ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWEE: Dr. Henry G. Hamilton
INTERVIEWER: Dr. Stephen Kerber
DATE: October 10, 1978
K: The date is Tuesday, October 10, 1978. My name is Steve Kerber
and I am going to be conducting an oral history interview today
with Dr. Henry Glenn Hamilton. Dr. Hamilton is Professor Emeritus
of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Economist Emeritus,
Agricultural Experiment Station and Agricultural Extension Service,
University of Florida. This interview, which is taking place in
the Director's Conference Room in the Florida State Museum, is for
the University of Florida Oral History Project.
I usually start just by asking you to tell us your full name.
H: Henry G. Hamilton.
K: Where were you born, Dr. Hamilton?
H: In Humboldt, Tennessee.
K: In what part of the state is that?
H: It's the western part of the state, about seventy miles from Memphis.
K: I see. What was your birth date?
H: March 29, 1895.
K: What was your father's name?
H: Millard Fillmore Hamilton.
K: And your mother's?
H: Addie James Hamilton.
K: Now, did you come from a large family?
H: Yes. There were seven children, four boys and three girls, and
many cousins and uncles and aunts.
K: Did you grow up and go to grade school in Humboldt?
H: I went to grade school at a rural school about three miles from
Humboldt, and to high school at Humboldt.
K: What years were you in high school?
H: I graduated in 1915.
K: So from 1911 to 1915?
K: I understand that you went to the University of Tennessee at first?
H: First year at the University of Tennessee, and transferred to the
University of Florida in 1916 and '17, and then I was out two years
because of [World] War I, and came back in '18 and '19.
K: I see. So you spent only one school year at Knoxville?
H: That's right. Freshman year.
K: Did you go there simply because of the proximity to your home? Or
did you have relatives who had gone there?
H: Well, it was largely because it was a state university and it was
probably the only university in the state that offered a course
in agriculture. I went there primarily for that reason.
K: What were your reasons for leaving Tennessee and coming to Florida?
H: Largely a matter of choice of states. I had always read about
Florida and just wanted to transfer to Florida for my life's work.
I presume probably that an orange in my stocking at Christmastime
was one of the [laughter] reasons for doing it.
K: Had you ever had a chance as a younger man to visit Florida?
K: It was all just from reading and hearing about the state?
H: When I came here I had worked in the summer in Georgia. Came here
to Gainesville, didn't know a soul in Gainesville, only knew one
family in the state, a distant relative that lived in Bartow.
K: Did you apply to the university or have any contact with the
university before you came here?
H: No. All I did was to ask the registrar at the University of Tennessee
to send my transcript here. I didn't even write here to see whether
I could be admitted or not.
H: I assumed that I could, and when I got here, I was received and
registered without any trouble.
K: Did you travel directly from Tennessee to Florida or did you sort
of work your way along...?
H: I was working in Georgia, selling books, with several friends of
mine who were with a company. At the time school opened, I closed
up my affairs in the book field and came on down to Gainesville--
got here about eleven or twelve o'clock one night.
Spent the night in the old Southern Hotel and got up the next
morning and came out to the university, walked out here. Went
to the business manager's office. He arranged for me to meet Mrs.
[S. J.] Swanson, who was matron, at that time, of the dormitories.
She found a place for me. I'm told that I was the first man that
was put three to a room in the dormitory regular sections of
Buckman Hall. The end sections, they had four students to the room.
But, in between the end sections they only had two students.
Mrs. Swanson said, "Well, I don't know what we're going to do
with you. But we'll find a place somewhere." She said, "Oh yes,
yes, I know of two brothers that occupy a room. I think they would
be willing for you to come in." So I came in with the Bishop boys
from Eustis, and had a very nice college career with them.
K: Do you remember their first names?
H: Clayton Bishop and Albert Bishop.
K: While we're talking about Mrs. Swanson, could you tell us a little
bit more about her, either her appearance or personality or character?
H: Well, she was a kindly lady, somewhat advanced in years. I'd judge
that she was perhaps, fifty-five or sixty, maybe sixty. She was
a large woman, and always interested in the boys in the dormitory,
trying to see that they were properly taken care of and that the
rooms were promptly cleaned. They did do a pretty good job of
cleaning the rooms. They did this while we were out at classes in
the morning. If you were studying when they came by, they went to
another room and came back when you were gone. She had a son here
by the name of Robert Swanson. Her older boys, I don't remember
their names, but there were two of them from Perry. Joe Swanson
was one; and he was the leading lawyer in the little town of Perry,
I don't know how she got the job here of being matron, or anything
about that, or how long she'd been here when I came in 1916. Her
sister also became matron. I think her sister was here in 1919 after
I returned from the service. I believe both were here at the same
time for a few years. Mrs. Swanson was here, too. But I think Mrs.
Swanson retired in '21 or '22.
K: Do you happen to remember the sister's name?
H: Her name was Peeler, Mrs. Peeler. I don't remember her given name
[Mrs. Margaret Peeler]. I don't remember Mrs. Swanson's given name.
K: In cleaning your rooms, did she do that or did she have some colored
people working for her?
H: She had black maids to do the cleaning. She supervised them. I don't
know how big a crew there was, but there were two dormitories and
she took care of both dormitories, Buckman Hall and Thomas Hall.
K: Always during the day, when you were out of your rooms?
K: I see.
H: Oh, sometimes she might empty a wastebasket or something like that,
but she didn't disturb you. You didn't have to get up and leave the
room. She came back; you didn't have to come back.
K: Let me back up a little bit and talk to you about your trip. Now
you came down on the train?
K: You had been going all over Georgia by train, I imagine?
H: No, I went over Georgia mostly by foot.
H: The one county. Yes. From house to house.
K: Which county did you...?
H: Bulloch County. Statesboro is the county seat of it.
K: What sort of books were you selling?
H: I was selling mostly Bibles, and religious books. And we had a
business book with interest tables and certain simple things in
K: Did you do this on a commission basis?
H: On a commission basis.
K: I see.
H: In the summers of 1920, '21, '22, and '23, I was in charge of a
group of boys working for the same company. For three or four
summers, doing my graduate study here, which took two years,
because I was on assistantship, I went on the book field in the
summers, about four summers in all. I had a crew, which I
headed, to go with me. One summer we had as high as fifteen or
twenty boys. I also got a commission on the sales of the boys.
K: Now, this in 1919 and after, was in Florida? Or back in Georgia?
H: It was in different places. I worked in Tennessee, in Ohio, in
Kentucky, and in Mississippi, as well as in Georgia.
K: I see.
H: But never but one summer in a state.
K: What was the name of the firm?
H: Southwestern Publishing Company.
K: Can you tell me the exact date, or roughly the date, that you arrived
in Gainesville the first time?
H: Well, I arrived here two or three days after school opened in 1916.
K: So probably in September?
H: It was in September.
K: Of 1916?
H: Yeah. I was two or three days late, because I was still winding up
my book business in Statesboro, Georgia.
K: You came into town, and you got a place to stay, and then the following
day you came out to the university?
K: Was Mr. [Klein H.] Graham the business manager?
H: Graham was business manager.
C: Can you tell us a little bit about him? What sort of a person he was?
H: Well, I knew Mr. Graham over a long period of time. He was a small
man, small stature, and he also was crippled for arthritis. He
wasn't on a cane, but he was all bent over, and had to walk bent over
because of arthritis in his back and in his neck. He couldn't, as
I recall, turn his head. He had to turn his whole body, not his head.
K: I see.
H: He always spoke to you. They said.he was kind of an irritable person.
This is probably the result of his arthritis; I don't know about it.
I never did work with him, except that when I was a student here, I
plowed corn over on the college farm, and he came by afternoons.
I was paid the magnificent salary of fifteen cents an hour, which
I was very happy to get.
K: I'm sure. What did the campus look like when you first got here?
How did it appear to you?
H: Well, I liked it very much. The entrance was at the corner of
University Avenue and Thirteenth Street, and you came around in a
semi-circle which went out at Thomas Hall. There was another semi-
circle driveway that went out by Stadium Road and Southwest 4th Avenue,
in front of the entrance of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity house.
Later on I was on the policy committee for land utilization
and planning buildings and so forth. I remember that Dick [Richard
Sadler] Johnson was on it, and [Alvin] Percy Black was on it.
I don't remember who else. But I remember, sometime in the decade
of 1930's we were talking about expansion that would be necessary.
We didn't know how to go about it.
So we got a land utilization man down here. He was the husband
of the daughter of Mrs. Buchholz. Mrs. Buchholz was the wife of old
Professor [Ludwig Wilhelm] Buchholz who was professor of Bible. At
any rate, he came and we had a conference with him. He said, "I
looked over the establishment of the university here and they said
that they were laying out the campus for 100 years with a maximum
of 5,000 students." He said, "The land design was just out of this
world for that size student body. They were planning for 100 years."
