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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
L: This is an oral history interview with John A. Harrison. Today is June 25, 1993, and my name is
Stuart Landers. We are talking in Dr. Harrison's house in Gainesville, Florida.
I guess the first question would be, what does the A stand for?
L: Was that your mother's maiden name?
H: No. My mother's maiden name was Rogers. I think Armstrong was my father's best friend. I
always thought my name was John Harrison--but I had always been called Jack because Jack is
the nickname for John--until I went in the navy in 1941. I had to get a birth certificate, and I found
out I was named after the neighbor, Jack Armstrong Harrison. So it is really Jack.
L: When were you born?
H: July 4, 1915. I will be seventy-eight in a couple of weeks.
L: You look fifty-eight. I was surprised when I came through the door.
H: Thank you for those kind words.
L: It is true. Where were you born?
H: I was born in a small town called Johnstown, New York, on the Mohawk Trail. It had been
Johnson Hall, home of Sir William Johnson who was His Majesty's Indian agent for the northern
colonies, way back when.
L: Is this upstate New York?
H: Oh, yes, way upstate, north of Albany and really off the beaten track. I left when I was, I think,
about six years old.
L: Tell me who your parents were, their names, a little bit about them, their backgrounds.
H: My mother was Rosalyn Rogers, a small-town girl from Gloversville, New York, which is next to
Johnstown, and my father was Joseph Oliver Harrison. My grandfather was in politics. He was a
good friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt's when Roosevelt was just an assemblyman in the state of
New York, and he was the postmaster of a small town--Woodrow Wilson appointed him. He
helped found a bank and he ran Harrison's and all that jazz. When he died in 1919 (as I found out
many years later), he asked that everything he had be liquidated and placed in trust for his widow
so she would never want. And he did not leave a damn thing to any of his kids. So that is why we
left Johnstown. [laughter] My dad went out to Illinois, and then we moved back to New York.
Do you still want me to talk about my youth?
L: Did you live in Illinois for any considerable period?
H: We lived in Illinois (I sometimes have to guess at these things) from about 1921 to 1927. The
reason I remember 1927 is I distinctly remember the year we came back was the year [Charles A.]
Lindbergh made the first trans-Atlantic flight. We came back to New York and went to New York
City this time. That was it. I mean, I spent one year in Virginia. I went through the public schools
in New York except for the odd year when my folks thought it would ne nice for me to go to military
school, a fate worse than death. I graduated from New York high schools, and I went to
L: So you graduated in 1936 or 1937?
H: No, I graduated, I think, in 1932, but I had to lay off for four years because this was the Great
Depression, and we were all going to work. I mean, those were the days when you worked
seventy-two-hour weeks for fifteen dollars, and damn glad to do it. In 1936 or 1937 I went to
Columbia. My father insisted on it, more or less.
L: What were you doing between 1932 and 1937?
H: For five years there I worked about half the time for the F. W. Woolworth Company, which was a
form of slavery. And I worked for an outfit way downtown New York which was a pretty good outfit
to work for. I cannot remember the names. They dealt in precious metals--silver and gold and
stuff like that.
My mother and father had gotten divorced, and my mother married a man, one of the nicest men
in the world, who taught at the law school at Columbia. He did not see any reason why I did not
go to school there, so the fall of 1937, I guess, I entered Columbia [and I stayed there] until I
graduated. I entered graduate school; I was admitted to graduate school, and then, bang, Pearl
Harbor. That changed a lot of lives around.
L: Before we go into that there is one thing that I passed over. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
H: No, I was the only child.
L: So you complete your B.A. at Columbia by 1941.
L: And your B.A. was in what?
H: You did not major at Columbia in those days, really. Your first two years were pretty well
described. They did not call it a University College as they once had here, but you had to take two
years in humanities, which is really "great books"; two years of social science [that] was in those
days really a study of the New Deal--it was contemporary social science, and damn interesting--
and two years of arts and music. They had found out through experience that you could not do a
course in science generally. You had to take a science, because there is no way you can
amalgamate science to give a person any reasonable perspective. So I took a year of college
math and a year of geology; I took the easiest out they had.
L: So this is your classic liberal education.
H: Yes, I had a classic liberal education. I had a lot of languages at Columbia, and in those days
when the college had only 1,500 men in it your biggest class was apt to be fifteen people. I went
through a German class, four years of German, with four guys. It was awful; I mean, you really
had to work. [laughter]
L: The same four people?
H: The same four people. One of them was from Texas, and he was good, and they measured all of
us against Harry.
L: And you said it was all male at this time?
H: Oh, yes. I do not think Columbia [was coed yet]. Right across the street was a women's school,
Barnard [College], but I do not think they meshed classes and faculties until, oh shucks, the late
1950s or early 1960s.
L: So you graduate in 1941 and apply and are admitted to graduate school.
H: That is correct.
L: What were you planning to study at this point?
H: Well, I had entered the graduate faculty in philosophy and political science, and I really was not
quite sure. I had been interested in East Asia.
L: This is at Columbia.
H: At Columbia. I was taking Chinese and doing some work in history there. I wish I could
remember faculty better. They were a marvelous teaching faculty. I can remember some of them,
like Jacques Barzun. But on December 7 I was in my room, as a million other people were, and
the New York Philharmonic was interrupted to say that there had been an armed attack on Pearl
Harbor, and that decided my fate, I guess, from then on.
L: It sounds like you had gotten a whole semester in.
H: I got almost a whole semester of graduate work in. I remember the dean called us all together
after December 8 and said he went through this in 1917 and 1918, and: "Do not rush, boys, to join
up or do anything. Think it through first." But I was 1-A. Do you know what I mean?
L: Which means you had a low...
H: It means I was instantly eligible.
L: They were not doing a lottery then.
H: I actually got called up.
L: Was ROTC or anything like that mandatory?
H: They had no ROTC then.
L: So which service called you up?
H: Well, I got a letter. I had been in for my army physical down at Governors Island, I remember. I
anticipated any moment getting a call, and I got a letter from the navy saying that Dr. Goodrich,
my Chinese professor, had recommended me because of my knowledge of Chinese to a program
the navy was doing. They really wanted people who knew Japanese. There were a lot of fluent
Japanese speakers then, but they were niseis, second generation. They never used them. I do
not know why. They were perfectly loyal. You may have heard about concentration camps and
this and that and how they moved the Japanese out of California. I do not know why the hell they
did not move the Germans or the Italians out. But the navy opened an intensive Japanese
language training school, and they sent me to that. And boy, that was intensive--twelve hours a
L: Where was this held?
H: Berkeley, and then they moved it to Boulder. I do not know why.
L: And you had had no experience with Japanese.
H: Just a few words, more or less. Japanese use Chinese characters to write with, and I had a
familiarity with written Chinese, which helped me a little. Most of the guys in that language school
were drawn from the Ivy League schools with the exception of a few sons of missionaries who
spoke colloquial Japanese or Chinese. We went through the school, and then we got ensign's
commissions, and then we were shipped out.
L: Would you say you had a natural inclination for languages?
H: I have always liked them, yes.
L: Did they come easy to you?
H: No. You have to work your ass off on language. The system is to learn how it is put together.
That is called grammar, and that is what takes the sweat. Vocabulary is easy; that is just adding
words all the time. I studied eight of them, and I can still read the eight. But I am only haltingly
fluent now in three. I do not have a chance here.
L: List them for us, if you would, the eight.
H: Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, French, and a little Dutch. The Russian
I tried to pick up myself. I slipped on that.
L: This jumps ahead: No Vietnamese?
H: No. I do not know any Annamese at all. I only know one person that did know it.
L: That is interesting.
H: I was too old, thank God, for that.
L: So how long [was it] before you were shipped out? You said you spent twelve hours a day in this
H: Yes. [We endured] eight months of that, and then we shipped out. We were shipped to Pearl and
then kind of dispersed here and there. A number of fellows were taken over by the marine corps.
Most of them formed what was the language corps, what was called JICPOA, Joint Intelligence
Center, Pacific Ocean Area, which was under [Admiral Chester W.] Nimitz. A few went into what
was called FRUPAC, Fleet Radio Unit, Pacific, which in essence was intercepting and decoding
I lucked out, because I think about the first week I was there Captain [Jasper] Holmes was looking
for a young, very junior officer who knew Japanese. I happened to be there, and he picked me, so
I went into his section. Jaspers was the second in command, really, of JICPOA. They called him
Jasper. Marvelous human being, unlike the average navy guy. Jasper ran a section called
Estimates which gathered all information from all sources, and at 0800 every morning presented
[this information of] the past twenty-four hours to Nimitz. He also ran a group called Claim
Jumpers, and I was a claim jumper, which meant you went ashore the first day, and you--there are
two of you, with four marines; this would be on an assault--made straight for the Japanese radio
shack. What you wanted were their code books; recover those then get the hell out and send
them back to Pearl.
