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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWER: Dr. Samuel Proctor
INTERVIEWEE: Dean James William Norman
DATE: March 4, 1969
P: You've been living here in Gainesville...?
N: ...Fifty-two years, a little over.
P: You came around 1916, didn't you?
N: October 10, 1916.
P: Who was president of the university when you came?
N: Albert Murphree.
P: You've been living here in Gainesville ever since that, then,
N: Um, hum.
P: We're starting an oral history interview this morning with
James William Norman, the long-time dean of the College of
Education at the University of Florida. This is March 4, 1969,
and we're going to have an informal conversation with Dean
Norman this morning.
Tell us where you are from, and when you were born, and
N: Well, I was born December 20, 1884. I was born way out in the
country, about ten miles from Elberton, Georgia, and about
ten miles from Hartwell, Georgia. That's just across the river
from Anderson, South Carolina.
P: Your ancestors, where did they come from?
N: My great-great-grandfather on my mother's side, Thomas Maxwell,
was a Baptist preacher in Virginia at the time when they
didn't have religious freedom. He was put in jail there
because of his religious belief, and when he got out of jail,
he came down to Georgia, and settled in Elbert County, Georgia.
It's said that--and I think this is pretty well documented--
that while he was in jail he would preach through the bars
of the jail, and rubbed the skin off of his forehead and nose
as he's trying to preach to his congregation outside of the
P: Who got him out of jail?
N: Well, we think that Patrick Henry defended him. We don't know.
But we do know that Patrick Henry defended a number of Baptist
preachers when they got in jail about that time.
P: Anyway, after he got out of jail, he moved south into Georgia?
P: Was he a Baptist preacher in Georgia?
N: Well, he established four or five Baptist churches.
P: He is your ancestor on you mother's side?
N: Yes. And my great-great-grandfather on my father's side was
also born in Virginia. Whether or not he ever got in jail, or
whether he had any trouble about his religious beliefs, we don't
know. He moved to Georgia, too, and settled in the county just
south of Elbert County. His name was John Norman. His son
moved up and lived on a farm adjoining my old home place up
P: What was his son's name, then?
N: Named William. I sometimes jokingly say that I guess I'm a
descendant of William the Conqueror. He was a Norman, and his
name was William, and in practically every generation since then--
since I have known anything about my people--there's been a
William. And now I'm named James William, I, and my son is
named James William, II, and my grandson, who is a freshman at
the university at the present time, is James William, III. I
don't know whether it's any honor to be descended of William
the Conqueror. I suppose practically everybody, by this time,
in England, is a descendant of William the Conqueror.
P: Were your ancestors preachers and farmers, generally, in north-
N: No ancestor of mine, so far as we know, was a preacher except the
one that I told you about a minute ago.
P: How'd they make their living? Farming?
N: All of them were farmers. None of my ancestors, that I can recall,
ever lived in town.
P: Tell us about your mother and father.
N: My father's name was William Benson Jefferson Norman; my mother's
name was Julia Anne Maxwell Norman. They lived in a community,
and we call it Concord Community because that was the name of the
Methodist church, which is, incidentally, still there and flouri-
shing. My father was born and brought up within a quarter mile
of that church, and that was always "the church." I never heard
him call it anything else. Didn't call it by its name. If he
wanted to say anything about it, said he was going down to
P: You all went to the Methodist church?
N: That was Methodist. Father was a Methodist; mother was a
Baptist. I followed Mother in the Baptist church.
Now, my great-great-grandfather was Elija Benson. He was
a Norman, too. He gave the property on which that church was
built. Later on, my grandfather gave land for the colored people
to put up a church, called Norman's Grove till the present time.
Then Father gave to another colored church land on which they
built a church, which is still there, and so far as I know,
thriving. But I never did give any land for any church to be
built. I didn't have it. But my people have always been
supporters of the churches.
My brother was superintendent of the Sunday school in his
church. He was also a Baptist for forty-some-odd years. He's
ninety-four years old, incidentally, at the present time.
Still living. My sisters and my mother and father were always
church-going people, and upright. Much more upright than I am.
I think they were really very fine people.
P: How many brothers and sisters did you have?
N: I have one brother. He's still alive. And I had four sisters;
three of them are already gone. There's one sister, just older
than I, still living.
P: Where's your brother live?
N: He lives at the same old home place where we moved in 1891.
We've been living at that place since 1891. I was seven years
old when we moved there. I was born across the line from that
place where my brother's still living...just across the line
in the other county, Elbert County. My home, now, their home,
is in Hart County, Georgia.
P: Where's your sister live?
N: She lives there, too. My brother and sister, neither one of
them ever married. They're living there together. A couple of
years ago my older sister died at the age of eighty-nine
something. The year before last my next sister died, and she was
past eighty-nine, but I don't know whether I'll make it or not.
My sister has passed her eighty-sixth birthday. She's older
P: Where did you go to elementary school?
N: In the country school...one room schoolhouse. Sometimes they
would have an assistant teacher, but most of the time it would
be one teacher, one-room school. I remember one year in the
summertime we built an arbor outside for some of the classes.
Took brush, and put up a cover to keep the sun off; wouldn't
keep the rain off.
P: You got all of your schooling there in a one room country school-
N: Until I went off to high school in town.
P: What was the town?
N: It was Hartwell, Georgia.
P: And they had a regular high school there?
N: They had a regular high school. It had all of the grades in the
school. It had high school work. I didn't have what you might
call high school work; I didn't have but thirteen months of high
school. I went to that school, entered in the first of November,
1899. I couldn't go in that school in September and October
because I had to pick cotton, but I went the first of November,
and I stayed there five.... I probably had five or six months,
and along in April I had to drop out to work on the farm. But
then the next year, which was 1900, for some reason or other
my father took a notion to send me earlier, and I didn't go in
September of that year either. I didn't get in until October.
And then I stayed on through June, and eventually I graduated
from high school.
P: Where did you live? In town, or did you go back and forth?
N: Yes, I boarded in town. My home was seven mile out in the
country, and I couldn't commute. So that's the way we did,
all six of us children.
P: Who'd you board with?
N: I boarded with a Mrs. Vickorey. Right close, not very far off.
And all of us did that, all six of us children.
P: All of you? Your father was able to put all six of his children
through high school?
N: Yes. All of us graduated from the Hartwell High School.
P: That was quite a feat in those days, wasn't it?
N: Yes, it was quite a feat.
P: I mean, there wasn't really much chance for children to get
an education back in the country. How do you explain how your
father was able to do that?
N: I had never thought about it. Well, I guess it wasn't so very
expensive. I don't know, but I guess all of us working
P: Did you grow up in a family where a lot of emphasis was placed
N: I think we were somewhat pioneers. The people who lived across
the creek, some of them...one man in particular, I suspect, had
a good deal of influence on us. The son of the people who lived
across the creek graduated from that school, and that family
was the one that I guess we mutually influenced each other.
P: What about books and that sort of thing in the home?
N: We didn't have many.
P: Was your father an educated man?
N: I suppose Father didn't go what would be farther than the fifth
or sixth grade, at least, upward.
P: He knew how to read and write, though.
N: Father would spell "dead" like it sounds. "Ded" is the way he
P: I suspect there wasn't very much money for books and frivolous
kinds of things.
N: No, we didn't have many books. My father would manage to get us
our textbooks. The blue-black speller, and McGuffey's readers,
and then the geographies, if they had Appelton's geography. That
was before the days of Frye's geography--and I go back behind
that--and history. I studied spelling and reading, and of course
had some writing, but I didn't learn much about that, till yet.
Later on, I studied geography and history. I thought history was
the most interesting thing that anybody could study.
P: Who had the greatest influence on you, Dean, your mother or your
N: My brother and sisters.
P: You were the youngest in the family?
N: I was the youngest. At that time I was looking to see what they
were doing. Long, long before I went off to school, I knew my
P: You didn't get much chance to travel in those early days, did
N: Well, here's the way I'm expressing it in those memoirs that we
were talking about. I said I was born about half-way between
those two towns, Hartwell and Elberton. And my world, until
I went off to college, was almost completely a rectangle, you
might say. Four miles wide and twenty miles long, extending
from one of those towns to the other. Or from the middle of
one of those towns to the middle of the other one, because I
didn't know much about the far side of town. I was rarely
ever outside of that rectangle until I went off to college.
Never had ridden on a train; then I went off to college. The
first day I went off to college, the first day I rode on a
P: What did kids do for fun back in those days? You didn't always
pick cotton or study?
N: Sundays come, we'd run and play, and we'd play ball. We played
baseball, but not with the paraphernalia that you have now. Such
a thing as having a mask, or such a thing as having a leather-
covered ball, we didn't have. We'd take an old sock, and ravel
it out and wind it into a ball, and play with it. At Christmas
time, somebody might get a little rubber ball, and then we'd
put that in the middle, and we'd get a stick or something.
One of the things that I thought was just out of this world
almost was one of the boys came in one day, and he had a bat
that he had made. He had a saw knife; he'd gotten hold of a
stick, and he had shaped it up into a bat. I just thought that
that was just about the ultimate of what people could do.
I think my early training...from that I got the attitude
that people way off yonder were the ones that did things.
Couldn't expect people around where I was to do anything
outstanding. People up north...my father always thought when
something came in kind of new, that's a Yankee invention. He
seemed to think that the Yankees had more intelligence than
most anybody else in the country, doing inventions, and I
shouldn't be surprised if there wasn't some truth in it at
that time. I've often thought that my attitude--and I'm not
watching myself--my attitude is those folks off yonder can
do things, but folks that I know, you can't expect them to
do wonderful things.
P: Was there a lot of poverty left over from the Civil War, as
you remember it, in your childhood in your area of the country?
N: Oh, we didn't have much, none of us. Father had the place where
I was born; he owned that place. That was about 400 acres,
I think. He had managed to get that, and paid for it. And
then this new place came up with 180 acres, and he bought it
at an auction. He gave $1,800 for the 180 acres, and it had
a nice house on it, nicer than we had been accustomed to.
I don't know whether you'd call that poverty, or whether you'd
just call that good luck. It didn't cost any more than that.
I don't know what it would cost now. But I remember we thought
we were moving up when we moved into this other house.
P: Do you remember from your own seeing any of the scars of the
Civil War? You must have heard lots of stories from veterans.
N: My uncle on my mother's side was the one that I knew best.
Uncle Chandler, we called him. He was wounded at the Battle of
Gettysburg, and left on the field of battle. He was taken to a
place called Davis Island, I think he told me, in the Hudson
River, as a prisoner of war. Before the war was over he was
exchanged, but I think he never got back into combat. I talked
with him a lot, even into this century, about what happened in
Those old Confederate veterans, you get 'em started (and
it wouldn't be hard to get 'em started) they'd talk about the
war ad infinitum. The man that lived near us, I don't think
that I ever heard him talk for as much as thirty minutes without
having to say something about the war. You could get him
started, and I remember that I was always wanting people to tell
me about the war.
P: I wondered if that had anything to do with your love of history?
N: I don't know whether it was after that way, or if my love of his-
tory caused me to do that. I don't know which was cause and
which was effect. Maybe both of 'em were cause, and both of
'em effect. They mutually did that.
I memorized some several pages of one of my histories
there, and especially I was a great admirer of Stonewall
Jackson. It told about Stonewall Jackson's celebrated Valley
campaign [1862 in the Shenandoah Valley]. It went on to tell
what was going to happen.
I got to where I knew every picture in my history. You
could put your hand on the name, and we'd frequently play
"Who is this?"
"Why, that's Grover Cleveland," or "That's George Wash-
ington," or "That's Benedict Arnold," or something like that.
Just put your hand over the name, and we played at history
P: So it became almost a part of you?
N: It became very much a part of me. I didn't have so very many
books. I think if I'd have had plenty of reading material
I would've known a great deal more about history than I do.
P: Life was much simpler in those days, wasn't it, Dean, than it
is in this century?
When we were living in that first place that I was
telling you about, and for a long time after we moved, we got
two newspapers from those two towns. A four page newspaper came
once a week, but I don't know whether that had much influence
on my life. Then, when I was about twelve or thirteen, my
brother--who had in the meantime gone and graduated from high
school, and was anxious to have better reading material than
we'd had--he subscribed for the Atlanta Semi-weekly Journal,
came twice a week. It was a package order. The Atlanta
Semi-weekly Journal and the New York Twice-a-Week World. And
that was when things began to happen for me. I remember that
the Journal had a sports page, and by that time I was inter-
ested in games of any kind. And I guess that Semi-weekly
Journal and that Twice-a-Week World stimulated me more than
most anything in my early life. You know about what the New
York World was at that time; the Atlanta Journal was one of
the best we had in the South.
P: So it opened a real window to the outside world, as far as you
N: Yes. I remember that I was turning through that Semi-weekly
Journal, and got to the sports page, and Atlanta was playing
Nashville. The thing that excited me more than anything else
was the prize fight between Corbet [James J. Corbett] and
Fitzsimmons [Bob Fitzsimmons] in 1897. I was violently in favor
of Corbett for no other reason than that he was an American.
Fitzsimmons was an Australian at that time, had been born in
Cornwall, England, and had migrated to...they called him the
Cornishman. And Fitzsimmons whipped Corbett. I thought that I'd
never get over it. Worse than Georgia beating us [U. of F.]
P: Dean, was your family very politically minded? Were they involved
in local politics, your father and your brothers?
N: Yes. Didn't run for any office, but when the election time came
around, there's a lot of talk about it. I got awfully interested
in it. At that time, if you remember, the Populist Party came
out. We called it the Third Party. I didn't know it had any
name for a long time except the Third Party. We called it the
Third Party, and it happened that Tom Watson, who lived not
very far from home--only sixty-nine miles, I think--he was a
great Populist man. I thought it would kill me when my county
went Third Party as a result, I guess, of his influence. But
back there in the 1890s, the Third Party took all the county
offices except the sheriff's office, and he didn't win but by
thirty votes. Oh, I thought that the world was going to come
to an end when the Third Party won.
P: Your father wasn't a supporter of the Populist movement?
N: Oh, no. He was a Democrat.
P: Just like his father and his grandfather?
N: Yes sir, he was a Democrat.
P: None of your family ran for public office at all?
N: Not a one; scarcely any of my relatives. Now, I had a first
cousin who had had infantile paralysis, and I suspect that
created a lot of sympathy, but he was a capable man. He ran for
the clerk of the court in Elbert County in 1900. He ran in
1898, I think, and was defeated, but ran again, and he held
that office until he died. He held that for thirty or forty
P: As a child, you hunted and fished out in the woods, or would...?
N: Oh, some. Yeah, I did that. Didn't have much chance for fishing.
We had a little stream ran through our farm, just a little one,
and didn't have many fish in it. We didn't have access
to fishing opportunities, much.
P: Where did your clothes and things that you used in the house come
from? Were these things that you had to make on the farm, or
could you get what you needed in town?
N: Oh, we got all the furniture we needed in town; all the kitchen
utensils, and things like that. I don't remember that we were
very creative so far as.... How I ever got interested in making
things, I don't know. My grandfather on my mother's side made
some things, but he's the only relative that I had that was
anything like a cabinet maker.
P: You didn't do these things with your hands when you were growing
up as a child?
N: No. Nothing except pick cotton, and hoe, and things like that.
,P: You weren't creating grandfather clocks at that early stage?
N: No. I don't know where I got that. That came up after I was
forty-nine years old.
P: Dean, where'd you get the idea of going to college?
N: Well, I remember there was a good deal of talk of going to college.
One of these boys that lived across the creek from us went off
to college, and I remember some University of Georgia boys coming
to see my brother to get him to go. And my sisters went off for
a short time (they didn't graduate, however) to Brenau. I don't
know how it is that I got so awfully interested in going to college.
One of my teachers went off to Mercer; graduated a short time
before I entered.
P: Did your brother go to Georgia?
N: My brother didn't go to college.
P: Were you the first one in your family to get a degree, or the
only one in your family to get...?
N: The only one, and somehow or other, I wanted to go. I wanted to
go terrifically. I graduated from high school in 1901, and two
or three weeks afterwards, the state teacher's examination came
up. I took the state teacher's examination, and I made first
grade. I was sixteen and a half years old, and I thought that
was a grand thing, but I saw somebody who had seen the questions
in the Florida examination, and he said the ones in Florida were
harder than those. I hoped it would be the other way, but that
kind of deflated me. I thought maybe after all it wasn't so
I wanted to go off to college in the worst way. Several
in my class at Hartwell were going off. Father, as I told you
a while ago, was a Methodist. A Methodist preacher was talking
to father, and he said a year between the plow handles was
good for any boy. Father took him seriously, much to my regret.