And he said, "But now, with 10,000 students, it's like putting a
fifteen-year-old boy in the suit of a seven-year-old boy." I
remember distinctly, his comments on the original plan. It was an
ideal layout for a capacity of 5,000, but when you try to put 10,000
in.there nothing fitted.
K: That's very perceptive of him at that time. Now did you continue
to live in that same room until you went off into the military?
H: I stayed in that same room (except for one year) until I completed
my master's work, which was in 1923. I don't know how I got the room
back after being out two years, but I did. I was in the same room,
the same floor. It was on the second floor and the same room, in
D section of Buckman Hall.
K: Which side of the building was that on?
H: That was on the east side of the building.
K: How did you support yourself before you went into the service?
H: Well, when I came down from the University of Tennessee, I had
sold books in the summer of 1916. I did pretty well. I netted
about $300 or $400. This paid my fees and my board and everything.
I worked on the college farm some, and I got a little money from my
father. He was able to help me some. But I think I went through
the first year on about $450 or something like this. I think that
he helped me out about $100 or something like this.
K: How did you get that employment on the farm? Who did you have
to talk to about that?
H: There was a little black boy that was killed in the dormitories.
The black women would come to the dormitories to pick up the wash
for the boys. I think that they did yourweek's wash for thirty-five
cents; I'm not sure. At any rate, one of the little boys came to
the room of a man, a student, to get his wash. He told him to go
away and come back later. Well, the little boy went away and came
back in about ten minutes. The student had a gun under his pillow.
He intended to shoot over the little boy's head, but shot him in the
temple and killed him.
Well, the black people went on strike. I believe it was the
dean of the college that put out word that they needed some help over
on the farm. I went over to help on the farm while they were out
on strike. After that, I was on call about anytime that they needed
me on the farm, but I never did do a great deal of work on the farm,
some, but not a great deal. I guess I didn't do any after my junior
year. It was in my sophomore year that I did most of it.
K: What were your duties on the farm? Was it just plowing or did you
do everything that one would expect?
H: No. What I was doing, I was plowing. I plowed corn over where
the [J. Hillis] Miller Health Center is now, that was the Experiment
Station farm. And I worked some on the college farm, which was where
the architecture buildings are located now, and the girls' dormitories
[Yulee Area] across the street, all that was the college farm.
K: I see. Did you just plow behind a mule?
H: Just a mule. Georgia stock plow, one-mule plow.
K: You'd do that on the weekends?
H: Yes, on afternoons, usually. I didn't work on Sundays.
K: Can you tell me a little bit more about that shooting incident? Do
you remember the man who, who did that? The young man who shot the
boy? Was he prosecuted?
H: As I recall--I may be wrong about this, but as I recall--the
campus physician was Dr. [Edward R.] Flint, who was also a
professor of chemistry. They called the student body together
and Dr. Flint told the student body that the little boy was dead
and that the student had come over and confessed to it and had been
turned over to the law and been expelled, and turned over to the
proper county officials. As I understand it, that little boy's
mother soon died before he (the student) was brought to trial. As
I recall, he never did come to trial. It was reported that he
was also involved, after this, in an automobile accident in which
a person was killed. I don't know whether this was correct or not.
K: Which dormitory did that take place in?
H: That was in Buckman Hall, not in my section. I think it was in
section B, but I'm not sure.
K: Could you tell me which year it took place?
H: I believe it took place in the spring of 1917, but I'm not sure about
that. It could have been the spring of '19, but I think it was 1917.
K: I'm sure the black people eventually went back to work, but did
they hire them back on the farm?
H: Oh yes.
K: They did? I see. I read somewhere that you worked at one time in
the dining hall. Is that true? As a student?
H: Well, if I did, I didn't have a regular job in the dining room. If
I did, I did it just to fill in for one of my friends who was away.
K: Was the dining hall called the Commons at that time?
H: It was called Commons, yes, or Mess Hall.
K: That was the little building over by Buckman and Thomas?
H: Yes. It's attached on to Johnson Hall, I believe.
K: Yes, it is.
H: Now, I also collected gas and lumber bills for a firm here in
Gainesville when I was a student. I did this when I didn't have
classes, and this paid pretty well.
K: Was this one of the hardware companies?
H: No. It was the gas company, and lumber company run in connection
with it and I collected the delinquent accounts.
K: I see. So you just went door to door?
H: A list was prepared for me as to what this party owed and the
address and I went from door to door. I believe I got 3 percent
for collecting. I'm not sure about this. It could have been
5 percent, but it wasn't much. But it paid pretty well for that time.
I was glad to get it.
I got the job when an older student gave it up because of
graduation. He let me know about it. I happened to know the party
who owned the company. I think I got acquainted with him down at the
First Baptist Church. I'm not sure how I got acquainted with him,
but I knew him before I went down to get the job.
K: Do you mind telling us the name of the student and of the man you
H: The student was John Alman from the east coast. The man that I
worked for was E. W. Wynne.
K: Where did you take your meals? Did you eat all your meals in the
H: I ate all my meals in the Commons the entire time I was here.
K: Did they serve three meals a day there?
H: They served three meals a day.
K: How did they run that, as a cafeteria?
H: No. They had students to wait on table. They had a student in
charge. I remember the first man that had it was Ham, who was killed
in War I. He was a captain, Captain Ham. We had two casualties
in War I--Ham and...I forget the other man's name. Ham was a senior
when I was a sophomore, my first year here. I don't know how he got
his training. I don't know whether he became captain after he went
in, or whether he had training in the R.O.T.C. He and one other
man were killed. These, I think,were the only death casualties that
we had. We might have had some wounded in War I.
Following him was a student by the name of "Rowdy" Bill
Wilkerson who had charge of the Mess Hall. We called it Mess Hall
as much as we called it Commons.
K: Did they charge you by the meal, or did you pay as part of your
fees to eat there?
H: As I recall, we paid monthly or each semester. I think that I
paid my first term in September.
K: Did they have you sit at long tables or what?
H: I think there were ten at a table,possibly only eight, but I
believe there were ten. The first year I was here, I ate at
the same table a local attorney ate at, Sigsbee Scruggs here
K: So the boys then would come and bring the food to your table?
H: They'd come bring the food to the table.
K: Were there certain set, normal hours...?
H: Oh yes.
K: What were they?
H: I don't remember specifically. I know that they were before the
classes started. Must have been 7:00 of a morning, and 12:00 at
noon, and probably 6:00 in the evening.
K: Would they have served for, perhaps, an hour?
H: There was only one sitting.
K: You just had to be there?
H: You had to be there. You could come in late, but they cleared
the dishes away as soon as the majority was through. Food was
brought in in dishes and passed around, boardinghouse style.
K: So, if you didn't get there on time, you were pretty much up the
H: Pretty much, yes.
K: Was there anywhere relatively near the campus where a student
could go, before the war, to a small restaurant or a grocery
H: Across the street were the College Inn and Ramsey's.
K: Before the war?
H: Yeah. I think the College Inn was there. And also Ramsey boarding-
house was there. I don't think any of the students ate in the
fraternities. I don't think any of the fraternities operated a
dining room. But there was Ramsey's boarding and eating house
right across from Buckman Hall, in a frame building. I never did
eat there, but some of the students ate there.
K: Did you belong to a fraternity before the war?
H: No. I did not.
K: Were there many of them around?
H: I think there were the K.A.'s, A.T.O.'s, S.A.E.'s,.. .maybe four.,
I don't remember theother one, but the S.A.E.'s were here, the
A.T.O.'s, and the K.A.'s.
K: Did they actually have houses or did they just have chapters?
H: They had houses at this time. All three of these that I named
K: Could you tell us where they were located?
H: Well, A.T.O.'s were located where they are now [207 Southwest
K: Same place.
H: And the K.A.'s were located directly across from the research
library, I think they usually call it Library West now.
K: Yes, sir.
H: Across the street from there, and it was a two-story, wooden,
colonial-type building. I believe the S.A.E.'s were on the
[southeast] corner of University Avenue and Thirteenth Street
where [Amoco] oil station is. There's possibly another fraternity,
or there could have been more. But those three I remember.
K: Did the dormitories have complete indoor bathroom facilities when
you got here?
H: Yes. They had one bathroom for eight students. There were four
rooms on a floor to a section and two boys to a room. The end
sections, I believe, had more than eight boys to a section on a
floor. They had one commode and one urinal, and a shower.
K: Did they have electricity in your rooms?
H: No. The heat was from a coal furnace and a student fired the
furnace. That was a regular job that he had. I think they had
one for each hall. I knew the one that fired the furnace in
Buckman Hall, but I didn't know the one in Thomas Hall.
K: What did you do for light then? Did you have oil lamps?
H: No, we had electric lights.
K: Was there a campus bookstore?
H: Yes, there was a bookstore. Let me see, I believe it was the
basement of Anderson Hall, Language Hall.
K: That's where you got the books for your various courses?