L: So they needed somebody who could recognize a code book.
H: Who could read Japanese. Japanese were very odd about confidential materials. They did not
destroy the damn stuff. I still think to a large extent even by war's end many Japanese were under
the illusion no American could ever possibly learn their language.
L: And I understand that we had broken their code early on as well.
H: Yes, we had done that, and that is what permitted us to do many remarkable things like anticipate
the Battle of Midway, where we cut their legs off, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which destroyed
most of what was left of their fleet.
L: How many claims did you jump, so to speak?
H: I jumped a place called Iwo Jima, a place called Tarawa, I jumped up in the Aleutians ...
L: Were you in first assaults on these islands?
H: Yes, you had to be. You had to get there before they destroyed anything. [And] Agusta Bay,
which is way down near New Guinea and New Caledonia, and Peliliu. It was important.
Then that was enough. About three days after the Japanese surrendered, Jasper said to me, "Get
all your stuff together quick. We are leaving tonight for Japan." I just dropped my clothes in a
duffle bag and a few other things, and that is the last I ever saw Pearl Harbor.
L: I am curious. What were these island assaults like? I understand that Iwo Jima was one of the
H: Well, the great turning point of the war was Midway, which of course stopped the Japanese from
their objective there, which was to take the Aleutians and Midway Island then just hole you up in
Hawaii--we would have been fighting the war from the West Coast--and the other was
Guadalcanal. That was fought over from the spring through damn near December 1942. That
was to drive the Japanese out of that island group, take over their airfields, and prevent them from
going on to Australia. So Guadalcanal stopped the move south, and Midway stopped it from
coming east and north. From then on through the central Pacific our objectives were to take
certain island groups which had airfields on them, wait until the Japanese almost finish them, take
them, and keep moving on toward Japan.
L: This is what they called island hopping?
H: It was island hopping. In the spring of 1945 the Japanese inquired of the Soviets, of Stalin,
because they were still allies, do not forget, how to go about arranging a surrender. This was the
spring of 1945. The Russians had never forgotten Port Arthur. They never even told us. We
knew about it because we were reading the intercepts. Stalin wanted to see Japan destroyed.
The rest of 1945 they had nothing left, but they were very brave people, and their men fought with
great ferocity and great courage, and, incidentally, great cruelty.
I remember in the fall of 1945 we had planned to invade the southern [Japanese] island Kyushu--
Operation Olympic. After the war was over I went to Japan. I went down and looked at the areas
we would have landed in, and I talked to the officers of the 16th Area Army who were responsible
for the defense of Japan. It would have been a goddamn slaughter. The beaches were not really
beaches; they were pebbly with swamps back of them. They all had fixed positions, and they all
had provisions and ammunition for one month, and they were to fight to the death. It would have
been a horrible slaughter. We had just taken 10,000 casualties in Okinawa that we had not
anticipated. So in my mind, to get to the point, I do not think the Japanese emperor would have
finally surrendered--he never used the word surrender, never told the people, 'We must face the
impossible"--if they had not dropped the A-bomb. Since I was going on that expedition to Kyushu,
to the southern island, I was glad they surrendered. As it was, very few people know that the
army and the navy did not want to surrender, even after the emperor made the speech. The navy
H: Yes. I do not know why. They had damn little left. But the C-in-C, who was the commander in
China, said in effect, "Look, we have never been beaten here. I have half a million men under my
command." I do not know what happened, but three days later they agreed, so the surrender was
on the [USS] Missouri and this and that.
L: How much time did you spend with the occupation?
H: Too much. I was there till January 1946. I went over to north China once on business, but by that
time I wanted to get home. They had a point system, and I was way over. The army was
occupying Japan, McArthur and his boys, and they had no use for the navy, so I got my orders in
January and came home and was discharged. You had to go back where you enlisted.
L: This was January 1946.
H: Yes. You had to go back where you enlisted.
L: So what then for you?
H: Well, I had gotten married during the war. My honeymoon had been a two-week's leave, so I saw
her three years later. We got together and went to Canada for a brief vacation.
Then I had to make a decision. I did not know how important it was going to be, but it was. My
wife was a Californian. I thought I would like to continue my graduate education. I did not want to
toss away the languages I had. So we decided to go to California, and I entered Berkeley
[University of California], and I got my Ph.D. in Berkeley.
L: You entered in the fall of 1947?
H: The fall of 1946, and I got my Ph.D. in 1949. There was a fellow who had gotten out of Berkeley,
a graduate student [who finished] the year before I did, [by the name of] Don Worcester. He used
to be the chairman of the history department. Don called me and said, "You ought to come here."
I did not know where the hell Florida was, but he said, "This place is going to start to move, and
they need a guy like you." I had three offers, of which I accepted one. [Would you believe me] if I
tell you that I came here with $4,800, which was the most money anybody offered me? I had a
job at Stanford lined up as an instructor in Japanese for $1,800 a year. That is what pay was like.
L: In a language department?
L: What was the other offer?
H: Wellesley. Do you think I should have taken that?
L: That is the women's college?
H: Yes. I would have exhausted myself in a couple of years. But I did accept a job at a place called
Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. When Don told me [of the position at Florida] I regretfully wrote
to Athens [that I was not going to accept the job after all], and we came here and arrived. We
packed everything in this great big old massive Buick, including the cat. We got here in early July
L: And you have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in ...
H: East Asia and China, [with a] minor in oriental languages.
L: Did you find graduate school very rigorous after the military?
L: No. I have always enjoyed reading and studying. I found things strange for a while because I had
lived in the company of men for four years. I think my wife found me a little strange when I got
back. Most of my conversation was cursing, and she did not understand why I was a prodigious
eater. She had never eaten C-rations or D-rations. I think I straightened out after a while. But I
did not find it rigorous.
What I did find, and this may be a new sensitivity, [was that] the civilians did not understand what
L: In the war.
H: Yes. So I have never talked about it. I remember I saw my dad. The first time I came in we
embraced, and he said, "We did it, didn't we, Son?" And do you know I resented that? I am
ashamed of myself.
L: That is interesting. How did you fund your graduate education? The GI Bill, of course.
H: The GI Bill paid us tuition and $100 a month, and my wife worked.
L: Was there any such thing as an assistantship or a fellowship?
H: Yes, there were. The first year I was there I got a teaching assistantship, which was teaching
sections of U.S. history. They had at Berkeley in those days enormous lecture sections in these
great big halls which were broken down into sections, and you took three of them a week and
gave the quizzes and answered questions. So I did that for two years. My third and last year I
was a research assistant to Peter Boodberg who was devising a new system for phoneticizing
Japanese. That was that. Then I got out and looked for a job.
L: What was Gainesville like when you arrived, and how did you and your wife react to the South?
H: Oh, I think anybody who is old enough to remember would realize we came into Gainesville by
way of what is now 13th Street. The streets were named in those days; they were not numbered.
We stopped and called Don Worcester. We stopped at a place called Piggy Park, and we stayed
with the Worcesters. The heat is what really traumatized me at first. It was awful! Neither of us
were used to this. We stayed with the Worcesters for a few days, and then we got a small
apartment on the east side of town. Where you and I are now was pine forest. Do you know
where the president's house is?
H: That was the western boundary of Gainesville.
L: The president's house was not even built then.
H: No, it was not built, but that street, that area was [the western city limit]. BOQs, [bachelor] officers
quarters, from Camp Blanding had been moved by real estate guys into town, and we were living
L: Were they calling them Flavets?
H: No. That was on the campus. That was Flavet. There were a lot of veterans here. I put on my
coat and my tie in that heat to visit the history department the second day, and I got a shock, I
have to admit. I had been used to Berkeley recently. The history department [here at UF] was a
combined department then of history and government. That was 1949. In 1950 it divided.
L: History and government, or history and political science?
H: No. When it divided, Manning Dauer--you have heard that name--made it political science and
became the chairman.
L: I see.
H: James Miller Leake, a very decent old man from Virginia and a totally unreconstructed
Confederate rebel, was the chairman of history. They had the most cramped and confined
quarters down in the basement of Anderson [Hall]. James Miller retired in two years; the poor
man died of cancer. R. W. Patrick, Rembert Patrick, became chairman. Another nice guy. We
began to get a little more room. The University was beginning to move. I think when I came in
1949 it had been coeducational only a couple of years.
H: My office at first--and this is hard to picture, because this place is so built up, but if you know
where the bookstore is, before there was a campus bookstore ...
L: Right. The Hub?
H: The Hub, yes. Before there was anything there there was a long block of BOQs, again, from
Camp Blanding, which were faculty offices. My office was there. Next to it was the old cow barn,
abandoned now by the ag. people, which was the drama department. They put a stage up in that.
It was really emerging out of cow college status, and it emerged, I think, fairly rapidly. They
brought J. Hillis Miller down to be the president, and the legislature was willing to put some money
into the place.
