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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewee: Anna B. Edmonson
Interviewer: Renee Eaton
April 11, 1988
Both the interviewer, Renee Eaton, and the interviewee, Anna B. Edmonson, have the
same last initial. Therefore, Ms. Eaton will be identified as R: and Ms. Edmonson as E:.
R: My name is Renee Lanette Eaton. I am interviewing Mrs. Anna Edmonson in her home
at 1429 NW 20th St., in Gainesville, Florida. The date is April 11, 1988, and the time is
3:35 p.m. The subject of this interview is the beginning of coeducation at the University of
Florida in Gainesville. Mrs. Edmonson, will you introduce yourself by giving me your full
E: Yes. I am Anna Bryce Edmonson.
R: Mrs. Edmonson, where were you born?
E: In Jacksonville, Florida.
R: When were you born?
E: On August 7, 1926.
R: Would you please trace your education years for me, starting with elementary school
and going on to college?
E: I went to elementary school in a little family community, Bryceville, which is in Nassau
County. Bryceville was named after my great-grandfather. When I was about to enter the
eleventh grade, my mother and daddy knew that I was very interested in going to college.
My parents thought that I would get a better college preparation in a larger school, so I
went to Jacksonville to attend Landon Senior High School. In the Bryceville school, where I
went the first ten years of my education, there were only four teachers and twelve grades,
and there were only three other people in my class. My parents were right--I did get better
preparation for college at Landon High in Jacksonville. I lived with an aunt in Jacksonville.
When I graduated from Landon High, the only state university for women at that time
was Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee, so I went there for two years. This
was during the war years, and it was extremely crowded. The halls and recreation
rooms--everywhere was crowded with students. It was very important for them to thin out
their college population. At that particular time, Florida State College for Women was the
largest women's university in the United States. I had a poor educational background for
college because of those ten years in a very small school, so it was very difficult for me at
Florida State College for Women.
R: What was your major?
E: In those days, there was the University College in which everybody had to take
required courses. You had to take at least two years of a foreign language, you had to take
physical science, social science, English, and math. Your first two years were completely
and totally filled with required courses.
R: What year did you enter FSCW?
E: I began in September 1944 at Florida State College for Women and went there through
the end of June 1946, so I had two full years at Florida State College for Women.
R: What did you do after that?
E: At that point, I decided that college was a little tough for me. I had a younger sister and
brother who wanted to go to college, and my family was not having an easy time financially.
I was not setting the world on fire with my grades, so I decided that I would look for a job
that did not require a college education. While I was waiting to be an airline stewardesses,
my grandmother, who was the chairman of the board of trustees for the school in our area,
had not been able to find a teacher to teach in our little rural school in the community. She
said to me, "You do not have anything else to do while you are waiting to be called for
airline hostess training. Would you please go down there and teach that class for me until I
can find a teacher?"
I went, and I had third, fourth, and fifth grades all in the same room. I had not had
anything but general education courses at that time. But we had a wonderful supervisor of
education in Nassau County at the time, and she came down taught me. She stayed in the
guest room in our house in Bryceville for a week, and she taught me how to teach school in
a week: how to use teachers manuals and how to organize my class. The good part about
it was even though I was teaching three grades, I had only eighteen students.
After about six weeks, I fell love with teaching, which until that point had been the only
thing that I said I would never do. I enrolled in a night course with some other teachers in
the school in Jacksonville and was taking what they called extension classes in those days.
I do not know what they call them now. After about eight or nine weeks, I was begging my
grandmother to stop looking for another teacher. It was the spring of 1947 when the
legislature made both schools, Florida State College for Women and the University of
Florida, coed. In the second semester of that year, I had also taken extension courses in
Jacksonville. When I gave up my classroom duties at the end of the school year, I came
straight to Gainesville and enrolled in summer school. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in
Education from the University of Florida in July 1948.
R: What was the name of the school where you first taught?
E: The Bryceville School, the same one where I went to school where they had four
teachers and twelve grades.
R: Would you trace your teaching career after the University of Florida?
E: After the University of Florida, I went to the Hendrix Avenue School in south
Jacksonville and taught there for two years. The main reason I went there to teach is
because my mother had said to me that I could not go teach in Washington DC until after I
had two years at home. She did not think that I was not old enough to leave home yet,
even though I had graduated from college and had already taught a year.