H: Yeah. The library was in the basement of Peabody Hall. The
entire library occupied less than half the basement of Peabody
H: As I recall, Professor [William Byron] Hathaway had as his duties
[to serve] as a kind of supervisor-librarian, in connection with
his teaching. But I think he had a woman who assisted him.
K: Do you remember what hours the library was open? Was it open at
H: I think it was open 'til 10:00 at night. I believe it was, but
I'm not sure.
K: Would that have been in the north end of Peabody's basement?
H: That was in the north end of Peabody.
K: Do you remember ever checking any books out of that library?
H: Yes. Yes, we could check them out.
K: Do you rememberif there was a limit? Say, two books or ten books?
H: I don't remember about that.
K: Would you just signyour name for them?
H: Sign your name, leave the card.
K: Did you study much there? Where did you do your studying?
H: I did my studying mostly in my room. There were a few tables in
the library so that you could bring reference books out and lay
them down. I don't think they would accommodate more than twenty-
five or thirty students.
K: Was there an infirmary at that time?
H: Yes. Yes, there was an infirmary, and Miss Mary McRobbie was the
nurse in the infirmary. But I've forgotten where it was located.
It seems to me like it was in a section of Thomas Hall. I don't
know whether it was onefloor or not. I never did have to go to
the infirmary, but there was an infirmary. Miss Mary McRobbie
was crippled with arthritis.
K: How old a woman would she have been?
H: Oh, at least sixty or sixty-five.
K: Was there a swimming pool on campus when you came here?
H: Yes, there was a swimming pool, in connection with the basketball
court. It was right at the end of the basketball court, and the
boys used to get up on top of the basketball court roof and dive
off into the swimming pool, those that were good divers. I didn't
do it; I didn't dive very much. It was located in the vicinity
of the Mess Hall, the gymnasium was. And all it was, was the
basketball court and the swimming pool.
K: Was it a wooden building?
H: It was a wood building, just barely the size of regulation basketball
court. That was about all there was. There wasn't any facilities
in there for taking exercise or anything like this.
K: It was south? Somewhere south of Buckman and Thomas and near the
H: It seems to me like that it was located on the road, or street, that
comes down between Thomas Hall and the hall to the west of that
[Murphree]. Later there was a brick gym. It served also as an
assembly hall. It was built while I was away in the service, that
two years that I was away. We had the assembly hall and that gym,
together and that building [the Women's Gym] is still standing.
H: Then, after that, they built a basketball court, a wood building
this side of it that would accommodate probably 600 or 700, maybe
1,000 people. That wasn't built until the '30's, I believe [actually
begun in 1925 and razed in 1978]. My son played basketball in
there; he was on the team.
K: Can you tell me a little more accurately from the location of
that brick auditorium and gym, what they now call the Women's Gym,
where that original wooden gym was? Was it the same site?
H: No. The new wooden gym, which was built after the brick, was more
spacious. It was built this side (south) of the brick.
K: Just to the south of it?
H: Yes. Just to the south of it. I think that this other building,
the first building, may have been located on the same spot, or
about the same spot.
K: You said you were absent in the military, when they put up what
we now call the Women's Gym.
K: Did you ever attend any chapel services in that building?
H: Oh yes, they held chapel services in there, yes.
K: That was the normal spot for chapel services?
H: That was the normal spot. They had chapel every morning, didn't
K: Did you attend that before the war as well as after?
H: The chapel, before the war, was held on the second floor of Floyd
Hall. They had chapel there and they also had a Sunday afternoon
service there. The chapel was conducted by various faculty members
K: Did they just read to you from the Scripture or did they lecture
H: They usually read from the Scripture and commented on the reading,
very briefly. They usually had a song, and they had somebody to
K: Who were some of the faculty members that you remember doing that?
Leading the chapel service?
H: Well, there was Dr. [Harvey Warren] Cox, dean of the teacher's
college; Dr. [Albert Alexander] Murphree often did it; Major
[Wilbur Leonidas] Floyd, dean of the agriculture college, did it.
I think Dean [Harry Raymond] Trusler of the law school did it.
I don't believe Dean [John Robert] Benton of engineering ever did;
I don't recall that he did. But we had a Y.M.C.A. secretary on
campus...Nelson, I believe. He led some.
They liked for Dr. Cox to hold the services. He was a rather
unusual man. He was later president of Emory University.
K: Did you know Dr. Cox very well?
H: Yes, I had a course with him.
K: What sort of a person was he? What sort of a teacher?
H: Oh, he was a very excellent teacher. He lectured some, but it
was mostly a question, and a student answer, then an elaboration
by him. He was a bald-headed man.. He didn't use any.notes or
anything like this. We had a textbook, but he didn't refer very
much to the textbook.
K: You mentioned Professor Hathaway, a little bit ago.
K: Did you ever have any contact with him?
H: None, except a little church contact with him. We were members
of the same church.
K: Can you tell us anything about his personality or character? Or
did you really know him that well?
H: Well, I don't think I knew him well. In the church that I attended,
it was not unusual for the minister to call on one of the laymen
to lead in prayer. And I remember his prayers were very longI
K: [Laughter]. What did the students do for entertainment? Were
there any motion picture theatres in Gainesville before the war?
H: Yeah. There were one or two theatres.
The church people of Gainesville were very helpful in the
social life of students as far as the students would let them.
I remember, the first year I was here, I attended the Baptist
church. There was certain members of that church that would "adopt"
a student as a "son," member of the family. I was adopted by a
Mr. Kelly, who was tax collector, and I had a real long and a
happy experience with that family. I remember one time he took
two or three of us over to St. Augustine. We'd never been there.
They had us in their home occasionally, sometimes for a meal,
sometimes in a group for a meal. There were about four or five
that he "adopted" as "sons." This was true with other members
of congregation. So they had this outlet.
There were no women in the university, of course. I remember
Mrs. Newell, who was the wife of Provost [Wilmon] Newell, director
of the Experiment Station. About once a year she would have the
seniors in the College of Agriculture come to her house. She
had girls there and they had an evening of bridge and different
games, light refreshments, things of this kind. Sometimes, she
would invite a graduate student, along with the seniors. I
remember that I was there two or three times. I was two years in
my master's work. I don't know how long she did this, when she
terminated, or when she started it. I presume that she started
it when he became dean. I guess he became dean after [Peter Henry]
Rolfs was dean. Before he became dean, Rolfs was the director of
the Experiment Station and of the Agricultural Extension Service.
Dean [J. J.] Vernon was dean of agriculture. President Murphree
called Dean Vernon over to his office and told him that he wanted
closer coordination between the work of the agricultural college
and other colleges and he had decided to make Rolfs dean of
agriculture and that he [Vernon] would carry the title of assistant
dean. I'm told that Dean Vernon said, "Sir, you have my resignation."
He went to Virginia. I guess he was head of the Virginia Department
of Agricultural Economics for a while.
K: Did you know Dean Vernon very well?
H: No. I didn't know Dean Vernon. That took place before I came [ca. 1915].
I think, just the year before I came.
K: So Dean Rolfs was in charge when you...?
H: Then Dean Rolfs was in charge and it wasn't long until Rolfs went
to Brazil [in 1921] and Dr. [Wilmon] Newell replaced him. At the
time Dean Rolfs left and went to Brazil, they brought in Dr. Newell,
who was director of the [Florida State] Plant Board, to also be
dean of agriculture, director of the station, and director of
k: Um huh.
H: They had assistants under each one of these units.
K: Um huh.
H: This held on 'til they added the title of "provost." When Dean
Newell was out of town, Assistant Dean Floyd would attend the
university faculty meetings and he would always have to say, "If
the dean of the college concurs in this, I'll go along with it."
K: Um huh.
H: Dr. Tigert said, "I'm going to change this. I'm going to make
Newell provost, and I'm going to give you the title as dean with
the other deans. And there will be a director of the Experiment
Station and a director of extension." It must have been about 1932
or '33, sometime along there.
K: But both decisions were intended to make the College of Agriculture
and the Experiment Station and the Extension Service more a part
of the university?
H: This is right.
K: Did you know Dean Rolfs at all?
H: Yes, I knew him, very briefly.
K: Could you tell us a little bit about him?
H: No, I can't tell you much about him because I had no contact with
K: Um huh.
H: I was just a sophomore. I remember him coming over to the agricultural
club and talking to the club once or twice during the year. But
I don't remember anything very distinctive about him.
K: Do you remember if he was a good speaker?
H: I think he did very well as a speaker.
K: Let's go back. I wanted to ask you about shopping before the war.
As a student, if you wanted a piece of clothing or to get something
to eat off-campus, did you have to walk all the way back to down-
town Gainesville, to the square area? Or were there clothing stores
any closer to campus?
H: There were not in 1916 and '17, the first year I was here.
K: Um huh.
H: There were no clothing stores.
K: Um huh.
H: I think the College Inn had sweaters...
K: Um huh.
H: ...that they put in in connection with their stock of goods that
they had. They had tablets and things like this.
K: Um huh.