You asked how I felt. Well, the heat, of course, got me, [as did] the paucity of resources. The
people were so damn nice here.
L: What sort of resources?
H: Library resources, office, insufficient classroom space. In those days they had two summer
sessions, each six weeks. They went from two six-week summer sessions to a third whole
semester in the summer, thinking they could save money. Now they are back to two now. There
was no air-conditioning in this place. History, political science, anthropology, and sociology were
all in Peabody Hall, which was not like it is now. It is now the student center for bursars and
counseling and things like that. You know what I am talking about.
Well, picture Peabody ripped away of everything modern and recent, [leaving nothing but] the old
brick building. By the time I got there it had long been condemned by the state fire marshal
because none of the wiring was insulated, and there was no air-conditioning in the summer; there
was not a single building in this place that was air-conditioned. When you went to get your pay--it
did not come to you--you lined up. You went over to Anderson Hall, where the dean of arts and
science was and the English and all languages and philosophy, and you lined up with the janitors
and everybody else. You shuffled forward, and they gave you your check. But little by little that
L: What about social opportunities, cultural things, extracurricular things? What did you think of
Gainesville, the town?
H: I was a lot more used to Gainesville than my wife. She was a born-and-bred Californian.
Gainesville was, in very large measure, a reasonably small--not too small--but a middle-sized
southern town, a southern city with all the mores of one. There were some things about it I liked
very much. I liked the people here. I think the Gainesville establishment--practically all
Gainesvillians--in 1949, 1950, 1951, as the expansion of the University came, were very leery of
all these damn foreigners coming in--Northerners with their funny ideas. But I liked them, and we
were fortunate enough to make good friends in town. Those that are alive are still our good
friends. There was not a decent place to eat in Gainesville unless you went down to Louie's for a
hamburger. The only place to buy paperbacks was Mike's Bookstore, really.
L: Which is still downtown.
H: Yes, [it is] still down there.
L: How were you making these non-University contacts? Through a church?
H: No. Partly through neighbors, and also my wife worked, first for a lawyer named William Watson,
Jr.--a grand family, and we met people through them--and then she went to work as the office
manager for Henry Graham, who was a physician and wonderful doctor who is dead now. You
meet people and you know them and you like them, and you go to their house and they come to
yours. It was very much a home-entertainment city because there was no place to go. The
Primrose Grill was it for fine dining. I do not even know if it still exists downtown.
L: That was Byron Winn's.
H: Yes, Byron Winn's daddy. [The] homecoming [parade] started on the east side of town, around
about the Duck Pond, and came as far as what is now 13th Street. A great big deal in
homecoming then was to have the captain of the football team on a flatbed truck, waving to
people. It got a lot more sophisticated, but I do not think it got any nicer. You go on the University
past the administration building [across from what is now SW] 2nd Avenue, which goes straight
down to the hospital.
H: That used to be the most beautiful divided avenue with trees in the middle. Why the hell they
ruined it I will never know. It was called Masonic Avenue in those days. The hospital that you see
now did not exist. It was an old building with a nurses home attached. Gainesville is now really a
new town, an urban area, and you have 36,000 people, you have tides of students flowing back
and forth--I do not how the hell you get to know anybody, really, how you get a feel for the place.
In the years I was here it never got past about 13,000 or 14,000. You could know your students. I
knew faculty in all kinds of departments. Here I was in the history department, but I knew people
in agriculture, law, phys. ed., and so forth. It was small-enough a university. I do not think that
L: Did you join any civic organizations?
H: No. My wife did. My wife became very active in Democratic politics, and she and Pat Ferris and
some other women formed a civic action association. It was really designed to do something
about the city council in those days, which consisted mostly of "good old boys."
L: We do not have your wife's full name on the tape.
H: My wife is Clarice T. Harrison, former Democratic committee woman here and one of the
forefounders of what came to be known as the Friends of the Library.
L: With John DeGrove and Ruth McQuown.
H: Ruth McQuown, Gerry McAlister.
L: They founded the CAA [Civic Action Association].
H: Yes, that is right. The idea was to clean out city government because it was all good old boys
who were working for themselves. You know who we got elected? Byron Winn.
L: That would have been in 1961.
H: Roughly, I think.
L: Were you a member of the CAA?
H: Yes, insofar as my wife was. By that time I was hellishly busy at the University.
As the University grew in size ... When was it? In the 1950s? The legislature decided they
needed more universities. There was just FSU, A & M, and Florida. The state was growing.
They brought in some peripatetic fraud from around Chicago who made a study for them, and they
came up with the idea of [the University of] West Florida, [the University of] North Florida, [the
University of] Central Florida, [the University of] South Florida, and what came to be known as
Florida Atlantic [University] and then Florida International [University]. The idea was that these
would be upper-division schools only, because they would be fed from the fifty-some-odd
community colleges that they were going to found.
L: So they were planning both the community colleges then and [these other universities]?
H: Yes. They were planning a school for any member of the legislature who had a good real estate
interest, I think. But they did put up a large number of community colleges, and they did build the
universities. I think they should have waited, because this university was trying to really get in
gear, and all of a sudden it sees all this competition for budget money. That is when I think [UF
president J.] Wayne [Reitz] decided that the University had to run like hell just to stay in the same
place. He decided to put every project he could on this campus. Well, he kept it away from other
schools. We got the medical school here. That was because Bill Shands was the president of the
[Florida] Senate at that time. I do not know how many colleges they have now. I understand
there are some thirty institutes and centers here. It is an overburdened school in many respects,
but you kept all those things away from West, North, Central, South, although I am surprised to
find out South Florida has 25,000 to 26,000 students.
L: I think UNF and UWF both have between 7,000 and 8,000 and are growing.
L: To back up just a little bit, when you are hired in 1949 you become a member of the history
H: I was a member of the history department.
L: One of the things that both Dr. [Samuel] Proctor and Dr. [Lyle] McAlister remember is a degree of
tension or conflict between historians in the history department and historians who were
instructors in the University College.
H: It existed. I do not think it was that palpable. I think they were mistaken in getting rid of the
University College here because it had several good points. A university college system--and you
understand what it was like--is a good way of introducing people to collegiate work and broad
areas of it. It is a good way, in a sense, of disciplining freshmen, of giving some responsibility.
But there were always two feelings on the part of the departments, I think. There was a snobbish
attitude on the part of departments, which was kind of ridiculous because we could not have had a
history curriculum without the men--no women--in C-1. My God, we could not have had ancient
history without Hans [John Henry] Groth, who was from humanities, or medieval history without
Ashby Hammond, who was from C-1, or ...
L: The Latin Americanists?
H: We had two Latin Americanists--Worcester and McAlister. They were in the history department.
We could not have had an English history without Ancil Payne, poor old fellow, but the fellow who
is still here taught English history also.
L: That would be...
H: I cannot remember. An awfully nice guy.
L: It is not [C. John] Sommerville, is it?
H: No, no. The guy I am thinking of must be awfully close to retirement. He has taught Irish history
L: [Harold A.] Wilson.
H: Yes. Damn good; [he] knows what he is doing. The body of our American and southern history
was C-1. So if you knocked them all out you would not have had a history curriculum. I think to
some degree that might be true of Manning's [political science] department. There was tension;
there was a snobbish attitude on the part of the department, and I think there was a resentment on
the part of the guys in C-1 or C-5 or whatever it was. I think the only trouble with C-1 that I could
find out was that Bill Carlton was the chairman, and they should have had a more-gentle, less-
egotistical, more-scholarly man as chairman. Bill himself single-handedly used to absorb the
travel budget every year.
L: What was his field, specifically?
H: Bill had gotten a law degree at Indiana University. When Bill resigned from the chairmanship, it
was a ploy that Manning thought up, I think. They were just hiring distinguished professors in
each department, and the idea was that Bill would resign from C-1 and then be taken aboard as
distinguished professor of political science. It never happened.
To come back you your first point, the tension existed, and it was unfortunate, but there sure was
a lot of stuff that would not have been taught here without the guys in University College.
L: So your first position here was as associate professor?
H: No, sir. Old James Miller said, "You will be an assistant," but I was an instructor the first year,
then assistant, then went up the ladder to full professor and then finally chairman.
L: In those days what was involved in getting tenure [and] how long did it take?
H: Well, my memory of the process is that only after, I think, four to five years were you considered
for it. This largely meant then the chairman of the department talking to people about: "How do
you feel about so-and-so?" and: "Is he a good colleague worth keeping on?" and this and that and
the other, as well as feedback from how popular or unpopular he was with students, had he
produced anything, so forth and so on. I got here after four years, but I think I was here eight
years before I got full professor. All I know is that Pat [Rembert Patrick] called me in one day on
the tenure business and said, "I am glad to tell you you got tenure."
L: So they were not doing this by committee at this point?
H: Well, in effect the committee as a whole, but each member of the committee was interviewed
separately by the chairman.
