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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: Ancil Payne
DATE: December 4, 1968
P: This is an oral history interview with Professor Ancil Payne
of the University of Florida. We are beginning this interview
at 1:30 on the afternoon of December 4, 1968. Dr. Payne, we
are going to be informal during the course of this interview.
Perhaps we can utilize first names, because this is going to
be an informal conversation between two people who have known
each other for many years. Would you first give us your first
A: My name is Ancil Newton Payne.
P: Ancil, what I'd like to do is to start off by asking you, if
it isn't embarrassing, the date of your birth and place of
your birth, and if you'd tell us something about your family.
A: I was born in Corbin, Kentucky on August 11, 1900.
P: Where is Corbin, Kentucky?
A: Corbin, Kentucky is on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad
about 105 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee. My father's
name was Louis Franklin Payne, and my mother's name was
Maria Elizabeth Humfleet Payne.
P: What kind of a name is that?
A: That's English.
P: Brothers and sisters?
A: My father and mother had thirteen children. Three of them
died in infancy, ten grew up. I had seven sisters [and]
P: What kind of business was your father in?
A: Well, my father, from very early in my life, was a motorman
on a motor which took coal cars out of the mines. Very early
in my life he gave that up and entered the Methodist ministry.
From my earliest remembrance my father was an itinerant
P: Was he just a self-educated member of the church? He didn't
go to a seminary or a theological school?
A: No, but [he] was a member of the Kentucky Annual Conference.
He took what they call a four year conference course of
study. On the completion of that he was an ordained elder in
the Methodist Episcopal church.
P: So you grew up in a church house, so to speak?
A: I was church orientated and Bible orientated, I flatter my-
self...I have a pretty good knowledge of holy writ, which I
find a great asset in my teaching.
P: Did you find growing up in that kind of a household a restric-
tion on your activity?
A: I felt no restrictions. I had no desire to do anything that
would be materially wrong. We lived in communities where a
thing as...well, card playing and drinking and things like
that were not carried on. So there may have been restrictions,
but I felt no pressure on me.
P: Where is your father's family from?
A: My father's family comes from southeastern Kentucky--Knox
County, Kentucky. The county seat is Barberville, Kentucky,
the seat of Union College, a Methodist institution.
P: What about your mother?
A: My mother was raised in the same county.
P: Is this a pioneer family that she came from--an old Kentucky
A: Well, my great grandfather migrated to that area in Kentucky
from Lee County, Virginia. Back of that they were Virginians.
I had an uncle who traced our genealogy somewhat...that we
came over to this country sometime around the middle of the
seventeenth century, during the time of the civil wars in
England. And [it's] my understanding--I can't vouch for this--
that my folks were Cavaliers in England. That is, they were
supporters of the king.
P: I'm beginning to see how you developed your love of English
history. It comes about naturally for you.
A: I'm English ancestry on both sides of my family.
P: What about your early schooling in Corbin, Kentucky? I pre-
sume that's where you went to school?
A: No, I did not. My earliest schooling was in Pineville,
Kentucky. It was between Corbin and Knoxville, on the
Louisville & Nashville Railroad. I started there in the
first grade, and then my folks moved to Whitley City, Kentucky,
where he took a charge. I continued my schooling there. And
then from that area we moved down into Adair County, Kentucky,
a rural community...Basil post office. Believe it or not, I
went to school in a log cabin schoolhouse. The grandmother of
my contemporaries, the children in school with me, attended
that same log cabin schoolhouse. We were there six years.
In the last couple of years or so they built a new schoolhouse
and changed to a one room school, ungraded. One teacher taught
all the grades, from first grade through the eighth grade.
Then, from Adair County we moved to Riley, Kentucky in
Marion County near Lebanon, Kentucky. In the meantime, I had
already taken an eighth grade examination for admission to
high school. I was then fourteen years old. However, we did
not live near a high school; consequently I was unable to
attend high school until I was eighteen years of age.
P: What did you do in the interim?
A: In the meantime we were working, my older brother and myself--
we were the two older children--at first one thing and then
another. I've worked at mills, and railroading, farming, and
most anything that kids could lay their hands to, to work.
And we'd still go to the school down there, although I had my
diploma. Nothing else to do, especially.
At 1918 I went to Union College academy in Barberville,
Kentucky. It was a private academy, a Baptist church. My
brother had gone the year before. Some years after I graduated
from the academy, the academy was eliminated,
P: What did you study at the academy?
A: Well, the regular high school course.
P: This meant that you were actually starting in the eighth or the
A: Ninth grade. It was a first class, grade A school, and I
graduated from that academy in 1922. In the meantime, since
the college was there too--Union College--I'd already begun
my work in college. I took some college courses in my senior
year in the academy. Consequently, I finished my college
course in less than three years time from the time I finished
the academy. I graduated from Union College with a Bachelor
of Arts degree with honors in 1925.
P: How did you support yourself in college?
A: Now, I had college jobs. My daddy had a very small income, a
big family at home, of course, and my brother and I practically
made our own way. We worked in the summer.
P: Your brother went to school with you?
A: Yeah, and we did.... Well, we went way up in Harlan County,
which has somewhat of a bad reputation for crime. At one time
they said there's more murders committed in Harlan County in
a given year than the whole British empire in the same period
P: You didn't contribute anything to that record?
A: No, I didn't contribute to that, but we worked up there, he
and I, and some other boys from the college too, in the mines
and around in there.
By the way, you see my finger there? That's a contribu-
tion from working around the coal mines.
P: Has nothing to do with the activity in Harlan County?
A: None that I've mentioned previously.
P: I want to go back just a minute if I may, and ask you whether
there were any influences in your family life and your home
that encouraged you to really make this kind of an effort to
get a college education. That was not the usual thing for
boys then, was it?
A: No, not from our communities, it was not. But my father's
brother had worked his way through Georgetown College, Georgetown,
Kentucky. A private high school, and then college too. And
through Rochester Theological Seminary of the Baptist church,
and became a minister in the Baptist church--he said he saw the
light and joined the Methodist church. He intended to follow
his older brother, Henry, to Georgetown College, but he came
down with typhoid fever.
About that time the Spanish-American War was coming along.
In 1898 he was married, and that ended it, but he always encouraged
his children to get as much as they could. He couldn't help them
much in the financial way, but my father was a brilliant man. He
didn't have a regular academic education, but he was a learned man
in his community. He was very good in math, and he preached good
sermons, and the most able man in prayer I ever heard utter a
prayer before or since.
P: And your mother also encouraged this kind of pursuit of scholar-
A: Yes. Now, my older brother and I and my sister next to me are
the only ones that got college degrees. My older sister now
has an M.A. from East Kentucky State University in Richmond,
Kentucky, and she's a teacher in Madison County, just outside
of Richmond...between Richmond and Lexington.
P: What about your older brother?
A: Well, my older brother was a high school teacher, but unfortunately
we lost him in the spring of 1960. And then my two younger
brothers, younger than I, we lost them too. One in 1963 and one
in 1965. Of the four boys that grew up in our family, I am the
only one left, and I was the second child of the family.
P: All right, you got your B.A. degree then. What were your major
areas of study and interest?
