to him. And they ask

him, "Do you know Professor Fernandez, did you ever meet

him?" He said, "No." "Do you know who publish his books?"

He said, "No." "Do you know what the books are about? Do

you speak spanish?" "NO." "Do you know what the books

about?" "No." "And you say that this book contains

antichristian sentiments?" Well that was the end that and

during that time remember a lot of people were investigated

here in the university. They were investigating they found

after looking for communists they found--funny--they found

homosexuals. You know we have a saying in Spanish for that

they didn't have to come to a university for that or the

committee. Of course you have homosexuals here, you have it

all over the world, men and women. And some poor fellows

some were very good teachers very good professors some of

them were exceptional, the best. And I hate to mention one

because he's here in Gainesville. He occupies a high

administrative position not not the one who was vice

president because he also came into this, you know. But

another one who's a friend of mine. A wonderful professor a

wonderful friend, he was dismissed, you see. Offensive,

they called him. The head of the department of geography

dismissed. Well I didn't that homosexuality had reached

such high stratosphere. Anyway, but in this case though

looking for communists and then their victories accusing the

wrong one and then finding homosexuals. This is a you asked

that question this is an answer to you.

K: Yeah. I've also been curious as to whether or not they had

tried to implicate you by claiming that since you had

represented the Spanish Republic that therefore you must be

a communist?

F: Oh yeah of course. There was a not in Tallahassee but these

people here.

K: Yes.

F: Yes. Because I represented the Soviet Reds, see. You see

in the Spanish Republic one side we were calling the

loyalists those that were with or man were loyalists, loyal

to the government. And the other were the Francistas.

Naturally one of the things is to call people names and the

Francistas found it whether in Spain the fascists all over

they found that the proper thing to do is to call the other

side the loyalist the Reds. So as far as the ignorant

people they heard of Reds and and and the others too--well,

I forgot what they called them but they were the other

Franchistas. And but this is strange because I was a very

much in contact with the republic. I translated the

constitution and the supplementary laws, I was working on

the supplementary laws. And then they had out of 456

members of congress, 100 were left. There were eighty-six

socialists of the Franchase, three different chase. And six

no eighty-four eighty-four and sixteen communists. This was

the composition of the congress of the republic, see. Well

so but a in the propaganda and there was in a case like

that. In civil wars, civil wars are very terrible the same

as it was here. But the civil wars are very very cruel name

calling is just one of the things--they are Reds.

K: The following is an interview with Professor Pedro Fernandez.

It was recorded on the fourth of February 1977, in the Ford

Library of the Florida State Museum. Alright Professor

Fernandez, yesterday we had finally gotten into some of your

experiences here at the University of Florida, and you had

told me about the communist witch hunt you had to get

through before you could finally get down to doing some real

teaching. Um, today I'd like to ask you a few things about

the structure of the language department, and some of the

problems that you ran into, the methods with which you

solved them, etc. When you first came here I understand

that the foreign language department was a part of a greater

department, a it was not separate, it had no autonomy unto

itself. Could you expand on that?

F: Of course the university was very small and it would have

been impossible to have a department for every language, or

even almost I might say even a department of languages, at

least that that is what they contended. A so they had a

department which was called language and literature, and it

was under Archie Robertson. It included as a it's indicated

english and foreign languages. It was unfortunate in the

sense that it is important, I believe, for a man in charge

of the foreign language department to know something about

foreign languages. And whereas Archie was a very good to

me, very friendly, and very good, very considerate, I felt

that he didn't know the problems that would involve in the

department of foreign languages. And something was started

to make after a number of years, to gain autonomy or

independence from the department of english. Strange enough

I didn't partake in that, I didn't, I wanted the separation

very much, but a two or three members of the department had

personal reasons for wanting the department separated, they

hoped to be named head of the department, each one of them.

One one, let me correct myself, they wanted to be made, each

one wanted to be made head of the department. And um, the

a, we had meetings, discussed the matter, but I didn't take

it up with the administration at all, they did. I hate to

mention the names, but there was one in German, who is now

dead now whose name I can mention, and Oscar Jones, who had

been assistant dean, he wanted to be head of the department.

And there was a one in french, Ernie, I suppose he's dead

too. And a there was one in the Spanish, who is alive, and

I'd rather not mention his name. But there was this

competition, this rivalry to be head of the department. I

was not at all interested, because one of the reasons why I

left New York is because I didn't want to be head of the

department, which was offered to me, that was not my

interest it's not my interest. Um, so if I had wanted to be

head of the department I would had a stay in new York in

Washington Square.

K: Um hum.

F: So then it was a separated, finally separated, and the

separation created a department of foreign languages.

K: I'm sorry to have to ask you this, but can you remember when

that happened? What Year?

F: No. But that's easily if you call a a Wayne Conner...

K: Uh huh.

F: The head of romance languages, he will tell you when...

K: Okay.

F: This was separated. Well they thought the problems was

solved by separating from english, see. But then after they

had a department of foreign languages, new problems were

created. The french of course, and the germans didn't like

to be a in in a department of foreign languages, each wanted

to be a to have a department of foreign languages, each

wanted to be a to have a department, a german...

K: A german department, and a french department?

F: French, german etc. No?

K: Yeah.

F: And um,

K: Go on, tell it, I won't check this.

