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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEWER: Penny Thomas
INTERVIEWEE: Margaret Weeks Hammond
DATE OF INTERVIEW: April 1, 1988
Margaret Weeks Hammond
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT: UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWER: Penny Thomas
INTERVIEWEE: Margaret Weeks Hammond
DATE OF INTERVIEW: April 1, 1988
Margaret Weeks Hammond was born in North Carolina. She does not give her date of
birth, but states that she studied at the University of North Carolina, both at Greensboro
and Chapel Hill. After earning a masters degree in physical education, she taught at high
schools and colleges in North Carolina. She came to the University of Florida in 1947.
The bulk of this interview covers her efforts to organize a physical education program for
women in the early years of co-education. She describes the difficulties of starting a new
program, and explains some of the problems faced by the first women students at the
University of Florida.
T: I am interviewing Margaret Hammond at her home in Gainesville, Florida. This is April
1, 1988. And my name is Penny Thomas and I am doing this interview for the Oral
History Program at the University of Florida. Mrs. Hammond, what is your full name?
H: Margaret Weeks Hammond.
T: And where are you from?
H: I am a North Carolinian, and I attended what was then Women's College of the
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
T: What did you study?
H: At Greensboro, I studied physical education and science at the undergraduate level. I
hold a degree in biology and physical education.At the University of North Carolina I
earned a master's degree in physical education, having written a thesis.
T: And what did you do after graduation?
H: I began teaching at the Charles L. Coon High School in Wilson, North Carolina. I then
taught at Lenoir-Rhyne College, a four-year College supported by the Lutheran Church
located in Hickory, North Carolina. It was coeducational and had an enrollment of about
T: And you taught physical education?
H: Yes. It was interesting because I shared an office with a gentleman who was the
head of the Bible Department, and a woman who was a professor of History. From
Lenoir Rhyne College, I went to teach at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and I
came to the University of Florida in the fall of 1947.
T: You mentioned a mement ago that someone from the University of Florida went to
Duke to interview you for a position.
H: Yes. That was Dennis Keith Stanley [dean of the Univesity of Florida College of
Physical Education and Health, 1946-1969]. He had previously been associated with the
athletic program at Duke and had been acquainted with me before he came to Florida.
He offered me the position at Florida and I arrived to begin work here in the fall of 1947.
T: And what was your job?
H: My immediate job was to organize a program in physical education for women, the
University having only recently become coeducational. Soon after arriving, I began a
series of meetings with Dean Stanley, Professor E. Benton Salt [Ellis Benton Salt,
Professor of Professional Physical Education, University of Florida, 1937-1967], Professor
Herman Schnell [Professor of Physical Education, 1946-1947], and Professor B. K.
Stevens [Billy Knapp Stevens, Professor of Professional Physical Education, 1936-1954].
These meetings were devoted to planning the woman's program. I encountered some
problems. I had previously been in programs designed for women only, but at Florida,
even in my first year, there were some coeducational classes. I enjoyed them, but it was
a new experience for me.
T: What kind of program were you trying to set up?
H: We were trying to organize a program for required physical education for all freshman
and sophomore women. At the same time we were setting up a professional program for
girls who wished to become physical education teachers.
T: For the required program what kind of classes were to be offered?
H: I cannot recall exactly what our offerings were, but I think we had classes in tennis,
swimming, golf, dance, and archery.
T: That sounds like a lot.
H: Our dance offerings for the first year, as I recall, were square and folk dancing.
Dorothy McBride (now Mrs. Williams H. Potter) taught them.
T: So what did you teach?
H: I am sure I taught social dancing.
T: Tennis or swimming?
H: Swimming was my specialty. Fairly soon we began a program of aquatic swimming
for girls, and from time to time we put on swimming pageants. That began, not in the first
year, but I am sure in the second or third. At that time we had only an outdoor pool, and
one of the things I remember vividly about the swimming program is that one winter it was
so mild we were able to swim almost every day. I do not recall the year.
T: How many semesters of required physical education were there?
H: At the beginning there were four semesters of required physical education. This was
continued until the University changed to the trimesters system.
T: How did the program differ from that required of people who wished to become
physical education teachers? What were they required to take?
H: They were required, of course, take a wide variety of activities, and also classes in the
teaching of physical education for elementary as well a secondary students.
T: Did they take classes in the Education Department?
H: Yes, they certainly had some classes in the Education Department. I think the men
had some classes in sports injuries, but, I cannot recall that the girls did.