A: Well, my major was history, but I practically had a major in
English. I needed one required course in literary criticism
to have a major in English, which I was unable to get because
of class-time conflicts.
P: What encouraged you to go into history?
A: Well I read my daddy's books, and I always liked history. Ever
since I can remember I liked history.
P: It wasn't any special kind of experience or anything that pushed
you in this direction? You just liked history?
A: No, I just liked it. I read every bit I could.
P: Why English history?
A: Well, I had two very good teachers in college. One of them
had written a doctoral dissertaion on Jeremy Bentham, the
other one was American history and Civil War period. Then I
went to the University of Illinois to graduate school, and
I fell in with Professor Larson who was the head of the depart-
ment at that time. Then later Professor Dietz, for whom I
wrote my dissertation. And I just suppose I just naturally
gravitated then...I was very much interested in American history
too, and I had a lot of American history. In fact, I taught
American history here in the university. You may recall I
taught the survey course for a long time.
P: Now, let me ask what got you up to the University of Illinois
A: Well, this professor that taught American history was from
Nebraska, and he had an A.B. and Ed.M. from Nebraska, and he
had gone to the University of Illinois graduate school. He
did not have a doctor's degree, but he passed his qualifying
examinations. I don't think he ever finished his dissertation.
But he talked Illinois all of the time, so in the summer of
1925 I went up there, just out of a clear sky. I didn't write
to them or anything, or wasn't admitted or anything about it--
I just went up there and presented myself at registration.
P: That was kind of a nervy thing to do.
A: I had had no correspondence with them whatever, in either de-
partment or any of the administration.
P: You just arrived with your carpetbag?
A: I first went to Akron, Ohio for an interview for a high school
job in that county. They wanted me to do mathematics, and I
wasn't up in mathematics, so that fell through. I went from
there on to Urbana and registered in the graduate school.
P: Traveled by train?
A: Yeah, by train.
P: Probably not very much money.
A: Oh, no money at all, to speak of.
P: Just high hopes?
A: This professor I was speaking of offered to lend me enough
money to see me through that summer of 1925.
P: You started in'summer school, then, rather than in the fall
P: And you were at the University of Illinois working on your
A: M.A., yes.
P: And you were still majoring in history, of course?
P: And had you now made your mind up that this was going to be
European history, and specifically British?
A: No, I still had in mind then I was going to teach high school,
and I took a graduate minor in education. I took a course
in education administration taught by the dean of the College
of Education, and I took a course in adolescent:psychology.
I already had a high school certificate in Kentucky, and if
I had taught only for three years it would have been renewed
for life. Incidentally, I had taught only one year which was
1925-26. It was after I spent that summer at Illinois I had
a high school job at Kevil, Kentucky, which is on the Illinois
Central Railroad about halfway between Paducah, Kentucky, and
P: So you were at Illinois for the summer school, and then you
left there at the end of the summer, and you returned to
Kentucky and took a teaching job?
A: That's right.
P: And you taught what grades?
A: I taught high school English and history, and then miscel-
laneous subjects. I taught a course in sociology, and I
taught one in geography. I started to teach a course in
French. The kids had had one year of French, and they wanted
a second year, and I was fresh on my French, so I thought 'I
would do that. It went about two weeks, and then they all
agreed they couldn't handle it, so we dropped it. That's
as far as I went.
P: You had a lot of preparations in those days. How many hours
did you teach?
A: The first semester I taught six classes a day. In addition
to that, we had two literary societies-I coached one of them.
And I had a part in the school play, I coached a basketball
team on an outside court, and I taught a Sunday school class.
P: All for the magnificent salary of what?
A: I got a hundred and ten dollars a month. But there wasn't
any taxes to pay out.
P: I bet that was considered sort of big money back in those days.
A: Well, I paid twenty-five dollars a month for room and board
with a family and I got along beautifully,
P: I can see. You didn't need an automobile?
A: No, this lady was a good cook and she had good meals. No,
the school wasn't very far, just a half a mile from where
I was living in the little village.
P: So you stayed at this school then for one year?
A: One year.
P: And then this brings you up now to the spring of the beginning
of the summer of 1927?
A: Well, the summer of 1926. I returned to Illinois.
P: In the meantime, I hope you registered.
A: I registered after I got up there, not before. That's funny.
Well, I went back to Illinois in the summer of 1926, and I
got a job up there as a ticket agent in an inter-urban ticket
office in Champaign. Inter-urban ran to Decatur, and to
Springfield, to St. Louis, and to Bloomington, and Peoria,
Illinois. I worked in that office nine hours a day in the
fall of 1927. I took a limited load of work, of course. I
had classes in the morning, so I didn't have much time to do
reading and so on. I went to work at two o'clock in the after-
noon, and worked till eleven at night.
P: For how much salary?
A: Well, I got eighty dollars a month. I'd take books. I knew
they wouldn't let me take the books out that early, so I had
a briefcase, and I just put what books I wanted in that brief-
case and walked out with them. The student tenant at the desk
said he knew that I was carrying out those books, but.he was
afraid to say anything to me about them. I always brought
them back the next morning. That was the only way the books
would be available to me, because I wouldn't be there in the
afternoon or the evening to check them out or use them. And
so in June of 1927 I got my master's degree.
P: Did you write a thesis?
A: Yes. My thesis was on Michael De La Pole. His father, Sir
William De La Pole, was a financier who financed Edward III's
first campaign in the Hundred Years' War. Michael De La Pole
was a friend and a minister, advisor, to King Richard II of
England. He became Earl of Suffolk. Then he ran into difficulty
with some of the opposition in the merciless Parliament of the
1380s, and that was the subject of my dissertation. I made
quite an impression on some of the professors in that just out
of a blue sky almost, I could pick up something like that and
make something out of it.
P: Where did you get the source material?
A: I got it there.
P: They had it at the University of Illinois?
A: Yes, as much as I needed. I was going to write on John of Gaunt
[son of Edward III], but I found a big book.... Armitage-Smith
had written a big biography of John of Gaunt, so I just switched
voluntarily on my own to Michael De La Pole, and cleared it with
a professor. Professor Larson was gone to Europe, and Professor
Ulmstead, who was the ancient historian, it was all right with
him. I made a great impression on him because he couldn't give
me any advice or consultation. He didn't know anything about it,
so I did it practically all on my own--all the research and the
writing. Professor Larson came back, and I submitted it to him,
and he accepted it and that was it.
P: You decided then to go on for your Ph.D.?
P: Was this as a result of your own initiative, or was Professor
Larson the encouraging spirit?
A: It was on my own initiative to start with, but then I suppose
I made a favorable impression with this, and I was encouraged
to go on, and I applied for a fellowship and got it.
P: So you started your Ph.D. program when?
A: In the fall of 1927.
P: You had worked the previous summer, I presume, back in Kentucky?
A: No, the summer of 1927 and I was still working up there and
working in this ticket office selling tickets. To illustrate
to you how people can discern your accent, there was a lady
that came up to the ticket window and said that she wanted a
ticket to Danville. The price of that ticket was a dollar and
one cent. I pulled the ticket out of the box up here and stuck
it under the window and said, "Dollar one." I said, "Dollar
She said, "You're from the South aren't you?"
I suppose if I had been a Yankee I would have said a dollar
and one, or one dollar and one cent, or something like that,
but I just omitted the "and", and I said dollar one.