F: In that, I did take part. Because I felt that the spanish

being so related to all the studies in connection with Latin

America, it was very important to have a Department of

Spanish. And that that should be the important department,

since we were the more numerous.

K: Um hum.

F: And the most important, and that continues to be to the

present time. Someone saw that for instance, I directed

more M.A.s and PhDs than the whole department put together,

of all the languages, you know. But I can not tell you when

the department split again. But thank him, you can also

find it out, through Wayne Conner. That the department

separated, and that was Wade Conner was already here,

separated into a department of german and the slavic

languages, and romance languages, and later the classical

languages. Um, the department of german never succeeded in

creating a real graduate studies, because there were not

enough students for MA's and PhD's.

K: Um hum.

F: And even today they are not allowed to give PhD's. The

department of french lost it, lost that right too, by not

having enough students. But the department of spanish

continue giving, continues giving MA's and PhDs to the

present time. One of the reasons for the discontent in the

language was that a man was made head of the department who

we all felt was really a mental case. He suffered from a

many a persecution, bad case, many a persecution.

K: Would that be Dr. Brunet?

F: Dr. Brunet, yes. A when you take a man that every two steps

when he walks in the street, in the street, he looks back to

see if anybody is following him, that's a sufficient

indication, in my knowledge of psychology, to know that that

man is nuts. Well, but he became very difficult. He became

difficult especially with the people who had published

anything, because he had a great envy. You know? And

anybody who published, he hated them.

K: Had he not published anything himself?

F: Nothing, not a line. Again they changed the head of the

department from a man who knew nothing about foreign

languages, but he never interfered in the matter of

publications, to a man who knew, who claimed he knew french,

nobody heard him speak a word of french, and if you spoke to

him in french he answered in english. Then he'd started

Latin, and he knew very little latin, because I studied

latin and I know. And um, but he became very very

difficult, very difficult in the department. And a,

especially he persecuted Hayes and me, and he started

persecuting Hayes first, and when I came to Hayes defense

than he got after me, he even tried to fire me. I had

published more than the whole department up to the present

time, by that time of languages, you see. I knew that he

was going to have a hard time firing me. But Dean Page he

was very close, Dean Page had appointed him. Dean Page and

Wimberly were very close to him. He complained and he tried

to convince Dean Page to fire me, but I guess he...

K: On what grounds?

F: Well, I guess he considered that I was difficult, in the

sense that I, you see, you can create that when you have

people working for you, you can find little faults with this

and that. I disagreed with him in educational policy, but I

think I have a right to disagree with the head of the

department in educational policy. When the laboratory was

established, the laboratory was very poorly very poorly

managed and run, and I said so. I said we should have a

good laboratory, and the laboratory he considered that his

project, it wasn't. It was the project of all. But he

considered... Because, you see, a laboratory can not answer


K: Can what?

F: Can not answer back.

K: That's right, it can't.

F: Laboratory can not complain, a laboratory can not ask for a

raise. And although I never needed in my life, because I

always made enough money after I was teaching through my

books. And I disagreed with the laboratory, the way it was


K: How was it conducted?

F: Well, very poorly conducted. In the, in the way, you see,

in laboratory a I can go into all the details,...

K: Um hum.

F: But the students could not hear what they wanted to hear.

Somebody who spoke poorly the language would make the tapes,

they were boring tapes. And the students use to go there

and read something else and not pay attention to the...

K: Um hum.

F: to the machines at all. And a a, they all agree with me

that the laboratory was very very poorly run, it turned the

tape making to students or assistants who didn't know the

language well.

K: Um.

F: Criticizing the laboratory was, or criticizing the way the

laboratory was run, was something that Brunet could not

take. Then another thing that antagonized the department

was to put microphones in the classes to find out how we

were teaching, or what we were saying in the classes.

K: Astounding.

F: I told him that I was going to tear the microphone from the

wall if he didn't take it out himself, and next thing was

that the microphones in all the classes disappear. And of

course he, I understand that he complained to the dean, but

what was the reaction I don't know on the part of Page. But

a this is my understanding, what they told me. The man

suffering from this persecution and this deep, this deeply

rooted envy, because he hadn't done anything, and as far as

we knew he was not competent in what he was teaching, and

that was the opinion of the whole department. For instance

Hayes would always speak to him in french, because his

french was not good. He had the name Brunet, but we

understand that his name used to be Brown, see. And this

were things of the department. Well, he continue, Brunet

Brunet continue and the difficulties grew, and then a I

don't know how or why or what was the specific reason for

his having resigned as head of the department, things were

very very bad, and I guess I suppose mind you, I suppose

Dean Page and the president, President Miller realized that

things could not go on like that, so he was, he resigned. A

he had tried to have people in the department fired if he

didn't like them, and I guess he had become a problem for

administration, also.

K: In the early years, your early years here in the University of

Florida, what was the philosophical thrust of the language

department? Were you primarily concerned with training

people to teach other people the language, or...

