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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Interviewee: Dr. Arthur L. Funk
Interviewer: Stuart Landers
Arthur Layton Funk was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1914. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth in
1936, his M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1937, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in
1940. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and begin teaching at the University of Florida in
1946. His teaching interests changed from medieval history to contemporary French-American relations
as a result of World War II. He left the University to work with the U.S. Information Service and he served
in Syria, Lebanon, and Madagascar. He returned to the University of Florida in 1962 and served as the
Chairman of the Department of History from 1973 to 1978. He was very involved in the negotiations for
relocation of the University College professors before the University College was officially ended. Dr.
Funk has been very active in the American Historical Association and the American Committee on the
History of the Second World War. Most of his professional writing deals with World War II.
In this interview Dr. Funk describes his years of education at Dartmouth and the University of Chicago in
the 1930s. Dr. Funk was strongly influenced by his service during World War II to change his professional
focus from medieval history to contemporary history. He has done extensive research on World War II
and Charles de Gaulle. Dr. Funk took a leave of absence in 1951 to do research in France with his GI bill
funds, but research did not improve his standings in University College. He left the University of Florida to
serve with the U.S. Information Service but returned to University of Florida when he was stationed long-
term in Madagascar without his family. Dr. Funk discusses the relationships and arrangements between
the College of Arts and Sciences historians and the historians in University College. He discusses the
changes in UF after World War II including the housing problems. Dr. Funk discusses his years as
chairman of the history department, but many of his goals were not realized within his term. Even though
Dr. Funk has retired from teaching at UF, he continues his research and is still active in professional
organizations and conferences.
L: Can you give me your full name?
F: I am Arthur Funk, and was chairman of the history department starting in 1973.
L: I have down here Arthur L. Funk.
F: Arthur Layton Funk.
L: When and where were you born, Dr. Funk?
F: I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1914.
L: Were your parents native New Yorkers?
F: My mother was brought up in Brooklyn and New York. My father was born in Ohio
[and] came to Staten Island in his youth. [He] then became a doctor and his first
position was in Brooklyn.
L: Can you give me his and her name?
F: My father's name was Merton Layton Funk, and my mother was Marion Thompson.
L: What sort of stock did she descend from?
F: [My mother's grandfather] was originally a British citizen who came to the United
States, [was] naturalized in the United States, and, in the Civil War, made a fortune
out of speculation in gold. After that [he] invented a process for corrugated paper
and became a quite prominent as a manufacturer of corrugated paper boxes. That
was my mother's grandfather. As her father and mother both died early, she was
brought up by them. They lived for a while in Brooklyn and for a while in New York.
L: And your father's background?
F: My father, as I say, came from Springfield, Ohio, and his father was the brother of
the Funk [Isaac Kauffman Funk, 1839-1912] who founded [the publishing house of]
Funk and Wagnalls [that published] first of all the dictionary [Standard Dictionary of
the English Language, 1894] and the Literary Digest [started in 1890], and so forth.
His father, that is my grandfather, Benjamin Funk moved to Staten Island to work on
the Funk and Wagnalls firm which had its offices in New York at that time. So my
father was mostly brought up in Staten Island, then went to Amherst [College in
Amherst, Massachusetts] and from there to medical school. He became a physician
and started to practice in Brooklyn.
L: Where did he go to medical school?
F: Columbia [University]. The College of Physicians and Surgeons was affiliated with
L: I have had a set of Funk and Wagnalls' encyclopedias all of my life.
F: I think the Funk and Wagnalls firm had not much to do with that, because Funk and
Wagnalls was sold to Reader's Digest many, many years ago. What happens is, it
is Reader's Digest with the Funk and Wagnalls' name still attached to it. I think the
Funk [and Wagnalls publishing] firm disappeared in the 1930s or 1940s, about the
time of the war.
L: Did you ever work for this family company?
L: Did you grow up in Brooklyn?
F: I did indeed.
L: Tell me a little bit about your childhood, education, and social activities.
F: Well, Poly Prep, which is short for Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School, is
located out on Dyker Heights nearwhere the [Verrazano Narrows] bridge across the
New York Bay is at the present time. It was a prep school, or a day school.
F: Private, yes. And I think from the point of view of education, it may not have been
quite like Exeter [Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire] or Andover
[Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts] but it had pretty much the same sort of
standards. So I was there. I graduated and was, incidentally, president of the
senior class. Then from there [I] went to Dartmouth [College in Hanover, New
L: [I have] a couple more questions about your family. Was there a religious affiliation?
Was this a church-going family?
F: Yes. My mother was Episcopalian, but, because the Episcopal church was rather
hard to get to, my father and mother both ended up as congregationalists. When
they died the funeral was conducted in the congregational church. That is where I
went to Sunday school. They were buried in Staten Island.
L: What about brothers and sisters?
F: I have one brother, Tom Funk, who is an artist. If you are a New Yorker aficionado,
you would find many of his pictures in the New Yorker, not cartoons, but illustrations
for articles. He is still alive and is now eighty-three and lives in Westport,
L: So this makes him older?
L: So you graduate from high school in 1930?
L: And [you went] straight into Dartmouth?
L: Tell me a few things about Dartmouth. This, of course, is during the Great
F: Yes. We did not suffer too much from the Depression, although my father indicated
that the bills that his patients owed frequently were not paid. I asked him once
about going into medicine as a profession and he said, "No, it does not pay very
well." So I chose teaching instead, which does not pay very well either. It is the
doctors nowadays that make big money. Well, I went up to Dartmouth. Dartmouth
at that time had an acceptance program for juniors in high school, which meant not
having to take College Boards my senior year, so I accepted it. Dartmouth, as you
may know, is up in New Hampshire. It gets very cold in the winter time, and cars
were not allowed in those days except for seniors. So I did a great deal of reading in
the course of my first years of Dartmouth -- more the first, I guess, than the last.
L: What were you reading? Any specific concentration?
F: No. [I read] a good deal of fiction, some history, and some philosophy. I started as
a philosophy major and then transferred to a history major for no good reason
except the teachers in philosophy were not very inspiring, and those in history were.
L: Do you remember anyone specific in history?
F: Yes. John Gaysley was one of the teachers. I remember Arthur Wilson, I think,
more than anyone else. They had a peculiar department at Dartmouth called the
Department of Biography which had historians. Arthur [McCandless] Wilson had
done what was, up until recently, the definitive biography of [Denis] Diderot [French
philosopher]. He had a course in biography, comparative biography, like great
figures of the eighteenth century, [or] something like that. He had been an Oxford
Rhodes Scholar and was pretty rigorous, a term paper every two weeks. So these
papers I wrote, ten or fifteen pages, were a lot of work, but I got something out of it
as one does if you apply oneself.
L: Other than studying, what sort of activities were you engaged in? Were you married
at this point?
F: Oh, no. I did not get married until 1944. [I was] the class of 1936. I think it was
eight years after college. As a matter of fact, Professor Wilson gave me some
profound advice. He said, "If you want to go ahead in academe, get your Ph.D. right
away after college and do not get married until you get it." Which I did. I followed
that advice, in any case. I remember the early years at Dartmouth as [being] in the
winter time, mostly skiing and sports of that sort. I went out for track. So in the
spring and fall, it was mostly track. In those days Dartmouth was not coeducational
and the nearest girls' college was Smith College in Northampton [Massachusetts],
100 miles away. In those days [it was] a good three-hour drive, now probably two
L: If you could find a car, right?
F: Yes. So I never dated very much in college.
L: Were you a fraternity man?
F: Yes. Sigma Nu. I lived in the fraternity house my last two years. So from a social
life point of view, I suppose that is part of it.
L: Was there anything resembling an ROTC program at Dartmouth?
F: No, there was not.
L: No military component at all?
F: No. Not at that time. During the war they had a temporary military officers' training
L: As did many colleges.
L: So you graduate in 1936 with, I assume, a bachelor's of arts in history?
F: Right. Summa cum laude.
L: Where to then?
F: Directly to the University of Chicago. I got a senior scholarship from Dartmouth and
it was $1,000, I remember, and it easily took care of tuition most any place in those
days, and a little bit more besides. So I had the idea of going to possibly the
University of California or Stanford [University] or [University of] Minnesota, but
Chicago seemed to get it. I was in medieval history at that time and James Westfall
Thompson was a very prominent medievalist at the University of Chicago. So I went
there, but just the year that I arrived, Thompson transferred to another school. So I
never had the opportunity of working with him, and it was too late to change.
L: Now, Dartmouth College gave you money for your graduate education. Did the
University of Chicago give you a scholarship or fellowship?
F: Yes. After the first year, I had the Cleo Hearon Fellowship, which I guess I had for
the three years that I was there.
L: Did that involve any duties: teaching [or] research?
F: No. The only duties were to be the editor of the Department of History newsletter
which came out once a year. I was never a teaching assistant, or grader, or
anything of that sort.
L: Was it common back then at the University of Chicago to draw upon graduate
students as a source of inexpensive labor for teaching, grading, research, or things
like that, as it is now?
F: I do not think so. You see Chicago had, at that time, the same system as we had
here: a University College and the upper division. And all of the upper division
courses were essentially small classes and the large classes were at University
College, and they had their own arrangements for grading and so forth, which I
really do not know anything about.
L: What did you do your dissertation on?
F: My dissertation was on Etienne Marcel, who was a fourteenth century French
revolutionary, or was presumed to be so. As a result of my research and
dissertation, I changed the title to "Reform and Revolt in Fourteenth Century
France," the point being that revolutionaries in the sense of eighteenth, nineteenth,
twentieth century really did not apply to the fourteenth century. The revolt that took
place was really a factional dispute between a group of favorites, who were favorites
of the king, and a group on the outside who were not favorites, but wanted to be.
L: So you corrected an anachronism in the literature, I guess.
F: I am not sure it was corrected because as you know in history some of the common
textbooks and so forth continue the errors of previous textbooks. And there is
available, if one chooses to read the proper books, a correct interpretation. So I did
not really add anything new to what scholarship had discovered or essentially the
position of scholarship at that time.
L: Were you able to work with a medievalist of the kind of high caliber that you had
originally come to Chicago looking for?
F: No. I worked with Professor Einar Joranson, who never made a great name for
himself and whose field in any case was not fourteenth century. He was a
L: But you were still able to do what you had set out to do, I guess?
F: Yes. He was a very careful, conscientious, and nice man, indeed, but was not the
inspiring kind of teacher that you would find elsewhere. I think the person I had in
contact at Chicago was Louie [Louis Reichenthal] Gottschalk who was at that time
chairman of the department and a distinguished scholar who was just beginning his
works on Lafayette, the first volume of which came out when I was a graduate
student. Gottschalk and I developed a friendship and it lasted until his death.
L: How much overseas research did you do?
F: For the dissertation?
F: None. I did none. I did not go to France; [I] did not work in archives.