L: You published your first book in 1953, is that correct? On Japan's northern frontier [Japan's
Northern Frontier: A Preliminary Study in Colonization and Expansion, with special reference to
the relations of Japan and Russia].
H: No, it was published earlier than that. [It was in] 1951: Korean-American Relations: Documents
Pertaining to the Far Eastern Diplomacy of the United States. I worked with George McCune, who
was the Korean expert at the University of California, a marvelous man, God bless him. He was
dying when I was a research assistant. Shannon McCune, who is dead now but who became
chairman of geography here, was a brother of George's. Shannon came many years later.
L: So this was your dissertation?
H: No. It was something George was too physically weak to do. He had all the materials, and he
asked me to [finish it for him]. I put it together and wrote the introductions, and he gave me the
byline credit: McCune and Harrison. Then the first thing I did was the Northern Frontier, which
was my dissertation-turned-into-a-book.
L: Okay. So you are an assistant and then associate professor of history in the 1950s. Are you
teaching only upper-level courses?
H: No, by no means. I enjoyed teaching very much. The one thing I miss about the University are
the kids--excuse my expression. I liked them very much, and I liked to teach. When we decided
that western civilization ought to be taught here--there had never been anything like it from ancient
times on--nobody would touch it with a ten-foot pole, so I prepared myself, and I taught it happily
here for years. I enjoyed doing it.
L: This is what? A freshman-level class? A sophomore-level class?
H: I taught that, and I taught Russian history from the beginning until a fellow named Marvin Entner
came. The first year I taught Russian history the then-head of the Department of Religion, a two-
man department then--I do not know whether he is alive of not; he is certainly retired now ...
L: And his name? I can find that out.
H: He asked if he could sit in on the class, and he enjoyed it immensely. Do you know what I found
out? The dean of arts and sciences had asked him to sit on that class to report on me to see
whether I was a secret pinko or a communist or something.
L: Who was dean of arts and sciences?
H: Ralph Page. Ralph Page was the dean. It turned out that the only report made was that I was
just a guy who enjoyed teaching Russian history.
L: Was this in the latter 1950s?
H: Yes, this was in the [Senator Joseph] McCarthy era.
L: Do you remember anything about the Johns Committee?
H: I sure as hell do.
L: What do you remember about that?
H: Charley Johns was a railroad brakeman who made it big in politics and got up to be [acting]
governor. The Johns Committee was investigating, during the McCarthy period, communists, and
got on the homosexual business. On the communist side (I forget the exact year) the highway
patrol came down into the old gym, which was then the new gym, and we were all fingerprinted; all
faculty had to be fingerprinted. My hat is off to Dave Dowd. He was in the history department
then. He is dead, may he rest in peace. Dave refused, and nobody did anything to him. Had we
all refused they could have done nothing to us, but we did not, and it was humiliating. There was
only person here who was lost because of prior taint through being a member of the American
Communist Party, and I will not mention his name or anything. But he told me one day, "Yes, I
did, Jack. Honest to God, I thought it was the only way to go then." You know, it was youthful
idealism, let us say. A little stupidity mixed in.
He got on the homosexual kick, Charley, and we lost a very nice guy because of that.
L: "We" being the history department?
H: No, no, no. The University. I will not mention any names, and I will not mention that this guy, who
was one of the nicest guys I have ever met around here, was so stupid as to approach people in
the men's room in the county courthouse.
L: That is kind of dumb, especially in the 1950s.
H: But he [Johns] was a lousy governor and a burden to the University.
L: I have heard that their tactics were rather ...
H: Crude. Yes, they were. But in the McCarthy days there were a lot of crude tactics. I never could
figure out why McCarthy? Unless the American people were in a kind of shock that they had just
won this great war, and all of a sudden the communists ran China and Russia, and all these
countries were being taken over, therefore it must be the fault of people who were letting them do
it, etc., etc.
L: One thing that we touched upon but did not go into too much depth was the actual division of the
government and history department.
H: How do you mean?
L: Was that a smooth operation?
H: I never thought of it in terms of government. Being chairman was a chore. The only person I
know who ever enjoyed being chairman because of title was [Lyle] McAlister.
L: And you took over after his term.
H: Yes. I was supposed to take over after Worcester, but they got me into a corner, Worcester and
McAlister, and they said, "Jack, we know it is your turn to do it, but the most important thing in
history is Latin American studies," which was not true at that time, "so how about letting Mac [take
the chair]?" It was okay with me. I did not look on it one way or the other. Arthur Thompson ...
Have you come across that name?
H: He was a sweet man. Arthur had proposed that the chairman be chairman only for five years and
be eligible for another five years, but that would be it. This was, I suppose, to give Arthur an
eventual chance at it, but it was to oppose any authoritarian figure. Manning Dauer, you know,
ran political science practically until the day he died. Well, not really, because Al Clubok
[professor of political science, former chair of the department] told me some years ago, "When
Manning retired we felt that he was still going to hang around trying to run things," [laughter] but
he said he actually did not.
My experience as chairman was that it was a hell of a burden. You were constantly fighting for
your department in a university where there were not many resources for the humanities and
social sciences. I mean, you are fighting for office space for new people, assignment of
classrooms, library budget, and then when you would get your budget and it would say, "You have
X-number of dollars for raises to allocate this year, so much of it for full, so much for associate, so
much for assistant." Some guy would work his tail off, and you cannot do any more than give him
a $300 or $400 raise a year.
L: That is all it entailed?
H: In those days, I mean, when you divided the whole thing up. I think this University by then--this is
an old man talking--should have gotten somebody else other than [Linton] Grinter [as dean of the
Graduate School]. Joe Weil, I think his name was, was dean of engineering, and Joe talked
Wayne into bringing this fellow down--I think he was a structural steel engineer--from Northern
Illinois University, and Joe felt that having an engineer as graduate dean would advantage him.
Well, it did.
L: This is Grinter we are talking about.
H: Grinter. Grinter was, in my estimation, a very narrowly focused man. He knew only engineering
and some science, and he was going to drive this place toward big science, both pure and
applied. This was just when Sputnik happened, and the government was starting to release tons
of money to universities.
L: So we are talking the very late 1950s.
H: Yes. A lot of it came to the University of Florida, and they were building up chemistry, and they
were building a new physics building, which was fine. They had the most awful quarters prior to it.
The first new building that was built when I was here was an ag. building. Everybody needed
them. I do not deny that. Ag., business administration, chemistry, physics, and still all these
departments were jammed into Anderson and Peabody [halls], and I began to wonder what the
future was going to be like here. The big money was going to guys in science and the
Then two things happened to me. One is that Armin Gropp, who had been professor of chemistry
and assistant dean of [the College of] Arts and Sciences, called me from Miami, and he said,
"Come on down"--he told me how much they would give me--"as the associate dean." But the
thing that got me was a lunch I had with a friend of mine and the just-former speaker of the house,
[Richard A.] Dick Pettigrew, a lawyer from Miami. He is a very nice guy, and it was a congenial
lunch. I said, "I think I might leave here," and he said "Why?" I said, "Well, I do not know. The
whole math department has just left." It did. They went to Kansas or Kansas State. And I said, "It
seems to me there has been an implicit agreement in the legislature that they will fund the
University of Florida for graduate and professional work only. They will fund Florida State for
undergraduate work." Do you know what Pettigrew said? 'You are right." I said, "I will not stay
around a place where you cannot get another five dollars for history or philosophy or English or
anything like that, but they are hiring guys for four or five figures in the big sciences and so forth."
So I took the job down at Miami, and I had a very good time there for sixteen years.
L: And that was in 1965?
H: 1965. I left here and went down there with a very substantial raise. Armin, meanwhile, moved up
to provost, and I went in as graduate dean.
L: Before we leave Gainesville there are a couple more questions I have.
H: As long as I am talking I would like to pay tribute to somebody nobody will ever mention: a man
named Julian Yonge. Julian was the head of the library of Florida history--not only the head of it,
he founded it and established it. And he was the nicest guy to work with. There were a lot of very
nice people around this place.
Time blurs things. There are only three people I still dislike. [laughter] It turns out I liked most
everybody else. I did not like Manning. Every time I tried to do something with the history
department Manning tried to cut our legs off at the knees and get it for political science.
L: How big was his department compared to the history department? Roughly the same size?
L: No, I think Manning's was slightly larger in terms of the [number of] people on his payroll. We
were slightly larger in terms of total number of faculty, including C-1. There were only about nine
or ten or eleven people on the payroll in the history department.
L: One thing I wanted to ask you was [about] the pay as an assistant and then associate and then
full professor of history. What sort of standard of life were you able to maintain?
H: Very modest. My wife worked; there was not a year she did not work, and we were dependent on
her income as well until I went down to the University of Miami, and they really gave me what to
me then was an astounding salary.
L: Did you have any children?