H: I think they had a pool table in the College Inn.
K: Um huh.
H: I believe there was a barber shop either in there or next door to
it one, I forget which.
K: Um huh.
H: But for buying of shirts or socks, anything like this, you went
K: Did students go into town frequently, or was it something that
they'd be likely to do only once a week or...?
H: Well, there was a good many students that went into town for
church on Sunday...
K: Um huh.
H: ...at all the churches. I would guess that 20 or 25 percent of
the student body attended church. Possibly one of the reasons for
this was there was a little social life mixed up with it. They
would go to town to a show, and they would have a parade when we
won a football game.
There was one student that had a room at Dr. [James Marion]
Farr's home. He was on University Avenue along about the third
or fourth block. The Farr house.has been torn away.
K: Um huh.
H: I never babysat here. I did it at the University of Tennessee.
I babysat for the dean of the college of engineering. It seems
to me that some of the students would babysit or help in the homes
of faculty members, but I had no contact with babysitting. It
may not be that they did.
K: Where did they actually hold the football games before the war?
Where did they play?
H: The football games were held out just south and to the west of
the handball courts on University Avenue over here. Later the games
were played on the corner and the road just west-of the stadium.
K: Um hum.
H: Lay right in there. Now, in 1916 and '17, the field ran west and
east. When I came back from the war, they had changed it to run
north and south. But it was about the same location.
K: It was about the same location.
H: Yeah. There were not enough cars in '16 and '17 in Gainesville
to fill up the parking area around the field.
C: Um huh.
H: But a few cars would buy tickets and park over on the--let's see,
the stands were on the west side, and they would park on the east
side. These were people like Dr. Murphree and his family, Dr.
[Mathew H.] DePass and his family, Major Thomas and his family,
and there was some four or five others that would park over on the
east side of the football field. Now, when I came back in 1919
and '20, the university had grown to the point where I, there was
no room for parking.
K: Now the field that you refer to after the war with bleachers on
both sides, was that where itremained until they built the first
part of what is now Florida Field? As far as you remember?
H: I believe this is right. I think that they added on to the seating
capacity. I think that originally when I came back there was
seats only on two sides. But I think they added an end side to
it later. This was where the football was held until the first
unit of the stadium, Florida Field.
K: I see. Now, when you came here, do you remember if they played
other colleges in basketball in that little gym? Or was that just
for the students on campus? Do you remember seeing a game between
Florida and another school in there?
H: I don't believe we had basketball. We had football.
K: Um hum.
H: In football we played Southern College and Stetson. We played Mercer,
and Georgia, and Tennessee, and Georgia Tech. The first year I was
here, we played the University of Tennessee. I remember that very
distinctly--we played them in Tampa--because I had been a student
there the year before. I knew about every man on both teams.
K: Was baseball much of a sport at that time in Florida? At the
H: Relatively, it was more important than it is today.
K: Um huh.
H: We had a good baseball team and we played the schools in the state,
Stetson and Southern.
K: Um huh.
H: We played the New York Giants one year and we had a very outstanding
player that went with the New York Giants. I think he hit a
homerun off the Giants, the time we played them here. They beat
us, but we had a good game. Several years, they played one of the
major teams. It seems to me like it was the Giants more than
any other one.
K: They'd do that in spring training?
H: In spring training. It was a practice game for the Giants.
K: Where was the baseball diamond?
H: The baseball diamond was right where the football field was.
K: The same area was used for both?
H: Yeah, the same area.
K: I see. So they could use the bleachers for both. Now, we talked
a little bit about social life before. Were there many students
who dated local girls, high school girls or town girls? Or did
they do much dating?
H: Yes, they did some dating.
I remember going to see a basketball game between Gainesville
High and some other school, and the coach of Gainesville High was
Mrs. Miller who lives here in Gainesville now--she was Edna Earl
Chestnut at the time. Edna Earl Chestnut. A very beautiful woman.
She still lives here now (she's a Mrs. Miller), she lives on
University Avenue. She was coach of the girl's basketball team.
I think there was probably a half a dozen of us boys that were
down at that game, university students. I think there was quite
a bit of dating of town girls at the time. I dated town girls and
I had friends that dated town girls. I think, on the whole, there
was quite a bit of it. And there was some going to Tallahassee on
K: How did a student try to meet young women? Did he, as you suggested
before, just go to church?
H: I think mostly through the churches.
K: Were there any dances that were held on campus that you remember
before the war? Or would a dance only be held by a certain organiza-
tion like a fraternity?
H: There were dances in the fraternity homes, before. I wasn't a
fraternity man at that time. Then there were dances that were held
in tha brick gym, what they called the new gym, the Women's Gym.
There were dances that were held there, but I forget what auspices
held those dances. Kinda seems to me like that the "F" Club did,
that they sponsored them, but I'm not sure about this. There
weren't many of them. Not more than one or two a year.
K: So there was really no place other than a church setting or a dance
setting where a young man could really strike up an acquaintance
with a girl, was there? Because the young women wouldn't be go-
ing anywhere alone, would they?
K: Did you ever make any of those weekend trips up to Tallahassee?
H: No, I never did go to Tallahassee for the day.
K: Do you remember if the students who did already knew somebody,
or would they go up and visit the campus and try to make acquaintance
H: I got the impression that they were going up [to see] the girls
that they knew from high school. But this may not be right.
K: Do you recall, since you lived in the dorms for several years,
if there was much use of alcohol at that time? Or was that...?
H: I don't recall that there was any use of it, whatsoever, in our
section or in general. I don't remember that at all. I'm sure
it'd been dealt with very harshly on the part of the administration
if it had been.
K: Do you think that these young men were coming from backgrounds
where they did not believe in using it? Or do you think that they
were afraid of the possible consequences if they were caught?
H: I don't think there was much drinking at football games. I don't
remember, before the war, seeing anyone drinking at the football
games, either the students or alumni.
I remember at one football game, they had two rival fraternities
put on a skit between halves. One of these fraternities was inter-
rupting the skit of the other fraternity, and they pulled all the
clothes off of a boy, stark naked...
H: ...and this created quite a...
H: ...to do as to why the administration would permit such a thing to
take place' I think that the fraternity was disciplined. I don't
remember just what.
K: They didn't stand for much foolishness? Let's talk a little bit now
about your war service. When did you leave the campus and how
did you go into the service?
H: I left the campus in May, just before classes was out, because
they were wanting boys to stay on the farm. If you know the
history of it, they didn't draft boys on the farm. They encouraged
the agriculture boys, all the boys in agriculture who wanted to
work on the farm and had passing grades would receive passing grades
for the semester. I went and worked on the farm that summer, which
was the summer of 1917, and the following summer.
I didn't go into the service until July 1918. I got across,
but I didn't see any action. I went into the service in July of
1918. Just as soon as I got the shots, we had one afternoon of
bayonet practice and we had one afternoon on the rifle range, and
I was shipped out to go across. I went across on the big Olympic
boat. I was back in the states by Christmas time, discharged in
January 1919. So my period of service was very brief and the pre-
paration was very brief.
K: Where did they send you for your training? And what kind of train-
ing did you receive?
H: Atlanta. Mostly physical education training. We were issued guns
immediately, but it was mostly drill and getting in shape. I
wasn't there but about three or four weeks until I was shipped to
Camp Merritt, New Jersey, and right on across.
We landed in Southhampton, England, and I took the 'flu there.
We went over as a replacement for the 30th Division. Some of the
men I was with got on the firing line, but I never did. I had the
'flu when we landed, and then I took the mumps. So they put me
in the second company of the first convalescent battalion to come
back to the states.
K: You were back in Tennessee during the time between the university
and the service? Back in Tennessee?
H: Yes. I was on my father's farm.
K: When did you arrive back in Gainesville to start school?
H: That was in 1919, September of 1919. I got out of the service in
January 1919, and I stayed on the farm that year and came back to
the university in September.
K: What point at your studies were you? Were you a second-year
student then, or a third-year student in agriculture?
H: The first year I came here I was a second-year student and after
the war I was a third-year. And graduated in the fourth year.
K: So they had allowed you the studies that you had wanted to transfer
H: Oh, yes. They were transferred down when I entered here. I had
asked the registrar at the University of Tennessee to send my
records down here. But, as I recall, I didn't say anything to the
University of Florida about them being sent, 'til I got here. I
think that's right.
K: So you arrived back in September of 1919?
H: After the war.
K: And they put you back in the same dormitory room that you had
H: As I recall, I applied for that room.
K: Were your friends, the two brothers, still here?
H: No. One of them was still here. I had a room with him.
And at that time, after that, I think a lot of those rooms
after the war had three men to the room. I spoke of that, I
being the first one, three men to a room before the war. But
I think, after the war, most of those rooms had three men, so
that was twelve to the section. I know there was three to our
room, and it was three all the time--when I was a junior, a
senior, and one year a graduate student.
K: Now, before the war, had you been involved in any military training
H: I was in R.O.T.C.