"You're from the South aren't you?"
And of course coming from a border state, I didn't know
I was all that southern.
P: Tell me about your Ph.D. program, now...what you decided to do
your dissertation on, and any experiences or anything that you
had that you'd like to recount.
A: Well, let's see, where am I now?
P: You're in graduate school at the University of Illinois working
on a Ph.D.
A: Yeah. Now, I had a.... Professor Larson was a medievalist.
He was a Norwegian, and he was interested in old Norse.
P: What was his full name?
A: Lawrence M. Larson. Of course, Norwegian is s-e-n, but I think
some.... He has a little book called The Log of the American
immigrant, which is a story of his.... He grew up in Iowa, I
believe, Ph.D. at Wisconsin, and he was relation with Frederick
Jackson Turner and Charles Homer Haskins and Carl Russell Fish,
and people back in that generation. I tell people that I am a
grandchild of those fellows because of their contact with Pro-
fessor Larson. He wrote a thesis on the King's household in
England before the Norman Conquest.
P: He was the director of your graduate program?
A: Well now, he'd presided over my M.A., but then my doctoral ad-
visor was Professor Frederick Charles Dietz. He was a Harvard
Ph.D., and he grew up in Philadelphia. His field, of course,
was English economic history, and especially the realm of public
finance in the Tudor and early Stuart period. He wrote some,
his dissertation and a book ortvoq on English public finance.
P: What about your dissertation?
A: Well, my Professor Larson had asked me to wait. You see, Dietz
was in Europe that year, and he asked me to wait for him. That
was in 1927-'28, Dietz was in Europe. So I went ahead with all
of my other program--I had done my lab, done my French just as
soon as I went to graduate school, because I was fresh in my
French. I had had no German, but I registered for a beginner's
course in German, a four hour course in German. I did all the
homework, and recited in class just like everybody else did. I
made a C in that semester's course in German. Then I had a tutor,
a German who had jumped ship from the German merchant marine on
the West Coast and had gone to Stanford University, and then he
had come to the University of Illinois doing his Ph.D. in European
history. I had him for about a month as a tutor in German. But
we had such difficult selections--we had descriptive German.
The German readers in the First World War--Mervin was the name on
the and had described the sea, and listing the ship, and
all like that. It was just too much for me, so I started in on
my own and got to reading diplomatic German, and a year from the
time I registered in the first course I passed the German.
Then I went ahead and did my prelims, which was entirely
oral--we did not have written. I think that the chairman of
the supervisory committee determined whether we would have written
or not, so I had didn't have written. Professor Larson was still
acting as my chairman, so to speak. He presided over my examina-
tion. The American History people say they're writing for a week
on their written around here. After I had taken my orals,
and just had my dissertation, I wrote to Professor Dietz,
He was in Munich, and he had a subject or two in mind, and I
just waited till he came home. He had a subject in mind, and
he said, "There's a dissertation there, if you could get it
out, on the relation of the English commercial companies to
the government from 1660-1715. Economic-political history
combined on the relationship between the companies, and their
influence on the English government." And I did that disser-
tation under his direction, 1928 and 1929.
Then he put it to me and wanted me to go to London to
supplement my research. I was on a fellowship, and I had no
money. So I had a brainstorm. I suggested to Professor Dietz,
I says, "Now if I get a leave of absence so I could still get
my residence credit, I'll go over to London in March while my
fellowship is still in effect. If I wait to go in the summer,
I won't have any fellowship, but I can go in March and I'll
still have my fellowship, and then that will be enough to pay
for my maintenance, and all I'd be out will be my transportation."
My older brother was teaching down in London, Kentucky,
and he offered to let me have enough money to pay the transpor-
tation. So I bought a ticket with the North German Lloyd Line--
I think that it was $155 round trip, steerage, third class.
I'd never been East; I went to Washington and saw the sights,
and went up to New York for a day or two, and had a time, and
saw some sights up there. Then we took off, and we were eight
days at sea.
By the way, I came back on the same ship. But I had a rather
peculiar experience about two weeks before I was to sail. The
steamship office called me and asked if I would drop by at my
convenience, so I did. They wanted me to exchange my ticket for
a tourist cabin ticket, which was the way most faculty and students
traveled, and I'd pay the difference. I said, "No, no, there's
not a thing doing. I have my ticket, and I'm not going to pay
any more for my voyage." So about a couple days before we was to
sail, they called me again. I went down there, and they said,
"We have decided to give you a ticket to a tourist's cabin,
because you are the only one we have to put on that ship in that
class, and it costs us more to put you on the ship than the dif-
ferential in the ticket." So I came back tourist cabin. We were
nine days at sea coming back.
P: So you were in London for how long?
A: Two months.
P: And you did your research there?
A: I finished my research.
P: Where in London?
A: Well, in the Public Record Office, the British Museum, and
the India Office. Then I went to Oxford and did a little
in the library at Oxford.
P: And you came back then?
A: I came back, and I got back in June of 1929. I went out to
Eureka College near Peoria, Illinois to interview for a job,
and they took another man who had some teaching experience,
more than I had had--that is, that's the reason they gave me.
Then I stayed in Illinois the summer of '29, finishing up my
dissertation. I should have had my degree in June of'29.
And then, of course, toward the end of the summer I went back
home to Kentucky. My father was a minister up in Harlan
County at that time near Harlan, Kentucky. It was then that
I got this job down here. By the way, it was kind of late
in the season, too--it was 23rd of August. [Here there is
a gap in the taped interview. The narrative resumes with:]
Tigert [John J. Tigert] had been United States Commissioner
of Education, and he came to Paducah and spoke to a teachers'
convention when I was teaching in a high school down there.
I heard him then, and I had known of Tigert at Kentucky. He
was coach at Kentucky. In fact, he refereed the game between
Harvard and Center College when the "Praying Colonels"--you
perhaps heard of them--beat Harvard six to nothing. I believe
it was. So I had known about it, and of course, I knew about
the boom down here. People from where I was teaching had
been down here. I remember the boom burst and a car come
through...the people.... He was a doctor from Colorado, and
he had on the back of his car a placard that daid, "To hell
with Florida. We're going home."
P: So you knew about Florida?
A: I knew about Florida.
P: And you had decided that notwithstanding the placard, you were
A: Well I wasn't particular. I didn't particularly care for cold
weather. I'd had enough of that. I had stood on a street
corner in Danville, Illinois and it snowed so fast you
couldn't see anyone across the street-rjust a silhouette.
Eighteen below zero, and with that I got all that weather
I wanted. And if I could do any better....
P: So you wrote to Dr. Leake [James Miller Leake] and told him
you would accept his teaching position, but you needed some
P: What was his response?
A: I received no response. I was up in Harlan, and I got on a
bus. My baby brother just begged and begged me to bring him
with me. Of course, I regret in some way that I did not sac-
rifice somewhat and bring him.. He became an army man, and he
retired as a lieutenant colonel, and then died in 1965--just
a couple months before he was fifty years old, by the way--
and we buried him in a national cemetery at Fort Leavenworth.
We were out there this summer to see where he's resting. See,
I taught at E.I.U. [Eastern Illinois University] this past
summer and we went on out there after the term was over.