F: Yes, yes mostly that. Well there were two aspects, one was

of course, a cultural aspect. What people who wanted to

know the language and they may study government, politics,

economics, and they were interested in Latin America or in

France or some other place, and the language might be a help

to them in research, in visiting the countries. But the

primary reason was to prepare people to teach, because

remember the universities grew tremendously during that

time, and high schools. And there were two aspects in

teaching, one was the preparation for teaching in the

universities, and entirely different preparation for

teaching in the universities, and entirely different

preparation was for teaching in high schools. For teaching

in universities we required from the students a through

knowledge of the language, language and literature, and we

never send them out to teach in a university with an MA, I

mean with a BA excuse me, with a BA, they have to have at

least an MA, and then form there on too. And the for high

school, we have an other serious difficulty. This one I

fought very hard, and Hayes joined me on this. It was

related to the school of education. For the school of

education the courses in methodology were all important,

they really didn't pay much attention to whether a student

knew the language, if they didn't know the language. They

were perfectly willing to give courses in methodology and

give them a degree in education if the student had two years

of a language. And we fought that, I fought that very hard.

This is the type of rocking the boat that I did, never did I

do it for personal reasons, I never asked for the raise. If

you were to ask Dean Page, I think he's alive yet, I suppose

he's alive, as alive as a man like that can be, and um, but

if you are to ask him, he will tell you that I never asked

for a raise, I want to emphasize this. For though my salary

was low, I used to make so much more money from by books

that I can make from my teaching. So when I rocked the boat

it was for a principle, nothing personal. I fought this, we

had meetings with the teachers or the professors in the

school of education, they fought very hard, they fought

back, they wanted to retain that privilege for being the

ones who certify students to teach.

K: Um hum.

F: But their certification was worthless from the point of view

of teaching a language. For they didn't pay any attention

to the knowledge of the student in the language that they

intended to teach. Finally we won the battle, we won up to

a point. The way we did it was to start teaching, by giving

a degree teaching a the same for one a student as for the

other, but them giving a degree in teaching.

K: I see.

F: You see instead requiring an MA, which is a, which is a a

research and a MA thesis, we allowed them to get an MA in


K: Um hum.

F: By that we give them courses, extra courses, more knowledge

of the language, more knowledge of literature, more

knowledge of the of the civilization of the country, the

culture of the country, so they would be better prepared to

teach in high schools, because you can't I am convinced that

you can not teach a man to teach, he he must have it, or he

doesn't have it, no question about it. I have seen men who

have taken courses in methodology they should be sent to the

electric chair, as far as their teaching.

K: Yes.

F: But a man who knows the literature and knows the culture of

the country the civilization of the country, and possibly

visit the country, so he gets the feeling of the country,

that person is ready to teach. So we won that. However, a

the school of education came and I believe at the present

time they certify that MA in romance languages, MA in

spanish, in teaching for teaching, MA in teaching.

K: Um hum.

F: So um, this has been the result of that, it brought a lot of

grey hairs to my head fighting this condition existing in

connection with the school of education. And the former

dean of the school of education, I, a there is only, he's a

slight man, a short, I can't think of his name. Even today

when I meet him at meetings he doesn't speak to me. He

considers me a difficult person, that's all I meant by that.

K: I understand that there was an NDEA summer institute...

F: Yes, we had...

F: We had that institute here, that was instituted by, that is

a, a that institute, or the reasons for the institute are an

indication that the schools of education all over the

country were not doing what they were supposed to do...

F: for the teachers were not ready, they were teaching the

language, but they were not ready to teach the languages,

and therefore Washington found it necessary to establish

these institutes in order to give them courses in culture

and the language. I taught twice in Tennessee, they invited

me to Tennessee, I was the coordinator one year. And then

here at the University of Florida, where I refused to accept

an invitation to teach in the institute, I finally consented

to teach a course in civilization. They were very

important, except that they were very short, six weeks or

eight weeks. But it show a that the teachers in our high

schools were not ready to teach, and we were trying to

correct that.

K: Do you think these summer programs were effective?

F: Well, they were, comparatively, not to much, but what can

you do in six weeks or in a or in a eight weeks? But

something was done, because during the time they were in the

institute they lived together, you know,

K: Um hum.

F: here in Graham Hall for instance. And the professors were

with them. The language was spoken. They were not allowed

to speak English, and when you are forced to speak a foreign

language for six or eight weeks, they were not supposed to

speak, we were even very strict about their speaking the

foreign language. When you are forced to speak a foreign

language for six or eight weeks, morning, and afternoon, and

evening, and then take courses in the language, and take

courses in literature, and take courses in civilization, it

does it does things to you.

K: Um hum.

F: A lot is accomplished, not as much as we wanted to, but a

great deal was accomplished, of course.

K: And when did that program begin? Can you remember that?

F: There you go, I don't know.

K: Approximately, you can tell me was it the early S.

F: Ah, let me see, I was in Tennessee twice, you see that's why

they invited me to Tennessee when I finished here, when I

retire they invited me to teach in Tennessee, after I was


K: Oh, I didn't know that.

F: Because I had been there in two institutes.

K: Uh huh.

F: And they knew my work. Maybe the fifties, I don't know, I

can, you can...

K: Oh, I can check that [inaudible].

F: You can, um Wade Conner can tell you when was the courses

given here. And he pleaded with me to take the courses in

civilization because nobody would take it.

K: Um hum.

F: Nobody take it. In order to take a course in civilization

you had to know every aspects of the culture of the country,

literature and and art of all aspects, music and so forth,

every aspect of of art, the fine arts, and music, and

literature. Well you can find out through Wade Conner.

K: Ah, how well prepared were most high school graduates, in

their language when they came to the University of Florida,

and they began to try...

F: Ah, it's very uneven. Some knew it, didn't know spanish at


K: But had taken spanish in high school.