K: You were in R.O.T.C.?
K: Were all the young men, the students, required to participate in
H: They required--the University of Tennessee--two years; and at the
University of Florida, they required three years. At the University
of Florida, we had drill practice only three days a week. The
University of Tennessee had it every day of the week, five days
K: Was this drill marching in formation?
H: Yes. Marching in formation.
K: Did you receive other types of military training such as making
you familiar with firearms?
H: No. No. Didn't have any.
K: Before the war, had the students, when participating in this, worn
uniforms? Or did you just wear your regular clothes?
H: We had to buy a uniform.
K: Did you wear the uniforms all the time or only for R.O.T.C.?
H: Mostly we wore it the three days that we drilled, all the time.
The other two days, we didn't. There was no regulation in regard
to it, as to how much you could or could not. Some of the students
wore it all the time. As a matter of fact, one student came here
and all he had was just a suitcase. Come to school for a semester's
K: Perhaps because of that, were the students awakened or put to bed
by a bugler? Before the war?
H: I don't believe so.
K: I know you were away, but when you came back, did you talk with
anybody about the changes that had taken place on the campus during
the war? I want to lead up to ask if you can tell me anything
about the Student Army Training Corps on campus.
H: No. I don't know anything about that.
I know that my wife assisted in the infirmary during the 'flu
epidemic that they had here on campus. She was a Gainesville girl,
and she came out and helped in the infirmary which they had made,
now Floyd Hall.
K: This was in 1919?
H: I guess it was in 1918.
K: What's your wife's name, by the way?
H: MacArthur, Mildred.
K: Mildred MacArthur? And she was a Gainesville girl?
K: How did you happen to meet her? Did you meet her at church?
H: No. I didn't meet her at church. She was going with my roommate.
Not as datin', exactly, but going in a group. He encouraged me
to call her up and ask for a date. I told her that I knew this man,
and she said, "Well, come on down, then." That's the way I met
her. I didn't meet her at church. I did meet some girls at church
group, but not my wife.
K: When did y'all get married?
H: In 1923, on May 29.
K: And how many children do you have?
H: We have three children.
K: Now what sorts of jobs did you work at after you came back, while
you were finishing your bachelor's degree? Did you go back to
the farm? The university farm?
H: No, I didn't go back to the university farm. I collected gas bills
and lumber bills, and I sold books in the summer time. I didn't
have a very difficult time getting through that way.
K: I see. Did you go to school through June? Was that the end
of the school year?
H: Well, the year that I got married, the end of the school year, the
graduation was on May 29, 1923. I got married just as soon as I
got my master's degree. The same day.
K: When did you receive your bachelor's degree?
K: Did you go on immediately to start work on your master's?
H: Yes. I think that I was one of the first two students that had
ever got a graduate assistantship in agriculture. This was in
September of 1921. I think Charlie Abbot got an assistantship
in horticulture and I got one in agricultural economics. I think
these two were the first that had ever been awarded to students.
K: What were your duties with those assistantships? What did you have
H: Well, I had to grade papers and--my second year--I had a freshman
course that I taught.
K: What was that in? What did you teach?
H: Agronomy. But then the Agronomy Department and the Agriculture
Economics Department and the Agricultural Engineering Department
and the Soils Department were all one department. It was under
Soils, and these other units were broken off from the Soils. Well,
the department was split up in four departments, but not all at one
K: Who gave you that assistantship? Who was the man that you were
H: [John Edwin] Turlington.
H: Yes, he was the father of Ralph Turlington, the [Florida state]
commissioner of education.
K: Which field did he teach in?
H: He was in soils and agricultural economics. He taught courses in
soils and agricultural economics, too. He had a man to assist him
in agriculture engineering.
K: How long were you involved working on your master's degree?
H: Two years.
K: From '21 till '23?
H: Yeah. In 1921-22 the United States Department of Agriculture was
doing some work down in Polk and Hillsborough counties and the
first semester of each one of those years I was down there help-
ing them. We were cooperating with the department on some fruit
and vegetable farms in the area. So most of the work that I did
for the university was in connection with the cooperating project
that we had with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
K: How did you work that as far as your classes? Were you gone all
H: No. I was gone for most of the semester. I took my courses in the
second semester of both years.
K: I see. You must have been taking more than an average load of
courses that second semester. You must have had an awful lot of
H: Yeah, I did practically all of my work the second semester, carried
a full load, which is about fifteen hours. Some of the work in
cooperation with the U.S.D.A., I used for my thesis.
K: Un huh.
H: A part of the work that we did in cooperation on citrus groves and
vegetable farms, I used for my thesis.
K: Who was the person in charge of your committee? Who helped you
with your thesis?
H: We didn't have a committee. We just had a head and he was
Turlington. He was head of the department.
K: What kind of a person was he to work with?
H: Oh, he was very fine to work with, very considerate of students,
and very helpful. Mrs. Turlington was a very charming and helpful
woman. The Turlingtons often had students out for an evening in
Dr. Turlington was somewhat concerned about my [use of] grammar
in my thesis. He said, "Miz Turlington"--she was a good grammar
student--"said for you to come out and have supper at our house, and
she'll go over your thesis for grammar."
H: I went out and had supper at their house. Dr. Turlington did the
dishes while Mrs. Turlington and I went off to a room and she went
over my thesis. We worked 'til about one o'clock on that, correct-
ing the grammar and so forth. She was a very charming woman. She
was at one time president of the University Dames, a big churchworker.
Dr. Turlington was a very close friend of the president, Dr.
[A. A.] Murphree. I presume--he never did say so--but I presume
that he was an advisor to Dr. Murphree. I know, often, he would
say, "I've got to go to Dr. Murphree's office." Or, "I've been
over to Dr. Murphree's office." He might say some things about
what took place or he might not. I always thought that Dr. Murphree
was leaning on him in agricultural matters.
K: When you received your degree in 1923, where did they hold the
H: It was held in the new gym over there, what's called the Women's
K: They call it the Women's Gym now. Is that where they had also
held the ceremony when you received your bachelor's degree?
H: Yes. That's where the chapel was held, too.
K: Did most students actually go to graduation at that time?
H: Well, those that were on the campus went. But the classes were
out, before the graduation was held.
K: Okay. Did you get to know Dr. Murphree at all yourself?
H: Yes, I knew Dr. Murphree pretty well.
K: What were your impressions of him?
H: Well, I always thought very highly of Dr. Murphree, as a student.
He was a big church man and I grew up in a church family.
I presume that most of my contact with Dr. Murphree was in
1920, about the expulsion of about fifty students for hazing--
cutting hair. This is what they got them for.
They would hold kangaroo courts. They'd bring the student
in and the judge would ask him all kind of questions: "Why did
you do this?" and "Why did you do that?"
In 1920, after the football season was over they cut some
of the freshmen's hair. The sophomores did. There were forty-
eight students involved in it. It was known as the "Forty-eight
Club"--carried their picture in the Seminole. The student body was
about, at that time, 1,000 students, I guess. This was in '20,
fall of '20.
This caused quite a stir in the state--about women with her
"baby" boy's hair being cut. The administration suspended forty-
eight students. I was in the number. I was the only one that
didn't cut any hair and advised them against it, because I knew
what had taken place at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville,
some of them being expelled up there. But I knew about it. I
had held a kangaroo court in my junior year. This was my senior
year, but this involved me anyway. None of the students lost
credit for their courses, if they wanted to take examinations
at the end of the semester. I did and I got credit for all of
mine. I believe that most of the forty-eight came back and took
their examinations and got credit. The Forty-eight Club was
formed after the hair-cutting took place.
K: Was this a social club that most of that particular class belonged
to? Or that leaders of that class belonged to?
H: No. It was spontaneous.
K: It was spontaneous?
H: Yeah. It was right after a bad football season, and the student
body was all keen and disgusted. They started cutting hair, at
this place in the dormitory and over across the street, off the
campus, and around everywhere. It just kind of spread.
K: This was kind of a prerogative that an upperclassman felt over
H: Well, it was an outbreak of the kangaroo courts and things that
they'd held. It was common for an upperclassman to bend a
freshman over and hit him a few licks with a belt. I don't think
there was ever any injury done, anything like that. But it was
a kind of harassment and humiliating.
K: It was just general hazing? Of younger students by more experienced
H: Yeah. Particularly the students that roomed together with an
upperclassman. They would say, "Well, Rat, you do this and you
do that" and "You go and get this for me." Things like this.
Except this hair-cutting episode, we never had that but the one
year. It had never been done before. And I don't know why it
broke out that time. But was just spontaneous.
K: When you had come before the war, did the custom of having freshmen
rat caps exist at that time?
H: Yeah. Yeah.
K: Did that continue after the war?
H: That continued after the war. I don't know when it was stopped.
I wasn't long after the war that it was stopped.
K: Is it true that people generally would say hello to anyone that
they passed on campus, even though they might not know them?
