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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewee: Karelisa Hartigan
Interviewer: Mariom Verheul
April 16, 1992
V: Let us start where you were born; you were born in Stillwater, Oklahoma? That
sounds like a small town.
H: [laughter] I do not have any idea, since I left when I was thirteen months old.
V: Oh, so you do not remember [it].
H: No, my father was teaching at Oklahoma ; that is why he was there.
V: Where did you move when you were thirteen months old?
H: [We] moved to Kentucky.
V: Did you grow up in a city, or a small town?
V: Anyway, you grew up in a commuter city in New Jersey.
H: Westfield, N.J.
[more audio difficulty]
H: [My father] started out in teaching, and first taught at Dartmouth.
V: Your father first taught at Downbrook?
H: Yes, he taught at various schools, and then later in life he went into industry.
V: Do you know the reason he gave up teaching?
H: I think it was getting a job; industry was bad. He kind of remained the teacher.
Even though he was a welding engineer, he would always. ..
V: Have you always wanted to go into teaching?
H: I always wanted to go into teaching; I just kept raising the level. When I was
younger I would teach little kids. As I got older, I wanted to teach the higher
level. By the time I got to college [I wanted] to teach high school. After I
graduated from college I knew I wanted to go into college teaching.
V: Did you always want to study classics as well?
H: Yes I did. Once I started Latin I took four years with Phyllis Lindquist at
Westfield High. So when I went to the College of Wooster I knew I wanted to be
a classics major. But in Greek, the very first moment I got there--as soon as we
signed up for it--a couple of us went and got our books and started looking at the
alphabet right away. That was real love at first sight. I had spent four years in
Greek at Wooster.
V: Where was Wooster?
H: Wooster, Ohio; about an hour and a half south of Cleveland, I guess.
V: You said that your mother had an M.A. in French...
H: She had got an M.A. at Ohio State in French.
V: Was she was from a family that valued education?
H: She was the first person in her family to go to college, and really the only
member of her family to go to college. She had a brother and a sister. Her sister
went into nursing, and her brother went in the army. My grandparents came from
Germany, so they were first [generation]. They were the immigrants for my
family. She was quite unusual to go on. She got her degree in French.
V: When she went to college, were there more women in college already?
H: It was unusual. She did not talk about that a lot, but when I saw the pictures,
there was only a couple of them in the classes; especially going for a graduate
degree at that time.
V: And your father also had a master's degree?
H: [He had] a Ph.D. in pathology.
V: Speech pathology.
H: Mother taught, [although] she did not use her French immediately. She actually
got her first job teaching the deaf in Columbus, Ohio. There was--and maybe still
is--a pretty well-known school for the deaf in Columbus, and that is where she
was teaching. But in those days, once you got married you had to leave your
job, because you could not have two people working for the state. Even though
my father was at another place, and [they taught at] two totally different schools,
she could not teach, because they were both on the state payroll.
V: That was a rule?
H: They kept their wedding a secret for a while, so that she could at least continue
teaching for a while. Once that was revealed, she had to give up teaching
because they could not each be paid by the state.
V: When was that changed?
H: It was still in most schools; until very recently, you could not have two people at
the same school paid by the same payroll. They are making the changes now,
but certainly through the sixties, I would say it would be very rare for two people
to be paid at the same school, so called nepotism. Two people in the same
department is really rare. Now you will get more cases where they will hire two
people to share one position.
V: It is possible now I suppose, that a man works in one school, and the woman in
the other. That is amazing. How did she feel about that? Do you know?
H: She did not think it was very fair. Her job was perhaps the better paid job at the
time. I forget what my father was doing--some sort of teaching in speech
pathology. Obviously, it would have to be she that would have to give up [her
job]. Nobody ever considered that he would give it up, and that she would be the
working person. No, that would not be possible.
V: So you were brought up in a very encouraging environment to go study.
H: Oh yes.
V: Did they agree with your choice of classics?
H: Yes. They never told me--other than telling me in the first place that I had to take
Latin--what I had to take, or anything. They were perfectly willing for me to take
a liberal arts degree, which was not that unusual when I went to school. Now
you have to be hostile to a parent, when their child wants to take a liberal arts
degree, because they say that is not going to be any use.
V: You will not be able to get a job.
H: The Classics department now really should be meeting with the parents and not
the students, saying "Let your child study what he or she wants."
V: But in this country, parents usually pay a big part of their children...
H: If they want to believe in education, I do not think they should then hold it over
them that way.
V: That is true; I am in the history department, and I hear stories from people, who
say their parents do not agree. You went to Chicago.
V: Was there a specific reason for that? Was it the best university?
H: It was an outstanding university in Classics. It still is an outstanding university in
Classics. But at that time--well I guess I had always been interested in the
University of Chicago, and they offered it to those of us who were students of the
liberal arts, in the type of school that Wooster was, which was a small,
coeducational, liberal arts college, of which there are so many in the Midwest.
They offered us a chance to commit ourselves to going to the University of
Chicago in our junior year, in our program of study. And then the Ford
Foundation was funding--they call them three year M.A. programs--and you were
going to be funding for your masters degree if you committed to it your junior
V: That is what you did?
H: Yes. They took us out to Chicago for interviews.
V: You got some financial aid?
H: Oh yes. I think no one should have to pay for graduate education. [laughter] I
had the Ford Foundation three-year M.A. program (as it was called), which
meant that you got your M.A. in a year after you went to Chicago.
V: In one year?
H: Four quarters.
V: That is rather quick.
H: It was a pretty vigorous program. But then I also won a Woodrow Wilson
fellowship, so I was also a Woodrow Wilson scholar for the first year. So what
happened was, they took the Woodrow Wilson fellowship, and then Ford
Foundation just paid the final quarter of my M.A. Once I had the Woodrow
Wilson of course, all sorts of schools were offering me chances to come to them.
Stanford said, "Do you want to come?" Even Harvard interviewed me. I felt that
I was really committed to Chicago and the mid-west.
V: That was where you got your chance?
H: Yes, and I really liked it when I went there. The rest of the next two years, I had
University of Chicago fellowships, and then I had a Woodrow Wilson dissertation
fellowship the fourth year. My Ph.D. was a four-year Ph.D., because I went
continuously for four quarters, for four years.
V: You got your Ph.D. in Chicago as well. [How was] the change from the College
of Wooster to the University of Chicago? I can imagine that it was a lot bigger. ..
H: Well it was certainly bigger. Living in Chicago was a totally different experience
from [the] small town of Wooster Ohio. But, it was exciting. Of course, the
classics program was smaller than many programs. And Chicago was known for
its graduate school. It has a college, but it is really known as a graduate
institution, so the emphasis was really on graduate education. In those days,
Chicago prided itself that its graduate students were funded and supported for
study, and did not teach. So I did not have to teach my four years.
V: No T.A.-ships?
H: Not in those days. When you went on the job market, everybody said, "What,
you have not taught? How do we know if you can teach or not"
V: That does make sense.
H: Luckily, the first job I got was somebody who really wanted a Ph.D. from the
University of Chicago. So he was willing to assume that--if you are trained, and
you want to teach-- you can do it. I was revealed that I certainly can teach. Now
they have T.A.'s at Chicago, and they have changed the program a great deal.
Many of the people that I worked with have died or retired, or something like that.
V: But you have not ever missed that opportunity? You could commit yourself
totally to your studies, of course.
H: You certainly could. And Chicago was a really rigorous program. I remember
the first term that we were there, we got our reading lists for one of the courses,
and I would say that maybe a third of the bibliography was in another language.
They just assumed you were going to be able to read it; it was Italian, or
German, or French. I remember the Aved Course, the only book that was
available was [a] commentary in Dutch. The teacher said, "Well, if you squint, it
looks like German, so go ahead with it."
V: I am Dutch. [laughter]
H: So, you were not given any on that. The reading list was all of these
bizarre things on the edges. We said, "Well, what happened to all the standard
lists of texts in classics?" And he said, "Well, we assume that you have read the
basics from Chicago. You should have also read the rest of the stuff. We had
odd little courses, some of them, but we were also supposed to be reading.
Sometimes I pull out that Ph.D. reading list, and [I] say, "Good Lord, how in the
world did we ever get through all of this?"
V: That was really a full-time program.
H: It was a full-time program; yes.
V: Did you enjoy Chicago as a city, or did you not have time for that? Did you live
H: We were very--I got married my first year too, and then had a child very quickly.