But I don't know if being between the plow handles for me ever
did me any good. I was the sorriest plow hand you ever saw.
I could pick cotton pretty well, and I could hoe pretty well,
but I wasn't much when it came.... My brother was the best
plow hand I ever saw, but I didn't have the knack.
P: So you stayed on the farm a year?
N: I stayed on the farm. I was a dropout.
P: Then you dropped out of the farm, and went off to college?
N: Yes, in 1902.
P: Why did you pick Mercer?
N: Well, this man that I was telling you about, one of my teachers,
had gone to Mercer. As I said, he graduated, I think, maybe
the same year that I went off in the fall. But anyhow, about
that time he graduated. They were having oratorical contests--
I didn't get interested in college football at that time--but
they were having oratorical contests in Georgia. They had five
colleges, the University of Georgia, Mercer, Emory, and one of
them up there in north Georgia. There was five of them, as I
recall, and Mercer won every time. All those oratorical contests
Mercer won, Mercer won, Mercer won. I wanted to be a speaker.
I just thought to be a speaker was a fine thing. But I never
have been a good speaker. I didn't practice, I guess. Just
as I never have been a writer. That kind of creative work, I
never could do. And I wanted to go where the winners were.
P: So you decided on Mercer, and your father agreed to let you be a
N: Father didn't want me to go there. He wanted me to go to Young
Harris. Young Harris was, I suppose, what you'd call a junior
college at the present time. But I didn't think Young Harris
was anything like as good as Mercer, and I wanted to go to
Mercer. We had a time, but finally he did agree to let me go.
Now, while I was at Mercer, I remember when I was a junior
there was a boy there in town that wanted to get ready to go to
Auburn, I think it was, but he didn't have the unit in geometry.
They had to have the units to get in, as you know. He didn't
know anything about geometry, and evidently his parents came
to see Professor Kilpatrick [William Heard Kilpatrick] who was a
teacher of mathematics at Mercer. He asked me if I would tutor
this boy in my junior year. Well, I got him in Auburn. He
went to Auburn. And then in my senior year, Professor Kilpatrick
again had some boys that had come to Mercer deficient in geometry.
They had to make that up as a requirement for entrance. There
was eight of them, and he asked me if I would take that class.
As I remember it now, that just fired me up. I just wanted to be
a college professor worse than anything you ever saw.
P: You decided you weren't going to be a speaker?
N: I'd given that up. I wanted to be a college professor. I
wanted to teach in college. There I was--teaching in the same
classroom that the professor himself was teaching in, and I had
my classes in the same room that he did. I used the same black-
boards that he used. I suppose that's the reason. By the time
I got through senior year, I was determined that I was going to
go off in school. And so immediately after I graduated, the
next year, I went off to Harvard and started on my master's degree.
P: How did you support yourself as an undergraduate at Mercer?
N: My father supported me.
P: Oh, you were a rich man's son, then?
N: I don't know whether you'd call me a rich man's son, but it didn't
cost so very much. I'll tell you how much it cost; I think I won't
be far off. It cost me $200 the first year, and I think I got up
to $208 the second, and $210 the third. And in that senior year
I splurged, 'cause I was getting a dollar a month from those eight
boys that I was tutoring. I had eight dollars extra. That put
me in the class of the rich boys, and I could go to the grandstand
instead of having to go to the bleachers. That cost me, I think,
about $270. So that would mean all told, my college career cost
P: Where did you live on campus?
N: They had rooming houses there. Some of them were just little
four-room cabins. Just a square thing without any hall in them,
and each corner had a room. They had several of those, and I
stayed in those a good deal of the time.
P: You didn't go fraternity?
N: No, I didn't go fraternity. Oh, the fraternities wouldn't look
at me; I was just a boy from the country.
P: What about athletics? Did you get involved in anything like
that as an undergraduate?
N: You won't believe it. I'm five feet, seven inches tall. I
made the basketball team.
P: Well, good. How about that oratory? You said you gave that up.
N: Well, I joined the Ciceronian Literary Society while I was in
college. I went every Saturday; always met on Saturday. When
I put on a program I would get something, but I didn't know how
to be flowery. I thought a person had to be flowery if he
was going to be an orator. Just get up and say something,
that wasn't oratory at all. I wanted to put adjectives and
adverbs in, in great abundance.
P: You said you took your first train ride when you left home and
went to Mercer.
N: Yeah. And when I got to Macon that night...took me all day.
You had to get up early, early in the morning to get to town,
get the train; went by Atlanta down to Macon, and got there
about 7:00. And then the YMCA boys met the train. They took
me in charge; took me out to the university; showed me around.
Very nice. I rode on a streetcar. I rode on a train and a
streetcar for the first time on the same day.
P: You were really living it up, weren't you?
N: I was living it up. I stayed at Mercer four years.
P: You saw all the marvels of the twentieth century in one day?
N: Yeah, I reckon so.
P: I guess that was an exciting day in a county boy's life, wasn't
N: It was. I was moving up; I was becoming educated.
P: What'd you major in as an undergraduate?
N: Latin, Greek, and mathematics.
P: Latin, Greek, and math. Those were your majors, and you got a
bachelor of arts degree in 1906?
N: Uh, huh.
P: And then you decided to go on to Harvard immediately?
N: Yes. And there I took mathematics. I didn't know anything about
education. Here's the way I got into education: I went off to
Harvard that year, 1906-7, when I went to.... I was there, and
Harvard was more expensive than most. Cost me $600 to go to
Harvard, and I had to get out and work. I got a job at this little
that Mrs. Norman spoke to you about yesterday, Hearn Academy at
Cave Spring, a Baptist school where you just learned the subject
matter. Didn't have much of a library. I taught at that school.
I taught mathematics; I taught one in German. Mathematics,
physical geography, Greek, and physiology. There were five
subjects that I taught in that school.
P: For the salary of what?
N: I've forgotten what it was. I came out with a little money...
P: Now, you did this when?
N: That was the year after I was at Harvard; that was in 1907 and
P: You went to Harvard for one year, 1906-1907. Did you get your
degree in 1907?
N: No, they wouldn't give a degree in one year from Mercer to
Harvard at that time.
P: Did you have any trouble getting into Harvard?
P: You had the grades, and they accepted you?
N: I don't know. I've forgotten about that. But I remember that I
was hoping that I'd get my master's degree in one year, and I said,
"All right then, if you won't let me do that the first year, I'll
take my bachelor's degree at Harvard." No, I couldn't do that
either. I couldn't take even a bachelor's degree, and not a
master's degree in one year at Harvard. So I spent my first year
I taught then for four years, and went back to Harvard in 1911
and 1912. That was the best year I ever had in school, I think.
I enjoyed that tremendously. In the meantime, I had changed to
education, and I got out of Harvard in 1912 with my master's degree.
P: So you actually went two years to Harvard: in 1906-1907, and
N: Yeah. When I got my master's degree, I thought that that was
the best year that I had had. I guess I was getting mature
enough to take on some of these things. You notice psychologists
have an expression, "a readiness," and it took me a long time
to understand what they were talking about, about being ready.
A person has matured enough so that he is now ready to do that
thing. Well, I guess that my going to the country schools,
and thirteen months in town school...and Mercer was a small
institution. I guess I was gradually coming along, but I hadn't
grown enough, so to speak, mentally and otherwise, to do very
well in my first year. But in my second year, I had taught in
1908, and this was the grandest thing that ever happened to me.
In 1908, after my first year at Hearn Academy, I had my
letter written, and went out to the postman. I handed my letter
to him, and I wanted some stamps. He had handed me our mail,
and I had seen there's a letter to me. I opened it quickly,
and I found out that there was an opening at Howard College,
Birmingham, Alabama. I said "Gimme that letter back"--the one
that I was accepting the second year at Hearn. Then I went out
for that position at Howard with everything that I knew to do.
Got everybody to write that I thought would have any influence,
and all that kind of thing. And lo and behold, I got that job
at Howard, and I was in seventh heaven for days.
Now, Howard didn't have but about 150 students at that
time, but it was a college, and in a big city. I don't remem-
ber that I cared too much about the city part, but it was in
the college. I had to teach all the mathematics--I had four
years of that--and astronomy, and I had to teach first year
Greek and second year Latin. Twenty-five hours was my load
at. It came near killing me, too, I suspect.
During the year, one of the older members of the faculty
when we were having a faculty meeting, said that we ought to
have some courses in education. Well, I had remembered that
Professor Kilpatrick had said somewhere along that education was
one of the coming subjects. They hadn't studied so much
education, you know, before 1900. That was a new course, so
to speak, and it had a future to it. Well, I didn't want all
of that stuff that I had been teaching, and I thought, "Now,
if I take this on, some of this other would be taken off."
Well, I suppose it was, but if it was, it was the mathematics,
which was the easiest thing. I remember I had to teach the
Greek again, and, I guess, the Latin. I still had twenty-five
That's how I got started in education. Never had had a
course in education, but that didn't phase me any. I would
undertake anything. I went off that summer to get ready to
teach education. Went to the University of Chicago, because
it was on the quarter system, and these other summer schools,
Columbia and Harvard and places like that, just six weeks a
quarter. I went to Chicago so I could get a full quarter,
and there I began studying education. So I came back to
Howard, and started my classes of education with only one
P: You were a specialist, already?
N: Yeah. Well, I did that the next year. That gave me two years.
Then I went off to Harvard and took my master's degree in
P: You taught at Hearn Academy one year?
N: One year, yeah.
P: And then you taught at Howard for three years. Then you went
back to Harvard, and you got your degree. So this accounts for
the time, then, from 1906 up through the spring of 1912. Summer
of 1912 is when you got your master's degree from Harvard?
P: And at Harvard, you took your degree in education?
P: Okay. Now, at Hearn you met Mrs. Norman. Tell me about that.
N: Well, I don't know if there's much of a story. I had been told by
several people that it was kind of dangerous to teach where
girls were--you might fall in love with them. I don't remember
that we were sweethearts. We weren't sweethearts while I was
there. But in 1910, I went back, and was with her a good deal
of the time.
P: Now, she was your student, I think.
N: Yeah, she was a student, and I gave her her diploma. She, in
the meantime, had gone off, and she took her degree at Bessie
Tift in two years, because they thought that this school up
there was doing about the work of a junior college. It had
good teachers before I went there--two very fine teachers, the
best that you could get anywhere, almost. She took her degree
at Bessie Tift in 1910.
P: Where is Cave Spring, Dean?
| |_ | _
N: Cave Spring is southwest of Rome, Georgia, sixteen miles.
P: And Hearn Academy was just a small, locally supported school,
N: Well, I don't know whether the Baptists gave anything to it or not.
They didn't give us anything. All that we got was just the
tuition that they paid. I've forgotten what the tuition was.
P: It was not a public school; it was a private school.
N: No. Private school. I don't remember that the public had tried
to have anything to do with that school at all. It was a Baptist
school. The Baptists started out about that time to have a
kind of a system of schools of itself. They had four or five
schools like that started in the state. They did pretty well, but
it was dependent upon the quality of the teachers that they sent.
It wasn't because they had any very good system of support, or
things like that.
P: What was Mrs. Norman's name, and where was she from?
N: Mrs. Norman's name was Lucille Pullen. She lived, incidentally,
within fifty yards of that school, on the same side of the street.
She had lived in that house for some time, and she had lived in
that city all of her life.
P: Her folks were native of that part of Georgia?
N: Her mother was. I'm not sure where he came from, but her father
was a Baptist preacher. I don't know whether he was there or not.
P: Her father made his living from preaching?
N: In preaching, and I suspect they had a little farming, too, and
did some teaching.
P: When did you and Mrs. Norman get married?
N: I went back there in 1910, saw her, and then went off. I went
back in 1914, and in the meantime she had taught some. She got
out of Bessie Tift in 1910.
P: And she started teaching right there at Cave Spring?
N: Not that year. But she was teaching in that same school that I
was teaching in 1914. She had taught at Palmetto, Georgia, some.
I think her first teaching was at a school out in the country
from Cave Spring. In 1916, just before we came down here, we
were married on August 31, and I got here on October 10.
P: The thing that surprises me is that she waited for you so long,
and you coming back just once every two, three years to pay a
N: I have no explanation.
P: I just wondered about that. You put your hooks into her, and
wouldn't let her find anybody else. You left Cave Spring, left
Hearn Academy when you got the position at Howard, and there you
taught that twenty-five hours. And this really made you decide
that you wanted to go into education as your life's work?
P: And you left Howard, and you went back up to Harvard and majored
in education at Harvard, and you got your master's degree in
N: That's right.
P: Who did you study under at Harvard?
N: Holmes was acting dean that year. I can't recall who was the
actual dean, but he was called down to New York for a survey of
the New York City schools. He was one of those that went down
there. All that year, I never saw him. Now, Holmes was acting
dean, and there was a man that came over in the second semester,
he was the secondary man of that county there at Boston. He was
looking after the secondary schools. He taught a course. And
Spaulden was superintendent of the schools in Newton, Massa-
chusetts--it was said to be one of the best in the country at
that time. He taught a course. And the man I took two or three
courses under, I can't think of his name. I remember I wrote
a paper on Rousseau in his course. He was teaching the history
of education, and I found a nice picture of Rousseau. I remem-
ber when he handed my paper back, he says, "Where did you get
that picture?" I don't know whether I gave it to him or not,
or whether I went and got him one or not, but that's what I
should have done.
P: What was your thesis topic?
N: Didn't write a thesis.
P: Did any particular person at Harvard have any special influence
on you in helping you shape your philosophy, or anything?
N: No, I don't think so. I think I was just studying my education
in general. The person who had the most influence on me in my
life, outside of my family, was Professor Kilpatrick. I brag
about this sometimes. I told you yesterday I was going to brag
about some things. I had more work under Kilpatrick than any
body else, alive or dead. You know, he was one of the great men
in education. He finally ended up at Teacher's College; he was
there a long time. I had eight semesters under him at Mercer,
and then I took his work at Columbia, too, when I was studying
for my doctorate.
P: Is this what really brought you to Columbia--Kilpatrick?
N: I'm confident it did. I can't pin-point it, but he was always
kind of my friend, philosopher, and guide. I never saw Dewey
but a few times. Of course, I taught his books here for a long
time, but so far as personally influence me, Dewey never had
any personal influence on me. Kilpatrick did. I knew him for
a long time. He helped me out and advised me.
P: Now, I understand you had some study abroad after you got out of
Harvard, Dean. That was the next step, wasn't it?
N: If you call it study. I don't know whether you'd call it study
or not. I had teaching abroad. While I was at Harvard, I had
a leave of absence from Howard. While I was at Harvard, a friend
of mine said, "Why don't you get in touch with the Carnegie
Foundation? They got a system by which they exchange teachers
with the Prussian Government." Of course, you know Prussia
was the largest state in Germany. It wasn't Germany itself; it
was just the state. So they got an arrangement with them where-
by they exchanged teachers. Not exactly send one here, and send
the other one to that same place where that one came from. I
put in my application, and I had done right well in my last year
at Harvard, and so I got a scholarship. It amounted to $250,
I remember. I had taught German some at Hearn. It was my
favorite modern foreign language, and I thought it would be a
good thing to go to Germany.
So I went to Germany, to an uberrealschule in Potsdam. One
of my friends told me, "You don't know how fortunate you are,
because Potsdam is a good place to be in Germany." So I went
there, and I also enrolled at the University of Berlin. I don't
think enrollment at the University of Berlin amounted to anything
much, because before I got where I could understand what was
going on, I came down with appendicitis, and that took me out
for a long time. I didn't ever go back to the University of
Berlin, but I did continue, as soon as I got out of the hospital,
with my teaching. I might say that although I had been enrolled
at the University of Berlin, it was my experience in living in
a foreign country, and my teaching in that uberrealschule that,
if anything, helped me over there.
P: What did you teach?
N: Conversational English. I had twelve classes once a week. I'd
meet with the students, and we'd talk in English.
P: These were high school students?
N: They called it uberrealschule. You see, at that time a secondary
school in Germany wasn't placed on top of the elementary school
like in this country. The elementary school, the volkschule, went
for eight grades, through the fourteenth year. But if a person
graduated from there and wanted to go to high school, he had to
come back to the age of nine, so to speak, and start in and go
through that. Very few of them did that. If you were going
to the high school, you had to enter when you were nine years
of age. I was in one of those schools; it was called uberreal-
The gymnasium was something else. They had the real
gymnasium; they had three or four different types of that secon-
dary school. I was in the uberrealschule, teaching those
people. Some of those German boys studied English five or six
P: This must have been quite an experience for you, a Georgia country
boy going to Germany. Did you get a chance to travel around
Europe that year?