H: This was very common. Before the war, there were only about 350
students here, and they all ate at the Mess Hall or Ramsey's,
so you knew most of them. But one of the things that a rat had to
do was to learn by name all the faculty members on the campus and
be able to tell what they did. This was one of the things that
was laid out for them.
You were supposed, if you had a hat-- 'course they didn't
wear hats much more then than they do now--but if you had a hat,
you're supposed to tip your hat to the professor if you met him.
This was just to show respect.
K: I see.
H: I think this kind of thing held on after the war, but before the
war, after you'd been on the campus for some period of time, you
were supposed to know all the faculty. You see, the faculty met
in a classroom when they had faculty meetings, there were only
a small number.
K: That was big enough to hold them all?
H: Well, in agriculture, there was a dean, Turlington, Rass, Willoughby,
there wasn't but four to eight besides the dean. You took almost
every course in the college to get enough to graduate.
K: Could you tell us a little bit about those other members of the
faculty? Professor Willoughby and the others you just mentioned.
H: Well, Professor [Claude Houston] Willoughby was professor of
animal husbandry and dairying. He was a bald-headed man. In
contrast to Dr. Cox, he had a textbook.. He asked every question
out of the textbook to the students, and the students were supposed
to know the answers. Be hard to say one was superior to the other,
but they were certainly different. Professor Willoughby was one
that held chapel occasionally and he could also lead in singing.
Major [Wilbur Leonidas] Floyd was very quiet. He was a
military man. He came from the East Florida Seminary where he
was commandant, over here. He dressed very well, always neat, and
rather modest, but somewhat stern in dealing with students. Not
to ball you out--he was very quiet about it. But he didn't hesitate
to say: "You must do this" and "You must do that," "You got to
take this," and "You've got to have such a course.
K: I see.
H: Turlington was very fine; he was a very capable man. He was a
good economist, he was a good businessman, and he was well-grounded
in politics. He kept up with politics in the state. Not that he
tried to use it, in any way, but he was just interested in politics.
He was interested, very much interested, in community affairs.
K: Francis Marion Rast?
H: I didn't know him very well. He was a young man and he had gone
when I came back after the war. I think he left at the end of
my sophomore year.
K: Do you remember what he'd been teaching?
H: He taught agronomy, field crops.
K: Did Dean Newell teach anything, any course that you took?
H: So far as I know, he never did teach any. You see, he came here
as director of the Plant Board. Then, when Rolfs left, they made
him director of the Experiment Station, dean of the college,
director of extension and director of the Plant Board. These
are four positions. His salary was more than the president's salary.
As I recall it, President Murphree's salary was $5,000 and Newell's,
K: Did you have the opportunity to get to know Dr. [James Marion]
H: I had a course with Dr. Farr, an English course. He was a good
teacher. He was the son of a banker, I believe, but I got the
impression that Dr. Farr was kind of a poor businessman. He
inherited quite a bit of money from his father, but it was
reported he never did handle it very well. He lived rather
elaborately. He had a nice home; he drove a big automobile, and
in contrast to Dr. Murphree, he was not much of a church man.
This is not to say he didn't have high moral standards.
K: Did he have much of a role in dealing with the students as far
as administration or discipline?
H: I don't think so.
When Dr. Tigert came...
K: That would have been in 1928.
H: Yeah, 1928. Well, I don't think it was long after that before
they elected Dean [Townes Randolph] Leigh as vice president.
It may be that Dr. Farr stopped before that. I don't know. Dr.
Farr resigned from the university and went over to Orange Park
and lived over there. So far as I know, he never did come back
on the campus after he left. He may have.
K: Did people say that he was disappointed that he had not been
named as president of the university?
H: I don't recall. I don't recall that he had any aspirations for
being president after Dr. Murphree's death. Some people might
have felt like he was the man for the place, but I think in general
that there wasn't very much sentiment for him.
K: How about Dean [John Robert] Benton from engineering? Did you know
him at all?
H: Yes, I knew him. I was in a club with him, the Atheneum Club,
which is the oldest club on campus, and moved from Lake City here.
Dean Benton had the reputation among the students as being
the scholarly man on the campus. I think I'm right in regard to
this. He was a very learned engineer. They called him "Ichabod
Crane" because of the way he walks. He had a habit of lecturing...
these inkwells that used to be built in the desk, you know, the
hole there, he'd take that inkwell out and set it over there and
fumble with his finger in that hole.
He drove an old Model T car as Dean Newell did, while Dr. Farr
drove a high-priced car. Dr. Murphree drove a high-priced car.
Dean Benton raised a family of.three or four boys. I believe
one is a prominent physician over in Panama City; one of them is
a doctor in Pensacola. I don't know where the other two are.
K: How about Dr. [James Nesbitt] Anderson?
H: Dr. Anderson was a professor of Greek, dean of the college, and
I presume was a very good Greek scholar and Latin scholar. He
was also dean of the Graduate School in its early days.
My most vivid recollection of Dean Anderson was with a student's
thesis in which I thought therewas a great injustice done to the
student. He had a regulation that the thesis had to be in his
office at five o'clock on a certain day or he wouldn't accept them.
This student, who was an agricultural engineering student, master's
degree, I carried the message to him that his mother had died when
he was having his thesis typed. The typist said she would get it
together. She would take it over and have it bound, and she'd take
it to Professor [Frazier] Rogers. He went home for his mother's
funeral, thinking that everything was taken care of. Well, the
typist had his thesis bound, carried it over to Professor Rogers,
and Professor Rogers failed to get it in by five o'clock although
he had plenty of time. Dean Anderson wouldn't accept it and he
had to come back to a summer school for this.
I was a young instructor in the department. I went to Dr.
Turlington about it, the head of the department, and complained
to him about it. I also complained to Professor Rogers about it,
complained to Dean Floyd about it, and none of them would do any-
thing about it. So there was nothing done except the student came
Dr. Turlington said in regard to it, "Well, you don't know
what to do. The thesis is not a top-notch thesis." He said, "He
might as well just leave things as they are." Dean Floyd and
Professor Rogers both said in regard to it, "Well, this is the dean's
requirement and we didn't meet it. Although it wasn't the student's
fault--it was the professor's fault--the student has to bear the
brunt of it."
K: So they were afraid of really making making an issue of it with
H: They were. They were afraid to come up against Dean Anderson.
That's the position that he held. There wasn't a graduate council;
there was just a graduate dean. He was graduate dean and dean of the
arts college, too.
K: So there was nowhere else to go. There was no appeal on that.
H: No. There was no appeal on it, unless you appeal to the president,
and I think the president would have been reluctant to oppose directly.
K: Do you remember if that student ever did...?
H: Yeah, he got his degree. He came back for a summer term and got it.
K: Do you remember Professor Crow? Charles Crow?
H: Yeah, I remember Crow.
K: Did you ever take anything from him?
H: No. I never did take any courses from him.
K: What was he like?
H: Well, Dr. Crow had no children. Mrs. Crow was a very nice, fine,
refined lady, thought a lot of the students.
Dr. Crow was very dogmatic in his grading. Rarely ever gave
any "A"s or "B"s, I am told. [He gave] "C"s and "D"s as I recall,
from talking with his students. In faculty meeting, why, he spoke
out on the things that he thought. He would be considered as one
of the more prominent faculty members on the campus.
K: Did you get to know Major [James A.] Van Fleet?
H: I knew him only as the commandant and coach of the football team
[head coach 1923-1924].
K: Did you know Professor [James Miller] Leake, who taught history and
H: Yes, I knew Leake. Leake had no family except his wife, and I think
Dr. Leake was a scholarly man in history. I heard the dean of the
Graduate School say that he'd never gotten a master's thesis out of
Dr. Leake's- department but what was a good one. I don't believe
Dr. Leake was ever on the Graduate Council. I know he wasn't on there
the same time I was on there.
He was kinda uncompromising in his views. He took his views
and he held very dogmatically to them. He was a member of the church
I was a member of and I know. When they built the new church, he
didn't think they ought to build it, said so, then quit coming to
K: Did you know Mr. Van Hyning? Thompson Van Hyning?
H: I knew of him. Just seeing him was all I knew of him. I've heard
people talk about some of his quirks and how he handled things as
curator of the museum.
K: Would you mind telling us a little bit about what people thought about
him, what kind of a character they thought he was?
H: Well, first of all, I would say that he was a loner. He didn't
mix much with other people. He spent a great deal of time in the
museum, I presume. I don't know his duties.
Course they had these displays of Indian canoes, and rocks and
things. So far as I know, those were his activities--displaying
certain things and searching for them. I don't know as he tried to
tie any research work into it, other than just accumulating.
K: He never had much contact with the faculty or the rest of the
H: So far as I know, he had very little. I guess in the early days of
the museum, it was just located here. It wasn't a part of the univer-
sity, was it?
K: In 1917 it was made part, but it had been here before.
H: Yeah. That's the way I remember it.