H: Not here, no. I think all the faculty lived in relatively modest means. This was before things
pushed up and Gainesville moved west and you had Haile Plantation and $200,000 and $300,000
homes and that place on top of the Seagle Building. You know what I am talking about.
L: The Heritage Club.
H: Yes. Places where people can spend their money. We used to say, "Gee," when the medical
school opened, "they are paying these guys $25,000 a year." I do not think any responsible
physician would go into academic work for less than about $80,000 to $100,000 now. When Bob
Woodruff came here as the football coach there was a lot of talk because he was making more
than the president of the University; he was going to make $25,000, which is what the governor of
the state of Florida was being paid then and [what UF president] J. Hillis Miller was being paid at
that time. Things have changed; things have changed.
L: What about the graduate program when you were here? Were you directing dissertations and
H: Yes. We had a small but healthy one in the history department. There were always several
people in doctoral work doing dissertation-level work in American history, one or two in Florida
history, a couple in Latin America. To my knowledge we turned out some master's in European
history, but I do not know if we turned out a doctorate while I was here. We really did not have the
resources for the darn thing.
L: As an Asianist were you teaching any graduate courses?
H: Yes, one. I did teach a seminar on the Chinese revolution, and I taught an undergraduate course
on East Asia. I taught everything it is possible to teach. We had a fellow named Ancil Payne who
taught English history. Ancil became very ill one year, and I was the only warm body around who
could fill in. I did not know any English history. I was always about twenty-five pages ahead of
the class. But at least I read those pages.
L: And the class may or may not have.
H: Yes, that is right. We had some good people. We had a fellow named Jimmy Glunt, long dead,
who would have been an excellent scholar, but like a number of men in history his career had
been blunted by the fact he had to teach everything--the old South, Latin American, modern
Europe. These men were not able to concentrate on anything. Also, until some time in the 1950s
they had only the old library building.
L: Which is now Library East.
H: Only half of that. Library East was modernized in the 1950s, and Library West came along in the
early 1960s. You still could use more space. I cannot use Library West. I tried to, but it is all
mechanized. I try to look for things, and they are always these long cubicles where the ladies sit
who run the library. They are either not there or they look at me as if I am stupid. [laughter]
"Please tell me how to look this up."
L: You came before the computer revolution.
H: That is right.
L: What was an average teaching load for you when you were here? How many courses were you
H: It varied. In the late 1950s the legislature began to require ... it varied from department to
department, and in each department it would depend on what you needed to do. In some
departments without heavy enrollments there were light teaching loads. In other departments,
and especially ones that had labs, [the loads] would be very heavy. But in the late 1950s the
legislature required each department chairman to file each year with the University kind of a
breakdown of everybody's time. They wanted to be sure everyone was really working hard, see. I
finally figured out the first year I was chairman how to beat the game on this. I worked out a 3-2
system. I got the history department, at least the five years I was the chairman, so that you taught
only three courses one semester and two the next, or two and three. The rest of your time I was
able to explain as research or community service or administrative duty and so forth. I thought it
was an imposition on the part of these lazy bastards up in Tallahassee.
They are the ones that drove us into the trimester. They viewed the educational system as a
factory-"how many hours are these people at the machine" and so forth. I felt, if you can beat
them, fine. And we could beat them.
L: How much of your time during this period were you devoting to your own research?
H: I worked very hard. I worked not only as chairman and then as director of the honors program,
which I started (he said modestly). Bob Mautz gave me the modest amount of money for it. I was
teaching. One semester while I was chairman I taught eighteen hours. But I was teaching a full
load and chairing and doing my thing. I guess that is one explanation why I hardly ever saw my
wife there. Those were damn busy years. I worked my tail off.
L: In what year did you found the honors program, and could you describe that for me? According to
your blurb in Who's Who it was 1961.
H: Yes. I did not even know I was in it. Okay. Bob Mautz was then provost, although we did not call
him that then. Five of us went over to Daytona to sit down and figure out how we could run a
seminar, a program, open to any student in the University who was qualified, regardless of their
school. I got a long written thing, and I will not go into that. John Webb from economics and
Lewis Berner from biology and Art [Alex Smith], who was still here in astronomy and for a while
was assistant dean of the Graduate School: the five of us worked this out, and we started it. We
meant getting in with all the departments explaining what we wanted. We got twenty students the
first year. We got them from engineering; we got them from the whole damn school. They were
interviewed, and they came in. Stan West, who was the librarian, was good enough to give us a
big seminar room on the top floor of the library, a comfortable, well-lighted room with an enormous
What we did was read and discuss, and what we read was up to each man. For example, on the
sciences a man like Lewis Burner would pick out what he wanted them to read, on economics
John Webb would say this. We kept it to paperbacks because we supplied them. Bob Mautz
gave us the money for multiple copies of paperbacks. I would go over to Irwin Kallman, who ran
the Florida Bookstore--not the one you know, but it was an old house in those days. Irwin was the
first man to really get into the book business for students. A shrewd man. I would give him the
order: "We want twenty-five copies of this and this and this," and "Irwin, I want to save money.
Get me used copies, and send the bill to Dean Mautz." It took me about three years before I
realized Irwin was getting us used copies and billing us for new ones. [laughter]
L: That leads me to another question. What were the really important, critical works in history during
this time? What were the essential things? Does anybody's name or work stick out in your mind?
H: American historians or men who were doing history or here at this school?
L: Books that you were assigning these honors students.
H: I do not think there was anything contemporarily substantial that we assigned. It turned out that
almost everything that we thought worth reading came from pre-World War I on back to the
sixteenth century, as it were. The only thing we read in history was Allan Nevins's paperback,
[The Gateway to History?]. It would give these people in engineering and other areas some idea
of what historians do. But Toynbee was not in it because Arnold Toynbee ... Are you familiar
with the man's name?
L: The name is very familiar.
H: The Study of History. He was a brilliant man and a fine writer, but he fell flat on his face when it
was not in his field, in his books. He tried to encompass all history, and you could not have a kid
reading something where the writer did not know any more than the kid, let's say, about Chinese
history, although he knew classical history very well indeed. We tried to give them contemporary
works in the sciences because science was moving so rapidly then. As I said, it was the Sputnik
period, and it was when they were just beginning to discover molecular biology, which has
become the basis of biological work since.
I enjoyed those kids, and I found out something. John Webb put it best. He said, "The youngsters
in this program whose brains have really been scrubbed and can really solve problems are the
kids in sciences," and he was right. I wish I knew what happened to some of them. You know,
you see hundreds and hundreds of students, and you know them well, and you know them after
they leave. More time passes, and I think if some youngster came up to me and said, "I am so-
and-so," I would recognize him, but I could never think of it first.
To me, the guts of all academia is teaching, is having a relationship with your students. I do not
know why so many people get Ph.D.s that do not like students, do not like to teach, that want to
spend the rest of their life in some little recess somewhere.
L: Nowadays, as I understand it, you have to teach, but it does not get you anywhere careerwise.
Was that true then?
H: Well, there are two responses to that. One is, what difference does it make? If you like to teach,
teach. And the other is, yes. The cult of science and research took over. I do not know if they
still do it, but for a long period of time universities were living on grants, and the more money a
man or woman could get in grants the greater a person he was on campus. Because there was
until about 1972 an abundance of federal money, I have seen more goddamn mediocre scientists
getting multiple-hundred-thousand-dollar grants and being big men, and hell, most of them would
not know how to mix paint if you left them alone at it. [laughter]
But people in English and philosophy and language and history and things like that do not get
grants, and unwise universities kept ignoring these people. That is, in essence, why the
mathematicians left here. Eight people in the history department left the year I did or the year
after. There did not seem to be a place for them, a feeling of belonging. There was only for
engineers and agronomists, bus. ad., law, and medicine, of course. They are trying to reverse
that to some extent now.
L: The civil rights movement came to Gainesville in 1963, and students picketed out in front of the
College Inn one semester when John F. Kennedy died. Do you remember anything about that,
and, I guess sort of more broadly, what do you remember about race relations in Gainesville?
H: Oh, I will tell you what I remember. In the first years I was here there was an abomination on the
other side of the railroad tracks, you know the Waldo Road and its railroad, called (excuse my
expression) "nigger housing." That is where black people lived, and they lived in what you would
expect to find in Calcutta or some broken-down urban area in Asia. Outdoor plumbing, one water
tap for two houses. Now, all of these were erected and the rents collected by honest white real
estate men and owners in town. A man came to town who is still here, and I am sorry but my
memory is weak, and he built the first decent black housing in this town when we were still here
called Lincoln Estates. There has not been a heck of a lot of progress in housing since then, but
there certainly has been in occupations. The only blacks around the University were the janitors.
I have not been over there in many years, but obviously last time I was over there and lecturing in
1983 there were some black faculty. And women, of course, have made enormous strides in
getting faculty positions.