L: Is there a documents collection here in the United States that enabled you to [do
F: In the period of the middle ages, they have been collecting documents for years and
years and years.
L: And they are all published?
F: These have been published and go back to the sixteenth century. As a matter of
fact, some of these documents on sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century
books are on this wonderful paper that they had at that time with ink that is just as
clear now as when they were published. So there are tremendous areas of
publication of chronicles [and] papers. The ordinances of the kings of France, for
example, had been published in the eighteenth century.
As a matter of fact, I corresponded with people in France. My specific question was,
"Would research in this area in the archives be useful?" [I] received a letter from a
woman who was in the same field, fourteenth century, and had written on the basis
of archival research. She said that she felt that the archives had been so thoroughly
"fouilld" (was the word she used), or dug into, that you are not likely to find much
L: So you complete the Ph.D. in 1940?
L: What is your next move?
F: My next move was to get a job.
L: How was the job market in 1940?
F: The job market was not particularly good. The people who worked with Gottschalk
and some of the other more distinguished people got jobs. I remember a lady,
Frances [Dorothy] Acomb who got a degree the same time I did, and she got a
position at Duke University. The best I could come up with was St. Petersburg
Junior College. That is where I went.
L: At the time you were searching for a job, was the economy starting to warm back
up, starting to recover? I guess this is the early part of 1940.
F: Well, I got my degree in summer of 1940, so we are talking really about the fall of
1940. I cannot recall any particular difficulties that affected me personally. I
remember a number of the students went out to help a strike that was going on in
Chicago at that time. But the funding did not seem to be that tight, at least in the
area that I was in. My salary was $1,800 at St. Petersburg Junior College, but as a
bachelor it took care of my needs OK.
I rented an apartment that had two bedrooms, a bath, and a garage for $35 a month.
L: In St. Petersburg?
F: In St. Petersburg.
L: What was your reaction to the South? Had you ever been or spent much time in the
F: No. This was my first visit to Florida. I do not know that St. Petersburg is really very
typical of the South. It was a retirement community. I joined the Junior Chamber of
Commerce because I wanted to get some feel for the activities there. Mostly they
were concerned with the fact that St. Petersburg was a dead end. You go over
there from Tampa or from the North, and you could not go farther south because
there was no bridge or ferry that went down to Fort Myers or Sarasota. Therefore,
the largest industry seemed to be as a retirement place for which it was famous and
L: What about segregation and race relations, and the difference between New York
and Chicago and Florida?
F: Well, obviously, Chicago was not particularly segregated. There were black
graduate students, and I remember when you would go out to a night club you
would find blacks there. It was not segregated particularly. I have to say that in
Chicago I was pretty much concerned with what I was doing as far as research.
Being in medieval history, I suppose, would suggest that I am not all that interested,
like political scientists, in what is going on politically or economically. I can
remember when Roosevelt was reelected. This would have been in 1937.
L: The first time [or] the second time?
F: No. The second time. He was reelected in 1937, but there was a lot of exhilaration
among the graduate students. They were pretty unanimously for him. In the South,
obviously, the situation was completely segregated, but I was not out demonstrating,
if that is what you are getting at.
L: No. I was more curious about culture shock or whether St. Pete struck you as being
a very different social and cultural climate than what you had been used to.
F: Well, yes, of course it was, if you think that I had been brought up in Brooklyn and
Chicago, both large cities, urban communities, and then I had spent four years at
Hanover, New Hampshire, which is a very small town. I cannot remember that this
particularly concerned me. It was interesting to observe, but what I observed, I
think, was the retirement people rather than any other kind of social activity. And,
obviously, I was pretty much involved with the students. After all I was twenty-eight
years old then and not that much older than the student body. I became a faculty
adviser for one of the fraternities. I got to know people. There were only 300
students at St. Pete Junior College, which they called "Utopia Tech."
L: Do you have any idea why?
F: Why it was called "Utopia Tech?"
F: Because if you could not get in any place else, you could get in St. Petersburg
Junior College. They had fun. There were not too many serious students.
L: What was your teaching load like? What were you teaching and how many
F: Oh, I cannot remember the number of hours, but it was certainly more than twelve or
fifteen hours a week because I was professor of history and political science. I
taught political science, I taught American history, and I taught European history.
You might say one of the reasons that I got that job was that the junior colleges in
the state were patterning their first two years after the University of Florida. And, at
that time, Jimmy [James David] Glunt was in charge of the humanities program at
the University of Florida and he had medieval history as a requirement of all
L: He was a medievalist.
F: He was a medievalist. So that became the pattern throughout the state. Why would
a junior college hire a medievalist? Normally, that would not be something that they
would have. But I taught that course which was considered, I think, to be somewhat
like the survey course nowadays. It was difficult because middle ages is pretty
remote, and particularly a recent graduate student is so filled with details and
meticulous aspects of a subject that you like to impose that on your students. It is a
little bit difficult. But I think I flowed with the tide.
K: Was it a good experience overall?
F: Yes. I enjoyed it to the full. I might say that at that time, just having been into solid
years of study, I was not interested in doing further research at the time. And,
particularly, as the job was in St. Petersburg, they did not have any libraries to do
work at that, and, as the teaching load was heavy, I was perfectly happy to just do
L: What changed all of this?
F: World War II.
L: I have here on your vitae that you go into the navy in 1942. Is that correct?
F: Yes. Well, actually I was accepted in 1941. Possibly, although it is a little hard to
bring this up to my memory, the aspect of imminent war was such that it may have
discouraged the thoughts of doing research. I do not think I was conscious of that at
that time. I think I might say, although you did not ask this question, that at
University of Chicago I became a good friend of Claude [Edward] Hawley. Hawley
was brought to the University of Florida to teach in [William Graves] Carleton's
[Chairman and Professor in the General College] C-1 social science survey [Man
and the Social World] at the same time that I got this job in St. Petersburg. So
Hawley and I drove down from Chicago to Florida. I dropped him off at Gainesville.
Neither of us had been interviewed for these jobs, it had all been by
correspondence. And then I drove down to St. Petersburg.
But as I did not have too many friends down there, I came up here to Gainesville a
number of times and saw Claude and met Carleton, for example, Manning [Jullian]
Dauer [Associate Professor of History and Political Science] and Clem [Clement
Harold] Donovan [Associate Professor of Economics]. I do not know if you know of
him. He died just recently. But Donovan had been teaching here for a number of
years, even then in 1940, and he was in economics. He was later chairman of the
economics department. So, Hawley and I, and Donovan, and a couple of other
people who are gone, enjoyed each other's company. I would come up here and we
would drink, and we took a trip down to Miami at one time. So I got acquainted with
people at the University of Florida. This is background because after the war, you
see, I was invited by Bill Carleton to come here to teach and it was through Claude
Hawley that I had met Carleton.
L: So you had laid the ground work here?
F: I had laid the ground work here for continuing activity in Florida.
L: So you must have liked the look of Gainesville from the beginning.
F: Au, contraire! No, Gainesville, I always thought, was a miserable town. After all, at
that time, what did it have? It had one restaurant and a student body of 3,000.
L: A dry county.
F: A dry county, yes. It did not have that much going for it. St. Petersburg was much
more interesting to live in than Gainesville. In any case, Hawley had a commission
in the army because he had been an ROTC-type from way back. I was not. But you
would have to check the books when the draft was imposed.
L: September of 1940?
F: Could be, because you see that would be the time that I went to St. Petersburg. So
that first year of 1940 I was eligible for the draft, was called up, had a physical
examination, [and was] classified 1A. I said [to myself] I did not want to be in the
army. I always liked the water, the sea, boats, so I undertook to investigate what the
navy had to offer. They had a program at that time called "V-7 Program," whereby
you could go to summer camp, become a ninety-day wonder, get a commission as
ensign, and then go back to your regular life, but, nevertheless, be in the reserve.
See, this is 1940 when the war was obviously going on in Europe and had been
since 1939, and [there were] all sorts of ominous broadcasts of what was
happening, particularly after May of 1940 when France was invaded. This became
more of an issue. The president was making various kinds of speeches saying, with
one hand, that we should stay out of war, but, with the other hand, doing things like
lend-lease [the 1941 U.S. Lend-Lease Act]. [He] may have gotten us closer to it.
We were convoying ships to Iceland at that time. As faculty adviser of the
International Relations club, we had a special concern in 1941: American relations
with Japan. We read all of the things that were relevant to the Japanese situation.
It was weird that with that intense study with all of the material that was in print or
available, we had no idea that the crisis was as severe as it was.
L: Because the kind of information you would have needed was not circulated.
F: Right. In any case, I undertook to sign up for this V-7 program with the navy and
was accepted into it, I guess, in the middle of 1941, and stood by assuming, at that
time, that during the summer of 1942 I would go through this training program. But,
alas, interestingly enough, I got orders to report for duty before Pearl Harbor.
L: Why was that? Do you know?
F: No. I think it was just an ordinary routine; we have got so many people, we have got
so many of these classes that are going on, and so my name came up. But I did not
report for duty until after Pearl Harbor. But I always thought it was nice that right
after Pearl Harbor having my orders in my hand to report, I think December 15 or
something like that, [I could] go to the president of St. Petersburg Junior College and
say, "Sorry, but I have been called up."
L: Did you leave that junior college with any understanding that you would have a job
when you got back? Were you on temporary leave?
F: No, I was not on temporary leave. I just left. At that time, nobody knew that this
was going to be one year, two years, four years, or so. I had no such recollection.
However, Michael Bennett, who at that time was the registrar, by the end of the war,
was president of St. Petersburg Community College. I ended the war in Key West
and drove up through St. Petersburg, saw Mike, and he invited me to come back,
but I had had enough of junior colleges by that time. In any case, I had a job at
Drake University [in Des Moines, Iowa].
L: Before we go to that ..
F: When do we get to the Department of History?
L: We are getting closer. If you would like to, tell us quickly where you spent the war
years serving in the navy.
F: I was called up to go through this three month training period which was at
Northwestern University, Chicago campus. They called it Abbot Hall because the
dormitory was Abbot Hall that belonged to Northwestern University and we used the
facilities there for training. This was right on the shore at Lake Michigan, so you
could see water and an occasional boat. So that took four months or so, and I was
commissioned in May of 1942. Then, my first assignment was to stay on at the
school as an instructor in navigation, [and] later in gunnery.
L: You were commissioned as an ..?