T: Where was your office?
H: At first my office was in the small wooden building that was later taken over by the
T: Not any more, we have our own building now.
H: Then I do not know what it is now. My next office, which was beautiful, was the
located in the Florida Gym on the second floor. Professor Hollis Holbrook of the Art
Department selected the colors for the whole building. He gave me a beautiful gray and
T: Can you describe some more of the old Women's Gym building?
H: Yes. We had very few showers, and a small dressing room. We finally got two hair
dryers, and we were very proud of that. We had a very small gym floor the size of a
basketball court. It had a mezzanine, where I think that in times past people sat to watch
basketball games. Occasionally we used that for classes.
T: What was the story about you teaching on the floor, and then someone else was
teaching on the mezzanine?
H: That was P. A. Lee [Permillas Arten Lee, Instuctor in Required Physical Education,
University of Florida, 1948-1951]. Dr. Proctor probably knewhim. He had a very loud
voice. He was teaching on the mezzanine and I was teaching on the floor below
elementary physical education, I think, that is teaching students how to teach elementary
physical education. Competing with P. A. was comparable to competing with Howard
T: You were describing to me before what other parts of the campus looked like when
you came here.
H: When I arrived, I was astounded at the condition of the University of Florida campus.
Holes, many deep holes, were everywhere it seemed. It was difficult to walk across the
street in front of the old Women's Gym, which was just across from the cafeteria, the
most convenient eating place on the campus. The present Florida Gymnasium was not
there, and the stadium was very small, less than half as large as it is now.
T: We talked about up around where the library is how many buildings were there?
H: There were just a very few, I do not believe more than just seven or eight.
T: Little Hall was there. So it was all an open field, just trees?
H: Yes. I remember just about seven or eight big buildings on the campus. The new
Florida Gym was built in 1949 and the old Florida Gym continued to be used for a number
of years for intramurals, I think. Then it was turned over to the Music Department.
Something else I remember that was interesting during the four years that I was there, we
started a sports day program with the other colleges in the state of Florida: the University
of Miami, Stetson, FSU, and the Unversity of Florida. Girls from all of these schools
would come and spend the night in the old Women's Gym. Pallets were on the floor for
the people to sleep on. We had a program all the next day--a variety of sports: archery,
volleyball, golf, tennis, and so forth.
T: Did the girls have any kind of gym uniform to wear?
H: They did not at first, they just wore a variety of sports clothes. And then we had
decided on a uniform, but we could not make it required. The administration felt the
merchants in town would protest if we required a uniform that could be purchased from
only one store. After two years we did require one, and it came from Jimmy Hughes on
T: What did this uniform look like?
H: I think they were little blue uniforms.
T: One piece?
H: One piece. The first big event that would feature the girls in their new uniforms turned
out to be a big disappointment for us. We had planned and worked long hours on this
great spectacle for Gator Growl: an exercise and dance program that involved almost all
of the coeds. In addition to wearing their new uniforms, the dance featured blue scarves.
It rained! No demonstration! We were crushed. In retrospect, maybe we were fortunate.
T: Approximately how many students were you teaching those first years?
H: I think the first year, it was 170 students and it increased each year. Each year we
added women to the physical education faculty. The way I remember it the second year
one or two, the third year one or two more, and the fourth year at least one more. So,
when I left there were six or seven women in the College of Health, Physical Education
T: How many other women faculty were there when you arrived?
H: Dorothy McBride, who is Dorothy Potter, had come to teach some women's physical
education in summer school. And, she was there. And, I think there was a women in
law, I have a feeling her name was Mrs. Day. And I think that was all.
T: I think there has been some mention of maybe a few in education.
H: That is true; you are right, there were some in education.
T: Did you all ever get together as women faculty?
H: No. The first year we were so busy trying to set up a program that we really had no
time. We worked night after night trying to decide on the requirements for each area. We
were trying to set up not only physical education but health education, and I think
recreation. It involved lots of planning.
T: That article I showed you on women's recreation that was coming, you recognized a
couple of things in there?
H: It is all very familiar. It was for the fall of 1948; the professional curriculum was
planned. Degrees were to be offered in physical education, health and recreation, and,
as we mentioned earlier, we had developed a required physical education program for
freshmen and sophomores. Spurgeon Cherry [Professor of Physical Education,
1942-1952] had developed an intramural program which included some coeducational
activities. As mentioned in the article, we offered some coeducational classes--square
and social dancing. The tap dancing, as I remember it, was for women only.