So I was one of these people who was trying to balance graduate school, an
infant, and a husband at that same time. But we got a wonderful apartment very
near campus. It was actually the upstairs of old President Harper's house which
was inherited by his daughter, and she made the top two floors into apartments.
Although we could not quite afford to use the fireplace in the bedroom, it was
very close, and it was a lovely house; a wonderful place to live.
V: That was allowed? I have heard stories of people not being allowed [to live] off
H: Well, for graduate students, we certainly all had to. It was on Woodlawn
Avenue, just down from the Robie House; the Frank Lloyd Wright House. It was
very close to campus, which was convenient, because once I had my child,
working out baby-sitting was interesting. Sometimes the fellow students and I
would sort of wheel my child up to campus, and she would wheel them back. In
the summer, the teachers would often let me bring my child in the carriage to the
V: They were very supportive of that.
H: They were supportive--yes.
V: That is wonderful, because sometimes that is really hard. Many women give up
very soon if they have children.
H: There was a great role model: Ann Barnett was teaching there, and she had a
daughter, and she was going to have a child. To her absolute amazement, she
absolutely managed to have it between quarters. We said that was planning just
too well! [laughter] Between quarters for heaven's sake!
V: That is a very professional attitude.
H: Very professional attitude. I remember one time, there were a couple of
professors there who were sort of terrorists to everybody, including the graduate
students. One was Richard McKeon of aristotelian fame. One summer we were
reading--I guess we were reading Homer--and my little friend Tim was playing in
the corner, and he threw his toy out the door, and crawled out after it, making
trouble. McKeon came out of his office, and looked at the floor. He looked like
he was looking at something that was from outer space. A child in the Classics
building at [the University of] Chicago! How could that happen? What lengths
have we sunk to? How bad have we gotten? [laughter] He did not step on him
at least, but I had the feeling he might have.
V: Well, for some people it must have been hard.
H: Most of the people were very, very supportive.
V: And you managed, obviously.
H: [In the] first year, they let me take a lot of independent study courses, so that I
could meet with professors one on one. My work with Richard Gruer, who
[taught one of the] greatest classes of all times; he was very intimidating when
we first knew him, and then as I got to work with him one on one, I guess I would
say he is one of my favorite people. As I got to know him, I knew that he was
painfully shy, but he would come into [our] class of absolute silence, and he
would look around the class, and we were all sitting there with our texts open. "In
the Latin, Mrs. Hartigan; line 645." You did not even know if he knew your name
at that point; you were not sure if it was going to be your lucky number called.
But as I got to know him, and work with him one on one, it was almost like
reading with the original author; he was really, really wonderful. He was retired,
and remarried, and was living in Madison. Last Christmas, I heard from his wife.
I had been writing to him. She said, "Thank you for writing, and Richard would
be very happy to know this, but his mind is gone and he does not know anything
anymore." I really cried, because here was this brilliant, brilliant man, and he
does not know anything.
V: That is very sad; is he old?
H: Yes. I do not know what age [he is], but [he is] older. [He is] not old enough to
not be functioning.
V: It is sad when that happens; especially when it is a great mind. So, I understand
you were treated as responsible individuals. ..
H: We were treated as responsible individuals in that way, but Chicago never let you
forget that you were a graduate student, and they were faculty. I look at
graduate students here, and I hear about other people's graduate life, and it
might as well come from another planet. We were always intimidated; they were
distant. There was a building called the Classics building in Chicago at that time,
and the Classics library was in that building, so we sort of made our home there.
We had our study places there. But the faculty offices were all behind the cages
that shut off the libraries, and you really thought you were passing through
barriers and barriers, and these huge Gothic doors. I can remember standing in
front of the door [thinking]: "Am I going to be brave enough to knock on this door
V: Did that annoy you?
H: I did not know anything else.
V: That is true. What do you think is better?
H: I think it would have been nicer to feel more relaxed for discussion with the
professors in a more informal setting sometime, rather than always having
discussion only in the classroom situation. I do not know if it is different now or
not; I suspect it is. But those were the grand old days in Chicago, and the grand
old teachers were just distant.
V: You studied in the 1960s, now that is a very turbulent time. Did you notice
anything of that?
H: Oh yes, I remember I was in Chicago in the late 1960s and in fact, I was taking
my Ph.D. qualifying exams the very week of the Democratic Convention of 1968.
You would read all of these horrible things in the newspaper, and hear about it
from your friends, and then try to take your qualifying exams for six hours during
the day. It was really a very schizophrenic time.
V: I can imagine. But was it also a time of changes at the university; did they start
to treat students differently?
H: Not really. I left in 1969, and by that time--Chicago did not change quickly. I
think it has changed now, but I really have not been back at the university.
V: There were no controversial issues?
H: Well, there were demonstrations, and the undergraduates would be
demonstrating. But the graduate students were just working so hard. There was
a big difference between being an undergraduate at a time like that, and being a
graduate student when you know that you have a lot of commitment that you
have to get done. Many of us were married, or had children, or were. .I said it
was a rigorous program.
V: What did your husband do? Did he study at the University of Chicago too?
H: My then-husband was at the University of Chicago too, in philosophy. Then he
dropped out of that program, and worked at. ..
I got my Ph.D. in 1969. But you were asking about how many women [there
were]. It was pretty equal, actually. It was [a] pretty equal [number] of women
and men getting their Ph.D.'s at that time.
V: Oh really?
H: Chicago was pretty rigorous too; not only did they keep you in a rigorous
program, but they kind of decided your future. There were some people there
whom they decided were not going to make the Ph.D. They called them in and
said, "You know, we have a teaching job for you, even with your master's degree,
and we think you should take it." I remember two of my friends saying, "Wait a
minute; I did not think I was going to do that." They said, "Yes, we do not think
you are going to make it as a Ph.D. candidate.
V: That is really rather rude.
H: They did that to both men and women; they were not discriminating.
V: You did not have the feeling that it was harder as a woman; that you had to prove
H: No, I did not. Even though Chicago was a conservative and Old Guard, there
were women teachers who were equally respected. Chicago now, has a woman
president. It was rigorous and conservative in its methods of education, perhaps
very forward looking in what it was doing. The people who come out to Chicago
are famous; many, many famous people in many, many famous fields. [There
were] very well educated people in both men and women.
V: But they could actually throw you out of the Ph.D. program? Or was it advice?
H: It was an advice, but if they did not support you financially, that was a pretty
V: You were expected to take that advice.
H: Take the teaching job, and if you wanted to come back. BUt in every case, the
person did not come back. In most cases, they did not even continue their
V: Really? They just dropped out of it all together?
H: [They] wanted to do something else.
V: That must have been hard; there must have been a lot of stress in that time.
H: There was a lot of stress in the 1960s. If you look at it, you had all the political
thing, you had--half of the time--all your friends who were scared they were going
to be drafted. Do not talk to me about Bill Clinton's draft number. We were living
it. The kind of program we were in which was extremely rigorous, and decisions
were being made for you and about you. So it was a lot of stress.
V: You finished your Ph.D.
H: I survived, finished my Ph.D. Anyway, the Ph.D. was funny, because I was going
to work with this Ann Barnett on a Greek poet, and then she went
on leave and a new teacher came in, Constantine Tricanus, who had been
visiting there one summer. He had really liked my work, and I was assigned to
him. I said, "Well, I am working on my Ph.D. in ." He said, "I do not
like I think you should work on something else." I said, "Oh really?"
[laughter] I knew it was a one year Ph.D. program, and so I had to start really
fast, and I worked on a palatine anthology.
V: So you actually had to change your subject because she did not like...
H: Because the new teacher (he) did not like [my subject]. It would not have
mattered--he or she--the point was, the person I was going to work with left, and
the next person came in, and said "I do not like that subject, and I think you
should work on something which I know, and which I am interested in." So I did,
and it worked out later.
V: You did it without protest? You just felt well...
H: Well I was sort of surprised. I had collected some material on this subject. But I
went ahead and worked on the Palatine anthology. I got the degree and later
published it in a book, so it all worked out.
V: Did the University of Chicago organize, for example, vacations to Greece? Were
there any chances?