F: Ensign. I was there for a year until 1943. They had a standard policy that people
who they took out of the class would teach for a year, and then they could apply for
active duty. So we all requested ships of various sorts, but the antisubmarine
training center in Miami was a very favored choice because you would be assigned
to small boats rather than large ones. I think by far the majority wanted a small ship,
destroyer or less, rather than a cruiser or a carrier. So that is what I chose and that
is what I got. I went through training there and was assigned a DE 139 (destroyer
escort) which was at that time being built in Orange, Texas. After a training period
in Miami, we were then shipped out to Texas where we met the crew for the first
time. I was assigned as radar and sonar officer. Out in Texas, destroyer escorts
were being constructed one after another like a line of cars in Detroit, and once they
were launched, they were fitted out so the crew arrives the same time as the ship is
ready. So we took her to sea for the first time. I think 95 percent of the crew and
officers had never been to sea before or on a naval ship. In fact, I think only the
captain, executive officer, and the engineering officer, of the officers, had ever been
L: But you spent a certain period of time working the bugs out of all of the systems,
making sure everything worked?
F: Yes. We had a shakedown. We went to New Orleans, then to Bermuda, and to
Charleston [South Carolina], and then finally were assigned to convoy duty in the
Atlantic going across from Norfolk, Virginia to Gibraltar where we were relieved by
British ships. [We] went down to Casablanca and then back again with another
convoy. I did that until June of 1944, about a year or so, when out of the blue I was
transferred to the subchaser training center in Miami because they wanted an
instructor who had had some sea experience.
L: Instructor of navigation again?
F: No. Antisubmarine warfare. And from there I was transferred down to Key West,
which is where the fleet sonar school is located, where they had training for
operators with live submarines. I had just gotten married in Miami, incidentally, and
so I and my then-bride went down to Key West and ended the war there at the end
L: Tell me your wife's name and a little bit about her background and how you met her.
F: Her name was Genevieve Standard. She is not my present wife (as you may know).
She was brought up in Illinois and in Chicago, and she was going to Northwestern
University at that time, and her sorority had a reception for us midshipmen, and that
is where I met her. Her mother lived in Miami at that time. I dated her when I was
up there in Chicago. I was there for a year, but we did not get engaged at that time.
But then she moved to Miami where her mother was, so when I was transferred to
Miami from the ship, why it seemed like the fates had spoken. So we got married.
L: I was about to say that came together rather nicely for the both of you.
F: It really did; it was a very unusual coincidence. I did not want to get married until
after the war was over to make sure that one would not have a widow waiting, but it
looked as if in 1944 that I would not be going to sea again.
L: So you leave the navy in 1945 or sometime in 1946?
F: I got this job at Drake University to start in the winter term, which would have been
January of 1946. But I can remember driving from Key West to Des Moines and
coming out of this delightful sunshine into sleet and snow, and then spending that
winter and the spring term at Drake, where I was getting $2,400 a year. But while I
was at Drake, lo and behold, a letter from Bill Carleton came. As I say, when we
were driving up from Key West and went through St. Petersburg I had an offer to go
back there, then we went through Gainesville. My old friend Hawley did not come
back to the University of Florida. I am not sure about that, but he was not here. It
may have been that Carleton was in touch with him and he recommended me. Your
boss, Sam Proctor, came at the same time. I am not sure just what his contacts
L: He did his M.A. here.
F: So he knew Carleton from way back. Well, there were quite a few of us, as a matter
of fact, who are still here who were hired at that time in 1946.
L: At that time the University of Florida is, in Sam Proctor's words, "bulging at the
seams." [There was] post-war growth, influx of returning veterans on the GI Bill, and
things like that.
F: Yes. When I first came here in 1946, Tigert was still president, and I can remember
his talking to the faculty. Of course, faculty was being expanded and housing was a
considerable problem. My current wife's [Elaine Carson Meade] father, who was
Robert Carson, was brought here to teach humanities at the same time. They lived
in housing out at Stengel [Air]field.
L: The military barracks moved from [Fort] Blanding?
F: Well, no. I think those were moved on to the campus for married housing. These
were little houses that were built out where Butler Plaza is [now]. There was an
airport out there.
L: Oh, yes. They trained air cadets there.
F: Yes. There were little houses and that is where she lived. We were moved into the
Arlington Hotel downtown and stayed there for a while. My wife and I actually
bought a very small house for $7,000. It probably goes for $15,000 or more now.
L: Were you not satisfied at Drake University, or did you get a much better offer from
the University of Florida?
F: I would say both. At Drake University there was a very small history department. I
guess there were only five of us. You remember that I was a medievalist. [I] had
decided that I did not want to be a medievalist any more, but wanted to be in
contemporary history or twentieth century history.
L: You are making this transition from ..
F: So I was teaching the survey of European history coming down to the present, so
that was a great opportunity to be in that particular area. But the way was blocked
by the chairman of the department there, who had very rigid ideas, and therefore,
inasmuch as he was not about to retire, it would have seemed to be years under him
in charge. I did not see my way clear to do the kinds of things that I wanted to.
L: What was his name?
F: I do not recall, but I was only there one semester. And then the offer came from
Florida and I got a description of what the course would be from Claude Hawley who
had been teaching it, and whom I had seen. It is so curious that one of the selling
points was the examination system, all objective examinations taken care of by a
board of examiners, so that all you had to do was write out a few questions and they
(i.e. John McQuitty [University examiner]) would do the rest. So all during the
examination period [you would do] no examinations. Now that became an
abomination to many people, students and faculty, later on when it seemed not to
really examine students properly. But I always thought that if the purpose of an
examination is to decide who is going to get As, Bs, Cs, or Ds, that is probably as
fair a way of making this kind of choice as anything else. So I was never an
opponent of it by any means.
L: You were hired into the University College's C-1 program?
F: That is right.
L: And you were not a member of the Department of History?
F: I was not.
L: At this time.
F: And I might say that, at that time, people who were hired into the University College
were expected to teach the University College courses. So if you had a load of,
generally, fifteen hours ( maybe eighteen) at that time, that is what you taught. You
taught this one course. Maybe you could divide it into first semester-second
semester to divide you. But one thing it did for me was, it was basically in
contemporary matters, a survey with political science, sociology, economics, and
history and so forth, but it was not in medieval history, particularly.
L: This [C-1 division of The University College] is what they call American Institutions?
F: That is right. And also I got an increase in salary to $3,200, I think.
L: Above what you were getting at Drake?
F: Yes. $200 above what I was getting at Drake.
L: An increase in salary.
F: And also [the rank of] associate professor. The point being, as I understood at the
time, there was a salary limitation on these various ranks and you could not get
people at the salary that they had for assistant professors. And so we were all
hired, I think, as associate professors at around the $3,000 mark, plus or minus.
L: To back up a little bit, could you clarify for me why you are shifting your interests five
centuries towards the present? Why this shift?
F: Well, World War II. You were involved, your whole being is involved in great
cataclysmic things that are happening to this world at the present time; whereas, the
middle ages seemed to be extremely remote. And then, I think, if you looked at the
hiring practices at that time you would find that people who were in contemporary
history were much more in demand than those in the ancient fields. I think that is
correct, but I can only have a feel for it. I think students also were less interested in
medieval history. That, of course, has gone full circle, but I would say that was the
feeling at that time.
Then, I did have another ambition. There was a course that was taught in Amherst
College on World War I. I did not go to Amherst, but my brother did and my father
did. My brother took this course, and it was to him the most exciting course that he
had taken. So while I was in World War II, why would not a course on World War II
be a fascinating thing, especially at that generation where so many veterans would
have been in it? But that was kind of on the back of the burner at that time because
I was not teaching in history.
L: You already had something of a military history interest. Is that correct?
F: Not really.
L: Your dissertation was not [concerned with it]?
F: No. I would have to say that if I am now very much involved in military history, it has
only come about as a result of being in the history of World War II. The first courses
on World War II that I taught were essentially diplomatic. In other words, this would
emphasize the big three conferences, the grand strategy. The battles and so forth
were not of much interest to me. But as I got into teaching World War II and asking
for term papers, the term papers on military aspects of the war amounted to more
than those on diplomatic or political aspects of the war. So I thought from a point of
view of demand, it was desirable to get into more military aspects.
I like an anecdote where I was once commenting on the fact that the Russians had
the T-34 tank that was superior to other tanks even though it was not made in the
West. A student in the back row says, "Sir, was that a Mark I or a Mark IIA that you
are talking about?" [Laughter] So we have this group of military buffs that take
courses, and they know more about the hardware than you would believe.
L: Were model airplanes popular when you were young?
F: Oh, yes. I guess they have always been popular, but that has no relevance.
L: I was thinking everybody of my generation built plastic tanks and airplanes and knew
all of the hardware.
F: I was going to say tanks because [of] a student I had in my class at one time who
was later a graduate student. He lived in Gainesville for a while and I cannot
remember his name. But he loved tanks and I would turn over the lecture of
Russian tanks to him and he would bring his whole set of model tanks in pointing out
L: So it is 1946, you are making close to $3,000 a year, and you have just bought a
house in Gainesville. Are you liking Gainesville better, or do you have the same
opinion of it as you did previously? Is it still kind of a boring place to live?
F: You have to remember that in those years there was no Hippodrome Theatre, the
Constans Theatre was not constructed, there was no symphony orchestra, and so
forth and so on. There were two movie houses in town, both of them segregated.
Gainesville was not my favorite place for R & R in those days.
L: Were you traveling around the state for R & R?
F: No. I was married. I was raising children at this time. My main interests, I think,
were home, family, children, and teaching. That load of teaching in C-1 was such
that you did not have much time for research. But now I think it would be proper to
get into relations between University College and the Upper Division.
L: Okay. You are in the University College until 1956?
F: 1956, yes.
L: Tell me, then, what sort of relations.
F: Well, several things happened in that particular time. One was that many of the
people in C-1 were historians and also did teach courses in the history department.
As the University expanded, obviously, there was more need for such courses, and
particularly the American historians doing a survey in American history which was
not unlike the survey of C-1. My interests, however, were somewhat different. I was
interested in art, music, and culture, and found that C-5 (which was The Humanities)
was more compatible to me than C-1. So my first negotiations were to teach
courses in C-5 as well as in C-1. And I became a good friend of Bob [Robert F.]
Davidson who was chairman of C-5 at that time, and was all during this period that
we are talking of down to 1956.
At approximately the same time, because of my interest in the second World War
and diplomatic history which I was trying to establish, I was invited by Manning
Dauer, who at that time was chairman of political science, to teach international
relations. He appreciated the fact that up to a certain time political science and
history were one and the same at the University of Florida.
L: History and political science under James Miller Leake [Head Professor of History
and Political Science]?
L: And that splits in 1949 and Rembert Patrick [Professor of History and Head of
Department] gets history.