So then I rode the bus to Jacksonville. Nobody told me
about you could change at Lake City and come directly in, so
I went into Jacksonville and put up at the Seminole Hotel.
That was my first night in Florida. The next day I came out
on the train, and the two things that first impressed me
were the railroad tracks going down Main Street, and the moss
on the trees. I had never seen that before. Well I didn't
know which way to go.
P: This is September now?
A: It was September 13 when I arrived in Gainesville, 1929.
P: A hot day.
A: So I walked out this way. Somebody had told me the university
was out this way, so I walked out the street till I came to
the Gainesville High School down here.
A: Yeah, later, but it was the Gainesville High School at that
time. I stopped at a filling station and called Dr. Leake
by telephone. Then I took a taxi over to his house. He
asked me if I had a car, and I said no. So we got in his "tin
lizzie" and we drove down here to.... Do you remember the
McQuarrie sisters, Rachel and Etta? Well, you know that big
house? Their father was an agricultural man out here, Scotch.
She ran the dining room portion, and her sister Rachel McQuarrie--
or Etta, they called her--she worked out here in some of the
offices. I don't know just where; it was in Languange Hall,
as we called it then. That's just across the street from Dr.
Schwalbe's office down here. You know where Dr. Schwalbe's
P: Just in back of the bank.
A: Well, that's down Second Avenue, and the street that comes
down here used to be old Masonic Street. You know where Mr.
Scott lived, James Scott? Well, the hospital's the same street
going this way, and Masonic...you go right into this corner.
Mrs. Gropher owns the place there, and it's gone to pot and
needs a carload of paint on it now. Well, Dr. Leake brought
P: You went by cab to his house, and then he drove you back?
A: He drove me to this place. So he introduced me to them, and
he left. He just dumped me right then and there. I made
arrangements for room and board there, it was very convenient
to the university. I would come right up Masonic Street to
Peabody Hall. Now Dr. Leake told me in that same day--that
was before we came over here--our first course was Medieval
history. I had four sections of Medieval history. I had
three sections of 101--that was the first semester--and then
I had one section of what's called 0102, which is the second
semester given the first semester. So I had those; I had a
class in English history.
P: So you had five classes, fifteen hours?
A: I had fifteen hours, but I was not given any information about
where my classes would be or where I would have an office, no
information whatever from Dr. Leake. I was to help with the
registration, and I didn't know where the registration was.
I didn't know anything about it. I was just like a little
freshman girl coming here on this big campus now, absolutely
P: Dr. Leake had left, and you had forgotten to ask the questions?
A: Yeah. Jack Goebel came the same time, he was taking Glunt's
[James D. Glunt] place, Glunt was off at Michigan finishing
his Ph.D. Goebel died just recently back in the summer, and
was brought here and buried. You know, he married Mary
McKinstry and we saw her a short time ago. Of all the members
of our history department who started that fall only Angus
Laird and myself are surviving at the present time,
P: Where is Angus?
A: Angus is in Tallahassee.
P: Who all was in the history department, and what was the history
program here in 1929?
A: Well of course, history and political science were combined
then. There was Dr. Leake and there was Leslie Bennett Tribolet.
By the way, Manning Dauer;.took his job when he left.
P: What was he teaching?
A: He was teaching political science.
P: Just general political science?
A: Well, he was interested in international relations. He had
written a dissertation at Johns Hopkins on some international
relations topic. He taught the advanced courses in political
P: How long was he here, do you know?
A: Well, he was here three years after I came. I think he'd been
here a year before.
P: Where did he go?
A: Well, he wanted to go to the World Economic Conference in London
in 1933. Leake wouldn't agree for him to go, so he went anyway.
I do not know whether he resigned, or let him out, or what the
details were. I don't know where he went. He was up in New
York somewhere, and his wife got a job, I think, in New York
Public Library. He is dead now. I don't know where he taught
after that. He succeeded a Professor Hollingsworth. And there
was Sylvester Green--you probably remember him. He taught poli-
tical science, the beginning courses.
P: Where was he from?
A: He was a Florida boy from over around Perry somewhere, I
P: He had done his work at the university?
A: Yeah, and subsequently he went a year at the University of
Illinois, following Manning Dauer out there.
P: He taught political science, too?
A: Yeah, yeah.
P: What happened to him?
A: While you're racking:;your memory, do you remember Mrs. Eleanor
Green who was over here in the College of Education?
P: What happened?
A: She got interested in these Turkish students. She was his
A: She is in Turkey now, I think, or Thailand, or someplace.
P: What happened to Dr. Green?
A: Well, he wasn't a doctor--he never did get a Ph.D. He had a
heart attack; in fact he had two or three heart attacks.
P: While he was teaching here?
A: Yeah. He had a home right straight out Thirteenth Street
about a mile and a half, I guess. The house is still there,
though she sold it. Her mother came to live with them. She
was a Christian Science reader, I think. She'd had a lot of
family trouble, her husband and her son. But a lot of people
have trouble like that. A lot of them turn to Christian
P: You had Tribolet and Green and Angus Laird. Now Angus, did
he go to school here?
P: He was a Florida man wasn't he?
A: He was from over around Panama City; it was his home country.
P: What did Angus teach?
A: Angus taught anything other than political science. I don't
P: American history, maybe?
A: Yeah, American history. Well, Angus had gone to Syracuse
University in New York, and then also I think he'd gone to
the University of Chicago. But Angus never took his doctorate
degree. Now, Glunt the first year was gone. James Glunt had
come here several years earlier, around 1922 or 1923 I think,
with just a B.A. degree. He'd gone off back to Michigan to
finish his doctorate, and Jack Goebel replaced him. Of course
when Glunt came back, Goebel then went with the extension
division, teaching extension classes.
P: What was Goebel's background?
A: Goebel was a North Carolinian, graduated Wake Forest and an
M.A. from Duke, I believe. And he had also been to the
University of Chicago, and was recommended to Dr. Leake by--
who was that famous American historian at Chicago that wrote
a book on Lincoln or Lee? His daughter, you know, got in-
volved with the Nazis or something. They built this Berlin...
it's comparable to the Berlin Diary. It was William E. Dodd.
P: Dodd was the ambassador to Germany.
A: Yeah, he was ambassador. He was a professor at Chicago, and
he had recommended Goebel to Dr. Leake.
P: It was a rather sizable department then, wasn't it...for that
day and time?
A: Yes, it was. Of course, now, in the College of Arts and Sciences,
Medieval history was a required course. Later they had no re-
quirements. That is, no particular course was required for a
B.A. degree, but Medieval history was required. That's the
reason we had so many sections of it. We had ten sections at
one time in Medieval history. Dr. Leake thought it was a good
beginning course, and I:agreed with him to some extent, because
so many things go back into the middle ages, even the universities
themselves, and I could see his point on Medieval history,
Although my theory is if you are really going to be logical
you start with ancient history.
P: Where was your office?
A: Well now, that's another funny thing too. We all got an office
wherever we could find them. I bet I've had half a dozen
different offices or more. I'd be off in the summer, and I'd
come back and find I wouldn't have any office. I got so I'd
clean the office out entirely of all my belongings and take
them home because you'd never know what was going to happen to
P: Where was your first office?