H: No, but I guess I did not mention: when I was at Wooster, the year I graduated
from Wooster, my senior year, 1965, I won the national Beta Sigma Phi
scholarship to Greece. There was one given to Greece and Rome each year by
Beta Sigma Phi. So I won the scholarship to Greece to study at the American
School of Classical Studies in Athens. I think if anything that turned my life, that
would be the thing. It was before we went to Chicago, but that trip to Greece
committed me totally to the whole Ph.D. program, to doing things in Greece--
what I do now with modern group studies, and all of that--was really a turning
point. And all of the people who were on that program in 1965 are almost all still
friends, and still professionals, and still in the field. It was just an amazing
V: Did you stay there for a year, or a summer?
H: Just the summer program. Actually, Wooster has had a number of winners of
that scholarship, but we have had winners here. We have the winner again, here
V: So that program still exists?
H: [It] still exists. We just had a winner this year win the one to Rome. A couple of
years ago, we won both the one to Rome and to Greece. So, I have people
following in my footsteps, even here. [laughter]
V: Is the classics department here nationally recognized?
H: I think so.
V: Your first job, you started in St. Olaf. How did you get that job?
H: The man who was chair at St. Olaf, Lloyd Gunderson, wanted a Chicago Ph.D.
There were two of us that year, and he wanted me. So I went up to St. Olaf to
teach, and my husband started his graduate work at the University of Minnesota.
He commuted [to school]. So I taught three years at St. Olaf. I think it was a
good thing for me--since I had not had any teaching experience--to go to a
teaching school for those three years, to learn to teach in that ambiance. It was
a two-person department, so we taught a lot. It was a good school in Northfield,
the same place [that] Carleton is. It was a good liberal arts school. In the years
that I was there, it took a tradition of being a good Lutheran school, which had an
interesting effect, in that all of us who had been hired by a very forwarding
looking dean found ourselves being phased out. Although they can never say,
"We are phasing you out, because you are not a Lutheran," it is interesting that
all of us who were hired by that dean, who were not Lutheran, went on to other
V: Did you have the feeling that you more or less had to go, because you were not
H: Yes, I was not going to be tenured there, and that was the sensible reason. They
could not actually say that.
V: Did you feel at home there, in the three years that you were there?
H: I enjoyed them, yes.
V: You did?
H: It was cold.
V: Yes, I can imagine there. Chicago is not too warm, either.
H: No, I think it was colder in Chicago; there is nothing colder than Chicago.
V: But at least it is a city where you have a lot of places to go. Afterwards, you went
to the University of Minnesota?
H: No, I only taught one summer at the University of Minnesota. They just invited
me to come up and teach there one summer, which was nice.
V: What year did you arrive at the University of Florida?
H: 1973; a long time ago. [laughter]
V: The turbulent 1960s were over...
H: Yes, the turbulent 1960s were over. Of course, at St. Olaf, we had all of the Kent
State debates, when the Kent State students were shot, and all of the turbulence
that resulted from that. I laugh now, because I do not think of myself as a
particularly rabble-rousing person. I was just trying to do my job. But the people
who were in my Greek class, were some of the avant-guard, rabble-rousing
students. And they used to all gather on my porch, and the administration was
like, "Who is this Hartigan person?" And then there were demonstrations to get
ROTC off of campuses. That was the big thing, especially after Kent State.
H: The military operative. Many schools were demonstrating to get that off campus,
and St. Olaf was amongst them. It turned out that the students who were the
leaders of the demonstrations against ROTC were mostly in my Greek class.
This is a funny story, because then the ROTC was going to try these students for
disrupting the ROTC program, and I was supposed to be called in as a witness to
this event. Either to support my students, or at least as a witness to the event. I
guess I completely discredited myself, because the ROTC people were being
like, "Horrible thing that these people walk into the ROTC building and disrupt
things!" The secretary for the ROTC said," And I heard them coming down the
hall, and I knew they were not our students, because they were walking in broken
cadence." I just burst into laughter, and they were all like: "Get rid of that
woman!" So I think the fact that I was not Lutheran, and that I was obviously a
V: In their opinion.
H: In their opinion. Because my chair did not want me to go. He was very, very
upset; he did everything but stand on his head to try and keep me there. But I
was not going to fit into the mold.
V: That was the reason you had to leave?
H: Sure. Oh, and they said they were not going to tenure two people in a two-
person department. But now they have, so it was pretty clear.
V: Why was there an ROTC. .were there militaries on campus?
H: Many liberal arts schools, just like our university, had our military unit on campus.
And with the war going on, we were anti-war, and we did not like it being there.
It got to the point where I thought, "If one more person asks me to make a moral
statement I am just going to weep." The students who did not think that ROTC
should be off, demanded to be taught. The other students demanded that
classes be cancelled so the demonstrations could be honored. There were
faculty meetings which were just hours long, with everybody making these
impassioned pleas. It was a very intense time.
V: And what you said [about] the Kent shooting?
H: When the students at Kent State were shot, they sent in the national guard to
stop the demonstration at Kent State. The picture it is on; it will be around.
V: I am not American...
H: May 4th? Anyway, when May comes along, it will be another picture in Time
magazine or the Newsweek, remembering Kent State events.
V: Well that sounds very sad.
H: It was a terrible time.
V: So actually, you were there at a very turbulent time. Do you think that St. Olaf is
more old-fashioned than Chicago, or. ..
H: Chicago was--graduate students were just doing their thing. Undergraduates
were really demonstrating, throwing smoke bombs, and that kind of thing. But
we were just trying to get through. [laughter] So at Kent State and at St. Olaf, the
undergraduates (of course) were caught up in all of these things. We, as a
young faculty, were.
V: 23. UF. [Did you go] there right after St. Olaf's?
H: Yes, I got a degree; I got my job down here.
V: Why did you come to Florida?
H: Well, we were looking around at what places my husband and I would like to go,
and we thought Florida was one of the places. It was not just because it was a
lot warmer than Minnesota [laughter], but it looked like a growing state and a
growing economy. Actually, the University of Florida did not have a classics
department. I kept--every year--sending letters off to Florida State, which did
have a classics department. But they never hired me. And then
talked to me, and said that they were [starting] a program here, and that I should
apply here. I was hired in the humanities department here, because they did not
have a program, and they were going to build one. It seemed like a real miracle,
because my husband got a job in the library system. He had gone to the
University of Minnesota, and gotten a library science degree. And he got a job in
the library here. Of course he is still here. It seemed like a blessing; two people
getting a job in the same place, and they were actually going to be hired in the
same place. This was a change.
V: At that time, it was possible. And you started as Assistant professor?
H: Assistant professor in the Humanities department.
V: Oh, there was no classics department.
H: There was no classics department.
V: So you helped set up the classics department.
H: We built the program here; those of us who were here with the program, and it
was officially recognized in 1975, and we have come a long way from a non-
program to a program which offers a viable masters degree in teaching lots, and
lots, and lots of students over the years.
V: Well, you have stayed here for quite some time, so I suppose that you enjoy
H: I do. I think when I came, I wanted to be here. And I suppose when I first came I
thought of it maybe as a stopping point to go somewhere else. But after you are
here awhile, and because it was so exciting to be creating something. .There
was no tradition that you had to do it the old way. We were building it, we were
making it, and we were working hard, and all of a sudden we had been here
V: That is true; time goes fast if you are really building at something.
H: Of course, I built a number of things here. We went up and down the highways
and byways of Florida, saying "There is a classics program at U.F.--if you want to
study classics, come here."
V: And at Florida State [University]?
H: I do not know if I would say that. They were stronger first, and then we grew up
and became strong. There emphasis has gone more toward archeology, and we
have gone more towards literature.
V: It is just different.
H: It would not be fair; I would not want it recorded that "we are better than they
are." We had a high point, they had a high point, they had a low point. We were
high and we are probably equal now.
V: Right, it is a different emphasis. I was looking at the courses you give, and you
teach Greek Drama? That sounded really interesting? Do students actually
have to play some scenes?
H: Right. Well, Greek drama is my specialty, really. I have become known for
Greek drama. There are a few other things too, but that especially. And the
Greek drama course which I teach every spring is my favorite course to teach,
and the students have a number of things. Of course we read the plays, and
they have to write their papers, and so on. But we do--in fact, this week in class
we are just doing--they always have to do scenes. I think that Greek drama was
meant to be performed, but we just read it. Even though we read little parts
when we are discussing it, it is not the same thing when they act out a few
scenes. We get to see a little bit more of what it was like. In some years, there
have really been brilliant productions, and then okay productions. But at least
they do little scenes, and get to see how it is done. It really comes alive much
more by having it [performed].