F: Patrick gets history and Manning Dauer gets political science. So a tradition (I do
not think it was particularly legal) was that the Upper Division could draw on people
in University College where it was mutually compatible. Sometimes there might
have been an exchange. I think, in the C-3 [Reading, Speaking, and Writing], the
English department, in which was communications and University College and so
forth, there was. It depended pretty much on the relations between the chairman of
the various departments. In any case, international relations was desirable to be
taught under political science. They had no one to teach it, I was interested in it,
and so Manning made an arrangement. So I taught courses in international
relations. This would have been starting around 1950. So that was fine. I also
began teaching in humanities. I do not think I taught any history courses at that
time, but I do recall that Rembert Patrick was very compatible and did have a policy
almost that there should be reciprocation between University College and the Upper
Division. Some did transfer. David Chalmers started in C-1 and did transfer to the
F: Completely, yes. And there may have been one or two others. So that was the
situation pretty much. But, of course, Patrick left to go to the University of Georgia.
L: And then died soon after.
F: And died. I am not sure how soon after that. I am not sure of the date that he left.
L: Early to mid-1950s, I think. [Rembert Patrick left during the 1963-64 school year.]
F: It seems to me that I was considered to be part of the history department, but then I
remember having a meeting at Patrick's house at one time with other historians
even though I do not think I was teaching any history courses as such at that time.
But I was rather content doing what I was doing. I felt I had to establish myself as a
person in contemporary history, so I got a leave of absence and was able to bring
out this book. It was published in 1953.
L: This is your first book, right?
L: Source Problems in Twentieth Century History.
F: So you see, although that is not a book as such, it at least establishes me as being
in twentieth century history and international relations because most of these are
L: Documents and analysis?
F: Right. And also I had a leave of absence at that time which was spent in France in
1951. That is when I was working on this [book]. Meanwhile, I had in the back of
my mind the possibility of doing a study on American-French relations during the
war. The reason for that was that when I was in the navy and my ship would come
into Casablanca, I would meet French sailors, mostly in the bars, and they would be
talking about elements in French relationships that I did not understand, about
[Charles] de Gaulle [leader of the Free French movement during World War II,
president of France, 1946-1969] and other things. I thought that it would be
interesting to try to track that down, what it was all about, after the war. And shortly
after the war there was published a volume [published in three volumes] called The
Secret History of the Warwritten by Waverley [Lewis] Root. This would have been
published as early as 1945 or 1946. Waverley Root was a correspondent who had
been in touch with certain people during the war and kept a fantastic clipping service
for himself. He cut out of newspapers, and so he had a lot of information that
appeared in the press, for the most part, or through press releases of various sorts,
and had questions about American-French relations that were absolutely
astounding. (We need not go into the details of this.) For example, [in] one
particular occurrence at the Casablanca Conference [a meeting of U.S. President
Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Casablanca,
Morocco, in January 1943, as final Allied victory became a certainty] it seemed that
we had connived with General [Henri Honor6] Giraud [1879-1949, French general]
about certain arrangements for the future of France. It was just absolutely
unbelievable. So I really set myself to the task to find out whether this was true or
not -- which I did. I wrote an article on it which I guess was one of the early articles
that I wrote. It was called "The Anfa Memorandum: [An Incident of the Casablanca
Conference," Journal of Moder History (September 1954), 246-54].
L: In the Journal of Modern History?
F: Okay, that makes sense. So that established me pretty much as involved in
American-French relationships. This was essentially primary research, and
interviews, and things of that sort. I was in France, incidentally, under the GI Bill
[Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, provided government funding for the
education of veterans]. I got a leave of absence but I had a doctorate already, so
why [not] use the GI Bill for the study. So I went to a Berlitz School to perfect my
speaking French. I could read French pretty well prior to that.
L: Did the University of Florida provide any funds for this research?
L: They just gave you the leave of absence.
F: Yes. In other words, there were not sabbaticals in those days. Well, I had not
earned one, I do not think, in 1950. I had only been there for four years or so. So
then I applied for a Guggenheim [Fellowship] grant to do further research on these
American-French relationships, which I got. Probably one of the reasons why I got it
was that I had written to de Gaulle asking if I could interview him. And he wrote me
back a letter signed by him saying that he would. I have got the letter right here.
L: Oh really? Fascinating. And had you finished perfecting your conversational French
by this time?
F: Yes, because I spent a whole year in France. I have got a file full of autographed
correspondence. Do you read French?
L: No, I do not. General De Gaulle's letterhead and everything.
F: And signed by him, which I thought was fascinating, because I have undertaken
other correspondence with him but always got a reply from his secretary or his aide
or assistant. "Chef de cabinet" we call [him] in French. He is essentially a "chief of
L: That is fascinating. So when did you interview him?
F: This is in 1954. He writes, "I have not forgotten the interesting project in your letter
of 17 June, which your letter of 17 June recalled to mind, and that which concerns
the aid which you could find necessary for your researches, I invite you when you
will be in France to make contact with my cabinet. You would then, at that time, if
you desire, consult the first volume of my memoirs which will certainly have come
out by that time. It treats of the event of the years 1940-41 to 1942." So, in any
case, I was able to reproduce this in the application, and I do not know why I got it
but I think it probably helped.
L: I am sure that was a powerful influence on the Guggenheim committee.
F: Well, I got the Guggenheim grant and that was in 1954-55.
L: You spent that year also in France.
F: Yes. I got a portable typewriter, which my then-wife typed.
L: So you moved your whole family?
F: Yes. Both the children and family.
L: This is Charles de Gaulle: The Crucial Years, 1943-1944?
F: Right. The book did not come out until 1959, but it was finished by the end of 1955.
I did not have a contract with Princeton University Press, but they had indicated a
very strong interest in it. Then, when I finished it, I sent it to them. The editor that I
had been in contact with was no longer there and they expressed a lack of interest.
So I sent it to Kansas and they published it. I thought Kansas would be appropriate
because of Eisenhower's relationship with de Gaulle over these years.
L: In 1956 you sort of shift career gears here again.
F: That is correct.
L: How did you get involved in the U.S. Information Service and what did you do for
F: We will get to the history department sometime, I guess, because we could spend
two hours on that.
L: Be succinct, if you would, then.
F: Two things happened. Dean [Winston Woodard] Little was head of University
College in those days. I had had these two leaves of absence, you see, doing
research that had nothing to do with what I was teaching in University College, either
humanities or the other. (We are now down to 1955 or 1956.) A good many of us
who had been hired in 1946 had been promoted to full professor. Here I need not
go into names for the record, but I was not. So I, at least, had a conversation with
Dean Little on this matter, and he pointed out to me that this business of research
and publication that I obviously was interested in was not helping my career in
L: In these days that is kind of humorous.
F: Well, and the other thing that happened [was] I was walking down the corridor of
Anderson Hall one day and Manning Dauer had with him another gentleman. As he
came to me he said, "Art, I want to introduce you to Fred [Frederick H.] Hartmann
[Professor of Political Science]. He is our new professor of international relations.
You won't have to teach international relations anymore."
L: Which did not make you too happy, right?
F: Yes. So I consulted with the dean of arts and sciences at that time and he was no
help. At that time, I had contacts with the recruiting officer of the United States
Information Service, a lady named Ann Cooper, whose husband [Bryant S. Cooper]
had taught in humanities and who had died. She had gone back to her old job and
had recruited Ed [Edwin C.] Kirkland from the English department to become a
cultural attach in India. And she made contact with me, knowing my interest in
France and French, because they had an opening for a cultural attach in Syria,
where French is largely spoken. So I went up to Washington, was interviewed, and
offered the job at twice the salary that I was making at the University of Florida. So I
said to Manning Dauer and my other associates, "Goodbye."
L: Were you attached to Syria until the early 1960s?
F: No. If you know your history, in 1956 took place the Suez [Canal] crisis in which
Israel and Egypt were involved. [In July 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal
Company and seized all of its assets. In October, Israeli, British, and French forces
attacked Egypt, and occupied positions along the canal. The United Nations
directed their withdrawal in December.] Egypt, at that time, and Syria were very
close. Martial law was declared in Syria which established a curfew and closed
down all activities such as those that a cultural attach would be involved with. So I
was declared persona non grata in Damascus [Syria]. I was transferred to Beirut
[Lebanon] and stayed there while the crisis continued, waiting to find out if I could go
back to Damascus or be reassigned. Incidentally, I was kind of lucky in a sense
[with] this book on de Gaulle which had gone to Princeton [publishers], because they
said that they would still be interested in if it was reduced in size. So I spent the
three months in Beirut reducing the manuscript, and then [the problem was] having
to send it and having only one copy. I was able to go into the embassy in Beirut and
persuade them [to make a copy]. They did not have xerox machines but they did
have copy machines that came out in this flimsy, curly paper. I am very grateful to
them for three hundred pages of manuscript. So, then I found out that they
[Princeton University Press] would not do it and I got in touch with Kansas. So,
while waiting there I did not go back to Syria; I was transferred to Madras, India,
where I spent three years. And it was while I was in Madras that the
correspondence took place that led to the book being published with a title which
was not my title. It was chosen by the publisher because the book is not a
biography of General de Gaulle, though it sounds that way. The correct title is
American Relations with the Non-Vichy French.
L: But it ended up with the title Charles de Gaulle: The Crucial Years 1943-44?
L: Maybe they thought that would sell more books.
F: Well, I think they did. And they brought it out on the same date that de Gaulle's
volume of memoirs came out in English, that is the first volume. As a matter of fact,
my book and the translation of his memoirs were reviewed together in the New York
Times Book Review. And that would have been quite a fillip to my career had I been
still in history in the United States. But I was not.
L: Was the book well received?
F: Yes. It was well received. It is out of print. It has been out of print for a long time.
You have to appreciate the fact that at that time in 1955-56 when I was writing it, the
archives, all of the material, was still classified. So that book was published largely
from whatever had been published and from interviews and from a kind of
interesting possibility that occurred to me. I do not know if you know the name of
Herbert Feis who wrote this book which is really a classic. [Churchill-Roosevelt-
Stalin: The War They Waged and The Peace They Sought, Princeton, 1957]
L: Now did he base it on Churchill? He could not have interviewed Roosevelt or Stalin.
F: Let me just tell you. This was published in 1957 [by] Princeton [University Press].
Feis had been in the state department as an economic officer. Therefore he had
personal connections and access to state department files. I met him up in the state
department when I was working on this book. In a conversation he said, "Maybe I
could help you," because he was just working on this book. He said, "I've got a lot
of material on relations with the French." He gave me a stack of state department
stuff which I was not able to cite or use on the basis of our agreement. In other
words, I was able to be correct on some things in the book because I had this stuff
available, but I was not able to cite it.
L: Well, how did you make your way back to the University of Florida?
F: Goodness, this is the story of my life. Sam [Proctor] wants all of this?
L: Oh yes.
F: Maybe I should get you to interview Sam and let me read about his life.
L: We are working on it.
F: Okay. Well, these things just kind of happen, do they not, that you get from one
place to another? Well, I was stationed in India in 1960, and the state department
discovered Africa. Do you realize why?
L: Because of all the independence movements.