F: And taking a couple of years of spanish, or or one year, and

they were approved by the school of education, you see

through courses in methodology. And some who have taken

courses in universities, and um advanced courses and knew

the language, and some who were decedents or natives of...

K: Oh, these are the teachers your talking about now.

F: Yes, they were...

K: Well that's fine, but that's not the question. I was asking

you about high school students, who came to the University

of Florida then as freshmen. But go ahead, tell me about

the teachers, did [inaudible].

F: Oh, the, first I'm finishing with the teachers.

K: Yeah.

F: Ah, as I tell you some were very good, and some were

mediocre, and some were very bad. And now coming to the

students coming to the university, of course, the

preparation in the high schools of Florida was pitiful.

K: Yes.

F: You see, they had for instance, we found schools in which

they didn't know, they didn't have anybody who who a could a

teach the spanish, so they appointed the assistant football

coach or somebody like that to teach spanish.

K: Uh huh.

F: Or somebody who had been teaching something else see, to

teach spanish. And in cases where the teacher of spanish

had taken two years or so of spanish, and then had been

certified by the school of education, and so the students

coming to us were pitiful, very very poor, we had to start

right down from the grass roots, and we had to bring them

up. And yet, a this department of languages grew

tremendously during the years that I was here.

K: Has the quality of the students improved any, in the time

you've been here?

F: Well, they are better prepared yes, as I understand it. You

see I haven't taught now for, in this university, for twelve

years. And even ten years before that I didn't teach the

elementary classes, or the intermediate classes, I taught

literature, I was in the upper level.

F: But I could tell, by the students coming up to the three

year level that I used to teach a class for some time, have

poorly how incredibly poorly prepared they were, and then I

went by what the teachers said, the other professors said.

K: Look, could you give me an evaluation of Dean Page? How

effective was he as a dean? Did...

F: Well, I guess he was effective from the point of view of


K: And what do you mean by that?

F: Ah, you see, Miller who was a very very friendly to me, and

we used to play golf together, Miller wanted men, and this

is, he never told me that but his secretary, Edith, told me

that, she spoke spanish. And Miller wanted big men in the

department, you know big fellows who could control the

department so you would have no problems, she said that to


K: Um hum.

F: In this concern would she would employ a bully like Brunet,

or a big fellow like a well a somebody else, you know, and

except those that was already there. He didn't get along

for a time, he even tried to get a rid of Manning Dauer. I

considered Page, he came from a private school, you know

from an academy.

K: Oh.

F: One of these, one of those academies that they wear

uniforms. But he had that mentality, now if you consider

that mentality good for the university all right. He could

conduct a meeting, a faculty meeting, and he could lay down

the law. But that I considered him a good dean, frankly on

the basis of my experience and what I know, no I don't. I

want a dean that had more culture than Dean Page had, a dean

that had besides that a combination of culture and

administrative ability. And also in the administrative

ability I mean also recognition of people in the departments

who are valuable, and not just those that obey everything

and don't say anything at all, see. And don't think and

don't think from that that I was a complainer, I didn't I

never complained about anything in connection with me.

Classes were given to me, the best classes everything I

wanted, so when I fought I fought for a principle, and I

never fought for Fernandez, never asked for a raise, never

asked that my classes should be in the morning and not in

the afternoon, I never asked for..., and if you ask Dean

Page he can never tell you that I ever asked for anything

for me, that whenever I fought I fought for other reasons.

And Dean Page recognized, I want to tell you, that I was

right in connection with the school of education. But as he

told me a number of times we mustn't create troubles.

Rocking the boat was the word. I learned it at that time,

that expression in English.

K: What was the standard class size, when you began teaching


F: Very poor. The first time that I when I met my first class,

I came to the class and I found eighteen boys, they had

sweat shirts, and they were poorly dressed.

K: Were these veterans of World War II?

F: No, that was what I thought at that time.

K: They were not, [inaudible]...

F: And a, I didn't know that this college was not co-

educational, and I had wonderful classes in New York, and I

said "where are the girls?" And the boys, one boy said

that's what we like to know. And then they were, you know,

very poor students. So these classes had a fifteen, twelve,

the one I had had eighteen, and then in literature we had

four, five, six, seven, and by the time I left the

university I had thirty-eight classes in contemporary, in a

a contemporary literature. I had twenty-seven students in

poetry. My classes were filled, now don't go by that,

because the next classes the next professor would have about

five, or six, or seven. And today if you go to the

department of languages you find that the classes in

literature are very very small, the advanced classes, four,

five, six, seven, is the limit.

K: Was there a graduate program in spanish, when you came here?

F: Yes, there was, there was a...

K: When you arrived at the University of Florida.

F: Not a PhD program. There was a MA...

K: What, when was the PhD program...

F: Again you ask me a question that I can not [inaudible]

K: Okay, I'm sorry.

F: You can, you can set that down and ask a ....

K: But you can tell me something though about the PhD program,

you can tell me what the rationale was for instituting a PhD

program here at the University of Florida.

F: It was needed. It was very much needed, because we had to

prepare them for teaching in universities, and the only way

we could teach, prepare them for that was to give the PhD in

this university. And a, it might be of interest to you that

for instance a one of my students, my students even today,

and this is personal, even today when Christmas come I

receive letters from all over the United states, and

presents, not for grades. And one of my students a became

full professor in in Cincinnati before Hayes was made a full

professor, and she's the editor of a Spanish journal, which

sells all over in northern universities of America, see. A

her name was a Patricia O'Connally. Another one became, why

in my I have my students all all are in very good positions,

very good positions. But they all speak spanish like

natives. For instance, if Patricia O'Connally, if she were

to go to Madrid, and she goes to Madrid sometimes, nobody

knows that she's not born in Madrid.