V: Oh, I can imagine; it must be a wonderful course. But you also teach Greek as a
H: I teach Greek as a language. For years I did the beginning ancient Greek class.
And then just recently, we hired our senior Hellenist, Dr. David Young, and he
has been doing the beginning Greek [class] so that I can teach some of the
upper-level courses. I have not taught Latin since I left St. Olaf, in beginning
levels. I have taught a comparative Greek and Latin course, and I have taught
Latin pastoral, but I have been really Hellenist here. So I teach Greek in the
literature, I teach Greek drama (mostly Homer and Plato). That is most of the
work that I do.
V: Do you think that your career was difficult because you are a woman? Do you
think that at the time it was harder?
[end of side A]
H: I have been very lucky in working for men who were not going to hold anything
against you because you are a woman. There have been job interviews that
would not be allowed nowadays, and people telling you, "Well, because you are
a woman you will get a lower salary." But that kind of thing...
V: Did that actually happen?
H: Yes, it actually happened.
V: They told you to your face that you would get a lower salary, because...
V: How did you feel about that? Was it normal in that time?
H: Well, I think he was a particularly bad example. He was not a particularly savory
character, so I did not even consider that as a possible place to teach.
V: I would not either.
H: But, I have been very lucky. The chair at St. Olaf was very generous to me. We
were a very good team. Dr. was certainly not prejudiced against
women. If anything, you might say there were more women here than...
V: There are? Really? Are there also more women students?
H: No. Greek detracts male students more than women students. Anyway,
certainly when I started Greek at Wooster, I think there were three of us in a
class of twenty-five who were women. Again, [as] freshmen, we thought this was
wonderful. [laughter] Plenty of wonderful, attractive upperclassmen in the same
classroom. But, over the years, more women have started Greek. But when I
was first started teaching Greek, it was more men than women.
V: Do you know why it attracts men more? Because usually, in liberal arts
departments in general, you see more women than men.
H: Well, a lot of the people were taking it for seminary. And so that was a great
portion of our class. Now, for some misguided reason, the seminaries do not
think that the students need to know Greek, [and] our enrollments have dropped
off, and we do not have as many men in the class taking Greek for that reason.
V: You do not have to take Greek for something?
H: They claim they can learn in the summer what they need to know; [which] is not
V: I had Greek for two years, and I have forgotten most of it.
H: It is not true. Once they get to the seminary, they realize it is not true, but then it
is too late. I wish the religion department here would impress upon those
students who are going to seminary, that they ought to get themselves down
here, and take Greek with us. The philosophy department should tell them that
they should take Greek with us too.
V: What are your ambitions? You have reached quite a lot. You have built up a
whole department. What more is there?
H: I was promoted just this past year, and I said, "Now what am I going to do with
the rest of my life?" Because, not only have we helped build the department, but
as you probably know, I built the Comparative Drama Conference here, and the
Center for Greek Studies here, both of which things have national and
international visibility. So, I really worked very hard. The Center for Greek
Studies--not only is it the only one in the Southeast that offers a wide program of
modern Greek as well as classical--but it is very well-recognized as a program
with many people involved. In fact, this past November, we hosted the
international Modern Greek Studies Association symposium. I was the chair of
the local committee. People from all over the world, the Greek ambassador,
everyone came. They were very impressed with Florida, and our whole
arrangement here. It was exciting.
V: And the Greek drama conference? Could you say something about that?
H: No, the Comparative Drama Conference. I stress this, because there is always a
classic section in it, but it is comparative drama. It started in 1977. In the 1970s
the University of Florida was known largely for its programs in humanities and
technology, and engineering. The humanities were getting kind of short-trip; we
had that big NAH humanities and professions grant. But humanities per se, were
not really the center of attention here. And since I am a drama person, and have
been all of my life, I really wanted to do something to bring emphasis to the
humanities. So I started this Comparative Drama Conference. 1977, we had a
night and a day--a night lecture and a show, and a bay of papers. And it is
growing. Now I limit the sizes; two and one half days. [It] starts Thursday
afternoon and [ends] Saturday. It brings eighty papers; people to present papers
would come from all over the world. I have people from Europe, the near east,
and Egypt, as well as all of the United States. People come every year. Some
people pride themselves on having been back every year, because it is such fun.
That is one thing the students in the Greek drama class have to [do]: go to the
conference and listen to the papers, and see the shows, and listen to the lecture,
so they get a good perspective on professional humanists, as well as just the
man class. Also, it is nice, because I was there in class: "I am
presenting this view, but I can tell you scholars who present another view." Then
they will go to the conference and hear a scholar who will give an opposing view,
and they will know that I am not just saying that. The comparative drama
conference is now--we just completed the sixteenth conference. We publish an
edited volume of proceedings, and I have been doing it single-handedly here at
the University of Florida for all of these years. Just recently I got an assistant,
Brian Richardson in the English department, whom I hope--I said after twenty
years--to hand it off to him and I will retire as a founding director. [And I will]
smile sweetly at people. It is a lot of work to run a conference every year.
V: I was just going to ask that; it must take months.
H: Well, it takes a lot of time. And considering I teach three courses every term, it is
a lot of work to do. On the other hand, since I have done it so many years, the
hotels know me, the Reitz Union knows me, [and] everybody around knows me,
so that I have good working relationships with the people in town.
V: Do you invite people to the conference? Or can people surprise...
H: If they call for papers to be sent out, and they send in their abstracts, we evaluate
them and choose them, and put them together, and then invite a conference
speaker to give the keynote address for the conference. And we always have
two shows, because, like in Greek drama class, I do not think you should talk
about drama without seeing it. To carry that into the conference, you should not
talk about drama without seeing it. So I either import shows, or if I am lucky, I
can use shows that are here in town. This year, we were lucky to have both
Florida Players and the Hippodrome playing, so we could go on campus. Which
is more economical, and certainly logistically much easier than trying to set up
shows and bring in shows, and this kind of thing. Although I have been lucky so
far, in always having two shows of some height to offer the participants.
V: Did you act?
H: For a drama conference? No. When I was growing up, my mother was in
amateur theater, and especially in children's theater. So I sort of grew up with
having people running around my living room with tomahawks and singing "Peter
Peter, pumpkin-eater, where are you?" [laughter] So, I grew up in a theatrical
family. My mother directed, and my father worked backstage. At an early age, I
started cutting gel papers (for lights) for community theater. In college, I worked
all four years in the college theater. There were times when it was a close call
whether I was [to] go on in classics, or into stage lighting, because I really liked
the backstage work. I acted a couple of times, but I was far too shy to be an
actress. Now I am not shy, but I can not remember anything, so I would not want
to do it now. [laughter]
V: Was there a drama department up there at the University of Chicago? Or was
there kind of a Greek drama course like the one you are teaching now? Or is
that totally a concept of yourself?
H: Well, actually I did not have an undergraduate course of Greek drama like I did
now. I read drama, and we had foundations of classical literature which involved
Greek drama, but I guess, come to think of it, there was not any particular course
of Greek drama at Wooster. At Chicago, of course, the program was all text for
graduate students. When you were reading Euripides, you are reading
[and] you are reading Sophocles, kind of thing. The undergraduate
program had a theater and, of course, Chicago Theater is very well-known. [It is]
very well-established. It was as to who was organizing the theater.
But I was not involved in it. I just could not, with everything else then. When I
went to Wooster, I did not do anything more. When I came down to Gainesville I
worked for a while at the Gainesville Community Playhouse. But again, I could
never commit to being in town that long, to do a show. So I did some lighting,
and now I just support the arts. [laughter]
V: That is good enough.
H: I send my money to the Hippodrome, and go to all of the shows.
V: The concept of a Greek drama course is quite unique, I think.
H: Well, I guess it is, to have this involvement with it, kids have to have five parts
from one of them being going to the conference, and then doing their scenes,
and their papers, and of course tests. But their papers are also supposed to be
what I call thought papers, [and] not research papers. I do not need them going
to the library and summarizing all of the books on Greek drama, which I have
read anyway. But I make them sit down with a text, or two texts, and work
through an idea in the text. That is hard for them to do. But [they produce] very
insightful papers. There always are some very good papers.
V: Have you had some outstanding students over the years? That you remember,
and who have gone on to.. .?
H: People who have gone on--one student did his undergraduate work here, and is
now teaching out at Utah. My student Amy Smolden, who won one of the
scholarships to Athens, now teaches at Miami. I have had such students go on.