A: Now let's see, I had an office in three or four places in
Peabody Hall. I had one office on the fourth floor of Language
Hall; I had an office at one time in the basement of Language
Hall. I had an office where the political science department
has their coffee urn now--right across from where I am now.
I had an office there; I had an office in the end of the hall;
I had an office right over Dr. Leake. Then I had an office on
the second floor up there where Osborne and Berringer were
for some time. I had two speech department men there, and down
one end of the hall I had Les Hailmanthere, and he'd bring in
all that speech recording equipment, and he practically ran me
out. Now, I'll tell you where my first office was. It was in
the basement of Peabody Hall, in the end, just under Dr. Leake's
P: Down at the south end of the building?
A: South end. And Goebel and I had an office together, and he
used a great double desk. He was on that side, and I was on
this side. He had all his drawers over there and mine were
over here. That was our first office.
P: How large were classes?
A: Well they varied, of course. Advanced classes were small as
they still are, but...oh I don't know. I have all my rolls;
I could check all my rolls and give them exactly.
P: Were you involved in the graduate program right from the very
A: Yeah, right off I was put on the master's committee.
P: How large was the university when you came in 1929?
A: I think it was about 2,200.
P: What did the campus look like?
A: It looked like a sandbar. I was talking about Masonic Street
down here...the entrance to the campus down here, you'd get
stuck in the sand in your car.
P: Thirteenth Street was then Ninth Street. Was it paved?
A: Along here it was paved, but from the corner on there was no
pavement. It was just a narrow country road. It'd be difficult
for two cars to pass on it.
P: This is the area from University Avenue going north.
A: In fact there was three paved streets as I recall going east:
Masonic Street, University Avenue, and Seminary Street, only
that went through the colored section.
P: And the university, the campus looked liked what--a sandbox?
A: Yeah...weren't any pavement. The only paved street, as I re-
call, was this old street that runs through the library reading
rooms now. That corner down there was called five points, and
that was the main entrance to the campus...drive around here
and through here.
P: Why was it called five points?
A: Well you have University Avenue and you have Thirteenth Street,
and then you have the entrance to the campus coming in here,
P: And that was known as five points?
A: They called it five points. I don't know whether it was generally
called that or not, but just the people around here called it
five points. The main entrance to the campus.
P: The buildings, of course, were....
A: Well, Mrs. Leake gave me some of Dr. Leake's pictures, and
I've got a picture of it over there on my wall. You've seen
it, I guess. Language Hall, Peabody Hall and the library.
Library then was the card catalog room, and the room above,
which was the humanities room, or I guess it still is, and
that was the library. Down here was the stacks, and up
there was the reading room and the loan desk. CoraMiltimore
was the librarian. We had practically no English history, and
I started building it up, getting in some of the sets, and I
continued it all, of course all through the years, building up
an English history library.
P: Now let's talk a little bit about Dr. Leake, since he was the
chairman of the department, and chairman, actually, of both
history and political science. Well just tell me about Dr.
Leake. What kind of an administrator was he, and what kind
of a man was Dr. Leake?
A: Well, I think he was a wonderful man personally, a great
character and a very learned man, but what I say about him
as an administrator, I'd rather be off the record.
P: Well let's not pursue that at this moment, then, because every-
thing we're doing here is at least for the moment on the record.
You may decide that you want a little.... You could say anything
you want and still edit it out. I would like, though, maybe
not to leave this business of administrator out completely. Let's
talk a little bit about it, and then if you decide that you want
to edit some of this out, fine. I want to put it into the
record because it's part of the history, and yet I don't want
you to feel that you're saying something that would be disrespect-
ful to Dr. Leake.
A: Well, Dr. Leake and Dr. Simpson I think were quite comparable
in this line. To me, they did not take care of their men as
I thought they should. I heard complaints from men in the math
department about Simpson on that score. Now, Dr. Leake...you'd
get your assignment and that was it. We had no department meetings
or anything of the kind. Now, I had not had any ancient history,
but I'd read a lot of ancient history. But two weeks before I was
to start teaching, he told me I was going to teach a course
in ancient history.
P: You said that without any rhyme or reason he wanted you to teach
ancient history. Now tell me about dumping Latin American
history in your lap.
A: Well, Henry Clay Adams had been run out. I was told reasons,
but none of them were ever verified to my satisfaction. At any
rate, Henry Clay Adams had taught English history and Latin
American history, so my first year I did English history, and
the next year I was to do Latin American history. I didn't know
that at the time that I started either. I'd had no Latin American
history, I didn't know any Spanish, but Professor William Spence
Robertson was on my graduate committee, and I knew him and knew
some of his students, and I knew his textbook on the history of
the Latin American nations. I assigned that to the students,
and personally I bought around $400 worth of books--Latin American
history books. You know, you get quite a few books for that
amount of money at that time. Of course, I had some difficulty
in getting correct pronunciation of names, but I went along that
Glunt came back the next :year, and Dr. Leake offered me
that I could have English history or Latin American history,
whichever one I wanted. Well, naturally I chose English history.
Then the two semester course in English history was expanded
to four semesters, and the Latin American history course was
expanded to four semesters. I was doing the English history
and Glunt the Latin American history. That wasn't his field
either, so he wasn't any happier in it than I was. But he con-
tinued to teach it on until they began to expand that program
when Don Worcester came in Latin American history. I guess that
was about the end of the war, along there sometime. So you'd
have no really previous information.
P: Did Dr. Leake allow the faculty to select their own textbooks?
A: Oh yes. Of course, in this multiple section course he already
had the textbooks chosen himself. We used Munro and Sontag,
Middle Ages. Some years later I was given the course in American
Government to teach--Political Science 101,102. First semester
it was national government, the second semester state and local.
He had chosen the texts for those. You recall Kimball's [Everett
Kimball] books? We continued to use those, and then when I got
where I could do it myself, I switched to Ogg and Ray [Frederic
A. Ogg and P. Orman Ray], and I used Ogg and Ray as long as I
taught American government.
P: What about salaries during the 1930s?
A: Dr. Leake told me he recommended me for a $200 raise, but instead
of getting a raise we got a cut because of the Depression. We
got, I believe, first a 6 percent cut, and I guess the next year
a 10 percent cut on what you got after the 6 .percent cut. But
we always got our pay. Sometimes it might be two weeks late,
but the merchants in town were very generous. For instance,
I'd go to the grocery store, and I'd run out of money. Maybe
ten days before you get a check, before your check would cover
being late, and all I'd need to do was just sign the grocery
slip and leave it with the grocery man. Then of course, when
I got my check I paid him up. But we got our money, while in
some of the neighboring states they were being paid in scrip
I understand. They had more difficulties than we had. We
always got our pay, eventually. Sometimes it'd be a couple of
P: What about the relationship within the department? Did Dr.
Leake call in members of the faculty to discuss problems and
to ask advice?
A: No. We had our assignments, and we went our way. He gave us
no supervision whatever. He never visited your classes, [for]
which I was very thankful, because I understand that one depart-
ment head would go in and sit in his classes and make the in-
structors all nervous sometimes. You know, he say, "Go right
ahead and don't pay any attention to me." And naturally he
was observing them, you know, and it makes the instructor aw-
P: Dr. Leake just had faith in your ability to take care of the
class, and that was it?