F: Right. All of a sudden, all of the dependent states which were handled as colonial
segments and were handled through the capital. France, for example, if you want to
deal with Ivory Coast, you deal with the colonial office in Paris. All of a sudden,
Ivory Coast is an independent state so you have to set up an embassy and
information service and so forth. And so the information agency, USIA, was faced
with the necessity of cutting down programs elsewhere so they could open positions
in Africa. I finished my tour of duty in India in 1960, and I was designated to go to
Madrid [Spain] as the cultural attach there. I had a little Spanish from high school,
and I was in the foreign services language school in Washington for four-month
refresher courses. This is six hours a day [of] solid language. And I was well into
that, about two months, when I was called into the office of USIA and [they] said that
I had to go to Madagascar [Africa]. Of course when you sign up, you sign up with
the willingness to go where they assign you. I was looking forward to going to
Madrid [laughter], but the needs of the service are paramount. And they had to
send me there right away. Why? Because this was the end of the fiscal year and
they had to have someone there to expend the monies that had already been set up
And so, without any refresher French training, they sent me off to Madagascar,
which was a French colony, recently independent. I guess I got there about 1961
and actually set up the office of the information agency in Madagascar. This was
very, very interesting, but there were no English-speaking schools in Madagascar.
My kids who are now teenagers were not able to go, so my wife and children never
came to Madagascar. I said, "OK, we can do this for two years." And then, almost
simultaneously came an order from the information agency that officers of a certain
rank in certain countries had to have two tours, four years. (I might just say,
incidentally, that meanwhile I had taken an examination and was no longer a reserve
officer in the foreign service, but was transferred to the official foreign service.) And
if that meant four years in Madagascar without family or children, that was a little
rough to take. [At the] same time, Bob [Robert F.] Davidson who had been
chairman of the humanities department all of these years was himself transferring
up to another school (St. Antony's College in North Carolina), and therefore his
position was open. So I was invited then to fill that slot, as full professor, with
possibility of becoming chairman of the humanities department.
L: I take it you had maintained your contacts with the University of Florida throughout?
F: You may assume that, yes.
L: It sounds like you had.
F: Well, Bob Davidson was a particular friend of mine and so we corresponded. So
this was rather a difficult situation, but I sent in my resignation to the USIA and
accepted the position at Florida. I came back through Washington because I had to
go through these closing-out things, and at my going-out interview with the then
director of the USIA, who was this gentleman [pointing to the 290 stamp with
Edward R. Murrow's picture].
L: Edward R. Murrow [Director of U.S. Information Agency, 1961-64].
F: Yes. There was a tradition, I guess, of having your farewell discussion with the
director. So I went over to his office through the cigarette clouds. [He was a] chain
smoker, which killed him. Anyway, of course, I checked in to the various
departments and told them that because of this deal with four years I just was not
going to stay, and I had asked for a waiver on it and got a refusal on that. The
refusal had gone from a lower echelon, not from a top echelon. The top echelon
said, "Stay with us. We will give you a Washington assignment." But I was already
back at the University, so I did not go back to the agency. Maybe [it was] just as
well, because the work of the people in the information agency after the
assassination of both Kennedys and Martin Luther King [Jr.], was a much harder
role to play than it was previously, where really only the Israel situation was rough in
Damascus. But in other parts of the world we were still not hated to the degree that
we are now.
A small anecdote, if I may. When I was in India, the American embassy was just
being built in Delhi, a beautiful building by the architect, [Edward] Stone, who did the
Kennedy Center. I was in India last summer, and we went out to look at the
embassy. [There was] an eight-foot wall around it; you could not get close to it.
L: Concrete barricades.
F: Yes. So times change, and I think maybe the best years of being in the information
service [are past]. But even when I was in Damascus, it was bombed at that time,
but late at night. It did kill one person, but that is another story.
Where were we?
L: You come back [and] you take the job as professor of humanities in 1962.
F: Professor of Humanities with a crack at the chairmanship.
L: Did you get that?
F: I did not. It came up for departmental election, Clarence Derrick had been acting
chairman for a year by that time, and he got the vote. So there we are in 1962. So
I am still a historian with ambitions to teach history as well as humanities. And so I
appealed to the history department to see whether I could teach any specialties--
international relations would change into diplomatic history, which I felt I was
qualified in, or particularly, the history of the second World War.
L: And at this time Jack [John A.] Harrison is running the department.
F: I went in to see Jack, and told Jack my desires and so forth. He said, "I will think
about it," and the answer was no.
L: No history for you.
F: Jack was succeeded by John [Keith] Mahon. I went to see John Mahon with the
same question, and John said yes.
L: Mahon becomes chairman in 1965 or 1966 [Acting Chairman of Department,1965]?
F: Yes. That would fit in there.
L: Because I know Harrison goes to [University of] Miami, I think, in 1965.
L: So is this immediately or soon after Mahon becomes chairman?
F: Yes. I think I would make the point that I figured that there might be a change of
policy. You would have got some word, I imagine, about what was called the
"California group" as coming into the history department in other interviews in the
oral history study of the history department.
L: [Lyle Nelson] McAlister came from California.
F: McAlister, Mahon, Harrison, [David Lloyd] Dowd, and one other person who went
out to Texas [Donald Emmet Worcester].
I think it could be said correctly that when Rembert Patrick was chairman, this
reciprocal business between University College and the history department was well
in hand. It worked to the benefit, certainly, of the people in University College who,
in many instances, had a feeling of [being] second class citizens sometime. I think
everyone feels an obligation to teach the survey, if you can also teach the courses
that you particularly like at the upper level.
L: By feeling like a second class citizens, is this in any way coming from an attitude
from the historians in the history department towards the historians in C-1?
F: Well, I cannot speak about C-1 after 1961, you see, because I am back in the
humanities department. I would have to say that in the humanities department there
were much fewer places in the Upper Division where [historians] wanted to go,
because we are into the concerns of music, art and so forth, which is a very
specialized kind of thing, whereas the humanities is very general. As a matter of
fact, when I spoke to people in the humanities department as what I would do if I
were chairman, one of the things that I said that I would do would be to try to
promote good relations with upper divisions, and so forth. I think there were not so
many people to whom that was really attractive. But that is as it may be. And of
course, there were very few people in humanities who were historians: [Stephen
Alen] McKnight, Irmgard Johnson, Bob [Robert Emmett] Carson, whose daughter I
F: . and myself. Whereas in C-1, there must have been ten or fifteen or so, and then
in the sciences there were a few as well. I might get to that. So, in any case, John
[Mahon] accepted my teaching and I began to teach courses on the second World
War, and also taught the survey of 1500 down to the present. I felt comfortable in
those areas. So I was teaching the survey, and in the Upper Division [I was]
teaching mostly twentieth century. For instance, when we had the quarter system, I
taught a course that was: (1) antecedents of World War II; in other words,
diplomacy from 1918 to 1939, then (2) the War, and then (3) the aftermath of war
which was essentially diplomatic relations from 1945 down to wherever you were, at
least down to 1960. But in later years [I taught] mostly just the World War II course.
But, in any case, I am grateful to John for that opportunity. I play tennis with John
three times a week.
F: Yesterday. And in anticipation of this interview, I told him that I was grateful to him
for that. He said he had been interviewed by you just recently.
L: Yes. I had a very good conversation with him. In 1968, your job title changes to
Professor of Humanities and History. Are you in some way now a member of the
F: Yes. That is correct.
L: So Mahon puts you on the history faculty.
L: I see.
F: You undoubtedly realize that members of University College who have to be
accepted by the upper division departments can become joint members of the two
departments. So if we get down to the time of when I became chairman, which is in
1973, there were some forty members of the department that included University
College people, and [they were] about equally divided, I think. You might have the
L: I think there were probably more historians in University College most of this time.
F: Could be.
L: Tell me how you became chairman in 1973.
F: I do not know if [John] just decided not to be chairman anymore or felt that his term
[was over]. You usually get to be chairman for three years, I think. That was the
appointment that was given to me, in any case.
L: He had been chairman for about eight years?
F: Could be.
L: So he steps down, and is there a vote?
F: No. Let us say that there was a request, I believe, for candidates who were
interested in it, or I think various people were invited to become a candidate,
because I do recall being interviewed by a search committee. Sam was a member
of that committee. He might have been chairman of it, I am not quite sure. In any
case, I was interviewed and given an opportunity to express what my interests in
history were [and] the kind of research I was doing.
L: You had certainly continued to publish.
F: What is the date of the book called The Politics of TORCH: [The Allied Landings
and the Algiers "Putsch" 1942?
F: Well, you see I had been working on that so that was in the process--in the press--at
the time that I was being interviewed. I think that I stated, "Well, I have just finished
this book so I can devote full time to the administrative problems of a department." I
remember getting a reaction later on that they did not exactly want that. They
wanted a chairman who was still active in research, which in my case took place.
But in any case I had just finished that and did not have a new project except sort of
in the back of my mind. The other book came out just last year.
L: Hidden Ally: [Special Operations, the French Resistance, and the Landings in
Southern France, 1944J?
F: Yes. That was published in 1992, but I worked on that ten years, certainly. I really
did not get into it until after I had finished being chairman of the department. So I
was then nominated as a candidate and David Chalmers was also nominated as a
candidate, which was a difficult thing for both me and for David because we were
good friends and certainly hoped that this would not disrupt that friendship. I am
sure that it has not. I was not very interested in campaigning too much and did not
do very much. Bill [William] Woodruff, who at that time was the distinguished
[Graduate] Research Professor [of Economic History] in the department..
L: [An] economic historian?
F: Economic historian. [He] encouraged me to do some sort of campaigning, so I did
undertake to meet every member of the department, that is University College and
Upper Division. In doing that, I tried to set forth an idea of what I felt the department
needed, because I came in from the outside, so to speak. I was in a sense
prepared, and I did pick up ideas from the people I talked to as to what they felt the
department needed. So the vote was taken, and for a long time nothing happened.
The vote was given to the Dean [of College of Arts and Sciences], [Calvin A.]
Vanderwerf, and one wondered why an announcement was not made. In any case,
I do not know how the vote came out, but obviously I got more votes than David did.
You see, the dean does not have to accept the vote of the department. He is
entitled to appoint a chairman. So whatever went on in his mind I do not know, but
in any case, he did finally get in touch with me. It was very curious because I was
not even in Gainesville, I was up in North Carolina someplace, and he got my
telephone number and phoned me and said, "I would like to have you become the
chairman of the department." I got out my diary to confirm the time.
L: Oh, you kept a diary.
F: Well, not exactly a diary but simply a chronology. So that was in January or early
February of 1973 [that] the vote was taken, but it was not until April that I learned
from Vanderwerfthat I would become chairman, and [I] became chairman on June
L: What do you recall as being your main problems and challenges? What did you
spend the majority of your time trying to accomplish as chairman?