After my third year of teaching, I moved in with a college friend and some other lovely
ladies in a Georgetown apartment and taught in a downtown school in Washington DC for a
year. After I finished that year, I came back to the same school that I had taught in before
in Jacksonville. I taught a first grade class, and I took that class through second grade, so
they had the same teacher for two years. In the intervening summer, I got married, so I
was Miss Bryce to the first graders and Mrs. Edmonson to them in second grade.
R: Where did you meet your husband?
E: I had known him in college at the University of Florida, but we had not dated because
he was dating a sorority sister of mine at Florida State. After I came back from
Washington, he was sharing an apartment in Jacksonville with a young man whom I had
dated. So that is where we really met. We started dating in Jacksonville after I had lived in
At the end of the second year after being back from Washington, my husband took a job
in Gainesville. I think he took that job on April 15th or May 1st, so I stayed in Jacksonville
to finish out the school year. Then I moved to Gainesville, too. The first year I was in
Gainesville, I taught at Sidney Lanier Elementary School. After the end of that year, our
first child was born.
I had always known that I wanted to teach at J. J. Finley [Elementary School] because
of its reputation. My husband and I lived in the J. J. Finley area at that time, as we still do.
So after my second child was born twelve months later, I applied with Mrs. Terwilliger, the
principal, for a position when one came open there. I started at J. J. Finley in March of the
next year, and I taught there fourteen years.
After leaving Finley, I taught a special class at Myra Terwilliger [Elementary] School in
reading. At that point, I had twenty years in public school work. I retired from public school
and helped start the Martha Manson Academy, a private elementary school in Gainesville,
and taught there for eight years. After that, I retired.
R: Getting back to the University, what led to your decision to attend the University of
E: As I said, I had been taking an extension courses in education while I was teaching.
The extension courses were from Florida. Also, Gainesville was so much closer to my
home than Tallahassee, and I wanted to finish college. I had discovered what I wanted to
do: I knew at that point that I wanted to teach, so I wanted to finish college as quickly as
possible and as near our home as possible. That is why I came to Gainesville.
R: When did you begin your college education at [the University of] Florida?
E: In June 1947, and I graduated in July 1948, just six weeks later than my class at
Florida State College for Women, although I had stayed out of college a year to teach.
R: What was it like walking onto the campus at the beginning of coeducation?
E: It was not so strange for me because I grew up in and around this area of Florida. I
had been coming to the University of Florida for football weekends, fraternity weekends,
and visiting older relatives who were in school here, so I did not feel quite as strange as I
might have if I had just started in college and never been here before. When the two
schools were not coed, either the girls came to Gainesville for big weekend or the boys
went to Tallahassee for big weekends, so we had been back and forth a lot. That first
summer, my sister, a lot of my sorority sisters, and a lot of my friends from Tallahassee
were in summer school at the University of Florida. It was like transferring a whole big
group of friends from one place to another place, so it did not feel very strange to me.
One of my sorority sister's--in fact, my pledge mother's--brother was the editor of the
Florida Alligator, which was a campus newspaper at that time. He was also an SAE [Sigma
Alpha Epsilon fraternity]. This was when the SAE fraternity was on the corner of University
Avenue and 13th Street. There were not enough fraternity men there, so the only way they
could keep their dinning hall open that summer was to ask the girls to have meals with
them. My pledge mother's brother was at the SAE house where the women who stayed in
our dorm took their meals.
R: What was the housing situation like on campus for females just entering the University?
E: For summer school, their were dorms open, not the dorms we have now, but temporary
dorms that were just south of Century Tower. There were a lot of temporary buildings set
up right south of that, across the street, and that is where all summer school ladies were
housed. When the fall session started, there were several different houses along University
Avenue a couple or three blocks from campus that were housing for girls. There were
house parents, usually a graduate couple, that stayed there. I stayed in one of those with
my two friends from Ocala. They were both seniors.
R: Can you remember the name of that dorm?
E: No, it was just a little house. There were only about nine or ten of us who lived in the
house. It was right across from where that [Barnett] Bank is now, right across the street
from where all those stores are. There are stores there now, but then there were big
houses along there, and it was in those houses where most of the female students lived.
R: Were any dorms being built during the fall of 1947?
R: When did they begin construction?