N: Some. I remember I went to Dresden, and I had planned to go to
Paris Easter vacation, but I was sick in the hospital and didn't
P: That's when you had the appendicitis attack?
N: That's right. But I did start from home long enough; so I got
over England pretty well. I remember I went to Cambridge, and
Oxford, and was around London there for several days.
P: So you sailed from New York, and landed in England first?
N: Yes. I sailed on the Majestic, a 10,000 ton boat, and came back
on the Emperator, a 70,000 ton boat--the biggest afloat at that
time; it was a monster.
P: So that was sort of one of the highlight years, I guess, of your
early life, this year abroad.
N: It was. And one of the most satisfying things that ever came into
my life was breaking through that language barrier. I got to
where I could go around pretty well. Of course, Ich habe forgessen
by now. I've forgotten most everything; it's been fifty-some-
odd years. I got to the place where I was so delighted that I
could go and ask a person how to get from there to London. Talk
to them, carry on a conversation with them. That was the most
P: And you taught just conversational English? You didn't have
any special courses that you were responsible for, any particu-
N: No. They said they just wanted to get a person accustomed to
hearing a person speak English. I think it was a good idea.
P: So those Germans learned English with a Georgia accent?
N: I suspect so.
P: You came back, then, to the United States in the summer of 1913?
N: That's right. And went immediately to Teacher's College at
P: When did you make up your mind that you wanted to go for your
N: I don't know. I reckon it was immediately after I had taken my
master's degree...somewhere along the line.
P: Of course, you still had this leave of absence from Howard. No.
I dropped that. It's kind of amazing thing now for me to think
about it. How proud I was to get it in 1908, and how easily I
gave it up a little bit later on. I came back to Teacher's
College then: that was my first year at Teacher's College.
That was one of these years that you get ready for your pre-
liminary. You know what that is. I studied, and got my prelimi-
naries off that year. I had two years, really, at Harvard to
get my master's degree, and then I'd had a year at Columbia.
And I got my preliminaries off.
P: Of course, you didn't have any problem with your languages?
N: I hadn't gotten my languages off, yet. I didn't get them off
until I was there in my second year. I didn't have any trouble
getting my German off; I didn't have too awfully much trouble
P: Was Professor Kilpatrick your professor in charge of your Ph.D.
N: No. I was majoring in secondary education, and Thomas H.
Briggs...he's still alive, incidentally, the last time I heard.
He's way up there, I reckon, in the nineties by this time.
P: What did you decide to do your dissertation on at Columbia?
N: I don't know why, but I decided to do a dissertation on a
comparison of tendencies in secondary education in England
and the United States. The World War was on then, you see,
and a lot was in the papers about England. I took up all the
magazines and the newspapers that I could find...what they
were thinking about secondary education in England, and what
we were doing in this country.
One of the things in my dissertation was what they ought
to do in high school...what education ought to do, is, to some
extent, what they did in general college here. So when it
came up in the general college, I was kind of familiar with
that kind of thing.
P: A liberal education program around a core curriculum?
P: When did you get your degree at Teacher's College?
N: I went back to Teacher's College...back up. I taught here in
1916-1917, the summer of 1917, and all of 1918-19, and then I
went back to Columbia in the summer of 1919. I studied in the
summer of 1919, and all of 1919 and 1920. I finished up my
thesis in the fall of 1919, and went up and took my examina-
tion just before Christmas in 1919. My degree was conferred
with in absentia in 1920.
P: Why didn't you go straight through and get your degree? You
were at Columbia now for two years, weren't you?
N: Finances. See, by this time I was up in the thirties. Although
I borrowed money from my father, it was up to me to kind of make
P: Was there any financial help available to students in those days?
Fellowhips, or graduate...?
N: I got a scholarship that last year at Harvard; I think it paid
$150. And I had a scholarship at Columbia; I think it paid $150,
maybe $250, something like that. Well, $250 was...buy a lot of
meals at that time. My last year at Columbia, Mrs. Norman was
P: You went into Teacher's College in the fall of 1913, and you
stayed in New York, at Teacher's College, 1914-1915, two years.
N: No. I was at Teacher's College in the fall of 1913 and '14. Now,
here's one teaching job that I haven't mentioned. In the summer
school of 1914, I taught at LSU. I taught at LSU, and then I
taught at Richmond University in 1914 and 1915.
P: You taught at LSU summer school, the summer of 1914?
P: And you taught education there?
P: How'd you get that job?
N: One of my friends at Teacher's College had heard about it, and
he didn't want it, and he put me on to it. I've forgotten now about
what the ropes were that I pulled to get it.
P: So that was the summer you were in Baton Rouge?
P: 1914. Then that fall you went to Richmond, and you taught where?
N: Taught there that year.
P: What was the school in Richmond?
N: I think they call it Richmond University now.
P: And it was then Richmond College?
N: Well, I don't know whether they've changed it to a university or
P: It was a four year liberal arts school?
N: Yes, just like Mercer and Emory.
P: And you taught education there, and..,?
N: And sociology. But I never did like to teach sociology. I wouldn't
like to teach sociology now.
P: So you were there from the fall of 1914 through the spring
N: Then, the next summer, 1915, I went back to Howard and taught.
P: You really were moving from one end of the country to the other,
N: Yeah. You would think that I couldn't hold a job at all.
P: No, I would just think that everybody was after you.
N: I can see how you'd think that. Some fellow joined the Rotary
Club, or introduced to the Rotary Club up here...I forgot, an
Iowa preacher, Red--was president of the Rotary Club. They
read off a whole long string of honors that he'd had, one
kind or another. And Fred said, "If this fellow could've held
a job...." That's the way he interpreted that.
Then I went off to Minnesota. Now, that's one of the
nicest years that I've had.
P: And this was the fall of 1915?
P: You went to the University of Minnesota, and you went to teach
in their college of education?
N: Yeah. Kaufman was the dean. Haggerty was there. That was a
delightful year. Oh, I loved it. I loved Minnesota.
N: It got to 300 below, and I had on a heavy overcoat and boots that
came up to there; gaiters that came....
P: What made Minnesota such a nice year?
N: I don't know. Somehow or other, I reckon I was getting to the
place where I was teaching better, and I had good classes there.
P: And you liked the university?
N: Yes. And I remember one of my students saw somebody from down
here years afterwards. He had something nice to say about me as
a teacher. He was in Washington at that time; I don't remember
when. His name was Selke, I remember.
I thought that I did a pretty good job at Minnesota. And
then I went back to Minnesota in the fall of 1916. You know, I
say I got here October 10. Well, I'd married in the meantime,
on August 31; went back to Minnesota, set up for the year, and
then a friend of mine said...he was a graduate student, and part
time teacher like some of our people are here. He said he had
put in his application at a teacher's agency in Columbia, South
Carolina, and he had heard about a job here being open. He
said, "You ought to go. You ought to take that. It's down there
close to your home." I thought, "Well, it's Florida, and I know
there'd be mosquitoes there and rattlesnakes." And I didn't
think much of it...and malaria. But some of the people advised
me to go ahead and take it.
P: Course, you had already accepted a position at Minnesota, hadn't
N: Oh, yes. I was out there another year. I remember they had
paid me something. After I got here, the president wrote me, and
he said that "we paid you that, and you didn't teach; you ought
to pay it back," or asked me to pay it back. I thought he was
justified in it, and I told him I didn't have the money with then,
but I'd pay it. I don't know what else I said to him. I might
have said, "You can consider this a promisory note." That's
what I should have said. Anyhow, I had to pay him back something
that they'd paid me for which I hadn't given any service. I
thought even if I was a poor man, just with a bride, that I
ought to be an honorable man, so I paid it back.
P: Where'd you get married?
N: In the church right there within 100 yards of that school building.
P: Then you went off to Minnesota on your honeymoon?
N: Yeah, I suppose you can say that. We did go over and visit my
people. Nobody of my people was at the wedding except my brother;
he was best man. My sisters were not there. They're across the
state. So we went over and visited my home, and then we went off
to Minnesota. Got up there and kind of got settled. Mrs. Norman
never did like it in Minnesota. She couldn't understand the people;
those Swedes up there, she couldn't understand.
P: So maybe that helped make up your mind to come south to Florida.
N: Well, that's what made up her mind.
P: You heard about this position through a friend?
P: And you decided that you would apply for it?
N: Yes. I wrote and applied for it. I told them that I was an
instructor getting $1,200 at Minnesota. I told them that I
wanted to be an assistant professor, and according to rank, to
be an assistant professor...$1,500. That's what they gave me.
I came here for $1,500.
P: You had your correspondence with Dr. Murphree?
N: I suppose it must have been with Dr. Cox; I'm not sure.
P: Harvey Cox was then dean of Education.
N: He just had become dean of Education. The reason that there was
a vacancy was that Dr. Thackston [John R. Thackston], who had
been the first dean, had been called to the University of
Tennessee. I don't know why he left Florida to go to the
University of Tennessee, but he had been called to the University
of Tennessee, and he stayed there the rest of his life. That
left a vacancy, and they moved Dr. Cox up to the deanship,
and then I came in on the bottom rail, you see.
P: So you knew Cox, then, before he left to go back to Emory?
N: He went there, and I came here.
P: You came here, then, in October of 1916?
N: That's right.
P: And you came directly from Minnesota?
N: Uh, huh.
P: You and Mrs. Norman arrived here, she as a new bride, and you as
an assistant professor?
N: She wasn't with me. We came right through Rome on the train. She
was within sixteen miles of her home. She dropped off in Rome to
go down to Cave Spring, and visited there for a week. I came
on down here and made arrangements, and got an apartment over
yonder just a block beyond the Kirby Smith School, right there on
University Avenue. The next day after I got here, I bought me
P: Tell me what Gainesville looked like, Dean, when you first arrived
on the train.
N: Well, it looked like a little town situated out in the wilderness,
so to speak. Oh, it was a pretty nice looking town. Mrs. Norman
said to me, when she came here, she thought East University
Avenue was about the prettiest place she'd ever seen. They had
an island in the center. There were trees from one end to the
other; they were just overlapping. In other words, you were
just going down an archway over there around that Kirby Smith
School. I met her at the train, and we went out there, and
when she got under those trees, she just thought that was the
nicest thing she ever saw.
P: You had your own furniture, or you had to rent a furnished
N: Furnished apartment. Gave $11 a month for it. I was getting
$1,500; and as I recall, but my memory may be not so very good,
we saved $1,100. A loaf of bread didn't cost much. Just two
of us. No children. Mrs. Norman said when she went in the
store down yonder...there was a grocery store just this side
of Wilson's; I think it's Mrs. Geiger's place now; anyhow, it's
one of those stores between there and City Drug. When she
went in there to the grocery store, she says, I felt at home
as soon as I got in there. Never did feel at home up there."
She took to Gainesville right away.
P: And you stayed here in Gainesville ever since?
N: Yeah, except for that year that I was off at Teacher's College
taking my doctor's degree: 1918-19.
P: What'd you teach that first year, Dean--1916?
N: I used Dewey for the first time. I used Dewey's Democracy and
Education. I don't know whether I taught educational psychology
or not. I did later. Dr. Cox was a psychologist and a philo-
sopher. He was dean. I guess I was teaching history of
P: Where did you have your classes?
N: Peabody Hall. I guess I might have been teaching geometry and
trigonometry. I know I did teach that some after I got here.
P: Where were your classes in Peabody?
N: On the second floor. Some of them were in Peabody on the first
floor, southeast corner. Now, on the second floor, Hathaway's
classroom was there. He was teaching Spanish. I had classes
in practically all of these rooms over there, at one time or
The library was in there. The library was in the east side.
You'd go in the front door there; you'd go right on in to the
library. That whole side there, except for the southeast corner
room, clear to the north, and they had a winding stairway. I
think maybe they got that somewhere around here yet. It'd
go down into the basement, and they had that basement all the
way under the library there. In other words, they had two
stories there--the basement and the first floor, the library.
The library hadn't been built.
P: And the auditorium, I guess, was the big room up on the second
N: Yes, I taught some classes in there.
P: I have, too. That auditorium 205, hasn't changed at all, but
of course the library facilities, they're all gone now. Manning
Dauer has his office in that section of Peabody Hall. Wasn't
the dean's office in Peabody, too?
N: Yes. Mrs. Landers was the secretary. Her office was at the
first room on the left as you enter, and the dean's office
was next to that. Right in there somewhere is where they had...
I don't [know] whether it was in the northwest room at that
time on the first floor, and the northwest room on the second
floor, I think, was a classroom.
P: You were at Minnesota, and you wrote to Gainesville, and they
were willing to take you, and Minnesota was willing to release
you, and you came to Gainesville. What had you heard, as you
remember about it, about the University of Florida? Anything?
N: The only thing that I remember about the University of Florida
was while I was at Mercer, we had a game of baseball with the
institution that was at Lake City at the time. Well, I didn't
think much of their ball team, and I thought it was just a
P: They played at Mercer?
N: They played in Macon. That's what I remembered about it, and
that's all I knew about the place.
P: Had you ever been to Florida?
P: Your travels had taken you north, and over to Louisiana and
Alabama, but never into Florida. Had you any idea about the
University of Florida itself?
N: Not a thing.
P: It was just a complete unknown when you...?
P: What attracted you to the institution after you already had a
position at Minnesota?
N: Well, I suppose it was the increase in salary, and also the in-
crease in rank. And it was closer to home.
P: And Mrs. Norman was not particularly enamored of Minnesota.
N: Yes, that's right.
P: So, all of these things together is really what brought you to
seeking a position in Gainesville?
N: Yes. And my friends advised me to take it.
P: It wasn't any reputation that the University of Florida or its
College of Education had?
P: Had you ever heard of Dr. Cox?
P: He had not made a name for himself at all, as far as psychology
N: So far as I was concerned. I hadn't heard anything about Dr.
Murphree, or anybody on the faculty.
P: And so you came as a stranger into a strange land?
N: That's right.
P: And when you arrived in Gainesville, you said that your impression
of it was that it was an attractive, little, rural southern
N: That's about the way to express it.
P: The train came right down the middle of the street?
P: And you got off?
P: And what happened then? Did anybody meet you?
N: No. Nobody knew exactly when I was going to come. I didn't know
when I'd get here either. I just came.
P: You came by train from Rome to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to
N: That's right.
P: And there was a train coming in then some time during the day,
N: Yes. About the same time it comes today. I think it was due
here at 12:30. The train stopped at the White House [Hotel]
and let the passengers off to get dinner. And then it came on
down to the station, and put off express and freight and
anything else they had. Then they backed up to the White
House to pick up the passengers.
P: Who had finished lunch, or whatever they had done. Is this the
way it happened with you? You had your first lunch in Gaines-
ville at the White House Hotel?
N: No. They asked me on the train if I wanted to stop at the
White House for lunch. Well, the only White House I had ever
heard of was the one in Washington. I was afraid that I'd
gotten on the wrong train.
P: So you didn't get off at the White House?
N: No, I didn't get off.
P: You got off where they put the freight off?
P: Did you go right on out to the campus at that time?
N: No. There was a little hotel just above where Woolworth's is
now. I think they called it the Central Hotel. I saw the
sign, and I looked around, and I didn't see any other signs, so
I went up and left my grip there. And then I phoned out to Dr.
Cox, and he came for me,,and we went out that afternoon and
found an apartment. He put me up at a boarding house by the
City Hall that was just torn down the other day, you remember.
Well, there was a boarding house right there, a lodging house.
I spent the night there. He told me that I looked like the last
rose of summer. I'd been on the train for three days, and he
told me to get some rest before I came out. He was a wise man.
P: So your first relationship with the university, then, was a very
N: Yes. As far as my relationship with the university, it always
was pleasant. The only thing about it was that I just felt that
I had left a big institution to come down here to an institution
that was out in the woods, so to speak.
P: And in a way, it was out in the woods. It was a long distance
from town at that time.
P: Was the area between town and the university much built up in
N: It was fairly well built up, but the street wasn't paved.
P: I remembered you said the street wasn't paved beyond the
P: There were sidewalks?
N: There were sidewalks.
P: And were there houses along that mile route?
N: Yes. Yes, there were houses; I don't think on every lot, but
there was some houses all the way out here. There wasn't any
big gap, in other words.
P: So it was built up fairly well?
N: Built up fairly well, and there were several houses on what was
then Masonic Street; now it's Second Avenue.
P: That was a very pleasant looking street, as I remember it even
in the 1930s.