F: Well you do have those memorandums which I gave you in writing and that answers
it pretty much. (I keep a correspondence file every year.) I went through my files
for the years of 1973 to 1976, but I found that I have nothing in there about the
department. This is all personal matters. So all of the memorandums and so forth
would be in the departmental files if they still exist. I did find one piece of paper,
however, dated September 1975, when I was wondering whether being chairman of
a department was worth while or not, and I listed twenty-three reasons why there
L: What were some of them?
F: Well, I break them down into various categories. Mostly they are money.
L: That was the impression that I got both from this memorandum and from talking to
F: You have to appreciate the fact that 1973 was a period of depression, or recession,
and therefore funding from the state was hard to get. We had to restrict people on
telephone calls, for example, we could only permit them to xerox so much, [and]
things of that sort that are picky, small things, and there are no extra funds available
to the department at that time. I give Vanderwerf credit for being one of the first to
try to see about getting outside funds, but the University of Florida Foundation was
nonexistent. There was no Norman [Marvin] Wilensky [Associate Professor of
Social Sciences and History] fund at that time because Norman was teaching in the
department and so forth. So this was difficult. So one of the first things that I was
confronted with was salaries for the members of the department and secretarial
assistants. This morning I called up the department to find out how many members
are in the department now. I was told there were forty-three. In those days I think
there were forty-one (of course we were still split between University College). So
the size of the department has not essentially changed.
Then I asked, "How many secretaries do you have?" "Four."
L: And [Bertram] Wyatt-Brown [Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History] has one.
[Samuel] Proctor has his own.
F: But Sam does not count because he has got three hats [Distinguished Service
Professor of History; Julien C. Yonge Professor of Florida History; Curator of
History, Florida State Museum; Director of Oral History Program], and this may be
over at the museum or Florida Institute. But at that time  there were two
secretaries. One was supposed to be for the whole department and then we had
another one that was supposed to be taking care of the graduate students. We
were in Peabody Hall at that time. I remember the graduate secretary was upstairs
so you could not keep an eye on her very well, and the other secretary was
downstairs in the office with really quite a load to take care of. So one of my first
petitions, as I think you have there, was an extra secretary for the department which
we never got so long as I was chairman. We could use graduate assistants, of
course, from time to time in secretarial work, but full-time, no. So that question was
a serious one. Then, as John Mahon said, the salaries were very under-comparable
salaries. I wish that I had a memorandum, which I drew up for the dean and on
which I spent a lot of time, trying to find departments equal in size of the history
department, and with various criteria [such] as how many courses they taught, how
many degrees they got, how many books or whatever their members of the faculty
published, and so forth.
L: Within the University of Florida?
F: Yes. And within the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Speech, for
example, was just about the same, and the salary levels were higher. I personally,
of course, was concerned about the salary for the chairman of the department and
made a comparison of departmental chairman salaries. And history was
considerably under. I think that the reason for this was that these other departments
had all or most of their personnel in arts and sciences; whereas, history had, as we
say, about twenty that were in University College and twenty, approximately, in arts
and sciences. So the thinking was that here is a department of twenty members,
and therefore it is kind of down in the ranks. Then there is the problem of the senior
research professor, in this case [William] Woodruff who is the only one at that time
who in my judgement always should have been in a separate category so far as
salaries are concerned because they are usually hired to give distinction to the
department (at a salary level higher than most everyone). But then once they
become members of the department, they are within the departmental budget.
Therefore, if you have an overall raise of 5 percent, 5 percent of $30,000 is much
more than 5 percent of $20,000 or less. Of course the salary range we are talking
about is from about $17,000 up to $25,000 or $30,000, even less than what it is
currently. So these were problems, and I do not know how many memoranda and
so forth that I tried to make out to improve the situation. That was a crucial one.
L: Was Dean Vanderwerf easy to deal with?
F: Well, let me talk about my relations with Dean Vanderwerf. I guess there is no
reason why this should be off the record. One of the first responsibilities that I had
was dealing with promotions and tenures. Neil [Webster] MacCaulay [Jr.], who was
associate professor at that time, was up for full professor. He was voted for that
promotion by the department. [His nomination] went to the dean and was turned
down by the dean's committee. The grounds were that one of Neil's books was a
book of personal memoirs rather than a scholarly-type work, but that need not
concern us here. What concerns us is the fact that Neil was very upset about that
and wrote the dean a letter. I remember it started off, "Dean Vanderwerf, you owe
me an apology ." And it was kind of rough that he had not had a good deal from
the dean. Neil sent that to the dean without my knowledge. So it was brought to my
attention, obviously, by the dean, and so we had a departmental meeting in which
the case came up as to whether the department supported MacCaulay in this
protest which he had made or not. The department did, of course, vote for him. I,
as chairman of the department, bore the responsibility. Now, many years later, after
I had been chairman, Vanderwerf told me that he assumed that this was pretty much
my doing, my responsibility, and that it started me off on the wrong foot with
L: He thought you were the leader instead of the appointed agent, I guess, of this
F: Yes. Now, Vanderwerf was a very fair person and a Christian person and would
write these wonderful letters about how much he appreciated your work and
contribution and so forth. But because of this incident he was not particularly pro-
history department and, of course, he was a scientist, and therefore might possibly
have been inclined to the sciences more than to the humanities and social sciences.
(He was a chemist.) I have no idea to what extent his feelings may have hampered
funds or whatever that the history department got. I certainly did feel that the money
came in and there was an allocation made to the various departments and then the
chairman, sometimes in consultation, would make that distribution [salary] of funds.
At first I think I did that pretty much on my own. There was some protest on the part
of the department that the department should have more of a voice in it, so we did
have a committee later on that went over these allocations. This was a very difficult
situation because, of course, everyone is comparing what his salary is or her salary
is with everybody else's.
L: Towards the middle of this memorandum you state that in terms of the future of the
history department you could, "see two basic possibilities." One, you outline, "The
department continues essentially as it is," or two, the department continues as it is,
but of course, begins moving to "new areas where it has not been active, attempts to
develop new programs to reach student needs, and attempts to play more of a role
in state, national, and international historical circles than heretofore." Now, were
you able to get the department moving in the second direction?
F: Not at all. But I would have to say that I think that is the direction in which the
department has gone since.
L: The main limiting factor was money, of course. Would you agree with that?
F: Well, I would say money and support. You see, when Dave Colburn comes in as
chairman, with a historian as dean, you at least get that as a possibility. And then
with more money available, I think the department has been able to move in that
direction. In other words, support for scholarship--a secretary that will help you type
your output on a computer, the things that you had written, and funds to go to
national and international meetings--is needed. I was interested in the
establishment of institutes, that is to say Florida had an inside track as far as Florida
history was concerned. Therefore, an institute of Florida history seemed to be a
natural. But there was at one time a European history symposium, a group that
involved several other colleges or universities in the South, a consortium it was
called. We might have taken some kind of a role in that, [but] that never came
through in [any] sort of a fruition. So just from a lack of funds and the lack of
cooperation from the dean [the department was limited].
Another aspect of this period that I think you have to take into mind was that Dean
Vanderwerf was sort of a slow mover. He liked to get these materials in hand and
think them over and so forth. He was not very rapid in decisions. Bob [Robert
Armistead] Bryan [Associate Vice President in 1973, interim president, 1989-90] was
and is. There was a tendency on the part of departmental chairman to bypass the
dean and go directly to Bryan.
L: Did you resort to this tactic?
F: I did indeed. I will give you one example. There was a long-standing grant that had
been given by the Florida American Legion to the Department of History.
F: Yes. And nobody knew where that had gone. I think Sam and some other people
said, "If you are chairman, you ought to try to get that money recognized." I went to
the dean and got absolutely no place. I did go directly to Bryan with that. In his
judgement it seemed impossible to really find the source of those funds; they just
disappeared some place into the past. But the money was to set up sort of an
American Institutions .
F: Lectureship or program which one could argue was fulfilled by the University College
then, but they did not get money for that. Bob just like that said, "Well, let me give
you another $1,000 as part of your budget and set up a program of American
lectureship," and John Mahon was put in charge of that. Now that has kind of
changed and expanded I think. There is a Mahon lectureship, but I think that comes
from another grant.
L: I am not familiar with that.
F: In any case, it is just an example that going to Bryan [was beneficial because] he
could make a decision. Of course he could manipulate the funds--he had the
funds--that he would work with and I would assume Vanderwerf simply did not.
L: Did you ever find the origins of the David Levy Yulee bequest either?
L: Because this is one of your points here that in the 1940s and 1950s these were the
existent things that brought scholarships and lectures and somehow they vanished.
F: Sam would know more about that than I did. Now, we had an institute of Indian
studies [Center for the Study of Southeastern Indians] that Sam and John Mahon
[co-directed], that was the [Doris] Duke [Indian Oral History Program] grant. But that
was pretty much outside of the history department control.
L: That is right. That came when Mahon was chairman.
F: Yes. And he and Sam were co-directors of that.
L: The University College begins to be dismantled while you are chairman of the
history department. Can you tell me about that process? I know that it was [David]
Bushnell who was chairman when the thing actually ceased to exist, but certainly
this was underway while you were there.
F: Before we get to that, let me just comment on another thing because the new
building was underway also.
L: This being Turlington Hall?
F: Yes. We were over in Peabody at that time and the money had been allocated for
the construction of a new building which was to be a social sciences building, and it
was assumed that the history department would go into it, as well as sociology,
anthropology, political science and so forth. The handling of that was extremely well
done. There is an office over in Tigert that is concerned with the buildings on
campus, in other words, they have to approve it. So right at the beginning, a
meeting was held over in Tigert with the architects who had been designated, [and]
with representatives, chairmen of the departments who would be the future users
thereof, to talk with the architects to point out what their needs would be. And this
was very interesting because they were open minded and we had all sorts of needs,
classroom space, offices and so forth. Also, incidentally, though it has nothing to do
with history, the shape of that building which is triangular was established so that a
long broad greenway could go from the library down to the Reitz Union that would
be all green. Now in later time, of course, they have constructed that enormous
science building [Computer Science and Engineering] and science library [Marston
Science Library] that blocks that wonderful architectural concept. If that had not
been the case the building could have been larger, possibly in the space which is
now this courtyard that surrounds it.
So then it got down as the planning went through [that] we were called back, and a
committee was actually established to meet to get down to the actual square
footage and so forth. What I would like to put on the record here is the
disadvantage that the history department labored under in those negotiations for
F: One, this was for the history department, not for historians; therefore, this was a
department of twenty people, and therefore twenty offices. But not even twenty
offices because there were those people in the Latin American field that had their
offices over in Grinter [Hall], maybe four or five, so we are down to maybe fifteen
offices. It seemed to me, because history and political science were so close
together, that we should have something comparable with political science. But
from the formula of office space, this was way down. Then Manning Dauer made
the strong argument that computers were the voice of the future and there would be
a central computer in this building with places that you would tap into it, and,
therefore, political science, which was very much into computer kinds of work and
would be a prime user of it, needed these extra spaces, these rooms. And he had
available a formula of science needing space for offices with also laboratory space
that he was able to apply to the political science department in terms of this extra
allocation. History [is] pretty much computerized now, but at that time you could not
make an argument that quantitative history was such a thing that we needed to have
extra research areas for computer space.