E: I do not know. I was a senior that year, so I was not around that much after that,
except maybe just to come for weekends. I am not sure when they built the dorms for
R: What were bathroom facilities like in the educational building and the administration
building? Were any concessions made for incoming women?
E: Actually, most of my classes were in what is now Norman Hall, which at that time
housed the demonstration school, too. P. K. Yonge [Lab] School was a part of Norman
Hall, and all of the College of Education classes were there. Since I had never had an
education course before I started teaching, most of my classes were in education. I had be
on campus to take the courses that were required for certification. That was the real pain
I was trying to finish just six weeks behind my class at Florida State. Since I had
taken only a few night courses during the year that I was teaching, I took nineteen
semester hours and practice teaching the first semester in order to catch up, and I took
twenty semester hours and practice teaching the second semester. Including the practice
teaching, I went to school six mornings a week, five afternoons a week, and two nights a
week, so I was pretty busy.
The worst part of it was that I had to take a geography course for elementary
certification, and I had to take that on campus. That was in a temporary building that was
across the street from the area where the Florida Book Store is now. The class before that
and the class after that were in Norman Hall, so it was very difficult for me to get from
Norman Hall to that geography class and then back to Norman Hall for the next class on
foot--without even a bicycle. Needless to say, that geography class suffered.
I also had to take two Shakespeare classes from [Charles Archibald] "Archie" Robertson
[professor of English, chairman of the Division of Language and Literature], who is probably
one of the five best teachers I ever had. I took a children's literature course with Dean
[Jacob Hooper] Wise [professor and chairman of reading, speaking, and writing], whose
daughter is my across-the-street neighbor now. I took some drama and radio classes, but
they were more conveniently located than that geography class. I really was not campus
fora extended period of time. Most of my time was spent in Norman. There were all kind
of facilities there, and I felt perfectly at home there because there were as many females
there, or more, than there were men.
R: Did you experience any type of discrimination from your teachers at all, whether from
education or other classes, simply because you were female?
E: I was the only female in the geography class, and, as I said, it was very difficult for me
to get there. I tried to make arrangements with the professor to let me do some kind of
home study project or to help me figure out some way to make up the time I had missed,
since it was impossible for me to get there for every class. I wanted to work out some way
he could see that I knew enough of his course that he could give me a passing grade
without my having to attend class three times a week. But his idea of doing this was that I
have dinner with him in his apartment--he would see to it that I got a very excellent grade.
He did not make pretense at hiding his reason for wanting me to come to his apartment. I
said somehow I would work it out on my own, which I did. That is the only D I ever made in
college. But at least I did not fail the course, and I got my geography credit so I could get
my certification. That was the worst experience I had. There were experiences with cat
calls and remarks that I was not supposed to hear but really did hear, but there was nothing
was as bad as that geography professor.
R: Were the cat calls from male students?
R: Can you remember any of them?
R: How did you handle the male/female ratio? I heard the ratio was 14/1--fourteen males
for every female.
E: As I told you, I was carrying a very heavy load, and I did not have time to play the field,
so to speak, which is what I always liked to do. I dated just one man, and we went to the
library and studied every night. After studying, we would stop to get a milk shake, a Coke,
or something and visit for an hour, and then we would go home to our respective
apartments. He lived in a dormitory, and I lived in the girls' housing area.
It was easier for me not to try to have lots of different dates. I really did not have time to
have lots of dates because I was carrying such a heavy schedule. But it was fun to watch
the girls who were trying to date all the fellows on campus. Most of the girls who lived in
the house did.
Let me tell you about something funny that happened. I had dated the editor of the
Alligator when I was here in summer school that year. Because the annuals have to get to
press very early, I had had a picture taken of myself for one of the cover pages of the
Alligator. After fall session began, I found out that I was going to date someone else pretty
steadily for that year. Well, since I was no longer dating the editor of the Alligator, my
picture did not show up in the Alligator. It did in several places, but not on that cover page.
R: Did you girls help each other out in finding dates?
E: Oh, I was always passing the word around. A lot of the boys would not ask the girls for
dates because they assumed that the girls always had more dates than they knew what to
do with. In reality, sometimes there were girls who did not have dates for big weekends or
big parties or football games or things like that. So about a week before a big weekend, I
would ask everybody in the house if they had a date for the weekend. If somebody did not,
I would say to the boy that I was dating, "Please pass the word around that so-and-so,
so-and-so, and so-and-so do not have dates yet." The men would just take it for granted
that all the girls had dates.