But the civil rights movement as such then did not touch Gainesville--still pretty much a backwater,
an hermetically sealed town--as much as it did Birmingham and Tuscaloosa and places like that.
But I will say, for Gainesville's credit, when it did it was accepted. We have had a black mayor,
black chiefs of police in this town, and there was no violence in this town of any substantial nature.
L: So in 1965 you take the job as graduate dean at the University of Miami.
L: You said "a substantial pay raise."
H: As chairman of the Department of History here, working my tail off, chairman of honors, this, that,
and the other thing, I was making $14,000 a year. I went down there at $19,500.
L: That is substantial.
H: Yes, it was substantial. It is a school that did not have much money then, but it tried to do the best
by its faculty that it could, believing that was the best investment. I was making damn good
money when I left there. I retired at sixty-six. We wanted to come back here. Have you ever
been down there?
L: To the University of Miami?
H: No. To the Miami area in general, Dade County.
L: I have not spent very much time down there.
H: Well, U.S. 1 we used to call the longest parking lot in the world. Everything was sort of too much
pressure, of people of cars and so forth. We had many friends here, and we wanted to come
back. We came back and bought this, and I have enjoyed it. I knew very few people here. I had
forgotten how many people had died or retired. I go once in a while to the meetings of the
University of Florida Retired Faculty. It is like being back in the University of 1962. [laughter] I
knew a few people. Bob Bryant and I were old friends. Is Wilson still there?
H: He is the only one I would know.
L: Well, there is Samuel Proctor.
H: Sam, that is right. But Sam is over at the [Florida] Museum [of Natural History] most of the time.
H: That is right. Sam and Wilson, and that is all.
H: David Chalmers?
H: By God, you are right. Dave is still there. I do not know if Steve Conroy is still there.
L: He is still there.
H: He is?
L: [George] Selden Henry.
H: Selden Henry is a nice guy. He was a little after my time. I think he was a graduate student here,
was he not?
L: No, but he came probably in 1962, I think.
H: I do not remember Selden. When I left it was Sam, Ashby teaching history, Dave Dowd, who is
now dead (he left and went to the University of Kentucky); Pat had left to go to Georgia (he is now
dead); Cliff Yearley went to either Buffalo or Rochester; Frank [Haber], a history of science man
who was damn good, went up to Maryland and became chairman there; Jimmy Glunt was dead;
Ancil I guess is dead now. Once in a blue moon I see Henry [William Eldon] Baringer [professor
of social sciences] up at Publix, and he is still the same asshole he always was. Henry had taught
courses on Civil War and Reconstruction, and he had immersed himself in Lincoln to the point
where he always imitates Lincoln, and it gets a little wearing in a man in his eighties, you know.
L: Supposedly is it Arthur Link who studied Wilson so well he now looks like Wilson? [laughter]
H: He became like Wilson. No. Evidently Abe Lincoln was a man who always had a joke ready to
hand. That is Henry Baringer. And it is always a terrible joke. But as I say, they are dead [or]
they are retired: Chalmers, Proctor, Conroy, and Wilson.
H: Mac is retired.
L: Funk is retired.
H: Art [Thompson] is dead. John Mahon is retired.
L: David Bushnell.
H: Is Dave retired now?
L: It has probably been very recent.
H: Marvin Entner, of course. Mary was always a loner, though; he hung out by himself.
L: Were you close socially with the McAlisters? The reason I ask is, Did you and McAlister build a
bomb shelter together? Please tell me about that.
H: When we were putting in the back garden in our house . this was in 1960-something; the Berlin
Wall, the [Cuban] missile crisis, Kennedy telling us to build bomb shelters. We had this big pit in
the back, and we were putting a new garden in. I had a guy come in and concrete the thing, brick
it up, put beams across and then a garden on top of it. You get in it from the house. I do now
know what we would have ever done. We would have never gotten in it.
L: I hope you will tolerate some more questions about this bomb shelter. Did you stock it; did you
provision it at all?
H: No. All we did was the bare [minimum]. It was a cellar, really, with concrete walls under a
backyard. It came about because we were already excavating the yard. I worked out a way to get
in it from the house.
L: Maybe we should take a precaution? Maybe this was sort of an insurance measure?
H: Oh, the president of the United States is telling everyone publicly they ought to build bomb
shelters and that we are in a desperate situation vis-a-vis the Soviets.
L: This is when Kennedy comes on television.
H: There was a guy in the physics or chemistry department that was very eager toward this thing. He
really believed in it. I did not know then that these things were no damn good anyway.
L: You would have been fricasseed like chickens.
H: That is right. Either that or the air would have gotten polluted with radioactive material. I thank
God that is all behind us, I hope.
L: That is just, again, something that feeds into one of my interests.
H: The University when I was here was much smaller and less complicated, and so was the
administration. I am appalled at the levels of administration now. There are so many adjuncts,
assistants, vices. We had a president and a vice-president. That was it. Wayne Reitz, let us say,
and Harry Philpott were a grand duo, I think. There was a business manager who was good. He
was not the vice-president for business affairs; he was a business manager. There was a
registrar who had enormous authority, Dick Johnson, who was damn good. But they ran the place
on a minimum number of people--upstairs, as it were. Now I do not know. I realize it is bigger
and more complicated. I do not see how [UF president John] Lombardi can keep a finger on
twenty-eight colleges and thirty institutes.
L: Maybe that is why he has so many delegates.
H: That is probably it, but there are an awful lot of people in advising and counseling, let us say.
Stanley Wimberly is dead, but he was a first-class man who established in 1950, roughly, an
unbeatable system in arts and science for advisement and counseling, and that was simply each
department nominated a counselor for majors in that department, and you worked with that kid.
You saw them all the time. That is what makes advice and counseling worthwhile--the youngster
knows you, and you know the youngster.
L: They do not do that anymore.
H: But they have big offices, don't they, of counselors and advisors?
I would not say they live with the student, but you could say to the student, "No, do not take this
course. It is not worth it to you," or, "Maybe people do not like so-and-so, but you are going to get
an awful lot out of the course," or, "Are you aiming this way? Do not take this. You are wasting
your time." Because you knew the curriculum of the University, and I think that is the way to
advise youngsters, young people. I think it is traumatic when you come into a 36,000-student
university your first year. You do not know what the score is, and by the time you find out you
have been scored on generally. [laughter]
L: One thing I wanted to ask you: You go from the largest school in the State University System to
what was the largest private school in the state.
H: Yes, that is right.
L: What was the major difference?
H: Well, there are a great many differences. I think the major difference was that Miami, because it
was private, you really had to learn to manage a dollar well. There was not any state legislature
[to funnel money into the school]. One time before I went there the legislature had said, "Let us
not establish Florida International or Florida Atlantic. Let us bring UM into the system." But they
turned it down. You had to learn how to be frugal down there. The other thing was you could not
expand the way they could up here. When I left there were only eight or nine colleges in the
whole place, and, as I said, God knows how many there are here. Of course, the president at a
university like Miami--this would be true at any private [school]--is always going with his hand out,
trying to get money. They have done all right on that.
They had a fund-raising drive--everything happens after I leave--and they made the $500 million,
and most of it was money. A lot of it is people who want to give you money, pledges, like Channel
Five [WUFT-TV] and WRUF-FM. Then they say for months, "Please pay your pledges off." But
the major difference was the management of money.
The second major difference was the absence of legislative oversight. You felt a lot freer at a
private school. I will give you an example. In the 1950s there was a professor of political science
named [Junius E.] Jud Dovell here, and at that time there was a system in the state where if you
wanted to start a bank, the state would deposit money with no interest. It was a buddy business.
The state will put $20 million into your bank to help you get started, and you do not have to pay
any interest on this deposit. He had one of his students write a master's [thesis] on this, and I will
be damned if Wayne Reitz was not called on the carpet for it, and Manning and Jud. Guys in the
legislature thought this was a dreadful thing to do. I do not know what the outcome was, but you
did not have that at a private school.
L: Did you continue to teach and publish while you were dean of the graduate school?
H: Oh, yes.
L: All of that continued.
H: I even managed to get a two-volume history of China [China Since 1800 and The Chinese
Empire], and for seven years I was the editor of the Journal of Asian Studies, which is the leading
scholarly journal in its field.
L: How much work did that entail?
H: Well, let me encapsulate it for you.
L: I mean, is this the same as Proctor editing the Florida Historical Quarterly?
H: In a sense, except that I had a worldwide thing. Let me put it this way. When I was fifteen I had to
leave high school to work. This was the Great Depression: no work, no eat. And from the age of
fifteen until I retired when I was sixty-six there was not a year I did not work. In looking back I can
see I was a workaholic. But when you asked me, "Did you do this and that?" the answer is yes.
Sure. I do not regret any of it--except the heart attack twenty-two years ago, where they told my
wife I was dead, but I was not. They carried me out of my office.