K: That's quite an achievement.

F: And and I Judice Fulock, whose father was a research

professor in a in a the department of agriculture, some

phase of agriculture, economics, agricultural economics.

Judy Furlock who then became a associate professor in in

University of South Florida, and then she married, she's

married now to a judge, and she's teaching in Palm Beach.

Her spanish is absolutely unrecognizable as a foreign

student at all, she speaks just like a native, my students

spoke spanish like natives, because I require that from

them. My classes were conducted in spanish. And I directed

between here and Tennessee thirty-six MA's, and a number of

PhD's. No that was necessary. Now bringing it to the

present. They are making a very serious mistake in


K: Uh huh, that's what I wanted to ask you about.

F: In requiring a certain number in order to get the PhD

degree, they are making it quantitative, rather than a

qualitative program.

K: Was there any attempt to do that while you were still teaching

at the university?

F: Pardon me.

K: Was there any attempt on the part of the board of regents or

the state legislature to institute a quantitative


F: No.

K: while you were here at the University?

F: No, no.

K: There was not.

F: No. And that when we, we asked for it, we asked for the

PhD, they look into the, into the qualifications of the

faculty. Now look at the difference in that degree. The

qualifications of the faculty were the basis for giving the


K: Um hum.

F: Not the number of the students in your current class.

K: Yes.

F: Because on the basis of that I should have been give twenty

PhD's, because I had thirty, thirty-eight students in the

class under criollary literature.

K: Yeah.

F: No. I don't care whether I have one or ten, the question is

that I have one who is good, or ten who are good, that's

all. And, this thing with Tallahassee this is incredible,

this is pork chop attitude towards the university, you know

the pork chop gang.

K: Sure.

F: I don't understand it. I'm not here, but it's a it's

incredible to me. This is the way the French lost the right

to give PhD's. This is, they you have in french, in the

french department, between force, I don't particularly love

for the french, but they had in the french department a

number of very competent men. An a, and yet they can not,

they can not give the PhD. They can in german, they have...

K: But the french department did give PhD's up until recently.

F: they lost it.

K: I believe there was some combination between the french

department and the spanish department at one point.

F: They wanted that. They wanted that.

K: Oh.

F: Yeah, but of course the spanish people didn't want it,

because they didn't want to pulled down with the french.

See? Ah, there's no combination now. No. The the spanish

professors did not want this combination, because you see,

they would water the program. They the, if you know what I

mean. They would...

K: Sure.

F: The next thing you know we would lose the right, or they the

spanish professor would lose the, the section would lose the

right to give the PhD. It isn't now a question of the

competence of the french professors, because they had a

number of professors who were very good, and they have a

number who are very excellent indeed, at the present time.

They're being wasted. When you employ a professor you pay

him a salary of a full professor, and then you say oh no but

a you mustn't teach advanced courses, I mean in the PhD

level, his salary is being.....You see, when you have let me

explain this to you, unless you probably know it as well as

I, but I want this to be on the record.

K: Um hum.

F: When you have a professor, a department I mean, when you

have a department who gives the PhD's, and then you have a

class, a graduate class, you don't have a graduate class for

PhD students, you have three or four MA candidates, five or

six, the only thing that the PhD candidate takes is the time

for the director of the thesis, and that is not much.

K: Right.

F: That's all, the man who directs the thesis has to receive

and he had to contact, or rather the student, the the

candidate has to contact the professor, and give him a

chapter, ask about this or that, but that is not a class.

K: Um hum.

F: So they are wasting, they are wasting the value of this

professors, and lowering the standard of the university,

making the university a second class university. This is

the situation, it's quantitatively and not qualitatively.

K: Other than J. Hillis Miller, did you personally know any of

the presidents of the university while you were here?

F: No, I knew, knew but I didn't, I didn't play golf with him,

a Tigert before, Tigert was the president, and we used to

play golf in the same course, but I never spoke to him

except when it was necessary in connection with the work.

K: Can you give me an evaluation of the various presidents of the


F: I could not ...

K: About their relative worth and..

F: because, because you see Tigert is the man who was president

when I came here, and a I didn't know enough about him.

F: And Miller was a he was an enterprising man, he was a the

man who came here, and tried to and made the university

where it is today. But at the same time remember that the

times were right for it. Because the university from its

little cow college became a university.

K: Uh hum.

F: Tremendous number of students came, a new faculty and so

forth. But Miller was an administrator and he was an

enterprising man, he wanted this university to be a first

class university.

K: Yeah.

F: For instance, he build that tower over there, see. Ah, I'll

tell you after what we called that tower. He meant to have

a building around, and then this tower, see, first it

started with the tower,

K: Yeah.

F: And that was ambition, see, and um...

K: That's the century tower your talking about, am I correct?

F: Yeah, the century tower. I'll tell you after when the

recording isn't on what the faculty called that tower, see.

Miller was, he fought for development, for a big university,

for a sophisticated university.

K: Um hum.