R: Can you remember who the male student leader was?
E: The editor of the Alligator was Pen Gaines.
R: Who was the editor of the yearbook, the Seminole?
E: The yearbook editor was Al Carlton, and the Alligator editor was Pen Gaines.
R: Did you have a student government president or something of that nature?
E: Yes, John Crews from Macclenny.
R: What was his attitude toward female students? Did he actively seek to greet you and
welcome you to campus in the fall?
E: As far as I recall, there was nothing formal. A lot of the girls who came that first year
came to start sororities, although my sorority did not start a chapter here. There was a
group of very lovely alumnae in Gainesville who had a party at the old Student Union for the
girls who were on campus. They told us to let them know if we ever needed any help.
They invited us to their homes, and they were really nice to us. But those were the only
people who extended a hand to welcome me to campus.
R: So you did not pledge at Florida?
E: No, but I had been in a sorority for two years at Florida State.
R: And your sorority did not form a chapter here in Gainesville?
E: Not in the beginning. We have a chapter here now, but we did not in the beginning.
R: What about the dean of women? Who was the dean of women?
E: I think it was Mrs. [Marna Venable] Brady.
R: Was she helpful? How did she help you?
E: I never had occasion to see or know Mrs. Brady. I knew who she was when I saw her.
I imagine that most of the efforts went for people who were either freshmen or sophomores
and who were starting for the first time in September. I had been here since June and was
a senior, so I did not receive any orientation.
R: How did the men accept you as a senior member of their class, since you were just
coming in and had not been there with them for the previous three years?
E: There were not all that many men in elementary education, and there were really very
few classes that I took on campus. I recall only one really embarrassing or unfriendly
incident that was terribly unpleasant for me. We had what was supposed to be a very
strong honor system at that time, and I thought that it was. We signed pledges before we
took exams that we would not cheat in any way. We were told that the Honor Court was
very active. Well, I reported a football player for cheating in a class that I was in to the
Honor Court. When I got called up to the Honor Court, there were not any girls on the
Honor Court, and they just sort of all made fun of me and dismissed it. That really upset
R: Was the football player in education?
E: Yes, he was.
R: Did you have a joint graduation rehearsal at the end of the year?
E: We graduated in what is now the old auditorium. It was a summer school class, and
graduation was at the end of July--this was 1948. As I remember, they just called our
names out from the stage, and we stood with our parents in the audience. That was about
all there was to it. It was not anything very elaborate, and it was not a terribly big class.
One of the interesting things is that even though I did not know it at that particular time, my
husband graduated in that same class.
R: What was his major?
E: Civil engineering.
R: Who was the dean of men?
E: I think it was [Robert C.] Beaty.
R: Had you come into contact with him much?
E: No, not really. I was in a pretty isolated role with elementary education, trying to finish
all my required courses and do all my practice teaching at the same time. This was a year
before the internship program was started. There was no intership program yet, so
everybody did their practice teaching at the same time they were doing their college work.
Even though I had already taught a year before I came here, I still had to have that
requirement of practice teaching to get my certificate.
R: Where did you do your practice teaching?
E: At P. K. Yonge school.
R: So you did not go out into the schools in the city?
E: No. Everybody did their practice teaching at P. K. Yonge. The P. K. Yonge school
handled all of the seniors in the College of Education at that time.
R: Were you an active member of the Women's Student Association?
E: No, I was not.
R: What clubs or organizations did you belong to other than the sorority?
E: At Florida I was active in Panhellenic Council. That is the only one that I was active in.
R: To your knowledge, did the other clubs and organizations actively recruit female
E: No. Panhellenic Council was just for sorority girls--the people who were forming
sororities, who were interested in having sororities come on campus sometime in the
future, or who had belonged sororities in other places and had transferred here.
R: So the Panhellenic Council did not include fraternities?
E: No, not in that first year, they did not.
R: So just a representative from each sorority met together?
R: Was there a dress code for females?
E: Oh, no. But in those days nobody wore jeans. I remember wearing bobby socks,
skirts, blouses, sweaters, and dresses.
R: There was a picketing of the Twentieth Century Club's fashion show at the Gainesville
Women's Club on October 13,1947, where some girls protested long hem lines. Were you
involved in that? Do you remember it?
