Title: D. R. Matthews
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024700/00001
 Material Information
Title: D. R. Matthews
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Matthews, D. R. ( Interviewee )
Miller, Joyce ( Interviewer )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: November 4, 1976
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Bibliographic ID: UF00024700
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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SUBJECT: D. R. Matthews

INTERVIEWER: Joyce R. Miller

DATE: November 4, 1976


J: I am Joyce Miller, and I am interviewing Mr. Donald Matthews in his home on November

4, 1976 at 4:15 p.m. And we're going to discuss life in Gainesville, and on the

University of Florida campus in the 19307s. I'd like to start, Mr. Matthews, by

asking you, when you did come...I know it was a little before the thi~stes, but

where you came from to go to the university, and what years were you on campus?

D: I came from...- 4 Hawthorne High School, which is fifteen miles from here, in

1924. That was my first year, at the University of Florida. At that time, by

the way, the school, I think had 1500 male students. Gainesville was a town of

some eight or nine thousand people--there might had been as many as ten thousand

people. But my first year was 1924.

J: Now you stayed on campus for your bachelor's degree?

D: From 1924, 4, through 1929, I did undergraduate work. Myi year of graduation

was supposed to be 1928, but I had an automobile accident, and had to drop out of

school for a few months, so I was in the class of 1929. Now, I came back to the

University of Florida in 1936, I believe, as director of what is, what was called

the Florida Union. During the years as I was a student, an undergraduate, I had

the pleasure of knowing Dr. Murpi you see his picture, by the way, on the wall

here. He was the president of the University of Florida then. Dr. Tigert, who

succeeded him, came in 1928. both of these men were very wonderful people. J.W

when I came back to be the director of the Union, Dr. Tigert was president. Then

I stayed on campus as director of the Union until 1941, when I went into World War

II, came back in nineteenhureds-I beg your pardon, it was 1942 I went into the

AL16AB Page 2

war, came back in 1946, and then a couple of years later, Dr. J. Hillis Miller

became president of the University of Florida. He,/.,j asked me if I would be

director of alumni affairs, so I was director of alumni affairs on campus from

1948 to 1952, and that was the year, 1952, I ran for congress. For what became

the eight district of Florida. So my years at the University of Florida cover

,. from 1924 until, ,,Aabout 93.

J: Now, in the *hirties, prior to -tj s, I believe, when you returned, is that

when you served as a teacher and as a principal...

D: I served as a teacher immediately upon graduation from the university. I went

to Leesburg, and taught in the 12th grade--I taught historyy and Spanish. Then I

went to \^ Orlando, and taught the 12th grade English in the only senior high

school there...there. Now, they must have a dozen high schools,in Orlando. While

I was in Orlando in 1934, I had two friends write me and ask me to run for the

legislature Alachua County. So, while I was teaching in Orlando, I came back

to Hawthorne over the weekends, because Hawthorne was my permanent home with my

parents there. Waged my campaign, and I was elected. It was asie~s aftermath

of that though, that was in the depression, and when the Orlando school board

found that I was ua native of Alachua County, the chairman, Mr. Evans, told me that

they couldn't rehire me. He said, "We're sorry, but this is the depression, and we

have a rule that only Orange County citizens can teach in our schools'.' So at time,

I was wondering if I made the right decision or not, but I taught in Orlando a part

of the term of the 1934-35 year, then when the legislature met in April, I resigned

from the school, went to the legislature. Luckily that fall, I was asked to be the

principal of a school over here at Newberry. So
Newberry a year later that President Tigert asked me to come and serve as director

of the Union building at the University of Florida.

J: Did you serve in the legislature just that one year?

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D: I just served in the legislature that one term, because at that time, you couldn't

beta political and a school teacher at the same time. The old board of control had

a firm ruling that you had to stay clear of politics. So there was no question about

my staying in politicsiAg once I had .0 decided to go to the University of Florida.

So you see the two years was between the time that I taught school at,;:.b;-..Orlando,

and the time I began working a the University of Florida. Incidentally, that year

in the legislature^, Gov. Sholtz was very active as governor, but I couldn't

agree with 4; many of his points of view. He wanted to legalize slot machines, for

example. I voted against that. President Tigert didn't tell me this until years

later, but he said Gov. Sholtz telephoned him several times and said)your legislator,
Matthews, is not doing like I want him to And you'd better get him to do the

right thing.// President Tigert told me that, as I recall, of course, that he never

passed that message on to me. So when President Tigert asked me to come to the

University of Florida to be director of the Union, he told me that he had to clear

it with Governor Sholtz. He gave me then* this information. He said, "I don't know

whether He'll approve you or not." Because he said, "you know, you didn't get along

very well with him." Well, I just wanted my conscience. But anyway, Doc Tigert

called me several days, and he laughed, and he said "that's fine." He said "Every-

thing just worked out fine, that, do you know how I handled it?" And I said "no."

"Well," he said,"I told Gov. Sholtz that I wanted him to do me a favor if he could,

and we talked over the telephone one day, he said,"all right, go ahead and I said,

'well, governor, you know our legislator here, Matthews, you didn't get along very

well with him. I've got a way to get him out of your hair." And he said, the

governor said, "How is that?" He said, "I want to appoint him to a job at the

University of Florida, if you will go along with me." He said Governor Sholtz

laughed, and said "go ahead." So, I had a great deal of respect for this man,

President Tigert. In fact, for all the presidents of the University of Florida.

AL16AB Page 4

But President Tigert had a depth of character, and, <- a'd~i ja. was a man of

tremendous honor. I just appreciated so much, always, the attitude that he had

toward me. He., let meg i express my thoughts clearly, and tried in no way

to dominate my thinking when I was a member of the legislature, and actually, was

supposed to represent the University of Florida, and times were hard then, and it

was difficult to get any money. I think that year, for example, the appo~ a

for the University of Florida amounted to about a million dollars. A million dollars.

J: As compared to what today?

D: Oh, I'd say, other than the /...not the medical school, tbeae must be fifty million

today. Somewhere between forty and fifty million dollars, and in addition to that

you see, it would be all the appo iae s for the medical school, and many other

things. Just the university proper would now, I'm sure, have app&rz tins fifty

times as much as we had then. But this was during the depression.

J: Right. Let me go back to a couple of things you mentioned, because it justaway

brought other things to mind. For instance, you gave up your teaching job actually,

well~-y were asked to, when you became a legislature, a legislator. What was

the difference in salaries? _1

D: V(} as a teacher, I made $125 a month. 4 the last year, a hi f e&r-and-twentyr-fve

del-l rs a month. And a member of the legislature-would recJved ten dollars a day

for sixty days. That's is x-h~eia l-d44ars. And in addition to that, you got

travel expenses back and forth, I think, one time. So, it was impossible for me

to live on just the six hundred dollars, but luckily, you see,,A, the legislature

starting in April, and ending in sixty days, I had six hundred dollars there, and

then in the summertime, I was assistant state 4-H Club agent. I had done that for

a number of years. I helped a Mr. R.W. Blacklock, who was the 4-H Club agent. I

was in charge of summer camps. must have receivedp4*6 a fabulous salary then,

maybe a hundred dollars a monthA all of my expenses. So I had two or three months


AL16AB Page 5

of work in the summer. Then, that fall, I went over as principal of the school

in Newberry. The salary paid twe-hundred-do-lars a month. So, my ecomonic star

was rising, despite sadness at being told I couldn't go back to Orange County

because I wasn't/AddB a citizen there.

J: Another thing you mentioned was about slot machines, and your stand on slot machines.

Am I right that there were slot machines in Gainesville, though, during the tkti-oes?

D: There were. VVtihe legislature,,lty that I'm talking about was the 1935 legislature.