P: In those early days, who besides you and Dr. Cox, were teaching
N: Professor Buchholz [Ludwig W. Buchholz]. That's the father
of the principal of the high school here for a long time.
P: What about Dr. Cox? Tell me about him.
N: Dr. Cox was a philosopher and a psychologist. He had taken
his doctor's degree at Harvard. I remember hearing him speak
about his relationship with Josiah Royce. Of course, he knew
William James, but it seems that he knew Royce better than he
did James. Said after he had taken the final examination he
went out and found Dr. Royce out walking. They walked along,
and Royce didn't say anything to him about how he came out on
his examination; said he didn't know whether he'd passed or
not. Finally, he just told him. He said, "Well, I thought
you knew you'd passed."
P: What kind of a teacher and administrator was Dr. Cox?
N: The only thing I remember about Dr. Cox was all pleasant, in
every respect. I think he was one of the finest men I ever
knew. He was a gifted man. I think he said that Royce and
the Harvard people didn't think that he was coming to very
much when he came to the University of Florida. I think he
told me that, but said he came anyway.
P: How large was the college when you first arrived, in terms of
N: Oh, it maybe had twenty-five or thirty students.
P: So that a three man faculty could take care of it?
P: What did you do, give a bachelor's degree?
P: When did the graduate program in education begin?
N: Well, I think that there had been one or two masters conferred
before I came. I think I. M. Sealy, who was prominent in edu-
cation in the state until he died--he was at Tallahassee--I
think he'd taken a degree. And in 1922, as I remember, we
conferred a master of arts degree on one of the ladies that had
come in to summer school.
P: So you did have a lady here in summer school, then?
N: Oh, we had women here in summer school from the very beginning.
P: I see. You said that you taught a course on the history of
education, to begin with, I believe.
N: One of my courses.
P: What else did you teach?
N: I started in teaching Dewey's Democracy and Education. That
was one of the first courses I taught. I started teaching that
book in 1916, and I taught it the last time in 1956.
P: Was this the first time that Dewey had been taught here?
N: Yes, because the book was just published in the preceding spring.
P: You had done some work under Dr. Dewy at Columbia, hadn't you?
N: No, I never had any work under Dewey. I never did meet Dewey
more than two or three times.
P: I thought maybe you had sat in a class or something of his.
N: No. I'd heard him speak a time or two.
P: I want to ask your interpretation of Dewey as it applied to
your teaching and educational philosophy here.
N: Well, that would mean that I'd have to get off course. There's
so much about Dewey that I approve, and a lot of the things that
some people think about him, I don't think is justified. I think
that he was trying to develop a philosophy of education on how
people learn, and how society should operate. For instance, he
said about the curriculum...I suppose you could say that it's
foolish to talk about training a person for only one line of
activity; that every person has many callings. He used the
word "callings." Everybody has many callings, and he mentioned
some. He said a person is a member of a family. They have
friends and companions. He has a job that he makes his money
at. He's a member of a church or civic club, or those various
things, and says in every one of those he ought to be intelli-
I agree with him on that. I think that that's one of the
highest conceptions of education that I know--that every person
has got all of those callings. He ought to know how to be
a good member of a family, and he's got friends and companions.
He ought to know how to conduct himself so that he will be a
good friend and a companion to them, and all along, at each time,
all of that ought to be taken into consideration when we think
about his education.
He said, "Subject matter consists of the facts observed,
recalled, read about, and the ideas suggested in the course of
development of a situation having a purpose." Now, I'd like to
emphasize that "having a purpose." That was always uppermost in
Dewey's philosophy. People should be working towards a purpose.
Immediately, somebody said, "Well, he's just going in for ultra
trade education." But he wasn't that way. I would say he had
many callings; wanted life to be a purposeful thing. Kilpatrick
expressed it perhaps better than Dewey did when he used the
whole-hearted, purposeful activity. Nobody can become an edu-
cated person unless he is active at something. Active in thinking,
active in his emotional responses, active with his hands...anything
that he does.
Dewey puts the purposeful life uppermost. His definition
of discipline is the best that I've ever seen. He says that "a
person should be trained to consider his actions." He ought to
do that now; not let somebody else do that, and then come and
tell him what he is to do. He's in a democratic society; he ought
to have that right of considering his actions, and to undertake
Now, he says that's the first part of discipline. And then
he says, "Add to this ability the power to endure." Get that
word, "endure." "The power to endure in a well-chosen course,
in the face of distraction, confusion, and difficulty." And
you have a definition; you have the essence of discipline.
I like to practice that. I think sometime I have practiced
it. For instance, when I started out to make my first grand-
father clock, I didn't know beans about cabinet work. It took me
eighteen months. But I had to consider, I had to undertake, and
I had to endure; and there was plenty of distraction and confu-
sion, and difficulty. It took me eighteen months. I think I
was practicing what Dewey was talking about.
P: So you took it and applied it directly to yourself, his philo-
N: Yes. Now, people there for some time would come to my house and
see some of the things I've made and were complimentary. And
they say, "You must have just had a talent."
I said, "No, I didn't think I had a talent. I don't think
I've got much skill. The thing that I've got is persistence."
Some of them say or use the word "patience" sometimes. I
said, "No, I don't like the word patience as much as I do per-
Well, that's nothing. That was a way of saying enduring in
the face of distraction, confusion, and difficulty. That appeals
to me. That indomitableness of disposition. I told you the
other day something about this wolf tracker. Took him six months
to track that wolf down, but it took me eighteen months to make
my first grandfather clock. I feel that I was practicing what
Dewey's talking about. That's what Dewey means to me.
P: When you came here, this was a poor state, and it was a pioneer
state in many ways. Certainly, the need to develop the educa-
tional system of Florida was obvious. What was the major goal
of the College of Education?
N: Well, I suppose the major goal was just to turn out teachers.
I don't know if we had any other goal. Didn't have many students.
We were just trying to get off the ground.
P: Obviously, you were successful, because the University of
Florida's College of Education, over the years, has turned out
N: Yes, that's right. But, I think that at that time the greatest
success we had was with the summer school, because the women
could come in the summer. You see how silly it is. I don't
know that silly is the right word, but that is a word...how
silly it is to try to run a college of education when 85 percent
of your possible clientele are denied admission. That's what
I faced all the time that I was dean, except in the summertime.
In the summertime we had a lot of people; a lot of people
were going in for teaching. One of our slogans when I first
began--I don't know whether I suggested it, or somebody else;
by that time we had two or three other members of the faculty--
that a person teaching in high school ought to have at least
two years beyond high school. That's the way we were, but we
didn't have any high school pupils. I made a study some years
ago, and I made it as far back as I could, and
I couldn't go farther back than 1909 and 1910, because the
state superintendent's report didn't have the statistics. But
that year, I found the statistics. Would you be surprised to
know that we had fewer than 3,000 high school students in the
state in 1909 and 1910? Fewer than 3,000. Why, we have high
schools in the state...Miami Senior High School, I suspect, has
more than that right by itself.
P: How about the teachers when you came in the schools? How well
educated were they?
N: Well, when I had my first summer school in 1920, there was 783
enrolled in the summer school. Of that number, 273 had enough
credits to enter the freshman class. The rest of them were
preparing, reviewing to take the state teacher's examination.
At the end of the summer school, always I went off on vacation,
because I didn't have anything to do with the teacher's examina-
tion. But the state superintendent would send people in here
to give the examination, and they filled up the mess hall over
there. That's where they went to write the examination.
Had a lot of them in there; most of them summer school
students that had been here for two months, doing that. And
they took those examinations--some of them made first, second,
and third grade certificates. How good it was, I don't know.
But one lady who is still here on the campus(came later; wasn't
here then), she told me that in getting ready for those examina-
tions, at least there's one thing they had to do: they had to
study the subjects which they were going to teach in the ele-
mentary school, or in high school. They had to know arithmetic;
they had to take the examination on arithmetic--they going to
teach arithmetic, had to take the examination. And all the
others. I never did see one of those examinations, but she
said they had to review thoroughly the subjects which they were
going to teach. She said they got some good teaching at that
time. And I can see how that would be, because you got persons
with a reasonable amount of intelligence and good disposition;
they knew the subject that they were going to teach. I can see
how they would get a good deal of good teaching.
P: The pressure was on the university to turn out teachers, wasn't
P: They were so desperately needed...
N: ...At that time. When I first came, of course, emphasis was on
those examinations. Mr. Sheats [William Sheats] was superinten-
dent of schools. He had become superintendent in 1893, and he
started those examinations, and he got some compliments on it.
People said it was better. I saw a member of the faculty here
some years ago that was living back at that time. He said that
when Mr. Sheats came in and put in these examinations, it was
a big improvement over what they had had before. Well, he was
taken captive by his victory, I think, and he felt to the last
that his examinations was a better preparation for teaching
than what we were doing. It might have been so; I don't know.
P: Mr. Sheats was a Gainesville man too, is that right?
N: Yes, I think he had been superintendent of schools here.
P: He had been in Alachua County before he went up to Tallahassee.
You knew Mr. Sheats?
P: Was the emphasis in those early years on content? What was the
program of the College of Education?
N: The program of the College of Education was about a fourth
education courses, and the rest was content. Then some of these
content people, these Arts and Sciences people, felt that we
had entirely too high a percentage of the work. But you know
how things like that could go on on a college campus.
P: They wanted more and more of that?
P: Professor Buchholz was one of your colleagues when you came
here. He was already in the College of Education, wasn't he?
N: Yes. Professor Buchholz was a German, had been brought up in
Germany, and had studied the philosophy of education of the
Germans. And if you know the history of education, there's a
fellow named Herr Bod...and Ferborn, and Testelosse. Testelosse
was a Swiss, those other two men were Germans, and they had
developed the philosophy of education higher than anybody else
in the world at that time. They still stand high in the history
of education. We talk about them to the present time. He'd
come up under that regime back there. He didn't have anything
to do with them, but...I don't know what university he was in,
but he had studied that kind of philosophy in Germany.
He came over here and he told me one time that he came,
I think, on account of his health. He came to Florida, and
people talking to him and he said, "I finally decided I'm going
to go to Tampa." So he went to Tampa, and he knew the philoso-
phy of education, that much interested in it, and sooner or
later became superintendent of the schools of Hillsborough
County. He came from there, here.
P: He was brought here, I think, by Dr. Murphree. They were
close personal friends.
N: Yes, he came here while Dr. Murphree was president. Now, I
don't know whether he was responsible for his coming, or the
man that preceded Dr. Cox.
N: Thackston, yeah. He was brought here, I'm pretty sure, by
Thackston... or Dr. Murphree; it might've been by Dr. Murphree.
But he was here when I came, and Dr. Cox had just, had just
become dean. The reason that I came was that Thackston went off
in Tennessee, and Dr. Cox became dean, and then they needed
somebody, you see, to do the teaching work of Dr. Thackston.
P: How effective was Buchholz as a teacher?
N: Well, I think he was pretty good. It wasn't long after I came
before war broke out, and we had a lot of these soldiers around
on campus here. Dr. Murphree put him in the dormitories to kind
of be the guardian of the dormitory. He didn't do too awfully
much teaching after I came.
Now, it wasn't long--I suppose one year passed--and then
Dr. Joseph R. Fulk came. Then he and I did most of the teaching
of the education courses. Finally, in 1920, Dr. Joseph Roemer
came. Dr. Roemer came under a grant from the General Education
Board. He was not the high school inspector, but he was a state
man, for the most part, and taught some. He visited all these
high schools over the state...high school visitor, I believe
they called him. That's the way it was when I came in as a
dean in 1920.
P: So, Buchholz then, was pretty much out of the teaching picture
shortly after you arrived?
P: I know that he had some difficulties during World War II, and we
have transcripts of that.
N: No, not for World War II. He was dead.
P: I mean World War I.
N: Yes, that's right.
P: What was the problem?
N: Well, I think he and Dr. Cox didn't get along so very well. After
I came in, he was doing this other work.
P: In the dormitory?
P: Why didn't Cox and Buchholz get along?
N: I don't know. I think it was just a clash of personalities.
P: Buchholz was a competent man, wasn't he?
N: Well, I wouldn't say that he wasn't competent. I didn't think that
he was fitting in very well with out situation in the United States.
That was just my opinion.
P: I knew that there was lots of discussions about him, and there was
an actual hearing. That's printed, the hearing that they had on
challenging Professor Buchholz's loyalty to the United States.
I just wondered whether this was totally was hysteria, or whether
there was a basis for it in terms of a relationship within the
College of Education.
N: I don't think there was any danger of his being disloyal in the
sense that he would be what we would say traitorous and treacher-
ous, so far as I know. But I didn't know anything about that.
P: Did you know his family?
N: I knew the one they called Fritz. He was principal of the high
school here a long time. I knew him right well. So far as I
know, he was as loyal as anybody. I never have heard any
complaint about him.
P: Dean, did you know a many by the name of Newell Sims, who was
here teaching sociology around 1918 or 1919?
N: Yes, I knew him. I don't know whether I ought to say quite well,
but I knew him; he was a good friend of mine.
P: Tell me about Dr. Sims. There was also an incident involving him.
N: Well, he was a fellow that sometimes liked to do things, you
might say, kind of startling or shocking. Would say things, you
know, that kind of stir up a discussion. I think that he was
perfectly loyal. I went to his house the night after I'd heard
that he'd had some trouble. He and I were good enough friends
for me to go over to see him.
P: He lived out on East University Avenue, didn't he?
N: No, I lived on East University Avenue, and he lived back in
there somewhere around the Thomas Hotel, I.think. Mrs. Norman
and I walked over there in order to console him, find out if
there was anything I could do. We had that kind of relationship,
P: Was he married at the time?
N: Yes. He was married at the time, and I think his father and
mother were visiting him that night when I went over there.
P: That was the night of the day that they, so-called, raided the
P: The FBI moved in?
N: You know more about that than I did. I didn't know the FBI moved
in. They kept it quiet.
P: Well, he didn't stay here long after that, did he?
N: I think he was dismissed, and went off up somewhere in Massa-
chusetts, I think, New England.
P: Have you stayed in touch with him?
N: No. Never had a letter from him.
P: He's still living. He's up in Minnesota; or at least he was
up until a few years ago. In fact, he wrote me and told me that he
was writing his autobiography, and had a very juicy chapter on
Gainesville. It was obvious that he was still bitter towards the
university and towards Gainesville.
N: Yes, I can imagine. I don't know much about that trouble that he
P: But you did know Dr. Sims as a teacher?
N: Oh, yes. First Christmas I was here...at that time the Florida
Education Association met at Christmas, and he was a speaker, I
think. Anyhow, he and Dr. Cox and some others from Jacksonville
got on this train that came through here. We were going to
Arcadia for the Christmas meeting of the Florida Education
Association. We got down there, and he got a box of oranges--
cluster, as he called it. It had come off a limb, you know,
that had a lot on it.
He had that box, and somebody took a notion that we ought
to play a joke on him. We got to as far as Ocala, and they
asked me, and maybe someone else, said, "You go over there with
Sims, now; we're going to take those oranges out, and put some
rocks in those boxes." And so that's what they did. Then, when
he got up here, he took his box of rocks and went home. I think
that was the time I ran over there to see what had happened later
on, and his father was there. He was talking about the cluster
of oranges that he had, and we had a big time. I don't know
whether he enjoyed it or not.
P: But everybody else did at his expense.
N: At his expense. I remember that.
P: He was here, then, teaching sociology before Dr. Bristol [Lucius
M. Bristol] arrived?
N: Oh, yes. Dr. Bristol succeeded him, I suppose. I don't know
of anybody else coming in between them.
P: How about Dr. Fulk? You said he came here in the College of
Education. Where'd he come from?
P: What was his major area of interest in education?
N: He taught administration. I didn't love to teach administration.
I was inclined towards the methods of teaching, and philosophy,
and history, and things like that.
P: So they brought him in to teach this?
N: To teach that. He took that work over. I did teach it, one time
or another. I did teach education administration, a course in
it, but history and philosophy...well, educational psychology,
I enjoyed that too. I taught that some time. I taught practically
everything that was ever taught at that time. At one time or
another, every course.
P: Now, what kind of a man was Fulk?
N: Dr. Fulk was just the finest kind of fellow. I don't know whether
that explains it or not. He was diligent, and he knew his subject,
and he was anxious for things to progress. Soon after he came, I
was made dean, and I remember he'd back me up all the time. I used
to go over to the house and play croquinole with him. He was a
great man to play croquinole. Had a board. We had a big time
P: What's croquinole?