I think one of the disappointing things about being a teacher, is that you get close
to the students and then they vanish, and you do not see them anymore.
H: "I will be in touch Dr. Hartigan." Only a few [really] are.
V: But I guess from the student's point of view, they probably think "Oh well, they
probably do not remember me."
H: I wrote back to some of my professors at Wooster, and of course, I still keep in
touch with the woman who does classics there. But not the others; maybe I am
just as guilty. Though I did keep in touch [with her]. I have been given enough
students who keep in touch over the years.
V: What is the enrollment of the classics program?
H: We like to say that one in every thirteen students at the University of Florida
takes at least one classics class. I teach the big classes; my 700 student
mythology class is probably legendary--is legendary--and then we have students
in the Glory That Was Greece, Grandeur That Was Rome--300 students in those.
We have big enrollments. Any given year, if I am teaching mythology with 700
[students], and then have any other classes, I come into contact with close to 800
students a term.
V: Graduating classes?
H: I think we have about all levels between fifty and sixty majors right now, which is
pretty good for a university of our size.
V: That is very big.
H: No it is not. We induct into the classic honor society--full and associate
members--twenty to thirty students a term.
V: Do you try to encourage students to travel to Greece or Italy?
H: We encourage it. We are affiliated with two programs in Greece; the Aegean
Institute which is a summer program, and College Year in Athens which is a year
program. The college year program is just so expensive for our students, that
only the very few can go on it. The Aegean Institute--this year we must have four
or five students going from here. And I have taught there on and off, and I will be
teaching there next summer it looks like. I taught there in 1979, 1981, and
V: You actually taught there?
H: Yes, at the Aegean institute.
V: That must be fascinating.
H: A six-week summer program in Greece for American students. Students come
from all over the United States, and the faculty is drawn from various universities
V: Do you plan to do that again?
H: I am scheduled to go back next year.
V: Next year?
H: Yes; 1993. I am with the honors program now, one of my many hats (literally). [I
have been] the social director in the honors program for the past three
summers--I have been committed to working with them.
V: You have delivered quite some papers, and speeches, and all. What do you like
most; is your heart still in teaching?
H: Oh, I prefer teaching to administration. I do not want to do any more
administration than I do. As co-director for the center, and associate director for
honors program, and running the drama conference, I do quite enough
administrative stuff, thank you very much. All of that is extra, of course, but I like
teaching. I went into this for teaching, and I like teaching, and I do not get
burned out on teaching like some people do; I still enjoy it a lot. I do--you
mentioned a number of conference papers--I do enjoy giving papers. I am sort of
an abstract junkie--I send off abstracts all of the time, so that I get papers. I try
and give at least one or two--at least one, usually two papers a year. Sometimes
[I give] three papers a year. And now of course, since I have gotten better, now I
am invited to give lectures at various universities.
V: You like that too?
H: Yes, that is nice.
V: And what about your publications? Like articles, and books? Do you like
writing? Do you feel it is an obligation, or is it something that you really want to
H: More something that I want to do. At first you kind of do it because you have to,
but that is because I was delivering so many papers, it was easy for me to turn
the papers into articles for publication. I need that kind of--you are on the
program to be speaking on October 25--you are going to have it done.
Otherwise, it is hard to get it done. I have not had a lot of time off. I have a lot of
free time, so my last book, I almost died before that finished. But it is out now.
But as you go on more in the field, a long time ago, writing a book was sort of
awesome, and now I am embarked on two books, and I do not find that an
awesome idea at all.
V: You mean that at first you think it is wonderful to have a book published, and you
kind of get used to it?
H: Well, you think in terms. .you first think in terms of papers, and then you think in
terms of articles, and then you have to think in terms of books to get tenure, and
then you have to think in terms of books to get promotion. But I have just been
kind of doing my own thing. And now it is easy for me to think of doing a book; it
does not seem like something overwhelming. You do not have to do it for any
other reason, than I want to do it now, which is very nice (not to have that
pressure on me). I am through the last hurdle I need to jump through, and I am
not going to jump through anymore.
V: You have been at the University quite some time. Do you see a big difference
[from] back in 1973, [to] in 1992? Indicate what changes have taken place. ..
H: I think the quality of the faculty and the quality of the students have improved
H: Yes. I think a lot of people (like I did), came here thinking they would be here
and go on, and suddenly found themselves staying, and made it a better place.
The better we were, the better [the] people who have been hired in recent years
[were]. I think if you look at the hiring at our liberal arts and sciences college--
outstanding people are hired, and [are] staying here. And our students are
becoming better, and they are getting better faculty. (Ready to go to
expensive schools--of our students who just won awards in college--man who
teaches Greek, who has been teaching for years at Santa Barbara, and he is
now teaching here [after a] couple of years of teaching. Now that is high praise.)
[Last two sentences were semi-unintelligible]
V: That is great. And that must give a lot of satisfaction to your job too.
V: But other changes, like become[ing] more motivated or less [motivated]? Do you
think that their social life is so absorbing? Especially undergraduates?
H: I think they have changed. They are much more conservative in the 1980s than
they were in the 1960s. I think--it seems we are still battling the battle to save
this liberal arts education as viable, because everything seems so technically
SI understand that they are paying money, and expect to get a job.
More and more industries are saying that they want a liberal education; if we
could actually get that into the student's head, that liberal education is a good
thing for itself.
V: True. It is economic; people tend to go into accounting.
H: There are not any more jobs for accountants than there are for classicists if you
get right down to it.
V: There are not many jobs, but there are not many classicists.
H: But we do not want all of our majors to go on and follow us. The best ones, we
encourage, and tell them "You have to be best." That is true; coming from
Florida, you have to be extra good to get into the good schools.
V: Why is that?
H: Because of Northeast prejudice against the South. It is pretty clear.
V: Is that really so obvious; that if you are from the South .?
H: In the profession we notice it. We just came back from the Classical Association
of the Middlewest and South, and all of us feel that we are good people doing
good work, but the prejudice is there.
V: So there is much less recognition for the work that people do here?
H: It is just in the kind of gratuitous remark, like [when] I got back an article that was
rejected by people who I know are reading in the Northeast. They said, "She did
not consult the New Book; perhaps it has not reached her library yet."
V: Like your library is a little behind.
H: Yes, I was going to say, "When they throw the books off at the bananas, you
happen to catch it." They did not need to say that. I think they were reading it in
manuscript form from their friends anyhow.
V: That must be annoying.
H: Yes, it is.
V: Do you notice that also when you, for example, deliver papers in a Northeastern
university; do you have the feeling that less people take you seriously?
H: Well, I have by now, a pretty broad following, and it in fact, invokes a little bit--it is
nice; I go to conferences and people crowd in to hear the paper. Even at the
National Organization for Classicists, that is true. I am not invited to speak on
the lecture circuit in the Northeast, [but] I am invited every place else in the
V: But not in the Northeast?
V: That is really very interesting.
H: Even though I have people there who are friends now. But I could guarantee you
that I will never be asked to give a lecture at one of the schools in the Northeast.
Maybe Dartmouth, because I have good friends there, but not the others.
V: Your father taught there, so they would know the name. That is really strange;
do you know how that came into being?
H: It is just an Ivy-League tradition.
V: [It is like a] Civil War area, or something.
H: Those were the first schools, [although] classics is taught at all schools around
the nation. The Classical Association of the Middlewest and South (of which I
am the new president), takes in all of the states in the Midwest, and the
provinces of Canada. There is one for the west coast, because they are far
away. There is then--which is an organization of many hundreds [of] people--
thirty states in the provinces. Then there are the organizations of the Classical
Association of New England States, [and] the Classical Association of the Atlantic
States. And they have their own conventions and their own journals, and their
own newsletters, and they do not come to our meetings.
V: In the end, it is bound to bring them behind.
H: Well now, they are trying to get into our meetings, and we are saying, "Well, you
know, okay; you can come and give papers, but you cannot be an officer."
V: I think that is a bad attitude, especially as a scholar. You should listen to
H: You are from another country. You would know it if you were in this country.
V: That is true. I am always amazed at the fact that America is still divided.
Southerners still talk about those Yankees, and. ..
H: Yankees still think about us "slow people." [laughter] When we go to New York,
and we say we are from Florida, the people there are so nice.