They would legalize--the man who led the fight against the legalization was *Leroy-

Collins. And I was associated with him in that fight. That's how I happened to

know Leroy Collinsz And I first found out ^ somepW~ about shenanigans that

would go on in the legislative body. We took the vote on the slot machine bill

late one afternoon, and it was defeated. Now there's a parliamentary maneuver where
you can, if you vote on the debating side, rule that the vote be reconsidered.

i Mr. Sholtz's legislative manager, Mr. Robenoff, from Miami, made that motion,
and Mr. Sholtz had many friends that realized that he wanted it reconsidered, so

they helped pass that motion to reconsider. Now, you have to take the motion up

again, then, the substance matter, rather, within the next legislative day. So

the next day, they took a vote again on the slot machine matter, and it passed by

15 or 20 votes to spare. So what happened during the night, some people were

convinced to change their minds, and I think it was illegal, and a corrupt activity

going on, and v~-s I guess I felt like it was a terrible thing, and as I say,

Mr. Collins,who was then a member of the house of representatives, as I was. He

represented Leon County. He led the fight against the legalization. And I was -ei

q% those whp joined with him. Now, the machine were here for a couple of years,and

then I think the next legislature took action, and they were no longer legalized.

J: Do you recall actually seeing them in Gainesville? Where they were located?

AL16AB Page 6

D: Oh, yes. Yes, there was some down/,/i in a drug store ,/u~;, Doc Evan's drug store,

or not exactly a drug store, it was a shop where you could get, 1+i-a tuehes, down

by what was the old Lyric Theatre. f close to the old Federal building. Do you

know what I'm referring about, on Main Street.

J: Right.

D: Ah, I remember there particularly. *4 I don't remember them in any other places,

but I do there, because I was a friend of Doc Evans, I liked him very much.

J: Were there any near the campus that you recall?

D: I don't remember them at all. There might have beeny1^f some~pat restrictions on

where you place them--I'm sure that there were. I just don't remember the sebstnce

language of the bill. Then, too, I was not in Gainesville that next year as much

as I was over in Newberry, you see. But I'm sure there must have been some restrictions

keeping them from being around the university campus, because I don't remember them.

J: Now, besides the slot machines, , controversy with Gov. Sholtz, didn't you agree

with many of his New Deal policies?

D: Oh, yes. Mr. Sholtzl,4W was governor when we were in the depression, and he was

a great admirer of the President, you know. A jhe t~, programs that he worked for-

I'm sure, many of them were following through with President Roosevelt's philosophy.

But, to be perfectly honest, the state spent so little money, I was not so conscious

of many things we did. You know, for example, we had no welfare program. We had

no program of substance concerning i, justice -- a criina justice program. Jb

we weren't building many roads. we, .-iir;. *Fejust had a small economy in Florida,

and education, the public schools were about the only things that looked like

required money. now, the programs that were going on in Florida were just largely

programs like the W A and the NYA, these were programs, though, that came directly

from Washington. And in our state legislature, we just were not too conscious of

taking the kind of joint FederalSstate action that you have to do now with all of

AL16AB Page 7

these programs.

J: Well, let's go back to some of the things about the University. Although you were

a freshman actually before the th4ities, I'm sure some of your own experience, and

then later when you were an employee of the University you might remember some

of these events on campus. First, in reference to fraternities/~t/if I know yourself,

you were in Sigma Phi Epsilon, I believe. where were the houses located, what

was rush like? Was there hazing? And if so, what kind of events?

D: X-, I joined Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity in 1926, I think. When I was a freshman,

I didn't know what fraternities were. I came from Hawthfne, close by the University,

but I didn't know anything about fraternities. And I have a feeling that I was

rushed one year, and I was blackballed. But I made it, and it's a very wonderful

fraternity, I think. ), the house, when I was a freshman, was nowsO .la was where

now, t, you would.ai) I think, say about halfway between the College Inn, and the.,.

0;ryou know where the Presbyterian Student Center is, almost to the corner of
13th Street and University Avenue--about halfway there. I believe the house has

beenq<^, taken down. But it was just across campus. Just a few hundred yards--

if it would be east of the present of the College Inn. (4~ now',~'4

J: Is that...would that be pretty close to the old KA house?

D: That's right. It was right by the old KA house. That's west of the KA house. That's

just where it was. Then, later, when I was director of the Union, our fraternity

movedgi*4, to a spot where the Flagler Inn is now. It was a big home, and the

Phi Kappa Alpha occupied part of that area, and the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity

the other part.

J: And across the street was SAE?

D: SAE, and Pi Kappa Phi, I think. q, now, those homes were completely obliterated.

Or at least taken down, when the Flagler Inn was put there. Our fraternity at the

present is on Fraternity Row. my fraternity, when I joined it, I think, was a

AL16AB Page 8

tremendously significant one on campus. We had the first all-American football

player--Dale Vansikle was in our fraternity. We had Harry Green, another great

member of the football team of the 20rs that the University of Florida still talks

about. About half of the membership of Florida Blue Key belonged to our fraternity.

We had, at that time, a fraternity whose members excelled in scholarship. Men like

Erwin C(Sr2f', who was a lawyer here in the city for many years, he's retired. Dr.

J. Hooper Wise, who became a member of the English department. A a man by the

name of Hubert Hurst, who is a lawyer and businessman of some,#.s, distinction here

in Gainesville. Our fraternity had,~4i- people who were active too, in campus

politics. I had the pleasure of serving as chancellor of the Honor Court, president

of Florida Blue Key, vice-president of the student body, and I served as acting

president of the student body for two months. So I think I can lay claim to being

the only man who's ever held all four of the major offices, and remember the reason

I became president was because...as vice-president, the student who was president

was Clay Lewis--he was elected to the state legislature 'ah,rfrom out in west

Florida. So, when he went to the legislature following the first term, I served

as acting president of the student body from the beginning of the second semestertW

term until the student elections in April. Sopq/and my fraternity participated

in the old-fashioned hazing. You had to have a paddle, and everybody in the frat-

ernity had to sign it, and so they would sign it by wacking you on your posterior,

and then signing their name. Oyf now, fraternities, and my own fraternity particularly,

do things that are more worthwhile. Our fraternity is very active in the heart

fund, you know. Wea.nr. do a lot of work and make contributions for the heart

fund. I felt that the fraternity made a greater ti significant input in my life.

I think that many of the men thatoEhf; I met there, became staunch fam... for example,

the Mc@y family from Ft. Pierce, that's a great Florida family. Gov. Dan MNarj ,,

KI was not a classmate of mine, but he was a member of the fraternity, and I knew

AL16AB Page 9

him so well when I was director of the Union. Knew his brothers, wonderful men,

aSL Brian and John McCarty. John was state senator for many years. Brian is

now deceased, but this family others of the pioneer families in Florida--I had the
privilege of knowing them.

J: And in modern times, other names in Sigma Phi Epsilon...that are in politics, I think,

eatsn Burns' son, and...

D: Yes.

J: And Ralph 's son.

D: Yes. Well, there was a time when from that fraternity--well the Sig Ep alumnii on

campus, and in Gainesville included Ralph Tur lington, a member of the House, who

was--we call our fraternity Florida Alpha of Sigma Phi Epsilon, he was inember of

that chapter. Red Cross, the state senator in the legislature, from that chapter.

Matthews, the congressman% from this area, from Florida Alpha of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Dan McCarty, the governor of Florida, see all served at the same time, from Florida

Alpha of Sigma Phi Epsilon. J. Hillis Miller, the president of the University of

Florida, was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, but not of that particular chapter.

And atei.Burns, in another generation, had a son that belonged, and u~, we had

a4 very close connections with much of the political structure in Florida at that


J: Well, as long as we brought up Florida Blue Key, hat kind of activities was Florida

Blue Key participating in then, and ~is is it similar to today's Florida Blue Key?