A: Yes, and Leake would come to the defense of his men if they
were attacked from the outside or other faculties. For instance,
some people in the college of education thought maybe we graded
too severely, but Dr. Leake would always defend his men. I
give him credit for that, but he left us on our own. He never
visited our classes, he never tried to supervise, he never offered
us any suggestions. Of course, if we went to him why--which I
don't suppose I did very much--but every time I'd go to his office
to visit, even if he was out carrying affairs.... He had very
strong convictions, and I agreed with him some, some I didn't,
but he respected disagreement.
P: I don't remember a history office. Was there one with a secre-
A: No, not for a long, long time. The first of Dr. Leake's offices
was here in Language Hall. This is a criticism of Dr. Leake's
instruction, whether it's valid or not. I went over to see
Dr. Leake in his office where that northern entrance to Language
Hall used to be--you come in there and his office was just
east of that entrance, and then his classroom was next, and
there was a door that opened from about the middle of his
office into his classroom.
P: Didn't that later become Dean Little's office? University
A: Yeah, I believe it did. Well, I went over there to see him.
He was teaching in his classes, so just a few minutes I sat
down in his office waiting for him. He was teaching the sec-
tion on Medieval history, and you know what he was talking
about? He was talking about electrical refrigerators.
P: Surprising he wasn't talking about Robert E. Lee.
A: Well, he knew the Civil War maybe in Virginia, as he didn't
know much about the Western portion of the Civil War. Later
on Dr. Leake was teaching nineteen hours,and head of the de-
partment too. I understand Mrs. Leake had said the only reason
he wanted to be head of the department was because he could
determine the courses. He knew what he was going to teach.
He taught American history, and he taught Constitutional law,
and Renaissance and Reformation, and Napoleon and the French
P: Anything that suited his fancy?
A: Yeah. Well, he came around where I would, he had offered me
to do the American history survey, or French Revolution and
Napoleon. I chose the American history survey, which was a
disappointment to him. He thought I'd choose the other one,
but I didn't, because I liked American history. I went into
the class to teach it about a couple of weeks after the term
had started, and there was a young man in that class who was
also in the French Revolution class. He was in both classes,
and he told me, "I never knew which class I was in--whether I
was in the French Revolution or in American History."
P: In fact, Leake believed in mixing them up. I know that for a
fact, because I was his student too.
A: Well, Dr. Leake would tell you you'd get a lot of information
out of him, but you'd have to leart. if from Bassett's Short
History of the United States. James Glunt was that way too.
P: Only he didn't talk about refrigerators. He talked about clocks
and guns and locomotives.
A: And guns. And the church. Yeah, they'd tell a story of,...
Fuller Warren was Dr. Leake's student. He had them seated
alphabetically, of course, and that put Fuller right back by
the window. Dr. Leake denied it (it was after Fuller became
governor) that Dr. Leake'd call the roll, and he'd call Fuller's
name; then he'd just roll out that window. Dr. Leake said it
P: When you had to make up a test or something, you had to do
all this on your own? There was no typing service, or any-
thing like that?
A: No, you write it on the board.
P: Just wrote it on the board, and they had some notebook paper
and wrote on the paper.
A: Yeah. I remember one test on the board, and I asked the class
if they could see the test. One boy there, he said, "Yes, we
can see the questions, but we can't see the answers."
P: Any correspondence that you had you took care of completely on
A: Yeah. We had no secretary. No then, years later Manning Dauer
began to assist in helping a lot, then we got a girl.
P: What about travel budgets? Was that an unknown thing in the
university in 1930s--people go to meetings?
A: No, they used to get a little bit. I never did bother. Of
course, you wouldn't get enough.... I remember one time the
story was that Glunt got a little money to go to the A.H.A
[American Historical Association] meeting in Toronto, and
Tribolet found out about it. He was very jealous of Glunt
anyway, I think, and he'd go....
P: Who found out about it?
A: Leslie Bennett Tribolet. And so he went pitching to get some
money to go to the meeting too, you see. I don't know whether
he got it or not. But we usually had very congenial relations
in the department. Tribolet was more or less the type that
tried to take the newer men under his wing.
P: What about the social life as far as the department was con-
A: There wasn't any. Dr. Leake was not a social animal. Dr. and
Mrs. Leake came to call on us. We lived right over there.
You remember a Reverend Potts's house over there? Well, it's
all filled up now, but it used to be about a block down on
Thirteenth Street. There was a great vacant;:lot in there, and
in the back of it was a little house.
You know where Mr. Bell lives over there?
A: Well, you know University Terrace, don't you? Right at the end
of University Terrace, and right back of that alley which runs
up through there--which is paved now and goes by the Ramada Inn
just west of the Ramada Inn...that paved alley? Well, that went
right by almost down on to the next street, a little house, and
that's where we lived after our marriage.
P: I was just getting ready to say you're starting to use this "we"
business, so I presume you weren't living by yourself any longer.
A: No, the first year I lived down where I indicated, down there.
Then June 8, 1930, I was married.
P: To whom?
A: To my wife.
P: That's surprising.
A: No. Her name was Corinne Ward.
P: And where was she from?
A: She was from Hartford, Kentucky.
P: Somebody you knew before you came here?
A: I met her in college.
P: She was attending...?
A: Union College. She came there as a freshman. I was senior,
and most of our courting was by correspondence.
P: She graduated from Union College?
A: Yes, with high honors.
P: Did she go on to do graduate work?
A: No. She'd done some here at the University of Florida, after
we came down here and she started teaching.
P: What were here majors in college?
A: She was an English major, and she did about half the work for
an M.E. degree over in the College of Education.
P: Where were you married?
A: We were married in Hartford, Kentucky, out on the farm--her
father was a farmer.
P: You got married at the beginning of the summer. Then, just
as soon as the term was over here at the university, you went
back to Kentucky?
A: Yeah. We married, and I brought her back down here, and that's
where we lived right up until....
P: I see. So you were sitting there waiting for the Leakes to pay
a formal call?
A: Yeah. They came, and they never came any more. Tribolets came
once; Angus Laird came--he wasn't married then--and scattered
peoples you'd meet here and there came, but not very much.
P: People didn't give parties back in those days very much?
A: Not very much. Corinne was invited to a few parties, and then
we returned Leake's call. We hired a cab and went over to see
him. Now, Mrs. Leake visited us quite often. She and Mrs.
Glunt often came together. And of course, years later they
got sick. But we used to go about every Sunday, or a couple
Sunday, and take them riding. I took Mrs. Leake to a hospital
in Jacksonville, and I took him over there a number of times
to see her. I brought her home. Then a few days later, Charlie
Brooking took her back. She was a beautiful woman, Mrs. Leake,
very active. She was president of University Women's Club;
very active in the Daughters of the American Revolution. She
became regent of the D.AR, In fact, she's the one who got
my wife in the D.A.R.
P: Your wife started teaching almost as soon as she came to
A: No, it was some time. She first started substitute teaching,
and then in 1935 our son was born, and she dropped that. After
he started school, then she went back to substituting again,
and it was some time before she started teaching regularly.
P: Were there any pressures placed on you by the university or
by the department in the '30s to play any kind of community
role in the church or in civic clubs?