V: Well I come from the Netherlands, and I think the people here are very nice,
because they just take time to do things. The first few days, it annoyed me. I
had a headache, and was sweating.
H: I have certainly enjoyed it here; I am not eager to leave at all. I have
occasionally asked to apply for jobs elsewhere, but I really do not want to leave.
I am happy here. I have worked here a long time, and built the programs. It is
not only that; I really like the people I work with. There is not a lot on the market
right now. You have to be at the very top when starting, or if you are starting,
you have to be very, very good.
V: And you have to be happy with whatever you can get. Do you think that when
you started studying [are different from] the times right now, for women to enter a
college, or do you think it has never been difficult?
H: I cannot say myself that I know of any particular--You mean [to] start college? I
do not know anybody who has been turned down because she was female. And
I certainly do not think a graduate program would do that. There obviously must
be incidents, but certainly not in my personal experience that way. I had no
trouble getting a job, and I do not think that I have not been asked to places
because I am a woman.
V: Do you know of any incidents that have happened over the years at U.F.?
People who have complained about not being paid a fair salary?
H: I think there are complaints, but they are in other departments, so I certainly do
not want to speak to them. I think it is interesting that, [of] twenty-six chairs in the
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, there is one woman. I think that is
V: That is true.
H: Seems odd, does it not? But, I do not want to speak about other departments
because I do not know. You hear things, but it is not my. . Oddly enough, I
have been much more discriminated against by other women, than I have been
V: Is that true?
H: By trying to be a woman who has a life outside the University; both at St. Olaf
and here. At St. Olaf, I would go to the meetings, but then I felt like I was
ostracized. Finally somebody said, "Well, I do not know why you want to be
here, we want to talk about children and cooking, and things, and I do not
suppose that interests you." I said, "I have a child [and] I like to cook." [And they
said], "Well, you work with our husbands. I was always regarded as a threat.
So, I had to really be--give dinner parties to prove to people that I knew how to
V: That you could do feminine things.
H: It is not determined that you can not do those things. Here, I belong to the
University Women's club because I belong to the Gourmet Group, and I like the
cooking. I belonged to it ten years ago, and then when I remarried, my husband
did not want to do it. Then when I divorced again, I was back into it. But I have
always had trouble in the listing. In the brochure, they always said [to] list your
husband's department. I said, "That is not the point, is it?" I would try to list my
own department. Every time, if I took a date to the dinners, they would always
assume that he was my husband. I had to warn these guys: "You are going to
be addressed as Mr. Hartigan." They could not believe that I was my own
V: That is strange. So you think it is more that women themselves still think of
women as belonging in the house?
H: Especially at the groups which are [comprised] of the faculty wives. Much of this
was people from the older faculty. Now there are more people who are working
women, and so that Gourmet Group is very different now. All of us are
are working people, and this has changed. But when we went to a
party the other night with mostly older faculty, I had this very young date with me,
and people [would ask], "You must be Mr. Hartigan." [laughter]
V: I would have probably just said yes.
H: That has been interesting.
V: Yes, because you can expect to be up to a lot of prejudice within your work;
within your working situation with Manny; you do not expect that from other
women. Have you had the same experience with other women in the
H: Oh no; because we are all working.
V: True, but there is no competition too.
H: In what way?
V: Well, women amongst themselves, trying to be better.
H: No, I do not think so. I will not say that all the women in our department have
always gotten along really well; we have had some spats, but I do not think it--
well that is true, there has been competition.
V: But you do not think an extraordinary amount, more than men.
H: It just shows up in different ways, I think.
V: That is probably it, yes. And do you know about student's issues? [unintelligible]
1973? Mixed dormitories?
H: 1973? I do not really know. One thing about being at a large university, as
opposed to a school like St. Olaf is that, although I get to know the majors fairly
well, I really do not know a lot about student life; there life is external. It impinges
on ours, and we are a very friendly department. We have parties, and our
students come to our parties, and they love to be with our department. So we do
know our students fairly well. But those are only our students. So, I cannot
generalize at all. When you think back to when I went to school--Coed dorm?
We had to be locked in our dorms at night, and sign out if we went out in the
evening, and sign in when we came in [for] the evenings. Everybody had to be
tucked into their beds at night, and they had better jolly well be there! [laughter]
V: Did they really check that? If you were there?
H: Oh yes. When you went out in the evening, you had to sign in when you came
in. And if you were not signed in, they would buzz your room, asking if you forgot
to sign in. If you were not there, [you were] expelled.
V: Really? Was there a curfew?
H: Yes, there was a curfew. Freshmen, a little younger, and even upperclassmen--
we had to be in by eleven o'clock.
V: Eleven o'clock?
H: [On] weeknights. Maybe one o'clock on weekends. Women had to live on
campus. Women could not visit men off campus. It was a very different time.
V: Yes, it was.
H: You could not wear slacks on campus unless it was ten degrees.
V: Could not wear slacks?
H: No. [laughter]
V: That climate! That must have been very cold. Panty hose are not exactly very
H: No; it was funny. This was not that Wooster was particularly conservative. This
was just the way it was in the early 1960s when I was in college. Any co-
educational liberal arts school would have been the same. I know when I used to
work in the theater, and I wanted to wear slacks to work in the theater, it was
lighted, and I was going to be up a ladder, so I would sneak in the back with my
coat, and sit in the back, and hope my ancient history teacher would not notice,
so that I could sneak out again. It is hard. Now that we have dry campus, that
was pretty prevalent. But as I said, you had to be in. And dating of course, was
V: Really? Did you need permission?
H: Well, the parties were all on campus with well-chaperoned--we did not have
fraternities at Wooster, but we had local clubs which were kind of the same thing
as fraternities and sororities. I did not belong; I was an independent. Of course
theater people are always on the fringes of these things a little bit. So by being
Greek and being in the theater, I was on the fringe of things, so it was sort of a
subculture that we were in. But a subculture for those days I suppose would
probably be pretty standard for now.
V: What you said about the early 1960s when you were at Wooster, that you cannot
wear slacks, and you had a curfew; did this change during the 1960s?
H: Oh yes, by the late 1960s that was changed.
V: As an undergraduate, did any protests...
H: There was one sympathy march for Selma, for the black demonstrations in
Selma, Alabama. But I think that was about it at Wooster.
V: There was no major fuss about not being able to wear slacks, or not being able
H: In those days, we still regarded going to college as a privilege, and not a right.
V: You were just happy to be there...
H: That is the biggest difference, I think, between the early 1960s and the 1970s.
We did not think we had rights; we were glad to be there. If we were fined for
missing class a day before a vacation, we just assumed those were the rules. It
was still something our parents had saved for, we saved for, and most people
worked all summer so that you would have money, and he was so happy that
you were going to school and getting an education, that it never occurred to us to
say, "How come?" I am not just saying this as a modest person, because as I
said, I was on the fringes of the group, so I would have been with any protest that
was going on; we would have been the protesting people; the theater, the
classics people, the artists. No, we did not.
V: Does that not annoy you sometimes? Seeing students that pay for their
educations, and that are living up to their expectations?
H: In a way. I would never do what so many students are doing now. That is,
challenge me--I would go to a teacher and ask what was wrong with a paper, but
I would never go in and say, "I need an A; you have got to change this grade."
V: I would not do that either; it is very rude.
H: I would never [be disrespectful]. Teaching a big class, I have had a lot of that
kind of stuff, where there is an anonymity that allows this [behavior]. There has
been--especially in the early 1980s--a lack of respect. I think the students are a
little bit more respectable now. I do not know if it is harder to get in [to the
University of Florida], or costing more, or what--probably all of the above.
V: I think people are getting a little more conservative. Do you think that is more
prevalent of undergraduates, or graduate students?
H: Undergraduates. Graduate students are still working hard.
V: [They are] motivated, yes.
H: You are not going to graduate school because you could not think of anything
else to do. Well, maybe you are, but usually you are committed to what you are
doing. Undergraduates do not know what they are doing, and they are here for
some other reason. They do have this idea of rights.
V: A lot of people go to undergraduate school nowadays; it is kind of normal.
H: Yes, it is the expected thing to do. Although I still find it surprising that in the
1990s in the state of Florida, we can still get people who are first generation
college [students]. That is surprising to me, which shows it is not a tradition yet
(of education). I think students at [The University of] Florida have changed. I
noticed the attitude toward the University, the physical unit, has changed. The
campus is very attractive now and the landscape is beautiful. The kids seem to
really be taking care of it.