Then, an added factor came in with the English department. This was to be a social
science building; the English department was not to be in there. So they added an
extra floor and the English department, which, as you know, has offices and offices
and offices all over the place.
L: It has most of the fourth floor.
F: So history was kind of cut down. I always felt that the history department got
shafted, but I like to feel that I did everything I possibly could, every argument I
could use, to try to offset the influence that Manning Dauer had, which, as you
recognize, was a pretty considerable influence.
L: Political science shares the third floor of Turlington with sociology. Is that correct?
F: Yes. I never made a count of actual offices or square footage, but I argued. For
instance, the seminar room that we now have, that was not in the original planning,
and I was able to get that from space that was allocated to the English department.
The office area was just the chairman's office and one office outside, and I was able
to change the door down so it would have extra offices within the chairman's office.
L: To create that suite back there?
L: Was the English department substantially larger at that time than the history
F: Yes. What I do not know is whether those English people that were in University
College, in C-3 largely, were actually counted. Chances are that as Anderson [Hall]
was being phased out that maybe they were taken into account because they would
have no other space; whereas at that time Peabody was considered to still be an
office area for history department people.
L: I have heard stories, and I would like to bounce them off of you, that there were
some members of the department that refused to move into Turlington Hall. Is there
any truth to that?
F: I do not think that is exactly the point. In Peabody Hall, the offices that existed there
were enormous, literally three times as large as the offices in Turlington, and so I
could see why a person that had an office in Peabody with books on both walls
would have not liked to move into Turlington because of the book problem. But I do
not remember any controversy over that.
L: (I think it was Dr. Mahon who told me this.) I have also heard that up until the time
he ceased being chairman most of the history faculty did the majority of their work in
their offices on campus. He said that this phenomenon of people having these huge
studies at home and working at home just really did not happen. You would come in
on Saturday and there would always be five or six people in their offices working on
Saturday and such. Do you think maybe this cramping of space would drive that?
F: I really have no reaction to that. I must admit that after being chairman I had an
office in Turlington, but I never did any academic .. oh, yes I did too.
L: So you have been something of a home worker all along?
F: No. I think kind of both. I just have no clearcut answer for that question.
L: What about the end of the University College?
F: Well, that was the big problem at that particular time because University College
was attacked many times. It was mostly by Bob Bryan or his office, and the reason
for it was very clear. Everybody makes gestures towards general education; it is
what everybody needs. By the time you get a survey of teaching--what is the matter
with education, what is the matter with our graduates--they are not generally
educated. But for a great university you have to have a great graduate school. And
to have University College filled with small classes and teachers who are dedicated
to teaching rather than to research, and a considerable budget, did not help the
construction of the graduate school. So in the thinking of Tigert Hall, the only way to
build up, to get the funds and the caliber of people for a graduate program, it had to
come out of University College. OK, but this was an institution that was pretty much
imbedded and of course various deans, Frank [Franklin Ahasuerus] Doty [Dean of
University College], for example, made a magnificent defense, Dean [Byron S.]
Hollinshead was there for a while and also made a magnificent defense and this was
not easy to work with. Then came Bob Burton Brown.
L: Who was he?
F: Bob Burton Brown? You do not have him in your notes?
L: I am sure we can find it. Dr. Proctor will know about it.
F: He will indeed.
L: What was his position?
F: Well, he was dean of University College. Bob Burton Brown was really a bit of a
character. I did not know him well enough to know exactly what his inner feelings
were, but it was generally assumed that when he received that appointment that his
mission was to officiate at the disintegration of University College, rather than to
defend it and to support it. And my relations with him were very good because just
about the time that he came in I was much more interested in the history department
than I was in University College. And then when the appointment to become
chairman took place the question was where would the slot come from. We sort of
made a deal that Bob Burton Brown would surrender his slot (i.e. the slot filled by
me) and turn it over to the history department, and I would fill that slot. So this was
kind of a gesture on his part, but it fell in line with part of getting rid of University
College rather than to build it up. Now, the question of the acceptance of the
University College people into the history department has its delicate aspects which
would go back to (what I called) the California group, because there you had these
five or six people who were there in the history department to build up the history
department. They were not very favorable to (should we say) incursions from
L: They were not favorable to incursions?
F: They were not favorable to this for the very simple reason that they might wag the
dog. And who is chairman of the history department now? Where did he come
L: From University College [Frederick Gregory].
F: And his predecessor.
L: Kermit Hall?
F: No. Kermit Hall came from elsewhere. Dave [David Richard] Colburn [Associate
Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences] of University College. That group as
a whole, I think, disappeared once they were absorbed into the department. As you
say, [it did not happen] during my watch, but all the negotiations for doing this and
bringing them into the history department, of course, took place at that time. But it
did not, as I can see, affect any of the particular problems--that is, as I said, the
money and other kinds of things--except perhaps in terms of promotion, salary and
tenure. Tenure was not a question with University College in any case.
L: Could you elaborate on that a little bit?
F: Tenure is not a [question] because all of the people had been in University College
for a long time. They all had tenure.
L: OK. It is not a problem for the history department.
F: So it is not a problem for the history department. The question of promotion, yes, in
the case of some people who were dedicated teachers and not the scholars. And
you may not appreciate the fact that in the good old days of University College, your
chairman might just come around to you and say, "Oh, by the way, I have promoted
you." No committees, no rigorous examination of criteria and so forth, but as we
move towards the great graduate school obviously this, and also the explosion of
education which provided fifty qualified Ph.D.s for every job that opens up, might
[bring] a harder look on the qualifications. The [O. Kimball] Armayor [Assistant
Professor of History] case, for example. Armayor was a professor of ancient history
in the department--an area that we have never been particularly strong on--a great
scholar, and a specialist in Herodotus. He came into the department with the
understanding that his great works on Herodotus had been accepted by Cambridge
University Press, and would appear at any time. Then when it came time for tenure
to come up, in his case, the books had not appeared. He himself had personally
said that he was not interested in service, he was a scholar, and his teaching
evaluations from students were not spectacular. So you could not really plug him in
any one of these three categories. He was refused tenure at the departmental level
and on at the dean's level. Then, he protested this and had a lawyer and hearings
and all of that sort of thing. This went on for a couple of years or so.
L: During your chairmanship?
F: Yes. So that sort of thing is a thing that chairmen have to do now that they might
not have had to do in earlier times. As you probably know, there are always two or
three search committees going on in the department. I might say at this particular
juncture that one of the ambitions that I hoped to fulfill was to have a female
member of the department and a black member of the department.
L: Irmgard Johnson comes in.
F: But not during my time.
L: Right. Were you able to hire a woman?
F: Yes, several.
L: And they were?
F: Unfortunately you will have to go to the departmental records to find their names
because they do not come to me. I think there were three, actually, during that time,
but they did not stay for [various] reasons. Other institutions were looking at the fact
that they did not have as many qualified women as they wanted to, and a good
qualified woman teacher did get good offers. We lost two, as I remember, to that,
and we lost the other one to marriage. So I think that I hired, certainly two, possibly
three, during these years and none of them were there at the end.
L: What about blacks?
F: Yes. Tigert realized that perhaps there was a deficiency in the hiring of black
L: Tigert Hall? The administration?
F: The administration.
L: This would be [Stephen C.] O'Connell [president of University of Florida, 1968-1974]
and [Marshall M.] Criser [president of University of Florida, 1985-1989], right?
F: No. This is still [Robert Armistead] Bryan [Vice President for Academic Affairs].
L: That is right. I am sorry.
F: They made an offer of new slots (I think fifteen slots) that would be given to any
department to add a black teacher to that position. So, by golly, we went out there
and we looked and we recruited and so forth and finally [found] a black from the
University of Chicago. (Again, whose name escapes me.) So we hired him.
Everything seemed to be coming out. Bushnell inherited this problem, incidentally.
Have you interviewed him yet?
F: Well, we hired him. He did not have his doctorate, but there was every indication
that he was going to get it very shortly, as soon as the next term ended the
dissertation would be finished and so forth. Well, he was hired on the basis of that
and the records and letters and so forth that came from Chicago seemed to be OK.
But then the question of tenure came up in Bushnell's term, and it was discovered
that he did not have the doctorate, and, therefore, there was no question but he had
to resign and did.
L: Had he been deceptive about the degrees he had accomplished?
F: No. It was not a matter of deception. I think it was a matter of misunderstanding.
Again, I was not there at the end, so I did not see the criteria. But it seemed that the
dissertation was done, but he had not fulfilled all the other requirements for the
L: Oh, I see.
F: I remember that he maintained that he had and that these were technicalities, but I
was never able to follow them through because I was no longer chairman at that
time. But, in any case, I have to say that this effort on behalf of the department
during my term to try to have more women and blacks in the department did not
succeed. But an effort was made.
L: Certainly. What else was important to your ten years as chairman? Have we hit the
F: I think so. Well, with those two documents which I gave you. Let me just go through
this list. I do not want to give this to you because a lot of it is personal.
F: Inadequate secretarial assistance, inadequate funds for student assistants,
inadequate funds for graduate assistants, [and] negotiating and borrowing from
University College [are items that have been covered]. In other words, they were
not in your department so you could not assign them, but you negotiated with the
chairman of University College for the use of this particular professor for this
particular course. Some of this was done all the time so you had kind of a continual
thing, but at the same time you had to go through this. Oh, yes, another item. We
moved into Turlington Hall, and there was a great deal of money available for the
furnishings of the offices and so forth. We spent I do not know how many hours
going through catalogues and saying, "Yes, this kind of desk, this kind of chair, this
bookcase, and this table." That little room that is right next to the chairman's office,
that is sort of a conference room and they sometimes use it for graduate
examinations and so forth, is supposed to have a nice mahogany table and so forth.
The table that is in there, unless they have changed it, is a metal table with a
veneer on top of it which I scrounged from some place. In any case, the story is that
funds were so short that they cut out all furnishings for that new building. So we had
to move over from Peabody with the scraps of furniture that we could find and the
same old desks and so forth. To some extent those have been replaced since, but
at that time I remember taking trips down to the storeplace and borrowing things
from other departments. That was kind of a mess.
[There was] too much time spent on personnel, tenure and promotion. [There were]
inadequate funds to help faculty, to professionally support research and travel and
things like that. The difficultly of making salary increases that would be acceptable;
that is the criteria that you use. A person who is very much underpaid and has five
children, does he get more money than somebody who is a bachelor, which should
not enter into, but you know these things. So it may be an influence of some sort.