E: No, I do not remember that. I rememberthe long hem lines, but I do not remember any
protesting. I guess maybe I was too busy to even know about those things.
R: Did the Alligator address female issues?
E: Yes, it did.
R: What types?
E: I remember that there were articles about types of recreation that were strictly for the
girls. For instance, there was a picture in the Alligator of my sister, a couple of friends, and
me when we were down in the basement of the old Union playing pool. I think they were
addressing whether there were enough things for girls to do on campus as far as
recreational activities. But I never really worried about that because when I had a free
weekend, which was not very often since I went to school half a day on Saturday, I went
home for the weekend. I was so busy I did not worry much about trying to find recreation.
There was not much time for it.
R: Did the Alligator have female reporters or journalists?
E: Yes, I think it did. I remember some of the girls who were freshmen and sophomores
that lived in our house took part in helping write articles and were on the staff.
R: What about the yearbook?
E: I think a few girls became involved in that the first year, too.
R: Did you know any of the first cheerleaders?
E: As a matter of fact, I went out for cheerleader in the summer, but I lost interest pretty
quickly when I decided that I was going to try to graduate that same year. So I was not
going to have to time for that. About halfway through the tryout, I dropped out. I did not
know any of the other girls personally because most of them were about three years
younger than I was at that time.
R: How did the males respond to having female cheerleaders?
E: Oh, I think they really enjoyed it. I think it added a lot. I think that one of those years
when I was coming down here for weekends we did not have a football team at all. I have
forgotten which year it was, but it was one of the war years. A lot of the men on campus
those two years that I was at Florida State College for Women and the year I was teaching
felt very badly because they were not able to be in the service for one reason or another.
They were classified what was then 4-F. They had physical disabilities of some kind, and
they did not feel very good about themselves, because during World War II all the males
who were of college age were in the service unless they had some physical disabilities.
That last year, in 1947, all the veterans had started to come back, so there were a great
number of veterans. As a matter of fact, the young man who I dated was a veteran, and he
was about three or four years older than I was. He was serious about his studies, and that
was one of the reasons that I was interested in dating him.
R: Were the veterans more apt to welcome the female students than the non-veterans?
E: I think that all the young men were pretty happy to see some females around campus.
I think that it added to the joy of being in school to see a female every now and then.
R: Were there any territories they thought were simply male territories, where all females
should stay out?
E: I think some of them did not like the females in competition with them in classes,
because I think, on the whole, more of the females were serious about academics. (That is
not a very fair statement.) Maybe a higher percentage of the females were more serious
than some of the men were. I am not sure about that.
R: Did any women graduate at the top of your class?
E: I really do not know. I am sure that women had been graduating at the top of summer
school classes for years. Active teachers were allowed to come to summer school at the
University of Florida forever and get degrees in education at Florida.
R: Were the majority of women in education?
E: No, I do not really think so. I am not sure about that, but I do not think so. I think most
of the women on campus were underclassmen. There were a few upperclassmen who
were here to start the first sororities. Most of the upperclassmen who were here had come
as transfers from other colleges to start sororities.
R: What I meant was were most of the women majoring in education?
E: Well, Florida was just like Florida State at that time. They called all their first two years
of courses, which were basic courses, "C" [comprehensive] courses, and they were
required courses for everyone. You could not major until you got to be a junior. You did
not even take courses in your major area. One of the reasons my schedule was so hard for
me is that I took no electives whatsoever. I was not sure at that point whether I wanted to
teach elementary education or speech and dramatics in high school, so I took a major in
speech and dramatics and a major in elementary education. As it worked out, back in those
days not even all of the large high schools had speech and dramatics teachers. There was
not a speech and dramatics job open for me to even apply for, so I got started in
elementary education and just stayed there all the rest of me career.
R: Were you involved in any dramas on campus in the theater department?
E: We had to do intership work with WRUF, the student radio station, and we had to do
work with Florida Players, but I did not actually perform in any of the productions.
R: What were the health facilities like on campus? If you got sick, where did you go?
E: You went to the infirmary. I guess it is the same infirmary that is there now; I do not
think the infirmary has changed much. Thank goodness, I went only once. I had a very
bad case of flu once and was running a high temperature, and I was over there for two or
three nights. Other than that, I was pretty healthy.
R: They were well equipped for female students?
R: Did you participate in intramural sports?