T: So how about the cheerleaders?
H: I remember very well--Wickie Saunders and Barbara Davis particularly. Barbara
Davis was from a Gainesville family and she was a leader, as was Wickie Saunders.
These are just two names that I happen to remember. And, as I mentioned to you earlier,
I think the women who came to help establish sororities on the campus made a
contribution to the coeducational program because they had been leaders in the schools
they attended prior to coming to the University of Florida. Having lovely girls who were
leaders helped the physical education program.
T: You told me that the cheerleaders asked you to be their sponsor?
H: Yes. It was the Kappa Delta and I served in the capacity of an academic sponsor
since I was not a sorority member. The KDs came to me with their problems.
T: Academic or personal problems?
H: Academic problems more than personal problems. But the academic problems, more
often than not, were adjustment problems.
T: More like how to study?
H: Yes, that sort of thing.
T: Was it the sorority or the cheerleaders that did this?
H: You mean that came to me? Both or neither--just girls that were on the campus.
They did not have many females with whom to talk about their problems. So the physical
education people really became counselors in many areas, not just academically, but
otherwise too. And as we added women, of course, we had more counselors.
T: We talked about dress codes for the women.
H: I do not remember a dress code as such. But because the women were coming to a
men's campus, they dressed beautifully. And there was no questions, as I remember it,
about poor dressing; they dressed exceptionally well.
T: What about places where the girls lived since there were no dorms?
H: I do not remember too much about that except that many of them lived in private
homes and, of course, some in apartments. But there were not nearly as many
apartments as we have now. So more lived in private homes than in apartments.
T: Do you remember if there was any kind of curfew for the women?
H: No. And I do not remember problems. I think we really had a superior group
T: When were you on the discipline committee?
H: I do not think it was the first year, but it could have been in the second. I was on the
discipline committee more than one year, at least two years. And, of course, the
problems there involved men and women.
T: Who else was on there with you?
H: I remember the man that was head of it, he was from the Law School, Dr. TeSelle
[Clarence John TeSelle, Professor of Law, University of Florida, 1929-1958] and Jake
Wise [Jacob Hooper Wise, Professor and Chairman of Reading, Speaking, and Writing,
University of Florida, 1935-1964] from English, and a man from sociology--Dick Ehrmann
[Winston Wallace Ehrmann, Professor of Sociology and Social Sciences, University of
T: What kind of problems did you deal with?
H: The thing I remember more than anything else were cheating problems. I do not
remember having any other type of infractions with the girls.
T: You had talked before a little about the sororities. There were four that started off?
H: Yes, during the first year there were four sororities: A D Phi, Chi Omega, Tri Delt, and
Kappa Delta. I think at first they were limited to just a few girls in each chapter. The total
number was something like twenty-five because there were so few girls on the campus.
As I said earlier, I felt they made a big contribution to the Unversity. They were
outstanding girls who came to colonize new sororities.
T: Did they have some kind of initiation or pledge ceremony?
H: Yes, I am sure they did. They had, just as they do now, a rush period, then an
initiation, and so forth.
T: Were the girls required to have a certain grade point average in order to be able to
H: I am sure they did. I do not remember too many girls flunking out at the University of
Florida. I think they were very careful in the admissions office. Most of the girls were
good students, but some felt problems existed with professors. This was not
wide-spread, but probably about five professors were mentioned over and over. Maybe it
was just a period of adjustment for them as well as it was for the girls.
T: Were they in one particular area?
H: No, they were not.
T: Where they older professors.
H: They were more than likely older professors, yes. There was a younger one too.
T: Were there any specific things that the girls said that these professors were doing,
using bad language, or picking on them in class?
H: One was mentioned for using bad language. But most of the complaints were of
professors who were deliberately abrasive in their manner toward the girls, or they
unnecessarily singled them out in a sarcastic or negative way.
T: Were they maybe saying that they felt the professors were picking them out in class?
H: Yes. Being harsh when there was no necessity. Maybe some of the men thought that
the women were not adequately prepared. I think maybe sometimes they think that now.
T: That is true, yes. What about some social events on campus? I have heard about
some specific spring or fall dances or some kind of military ROTC dance?
H: Yes, they had an ROTC dance and that was very formal and very lovely. And the
faculty and students that were invited came out in their very formal best. It was a big
event on the campus, a lovely affair. And, of course, the girls loved being invited to that
since it was considered a big social event.
T: What kind of dresses did they wear?