P: Did you?
A: Not any civic clubs. I made a few speeches to the Kiwanis
club around then. I did some church work.
P: But that was on your own initiative?
A: That was on my own. I had a morning service over here at the
foundation once or twice. I went to Starke. I went to Alachua--
kind of a substitute, you know, in Wesley Community church out
here. And I did a lot of teaching in the men's Bible class,
but that's all on my own, you see.
P: There was no compulsory chapel for the students by the time you
got here was there?
A: No, no.
P: I think Dr. Tigert had eliminated that...probably the year
before you arrived.
A: Now Murphree had that, did he?
P: Uh huh.
A: Well, we got compulsory chapel attendance when I was in college.
Of course, at church college you'd expect that, but not in a
P: So you didn't have any of these kinds of pressure problems
exerted on you by the university?
A: No. I was just reading some in the autobiography of John
Stuart Mill, and he said he didn't lose his religious faith,
I believe, because he never had any. As he was brought up, he
never had any religious faith of any kind.
P: What about the moral tone on the campus as far as students were
concerned during the 1930s? The campus was much smaller than
it is now, and it was a depression period. Let's talk a little
bit about student life on the campus.
A: Well, I don't know too much about it. I never heard of too
much irregularity in the student life. Course, we didn't have
the girls, you know. It was a men's institution. They kept
the road hot, the boys did, to Tallahassee to seethe girls.
Well now, every once in a while you'd hear about the boys having
a girl in the dormitories or in the fraternity houses and so on,
P: But nothing sensational at all?
A: Not to my knowledge. And since it was a depression, people had
little money. Why, the students, at least as far as my experience
was concerned, seemed to apply themselves seriously for the most
part and do their work. What year did you come?
A: That was the year Sylvester Green died, the one I was talking
about a while ago.
P: What about pressures on you as a member of the faculty in terms
of alcohol or smoking or anything like that? Did the university
concern itself with these matters?
A: No. As far as I was concerned, that wasn't even mentioned to
me. Course, I didn't drink and I didn't smoke--I never have
P: But the university did not have any official policies as far
as its faculty was concerned?
A: No, not to my knowledge.
P: What kind of committee responsibilities did the faculty have
in those early days?
A: Well, we had a few committees. I served a long, long time on
the College of Arts and Sciences curriculum committee, but we
didn't have too many committees.
P: What about your relationship with the administrators on campus?
Who was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences?
A: Well when I first came, James N. Anderson was dean, and also
they just had organized the graduate school, and he was acting
in both capacities. Then, following him, Tom Simpson became
dean of the graduate school.
P: Townes R. Leigh?
A: Then there was an interim with Harold Wilson, who had been working
with Dean Anderson, was acting dean for some time, because he
thought he was going to be dean, but he didn't, and Townes R.
Leigh became the dean. He also succeeded Dr. Farr as vice-presi-
dent. Of course, the vice-president was just nominal at that
time. He had no special duties as far as I know. If the presi-
dent was absent at commencement, why he'd confer the degrees,
but Dr. Farr [James M. Farr] was vice-president of the university
when I came. He was the head of the English department.
P: He was a controversial figure, certainly.
A: Oh yes, I'd heard much about him. I don't know whether it was
true or not.
P: Let's not talk about that so much--about the specific incidence
of Dr. Farr's retirement from the university--but rather about
Farr as an administrator and a teacher, and your recollections
A: Well, my wife took a course in the Anglo-Saxon from him one of
the first summers there, and she thought he was grand. Course
he said that Professor Bright at Johns Hopkins knew more Anglo-
Saxon than anybody in the country, and he was next, and Professor
Bright was dead.
P: He was not a modest man, then?
A: Dr. Farr was quite a character.
P: Well, what do you mean he was quite a character?
A: Oh, I don't know. I guess all's been said about him, perhaps,...
P: Was he colorful?
A: Oh, I think he was somewhat colorful. Of course, Archie Robertson
could tell you more about Farr than anybody. He was with Farr
from the beginning.
P: Did you know Dr. Farr?
A: Oh yes, I knew him.
P: Had you had any personal contact with him?
A: No, except he stopped me one time, and one of his graduate
students was going to take a course from me, andlhe had heard
that I wasn't a very good man to give grades. I advised him,
I said, "Well, I try and give them what they make." Some
couldn't make the first two letters of the alphabet, and things
like that, but I had no real....
P: What about Dean Anderson?
A: Dean Anderson is a sweet old man and a scholar. He was a
classicist--Greek and Latin.
P: Was he a good administrator as far as you know?
A: As far as I know. Of course, he wasn't here too long after...I
don't know how many years, was not very long, but he was a grand
man. I knew his widow, of course, but she died years and years
ago. And his daughter. I don't know whether you know Professor
Grand or not in the architecture. You know, his daughter was
married a week or so.... Well, Anderson's daughter was at the
wedding, and I got her in my car and took her home. That was
just a short time ago. She lives down here, near....
P: Dean Leigh was another so-called character on campus, and maybe
Mrs. Leigh was even more of one.
A: Mrs. Leigh had her own way. And he'd say, "Now, Blanche, now
Blanche." But Leigh was one that warmed the office, and then
to my way of thinking he'd shift the responsibility of the office
onto a committee. He'd find a committee somewhere and pass the
buck to them so that if anything happened it would go to them,
you see, rather than to him. That's the way he impressed me.
P: He was a buck passer?
A: Yeah. He was very, very jealous of his public image. He said
he and Mrs. Leigh would...every little thing about him in the
newspaper, they'd clip it.
P: Have the Leighs any descendents, any relatives?
A: They had no children. She had a sister who was the dean of
women at this women's college in Gainesville, Georgia. She
died too. Dean Leigh had a nephew in Tallahassee. I'm assuming
that he inherited all their estate. Of course, you know, that
fine over there, it's all been sold off, and nice homes
over there now.
P: It was a valuable piece of property.
A: They also had a place, and we stopped one time, he wasn't there.
She was at Monteagle, Tennessee. You know, there's a grounds
there belongs to an association, but you can build a house on
there and pay a nominal sum. The Leighs had a home there in
Monteagle. Driving to Kentucky, we would hit Monteagle right
at noon time. There's a restaurant there where we always ate,
every year. We went in there one noon, and there sat Mrs. Leigh.
We got in a conversation, of course, and she invited us out to
their house for a visit, and we went out there for an hour, and
then came on our way.
P: What about Dr. Tigert? Was the distance so great between the
president of the university and a member of the faculty that
there wasn't much contact.
A: The personality of Tigert would lend itself to some aloofness.
He was anawful hard man to approach and to get to know, get
any congeniality out of. I think he was a great man. But it
was his character, and he always confused me with Fred Smith--
F. B. Smith, you know, in the soils chemistry--which I thought
was flattering, because I think Fred Smith's rich.
I remember the time Bishop Juhan was over here to preach
the baccalaureate sermon. We used to have a baccalaureate
sermon, you know, too, as well as the commencement address.
Dr. Tigert introduced me to Bishop Juhan as Dr. Smith, and I
corrected him, and he never called me Dr. Smith any more after
P: He remembered you?