N: Well, it's a board up here, and you have a little dish out in the
middle of the board...rubber posts, and you shoot to knock the
other fellow's man off. You got to go around through those
posts there, and you have to get his biggest man. Oh, it's fine;
it's one of the finest. It's kind of like pool, except you play
withyour hand, and play with a disc instead of balls.
P: That's sort of disappeared from the American scene, hasn't it?
N: I don't know. I've got a board. If you ever come over to the
house, I'll show you.
P: So that's what you and Dr. Fulk did? Instead of talking about
your subject matter and your programs here at the university, you
all played croquinole.
N: I suspect as we played along we would have something to say.
P: Were there any stakes involved in this game?
N: Oh, no.
P: And how about Dr. Romer?
N: Dr. Roemer was a Ph.D. from Peabody College. He was one of the
best men that I ever knew to get around among people. They had
made a wise selection when they selected him as high school
visitor. He fitted that job very well. He could go out and
talk to people in an ordinary conversation, and there'd just
be a lot of them hanging around him at the associations. He
was a "hail fellow, well met," and he was secondary education
He came here in 1920, arriving here just as I was made
dean. I didn't have anything to do with bringing him in.
He had been employed to come, and Dr. Cox moved off to Emory,
suddenly. I had taught in the summer school in 1920, and
had gone off on vacation back up to my home in Georgia. I
got a letter from the president, wanted to know if I'd act as
dean. Said Dr. Cox had been called off. Would I act as dean
the next year? And then in 1921, I was made dean. I was
acting dean for one year. So Dr. Romer continued that until
he was called in 1931 to Peabody. He stayed there, and I
believe that he went off somewhere, maybe had a foreign job.
P: What was he at Peabody? What was he doing there?
N: He was teaching secondary education, I suppose. His wife is
still living. She's been down here and visited us, stayed with
us a week or ten days, two or three years ago. Mrs. Norman gets
a letter from her every few months.
P: What about the Fulk family?
N: Had a wife, that's all. His house was over here on Fifteenth
Street, I guess it is. Go right up from Language Hall, up there
about three or four doors, and there's a brick house there. He
built that house. He built two houses there. He built one house,
and then he built another one. He had a nice house.
P: Isn't that the property that was turned over to the cooperative?
N: He willed it, or gave it, to some fraternity. I don't know what
they did with it. I don't know whether he turned it over to the
cooperative or not. But anyhow, he had given it away. He fi-
nally resigned; his health gave way, and he didn't live very
long after he left here. Went back to Nebraska.
P: But he spent all of his teaching life here in Gainesville, at the
University of Florida?
N: Not all of his teaching. He was much older than I was at the
time. He had had a longer experience in teaching in Nebraska
before he came here.
P: He was already a mature man when he came to Gainesville? He
was not fresh out of graduate school, or anything?
N: I don't know. He might have been fresh out of graduate school,
because at that time-- it still is the case, I guess--a lot
of people are getting up in years when they get the doctor's
degree. At the University of Nebraska, I reckon.
P: When you became acting dean in 1920, and then was appointed
in 1921, what was the salary? You had come here at $1,500 as
an assistant professor in 1916?
N: It was between $2,000 and $2,500. I've forgotten which. I think
it was $2,400. I think the president was getting $3,000.
P: Not very elaborate salaries, but I guess the dollar went a little
bit farther then than it does now, didn't it?
N: Oh, yes. I was getting $1,500 my first year, and as I remember it,
we saved $1,100.
P: Well, I think you told me you only paid $11 a month rent.
N: That's right.
P: And food couldn't have cost you too much.
P: What about your children? When were they born?
N: Frances was born in 1917, just a year after we came, and William
was born on January 17. Is that Benjamin Franklin's birthday?
P: Uh, huh. What year was Bill born?
N: 1921. And Sara was born October 25, 1924.
P: Are all of these children living, Dean?
P: Where is your oldest?
N: Frances is Iving in Bloomington, Indiana. She is the wife of Frank
Young. I don't know whether you knew him. He was here at one
time on the faculty in Bacteriology. And he's up there on the
faculty of Bacteriology.
P: At the University of Indiana?
N: Yes, he's been there nearly twenty years now.
P: And Bill is in Washington?
N: Bill's in Washington. Sara's husband is practicing law in
Jacksonville...Linder Smith, Jr. He graduated here.
P: In 1912, they divided the university up into five colleges.
N: That's right. I think they ranked it this way: You see, the
university came here, part of it, from Lake City, and that was
the Agriculture College. Somehow or other, Agriculture seems
to kind of out-rank Arts and Sciences at that time, if there
was anybody that out-ranked anybody. Anyhow, that's the way
we went in when we marched in the procession. Agriculture,
Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Law, and Education. I had to
move in front, with the rest of them behind, when we went up
on the stage at commencement. We went up according to rank.
I was the lowest rank.
P: You were the low man on the totem pole?
N: I was the low man on the totem pole, all right. Low man of
the front man in the procession. That's how we ranked at that
Now, as to whether or not I got a fair...I reckon so.
I didn't have many students, and I had a hard job of convincing
anybody that I needed that much money. But we didn't have much
money. The others had the same trouble. I remember that when
Governor Hardee[Cary A. Hardee] came in, that we hadn't been
able to do very much with Governor Catts [Sidney J. Catts]. We
now had hope of a new governor...we could get something, and
we went in pretty hard trying to get more money. We thought that
Hardee would be more friendly to us. I kept his letter for a long
time, he wrote to each one of us. He said in the letter, "If you
people don't think you can run this university on what I'm willing
to give you, just get out." I kept that letter for a long time in
my bank vault. And so we had trouble with Hardee.
Then in 1927, Dr. Murphree said in the dean's meeting, a
counsel meeting, "I saw Conradi yesterday, and he thinks that
we ought to ask for so-and-so, and we may get so-and-so for the
faculty." Dr. Leigh [Townes R. Leigh] and I spoke up right at once.
We didn't think that was enough. Well, I don't know how he put
me in as chairman of the committee to investigate salaries in other
universities. Maybe it's because I was in Education; he thought that
I would might know more about it than Dr. Leigh, who was a professor
of chemistry. I worked on that hard. I wrote to the Office of
Education, and got a lot of information about what people were
paying from all over the country.
I think that that's one thing that I did that was good for
the University, because we got more than the president and Con-
radi had thought that we could get. I know that it went up. I
think that we deans then were getting $4,500, and the professors...
a rank below. I got a little extra on summer school, so I was
doing fairly well, then, because I was running the summer school
and the regular year, too. Every now and then I hear about what
you people are getting at the present time. I say, "Oh, I was
just born too early." I think about all these salaries that
you're getting, some of them getting $25,000; that's as much as
I would get in five years.
P: Dean, how was your relationship with Dr. Murphree?
P: You want to elaborate on that a little bit, say anything about
N: I think he was one of the courtliest persons that I ever knew.
He was that fine. I don't know how to say it. I got along with
him very well. I remember one time I went in to see him, and he
was expecting me to have some complaint.
I said to him, "I haven't got any complaint to make. I
just thought I'd come in and see you."
He said, "Come right in and sit on this side of the desk
with me. You're the first one that's been in, didn't have
something they wanted."
Well, we got along. He was a member of the Baptist church,
and he taught a class at the Baptist church; and I was a member
of the Baptist church, and we had that relationship, too.
P: In terms of your relationship as president to dean, did he give
you all the freedom that you felt you needed in your college?
P: Was there any interference from him?
N: No. Only time I was directing in the summer school, he came up
one time, and I've always been sorry for that. I kind of talked
back to him. I've often thought that I probably was wrong.
Maybe I wasn't. That's the only time.
P: What do you mean, you talked back to him?
N: Well, he wanted me to do something, and I didn't want to do it. I
don't know how to elaborate. He wanted something; I kind of
thought that he was interfering when he had no business to be inter-
P: Did you have complete freedom in hiring your faculty?
N: I had.
P: None of this went through the president's office; there was no
pressure exerted from the president's office?
N: Of course, I had to make out my budget and my list of the
faculty people, and turn it in, and the Board of Control had to
P: But there was no ultimatums issued from Language Hall telling you
what to do?
N: So far as I remember, he never...except on two occasions, he
recommended somebody. When Professor Enwall[Hasse O. Enwall]
came, I remember I had gotten applications from various ones,
and I liked a man better than I did Dr. Enwall. But Dr. Murphree
liked Dr. Enwall, and he thought more.... But he didn't put the
pressure on me. See, I'm kind of an easy-going fellow, and
don't resist like some of these modern people do, and when he
said he thought Enwall was the man, I recommended him.
Dr. Enwall came here really as a...succeed Dr. Cox in
psychology and philosophy. It was my job to get somebody for
that, because as soon as Dr. Cox went off, we didn't have any-
body to teach that. He went off suddenly, and I came in as
dean suddenly, so we had to fill the position. He didn't put
any pressure on me, he just said that that was his opinion;
that Dr. Enwall would be the man.
P: Philosophy and psychology were in the College of Education at
N: While Dr. Cox was here. See, Dr. Cox taught that. Dr. Cox,
so far as I remember, never did teach any course of education.
He did teach psychology, and philosophy, and then we needed
somebody. Then Dr. Enwall came here in the College of Educa-
tion. But it wasn't long before he thought that he ought to
be under the College of Arts and Sciences. He said, "That's
the place where this ought to be." I guess he was right
about it. And so he transferred over to Arts and Sciences.
He wasn't on my faculty anymore.
P: And psychology and philosophy then moved with him over to Arts
N: Yeah. And that year, the first year I was dean, we had to have
somebody to teach psychology. I taught psychology that year.
I don't know what we did about philosophy. I don't remember
that I tried to teach any philosophy.
P: What was the other incident? You said that there were two.
N: There was a man named Lancaster[Ellsworth G. Lancaster], I
believe. He was an elderly fellow. I've forgotten the details.
It seems to me that he wanted...I didn't think Dr. Lancaster
fit in well, and thought we ought to get rid of him. We did
get rid of him. I don't know the details well enough to go
into any history.
P: And Dr. Murphree agreed with you thinking along this line?
N: I hesitated there a minute ago. I'm not so sure. That might
have been Dr. Tigert[John J. Tigert]. It looks to me like
Lancaster was here later than the death of Dr. Murphree.
P: Dr. Murphree died in December of 1926.
N: 1927. Died on my birthday, December 20.
P: That's right, 1927. What kind of an administrator was Dr. Murphree
in relationship to all the deans? Did he seek advice from the
deans in making university policy?
N: I guess he talked with all of us. I remember we had the Council
of Deans. The deans would meet, and we'd discuss things, and
I remember Dr. Farr[James M. Farr] was there. He was vice-presi-
dent. That incident I told you about Hardee, I remember all of
us were there; and we decided that we would put on more pressure,
trying to get the higher amounts of money for the faculty, more
appropriation; so we put on pressure, and Governor Hardee didn't
like it. All we were trying to do, we were just trying to
P: You were not of the opinion or feeling that Dr. Murphree was try-
ing to run the university as a one-man show?
N: Oh, no. Oh, no. We could go to him any time.
P: The door was open?
N: Yeah. That time I went over to see him, and didn't have anything.
Just went in and talked to him. I told him I didn't have anything
to do, just wanted to come in and speak to him.
P: How about Dr. Farr as vice-president? How did the deans get along
N: We got along with him all right. I don't remember any clashes.
I don't remember we had much of any clashes back then.
P: There was a good relationship among all the faculty, wasn't there?
N: So far as I can remember. I don't remember that we had anything
more than just opinions. Of course, most of them didn't think
very much of the College of Education. That is frequently the
case, you know, on all the campuses in the United States that
I've found out.
P: Was there a good social relationship among the faculty in those
early days? Did you visit back and forth?
N: As I remember, we didn't visit back and forth; at least I didn't
too much. I had supper with Dr. Murphree once. I used to play
golf with Dr. Murphree, and one summer I went home with him for
dinner. I remember that, but I never was in Dr. Farr's home for
dinner. Of course, I was quite friendly with Dr. Leigh, was
friendly with Dean Trusler[Harry R. Trusler], but we didn't
visit each other. Mrs. Norman knew Mrs. Trusler quite well.
Trusler and I were friendly when we met, but then we didn't
visit with each other. I never went around his office just to
sit down and talk to him,for instance. I talked with Dr. Leigh
a lot. Dr. Leigh and I got along fine. Major Floyd[Wilbur L.
Floyd] was a fine fellow, kindly disposed and friendly.
P: And Dean Benton[John R. Benton] was also here on the faculty,
N: Yes. Dean Benton, we visited some. Mrs. Norman knew Mrs.
Benton in the women's organization. Mrs. Benton is still living.
P: Just last week, I had contact with Mrs. Benton.
You were saying that the university didn't fare so well
under the Catts administration. What was wrong with Catts?
N: What was wrong with Catts was Catts. He was just a wild-eyed
fellow, and no telling what he was going to do. The first
thing he did when he got in...before he got off of the inaugur-
ation stage, I think he fired some fellow. He said the first
thing he was going to do as the governor, he was going to fire
some fellow that's at Tallahassee in one of the state jobs...not
university job. That's the kind of fellow he was. He was just
a wild fellow.
P: He didn't get along too well with Dr. Murphree, I know.
N: I don't think so. I don't think he got along well with any of us.
I don't think he got along very well. I know we didn't have a
very high opinion of him, and maybe that's the only thing that
I can say about him: that we just didn't have any high opinion
of him. We didn't feel that he was getting us anything, or he
was showing much leadership.
P: You expected a little bit more from Governor Hardee, but you didn't
N: Yeah, that's right. And then John Martin went in. That's when the
salaries were increased. We were fortunate that John Martin was
governor. He was a good friend of Fons Hathaway. Fons Hathaway
was superintendent of schools for Duval County. John Martin was
from Jacksonville. We put in our budget, and I think Fons told
John Martin he ought to do that. I've always believed that; I
don't know. But I know Fons Hathaway and Dr. Murphree were great
friends, and I believe that Fons helped us through his friendship
with John Martin. That was the time that I said that I made the
investigation of the salaries that were paid at these other insti-
tutions, and our salaries went up. I think it went up to $4,500
for a dean. I don't know what it was for the president.
P: How about the relationship between the university and the Board of
Control--people like P. K. Yonge--during the 1930s?
N: Mr. Wardman lived over here in Citra [a small community about fifteen
miles southeast of Gainesville], I think.
P: And Joe Earman from Palm Beach?
N: Well, I've forgotten the others. I just remember those two. They
had been on for a long time.
P: Did you consider them to be friends of the university?
N: Yes. I thought Mr. Wardman and Mr. Yonge, especially. I don't
know about these others, because I didn't know them. But I knew
Mr. Yonge and Mr. Wardman well enough to speak to them if I hap-
pened to meet them on the street.
Now, I don't know any of the members of the Board of Regents
at the present time. I wouldn't know any of them if I were to see
them. I haven't even seen them, so far as I can remember. Maybe
I saw them at the Blue Key banquet when they stood up.
P: But these other men in those years visited the campus more
N: I think so. I think they kind of felt like the two institutions--
the one at Tallahassee, and the one here--were kind of like their
children. As a matter of fact, I think that Mr. Yonge was a member
of the legislature when the Buckman Act[consolidating the small
state-supported schools into three colleges in 1905] went through.
And as I remember it, he always felt that the university and the
college for women were his children. The only objection that I
would have with Mr. Yonge was that he felt that you ought to keep
the men and women separate, and he never was favorable to having
any coeducation in the College of Education here. That's one of
the things I tried to get all the time I was here...to get the
women admitted. But I never did succeed.
P: Was this because of the Board of Control, or was this because of
pressure from Tallahassee, or what?
N: Well, I suppose it just took time to get it. I don't know. I
know Mr. Yonge was very much opposed to it.
P: You were admitting women in the summer school even before 1924?
P: As I understand it, in 1924 the university was authorized to admit
women if they could not get work at Tallahassee.
N: I've forgotten that. So far as I can recall, that didn't have
any effect on the College of Education.
P: That's right, because they could go to Tallahassee.
P: You had no women students in the College of Education except in
N: Except one time. I hit on the idea of trying to break through that,
and get coeducation. I got them to let me put on a spring summer
school, eight weeks. You know, the schools were not running for
nine months, some of them. A good many of them were out the first
of April, or along about that time. I asked them to let me run a
spring summer school. They did, but that didn't last long. I
never was gifted in getting coeducation. I just think what would
I have done at the time that I resigned as dean, if I could have
stayed on at that time...when they did admit women, in 1947?
I resigned as dean in 1947. I had resigned as dean of the
College of Education in 1941. They decided that the College of
Education and the summer school director ought to be two people.