F: He often discussed things with me at the in the golf course,

when we would sit down for a rest. And a, his a opinion of

Tallahassee was was not very very high. And for your

information he went to Tallahassee a week before he die, and

found that they say no to everything he asked for. And a I

was walking to my office when he stopped his car and asked

me to come in, and I came in and he was desperate, and he

referred to these people in Tallahassee as a bunch of

nincompoops. And Miller was heart broken, actually heart

broken because he could not get these people to agree with

him in what he wanted to do in the university, whatever it

was. I can just guess that it was, of course he wanted to

build up the university, to spend more money and so forth.

But he was very, he was heart broken. I was with him in the

car for about three quarters of an hour, sitting in the car,

he was talking with me. And his eyes were filled with

tears, because he was so um a frustrated in what he wanted

to do. Then he became ill and died a few days later of

heart, you see, his heart was not strong at all, because

when we use to play we play golf, we had to stop once in a

while, you know, and he have a little rest. He was followed

by whom? He was followed by a number of Wayne Reitz, oh

yes, I got, I knew Wayne Reitz after. He was very always

very nice to me, Wayne Reitz, very good to me. And a also

Allen, he was a friend of mine because I was a friend of

Miller, and therefore through Miller, if I was a good friend

of Miller I became a good friend of Allen, Allen, Allen um I

guess he's alive still, and a Wayne Reitz I see him once in

a while. There was a change in Wayne Reitz, in Miller and

Wayne Reitz, quite a change. In some difficulties when I

found that I had to make issue of certain things, both

miller and Wayne Reitz were, they listened to me. I only

make an issue when I would tell the head of the department

that I was going to make an issue out of it. I could go

into that, but it's in connection with my candidates and

isn't important, but I won the case, I would win the case.

Because, for instance, giving you one only for instance, and

that was candidacy of Mrs. Luther, she was writing her MA on

St. Augustine, and what took place in St.Augustine, and the

documents in St. Augustine. You have to know spanish very

well to be able to read these documents.

F: And she had to study the history, and make a study of the

history of the Spain and colonies. After she finished the

MA, you see it is the rule in this university, that the head

of the department must sign a thesis. This is amusing

because if a man doesn't know spanish or anything in

connection with the spain, like for instance Archie

Robertson couldn't know any foreign language, it seems

amusing that he should sign a thesis about something that he

knows nothing about. Well, when Brunet refused to sign the

thesis of Mrs. Luther...

K: On what grounds?

F: That the work that she did in St. Augustine was not good for

a MA, that it was not in literature. Of course there was

the language, there was the history, and so forth, see.

Well I made an issue of that. Brunet say that he would

rather resign than sign that thesis, so they wrote him a

letter that if he wanted to resign if you, he could resign.

And they sent a man who is now, what is he president of a

university, Fred Conner, it's in Alabama.

K: Oh, in Alabama.

F: Fred Conner, and they send the dean of the graduate school,

the associate dean of the graduate school to take the place

of Brunet to come to the examination. And they...

K: What did Brunet do about it?

F: Nothing, but he didn't want to resign.

End of Tape B side 1

F: Well, what was it, what what should I call it, what I am

speaking to you, I spoke to you of what was going on behind

the scenes, way down there in the department. With it's

ramifications to other to like to the to the graduate

school, to the to the school of education, to the giving the

PhD, I fought for that too, see.

K: Um hum.

F: I fought for the PhD, we all strove, we tried very hard to

get it, and we finally got it.

K: Now when you came to the University of Florida, where there

many Latin American students here?

F: Yes, there were, not like, I don't know how many there are

now, you know, there may have been, I have no idea, maybe

sixty, seventy students, I don't think there were a hundred.

And we had a man, Martin, that I spoke to you about.

K: What was his first name?

F: Joe Martin I believe. He's in, he moved to St. Augustine, I

think he's still there, if he's alive. It was pitiful

because through the conversion to Catholicism, you know,

there is nothing worse than a Protestant who becomes a


K: That's right, yeah.

F: I don't know about a jew becoming a catholic, I imagine that

it would be very impossible, because the worst man in the

Catholic church, the Great Inquisitor, whose name was

Torquematu, the Great Inquisitor, who committed so many

atrocities, he was Jewish. When, when, when an a a Claude

here in the department of French,

K: Claude Abraham?

F: Abraham. One day called to my attention how cruel we had

been with the Jews, I said who was cruel with the jews. He

said look at your Torquematu. I said why do you give him to

us, he was jewish, he said, "what," I said "he was jewish."

I said, "look, look into the history of it..." I said,

"well, so was partly jewish St. Theresa, and John of the

Cross." I said, "they were all jewish, converted to

catholicism, the great St. Theresa, the great founder of

convents." I don't know what is, what good are convents

anyway, the convents that they used to build. Well she

built I think twenty-eight convents, or something like that.

She was, she was of jewish descent, and and a Torquewata,

the great inquisitor, great in in in the sense that I mean

it, he was jewish, converted to catholicism. So, you know,

the converts are very very difficult. For to give you an

instance of these, I put my daughter in the Episcopal church

here, and that was when [inaudible] Father O'Mally was so

upset that I had become a traitor.

K: Yeah.

F: My daughter was in the Episcopal church, but I was not a

member of the Episcopal church, because I am no member of

any church, of any organization. There was a man there who

used to speak to me about becoming a member of the church.