H: I am not sure.
H: Oh yes, very formal clothes.
T: Wide skirts?
T: My mother graduated from high school about 1947, and I am trying to remember the
pictures and her dresses. They were a kind of chiffon-like material. The skirt was out,
and they had a heart shaped bodice, and they wore long gloves.
H: Yes, they wore long gloves on very formal occasions.
T: And what did the boys wear, tuxes or just a suit?
H: Yes, tuxedos. But, of course, in ROTC they had some sort of military uniform.
T: What kind of music did they have at these dances?
H: Small bands, but I come from the big band era. (laugh) But that was before my
University of Florida years.
T: Were the faculty invited a chaperones, or just invited as a courtesy?
H: I do not remember being invited as a chaperone.
T: Did you have a date?
H: I must have had to be there, but I do not remember with whom.
T: Can I ask you how you met your husband?
H: Yes, I think I met him at registration.
T: What was his job?
H: He was in social studies and history. And the way I remember it, he had been in the
army and then had come back to the University of Florida after the army. He had come
back in 1946, and I came in the fall of 1947 and met him at registration.
T: Was it love at first sight?
H: Absolutely. (laugh) We were married two years later.
T: After you got married, they would not let you teach on the campus anymore?
H: That is correct. They had the nepotism rule, and it was automatic. There was no
question about it. I was not the first in the physical education department who had
married. The first one was Mary Lippett (1948-1951) who married Arnold Matthews
[Charles Arnold Matthews, Assistant Professor of Business Organization and Operation,
University of Florida, 1948-1950]. He was in business administration. Automatically, she
had to leave. The second was Dorothy Potter (1946-1951) who married William Potter
[William Melville Potter, Assistant Professor of Required Physical Education University of
Florida, 1946-1951] in physical education, she had to leave. And I was the third, and I
had to leave.
T: How did you feel about that?
H: It was understood. It had started at the University of Florida, as I understand it, during
the depression when jobs were scarce. It was deemed that the University should not
employ two persons from the same family.
T: And where did you go from there? To teach?
H: I went to Gainesville High School to teach, and taught there until I retired.
T: It seems kind of unfair to me that it is automatically the women who has to leave.
H: It was not the way it was written, but this is the way it happened in each case. And it
is just like some of these unwritten rules we have today.
T: We had talked a little bit before about the lack of restrooms on campus for women.
H: Yes, there were very few restrooms on the campus for women. Of course, we had
them at the Physical Education Department, that old gym. And I do not know of any
others. The Student Union, I think, may have had a restroom. They had a room or
several rooms for town students, and probably there was a restroom there. But there
were no women's dormitories. I am not sure when they were started.
T: They were talking about the women students getting together and trying to start a
women's student association, and there was some opposition to it by the male
students--particularly those who were in the student government. Do you remember
anything about that?
H: Yes. Of course at first there were no female students in student government. They
gradually came in. And then the honorary societies like Blue Key were closed to women.
But then sometime along the way there was an honorary organization started forwomen.
T: I think it was called Trianon.
H: That is correct, Trianon. It started, I think, before I left.
T: It was in one of those first years.
H: And there were outstanding girls here in school.
T: I heard that they had shortened skirts during the War to save material.
H: Yes. As I remember it, skirts were longer in 1947 than in the war years.
T: We mentioned Marna Brady [Marna Venable Brady, Dean of Women, University
of Florida, 1948-1966] awhile ago, did you know her?
H: Yes, I knew her very well. She was a lovely person, and as we said, she came in
1948. I think these girls were very happy to have a dean of women. She had been with
the marine corps. I remember this about Marna Brady, skirts must have been a little
longer in 1948, but her skirts were very short, the marine corps length. Isn't that funny to
remember? She was a capable person and made a big contribution to the University of
T: Did you work with her in any way?
H: We were friends. And yes we worked together, but not in any official capacity.
T: Since the girls had come to you the year before for counseling, did you sort of help her
H: I did not help her get started. She was very organized and had her program planned
T: But did you tell her what kinds of problems the girls were having.
H: Yes, they were having just girl problems, things that we have just mentioned.
T: Tell me about Dr. Proctor, when did you meet him?
H: I met him very early; he and my husband were in the same department. I think the
first time I met, we went to an impromptu meal at his home and had oyster stew. (laugh) I
have know him all of these years. He is a fine man.
T: I think we have covered a whole lot of things, so thank you very much for your time.
H: You are most welcome.