K: Did you ever visit it when it was in Flint Hall, in Science Hall?
K: Where was it in the building? Where was it located within the building?
Do you remember?
H: As I recall, it was in the basement, but I'm not sure.
H: It seems to me that Dr. [Edward R.] Flint, who was the university
physician, and head of the Chemistry Department, was a little bit
interested in the museum. Now, I don't know. Maybe because they
were located in the same building. But it seems to me like, in the
chemistry class, I heard him refer to the museum. It kinda gave me
the idea that, well, maybe he's interested in it. More so than the
other professors. But this may have been because they were housed in
the same building.
K: Did you take agricultural chemistry from Flint?
K: What kind of a teacher was he?
H: He was a good teacher, as I recall. I didn't pass chemistry with a
very good grade. [Laughter].
K: [Laughter]. Neither did I. Was he an older man when you were a
H: Yes. He was older. I presume that Flint was probably the oldest
faculty member on the campus in 1916 and '17. I think he left here
and went somewhere else when they brought [Dr. Joseph Llewellyn]
McGhee here. Then Dr. [Alvin Percy] Black came along about the same
time McGhee came.
K: Do you know anything about Flint's personality?
H: No, not much. I think he was a rather easy man to get acquainted
with and always had time to give to students, things like this. I
got the impression that he was kind of a scholarly man. Maybe it
was because I felt he knew chemistry so well and I knew so little
K: [Laughter]. You never had any occasion to require his medical services
K: What about Miss [Cora] Miltimore? The librarian? What was she like?
H: Well, she was a typical, modest old maid. Very charming personality,
and worked very hard in the library. I don't know as to her technical
training. I don't know anything about that. I remember she said to
me one time, "Now, are you ag students going to call on Mrs. Newell?
You told me that she had you down, eating with the girls of Gainesville,
for some light refreshments. I think some of you boys ought to go
and call on Mrs. Newell sometime during this week and tell her how
much you appreciated it." She kind of kept up with things like this,
you know, and tried to guide the boys in things that they didn't know
K: Did Miss Miltimore cooperate very well with you as a faculty member
when the new library building was constructed and you were trying to
order things or you had students who needed things from the library?
H: As I recall, she did. I didn't do much ordering of books. We had a
committee in the College of Agriculture that we had to go through to
order books. As far as I know, Miss Miltimore was very cooperative
about putting this on reserve for the students and things like this.
Now, Miss [Henrie May] Eddy, her assistant, struck me as being
a much better technical, trained librarian than Miss Miltimore was.
I don't know how I got this idea, unless it was just going to her.
Maybe I went to her more than I did Miss Miltimore. You may know that
Miss Eddy was lost in the Bermuda Triangle? She was going to South
America for something.
K: Somebody told me that she was going to visit the Rolfs family. Do
you know if they were friends?
H: I don't know about this. I always got the impression that she was
going down there for some work. But maybe she was going to visit
the Rolfs family. I don't know.
K: When you were a student here--I mean before the war--was there a
separate agriculture library? Can you remember the first time that
you can think of there being a separate agriculture library?
H: There was an Experiment Station Library.
K: Was there?
H: Yes. It was in Newell Hall, what was known at that time as the Agri-
cultural Experiment Station. It was on the second floor. [Ida K.]
Cresap was the librarian.
K: That was there evenbefore the war?
H: Yeah, I think so.
K: I see. Was Mrs. Cresap in charge of it, at that time?
H: I'm not sure.
K: At any rate, the library was there, the separate library?
H: I recall the library was there. The students didn't use it any.
K: They didn't? At all?
H: No. Well, I'll say, I never did use it. I don't think it was for
general use by the agriculture faculty and the students.
K: Why was that?
H: It was supposed to be a research library for the staff of the Experiment
K: For the staff alone?
H: Yes, mostly. Now, they had an arrangement with the other state
experiment stations to get their bulletins. All the forty-eight
states, they had them. It was where you could go to look up results
of research work.
I presume they had some United States Department of Agriculture
holdings, and probably a few books, maybe encyclopedias and things
like this. But their holdings were very small.
K: When did that change? When did they begin to make that library avail-
able to students?
H: I don't believe it was made generally available to the students
until they put the Experiment Station and the Extension Division and
the college all under one head.
K: Now you got your master's in the spring of '23, is that right?
K: Did you immediately become a member of the faculty at that time?
H: Yes, in September after June graduation. Started teaching the
following fall. I went back to the book field in the summer of
K: I see. So in the summer of '24, you began your Ph.D. program at
Cornell? How long did you go to Cornell?
H: I went four summers and two semesters. I was at Cornell the summers
of 1924, 1925, 1927, and 1928 and two semesters of 1926-27.
K: You were done at the end of the summer of 1928?
K: With your Ph.D., right?
H: Um hum.
K: What was your dissertation about?
H: It was the cost of packing and handling citrus fruits in about 100
packing houses in the state. First of all, what the costs are, and
second, what's the factors influencing the costs.
K: So this would be within the general field of agricultural marketing?
H: Um huh.
K: You were teaching courses in agricultural marketing by that time?
K: Who was the man that you worked under at Cornell?
H: Myers. W. I. Myers.
K: Why did you choose to go up to Cornell? Was that just the best school
at the time?
H: Well, I guess it was two things. Dr. Turlington got his doctorate
degree from Cornell. I thought well of him; he recommended it. I
thought this was a good place to go.
When I got up there, I found out that they had more doctoral
students in agriculture economics than all the other schools put
together in the U.S. in 1924. The discipline was quite young when
I went. We had quite a few doctoral students there when I went
that first summer of '24.
K: Okay, now let's back up a little bit. You started teaching here in
K: Were there such courses as agricultural marketing at that time, and
when did you start actually teaching courses in agricultural marketing?
H: I guess, in the fall of '25, I taught my first course in marketing.
This was the course "Principles of Marketing." Then, after I got
my Ph.D. degree, I added marketing of fruits and vegetables, market-
ing of livestock, cooperative marketing, land economics, and agriculture
K: Who gave you the job in the first place? Was it Professor Turlington
who hired you as an instructor? Was he your immediate supervisor in
K: Where would you have been teaching your classes in the '20s? In
H: In Floyd Hall. That's where we first started teaching. After War II,
they spread out in some of the temporary buildings.
K: I see. Now, when did you work your way up to being the head of the
department? When did that come about?
H: We had a head of the department in the college, and a head of the
department in the Experiment Station.
In 1926, the Pernell bill was passed. This was a bill that
appropriated money by the Department of Agriculture to be put out to
the colleges and experiment stations. They had $60,000 that was allocated
to the Experiment Station at the University of Florida. I don't think
all of this was made available the first year. They established in the
Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department of Agricultural Eco-
nomics in the college was established before that time, about 1925.
When Dr. Turlington died, in 1933 or 1934 I guess it was, Dr.
Tigert said that he was going to have the two departments under one
head. Dr. [Clarence V.] Noble became head of that department. When
Dr. Noble was made dean of the College of Agriculture, I became head
of the Department of Agriculture Economics for the college, Experi-
ment Station, and extension.
K: I see. Did the fact that there were the two departments, one in
agriculture and one in the Experiment Station, mean that a person
who belonged to one automatically belonged to the other?
H: They belonged in all. They didn't necessarily cross lines in their
work. That is, teaching people maintained their teaching and did
some research. Sometimes we'd call a man from the Experiment Station
over to teach--doing primarily Experiment Station work--to teach a
course in the college in the department. But mostly they held in
the same positions that they held, and the same activities that they
held before then.
K: Now, when you became the chairman, did you still allow yourself the
opportunity to teach?
H: Yes, I taught. I was head of the department fifteen years, and I
taught courses up until my last two or three years.
K: Within the Station, what would someone who was a member of the agri-
cultural economics staff do? Could you describe their duties--I mean
the marketing staff. What did they do? Would they go out and hold
H: Those in the Experiment Station?
K: Yes, sir.
H: They would go out and conduct research on the farms and on marketing
organizations and on commodities. On the commodities, they would
examine grades and sizes, quality, packages, things of this kind.
And the marketing organizations, their efficiency. The farms, the
rotation systems, the use of fertilizer, and the profits from certain
K: So they would be out gathering information and doing studies?
H: This is right. Usually they would do what we would call their field
work one semester, and if they did any teaching, they'd do that when
they were working up the data that they compiled in the field.
K: So they would gather information which they would bring together and
then that would be either taught through the College of Agriculture
or disseminated through the extension?
H: Un huh.
K: That's how it works? Now there was within the Agricultural Extension
Division a comparable department to the marketing departments?
H: That never was a department, in the extension. As a matter of fact,
as I recall, the extension didn't have departments. They had men
designated for certain things. They'd have a dairyman, they'd have
an animal husbandman, but this constituted all the work in that field.
They'd have a horticulturist, and he did all the extension work in
horticulture. It wasn't a large enough staff at the Gainesville level
to put it into departments.