D: Then, it was...then, it was not what you might call an activist group,.iei a. m_ n ,

I meant we didn't try to do many things. I think on campus now, I think maybe they

do more than just put on Homecoming. When I was on campus, it was sort of a...a

award or prestige if you had been active in campus politics, if you were a good

scholar, if you were a great football player/.,I I$ maybe you had a chance to get into

Page 10


Florida Blue Key, and the only thing we did was to sponsor homecoming. Now, you

probably know more about the active Blue Key now. I'm ashamed--I go to some of

the meetings, but, I think they do more things now.

J: But basically, still, it revolves around homecoming.

D: I don't know whether it has the prestige now that it had then. I think maybe it

does, but, you see, the campus now doesn't have student government like we had. It's

so different. Ah...

J: Well, was Blue Key though, and student government in those days, or probably even

mnre so in those days, the stepping stone to state office?

D: Yes, and it really indicated- -A- the outstanding students, I think, on campus.

See, there was about 1800 men that we had when I was graduated. That was the

most we had. We had no,;gyf girls on campus--a few could take something that they

couldn't get at Florida State College for Women, so, really, our main interest was

in student activities. And my student government participation helped me tremendously

in preparation for being a congressman. I don't think now student government has

that prestige on campus. Maybe I'm wrong. But when I was on campus, it had

tremendous prestige, and as I say, if you got to be a member of Blue Key, it was

sort of a distinction, because of your accomplishments. And those accomplishments

really meant something. It meant something to be president of student body, to

be chancellor of the Honor Court. Here I was chancellor; sadly, I think there were

about twelve men dismissed from the University because of our recommendations.

AndJ~Uh I think the Honor Court, the honor system worked. You remember it was a

small school. But I think it worked. Even though then, the big problem was this

idea of telling on somebody. The idea of cheating, I think, that had excellent

enforcement, ands ~\,4C Wi e ut I had... I had a feeling even then, that

it was sort of difficult--this idea you have to pledge you're going to tell if you

AL16AB Page 11

see somebody cheating. But, the...the honor system was very significant I think,

when I was on campus.

J: What was the typical homecoming that Florida Blue Key ran? What would that include?

D: Very modest compared to what it is now. Generally, a big pep fire. And that's about

all I remember.

J: Did they have Gator Growl?

D: They had Gator Growl, but it was not called Gator GrowlvA it was,.4^, Pep Fire...

y ( c4\. By the way, I was head cheerleader at the University of Florida

for one year. So, 6Il can remember the cheerleaders gathering around the big

fire, and having to yell for the football game the next day. But we didn't have

the great, stupendous, 4t;ie.marvelous show they have now.

J: What would be the attire for a football game?

D: Seemed to me like more formal than it is now. Iy1think when we first started the

school in September, around the fraternity house, we was supposed to wear coats.

Now it seems-. like I just burn up wearing a coat. Maybe the weather's getting a.

lot warmed, but still, it was modest attire. We were in the depression. If you

had a white shirt, you know, you were lucky. Many boys joined the ROTC because

they get that free uniform. Andcs *t you looked the best you could, but you didn't

have much to wear, so ~ tC'tS'i it was a very modest4gg type of clothes, but

we wore the best we had, generally, and particularly, now, remember the law college.

They actually had a tradition there of wearing coats to class. When I was a fresh-


J: What about the cost of a football game? Was students free at that time?

D: No cost at all. You were...you were permitted to go free by just showing your

student ticket.

J: Were the games at two o'clock as they are now?

D: As I recall, they were all in the afternoon. They had to be, because, naturally,

AL16AB Page 12

then we didn't have the lights, and they were in the afternoon.

J: Could you describe what the stadium looked like at that time?

D: I...I can hardly remember. I think,4h very small r ea .seating capacity must not

had been over ten or twelve thousand when I first started. I think Florida Field,

basically where the present stadium is, was built ,I know it was built after I left

as an undergraduate. And, iMr. Cyde Graham used to be business manager of

the University, told me that he and Dr. Tigert, I think, had to sign some personal

notes so they could start building yt Florida Field. Ah it was not completed, I

don't believe until after World War.,.well, it was completed after World War I,

but I just don't remember too much about the details to the stadium construction.

J: Where ~vdo you recall where the track was in reference to the stadium?

D: I do not. It was all in that general area. But I just don't recall too much.

J: You mentioned Florida State College for Women. ~A; do you recall traveling to

Florida State College for Women, or to Orlando, for weekends to see girls?

D: Always to the Florida State College for Women. And, we would go, usually, you know,

Friday, and we would work out ways to stay Friday night and Saturday, or Sunday,

and you'd have to leave early, you know. In the 1920's when I was a freshman,

you would go to the r1ensMihvttt~the lounges in the dormitories, and you would,_4-,f

see the girls, but you would sit in area where there was illumination, and at a

certain time, maybe about eleven o'clock the lights would flash, and you would have

to get out. Now, of course, there were ways, I think, to evade some of this dis-

cipline, but generally that was the rule in the fraternity--sorority houses--it was

about the same thing. But I remember many times leaving the college about eleven

o'clock at night for the long treck.back to Gainesville. A., I always ~F4es04

get a ride, I think. But one or two times,yJf- maybe the...the student body there,

all of us once in a while would get out on the road and hike a ride, you know.

Didn't have any automobiles on campus to amount to anything. When I was a freshman,

AL16AB Page 13

I think I can remember just three or four--that's all we had. Three or four.

J: Now, we've talked about student government, somewhat, and Florida Blue Key. What

about the Alligator? How active was that, politically speaking, on campus?

D: Very active. A very good paper, I think. :G' | of course, under the

control you might say, of thejniversity, but the students spoke with an independent

voice. Seemed to me like, when I was on campus as an undergraduate, we had an

overwhelming spirit of cooperation. We needed s o much at the university, that we

we generally had no problems with the administration as students on all college

campuses seem to have now. But when I was vice-president of the student body, and

acting president of the student body, I never had any problems with the president

of the university He was very cordial to me, this President Tigertirwe had a

problem there one time with students, ,p they said that we had a terrific,~-a -

bout of influenza-on campus,-and a lot of boys were in the infirmary, and I had to

go to the president and get him to close the university. I went and found out later

thatd.that that was not so, the boys were just kidding me, but President Tigert

gave me a...about a 20-year old young man all kinds of personal attention, and we

venerated our presidents, we loved them, we really did. But now, you see, with the

tremendous number of students.a!h. I suppose that's one reason, it seemed like to

me, that you don't have this 4g, close rapport between the administration and

students. The size of the university, again let me say, when I was an undergraduate,

was a small, compact, university.


J: I'd like to go on now to when you came back as director of student activities center.

Where was it located at that time?

D: A4, the, al center was located adjacent to the main university cafeteria. The

4t, building,,ah,, now...I don't know what's it's used for now. But, have I been

AL16AB Page 14

able to identify the main cafeteria as you~p~P as you face east, it was there.

And, of course, still is there, you know. But I...I don't know what do with the


J: Then it would be the same building that served as the Union until sity-even, when

the new....

D: That's true, until 1967.

J: A" what kind of activities did the student center run at that time?

D: Af it was one hundred percent dedicated to students. rremrember campus was much

smaller, we have many less facilities, andA*bh I think it was an achievement, a

tremendous achievement of President Tigert that we had a student center) Fiuewvse

v,)A so many other things that were needed. But he...he wanted the students to have this

home away from home, and many of them were not in fraternities. And then he wanted

them to have sort of a coordinated area for the student activities, and we had on

the ground floor a game room. We didn't call it a pool room, because some people

objected to pool, we called it a game room, but they played pool in the room. 2

and incidentally, my game manager was Mr. Floyd Christian, you remember him?

J: Um...hmm...