The question of [what you pay] your top ranking research professor. I think while I
was there Woodruff was the only research professor. But you probably are aware of
the fact that you get a new research professor in and you give him $10,000 more
than anybody else, and then your existing research professor is not very happy
because he was brought in when salaries were lower and his increases have not
come up to this guy, and yet he is of equal prestige. [There is] too much time spent
in administrative details, whereas you would like to promote more of the scholarly
aspects of what a department does.
F: Oh, yes, library.
L: Yes. That is listed on here.
F: Well, that really is not my concern, but you realize that from certain times the library
funds are cut way down; therefore, you cannot keep up with the books in your own
L: That happened just a year ago.
F: I have here, why not join UFF [United Faculty of Florida]? Now that was a factor
while I was chairman also, and some of the members of the department joined UFF,
others did not. I did not. I was kind of under attack at one time for not appearing to
support some of the things which they did. I felt in some ways that UFF might be
counterproductive in rubbing some people, whereas you might be able to get the
same kind of thing through the more usual procedures. My last entry was,
"Considering the lack of funds I know what has to be done, seek support from
government and private sources." But I just do not want to spend the time on this.
L: So, again, it sounds like everything comes back to funds and support.
F: Yes. But also certainly something a department chairman is always aware of is
what the administration did very recently of giving special salary increases to people
who are good teachers but had not done the research. Of course, when I was
chairman "publish or perish" was very much in effect. Again, I wish I had the names,
but we had a young man who was a great teacher. His student evaluations were
always way up. He enjoyed teaching but not doing research. Tenure came up and
he left. I can think of at least three people that did not get tenure, and again the
names escape me. So that kind of thing was always a problem. You want to
recognize good teaching and there are still in the department people who are good
teachers who have not been outstanding so far as research is concerned. But when
you give special awards, as you did recently for good teaching, then people who do
research who are still good teachers, or teach graduate courses and teach
undergraduates also, suffer from that.
L: I was not exposed to too much of it, but these recent awards did not go over all that
well in the history department, as I am sure you can imagine.
F: Well, if you feel that you are qualified for an increase on that basis of teaching, [but]
then do not get one because you actually teach a graduate course.
L: When you stepped down from the chairmanship in 1978, what motivated your
F: The appointment is a three-year appointment, and, as you say, John [Mahon] may
have had the chairmanship for a longer period of time, but I think the feeling was
that they should abide more by shorter periods rather than longer periods. But at
the end of the three-year period, I was asked to continue on for another year, and,
with some of these misgivings, agreed to. I felt that I really wanted to get back to
research and teaching.
L: How much power did you have over who moved into the position? As much as any
other faculty member or any more?
F: I think the power that you have, I guess, comes in the terms of money again,
allocation of salaries and other kinds of resources, travel funds, for example. But
those are so meager that one would set forth a set of criteria. So it was not, I do not
think, any personal matter of allocating more here or more there. In other words, not
power that enabled you to manipulate things, but just the sense of being in the
connection with how things are being run. That is, you meet with the other
departments, you confer with the dean, you confer with Bryan, and so forth, which
as a regular member you just do not have to do. You have a sense of the way
things are going and maybe some small possibility of influencing it one way or the
L: So you return to more teaching and back to research in 1978?
L: You take a sabbatical leave in 1979. Was this directly after stepping down as
chairman? It says here winter quarter.
F: Yes. I do not think it was related, as I recall. I think this came in the normal course
of things. I think when deans come down, maybe they take a year off and get a
sabbatical to recover to get into teaching. I wrote a book during that period. It was
the De Yalta a Potsdam: [des illusions & la Guerre Froide].
L: And the subtitle is Illusions of the War?
F: No. that was a little pocket book that came out in French. That was the only
contract book I ever did. They wanted a pocket book.
L: From Yalta to Potsdam? And what is the subtitle?
F: From Illusions to the Cold War.
L: Again, my French is nonexistent.
F: This came out of an aspect of my life which we have not touched on at all.
L: Which was?
F: My connection with the American Committee on the History of the Second World
War and a vice presidency in the International Committee [of the Second World
War] on the history of the second world war. Because almost everything which I
have done in a scholarly direction involved these kinds of activities, rather than at
the University. For instance, I taught the history of World War II for many years over
there and initiated the course and developed it. And if I would have any claim to
doing anything worthwhile, it would be having taught that course which was always
filled. Now Mike [Michael Valentine] Gannon [Professor of History] is teaching that
now, and he is teaching it to 150 or so students, which I could have at any time but
nobody raised the question of doing it to a larger group. I retired, and after I retired I
did come back and teach it for one semester also. But with all modesty, I might say
that I have more of a reputation as a historian of the Second World War elsewhere
than at the University of Florida.
L: I can tell that from all of these papers that you have given, conferences you
organized, [and] in your various positions. One thing that Dr. Proctor told me to
make sure to ask you about was this Anglo-American meeting on the Second World
War held at the Imperial War Museum in London in 1980, and the movements of a
certain director of the CIA at the time. Could you sort of give us that story?
F: Well, that has been broadcast. [laughter] Well, this has to do with Bill [William
Joseph] Casey [later director of the Central Intelligence Agency]. Again, in the
course of my research, I had gotten to know Casey fairly well. I had interviewed
him, [and] he had asked me to read some things that he had written and so forth.
Again, as part of the International Committee on the History of the Second World
War, I was chairman of the American committee, Sir William Deakin was chairman
of the British section, and we thought for a long time it would be a good idea to have
a meeting of American and British historians. They invited us to come to London, as
you say, in 1980. The question for me was to get ten American historians--
specialists in different aspects of the war--and get enough money for travel for them
to London, which I did largely through Bill Casey who was independently wealthy.
Do you know about Casey and what his background is before he became head of
L: Not very much.
F: Well, he was in OSS [Office of Strategic Services] during the war and was an agent
and always interested in things of that sort, but essentially was a lawyer. He had
other positions in Washington [and was] pretty well connected, but he was very
wealthy. [He was] a self-made man actually, and had set up the Casey Foundation
to use these funds for certain things. (I suppose for tax purposes.) So I knew that
this foundation existed and I knew that he had given money to other scholars. So I
approached him on this, and he said that he did not want to give money out of the
Casey Foundation if he was going to participate in it, but he would give me the
names of some people whom he was sure would make a contribution, which I did
and they did and he did.
So we had this conference in which Sam was one of the members giving the paper
on oral history in conjunction with the British historian giving the paper on oral
history, and a number of other people [were there] like Martin Blumenson, (historian
of World War II, formerly with the Center of Military History), Bob Dallek (historian,
USC). Now, Casey was the campaign manager for the Reagan campaign and, as
such, was known to be out of the country at just the period of time when certain
people said the Americans negotiated in Madrid with certain people from Iran on
holding the release of the hostages until after the election, so presumably it would
appear that Reagan would get the credit rather than Carter. And so these four days
that this meeting took place it was known that Casey was out of the country, but
they did not know where he was. Well, he was at the conference in London. There
is a photograph of him, me, Casey, Blumenson and Dallek taken at the conference
which was published on TV. I think all of the American members, including Sam,
were contacted by the members of the media, but there was also a congressional
investigation on it by the Senate and the House.
L: So there is no way that he would have had time to go to Madrid.
F: Technically, yes, but in my judgement, improbable.
L: Did you testify before Congress?
F: A member from Congress came here, [and] he interviewed me just sitting in that
L: And you were on one of the national news programs about this, were you not?
F: Yes. [Ted] Koppel's [ABC News] "Nightline." Also "Dateline". They (i.e. Koppel)
sent down three people, because they had to televise it as well as get testimony. I
will show you the tape if you want.
L: The reason I had asked about that was Proctor was curious as to what the outcome
had been, and that that was sort of a inadvertent brush with history there.
F: Well, a lot of the things that I have done, of course, were outside the periphery of the
department. While I was chairman of the department I was also program chairman
for the AHA [American Historical Association] and subsequently, I was a member of
a committee that went to Moscow to develop relations with Soviet historians and
American historians. I participated in some of those conferences. Now, in 1994, it
is the year of the liberation of Europe. I have got five conferences in France that I
am going to this year. One at the Eisenhower Library. I just got the letter today
inviting me to another one in 1995.
L: I see here that you have been publishing steadily even since you retired from
teaching. Was TORCH one of the Normandy [landings]?
F: No. North Africa.
L: TORCH was North Africa. In 1993 you have got this article on the French
resistance in Normandy in the D-Day Encyclopedia. And then the last one here is
1993. Do you have any other publications in the works?
F: No. Not that have come out. I have got three that should appear, but they are not
out. The paper for the Eisenhower Library, "Caught in the Middle: The French
Population in Normandy," has appeared in D-Day 1944, edited by Theodore Wilson
(Kansas University Press, 1994).
L: So what does the future hold?
F: More of the same.
L: So you are going to continue to be active in all of these [associations]?
F: Well, I have got five conferences and I have done the papers for three of them, but I
have got two to go that I have not even started to write yet, and then I will certainly
accept this one in 1995, [and that will be] another paper. So that is three papers to
write. I have been interested in the liberation of various parts of France and the
connection with the American armies or the Allied armies for this book that I just did,
Hidden Ally, on the liberation of southern France. Now the liberation of Brittany is a
very interesting story because it had more allied commandos. [They] parachuted
into Brittany, which is part of my current interests. I have moved into OSS
intelligence and special operations in World War II, almost entirely in connection with
France. So it would seem that this could well be a book, the liberation of Brittany in
connection with these various operations and also with the American armies that
went in there. So I have done a little research on that and was talking to a man in
France [Robert Frank, head of IHTP] who is director of a research institute. He said,
"Oh, did you know that there is going to be a conference on the liberation of Brittany
in September?" I said, "No, I did not." He said, "I will express your interest to the
organizer of that conference," who was a woman named Sainclivier (professor of
contemporary history at the University of Rennes). So she wrote to me and asked if
I would be interested in giving a paper, so I said that I would. Now, I have not
started research on that yet, but what I think I will find out is [whether] doing a twenty
page paper is going to satisfy the kinds of materials that are available, or is this
material for a possible book.
L: And if it is there, you are going to write?
F: Yes. I cannot think of anything else that I would prefer to do at the present time.
L: Well, have we missed anything? We have been talking for at least three hours here.
F: Yes, and it is time for lunch. No. I think so far as the history department is
concerned, that is pretty much it.
L: Well, I would really like to thank you for talking to me this afternoon and this is
certainly a valuable contribution to the archives. If you noticed, I kind of pushed
through the social and cultural aspects of your life here.
L: That is more my interest, so I have gotten some valuable things for that.
F: As my wife said, it might be interesting to have a copy of that for the family archives.