E: No, not really, because there just was not enough time for me. I had participated in all
of the intramural sports at Florida State because I would be on the sorority team. Not
having any sorority affiliation at Florida, I did not go out for intramural sports.
R: Do you know what was offered in intramural sports?
E: No, I do not.
R: How did the fraternities respond to the women?
E: Like I said, that first summer when we came in June it was almost like rush week,
because the different fraternities that wanted to keep their dining rooms open that summer
had all of the girls from the dormitories over for dinner. They put on these lovely dinners
and wooed us to take all our meals at their particular fraternity house. So we had about a
week there of going around to all the different fraternity houses that wanted to keep their
dining rooms open having free meals. But most of my friends and I took our meals at the
SAE house that summer, simply because we knew more of them and, like I said, my pledge
mother's brother was an SAE.
R: What was homecoming like that first year?
E: That was a very long time ago, and I cannot remember all of that. But Florida Field
bore absolutely no resemblance then to the football field now. As I remember, the stands
were on the east side, and they were open, metal stands. I do not remember the
opponents, but I remember the night we won our first football game. We were in the little
house where we lived. It was raining and it was cool, and we had a fire going. We were all
listening to the football game on the radio. The Gators had not won a game in maybe two
years. They were up at either North Carolina or North Carolina State, and they won the
game. We all wanted to go out and have a good time. The people were parading in the
rain all up and down University Avenue and celebrating and everything.
One of my roommate's boy friends, who was in law school, had a motorcycle--none of
us had cars; nobody had cars in those days--and he said he would take all of us girls down
to the basement of the Hotel Thomas. There was a night club in the basement of the Hotel
Thomas, and that is where people went to dance and have a good time. He took all three
of us one at a time on the back of his motorcycle from our house to the Hotel Thomas. I
will never forget how frightened I was. That is the first, last, and only time that I have ever
ridden on a motorcycle. Luckily we all found somebody who took us back to the house in
their car, so we did not have to ride on it but just once.
R: Did you tell all the men that you had brought them good luck, that that was the reason
they had won the game finally after two years? What were the other dances like? Did you
attend any dances on campus?
E: Yes, we had Fall Frolics, Spring Frolics, the Military Ball, and we had the big bands.
We all lindied, jitterbugged, and did all those wonderful old dances to all the big band
music. It was lots of fun.
R: Were women admitted to the Gator band?
E: I do not really know. I did not have any association with the band or band members at
all. I recall the year of 1947-48, because all the returning veterans made for a wild year on
campus. There was a lot of wild partying and a lot of rowdiness. One of the complaints
was that on weekends a lot of the returning veterans really got inebriated. It was not that
some of them did not in years previous to that, but maybe it was more obvious because
there were so many more people back in school that year than there had ever been before.
There was an enormous amount of building going on. They had started to build a new
Florida Field, and there were just cavernous holes all over the campus.
R: I notice the women were wearing mid-length skirts.
R: Were most of the administrators male?
E: Yes, and most of the teachers were, too, except for the College of Education. There
were a lot of female teachers in the College of Education. Looking at this, you can see
that there were quite a few ladies up here. But most of them, even in the College of
Education at this particular time, were male.
R: Most of the seniors were male?
E: There were a lot of females students, but they there were mostly in the summer. They
were mostly teachers who were working on advanced degrees or on special certification.
Then, after the winter session started, there were not really all that many females. But like I
said before, females had been attending the summer session for a number of years.
R: Do you think the University tried to have more female instructors and professors?
E: Well, I really do not think that when the legislature met in 1947 they knew they were
going to make both schools coed. It was like an evolving process. It took a long time to
have all of this work out at both schools, I am sure, because for such a very long time
Florida had been all male and Florida State had been female. It just took a long time for it
to work out. My roommate was here starting one of the sorority groups, and several of the
girls in the house where I lived were here starting sorority groups. They were the ones who
were the most active girls on campus at that time. They were the ones who were the
campus leaders for two reasons: they were trying to be good representatives for their
particular sorority in order to start a good strong group on campus, and they had more time
than I did. Very few people take as many college hours as I carried that year, and when
you take that many hours, you do not become involved a great deal in extracurricular
R: You mentioned the amount of construction that was going on that year. How did the
campus appear due to that?
E: Like a war zone. My future father-in-law was the commanding officer of the ROTC unit
at that time. I did not know him, but I had met his son.
R: What is his name?