I don't know whether I recommended that or not, because it was
an awfully heavy load. And so I decided to stay with the summer
school. I gave up dean of the College of Education. Dean Little
didn't think I ought to do it; he advised against it. But I
felt that I had a better chance to do something with the summer
school than I did with the College of Education, because I didn't
have students. Then in 1947, I recommended that the university
administration take over the summer school, and not have it
separate. Up to that time, the summer school was practically
separate from the university administration.
P: I remember that.
N: Were you here at that time? I didn't know you'd been here that
long. That was in 1947; that's twenty-two years ago.
P: That's me. I'm old.
N: Just a spring chicken.
P: I want to ask you about Dr. Farr. Why didn't they make him pres-
ident in 1928? They made him acting president. Why did they
bring Tigert in?
N: I think they were a little afraid of Dr. Farr. As I remember,
something came up. It looks as if he had taken some of the money
that ought to have gone to one member of his faculty, or something
P: I thought that came later in the 1930s, 1934-35, when they prema-
turely retired Dr. Farr.
N: That's when that came up.
P: I was just wondering, he had worked out very well as vice-
president, and he had served as acting president, and certainly
from everything I've been able to gather, he wanted to be
appointed as president of the University of Florida, and yet
they passed over him.
N: I don't know. I remember I was in favor of him. When I would
talk to him, I'd say, "I hope they appoint you." And then, I
remember his announcing that Dr. Tigert had been appointed, in
the chapel. I had an idea that it was kind of a hard thing for
him to do. But I suspect that there was something that the
board was just afraid to trust him.
P: Were the stories of Dr. Farr and his spendthrift ways--and his
sort of flamboyant ways for quiet, conservative Gainesville--
were these things fairly well known at the time?
N: Well, I guess so. Dr. Farr, I understand, never had lived
within his salary. His father was from up in South Carolina,
I believe, somewhere, and was a wealthy man. I think that he
spiced his salary out of him. I remember he drove a Marmon car,
a high priced car at that time. Maybe higher priced even than
the Cadillac. Somehow or other, I remember, I think that Dr.
Farr didn't have a good reputation for paying his bills around
P: That's true.
N: I don't know.
P: Those were the things which probably colored the Board of
Control's thinking when it came to making a final decision?
N: I suspect so.
P: How well did you know Dr. Crow[Charles Langley Crow]?
N: Oh, I knew Dr. Crow pretty well. Dr. Crow was in teaching, a
strict subject-matter person. And they say he wasn't gifted
in getting things across. I don't know. He didn't have a good
reputation of being a first-class teacher, but he expected his
students to make high grades on the examinations, and he would
flunk a lot of them. And I remember one thing was said about
him. You remember back in World War I, the Germans were coming
down at Verdun, and the French got up and said, "They shall
not pass." Some wag around the campus said that was like
Crow. Like Dr. Crow, he says, "They shall not pass." He and
the French were alike. He stood out just about like the
P: How would you classify our students in the 1920s? Most of these
were Florida boys?
N: Yes, I think so. Most of them. I don't remember anybody coming
in here from some other state. I guess at the time I knew of
some, but I thought it was just University of Florida for Florida
P: Were they pretty good students coming out of Florida high schools?
N: Some of them were. I don't know that there'd be any particular
difference between then and now. Maybe I'd be in favor of the
way some of these fellows are doing at the present time on the
campuses of various universities.
P: They weren't just hillbilly boys?
N: Some of them were, I guess. I didn't think about them in that
term. They were just students in my class, and my job was to
teach them. I hadn't thought of anybody being from John D.
Rockefeller's home, or any ultra-rich, I just thought it was
just the general run of the mine of the students in the state...
high school students. As I said a while ago, in 1909 and 1910,
didn't have but 2,831, according to the state superintendent's
report, in high school. You see, we had trouble getting students.
Now, we had in connection with the College of Education to
let a person make up their entrance units. That's what the high
P: You had sub-freshman courses here, didn't you, for a long time?
N: Yes, the sub-freshman courses. As I remember it, we wouldn't
take anybody that had high school opportunities at home. That's
the way I remember it. If a person didn't have a high school, or
they didn't have access to high school, they could come here.
A good many of those people were elderly fellows...students--
twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three. Wasn't any sixteen,
seventeen year olds, unless they came from Gainesville, and I
guess they didn't come from Gainesville, because they could go
to Gainesville High School. We had a number of those. I think
we had forty-two the first year I was dean, all told, college
and sub-freshman, too. See, the College of Education was a small
thing back then, when I was first running it. The summer school
I thought was my opportunity, and I stayed with the summer school
when they divided it.
P: Dean, were you involved as an advisor in any student organizations?
A fraternity group or a professional fraternity of any sort?
P: You had no relationship there to students?
N: Not that I remember. If I did, I didn't know, and don't remember
P: Would you call this a very moral campus during the wild and
N: I think that the boys were reasonably as good as they were anywhere
else that I was connected with any university. As I remember it,
it was very much the same thing that it was at Mercer when I was
P: Was there a compulsory chapel on campus?
N: I believe there was a compulsory chapel. I think we lined them up.
I don't know whether we lined the juniors and seniors up or not,
but I remember we lined the ROTC up. I don't know whether they
brought their rifles with them or not, but they had their uniforms
on. We'd march them in. You know where they had the chapel?
In the north end of the second floor of Floyd Hall. From the
stairs step back, this was the chapel...in the second floor. It
was big enough to seat the whole student body, and the faculty
and their visitors.
P: This was before the auditorium was constructed?
N: I believe that before the auditorium was constructed, they had put
up the...the Music Department's in it now; it was a gymnasium at
P: Was there much drinking, or smoking, or carousing around on campus
N: I don't think more than ordinarily. I didn't know so much about
that. If you'd asked Professor Buchholz, I guess he would've
told you. But I never was alarmed or shocked at what went on.
P: William Jennings Bryan, who was a friend of Dr. Murphree, attempted
to launch a temperance.campaign on this campus. And Dr. Murphree,
of course, was widely quoted in the Literary Digest for those
statements in 1924. I was just wondering whether this in any way
reflected a level of immorality among the students on the campus?
N: I don't think so.
P: Do you remember Bryan's visits to the campus?
N: Yeah. I saw him when he was here. Mrs. Norman gave some flowers
at a party they had, a tea here, to Mrs. Bryan, and she came along
with him. I had several talks with Mr. Bryan at one time or another.
I had a talk with Mr. Bryan down in Orlando at the Florida Educa-
tion Association one time. I had just been made dean, and I was
feeling my importance; he was there to speak. I saw him sitting
over there reading a paper in the lobby of the hotel. I thought,
"Well, some of us ought to go and say something to him," so I
thought I'd take it on myself. I went over there, and he got up
right at once and put his paper away as if he was glad to talk to
me. I said "Mr. Bryan, if folks talked about me like they do
about you, I don't know whether I'd sleep at night." He said,
"Oh, I enjoy it. I enjoy it."
P: Did you ever have any discussion with him on his anti-evolution
N: No, no. That came up, and he died right after that, you know.
I didn't see him after, because he died. He died right...didn't
get out of Nashville, I believe.
P: Of course, he was trying to get a similar law passed through the
Florida legislature before the Scopes trial, and I just wondered
if that had stirred up any feelings on the campus.
N: I don't remember. I remember naming this building over here, one
of the rooms, Bryan Lounge. He was happy to get that.
P: 'Cause he was here on a fund raising campaign trying to get some
money for a YMCA building?
N: I suspect so. I was busy with my summer school and with the
College of Education. If I wasn't in the summer school, I was
getting ready for summer school, getting out my bulletin, and
things like that. And so I didn't know much about that.
P: When Dr. Tigert came, he came with strong credentials as far as
education was concerned, didn't he?
N: He did.
P: He had been commissioner of education. You must've worked very
well with Dr. Tigert.
N: Yes, I got along with him very nicely. I don't know that I got
along with him any better than I did with any of the other presi-
dents. I think I got along with Reitz[J. Wayne Reitz] better than
I did with any of them.
P: Had you known Dr. Reitz when he was here on the faculty?
N: Yes. I remember something came out about the time that they were
considering him for president, and I had something to say to him...
cheer him up or something. That's about all that I knew about him,
but when I saw him he always seemed to be well pleased that I came
up and spoke to him.
P: When Dr. Tigert came, he had been a Rhodes Scholar, and had a
strong background as commissioner of education. Was he already the
kind of bluff, gruff country kind of a boy?
N: I didn't see any particular change in that respect from what he was
when you came here. I think he's just the same kind of person. I
don't think he had changed much when you came.
P: Do you think that this bothered people very much? Did he trod on
N: I don't think so. Of course I don't know what he said and did at
Tallahassee, and the Board of Control, and things like that.
P: How did the university fare after the boom bubble burst here in
1926? Florida went into a depression even before the rest of the
country. After the boom bubble burst in 1926, and we had the
hurricane, times began to be bad in this state.
N: We came along better in 1927 than we ever had. As I said a while
ago, that was when John Martin raised the salaries. It hadn't
affected us so much.
P: But shortly after that, we began to feel the pinch here, didn't we?
N: I suspect so.
P: How about the Depression years, the thirties?
N: Well, I guess we had our own troubles, just like the rest of the
country did. I don't remember that it affected us so much. Maybe
the Depression was good for the College of Education. That was the
time when we got the College of Education Building, and the contract
for putting up that building came in September of 1932. Some years
afterwards, I saw a graph showing the rise and fall in the cost of
construction. The low point was in September, 1932...was the con-
struction of the building. We took the contract in the month in
which it was the lowest. In that sense, you might say that the
Depression helped us, because if we had to build that building now,
as we did then, it would be The contract was then $282,000.
We had $300,000, but we had to pay the architect, and things like
P: Was all of this state money?
N: No. The General Education Board was giving us $150,000.
P: And the rest of it came from the state?
P: Matching funds?
N: The General Education Board said that if we matched it, they'd give
us $150,000. Well, we finally got that in Sholtz's[Governor Dave
Sholtz] administration. Dr. Tigert was trying to get the money to
go on with. We'd started the building. I guess Sholtz came in
1933. Scholtz said that if he had his way about things, he would
board the damn thing up. He used that expression, so it was said.
N: Well, we'd given him some trouble getting money, or something like
that. Maybe somebody put pressure on him, and he was like Hardee.
If it didn't work like he wanted, he could go without. But that's
what Dr. Tigert told me that Sholtz said.
We went ahead and got the building, anyhow. Finally got it
in. We didn't finish the building. A large part of the third
floor was left unfinished. I don't know whether you remember that
or not. It didn't have that Florida room which is there now. We
did have the cafeteria; it's south end there. But they had to dig
out some of the rest of that Florida room, and extend it north, way
up under that first floor there.
P: How did it happen that the building was put, really, what amounted
to being off campus at the time? What's the story behind the land
N: Well, that wasn't my wish. I wanted to put it up down here close
to that sinkhole on this side of the street.
P: Where Architecture is now?
N: Yeah. That's where I wanted to put it. I thought it ought not be
way off over there. I remember Dr. Tigert wanted to put it over
there, and I think that was his decision and not mine.
P: That land was given to the university by the Thomas family, Major
N: I had forgotten that.
P: I wondered if that had anything to do with this?
N: I wouldn't be surprised.
P: Where did the idea of developing a laboratory school come from?
Was that your proposal?
N: In 1928, in my report to the president, I recommended it.
P: What was your thinking behind this, Dean?
N: We needed a place to do practice teaching. My thinking was
influenced by what happened at the Florida State College. They had
gotten one before we had; so I thought we ought to have one, too.
P: By this time, the College of Education had begun to increase in
size; more students were here.
N: More students, and we began to get on our feet better. I thought
we needed something like that; they had one over there, and I
wanted one. I didn't have vision enough; I didn't see big enough;
I don't know how much I thought we ought to have. I think I said
$150,000, maybe. I don't know what amount I said, but I hadn't
expected to get as much as we did. I was well pleased. I wished
I could say that it was my influence that meant that we got as
much as we did.
P: What was Dr. Tigert's reaction to your proposal for.a laboratory
N: At first, I don't know. He didn't say anything to me about it.
But some time afterwards he came back from a trip somewhere, and
he called me over and said to me that he had seen Susolow. Susolow
was at that time president of the Carnegie Foundation. He had
been at Teacher's College for a long time, and he had gone from
there to the University of Washington, the state of Washington. I
think he hadn't gotten along out there very much; maybe he was
trying to be too dictatorial or something. But he was president
of the Carnegie Foundation. He had seen Susolow, and Susolow said
that...I guess the president had approached Susolow to get some
money, and Susolow told him, "Now, I'm not the man to do that. It's
...a General Education Board. The General Education Board has done
something like that for the University of Kentucky, at Hampton
Dr. Tigert called me over one day and said, "I've seen Susolow.
I want you to take Dr. Romer (because he knew General Education
Board people); I want you to go to Washington and see Dr. Susolow."
Dr. Susolow had an office there.
Well, Dr. Roemer and I got on a train and went to Wash-
ington; went up to see Dr. Susolow, talked to him. He said, "I'm
not the person you ought to see. You ought to see the General
Well, we caught the first train out of Washington, got to
New York, as I remember, about daybreak, and we went to a hotel
and went to sleep. Went down about ten o'clock, and went up to
the General Education Board, on Number 61, Broadway, and told
what we wanted. Whoever it was that was talking to us said,
"Well, the man you want to see will be back here at one o'clock."
So we went to the Stock Exchange in the meantime and got dinner.
We were there at one o'clock, and the man came in and said,
"I'm not the man you want to see." Said, "You want to see Mr.
Jackson Davis. He's getting on a train and going to Richmond
at three o'clock."
There we were at 61, Broadway, and we were up...hotel up
on Forth-third Street. We had to get up there and get our
suitcases. We got to the Pennsylvania Station, and I think
they held the train. They saw us coming, and I think they held
the train a half a minute, but just as soon as we got on, the door
was shut. That's how close we came.
The train started. Roemer knew Mr. Jackson Davis, because
he had seen him. As I told you a while ago, he had been sent
here by the General Education Baord as a high school visitor. We
went through the train trying to find him, and we had him as a
captive audience, you see, as long as we had anything to say.
Then he said, that we ought to get in touch with Mr. Favrow, or
maybe he'd ask Mr. Favrow to come. Mr. Favrow had an office in
Baton Rouge. And so Mr. Favrow and Mr. Jackson Davis--I think
Mr. Favrow more than Mr. Davis--they finally recommended that they'd
give us the $150,000 providing we'd match it. That's how we got
Dr. Tigert called me over and said, "I want you to get on the
train now, and I want you to go to Hampton Institute, and Fredericks-
burg, and Lexington, Kentucky, and study those schools. See what
you ought to have." I didn't study anything hard; I studied that.
I went to Hampton Institute; I went to Williamsburg, too. I went
to Williamsburg, and in that renovation of that city, they had
built a fine school there--about like we've built here. I tried to
get every detail I could from that school; then I went from there
I guess I went to Hampton Institute on that trip, too, and to
Lexington. I must have been gone for nearly a month. I studied
the schools. I went one time to somewhere in Michigan; I've
forgotten what that place was. I remember I went to the University
of Michigan on that trip, and then went out to one of those other
schools out there that had done something like that. Finally we got
our school started here.
P: When did the laboratory school get started? Did it get started
before you moved into the new building, or did it have to wait
until you had a physical structure?
N: Well, as I remember, I moved in on February 25, 1934; it might
of been January 25, 1934. I was the first one moved in. We
didn't have any students in there, and nothing happening in
there except maybe a few faculty people they had in the offices,
until the fall of 1934. That's when the school really started.
P: The laboratory school began then, and that was the first time
that education classes were held in that building?
N: We had reserved two rooms for us, the college. Now, the labor-
atory school has moved out in this new plant, and some of the
College of Education has moved down to the Towers. The other
day I was over there, and they said two or three of the faculty
had moved across the street, back up there just north of the
building, in some building over there. That they'd taken the
department over there in that building.
P: So, they're spreading out?
N: In other words, we spread out like that. I said at the time we
moved in, "Now we're fixed to carry us through the century." I
thought we got that building; that's all we would need to carry
us through to 2000. Here it is, I guess, half-way through, and
we put the laboratory school out and the College of Education
in, and now the College of Education's spreading out.
P: Who was responsible for developing the philosophy of the labor-
atory school? That was sort of a new concept, wasn't it, for
N: Yes. Dr. Mead[Arthur Raymond Mead], I guess. I found out that
Dr. Mead had made a study, and had had a book published on things
along that line. I had known Dr. Mead at Teacher's College the
first year I came back from Germany. He was there as a student.