D: He was one of my game managers and I was very sad when I read about Mr. Christian,

but he was a fine student, and we had ping-pnBg, and billiards, and pool. Then

adjoining that, we had a lunchroom, and later they had some of the university

book store activities there. But it was not an integral part of the Union, per

4 it was sort of a extra addition. On the second floor, we had a banquet room,

where student banquets, the Blue Key banquets used to be held. They had a big

lounge called the William, /A4 William Jennings Byron Lounge f Mr. Byron had

participated in the campaign to raise money for student buildings at the University

of Florida. And personally he pledged a thousand dollars. I think the depression

or something came--maybe he didn't pay the whole thousand, but he did pay some.

AL 16AB Page 15

And that's the reason that lounge is named after him, and inscribed on the walls of

that lounge are these words from Byron, I hope I can remember them: "I fear the

Hrisy of wealth, I revere the aristocracy of learning, but I thank God for the

democracy of the human heart." These are William Jennings Byron's words inscribed.

Now, on the main floor, we had offices by the way of alumni affairs for a while.

I commented about we were dedicated to student activities, but we did have the office

of alumni affairs. And public relations offices of the university. Then on the

second floor, it was devoted to religious activities, the YMCA was housed there.

At that time, the YMCA was an active group. And"p~ we had a beautiful auditorium

up there, beautiful stained glass window, and we had a pipe organ in there that

the university organist, 4 1 Murphy would come, and play programs for us. 5 we

had on the next floor now, the student activity offices. We had the Honor Court

office, we had the president of student body office. The president of student

body had a desk that was givenaOaj by the Flagler estate, over in St. Augustine.

), we had lounges for women visitors down stairsgoqh, now in our big banquet

room, we had a big banquet room, we would have small dances. But this was pretty

basically what we had. We had we hade, programs student activity meetings.

Sometimes we would have fifteen meetings going on there at night. WK had as

many as a thousand students coming in and out. It was a place where student activities

were coordinated, you-keS .

J: When you had dances, were the townspeople invited? Would the guys have somebody

to dance with?

D: Oh, yes. Yes. One of my projects was every Friday night to have a dance in the

ballroom there, and to I:.-;' invite the young ladies from town&,,and it was, it

was real nice. It meant a lot to the students, I think.

J: Were there any charges for these types of activities?

D: Ah, maybe twenty-five cents or fifty-cents if you had a dance with an orchestra.

AL16AB Page 16

J: So that we understand the cost...what was tuition approximately in the 30's, say

.thi*ty-e, when you came back?

D: You know, sadly, I don't remember that, but it seemed to me like when I started as

a freshman, I'd go for a whole year for about three hundred dollars. But I just
don't remember about the thi=ies. You see, I didn't go to school then, and,:lh,;,.

J: Right.

I: But I, of course, it was nothing compared to what the cost of education would be


J: Now, you mentioned Dr. Tigert quite a bit, and in reference to when you wereaH,

head of student activities center, perhaps you had a lot to do with Mr. Kl

D: K1 Graham.

J: Ah, excuse me, Mr. Graham. I'm sorry. A _what kind of working relationship did

you have?

D: I was on President Tigert's administrative council, and on that council, there was

the president of the university, the vice-presidents, and Dr. Graham, the business

manager, and the deans. And some directors. I was a director. So it was a close

relationship. withwih President Tigert, for example, I would have conferences with

him quite frequently, and with D. KlHue Graham, not only when the administrative,

council met, but at other times I would talk with him. And we used to visit a lot.

I was not married them, and Dr. Harold Wilker, who's on campus now, was with me in

the Union, and he and I and Dr. Graham and Mrs. Graham used to eat lunhh together,

and we would go to take a swim somewheremaybe, but we had pretty close social

relationship with Dr. Graham. He was...he was quite a wonderful fellow. now,

M with President Tigertay I did a number of things, whatever he wanted me to.
I remember I used to go with him c ^, i/to Tallahassee to talk to members of

the legislature. AP but,4~ he would come over to the Union very often for

meetings, / so I got to see him very often.

AL16AB Page 17

J: Where would people eat on campus besides...you mentioned the snack area that was

at the Union. Where else would they 4eat, and would they eat in groups of students,
was it military fashion where everyone ate together, or were there separate places

to eat on campus?

D: Well now, when I first went as a freshman, the main place to eat was in the, what

we called the mess hall. That was in the 1920's. And, oh, gee, the price was just

very,very modest, and the men who lived in the dormitories ate in the mess hall.

Sthe College Inn was ay, even when I was a freshman, and students ate there.

s there was no Union building, or any other eating facilities on-campus in, during

my undergraduate days, as I recall. Just the main cafeteria. Or mess hall, we didn't

Syr- cafeteria-style, we sat down and people brought the food and put it in front of

you. Now then, whbn I came back as a member of the staff in the thirds, we had

many more sandwich shops along University Avenue, and by the way, in the twePneses,

there were one or two dt places along University Averni, close by the Jfniversity

where you could buy sandwiches. But I remember when I was a freshman, the only

place you could get a sandwich,,in g4-,, the closest place from the university was

downtown by the old Lyric Theatre. You had to walk all the way downtown to get any

kind of a sandwich.

J: Was that "Louie's Lunch?"

D: A- it was along in that area. It was along in that area Al now:4fi, then in
the Iztires though, they began to,adkx have other places to eat around there, but

basically, the tremendous university eating facilities that we have now have been

products of the last few years.

J: Do you recall the "Black Cat," which was located across the street from your frater-


D: Oh, yes. Oh yes. That's right. The Biszell boys, I think, had the Black Cat.

Now, that came along in thh middle twenies-, yes. That was a hamburger joint, and

AL16AB Page 18

there were three or four of those along University Avenue, along in the middle

J: What was the town like during the summer? Did everybody empty out, or were there

also students remaining here? fi in terms of the late -thi.ies, when you came back

as director of the...

D: As I recall, the summer school was largely for teachers. School teachers. And some

students, a few students, but not very many students...they were, they were teachers

who would come in here to takeAH1/244' refresher coursesf* nowOaey always, it

seemed to me like the whole atmosphere was different in the summertime. It was an

entirely different atmosphere. A%^ just composed mainly of ,<,., many women who'd

been teaching, and were coming back for these refresher courses. Very few students.

In comparison to the other numbers.

J: You mentioned that in your student activity center was located the alumni office.

What was the influence of the alumni on the campus? Was it very strong?

D: I would say,~f^ they had a tremendous influence in helping us with the legislature.

T a very considerable influence. i the average student probably wasn't too

aware of an alumni association, but they performed As4 excellent services .,h in

public relations, and in helping the university get the rather meager financial

support that it did. The university didn't get much financial support in those


J: Do you recall any Wi,'/'Ma status consciousness between lower classmen,and upper

classmen, and things like wearing beanies on freshman?

D: The amazing thing was the democracy of the campus. Now, when you were a freshman

you wore a cap, but,71; if you're thinking in terms of what, you know, we would

call a upperclass people, and middleclass people,,we were all the same class. The

affluent boys would,/would work, by the way. They'd, they'd wait tables, aid get

that extra money so they could go to Tallahassee. It was a pit was a very democratic

AL16AB Page 19

institution as far as attitudes were concerned. Now, you had the fraternities, of

course, and naturally, I suppose boys in the fraternities would be considered a little

different from boys who:weren't in there, but not...there wasn't much of a class

distinction. It was amazing. Before the war, one of the governors of Florida was

a student on campus when I was, and he was of the great,,44W democratic personalities.

No money, you know, but very popular. He was quite a...quite a famous student.