L: In 1972.
H: Yes. If my secretary had not been shrewd enough after a while and realized it was not
indigestion, I would have been dead. They got me over to a hospital.
L: So you were in your late fifties then?
H: Yes, that is right. I am seventy-eight now, and that was about twenty-two years ago. That is
about the time men get heart attacks. That graft replacing that artery lasted twenty-one years,
until this spring.
L: You have had open-heart surgery?
L: How long ago?
H: Twenty-two years ago.
L: Did you have the graft replaced this spring?
H: No. They felt they could handle it medically [with medication].
L: Oh. You do not look like you have open-heart surgery recently.
H: You can see the scar. I could not possibly go out and work on a day like this, in this heat. I am
sure sooner or later I will probably have to have surgery again.
L: Twenty-two years.
H: That lasted a long time, that artificial graft.
L: How long were you incapacitated?
H: It was early July when I had the heart attack, and I went back to school in October; I went back to
work in October. I was in the hospital so long that I wanted the governor to give me a pardon. If
you are in a hospital and you are recovering and you feel pretty good, it becomes like a prison.
L: In 1972 you changed jobs again. Correct?
L: Is this because of the heart attack, or had you been planning to change jobs?
H: No, it was the heart attack. They said, "You cannot keep carrying this load," so [under] Henry
King Stanford, who was the president of the university, I became the academic dean of the
university. He said, 'You be the academic conscience of the university." I said, 'You cannot wish
that on anybody, Henry, given some of these characters." He said, "Well, do you want to run the
honors program too?" and I said okay. It was pressure that put that heart out, and I think I was a
L: Was there any concern in the culture at that time about eating? I mean, certainly nobody knew
anything about cholesterol at the time.
H: No, there was not any concern. I was a good two-handed eater. I learned, of course; they talked
to me in the hospital about a restriction of diet.
L: I am trying to remember at what time the connection between hazards of smoking began to be
publicized. Was this in the mid 1960s? I mean, did you know smoking was bad for you?
H: Oh, yes, I am sure. Well, when I was a kid cigarettes were called coffin nails, and there were
people, I am sure. It was not only immoral to smoke but it was dangerous. I remember Bill
Wheat, who is now retired. He used to be a chest surgeon here in the 1960s, and he told me to
stop it. He said, "I would hate to tell you what your lungs look like. If you stop, a year from now
your lungs will be nice and pink and clean again."
L: So you were at the University of Miami for sixteen years.
H: That is right. Sixteen years at each place.
L: Did you decide to retire, or did you have to retire?
L: No. They had an obligatory retirement age. This was before Representative [Claude] Pepper
decided that because all of his constituents were elderly people in south beach it would be good to
put this in. There is no longer, am I right, a formal retirement age?
L: Not that I know of. I am not positive.
H: You cannot get rid of these old guys so young men and women can step into their places?
L: Dr. Proctor's decision was purely his own. He is seventy-three.
H: Sam is retiring?
L: He is on phased retirement.
H: Oh. Mac was for a while.
L: He is going to run just the Oral History Project.
H: Somebody told me, and I will not mention his name, when we came back here we were talking,
and he said to me, and I think this exemplifies a good many people: "Jack, I would like to retire. I
am burned out. But I need the money." That probably was not the only person at the University
L: Certainly you had been paying into Social Security.
H: Yes, I paid Social Security, and the University of Miami has a pension system down there. I am
not complaining. I do not think the government owes me a living, but then I am an old man out of
hard times--the Great Depression and World War II, and it was not until after that that people felt
they were entitled to all these things.
L: Well, what have you been doing since you retired in the early 1980s, 1981.
H: Yes. This is my twelfth year. Well, the first three years I taught here. They were nice enough to
have me do it. Since then my time had been mostly occupied taking care of Clarice, who has
L: Oh, I am sorry to hear that.
H: Once in a while someone will call me, about twice a year, and say, "Will you give a lecture?" Mike
Gannon is doing a course on World War II in the Pacific, and I know a lot about it. Mike was a
priest, you know.
L: Yes. Stephen O'Connell's confessor, as a matter of fact.
H: Oh, yes. I think Mike is one bright guy and very capable. A good writer. Mike saw he was not
ever going to be pope so he left [the Catholic Church] [laughter], and he has been an addition to
the University. Del Scudder used to be the head of religion before your time. That is the one who
audited my class in Russian history to see that I was not pro-Soviet. He was a nice guy.
L: Have you been traveling at all?
H: We had a lot of travel in mind, because we traveled a lot when I was in Miami. Clarice and I spent
a lot of time in Mexico and Ecuador; we had friends there. I have been back to Japan twice. We
got settled here and were looking forward to some kind of social life. But certainly to go out to the
West Coast where her family is. The second year the roof fell in. She was in the hospital, and
they said, "She has emphysema," so she is on oxygen. Forty years of smoking, I am pretty sure.
But she is stabilized, and as long as she is in the house and so forth we get along fine. The older
you get the less you miss a social life. Of course, we have good friends living around us.
The only thing I miss is teaching, being in a classroom. Maybe that is an ego trip. I do not know.
But I was very good at explaining things clearly so that even the least-interested kid got it. But
those days are gone too. There are those who claim there is no such thing as Western
Civilization anymore--only dead white men and their works.
L: I was going to ask you, In your many years as a historian, what do you think is the biggest change
in the idea of history or the profession?
H: Well, a couple of things have happened. One is a number of people [have gotten heavily into] the
quantification of history, which I do not [subscribe to]. You know, there are lies, damn lies, and
statistics. The other is the increasing emphasis on social history. So many people think they can
write the history of a whole class or a whole city without ever having been a member of it. But I do
not know. When I was doing it I was terribly interested in it, and I still am. I think everybody who
is doing it now has to be interested or they would not be doing it.
L: In history.
H: Yes. The biggest change is not only the quantification. The second-biggest change, and I faced
that when I came back in 1981 and taught here, [is] the students. In the first place I had a very
large class. There is an art building or something with a big auditorium in it right on 13th Street.
L: The fine arts building?
H: Yes. They gave me that for Western Civ. You could not see the back row, and you stood on a
stage. That was not it. But you can get a feeling from a class. It takes a while, and then you and
the class [develop a relationship]. Most of them did not give a good goddamn. Not so much
about the class but about an education, about a university, and so forth. They were bored with the
whole thing. They can laugh all they want about the preppie 1950s, but those were good
students. They played just as hard as they do now.
L: But they worked hard.
H: They worked hard. That is right.
L: Why do you think this has happened? I fully agree with you.
H: Well, I think because we are too close to the trees to see the forest. In the last twenty-five or thirty
years there has been occurring profound structural changes in our society and in our economy. I
do not think we are in a recession or depression now. I think we are in a kind of economy that is
so new there are no jobs for anybody that is truly unskilled anymore. They are getting rid of them.
The industrial economy is gone. It started to go in the 1970s.
The social fabric has been badly hurt. There is no more civility left. That is what I miss with the
kids. Do mind my using the word kids?
H: There is no civility left, no more decency between people. I live in a middle- to upper-middle-class
neighborhood here, and I am really surprised sometimes at the youngsters and their parents
here--how they speak, what they do, what they prize. I do not know anybody around here that
does drugs. They do not have to--there is an awful lot of drinking. Just for the sake of drinking.
L: The kids?
H: Well, let me say at the high school age, not the little ones. There are hard-working kids, and I
think they will make it. If they understand that you get one chance in life, that society gives you
this one chance to go to a university. It is not designed so that you can be a socialite or the
biggest beer drinker in the place or the greatest stud around. This is the platform from which you
are going to jump--either up or down--and you had better realize that. That is where your advising
and counseling comes in, I think, to a certain extent.
But those great structural changes have occurred so slowly that we do not understand them yet.
They still have fraternities here?
L: Oh, yes.
H: I will never forget my second year here when I was asked to chaperon one.
L: What happened?
H: Well, there is a state park not far from here, and my wife and I and another young faculty couple
went as chaperons. It was this house ... Is it still on West University? Chi Omega or something?
I do not know what it was. The first thing the guys did was mix up a vast vat of grapefruit juice
and gin. They were going to get the girls drunk, see.
L: This was 1951?
H: Oh, 1950, 1951. They were going to get them drunk. There was a hell of a lot of drinking here
then. To be a southern gentleman meant you had to drink, whether you could hold it or whether
you liked it or not. Well, what happened, of course, was they all got drunk and incapacitated,
leaving the girls just standing around laughing at them. There was some awfully hard drinking in
this place. I guess it still goes on to some extent.