At the time I became so annoyed at him when I used to go

every three of four Sundays to give my daughter a little

moral support, the religious support, or something, and he

always took, got hold of me, and wanted me to become an

Episcopalian, you know. And finally one day I told him. I

said, "don't speak to me about this any more." And then I

was talking to another Episcopalian, and I mention it. He

said, "oh, it's because he was converted, he used to be a

Baptist." Well, anyway lets go on to...

K: Oh, you were going to tell me about John Martin, that's what

got you started on this other...

F: Oh, John Martin, you see this is what happens you know.

K: Yeah.

F: One discusses the trunk, an trunk, a lovely trunk, and then

you go into the branches.

K: Right.

F: John Martin, I think I told you the other day what happened

to me with him, I think ...

K: Right.

F: in the corridor, but...

K: Yes, but you didn't tell me about his relationship with the

Latin American students, other than to say that...

F: He was director of the Latin American students,...

K: He was, I see.

F: Yes, he was named director of latin American students.

K: Ah, there was a separated organization for Latin American

students at the university that he was the head?

F: Well, it was for advice and then a helping them when they

came, with the course with the immigration, and if they got

into trouble with the police, and that sort of a thing...

F: difficulties with Latin American students.

K: Was he a member of the faculty? Or was he just in an

administrative position?

F: No, he wasn't. Then we then we gave him a class, and this

is might be of interest. They gave him a class in the

department, Martin spoke Spanish, you know. Because his

wife was Chilean, and he spoke spanish quite well. And the

moment we gave him a class in the department, to add to his

salary. But the moment he came into the department, he

began to criticize the books that he's call everything that

he didn't approve of not Christian. And he didn't think

that the books were christian. He was criticizing the most

famous author in Spain in the nineteenth century, and

probably second to Cervantes. And finally he became so

impossible through that in the department that we had to

tell him to quit, because he had no right as a man who was

given a class...


F: in the decision of these books, and we were not going to

have any person who was so fanatic as he became have

anything to say in the selection of the books. And he never

spoke to either me or Hayes anymore since then never. While

he was here. So that's Martin.

K: In general what was the relationship between the spanish

faculty members and the Latin American students?

F: Very good. We had a club and you might be interested in

this aspect. We had a club and we were always, one of us

was advisor of the club, not John Martin, they didn't want

John Martin. Ah, I was an advisor for many years for that

club. We used to have little meetings and get together and

so forth. And then Guggenheim, told me...

K: Which Guggenheim?

F: Harry F. Guggenheim.

K: Harry, okay.

F: Harry F. Guggenheim, he was the one I tutored.

K: Yeah.

F: He became ambassador to Cuba, and he spoke spanish. I was

with him a whole summer in Sands Point in Long Island, and a

we used to play tennis and go fishing and all that, and

speak spanish all the time. And then when he went to Cuba

as ambassador, and then came back the following summer for a

two months vacation, and again I spent two with him. He

told me over and over that anything I wanted ever, all I

should do is to tell him, see. Well, what I wanted was, I

asked him one day if we built a small house, like a little

club, and it cost 15,000 to 25,000 dollars, would you help

in a place like that, if I asked you for that? He said I

told you anything you want you just have to tell me, see.

Well, we were very much interested in that and in connection

with Latin American students, I was interested that their

two languages would be recognized, but for that matter the

french or anybody else. By extension, if they were

recognized that they spoke english and spanish, the others

would be recognized by knowing French and English. So we

also a I spoke of building this place, and Hayes was very

much a part of it, but not a part of.... And Dr. Miller

found it out, no I told him once in the golf course, that

was where we met. And there he became very interested,

because he was promoter...

F: Primarily, Miller was a promoter, you know, he would have

been a promoter of the slave trade. And then he thought of

building up an interamerican house. He said that millions

were floating, you could just clean up. I didn't think so.

But he immediately name a committee of fourteen or fifteen,

of different departments interdepartments, a political

science, economics, everything, you see. We met. Then he

made the architectural plans for this house that was similar

to Wayne Reitz Union, around that pond there.

F: It was to be another pond there near Thirteenth Street, we

had a spanish architecture, and all that was great

ambitions, see. All he needed was a million and a half to

finish this. Well he knew a woman who he though all he had

to do was to cultivate her. These were the words used in

the meeting, which I thought were unwise, because you can't

say something to fourteen people and except it to be a


F: And this woman found it out, I didn't know her, I met years

later when I went to a Board of Regents meeting in

Tallahassee, because she became a member of the Board of

Regents. And she told me that she would never help the

state university, and at one time she said when I thought I

might then I heard something said, but I decided not to help

to, she probably heard that. And a...

K: Who was this? Can you give the name?

F: Du Pont, Mrs. du Pont. Well she would not help any state

university. But she mentioned that other thing.

F: Not exactly what. But, Miller spoke frankly that he thought

he could get the money from the person, but he didn't. And

he tried, and he brought a Wilgose here. Willgoose became

head of latin american studies. Miller thought that

Willgose was going to accomplish all that, was going to get

millions. Willgose did not get a cent for that. He

developed the Caribbean Conference, they still meet

sometimes, with a meeting once a year, see. There were very

successful conferences in the beginning. They were being

paid by the United Fruit company, and some other companies

that had interests in Latin America. But when it came to

the interamerican house, and what we intended to do at the

beginning, nothing came through. Then Dr. Miller came, I

didn't tell Dr. Miller who was the man who had offered me

help, I felt that that was a confidential matter, and I

didn't want him to be disturbed by anybody else. Miller

asked me who was the person who had offered me this plan. I

told him I was sorry but I had promised that I was not going

to use his name. Even if the money was to be given, I was

not going to mention it, that wasn't true, he never said

that to me. But I didn't want this man to be disturbed.