And many students fyphiA_^ that kind of category--the university in the 1920's

was a pioneer university. Florida was a pioneer state. And I'm so grateful that

I had a chance to be a part of that spirit, and when I went to school, I went with

men who later became the great leaders of Florida. Leaders in professions, leaders

in politics. When I was director of alumni affairs, I think I can truthfully say

half of the judges in Florida, over half of the public servants in Florida, in the

legislature, most of the Florida Congressional delegation were alumni of the Univer-

sity of Florida. They were part of that pioneer group. And that opportunity will

never come again. Florida's not a pioneer state any more.

J: Well, as long as we've talked about those who have gone to the legislature, where

were the precincts in the th~- s? Where would you go to vote? Where did you

vote? In 19...

D: I always voted back at Hawthrone.

J: Oh.

D: I kept my permanent home at Hawthrone until my wife and I were married in 1941.

Because I lived with my mother for a number of years. My father was deceased. Now,

after 1941, as long as I can remember, we voted in the P.K. Yo precinct.

It's 23 now. We lived, my wife and I, have lived in this area, this has been our

permanent home since we was married. We lived first in a home down in the valley

here, and then moved later here. But see, that's a period now of thirty-five

years. And as I recall, all that time, it seemed like we voted in that P.K. Young

AL16AB Page 20



J: Now, when you say P.K. Yoag, do you mean present day Norman Hall?

D: Ah, no. Back...well now, you...you...you reminded me of the fact that the present

precinct wasn't there thirty-five years ago, which is true. And sadly, I don't

remember exactly where I voted, but it seemed like it was somewhere in that area.

But, sure, the last few years now, I can remember it's been where it is right now.

Not in Norman Hall, but.-~qw, it's in the building further back here to the south,

you know.

J: Now you mentioned that some of the students would work at the same time that they
were students. Ah, did you know any that worked, perhaps, 3~yt)i the Primrose?

D: Ah, the main character I remember around the Primrose was Professor Bill Carleton,

who lived there. Aa you know, they would let a few people live there, and eat

tool And I think Professor Carleton lived there for years. I don't remember.;.a.',

too well the boys that worked there. Most of the men I knew who worked would work

in these boarding houses close by campus. But I do, I do':remember the Primrose

Grill way back years ago. It's,,i4t's Gainesville's oldest eating institution,

you know.

J: Well, I'd like to talk about some of the other events that took place in the town

which would have some influence over the university, but now directly. For instance,

were you here when they had a Tu r~ Blossom Festival?

D: Yes.

J: And if so, what was the kind of activities, and what was your reaction to that?

D: The "T- r\ Blossom Festival was sponsored by the Lion's Club, as I recall.

Then9e program was nota,&A very elaborate" as I recall, we had the usual parade,

and we had the beauty festival. i,~ frankly, Gainesville was not a sophisticated

town, and there wasn't very many things that university students could do. SI

I remember when we had the great fight about the picture shows on Sunday. A there

AL16AB Page 21

was a time when you couldn't go to picture shows, and the great argument OreoJ r-
by Mr. Claude Lee, who by the way is living here now, a very elderly man; but he

was manager of the theatre, and his argument was that we ought to open up the

picture shows so the boys could have somewhere to go. But the picture show was

what the boys would do, when I was an undergraduate, and even in the first several

years when I was director of the Florida Union in the t tl es. We talk about

\Sn,youtKey maybe ten or fifteen years*, nothing to do except go swimming, you

know, not many programs downtown, )tiegh later they could go to the picture shows.

So what would happen in the weekends when I was an undergraduate, we would just

leave here and go to Tallahassee. They just check out on these roads and go to

Tallahassee. And, then in the early th4ieas, we began to have picture shows,and

most students stayed on campus. But I think, even right now, a tremendous number

of students leave Gainesville over the weekends. Of course, now, they have so many

things on campus--on campus now, yea can go picture shows, they have a...they could

play billiards, they could bowl, they've got all kinds of?. ?ow, we had intra-

mural activities 4167 were very popular, very popular, and many, many students in

the teis s would go out foryt-atriletic programs, they didn't have scholarships.

But these were the things that occupied them, and Gainesville didn't contribute

very much to the social life.

J: What about shopping areas? In the late thwi- es? Where would you do grocery

shopping? Clothing shopping? That kind of ...

D: We would go to Fred Boylan's Pigglfy Wiggloy on the courthouse quaree. And then to

Vs; Pell's store on the courthouse Square. And we had--I don't remember these
chain stores at all in the early th4stres when we came. We went to Piggloy Wiggly.

I bought my clothes from Otto Stock, on the square. Mr. Burkh m o the square.

And my wife bought, would buy her clothes in Gainesville from.41t I think some

of the shops around the square. But the business interest of the town was located

AL16AB Page 22

down there then.

J: Do you recall, for a short, short while, there was a catelog store of Montegomery

Ward in town. Do you recall that at all?

D: I don't. No, I don't.

J: 4pwa.what about--most of the shops were downtown. So do you recall the 1938 fire,

when many of those stores experienced...

D: fP I think that around when Mr. Tench had his shoe store. Now, in 1938, I certainly

was around here, and I recall it vaguely. But I don't remember too much about it.

f I was director of the Florida Union then, so I was here. P.,tI sometimes wonder

if maybe I was out of 41was out of town at a convention or something, because I

don't remember it very well. I'll tell you some things that I remember in the

-~tUaeies that were very interesting. This man, FBeyd Warren, ah, one--ah-, weekend,

they had a pep rally out on campus, and Ringling Brothers Circus was in town. And

leyd Warren said, "Let's go and see if we can't get in at a reduced price." So

he started marching down the street, and went all the way from University back down

to Depot Avenue, near down here on Main Street, there was a vacant area there where

the big circus came. And FhF Warren talked to the ticket man, you know, and we

have 300 or 400 students outs there, and he had charged, we were under control. He

tried to get a reduced rate, but they they wouldn't give us a reduced rate, so

the fellow took a vote and said, should we rush them, or shaw we pay, and go in.

A cry came up, "Rush theih!", so we said "Charge!" But we didn't get in. I...I

got my head under the tent, but, a man, looked like a ___was going to hit

me on the head, and I chianed out and ran back to campus. And all the students

did, they broke up out rightly. But the thing that is so interesting, the next week

they had a big,,:-.ji a religious program--Gypsy Smith Junior was at the Baptist

Church, and Fyd Warren formed a brigade to march down to the preaching, and we

all marched down behind him with the band singing "Glory, glory, hallelujah", you

AL16AB Page 23

know. And the week before, we had all watched M rushed into the circus, you know.

Ii.fLun at that time was...doing things like that, always at the Alachua County Fair,

a crowd would go in, and we all get on the ferris wheel at the same time, you know.

As a cheerleader, my big duty during the year- was to always have a megaphone to

plead with them to get off the ferris wheel at the county fair, or not to rush the

picture show, you know, be orderly. A.4 the men were not, you know, were not

absolutely undisciplined but$m, they were inclined to do sS;Rilike that.

J: Do you recall any pajamas parties?

D: Oh, yes, all the time. Quite frequently during the football season.

J: And march downtown...

D: March downtown in their pajamas, that's that's about all we did, and march down

there and have a little pep rally, and then come on back.

J: In the late thiieses, did you ever visit the White House Hotel, or the Thomas Hotel...

D: Oh, yes, many times. And,,^ in fact, when I first became director of the Florida

Union in 1936, I stayed at the White House Hotel, and I had one of the lov1iest

rooms--two big beds in the room, and they said I could have, of course, a guest

if I wanted to; one dollar a day. At the beautiful Thomas Hotel. And it was

beautiful, it was charming. Your breakfast would cost you thirty-five cents

there. AfM the White House Hotel was the favorite gathering spot of great person-

alities in Florida for years. Home of Gov. McCarty, I remember when he came, he

always wanted to go to the White House Hotel rather than the old Thomas Hotel. So

I had spent many nights in the old Thomas, and) j\ it was a grand old hotel. It


J: Did you ever go just to eat there? For a nice dinner?