L: I have had this sort of conversation with David Chalmers, and I asked him, "What did people do
for recreation in Gainesville in the late 1950s?" He said, "They got drunk on the weekends and
then read about who got arrested in the Sunday paper, because there was not anything else to
H: It would have been fair also to say they played hard [but] they worked hard. Also the majority of
the students then, in the 1950s and early 1960s, were from Dade [and] Broward [counties]. Well,
that is where the population was. They would go home for the weekends. This great exodus
would start Friday afternoon, and late Sunday night they would come back. Then more and more
kids filtered in. I liked the kids from north Florida and west Florida a lot.
L: These are your more-traditional, old-South [families].
H: They were glad to be here. And when I came here Florida Field was wooden stands, and you
went out. A big game was Furman, let us say. When Bob Woodruff came in he changed football
forever here. Bob was a guy with a drive, and he got the money to build the concrete stands--
which they have been building ever since, as you know--and got in the big-time schedules. Then
Ray Graves succeeded Bob. The first time they beat Georgia Tech right down on the field--oh,
God. I was a nut. I was on the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee then, and I will never forget the
first time Florida beat Georgia Tech, which was then a great football power, at Florida Field.
Grown men wept, as they said. The irony of the thing was the Florida quarterback that did it was
the son of the coach at Georgia Tech. [laughter] But I think football has gone out of proportion
L: I was going to ask you if Gator football was as life-and-death important then as it is now.
H: To people who were interested in it, yes.
L: Was it important to people who had no ties whatsoever to the University?
H: I do not think so, but do not forget how many people do have ties to the University, how many
people have graduated from here and live all over the state. You will always have a nut fringe. I
still like to see Florida win a game of football.
I do not know how many of these interviews you have done. Did you get a lot of this '"way back
when and in the good old days" stuff?
L: That is what I am after.
H: I think humanely and humanly it was better. Technically and financially it is a hell of a lot better
L: But socially and culturally?
H: It was easier and better [then], and you knew people and trusted them. You did not get screamed
at all the time. If you paid a woman a compliment she did not call it harassment.
Oh, one other thing. In those days, no matter what a girl majored in, she always took typing and
shorthand. That was because no matter how good a woman was intellectually or in any capacity
whatsoever, she knew that her chances of getting a decent job were pretty small unless she knew
shorthand and typing and became a secretary.
L: We are talking about the 1950s?
H: Yes. The only other alternative was the school of education. She could teach, of course. My
brightest students, I would say 90 percent of the time, intellectually honed, were women. I knew
they were going to run up against a brick wall, and I am glad to see that wall is coming down.
L: Were there any women in the faculty when you left in 1965?
H: Not to my knowledge. Not on the faculty that I knew.
L: Because I am sure as dean at the University of Miami you were in the thick of the minority hiring
and women hiring.
H: I was in the thick of affirmative action, oh, yes. When I left the heads of two departments were
women. I was here when a black student tried to enter the law school.
L: Virgil Hawkins.
H: My God, you would think he was trying to bomb the building or something. He was prevented, as
you know, from entering, which I and everybody thought privately was disgraceful. By a faculty
vote Virgil would have entered, but we were still responsible to the legislature for our budget.
Those were the days when the legislature was dominated totally by north and west Florida.
L: It was grossly malapportioned.
H: Oh, yes. Trees were represented. Now with the one man-one vote thing that came in there is a
much better balance. When that came about the University could feel much freer to do what it
should do anyway. I do not know how many women faculty there are now in history. There are at
least two that I know about.
L: Well, one just got a job at the University of Colorado. There are probably about six or seven.
H: It is a big department.
L: Yes. There are fifty-two or fifty-three people. That is just off the top of my head. They just hired
one, as a matter of fact.
H: I know there is one in, I think, the history of science. I am not sure. She is a very capable woman.
There was a graduate student here who got her degree, a Ph.D., about this high who had a little
boy, I remember.
L: Jane Landers.
H: Yes. Is she here?
L: She was on the faculty here, and she got a job at Vanderbilt.
H: Good for her. I thought she had it; she really did have it. When I left here in 1965, I am proud to
say that the administration considered that the two best departments in this University were
history and chemistry. Fifty people. Good God! Who would want to be chairman?
L: A lot of people.
H: Oh, yes. Well, I know.
L: It sounds like you have had a long and fruitful career.
H: I have had an interesting one. I guess it has been fruitful and happy.
L: You look like you are quite healthy in your old age.
H: I am all right. I got 60 percent of a heart left; that is, the rest of the tissue is scarred. But it gets
me through, as long as I do not try to do anything foolish.
L: Is there anything else you would like to add?
H: No. I appreciate your coming around. I appreciate Sam sending you.
L: Well, I appreciate your talking to me.
H: I did not talk you to death, did I?
L: Not at all.
H: I do not get much of a chance to talk.
L: As soon as I get home I will probably come up with a lot more questions about that bomb shelter
and various other things.
H: Well, that was not the only one in Gainesville.
L: Can you think of others?
H: No, I cannot offhand because after a while people got embarrassed to mention it. But as I say,
the whole tenor of government was, we had to protect ourselves. This is going to happen.
L: Was the government disseminating plans?
H: Oh, yes. You could get plans for a bomb shelter, you could get maps of the United States that
would show where the winds would carry fallout. Florida was blessed on the fallout. Mostly, since
the winds go from west to east, the middle west and east coast and way north [were considered
high-risk areas]. I do not think the occupants of that house know they have an unoccupied cellar
under there. [laughter]
L: Where is that house?
H: I could see the president's house. It was on [NW] 22nd Drive.
L: And you could see the president's house from your front yard or upstairs window?
H: I could see his backyard and the trees on it. At 22nd Street there is a light there, and the next
street is blocked off now because too many people were using it for shortcuts. I lived there, the
Watsons [Please Identify?] lived there, [Ellis] Ben[son] Salt [professor of professional physical
education], the Entners lived there for a while.
L: The same house, or on that street?
H: Oh, no, on the street. We knew each other. I do not know if you could do it today, but in those
days if you had something on your mind with worth you could see the president. I do not know if
anybody could get in to see Lombardi now. He is probably fortified by legions of secretaries.
L: Well, I have never been introduced to him.
H: Wayne Reitz had a young man whose name I am ashamed to say I have forgotten who was also
one of the nicest persons in the world. He was in a small office across from the president's, and
he listened to everything you wanted to tell the president and would tell the president. He is dead.
He was getting a physical exam, and he dropped dead in the physical. But presidents have to
have somebody they can talk to, and he talked to this man, bright and trustworthy and so forth. I
knew the president had too much on his plate to see me if I wanted to. I would talk to Harley.
H: I cannot remember his name. I saw his widow in Publix about a month to go.
L: Dr. Proctor will know.
H: Yes, he will know. The registrar ran football to a large extent, [Richard S.] Dick Johnson. Dick
Johnson reviewed the high school records and recommendations of everybody they recruited.
Dick was a genius. Dick would say to the coach, "This kid is not going to last a year here. Do not
waste your money."
L: He could profile them like that?
H: He could, and he was right. Yes, football got big. Sports has gotten big. They have more men's
and women's sports now, and they spend an awful lot of money on them.
L: It does, on a positive note, bring a lot of money into the University.
H: To the University, not just to sports. Yes, I would not doubt that. They have moderated it a great
deal. Under guys like [former football coach] Charley Pell anything went, but Steve [Spurrier] is a
different guy. I know when I left here I had been on the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee and
was privy to the budget. When I went down and saw what they were running the University of
Miami on I wondered how the hell they could do it. But that has jumped too. What they do down
there, they get enough to operate sports out of. The university gets everything else.
In other words, Spurrier, let's say, can have a successful year. The only thing that makes money
is football. Basketball could probably break even. Suppose Spurrier makes close to $150 million
to $200 million a year; that is, the team draws in that amount. He can afford to give to the
University scholarship committee or the academic committee $5 million. Suppose they made
$100 million down at Miami, and suppose it cost them $5 million to operate sports. They get the
$5 million, and the university would take the $95 million. That is how they work there.
L: I see.
H: I wish they had not broken off the fifty-year relationship playing [football] games. This guy Foley is
against it. Jeremy Foley, who is the A.D. here, even publicly has done nothing but derogate the
University of Miami the last six or seven years, and I do not think that is wise.
L: They have broken a fifty-year tradition of...
H: Of playing games between each other. Florida broke it.
L: Okay. You can tell I am not a football [fan].
H: The last game of the season for years and years was Miami-Florida, and then they said, "We want
to play the last game with FSU. You are going to be the first game. If you do not do it, we will not
play you." So they played the first game. Then they broke the relationship when they went in this
ridiculous [Southeastern Conference (SEC) arrangement]. The SEC was broken into two
divisions, as you know, east and west. They have to play schools like Arkansas, for God's sake,
and so forth. But that is no worry of mine.
The only thing I am worried about now is is it going to rain today, because we need it.
L: I understand that it rained a lot last night.
H: We had a good soak last night, just what we needed. We need more soak.
L: Okay. I guess that will do us. I would like to thank you.
H: Thank you. You gave me a chance to remember.