A very friendly fellow, as you know, and he and I got to be good
friends. I knew him, and so I asked him if he would come down
here and help us get it started. So he came down here; was
there when the school opened up, and stayed right on there as
long as he was at the university. I don't know how much he had
to do with the laboratory school the last few years.
Incidentally, next Wednesday he'll be eighty-nine years old.
I found that out, and I don't know how long he's been retired...
nineteen years, I suppose. I think heretired in 1950. But
what his relation was to the laboratory school there towards the
last, I don't know.
P: This was really sort of a real development, wasn't it--having
the children having a voice in what they were going to study, and
what they were going to do? That was pretty revolutionary for
the times, wasn't it?
N: I guess it was, but I hadn't thought of it as being revolutionary.
P: Is this, you think, mainly Dr. Mead's influence, or what role did
you play, Dean?
N: I don't remember that I had so very awfully much to do. I guess
I had just kind of left it. I had delegated that. I guess they
consulted me and all that. I'd love to say that I was the big
man, but I don't know that I was.
P: I want to get back to a person, and that's Dean Anderson[James
N. Anderson]. Would you tell me about him?
N: Dean Anderson and I were, I guess, about as friendly as I was
with any of the other deans. I knew him. I went over a lot of
times; sometimes to cry on his shoulder, so to speak. Dean
Anderson was a professor of Latin and Greek. Educationally,
he was an ultra-conservative. As fine a man as you'd want to
find, but I guess in education, he would be called an ultra-
P: Would you explain what you mean by that?
N: I don't know whether I can use any other words that would explain
it any more. I guess what he would feel that a school or a university
ought to do is just to have certain courses, like Latin and Greek,
German and French; what you call the old liberal arts curriculum.
I guess that's what he would say. And you asked me about Dr.
Crow a while ago; I think Dr. Crow was an ultra-conservative, too.
Both of them had been educated in Germany, or in Europe. Both
of them were language students. I guess they felt that the study
of languages was about the highest thing you could do in an
P: You know, Dean, one of the things that's always intrigued me about
the earlier years of the university was the fact that even though
it was way out in the wilderness--off the map, so to speak--and
salaries weren't particularly high here, it attracted a high
caliber faculty; men who had Ph.D.s, and who had studied abroad,
and who had published, and who had really good reputations. How
do you account for that?
N: I don't know.
P: What would have attracted a man like Dean Anderson to Florida? He
came to Lake City, I believe, and came from there here.
N: I believe that Dr. Farr was at Lake City. Dr. Farr might of
come kind of as a young man, unlike I did. I guess that's the
case with him. I don't know about Dr. Crow and Dr. Anderson.
P: And Dean Benton[John R. Benton]. Wouldn't you classify these
men as scholars?
N: Yes. High-type scholars, all of them. Dr. Crow knew...so far as
knowing things was concerned, he was a very learned man.
P: Don't you think that these people, with their backgrounds and
training and credentials, could have gone to the big-time
universities of the country?
N: It looks like it. I don't know. I don't know why they stayed
here. They might of come here as young people, and just liked
it in Florida. I didn't want to come, either. I didn't want
to come. But I don't want to....
P: And yet, you came and stayed.
N: But I don't want to go anywhere else now. I'm glad I did.
P: Well, what kept you here? You could've gone other places had you
N: I hadn't been here very long when I made the dean, and I didn't
know of anything else better. I was contacted once about going
to Peabody. One of my friends that I had known at Teacher's
College, and I guess he.... But I think by that time I was
dean, and I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to leave. I
didn't think it was an improvement over what I had.
P: In many ways, the university in the earlier years, had, I presume,
almost a higher percentage of Ph.D.s and renowned scholars than
it has today.
N: It might.
P: It was a strange and an interesting kind of a thing.
N: Yeah. In agriculture it had Dr. Flint[Edward R. Flint]...I mean
P: That's right, in the Science Hall and Dean Leigh[Townes R. Leigh]
was a man of reputation when he came here.
N: Yeah. I don't know how they managed to do it. Maybe the other
schools were not doing so well, either. They're big-time now;
maybe they weren't so big-time then.
P: I think it was an interesting sort of a thing that the universi-
ty was able to do that in its earliest and most struggling
years--to attract these kinds of people. They've left their
imprint, haven't they, on the university?
N: Um, hum.
P: It was fortunate, I guess, that we had these kind of men in the
N: I suspect so. We didn't have so much research going on; we
didn't have so much graduate work going on.
P: The emphasis was on teaching, wasn't it?
N: Yeah. "Publish or perish" hadn't been discovered.
P: How adequate do you think our library was?
N: Not very adequate for research. I suppose we were only fairly
adequate for teaching purposes. I guess we all had a textbook,
following it pretty closely, with whatever reading that we
could find to give them. That was the way it was with me. I
had my textbooks. I was teaching Monroe's History of Education;
I don't know whose educational psychology I had. I've forgotten
that. I taught educational psychology. I remember the History
of Education was from Monroe, and I had my Dewey, and the
Kilpatrick's Foundations of Method.
P: Dean, do you remember an effort on the part of two men by the
name of Tatum and Pritchard to censor the library in the late
P: Two members of the legislature that tried to take Bertrand
Russell's books and George Bernard Shaw's plays out of the
N: No, I don't remember that.
P: I wanted to ask you about the setting up of the University
College, and any kind of a role or relationship that you had to
that. Was this promoted completely by Dr. Tigert? Were you in
favor of this plan?
N: Now you ask me that...this can be edited?
N: Well, I'll tell you. Do you know Howard Buckman?
N: You remember ? He came to my table one time, four or five
years ago. He said, "I was in a meeting yesterday, and Dean Little
[Winston Little] said that that program was your program." Now,
I won't be modest. I'll just go ahead and tell this as I see it.
When I wrote my dissertation--and that can be verified; I could
give you the page--I had run into somebody that had said that this
was the kind of thing we ought to do. We ought to have (how to
call out the names?) ought to have C3, C2, Cl, C6. [Comprehensive
courses in English, science, humanities, etc. The "C" in the
designation stands for "comprehensive," with the number representing
the particular field.] I put that in my dissertation. I thought
that that was just fine, and I had some chance of doing something
about it in the summer school. I went to Professor Black[Alvin
P. Black] and Dr. Heath[Fred H. Heath], and I told them that we
ought to have a course in general natural science. I went to
somebody and said we ought to have a course in general social
science. And I don't know if I said anything about C3[comprehen-
I put in general and natural science, and Dr. Black and Dr.
Heath, I got them to teach that. Well, Black said ought to divide
that course; it ought to be physical science, which would be C2,
and biological science. Ought to have two courses instead of one.
Well, that's C6. Black was on that committee, and Little was a
great friend of mine. I don't know of anybody I like any better
than I do Dean Little. He's one of my best friends. Black
and Little and somebody else was on that committee...Matherly, I
believe. Some of those courses were very much like those that I
put in the summer school.
Now, that has got to be edited out of this, because I don't
want to be talking about myself. That's what Bachman said that
Little said. I don't know of any reason for him saying it to me,
unless Little had said something like that, and I don't know
whether Little would repeat it now, either.
P: Were you on this committee for planning for the University College?
N: No, I wasn't on the committee. The only relationship that I can
think of that I had about University College was that I put those
courses into summer school...general natural science and social
science. I also said--but I don't know that I did anything about
that--that we live in three worlds at the same time. We live in
a world of social--we're surrounded by people; we live in a world
of things--we're surrounded by things, and a lot of the things
that we have now are scientific things; and we live in a world
where we read, write and speak more than we do anything else.
Now, I don't know whether I had an inkling of an influence
on that, but I know I put those courses in the summer school,
and I know that Black was on the committee, and Black had
taught it; and I know that Little was a good friend of mine. I
don't know whether I ever said anything to him about that.
P: So I can surmise from what you're saying now, Dean Norman, that
you were a strong supporter of the...
N: I was a strong supporter, and still am.
P: ...University College.
N: Still am. I think that a person, to be really as fine a person
as he can be, ought to know more than just one line of activity.
For instance, I have several callings. Didn't I tell you this
a while ago? I have several callings. I'm a member of a family;
I have my friends and companions; I have my job that I make my
living at; I'm a member of a church; I'm a member of a civic
club; member of several other organizations. I was a member,
at one time, of the Florida Education Association; district
governor of Kiwanis at one time. Now, if I am the man that I
would like to have been, I would have been intelligently effec-
tive in all of those. And I had thought that those courses
that I was telling you about would be in line for getting a
person ready to actually live the life that he is capable of
living. That was my philosophy.
P: Do you feel that students reacted against these courses because
they were compulsory?
N: I suspect they were against them because of the fact that they
wanted to get ahead with preparing for making a living. I've
had students like that come, and they wanted to be a teacher.
Why? Because they could get a job. I think some of them
wanted to get ahead. They wanted to get ahead with engineering.
They come here and want to be an engineer. Now, my grandson
doesn't like those courses too well. He's going into engineering.
I think he wants to get ahead in that. And it may be that
those courses ought to be the core in high school, and then let
a person, when he comes to the university, start in on what he's
going to do in life. In Germany, when a person graduated from
the gymnasium or the hochschule, they went to the university,
and started right in at the university. Didn't have a college,
you know. I know the German system better than I do the
French system. Didn't have a college; they went directly to
the graduate schools, you might say...to the university.
P: So many of our students don't seem to know what they want to
study when they get here, and the University College helps to
make up their mind. But you feel that maybe if this was
moved back to the high school, that there is where they
could make up their mind.
N: I do that, but that.... The thing that I'm basing my philoso-
phy on, is a person to live as fine and as high a life as he
can. Ought to be fully acquainted with man and the social
world--how to get along with people--and the physical world,
and reading, writing, and speaking. Now, whether that had any
influence on the general college...I thought it was fine.
P: Why do you feel there was always so much faculty opposition to
the University College from its inception?
N: They probably wanted the students to be able to register as
freshmen; get right in their courses immediately. I guess that
P: But wouldn't they have seen the value of developing the full
N: You know, it's kind of hard when you are influenced in your work
directly, and you want to make a success of that. You can over-
look some of those things mighty easily. I don't know why. And
I may be dead wrong on the thing. I've been wrong a lot of times.
So we'll have to edit this out.
P: The fact that you're dead wrong?
N: No. I mean what I said. Now, I don't know why Bachman told me
that, but recently he said that Little had made that statement.
P: Was the state of Florida, and the university faced, during the
Depression years, with the problem of students being able to
afford only one or two years of college? Was the University
College developed to help meet that kind of a need? Terminal
N: Well, I guess that that was, but I don't know if the Depression
had so much to do with that; I guess it might have. But that
might have happened almost any time. You feel that a person
couldn't afford more than two years; wanted to give him a degree
at the end of two years--Associate of Arts. I don't know whether
they give that now or not.
P: Was this concept of the University College discussed and debated
among the Council of Deans to any degree?
N: I don't remember that it came up very much in the Council of
P: I wondered to what degree it was developed as far as individual
college faculties were concerned. Did you discuss it with your
College of Education faculty?
N: I suspect so, but I don't remember any outstanding decision that
came up. We had been giving a two year course, a normal diploma.
See, we'd been doing that all along; all the way back as far as
I can go, we would give a normal diploma at the end of two years.
That was in line with our slogan, when I first came here, "You
ought to have two years beyond high school if you were going to
teach in high school." So we gave a two year normal diploma.
I remember one summer we had one of the funniest things
that ever happened to me. Dr. Tigert went off and told me,
"Now, you conduct commencement exercises and give the degrees...
confer degrees." I asked Little if he would read out the names.
At that time, we always read out the names of those getting
degrees. I asked him to read that, and he had a long list of
them on the program--one column over this way. Start with A
and go down to L, and follow L and go down to P, and P the rest
of the way. When Little read, he read across. We had them all
lined up so that this one would stand up, and this one would
stand up, and this one would stand up.
P: But not the way Dean Little read them?
N: When he said, "This one stand up; this one stand up; this one stand
up...," I asked him, "Little why'd you read them that way for?"
He said, "I'm not a Chinaman. When I read, I read across the
page; I don't read up and down."
P: When Dr. Roemer was here, he had set up this program of visiting
the high schools. Did this continue to be a responsibility of
the College of Education?
N: I suppose it did as long as he was here.
P: And then what happened, after he left?
N: I suspect...whatever happened, I guess he took it over to the
P: Was there a direct relationship between the College of Education
and the individual school in the state?
N: Not formally. Roemer's relationship might have been something
like that, but I don't remember that I had any relationship
personally with any of the schools.
P: I wondered if any attempt was made to find out from high school
principals, or from superintendents of public instruction on
the county level, what the needs were which you could fulfill
in an educational way here?
N: That sounds like a mighty good thing to do, but I didn't do it.
Except when we'd get together and discuss at the Florida Educa-
tion Association, and when we saw each other, we'd talk about
P: I had always thought that this was Ballard Simmons's [Glenn Ballard
Simmons] responsibility when he was here.
N: Well, no, I wouldn't say so. Now, when he came in as dean, I
suspect he did a great deal more of it than I did. Besides, he
didn't have the responsibility of the summer school. See, my
responsibility was both to the summer school and the College
of Education, and I shouldn't be surprised if Simmons didn't do
more of that. He's the kind of fellow that would do that.
P: But, this was not a formal part of Education?
P: Was there any kind of a working relationship with the College of
Education over at Tallahassee?
N: Nothing, except just a friendly...just like it would be at any
P: There was never any attempt to avoid duplication, or anything
N: Um, um.
P: What about with the private schools of the state, Stetson and
N: All independent.
P: Every one was independent in terms of determining its curriculum
and standards, and this kind of thing?
N: No. I suppose, for getting their students accredited, they had
to go to the State Department of Education just like we did.
They had to satisfy the requirements of the certification, just
like we did.
P: Did the College of Education have any say-so in determining
what certification was? Was this something that was done by
the superintendent of public instruction, completely?
N: I suspect that Mr. Cawthon, when he came in, would consult us.
I think he came in in 1922. But, as long as Mr. Sheats was up
there, I think he managed certification himself. That was
his pride and joy--certification.
P: How about the later superintendents, like English and Bailey,
and people like that?
N: Well, I guess it went along very much the same way.
P: There was some consultation, but not a great deal.
N: Yes, that expresses it. I was friendly with all those fellows.
P: When did the College of Education get its own library?
N: Oh, some time after we had moved over into the College over
there. You see, I wasn't dean so many years after that building
went up. We went in there in 1934, and I resigned as dean of
the College of Education in 1941. I don't remember that we had
its own library as long as I was over there.
One thing came up that amused me some time ago: my youngest
daughter was going to get married, and they wanted a place to put
the wedding presents. In our little library over there, there
was a place. If we'd just get the books off the shelves we'd
have a nice place. Well, I had accumulated a lot of books--
complimentary copies, and one thing or another like that. We
decided to take the books out, and I thought, "Well, I don't
have any need for these books; just as well get rid of them."
And I might get a little money out of that. Go over here to this
bookstore over there; maybe, they'd give me ten cents a copy for
I went over there, and they laughed at me. They had more
books like that than they knew what to do with, themselves. And
then I said, "Well, I won't be outdone, so I'll go over and
give them to the library over here." I went over there and see
somebody. They said, "Mr. Miller has charge of books for the
education people, so you ought to see him.
I went over to see Miller. He says, "What are they?" I
told him. He said, "Don't want them."
"Well," I said, "I'm not going to be outdone, after all." I
had a number of them in my car, and I announced to my class--I
had a big class that summer--I said, "Now, I've got a whole lot
of books in my car out yonder, and I'm giving them away. Go out
and take any books you want." So they made a raid on them.
Along about October came. Somebody called up, and Mrs.
Norman answered the phone. He said, "You know, them women over
here...them women is in my house this summer left some books
here, and they got Dean Norman's name in them."
I've often thought about that. I said, "Now, maybe it isn't
such a bad idea, anyhow, that I didn't write as much as some of
the rest of you did." I had to have some excuse for not writing;
besides, I couldn't do it. Finally they said that after World
War II, the Japanese wanted some books, and Bill Rion over here
in the first student union building advertised that any books we
had that we didn't want, to bring them over. I carried a carload
of books over there one day, and left them with Bill. I think
he sent them to the Japanese. I got them off on the Japanese,
finally. I always think that's the funniest thing. We say publish
or perish, and that may be the kind of thing that happened to some
of those books.
P: Nothing happens to them, except that they end up in Japan, eventually.