D: Quite frequently. Now, in its later days, it had a nice ,~4^ buffet luncheon on

Sunday,) in my days as director of the Florida Union, I would go there infrequently

for ', banquets. I remember the most wonderful personality in many ways that I

AL16AB Page 24

ever met was,.'uhJ the famous blind lady, Helen Keller. f3 she came to Gainesville

at the request of our Gainesville Lion's Club. I was president of the Lion's Club

then. It was my duty to go down and meet her. She was staying in the Thomas

Hotel, and I remember,-, she thanked me for the flowers we sent, and she said

they're so beautiful, and I said, Miss Keller, that was name, wasn't it?
J: Um...hm...

D: Helen Keller?

J: Um...hm...

D: I don't why--it seemed like that name sounds a little wrong to me. But she said

"Oh, I can tell how beautiful these flowers are, you just be surprised."

J: Do you recall--was that in the fthawies, or was that...

D: That was in thb thirties. :A';, what we had her here for, probably was in the late

thkises, but we were trying to get the state legislature to approve a bill setting

up a council for the blind. I had the pleasure of being the first chairman of

that council, an honorary position, not a paying position. But at that time, there

was no particular work being done for blind people. And this civic organization

had worked for the blind as its main philanthropic effort. So we got her to come

down. She went to the legislature, to make a long story short, 4i&-of course, they

approved legislation setting up a council after Helen Keller appealed them. She

came out to the university, and made us a talk--to the students, but this was a

great and wonderful & personalility. I felt like I was standing on holy ground

when I walked behind her.

J: Well, we've talked about the beautiful White House Hotel, and the Thomas Hotel.

What about your reaction to what was called the Dixie Hotel, and later became known

as the Kelly Hotel, and later became known as the Sgal Building.

D: That was an amazing,<'.-.-;: an amazing building. the lady who finally helped the

university get that was Miss Segal, you know. And frankly, the time I remember

AL16AB Page 25

best about it was when I went to a program where Senator Black, our state senator/

and Miss Segal were participating when she was getting money to match some state
money so that hotel could be taken over by the university. And Miss Segal wore so

many diamonds, it just looked like her hands were going to fall down, you know.

And, I remember, John McCarty was there that day, and Senator Black, our state

senator, thought that he was Dan McCarty, during the meetings. But he couldn't

see very well,and he called him little Dan, and commented about how Dan McCarty

was in the legislature and did so much help--had given him just all kinds of help,

N to make thatAr/f appropriation possible. And that was quite a colorful little

ceremony. And I can remember, of course, during the days when we were ll hoping

that that building would be a hotel Vr theb-w _aT'w wet n we ne de-age

never had a modem hotel in Gainesville, you know, and with the Kelly Hotel, we

hoped we would have it some day, but it never did materialize.

J: Some were called the market in the basement. Do you recall that at all?

D: I don't...I don't recall that.

J: Well, you-.mentioned the Lyric Theatre before. ', do you recall a Florida Theatre


D: Yes, Yes.

J: And who did you see in the movies then? Did you see Barbara Stanwick and Jimmy

Stewart, and Nelson Eddy?

D: Yes, the thing I remember about the Florida Theatre was Claude Murphy, who later

became the University of Florida organist, came to Gainesville, partly because he

had a job playing the beautiful organ in that Florida Theatre. And if I'm not

mistaken, when they took the organ out, we bought it for our Presbyterian Church, r-

here in Gainesvilleqif that's the old organ. But the Florida Theatre, I remember

Al Jolsonriseems to me like his first talking picture, I saw that at the Florida

Theatre. And I...I don't remember too many of the shows, except I went o.mt.te

AL16AB Page 26

all the time.
) 3 oS
J: Was the organ,,during the thstes, the organ was still located in the Union?

D: Now, 4,, I think, I know that it was in there during the late twenti-es, because that's

when Claude Murphy came to Gainesville. 4 but it seems to me, like when I came

back as director 6f the Florida Union in the mid-ths es, it was gone. So it was

not a long period of time when the theatres gave that kind of music, because,..see,

talkies came in, and it was no longer...

J: Whatjiwhat did you pay for a ticket to the theatre?

D: Twenty-five cents, as I recall.

J: And would it be for two hours?

D: I stayed through the whole show, you know, and when I was an undergraduate, 8lyU'~

stay through two of them sometimes, if you were like I was. By thesway, I remember

as an undergraduate in the weftrs, we had students that would playyj,- orchestra,

in the orchestra, for these picture shows. The old Lyric Theatre 4t Mr. Brown,

who was director of the band at the university, had an orchestra composed of students,

and I used to play in there a little bit. And you'd get a free ticket to the

picture show. Those were the days when they didn't have the talkies, you know.

And quite a few of the university students earn a little extra money playing the....

in the two theatres, in town.

J: When you came back, as director on campus of the activities center, ~' what would

you do, maybe, for recreation? Would you ever go to the springs?

D: Yes.

J: And if so, which springs?

D: Oh, yeah, I loved to go to the springs when...you talk about me personally?

J: Um. .hmm.

D: I would go to Magnesa Springs, and f Dr. Graham the man about who I was talking

that was a favorite place for him to go. And then I lovedito go on the springs on

AL16AB Page 27

the Swanee River. AV one of my favorite was Fanning Springs, and then ,ah; there's
A "=-
several springs around here in Gainesville. But...close by, but the Magnesa and
Fanning Springs were my two favorite places. And then, I love to go to the ocean.

Of course, there are all kinds of lakes nearby here, and my old home over around

Hawthorne, there were any number of lakes where you could go, and swim in the nude
ei-t )2os
then, you know, people ws so isolated. In the early wtis, it was amazing.how

people were populating1 .populating many of these areas.

J: Did you ever swim at 411,I think it was called Palm Point? At Newpan's Lake?

D: Ah, I'm sure I did. I'm sure I did. I'm trying to think of the hole that we swam

in when I was a freshman here at the University of Florida. It was some sinkhole,

not far away from here. When we didn't even have a swimming pool. But swimming

i was one the main bits of recreation that all of us had in the summertime. And

.I particularly enjoyed going to these springs.

J: Besides springs and the theatre, what might be some other forms of recreation for...

not the students, but for the townspeople when you came back?

D: 1hwwe had the golf course out here, but now it's the University Golf Course.

and that was about it. b. of course, fishing and hunting--you know, fishing and

hunting are yare, used to be wonderful activities around this area. And now,

fishing still is. And I) ,when I was director of the Florida Union, I used to

organize these deep-sea fishing trips. f5 we'd go to Cedar Key and make arrange-

ments for all day trip yso fishing and hunting were marvelous4-a4, in my under-

graduate days, for people who liked it, and even on into the thibie~ s. Now, you

don't find any areas for hunting.

J: Were you a member of the country club at all?

D: I was not then. ~,no.a.wV,'. spent so much of my time over at Hawthorne until

I was married, by the way. I didn't have too much time to participate in ~fgeuvarious

kinds of recreation.

AL16AB Page 28

J: When you were here in the late t~ites, Franklin Roosevelt was still the president.

Do you recall....


J: This a continuation of the tape with Mr. Matthews, and we were just talking about

the feeling of the people in the- thisies to Franklin Roosevelt.

D: With my own close associates, we just thought he was the greatest thing that

ever happened. And he was my first great political hero. I was with him as, they

used to say, from the dotting of an "i" to the crossing of a f't". But, Franklin

Roosevelt's name was magic with most of the people i knew.
J: Even though by that time, he tried to interfere .wgh the supreme court?