E: Colonel E. M. [Edward Macon] Edmonson, and I married his son
Mickey--E. M. Edmonson, Jr.
R: But you did not now Colonel Edmonson at the time?
E: I had not meet him at that time, and I did not know him.
R: Were there any females in the military in any form or fashion?
E: None at all.
R: What about pep rallies? How were females included those?
E: I had a Friday night class, a continuing education class where teachers from all over
the area came after school, and a Saturday morning class, so I did not get to pep rallies. I
have often looked back and thought that I was the one who was pushing myself to finish
that year. It would have been a financial strain for my parents, but it would not have been
impossible for them. I have often thought it would have been nice if I had taken the extra
year and spent more time smelling daisies and enjoying the camaraderie and everything.
But I really did have a nice year. I pushed myself a little too hard, but it really was an
R: Were there any scholarships or fellowships for female students?
E: Not that I know of or was aware of. Like I said, I think that it came about so suddenly in
1947 that not many things had been set up at that time.
R: Did they accept all of your credits from your previous college?
E: Oh, yes.
R: So you did not have to repeat anything or take something over again.
E: No, I did not. As a matter of fact, a lot of the courses that I had taken were not the
exact required courses, but there was such a terrible shortage of teachers at that particular
time that if they were able to give me an equivalent credit for it, they did. They were very
anxious to get qualified teachers into the school, not teachers who were teaching on a
temporary certificates, which is what I had taught on the year before I graduated. I taught
on a temporary certificate.
R: So to your knowledge, most female students who were coming in as juniors or seniors
were able to transfer credits relatively easily.
E: Yes. I do not know how it works now, but I think that Florida and Florida State have
always transferred credits pretty comparably. I do not know if it is that way now, but I do
know that at that particular time the classes at Florida State were much more academically
competitive for grades than they were at Florida. In other words, an A was much easier for
me to come by at Florida than it was at Florida State.
R: You are speaking of Florida State when it was primarily females?
R: Why do you think that was the case?
E: Well, I told you how crowded it was there, and they were really trying to weed out
students to make room for everybody. Plus, I think of when we had all those physical
sciences, biological sciences, languages, advanced math, and all that that all freshman and
sophomores had to take before they could get into what was called upper division and even
think about starting a major. Those courses were really tough.
R: When Florida State was a female college, were most of the faculty members female,
E: Yes, they were. In fact, I had faculty advisor at Florida State who advised me to find a
job rather than pursue a college education. She thought that I did not have the kind of
educational background that I needed to graduate from college. She did not know about
R: What did your faculty instructors at Florida tell you?
E: They allowed me, with the recommendation of some of my professors, to take as heavy
a load as I took without petitioning to take an overload. I think fourteen or fifteen semester
hours is about average, so I had to petition to take more than fourteen or fifteen hours. I
had to ask teachers to say that they thought I was able to handle it. The teachers that I had
the year before for the extension work in Jacksonville recommended me; they said they
thought I was able to carry the extra load. That was why I was allowed to do it. Ordinarily
they would not let you take an overload like that. That in itself made me feel better about
Of course, you have to realize that once you make up your mind exactly what it is that
you want to do, and you enjoy what you are doing, it makes it easier to study, and it makes
it easier to make good grades, too. Having taught a year, I knew exactly what I needed to
learn and what I needed to know, and I was excited about getting a degree and teaching.
R: What instructor did you enjoy the most or did you gain the most from?
E: I enjoyed Archie Robertson's Shakespeare courses the most. Dr. Pauline Hilliard was
a marvelous instructor, and I enjoyed her classes immensely. She is still a friend of mine.
Maude Watkins, who at that time taught fourth grade at P. K. Yonge, was my supervisor in
intership and practice teaching. She was a wonderful teacher, and I enjoyed her very
much. I also enjoyed Robert Stripling's classes [in the College of Education]. He was a
wonderful teacher. In fact, I enjoyed all of my educational professors. I did not have any
teachers in the College of Education that I did not think were very nice.
R: You said you had one last fun story.
E: Oh, it is another of the same stories about dating the editor of the Seminole. Doug
Beldom was the captain of the football team that year, and I posed for a picture for the
Seminole with Doug Beldom, and that never showed up again.
R: I have thoroughly enjoyed the interview.
E: I enjoyed it, too. It was like getting young for day or two.
R: I want to thank you very much.