V: I say that every day; the campus is beautiful.
H: When we had drama contests, people would come down here, and they just
loved having the sessions on campus. [Coming] from small schools, they think it
is very big, which it is, but they really think it is a beautiful campus. They are very
impressed with the physical structure.
V: Do you prefer teaching graduate students?
H: No, I am not one of those people who feel that way. We have an M.A. program
[with] good graduate students, and it is exciting, but I still like teaching
V: Even your 700-student mythology class?
H: Yes. I am going to do it for 500 [students during] summer A. I do not mind doing
that. I do it well, but it has a reputation, the class. One of the things I wanted to
do when we were building the program; I had heard of other schools that had
these big sort of famous courses, and I said, "I think I would like to get one of
those going." Although I must admit, when I first walked into a class of 100 as a
person used to small classes, I thought "Good God, what am I doing here?" And
then it went bigger; [it] ran up to 350 [students]. When it first ran into 700, that
was an experience. There are still times that I walk in there and sort of laugh and
think, "Who would have thought? Little old me teaching 700 people?" It is a lion
taming act, really.
V: Where is that course given?
H: Carleton [Auditorium].
[end of tape A]
H: Teaching in the language class (unless they are graduate classes) is more fun,
because you do not have to spend all day saying, "What case is that?" or "Really,
that is a subject-verb." [laughter] You can really get into what the author is
saying in a discussion class.
V: More interesting things...
H: Like this morning we were just reading--just one graduate student--Aeschylus
Agamemnon--which may be the greatest play of western literature; it is certainly
one of them. Because he is good enough in Greek, we can really look at how the
words are used, and that is really what it is all about when you get to that level.
We had a grad course last fall--two semesters ago in the fall--comparative Greek
and Latin pastoral where the students actually had enough Latin and enough
Greek that we could read both the Greek pastoral and the Latin pastoral, and
really get into it. That was really exciting. [It was] a memorable course.
We are encouraging them to give papers. I encourage them to give papers. The
drama conference--we have had undergraduates and graduate students give
papers at the drama conference, and at these smaller classics conferences we
encourage them, because they need to get out. That is what they do at the good
schools, and we have to be good. We have to get out there, and learn how to do
V: Is that what you want them to do; to become [teachers] themselves?
H: Well, if they are going on in classics, through the graduate program, they are
going to be teaching.
V: There are no other things that you would...
H: Well, if you go as far as a graduate degree, you might as well go into teaching.
They might do museum curating, or they might do library work, but basically they
are going to go into teaching of some form if they are going for the graduate
V: Do you have ex-students that work with you now?
H: No. [The University of] Florida does not like to hire its own Ph.D.s anyway. We
have only M.A. program. So no, that does not, and I do not think it will happen.
V: You have a son?
H: Yes, he took his B.A. at the University of Virginia in economics and history (or
maybe I should say history and economics). He came back, and worked for a
year here. Now he is in a Ph.D. program in economics here at
V: To study?
H: He was always interested in study. When he was little--I went back to school
when he was six weeks old--so he grew up in a classroom. He grew up with
teaching. When I was writing my dissertation--of course you have books spread
out all over the place, [to] look at them. So, before he could read, he thought that
is what you did with books. I have wonderful pictures of him lining up all of his
books. I would say, "There is Tim, collating his texts," because he thought that
was what you do with books; you laid them open to different parts to look at
them. [laughter] And I always read to him a lot. A lot of the [baby-]sitters that I
got at the University of Chicago were from the International House. So we would
have all of these exotic people coming through the house to read to him. I
remember one time we had a girl from Japan reading to him. She was reading
all of the same stories, but of course all of her accents were on different
syllables. So he thought it was a whole new story; he was just entranced. There
was this beautiful girl sitting there reading this book he thought he knew, and
thought it was a different story. [laughter]
V: That must have been a wonderful way for him to grow up.
H: He learned. He is very, very verbal, and learned reading. I think he taught
himself to read, because he would memorize whole books that I would read to
him after I was at St. Olaf. I remember he had one book on Sioux animals. I
said, "Tim, I just cannot read this anymore." It was pictures of all of these
different animals, and then texts about them. He just sat there and pored over it
for so long, that I really think he learned how to read himself. He is an avid
reader, and reader of serious texts; he does not read much fiction at all. When
everyone is travelling, they are reading The [while] Tim is sitting
there reading [about] the history of the world, or something like that. [laughter]
He is a good reader. And he writes well too. I have seen his writing, and
professors say he writes well.
V: Were you happy with his choice to go into economics?
H: Yes. I do not understand it very much, but...
V: [laughter] It is his choice, right.
H: History he really liked, but unfortunately nobody could tell him a career in history
that was not going to be teaching. He did not think he wanted to teach. He
thought there must be some imaginative thing, and he was thinking of
background research in government, but nobody could really say what a Ph.D. in
history would do if it was not teaching. And so he was interested in economics
too. Now he is thinking, "Maybe teaching is not such a bad career after all." He
comes from an academic family obviously, but he still thinks [that] with
economics, at least he still has some other options.
V: That is true; he could still teach economics if he wants to. I have heard from
several people at the University [about] what annoyed them sometimes when
students used to go abroad, to see other things. This is about, basically, foreign
H: I think Florida students are largely provincial. I think it is neither bad nor good;
they just are provincial. They have not had a lot of experience, and they do not
have any money. It does not cost anything to go here really [and] truly, if you
compare it to any place else in the world. But students have to work twenty and
thirty hours a week to afford the tiny tuition we have here. It is ridiculous. So to
expect them to pay a whole year or more [of] tuition to go abroad in the summer
(plus airfare) is very hard. If I was going to get outside dollars, I would say "Give
some money for foreign study, so they can go abroad." But we have taken
students from here, and one of my favorite examples of a student flying to the
Aegean Institute was the year I was teaching there (we took eleven students
from here that year), and he had never been on an airplane. He had never been
anywhere. So the first thing we do is send him across the ocean on an airplane,
and then we put him on boats and little boats, and big boats, and everything
including donkeys, I think. [laughter] He just had the time of his life. And now
every time I would see him--he went abroad every summer. In fact, for all I
know, he is probably working in some foreign country. You could not keep him
home; it was just such a wonderful experience for him. [laughter]
V: Do you see that as an impediment to [the] study of classics; that people do not
have a broad vision of other countries?
H: I think there are classicists who have never gone to Greece and Rome, which is
an idea that I simply cannot understand or--in any way--appreciate. I think for
every student who has gone abroad, it has been--again, a case like myself--a
commitment to the field and discipline. If we send them abroad early, they will be
classics majors when they come back. If we send them in the last years, they
may go on for graduate school in classics, or they want to anyhow. I wish more
people could go.
V: Have you tried to set up an exchange program?
H: We have an exchange program with the University of but only one
student has ever taken advantage of it.
V: Really? Does that not bother you a little that they do not [take advantage of it]?
Is it still very expensive?
H: It would not be expensive; there they would have to do more in modern Greek,
and many of our modern Greek students, their parents want them to go on to law
school immediately, or medical school immediately. The Greek-American parent
is very conservative, and very dominant.
V: I am here as an exchange student, and my university paid for my airfare, and
things like that.
H: If we would have more financial opportunities available to students, I think that
would help a lot for students to go. Even for the College Year in Athens program,
if we get five students, they will give us a free scholarship. But still, we cannot
get six students to go, who can afford to pay that kind of money to go over there.
V: The abroad programs are indeed very expensive.
H: It is as expensive as if they were going to go to Duke or Princeton.
V: They would probably rather go to Princeton. Is their economic situation harder
H: Do they have it harder economically? It is hard to say; probably the tuition at
Wooster was not very much. But my family saved and saved and saved and
saved for me to go, and I worked every summer--worked jobs so that I could
have money to go. It was still a big chunk of money, but I do not think so. I think
the prices that some of the schools are charging now are outrageous and
alarming. My son applied to the University of Virginia, and he also applied to
Williams. Williams really rushed him, and made it seem like it was a place he
would want to go. When they sent him his acceptance letter, they sent me a
letter on how to put a second mortgage on my house to afford it. I said, "Tim, it is
not worth it." He thought--upon reflection--not only financially was it not worth it,
but Virginia was a school that was very, very good. And he went there (to
Virginia). I think it is right that students should contribute to their own education,
but it seems to me that parents--I am surprised to find students whose parents
are perfectly well off, and the kid is scraping along. What obligations do you
have? At least for an undergraduate education; graduate education, I think you
have to get fellowships, or work for it, or scrimp and starve a little, which is
always fun. [laughter]
V: There is something to it.