D: ~j yes, now, naturally, his popularity was greatest the first few years when

people around Gainesville who couldn't get any work started getting WPA jobs, when

young people were able to get NYA jobs, when the banks opened up again, and these

first few months, it was just a tremendously dramatic thing. NowLf~ several

years later when he began to have the problems with the courts, then later when

he ran the third time, you know, and many people, including myself, began to have

some misgivings about some of the things he was doing. But he electrified this

part of the country, as I recall, when he first became president.

J: What about local governmait? Do you recall some of the mayors like DIAlo1
Livingston of Tench?
D: I remember Mayor Dale very well, Mayor Tench very well. % I was in the state

legislature with eatbFritz Buchholz, who was the principle of Gainesville High

School, and remember him. I remember Mr. Buchholz much better than any other

political figure in Gainesville, because I served in the legislature with him.

He was a man of impeccable honor, a man who voted his convictions I remember.

we were there with Governor Scholtz, you know, and I would whisper to Pop, we

AL16AB Page 29

called him Pop Buchholz. I'd saynow, op, I can't vote for that bill, I think

it's a bad bill, but the governor's for it, and any way in the world you can vote

for it, it sure would be helpful to us down there!. Well, Buchholz comes before

Matthews, you know, and they'd call the roll then. And they called Buchholz, and

I was hoping he could honestly say "aye," but he wouldn't, he'd vote with me a:.

hundred percent. Oh .Twe both thought the same way, and I flatter myself by saying

I really think we voted correctly, but he was a great man. A man of ifisustaunch

character, great intellect. We went to the legislature basically to try to help

school teachers. At that time, we had four members of the legislature that were

school teachers. Buchholz and Matthews from Alachua County, a fellow named Hill

from Lav(ette"County, and a fellow named Larson from Clay County. Four of us,

and I'm so happy that I was one of the first members of the first state teacher's

retirement committee. We had no retirement systems--teachers had been p

Throughout the state, you know, and I think that in that legislature that

I able, maybe, to make a contribution, and in the field of education that was gy-

significant. So I don't remember Mr. Tench very well as a mayowm, or Mr. D01--

I remember the names. I'll tell you, I remember a state representative by the

name of Oscar Tillman, who served Alachua County years ago. Ah, he was a wonderful

fellow. Lived over here at Campdate. You know, the towns around Gainesville

used to make tremendous contributions to this county, of course, and still do.

But you had a member of the legislature like Mr. Tillman. When I ran for the
0 ni f l-Crr legislature, I ran as a country boy. at time we had a geaeae understanding.

We had two members of the legislature from Alachua County, and one person would

run from the country areas, and one would run from the city areas. So I ran from

the country area, the Hawthorne area. But you had political leaders in this county

that came from around Newberry and Hawthorne, and Camp44i-A. We had a state represent-

ative from Alachua, Mr. Ellis. We had a state representative from out here in

AL16AB Page 30

in Booker, amLan named Harris. They had a state representative from High Springs,

a fellow named Whitlock. And they, they fought for the University of Florida.

They,1you could always count on them.

J: Well, until what year was Mr. Buchholz in the legislature?

D: Just one term like ItA -

J: One term.

D: He ran, I think, later for state superintendent of public instruction. And then, -cA-

like he couldn't stay in politics longer--see, he had to work it out so he got

a leave of absence. He had to quit teaching for a whole half a year, something

like that. So he felt like--I know that he couldn't keep on being in the legislature.

J: How big was the legislature at that time?

D: Now, let me see. They have 120 members of the house, and 40 members, I think, of

the senate. At that time. We had a system whereby every county had at least one

representative, so that would be at least 65. And then I think, it was your three

biggest counties had five -h, representatives each, and *, then your ,now wait

just a minute. Your three biggest counties maybe had three representatives each,

your next five had two representatives each, and then everybody else had one.

But, sadly, I don't remember actually. I don't remember.

J: Well, just out of curiousity, I know you don't remember Mr. Tench or Mr. D$1~

very well, but is Mr. D le the same Mr. DIt$ who owned the grocery downtown?

D: No, ma'am.

J: No, it is not.

D: They were related, but, t4, they were not the same les. I think the Dale about

who you're talking was later, he was a state senator at one time,in his life, I
think, and his son is Dr. J. Max Dale.

J: And the Tench, could that be a relative of the judge that...

D: He is. Mr. Tench is the father of our present Judge Tench.

AL16AB Page 31

J: What was the feeling between the university and the townspeople? I guess you
were sort of caught in the middle by the late t4 iies because although you were

connected with the University, .a.,.it wasn't in terms of a professor ship. ,_ did

you feel any resentment from the townspeople, or was it a very good working relation-


D: I think it was a good working relationship. You see^gL the city needed the

university so desperately, and people were conscious of just how much it meant to

Gainesville, and I, in my own life, was never aware of any town 4v. gown 4,

hostility. But I had joined city clubs downtown, and I participated in the

Chamber of Commerce. I naturally had the kind of life as an administrator that

maybe I would not had had as a teaching professor. And I thought our relationships

were very good.

J: ?other political issue I forgot to mention, it took place in the *hi-'res. Do

you recall any controverS*y with the cross-Florida barge canal, as early as then?

D: Very much so. And you know, I'm afraid you might not agree witli me about this,

but when I went to congress, I was for the cross-Florida barge canal. wwe,
ever since the days of Andrew Jackson, they were talking about that canal. And

during the depression, this area was so hard hit, and it just galvanized the

people into a spirit of optimism when Mrs. Roosevelt started things going and

they began to dig the canal. And then, you know, there was this tremendous dontro-

versay about it harming the water supply. So, the project was stalled, and perhaps

I should quit talking there, but when I went to ed;S they started working then

on a canal that was not the deep sea canal. And you know, to get a project like

that, you go through a torturous process, you have all kinds of hearings. And we

had them, and I thought we had people pretty well united and we went ahead, and

we got the canal started, and then-now, of course, it's been stopped, and it makes

me very sad. Now, this area of F{orida through the years has been so depressed

AL16AB Page 32

in comparison to other areas, and we think of the ecological problems and the

oil problemsv7-I've seen these highways built, you know, 1-75, and over on the

east coast, and taking away thousands of acres of beautiful trees. To get water

transportation, why, you have less of these roads being built, you know, and there's

so many advantages, it seemed to me about it, that frankly, it just made me sad

to see that's its gone now. I, I'm afraid its gone. But, prosperity follows these

transportation routes, you know, and thre*t-a great, heavy traffic on highways.

It's just, it's hard for me to understand why, why late&g people don't see the

great harm that's being done by the constant expansion of the, the highways, you

see, and if you could have a little more water transportation, it has some evils,

but it looked to me like, like it was a goodA1, proposition, and Odb as I say,

sadly, we thought we'd gone through the process, and had everybody pretty well

sold on the idea. They went into the different towns, and everybody had a chance

to complain, andvand it was done later, and if I felt the people weren't behind

it, of course, I'd never would have been behind it. p$ and before I quit talking

on this, and I shouldn't, but I always felt down in south Florida, you see, they

built all these canals, and they've opened up areas, and they've had prosperity,

and I couldn't help but feel down deep in my heart it's just a little bit of, .

it's just a little bit unfair when one part of the state had all the development,

and up here we needed it so desperately, and never could get it.

J: Well, this is a different type of question I'm going to ask you. Do you recall

malaria being in town in the late t4a sres and the reaction of the mosquito inspectors?

D: Yes. The malaria in Alachua County was awful, as I recall, and I don't think

there's anyplace in the world where the mosquitos were more awful. And as a little

boy, it was just common for us to take quinine all the time, I can remember taking

it all the time. And, 14 I can't remember too much about the fight to Rte

them, but I'm just personally grateful for the great progress we made. But I can

AL16AB Page 33

remember how horrible W as a little boy, the mosquitos was, in this whole area.

J: Did it spread out to Hawthorne?