P: Dean, what happened to the summer school during the 1930's? Had
it kept getting larger and larger, and more of a responsibility?
N: Yeah, yeah.
P: Why had it kept growing?
N: The general movement of education upward, over the state. They were
having more high schools, having more elementary school pupils, needing
more teachers; and maybe they were getting better salaries. It was
just a general growth of the state, I think. In 1909 and 1910 we had
2,831 high school pupils in the state, and now we were having a great
many more, and more teachers needed. Teaching was a better profession
than it was. We kept trying to urge them on to get higher degrees.
It started out that you ought to have two years beyond high school
if you're going to teach in high school, and then along about 1934 or
1935, we began to say they ought to have a bachelor's degree. And
the whole thing moved up together.
P: What happened to the summer school during the war years?
N: I think it went along about like it had been going along. You see,
the women were coming to summer school. They made up a big part of the
summer school. I suspect that the men dropped off some. Everything
dropped off in World War I, but by the time I came in as dean, World
War I was over.
P: What about World War II? Were you active on campus then, other
than in summer school?
P: You weren't the dean of the college anymore?
N: No. Well, I gave up my deanship of the College of Education in the
spring or summer of 1941, and of course we went in the war on December
7, 1941. See, I was out of the college entirely when we went in.
P: But you were still teaching in the college, weren't you?
N: I was teaching at the college.
P: Who succeeded you as dean?
N: Simmons succeeded me as acting dean. But somehow or other, Simmons
didn't get along so very well with Dr. Miller [J. Hillis Miller];
I don't know why. Since he was just acting dean, he called over to
Dr. Johns [R. L. Johns] and Kate Waffrod, and told them they wanted
to recommend somebody for dean. They began at once to recommend
Simmons, and he said, "I called you over here to ask you advice on
appointing the dean." That's the way it came to me now. It seemed
that he was determined that he was going to have a change there.
Simmons acted as dean for five or six years. Dr. Tigert told him
one time, (or at least Simmons told me) said, "Why don't you just
knock off this acting name here. Why don't you just leave that
off?" No, he said he hadn't been appointed as the dean; he was
just kept as the acting dean. And so the upshot of that was that
White [Joseph P. White] went in.
P: I wonder why Dr. Tigert didn't do something about it?
N: I don't know why he didn't. Simmons felt that he could get along with
P: Dr. Tigert never took any action to do anything about this situation?
N: I don't know why he didn't.
P: Did Simmons ever voice any opinion?
N: I never did hear him say anything about it, except that he did tell
me that time that Dr. Tigert asked him why he didn't knock off
the "acting." But he said he wouldn't do it; he hadn't got the
P: So Dean White was brought in, then by...?
N: Miller came in in 1948.
P: Did you ever get to know Dr. Miller?
N: Yes, we were friendly. I thought very highly of Dr. Miller, and
I got along very nicely with him. Mrs. Norman got along very
nicely with Mrs. Miller. She's in town yet, isn't she?
P: Yes. Mrs. Miller is a very lovely lady.
During the war years, you continued to teach in the College of
Education; you continued to operate your summer school. You were the
director of the summer school?
N: Up until 1947.
P: And at that time it merged into the total university picture?
N: Uh, huh.
P: And you resigned in 1947?
N: I resigned that.
P: But you continued to teach?
N: Till 1955.
P: And what did you teach after 1947?
N: Philosophy; and I don't know whether I taught history or not. That's
one thing that I didn't like so very much. I felt that I didn't have
a full load. That's one thing that Simmons and I didn't get along on
so much. Simmons was anxious to have something as a leverage for getting
appropriations, and so he wanted to have several people in.... He
divided things up, and let this fellow do this, and this, or this, and
get something for him to do. It kind of cut down on what I had to do.
That was one of the sad things that I had. I wanted to have a full
load. I didn't feel that I had a full load. I didn't feel that I
had enough classes.
P: Dean Norman, I know that you're a modest man, but I want to ask you
candidly what impress did you feel that you've left on the College
of Education and the University of Florida?
N: Well, I guess the greatest impress I left was in getting that build-
ing and the laboratory school; that's what I feel. I feel that we
did start a movement back there--people ought to go on and get their
degree. Get a normal diploma; get them that degree. That kind of
thing, I think I had some influence on. And I think I've had a lot of
good students that went out. Every now and then, somebody comes along.
Only last week, I met a fellow over here at Parklane. The fellow said
his name was Teller. I'd forgotten him; I could see his face, but
I couldn't get his name. He said, "I was in your class thirty years
ago." I run into people lots of times like that. They tell me
about having been in my class, and how much they enjoyed it, and
things like that.
I don't know...I just wonder myself what impress I made. But
I do think that I had that influence on getting that building, and
getting the laboratory school.
P: What influence do you think the College of Education has had on
Florida, the last thirty, forty, or fifty years.
N: Its had a tremendous influence on Florida, because we've sent out
thousands, I reckon, thousands and thousands of students. A lot
of them...over the state. There's a lot of students that we've
had over the state, especially women.
P: As teachers and administrators?
N: Yeah, especially teachers...women teachers. And then, they have
administrators. I think this fellow Floyd Christian was one of our
students; he'd been a member of my class. My impress, I guess, has
been on the students that I've taught.
P: Howard Culpepper was one of your students, wasn't he?
N: Yeah, Howard Culpepper was one of my students. There's a lot of them.
Simmons was one of my students. There's a lot of them.
P: I was one of your students, but that's not anything good.
N: When did you take a course under me?
P: 1938. History of Education.
N: Yeah, I've forgotten it. Why didn't you tell me? I might have said
something about it.
N: Did I teach you History of Education?
P: You sure did.
N: Did you learn anything?
P: Sure. Everything I know about the history of education. You feel
you've led a very happy full life, haven't you, Dean?
N: Yeah. I regret that I haven't got a shelf of best sellers. I
haven't written. I haven't written, and I don't know whether my
cabinet-making is a substitute for that. It has created a great
deal more attention than my books would have done, if I'd had the
books. My books might've had a big impression on people doing
graduate work, and things like that, but so many people know about
my cabinet work. But of course, as a university professor, that
is nothing. I don't think that I have been as near as big a man
as I wanted to be.
P: But you've lived a happy life?
N: Very happy life, and I guess that nobody has enjoyed his retirement
more than I have.
P: I've often wondered, was Dr. Glunt [James Glunt] one of your cabinet-
N: No, I'm his protege.
P: Oh, you're his protege.
N: I'm frequently asked how'd I come to get in cabinet working. I
said, "Well, it's one of the most surprising things that ever happened
to me." If anybody had asked me January 1, 1934...if they had told
me, had had a vision of the future, said, "Now, by 1969, you'll have
between two and three hundred pieces that you made, come out of your
shop." Thirty-four clocks, grandfather clocks. If they said one
grandfather clock, I would've been surprised. But thirty-four! I
would've said, "My goodness, the man's crazy as a loon; he's crazy
as he can be."
One Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Norman said to me, "Let's go for a
I said, "That's fine. I enjoy walking, especially when I got
a nice lady to walk with," or some pleasantry like that.
We went up the street there, Fourth Street he was living on;
he was living just two blocks from Dr. Mead. Pretty soon after
that, he moved down to where he lived the rest of his life. I
went in, and he had a secretary bookcase there. He just had
finished it. I thought it was the finest piece of furniture
I'd ever seen. I was just amazed that a person standing by
me, a person that I know... Oh, I knew Heppelwhite and those
big fellows back there did things, but I didn't think about a
fellow that I knew could do anything like that. I said, "Oh,
I could never do a thing like that." That was my attitude in
1934, in spring, just about this time of year.
He says, "There isn't anything to it. All you have to do
is just to keep one short step after another and keep going."
Well, I caught the fever. And fortunately, immediately there-
after, the laboratory school came, and it had an industrial
arts. I found out I could do a little bit better than I thought
I could do. And that's how I got started. That was in 1934.
I was past my forty-ninth birthday.
P: So Jimmy Glunt was your inspiration, then?
N: Jummy Glunt was my inspiration. And then on top of that, Jack
Bohannon, (who was a teacher of industrial arts over there) he
was very kind and considerate, and helpful to me. That's how
I did that.
P: You've had the satisfaction of seeing your family grow up?
P: Has there been much personal sorrow in your life, Dean Norman?
N: Personal sorrow? No, none more than other people had. Of course,
personal sorrow when my father and mother died, when my three
sisters died. One sister died in 1926 with cancer, and within
the last three years, two others have died. My father and
mother died back in 1920 and 1921. Sorrows like that. Nobody's
been put in jail since the man who was put in jail in Virginia.
P: What role has religion played in your life? I know you've been
very close to the church.
N: Religion, religion. Religion has been central in my family from
the very first. Father was born within a quarter of a mile of a
church, and brought up there. He was a Methodist. As a small
child, before I was seven, we went to that church more than we
did any other. Mother was the descendant of this man that I was
telling you about finding churches, and she joined a Baptist church--
one of the churches that he founded. It's still in existence. So
we went to church, and when we got up...a little bit later on, we
got to go into Sunday school. My brother was made superintendent
of the Sunday school, and I was, I reckon, eleven or twelve years
old at the time. I think he was about twenty-one or two when he
was made superintendent of the Sunday school of the church where
my people still go. I went religiously to that Sunday school,
and ever since then, wherever I've been, I've been a member of
When I went to the University of Minnesota, I joined the
Baptist church up there. I didn't join any church when I was
just going to school, but I thought I was staying there, and
I joined the church up there. When we came down here, Mrs.
Norman and I, we both joined the Baptist church. We've been in
that church ever since 1916. The First Baptist Church. I've
been a deacon in that church. I reckon you can say I'm a deacon
in the church now, but I'm not an active deacon. I don't meet
with them. But I do...a religious life. If I die under this
operation that I've coming up, that you didn't think that there
was much danger, I don't know where I'll go. Or whether I'll
go anywhere or not.
P: Do you have just a personal philosophy of life?
N: Well, I gave my personal philosophy of life a while ago.
P: Oh, I thought that was Dewey's philosophy.
N: Well, I adopted that philosophy of purposeful activity.
P: Is this what you tried to implant in your children?
N: I hope that they...I hope so. I don't remember that I did it
in so many words, but by example. They could go ahead, and getting
through school and all that, I guess...just about like any other
P: Maybe that's what they ought to write on your tombstone--James
W. Norman, a man of purposeful activity.
N: Might. You know what they put on my portrait over yonder, don't
P: Uh, uh.
N: Have you seen the portrait?
P: I've seen the portrait.
N: Well, it's not very plain in there. It's back in the back side
there--"Do something supremely well." He asked me, the artist did;
said, "A simple statement." And I thought of looking in my Dewey
or Kilpatrick, and maybe finding some statement there, and just
quote it. Finally, it dawned on me what I ought to do is to say
what I've been saying. I've been telling the class over there,
"Do something supremely well." And that's kind of been connected
with my life, and especially my students, more than anything else.
And so on that picture is "Do something supremely well." Back in
there you can see it, if you look at it close enough.
P: I will. I suppose you were very pleased when they named that
building for you?
N: Oh, that's one of the great joys of my life. I hope that if the
boys begin to demonstrate around here, they won't occupy that
P: Are you worried about the future of students? There's been
so much demonstrating and rioting and so on.
N: Oh, I'm tremendously concerned. It just looks so bad to me.
P: You don't think that this is just a sense of independence, a
sense of growth on the part of the students?
N: I don't think that you'll live long enough to see the end of it.
P: I don't either. I'm concerned, myself. What do you think is
responsible for this?
N: Well, I think that this race question is responsible for a lot
of it. And then I think, also, that it's an influence that's
come across the ocean from over there. I think some Communist
influence; I don't know whether they're participating, but the
ideas come across, anyhow. Just a general dissatisfaction with
things as they are. I don't know. I'm not enough of a phil-
osopher now to take that and analyze it. That's for you historians
P: Do you see any solution to this problem of student unrest?
N: No. I think they'vejust decided that it's...well, maybe they
just want to have some fun. They want to do things, too. I think
always that all of us, at times, want to do something sensational.
I just don't know.
P: Dean, I wanted to ask you about your philosophy toward Negro
education in Florida. There's been lots of progress in those
areas since you arrived in 1916. Was there any working relation-
ship between your College and Florida A&M's educational program?
N: No, no. I don't suppose I've had any influence on Negro education.
P: I suppose their problem of their schools, and lack of teacher
training courses and so on, might have been even greater than the
white...as large as the problem was for white students.
N: Right. What I would like, I would like to see colored people
developed to their highest potential. Just as I said awhile ago,
about those courses in the general college and things like that.
Man in the social world; man in the physical world; man reading,
writing, speaking, and things like that. I'd like to see them
just come to the front, fine. But this thing of mixing, I'm doubtful.
I'm doubtful about this thing of mixing the races any too much. I
may be wrong; most of my friends don't agree with me. As a matter
of fact, I never do discuss it with them, 'cause I know how they
feel. You take Mrs. Stevens, for instance, I never discuss that
kind of thing. And Hal Lewis, and Vince Hines, Bob Curran, I don't
discuss this Negro question. I don't like the idea of mixing; I
don't believe it ever is going to work. It might.
P: Dean, what'd you think about that teachers strike last year?
N: I was doubtful about that. But I thought...well, it may be I'm
just afraid to get in and scrap and fight. But I was just doubtful
about it all the time. I couldn't say very definitely that I think
it was the wrong thing to do. I just thought maybe that just didn't
appeal to me.
P: Do you think school teachers should take a more active role in
politics, exert pressure on the legislature, and band together
to increase teachers' salaries and increase appropriations for
schools? Or do you feel that just sort of let nature take its
N: Let nature take its course, I suspect, because I dread that ever
so much. It may be just because I'm scared to get in and fight.
I'm not a fighter.
P: Dean, as you look into the future, are you optimistic about the
growth of education in this state and in the South? We've come
a long way since 1916, when you arrived on the Florida scene.
N: I think that we'll continue. I think we'll continue to go forward
for some time, unless all this striking gets to such a case that
we bring on a revolution or something, or a bloody battle or
something like that. I don't much look for that any time soon,
but it might come.
P: In other words, you look into the future with a degree of optimism?
N: Yeah. If we could just get this thing...this race question, I
would think I would be very optimistic. But I don't know what's
going to happen. United States News and World Report came out
Monday, and it had an article in there where they'd interviewed
this new Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. He made
a statement in there that some of those agents said they were sent
out to see that integration took place; that they were not concerned
about education. Take an attitude like that, and they're going to
have this thing...we're going to push this thing of integration
over on you, whether you want it or not. I don't know whether
that's going to be a good policy or not.
P: Are you alarmed, Dean, about the growing role of the federal gov-
ernment in education?
N: Yeah, I can get along very much without that.
P: What about the growing emphasis of federal monies to state universities
like the University of Florida? Haven't we reached the point where
we can't get along without federal money?
N: It begins to look that way. Take my school up in Georgia. It's
having trouble among themselves, in Mercer. My sister sent me a
clipping from the Christian Index. The Christian Index is published
by the Baptist organization, and the Christian Index had taken the
attitude that the church ought to get out of Mercer, turn it over to
the trustees, because they don't believe in mixing church and state.
They think they begin to take money from the federal government, it
means state control. Yes, I'm alarmed about all those things.
P: If you had to build a building today for the College of Education,
you wouldn't be able to do it, would you, without Federal funds?
N: I probably wouldn't.
P: Because the private foundations aren't coming across like the General
Education Fund did in the 1930's.
N: Yeah. Either the federal government would have to help, or the state
would have to do it all by itself. When you have that money, it has
a tremendous influence. You can get money. "If you do what we say
to do, we'll give you money; if you don't do what we say to do,
we're not going to let you have any." It looks like a system
of blackmail to me.
P: And you feel that this is dangerous for the future of American
N: I think so.
P: Do you see any solution to this problem?
N: No, sir. I don't see any solution to the problem. I don't see
any solution to this race problem. I'm a complete pessimist when
it comes to those things.
P: But you feel that we're going to turn out, perhaps, a better educated,
more humane student from our...?
N: I don't know about that. I don't know. It worries me some to see
all this new way of dressing. I thought maybe that was just because
I was old fashioned. I don't think the girls are half as pretty as
way back yonder. I see them over there at the College of Education,
and some of them...dresses way up above their knees, and the boys
with long hair, and all of that kind of thing.
P: Of course, the girls had their dresses way up above their knees in
the 1920s, the grandmothers of these girls, flappers.
N: Well, I'm alarmed about those things.
P: Are we turning out a better educated more humane student from our
N: I doubt that.