F: But I think Dr. Miller was very keen, he knew I knew

Guggenheim, and my guess is that he suspected that it was

Guggenheim. So he asked me one day was it Harry F.

Guggenheim. I said no,no no. Then he came another day and

he said, why don't we invite Guggenheim to be the main

speaker of the Caribbean Conference? I said, he was

ambassador to Cuba, he had interests in Latin America and

Chile and so forth, he's a man of culture. I said well I'll

ask him. So I call up, I telephone Guggenheim. He said

you're giving him an awful responsibility but I told you I

would never deny you anything, when is the Caribbean

Conference? I told him. He says alright I'll go. And he

say, ah he said, addressed, he addressed the conference it's

here in the library. He spoke in spanish and in english, he

wrote it, he spoke in english, and then I translated it into

spanish, and it was published by the university press.

Stretching out the little interest that we had with the

Latin American Club that we had, and this purpose in mind

and the money I had been offered, if I wanted it to build

the house, developed into the great interest and the

bringing Willgose here, and because he thought that Willgose

would succeed in a in getting endowments, donations for that

sort of thing.

K: Well that pretty well exhausts the questions that I had

prepared to ask you. Was there anything else that you would

care to add to this?

F: No. I realize that in saying, in speaking about these thing

I can directly, indirectly step on many peoples toes, when

they are dead--dead men don't complain. In the personal

aspect I don't complain because, I always fought my battles.

And anyway if I were try to win one now it's to late. I've

had many friends in the university, Manning Dauer and many

others friends in the university. Three presidents were,

especially Dr. Miller was a very good friend of mine. Allen

became very good friend, I don't think that Allen had the

qualifications that Dr. Miller had as a promoter. Wayne

Reitz is still today a good friend of mine. In the faculty

I had many many friends, so many so that I was appointed to

represent the faculty at Tallahassee, in the meetings.

Strange I told him, why do you send me when I speak with an

accent as a foreigner? They said well it's about time we

educate them. Well, so I have no complaints at all. If I

had depended, and this is the last thing I'm going to say,

on my salary then I would have complained about the

difference in salary and promotion between me and men who I

considered much less capable than I was. But when I was

getting so much in royalties, you know I used to get in

those days ten twelve thousand dollars in royalties a year

besides, and that that was a lot of money in those days, you


K: It is today.

F: Very true. I didn't know what to do with the money, because

I lived very modestly.

F: All my interest in traveling, visiting countries, in

broadening my vision, in reading the things not only in

literature but in economics, and in political science, and

international relations. Everything seems of interest to

me, that's, but you don't have to spend much money for, but

for traveling yes, I spend an awful lot of money on

traveling. Through my books, not through my salary at the


F: And it might be interesting to you, that because of the

mistake made by the dean here in thinking that I would the

given ten years recognition, because I was 48 or 49 when I

came here, my retirement pension in the university is 300

dollars a month. If I depended on that I would have to have

a guitar and a bulldog and a tin can and collect pennies

along University Avenue. But I developed full social

security through my self being self employed from my books,

and so forth you know.

F: If I hadn't had that, I probably would have complained about

the fact that I was not being recognized. Well this is a

all that I have to say, and it's been nice, Mr. King, to

have known you. And if you find that in this almost

spontaneous answers to your questions, I have gone too far

in anything, or I am out of line in anyway, just cross it


K: Oh, you will have the opportunity to do that yourself. We

will send you a copy of the transcript.

F: Don't send it.

K: You don't want to... go over it yourself...

F: No, you, oh yeah, no, well I I'd rather pick it up and do it

myself so by myself so I don't get any advice from my wife,

my wife advises me sometimes more than I want to be advised.

K: Um hum.

F: She's a very competent person, very very cultured,and very

competent but very afraid that I may, you know, step on some

bodies toes.

K: Ah, yes.

F: And a she's timid you know, and you can see about what I, by

what I said that timidity is not one of my qualities, if it

is a quality. So I don't like to be curtailed or frustrated

in anything that I believe in or that I know and


K: Do you have any objections to us using this interview and the

transcript that will come from it, for scholarly purposes,

for research, things of that nature.

F: After I approve it, no. I have no objection. And of course

I like to approve it, because you understand, you know, you

asked me about Page, Page is alive...

F: Now there is nothing that I wouldn't say to Page in his


K: Surely.

F: For the last thing that I said to Page going to retired

professors meeting, I met him, and I said well you're still

alive. Because the two enemies that I had, three enemies,

were Burnet, Page, and Wimberly they were like this. And

if he said that's a question, I said when did the other two


K: I see.

F: But I don't like to...

K: Right.

F: to record something like this. See? So therefore I may

have said something that I said well I...

K: Oh, sure. That's, you have the option to delete any thing you

want to from that tape.

F: Then after I sign, after I say this is alright, then a a you

can go on, I, it's alright, you can do anything you want.

K: Okay. Well thank you very much for the interview. I've

learned a great deal.

F: Well, and um this is um,...

End of Tape B side 2

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