K: By the time that you retired, was the department in the College of
Agriculture a lot bigger than the one in the Experiment Station? In
terms of the people?
H: No, I think we had about equal division between the Experiment Station
and the college. But, you didn't have as many people in the extension,
K: Now, in a vita that I found on you, it said that in 1936 and in 1938
during the summer, you were working for the U.S.D.A. as an economist.
H: Un huh.
K: What were you doing? Were you doing the same sort of thing?
H: One of those years I was. I was doing exactly the same work that
I had done for my doctor's degree. With citrus packing houses.
The next summer, I had work on apples. This was a study on
the proportion of the apple crop, certain grades and certain sizes.
I contacted all the apple areas east of the Mississippi River. I
didn't go west of the Mississippi River. This data was brought to-
gether and bound. It was rather thick; there were never but four
or five copies of it bound. It was for administrative use in the
Department of Agriculture.
What they were doing, they were trying to find out if they kept
number three grade of apples off the market, how much of the crop
would this be? If they kept size one and a quarter inches off the
market, what would this be? To this day, they've never been published.
I had to compile it on a sample basis, from the different areas, of
people handling apples.
K: You must have had to do a lot of traveling that summer.
H: I had to do a lot of traveling. I traveled by car, and I traveled
all the summer, about three months. I was given a staff to work up
my data, a clerical staff, when I got back.
U: Now, in 1937, I think you worked for the Columbia Bank for Cooperatives?
H: Um huh.
K: What sort of work did that involve?
H: This involved the organization structure of the cooperatives in Florida.
We had a complete survey of what they did, how much business they
did, how they were financially constructed, how they operated their
pools, their sales policy, the membership relations and things of this
K: This was not just restricted to citrus, but to any cooperative?
H: No, it was all cooperatives, all Florida farm cooperatives.
K: I see. During the Second World War, I think you worked for the
War Food Administration?
K: Did that take you out of Gainesville, or were you based here in
H: It took me to Washington.
K: Now what sort of thing were you doing up there?
H: I was administering the marketing agreement program for citrus.
They had these various programs in Texas, California, and Florida.
They'd have a man the head of it. They had committees in charge,
the Florida Grapefruit Committee and the Orange Committee, and
they would come in and make recommendations as to what grades and
sizes should be allowed to go to market, and what grades and sizes
should have to be processed. In all three of the areas, Texas,
California, and Florida. I administered this program from Washington.
K: Were you concerned then with distribution of the crop that had been
produced or were you also concerned with allocations of things like
H: No, we didn't have any fertilizer, just the crop. It was allocation
of grades and sizes of fruit that could go to the fresh market.
K: So you were trying then to adequately distribute the citrus crop
throughout the country?
H: We had the reputation of distributing the citrus crop where it needed
to go to maximize profits for the citrus growers. It was, rather than
a consumer or a war measure, it was a producers' program. Producers
felt like a small size, a grade three orange, hurt the market for a
grade one or two orange. And the grade three orange could be processed
and be just as good.
K: Now, in the 1950s, I think in the summers that you did some teaching
at Florida A & M. Is that right?
H: Well, this was only lectures in economics and agriculture. It was
three or four summers I went over there.
K: Had the College of Agriculture here at the University of Florida
had much contact, that you remember, over the several decades before
that, with any of the people in agriculture at A. & M.?
H: Practically no contact with the college. There was some contact
within the extension. Of course, they had some black extension agents,
K: But there would be no instance that you remember, or at least no
frequent instance, of people on the faculty here going to lecture or
anything like that?
K: Now I think also in the late 1950s, you did some work at L.S.U.?
K: What did that involve?
H: This was the Southern Bankers Association. They had a program for
bankers at L.S.U. which they administered. They brought people in
from different disciplines. They brought me in as marketing and price,
agricultural prices and agricultural marketing. I had two lectures.
I was there for three or four years, I forget how long. I think H.
B. [Harold Brown] Clark goes over there now, from the department.
Then they would have some commercial bankers and some academic
bankers. Jim [James Gilbert] Richardson, I think he was over there
some. They called on the commercial bankers more than they did
academic bankers. But for agriculture, they called on the academic
K: Were these lectures and seminars directed to students or to people
in the business community?
H: The audience were commercial bankers.
K: I see.
H: Younger people in the banks, mostly.
K: I see. Now, when did you retire from the university?
H: In '65.
K: I think that you did some consulting work after that?
H: Yes. I still do some.
K: With mainly citrus people? Or all types of...?
H: Well, all types. I appeared quite a bit as an expert witness in
I had an assignment one summer with the U.S. Marketing Commission,
which was a special program that Congress appropriated funds for.
I made a study at the wholesale level of fruit and vegetables through-
out the United States. This part of a study is made at all levels
for all commodities. I went to all the principal wholesale markets
in the United States, all the way from Boston to San Francisco. This
was compiled in a report of the United States Marketing Commission.
K: I meant to ask you before if you had much of an involvement in the
campaign against the Mediterranean Fruit Fly?
H: No, I didn't have any at all with that. Except, at one time, they
called me down and wanted to know if there was any need for conducting
a study on the difference in cost of packing and handling fruit under
Mediterranean Fruit Fly regulations rather than the conventional regu-
lation. But we decided it wasn't a matter of great concern.
K: I see. Well, Dr. Hamilton, that's about all the prepared questions
I had for you. Is there anything that you'd like to mention that you
think is of importance that we haven't touched upon yet?
H: Well, the one thing that I think a great deal of--I was on the salary
committee of the University of Florida during President Tigert's
administration, [Harold] Hume, [J. Hillis] Miller, [John] Allen, and
[J. Wayne] Reitz. This was the committee of Roland Eutsler and A. P.
Black and myself.
It came about by some work that I did. I gave a paper at the
Atheneum Club one time, in which I compared the salaries of the uni-
versity professors with the salaries of professors in other areas of
the country. This created quite a bit of interest, and somebody went
over to Dr. Tigert's office and told him that I had a paper that he
ought to get ahold of and read. He invited me over and got a copy of
my paper. He was impressed with it and he decided that it should be
taken to the Board of Control.
At the Board of Control, we carried the results and had a very
favorable response to it. After that, we prepared for the administra-
tion what we thought that the salaries ought to be at the University
of Florida. That is, the range of salaries, what professors' salaries
Sometimes an individual would come in and say, "Can't you do
something about my salary?" We'd say, "This is not our function at
all. Our function is to furnish the administration with information
that they can use before the legislature or Board of Control."
At one time, we were invited to go to the legislature, the Committee
on Budgets. We went to Tallahassee, but we never did get to the
committee. It was a time when the chairman of the Board of Control
had asked for an investigation of the university. We didn't know
about it until we got up there and it was decided when we got up
there that we should not go before the legislative committee.
But the pride that we take in it--Black and Eutsler and myself--
was going through continuously, through the Tigert, Hume, Miller,
Allen and Reitz administrations until I retired. They have a separate
arrangement now. All this comes out of the business office, I
K: Would you object to trying to rank those presidents in terms of which
would have been most cooperative with your committee and which, perhaps,
were less cooperative?
H: I would say that they were all very cooperative, because what we were
trying to do is trying to present the facts to them which they could
use. Dr. Reitz, since he knew more about the type of thing that we
were doing, was more enthusiastic about it than the others were. Dr.
Tigert made the arrangement for us to go before the Board of Control,
and he thought a great deal of the work that we were doing. Dr.
Miller and Dr. Allen came along after the university had grown and
George Baughman, the business manager, had begun to take ahold and
organize things. But, when Reitz became president, he came back to
the committee more than he did to the business manager.
K: I see. Did the committee receive any special sort of released time
or any thing different from what a normal committee would?
H: No. We had no instructions or time allotment. They knew that this was
going on. Tigert and Reitz, I would say, leaned very heavily on the
work of the committee. Miller and Allen did not so much, because they
were looking more to George Baughman, the business manager.
K: Now, the membership never changed over that long period of time?
H: No, it never changed. I guess it was 1938 or '39 that we first became
active. I had gone over to the business manager's office and got a
record of all the salaries that were paid from the time the univeristy
was established. Some of these were just out of a journal. [C. B.]
Shepherd brought out all the old journals and things and put them down
here and gave me a desk to work with it. I started with 1905, and
got the president's salary and everybody else's salary, and tabulated
them. Then I classified them according to colleges and classified
according to rank--professor, associate professor, assistant professor,
instructor. I got all this data and analysed it, and got comparable
data from other universities. I worked this into a paper and gave this
paper down at the Atheneum Club. Some member of the Atheneum Club,
I forget who it was, went to Tigert's office and told him he ought to
get a copy of the paper that I had given.
K: I see. How frequently did you meet over the years?
H: Oh, we would meet quite often. Black was chairman of the committee
the entire time, Eutsler was secretary, and I was statistician. I did
most of the paper work. We didn't have regularly scheduled meetings.
K: All that was important was that you were keeping your data coming
together and sorting it out.