H: But for undergraduate education, it seems to me that the parent should do that
much, if they believe in it. Undergraduate [studies] are one of the things that
carries through not just twelve years of public school where you are not doing
anything, to now. I think students should have summer jobs that help out.
Although if a student has the opportunity to go abroad in the summer, or has the
opportunity to go on a dig (which would not be earning money, but which would
be earning a valuable experience) there should be some way of flexibility that the
student could do that.
V: Have you had students that had to quit, because for example, their parents would
not pay for their classics education? Or their parents would put a pressure on
H: We had one student whose parents wanted her to be an engineer. I think
because she finally failed everything in engineering, they finally said okay, but
she was a work-study student who had to scrimp along.
V: But you have not had many cases of students who simply could not afford to go
H: I do not know enough. Students come and go so nowadays. We used to go to
school when we started, and four years later we finished. Now the courses or
hours and credits are different; they are juniors when they have been here two
years, and my one complaint is the student who comes in with so many credit
hours that he or she does not really have the chance to experience the
University. I see that a lot: "I have already taken that, I do not need to take it
anymore." If what you are offered in high school is the same thing we are
teaching in college, somebody is doing something wrong. I do not like this sort of
check-off disease list; "I have taken my humanities in high school, so I never
need to take any humanities in college." I think students are missing out by not
taking the full program at the university level. I know that what we teach in
Ancient Literature at the University is different than what they have in high
school. I know that has to be true. So they are missing out by saying: "I have
taken that, I never need to do this again." So if I were running the I
would say "Okay, take advanced placement to put you in the upper-level course,"
but not to say "I never have to take another course in that subject again."
[laughter] I could make some changes in all sorts of things if I were doing that,
but [that] is one of my sort of pet-peeves.
V: Do you sometimes have that feeling: "If I would be running the University I would
change this, and I would do this?"
H: Well in this case, you would not be running the University; you would be running
the educational system that way. I think for the athletes, I think the NCAA is
ruining the athletic program, because I think athletes should be allowed to take
fewer courses in the term of their sport, instead of having such expectations of
the athletes. I do not like to think of the world as just things you check off. I have
a list of things to do tomorrow--to check off--but that is different than getting an
H: The student should have leisure to take the course that he or she might be
V: That is probably one of the problems of this time; that you can only take courses
that are really...
H: If I were the people who benefit the most, like the retired people that settle in
Gainesville and come and take courses at the University, something they have
always been interested in...
V: Those are probably the most motivated students.
H: They sit there, and they are really interested in it. I have had a number of people
come back and learn Greek at an advanced age.
V: Really? Is it still possible to go slower?
H: They seem to do okay. I know theoretically--and it is true--one should learn
languages a lot earlier than one does in this country, but the older person can
come back and do that. They should start talking; having courses for students
talking foreign languages at an early age, because students are not afraid to talk
then, and they can learn by habit easier. They can learn it in a much more
relaxed situation. I think the education in this country is despicable; nobody
learns anything. Because it is such a high level, and most of the kids have
finished their requirement after ten--you cannot learn anything in ten hours in
here. So, I am encouraged to see that they are trying to put a higher language
requirement here. I do not know who is going to teach it, but I think it is
encouraging that they are trying to do it.
V: Or maybe more languages.
H: There are plenty of languages taught here. That is the thing that we used to try
and stress [to] the former dean of liberal arts and sciences; there are twenty-two
languages taught in the college [and] you do not all need to take Spanish I.
V: No, but that is what everyone does.
H: Right. If you are just going to learn a language to fulfill a requirement, why not
take Swahili or Dutch? [laughter]
V: Dutch is being taught here.
H: Yes, I know. And [one should take] Modern Greek, and take different languages.
V: Like I said, two languages, take two languages for a sample.
H: Right. I have a friend who is Greek, and was teaching. When she was three
years old her mother said, "Now Mary, only eight million people in the world
speak Greek, so it is time for you to learn some other languages." So I think they
hired her a German governess, who spoke German to her. She started French
when she was six [and] in the first grade. Then she has learned all of these other
languages. She started English, and then took French. By that time she said
she taught herself Portuguese one weekend when she was going. She has the
skill now; she has the skill.
V: That is actually true; that is why is said [to take] two languages. I know that from
learning several languages myself, that the next language is also always easier;
it gets easier.
H: What is the problem with the rest of the class?
V: It was probably their first foreign language.
H: Yes, it was their first foreign language, and I was--it was the easiest course they
ever took. I took a German reading course in graduate school to read German,
but I never went to Germany until a couple of years ago, when I had forgotten all
of my wonderful college German to gawk at. If I dropped out for a while, I would
like to go someplace and submerge myself, and really become fluent in one of
the languages. I feel that I am a language teacher yet. ..
V: You are fluent in Greek.
H: I mean, I can get around in most places, but I would like to be able to do
something more than talk about the weather.
V: Because that is--a lot of the time--an argument of American students; that they
will not practice their languages anyway, so they do not feel that they have to
take them, because "Oh well, you will forget them anyway."
H: I do not think America is going to be able to keep on in that position, though. If
international trade develops, it will be interesting to see, to look into the future
and see in international trade, how many people are going [to hear from]
companies: "Where is your Japanese? What, you do not speak Russian? Well I
am sure we are not interested in you." [laughter]
V: I think that will get more and more [prevalent].
H: The common market is going to change, and people are going to have to speak
another language. Not only [speak another language], but learn other cultures.
Every popular magazine tells about doing business, and learning about cultural
things that can be horrible faux pas.
V: I have asked all of my questions, but maybe you have had stories...
H: About the drama conference, which is very important. What I do when I am not
studying; I have been playing tennis for a long time. I just recently took up long
distance bicycling. That is my latest interest. With all the enthusiasm of a new
convert. That is all I have to do; is ride my bike.
V: Well, it is good to do something else [rather] than work. Do you read a lot in your
H: I try to keep up with the literature. I try also; I have been trying really hard in the
past couple of years to read something [that is] not in the field; and not just the
mystery novels you read on an airplane, because I think it is important. I have
taken on more and more work with the post-baccalaureate fellowship with the
honors program. I feel kind of bad saying that the potential roads are
students: "What? You never read for pleasure?" I think, "Well, when did I last
read a book for pleasure that anybody could talk about?" So, I started buying a
lot of books from [the] discount book that I subscribe to, and I try to read more
things for pleasure. I am starting on two new, long, research projects. One book
I am collaborating [on] with Franklyn Marshall; a book on the Odyssey. And
then I am doing a book on the history of Greek drama in the United States. I am
trying to see as much Greek drama as I can. So I fly around the country, seeing
Greek drama performed. Which is more than you might think But
I do try and do something besides--I mean, I could work all of the time.
V: Probably, with all of the things you are doing.
H: Sometimes I think I do work all of the time, and some people accuse me of
working all of the time. Nobody could possibly do what I do, but I like what I do,
and that is why I do it.
V: There are a few names: Brueir?
H: Richard Brueir, my professor of Chicago. Richard McKeon. and Ann Burnett
was one that I worked with in Chicago.
V: Who was your favorite playwright?
H: Euripides; I just finished a book on Euripides, and I still like Euripides. Although I
think Aeschylus Agamemnon, may be my most favorite play of all times,
Euripides [is my favorite]. I like Homer a great deal, and I am reading Homer.
V: Which classicist do you most respect? Who do you like to read, or [who is] the
person you think is doing really good work (he or she)?
H: I should be able to say immediately "I always read X," and there are great names
in classics. I would tell you that I recognize them certainly; Anne Burnett, or
Elma Zeitland of Princeton is a well-known name, [or] Austin
Actually a contemporary of mine, she just sent me an off-print, and I was reading
it last night; Cecilia Luschnig, and she writes beautifully, and I think with great
insight. She is at the University of Idaho. [unintelligible] She is not at the top of
many classicist's lists of people they would read, but [she is somebody] that I
V: I would like to thank you very much for taking so much time out of your busy day.
H: I hope some of it got recorded.
V: I kept on looking at it, and it is recorded. As soon as it is transcribed, you will get
a transcript, and you can correct that, and names that have been misspelled.