D: Oh, yes ma'am. The mosquito~teI$lIJ4 it was terrible, all over this county.

J: We've talked about a lot of people at the ,1Uiversity. We've talked about Mr. Glean,

Mr. Tigert. We sort of,we sort of forgot Lester Hale. Do you recall Lester Hale?

D: Remember him very pleasantly. Now, Mr. Hale took over as director of the Florida

UIion, it was called then, in'my place when I went into the war. I was going to

war for four years. Mr. Hale was the director, and Mr. Ryan, who is now the director

of the Reitz Union, his, was his assistant. So, I had contacts with Mr. Hale

through that relationship. _and knew him on campus as a very wonderful person

who was very closely associated with student activities. pso, they,/fi'!.yI'm

very proud of the fact that I have known him, and think he's just a great man. Now,

most of his work at the university, you see, that is so well known, took place when

I was gone. I was away from here for sixteen years. And during those years after

the war when I went to congress e.eb Dr. Hale stayed on campus and became 4 vice-
president, you know, and'rendered his great service to the university.

J: He still reads the Chf" tmas Carol$ here.

D: Yes. Yes. By a kind of tradition.

J: Do you recall any interaction with the blacks in town in the late -itaies such

as Charles Chestnut or A. Quinn Jones?

D: My contacts were basically with Charles Day., A one of the great men of this city.

B I remember for years I headed up the ,o-e C campaign. And, Mr.

Chestnut, Sr., always headed up these campaigns in the black community. And I

remember we'd go down to 5th Avenue, and start off our little campaign. We'd have

soup and talk and I had very close connections with Mr. Chestnut. Mr. MacFerson,

I knew very well. Now, young Mr. Chestnut came on later r and I

didn't know him too well.

AL16AB Page 34

J: What about Mr. Jones?

D: Knew him very well, and he was a great fellow. And I would go speak in this school,

you know, from time to time, k.I so, yes, I did have the pleasure of knowing him.

Buy particularly, I was closely associated with Mr. Chestnut, Sr.

J: What buildings were on campus when you came back after being away for--oh, about

six or seven years when you came back on campus. Where were the buildings, and

what was there?

D: There are so many out there now, by the way, that I get lost. As I recall, now,

when I first started in the ewanetes, it won't take but a minute here. We had

Buckman and Thomas halls, the only two dormitories. Buckman and Thomas. Then we

had what we called Language Hall, where the president of the university was, where

many of the classes were. I remember Benton Hall, I remember Peabody Hall. I

remember the old YMCA hut, the old gymnasium. Now, when I first started on campus,

I regret, that's about it. We had a wooden infirmary. 4~ now, thenS~,stSUSh

we pb.we probably had the big university auditorium. All right now, I go away,

you thought about six or seven years and come back then as director of the union?

J: Um. ...hmm.

D: All right, not much added. A few more dormitories. The union building itself,

P. K. Yo g, which is now Norman Hall, and that was about it.

J: What about the dairy? Do you recall the dairy and cows?

D: Not too much, except I can remember a tremendous ^ addition to thatt4that work.

But the great expansion of the University of Florida came after World War II. As

you know, of course.

J: Do you recall the railroad being downtown?

D: Yes, I do.

J: Did you ever get caught by the railroad, and have to wait for a long period of


AL16AB Page 35

D: Yes, absolutely. They worked it out so they didn't cause too much of a problem.

But I, I can remember, I think one of those trains used to stop and people would

go and eat their noon meal at the White House Hotel. See, the White House was just

across the street. And they worked it out so they could have enough of a stop

there so people could go eat. But it worked so the engine did not, it did not

hinder traffic on University Avenue, didn't come up that far, you see. And, the
last car didn't impede traffic down the othersend. I don't remember too many

problems, but I do remember the slow train going through the middle of town, I


J: k why don't we change the topic one more time, and talk about law enforcement

in the late t~giJes? Who was sheriff? Was there strong law enforcement? Was

there a great deal of crime in the city?

D: I don't remember too much about theyfqi, the various facets of crime. \VI I

wasn't too conscious of crime like we are now, you know. We've very conscious

of it now. We had some of the old sheriffs; there was a man named Bob Wells, who

used to live around Hawthorne. And he was a tough-law enforcement man. I remember

he was pretty tough. We had a fellow named Jimmy Ramsey, I think, in those days,

seemed like we had a fellow named Pinkerson, I but, .t I don't think, s I

can remember any particular problems, connected with crime. k, I just don't

remember very much.

J: So you were never frightened about going out in the evening?

D: No. Oh, no. No. ,giS-'I~. as far as going anywhere in the town at that

time--on 5th Avenue, Kt Main Street, the main street for university students, of

course, was University Avenue. A, in myi-later undergraduate days in the late

twentwes, Sam Byrd, who was an actor, and was on Broadway for a number of years,

and by the way, I saw him in "Tobacco Road," was on campus, and he and I would walk

down from,,rp the main university campus, to the area of that Lyric Theatre, where

AL16AB Page 36

we'd get a sandwich. And talk, and he loved to sing in the garden. That old

spiritual. And, gee, we'd walk, and never, never think about anybody wapping

you, or anything. I suppose during the years we would walk up and down there, 15

or 20 times. There was a famous radio announcer named Red Barber, you know

that name...

J: Yes.

D: Red and I used to walk up and down that street. He stayed,,Oy in a home belonging

to a lady--a Miss Seagle, not the one I was talking about sometime ago, but her

sister. He stayed in her home, which was by the 35t Baptist Church there. And

I remember we used to, 4h walk downtown, and get a bite to eat. I'd walk from

the dormitory where I stayed, or the fraternity house, I've forgotten which it

was then, and we'd walk together. But no worry about crime.

J: Well, you mentioned Red Barber. Did you ever sit outside the old Gainesville Sun

office, and listen to sports on the radio.

D: Oh, yes, absolutely. And I remember in my early undergraduate days, what you'd do,

before radio, I think, you'd go in front of the Gainesville Sun, and they'd get

the information by Western Union, and give it to you inning by inning. A_ an

inning would close, you know, and Western Union would report it, and somebody with

a megaphone would get out there and shout it out to you.

J: And then later on...about when did most people get radios?
I 3.os
D: Seemed to me like sometime in the late...in the early t4iti's. I wasn't too part-

icularly conscious of the radio, I don't believe, until 32, 33, along in there.

J: Did RUF get as far as Hawthorne?

D: Oh, yes.

i; It did.

D: ag this WRUF was the station in this part of Florida. And it was quite a, quite

a famous institution. Yes, ma'am.

AL16AB Page 37

J: Well, I've asked you so many questions in the time we've been here. Maybe you

would like to initiate something on your own that I perhaps^0qtf left out.

D: I think it's been very delightful. I've just enjoyed chatting with you, andS ,

I want again to express myn-,l deep regards for Mr gDr. Proctor. I'm so glad

you're doing some work with him.

J: I hope it's for him. I hope he'll like my work enough to publish it at some time.

D: Well, I'm sure he will.

J: Do you mind, then, if I use any of this material for my research?

D: You're absolutely welcome. I would plead with you, if I make grammatical errors,

you !have my permission to edit it. Because as I said in the beginning, it seems

odd when you say something, and then you read 'Your sentences are too long. In

congress, you know, you have the right to edit every thing you say. You get up

and make a speech;,4 the reporters will bring it toryou in about an hour. 'Be'

you read it, and you can tear the whole thing up, and substitute a beautiful speech,

you see. And that's the reason the congressional record never has a grammatical

error in it, but...

J: I've talked to some of the people who have done oral history for a long period of

time--this is just my beginning effort, and they tell me that is the most horrifying

thing to do, is to hear the types of questions you ask, and where you punctuate

your sentences on tape. It's horrifying. Well, thank-you.

D: Thank-you ma'am.


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