A: Mrs. Tigert was a great asset to him because she would call
his attention to people, you know. And as she called them,
he would speak to them or not, or something of that kind,
recognized them some way.
P: What about the campus in the 1930s, now? Were there changes?
Did it change over from a sandbox to something else?
A: Well, they began to pave these streets. I don't remember just
when, but they paved this street out here, and this one down
here, and I guess that old stadium road drive--I guess that was
there. But they began to pave the streets, and of course put
up new buildings. Right around this quadrangle here was the
P: They used to have a wall around the campus, didn't they? Or
some sort of a...?
A: Well, there used to be a wall running along here.
P: But they're still there on that wall.
A: Yes, still there. Well, that's the only one I know of. Must
have been removed before I came.
P: Hawkshaw was here when you arrived?
A: Yeah, he was here.
P: And his job was what?
A: Well, he was night watchman, wasn't he? I think so.
P: Did the library holdings improve?
A: Oh, naturally. Then we began to build, too, and we first built
the stacks over there, and then we built three big reading rooms
here, and they built some more stacks. Why they didn't extend
them clear on out to that street, I don't know...while they were
P: How did the faculty get along with Miss [Cora] Miltimore, the
A: Well, I got along with her beautifully. Some of them probably
didn't get along too well with her. Some of them didn't think
she knew too much about library science. But she knew enough
to run that little limited library.
P: By the time you came, of course, they had moved the library out
of Peabody Hall into its present....
A: Yeah, into those two rooms there. Course they had an old tem-
porary wooden front out there; it was still there when you
came. But she was cooperative to me. She'd go along, according
to what I wanted.
P: What about book budgets during the 1930s?
A: Well, we weren't given any definite budgets. When I wanted some
books, I just gave the list to Dr. Leake, and he'd send the order
in. He would not return the slips to you, but...for instance,
the library sends slips that this book is ready for use and all
that and he'd put it in a drawer or throw it away. You wouldn't
even know about it for a long time unless you had occasion to
check for the book. That's the way of Dr. Leake. He just didn't
tell you anything.
P: Now let's get into the World War II period, Ancil; I think we're
about ready for that. What changes occurred here with the great
draft of students away from the campus?
A: When the students left, you know, we got some army units here.
P: Were you involved in teaching them?
A: Yeah. I taught two or three sections of it, and that replaced
our student body for most part.
P: So that kept the faculty occupied during the war years?
A: Yeah. Kenneth Williams was the director; he's now president of....
P: Florida Atlantic.
A: Yeah. And then Bill Carleton had the social sciences division
of it, and that supplemented our work.
P: You were never involved in the University College program and
all, were you?
A: Yes, I taught C-l a few years after Patrick became chairman
of the department. He wanted that cooperation between the
two. I hadn't taught any after that time.
P: But you were not involved in the formation of the University
College, in developing its philosophy or anything?
A: Well, when Dr. Tigert got these ideas, he set up the Little,
Black, Matherly committee, they called it.
P: What do you mean by the Little, Black, Matherly committee?
A: Well, Winston Little and Percy Black and Walter Matherly formed
a committee to work out this program for what they called then
the general college, and they met with the various faculties.
We had meeting after meeting, day after day on the programs.
That is the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, I mean,
on these six areas they wanted to have the comprehensive courses
in. And laughingly they called it, the Little, Black, Matherly
committee. They were what you call the steering committee for
the inauguration, working out the program, inaugurating the
We had prominent people from all over the country to come
from Minnesota and other places where they had comparable pro-
grams. They call it the dumbbell college in Minnesota, I under-
stand. They'd have a speech, and then would have a question
time. I remember one man talking there...they had a course in
contemporary civilization, and like a fool I got up and asked
him, "You have contemporary civilization. Now, just what do
you mean by contemporary? Where do you start?"
And his reply was, "Well, it all depends on the instructor.
Some of them start with the twentieth century, and some of them
start with the fall of the Roman empire."
P: What was life like in Gainesville during World War II?
A: As I recall there wasn't too much activity. I suppose in various
organizations here...well, I was a member of the Masonic lodge--
and I became master of Masonic lodge in 1944--during that time
I was working up through the chairs to this high office in the
P: Dr. Leake was active in the Masonic lodge.
A: Yeah, he was a past master, He'd been master, and he was the
commander in the chapter, which I was too. And subsequently....
P: When did you build your house?
A: My house was built in 1932.
P: So you didn't rent for long?
A: Well, we lived there the first year, and then the second year
we moved right up the street. As you know, you go to my street,
you come up here where you turn like that, and there's a house
sitting right over in a corner. Well, later a Mrs. Hays...you
remember W. H. Hays, they called him Bus Hays? He lived there,
and we rented from her., She wanted $37.50 a month rent, and we
didn't want to pay it. So Bus Hays, we were downtown, and he
says, "Now, you go ahead and pay her the $37.50, and I'll pay
you back $5." And he did. She never did know it. Says, "Don't
ever tell her," and we never did. She never did knowit. But
he was kicking back us $5 a month on that rent; it made it $32.50.
P: And then you decided to buy a lot just down the street?
A: Well, we had bought an electrical refrigerator. Hubert Hurst's
father and mother lived down where the florist shop is now,
right across the street from us. They had observed us and they
thought we were very careful in our spending. So, I guess in
the summer of 1932 they were going off to Ohio--Hubert was
finishing a master's degree at Ohio State--and they offered to
let us live in their house during the summer. I would mow the
lawn, just to have somebody live in the house. We moved down
there, but about two or three weeks they came back. Something
went wrong up there and they came back, and of course we were
going to move right out immediately. But they objected, said
we could stay there, they had plenty of room. So Mr. and Mrs.
Hurst had their room, and Hubert went to his fraternity and
slept at the fraternity house. So we stayed there the summer.
And then Hurst told us he bought that lot across the street
for $700, and he was going to build a house on it, and we could
have it if we wanted it. We thought it was a pretty good propo-
sition, so we agreed. He more or less supervised Roscoe McLane,
contractor, in building the house. And so we moved in that
house on the 8th of August, 1932, and we've been living there
ever since. All that business has built up around us since.
But it was very convenient when Corinne was teaching across the
street over there, and of course convenient to the university.
I didn't have my first automobile until December, 1936--I
bought my first car, I drove it thirteen and a half years,
and bought another one, and drove it fourteen years; and then
bought another one, and I've driven it four and a half years
P: You don't hold on to them quite as long as Dr. Leake did.
A: Mrs. Leake had one too. Course hers was a one seater.
P: Now the whole situation of the university changed, of course,
after 1945 and '46 with the influx of veterans here. And you
remained a part of the history faculty. So you've been teaching
here at the university for how long now?
A: When I finish this year, it'll be forty years, Sam.
P: What is your seniority at the university? You're obviously
among the oldest members of a faculty.
A: Well, Dan Swanson in Physics came the same year I did, and Alton
Morris in English was here when I came. Right off I can't think
of anybody else.
P: So you are one of the "three musketeers" then?
A: Well, I wouldn't say that. There may be some that I don't have
in mind. See, there were people in the...I used to belong to
the Athenian Club, and I'd meet a lot of people from agriculture
and experiment station. Hell, I used to know practically every-
body on the faculty anywhere, and as far as I know I can't recall
right off hand anybody other than those.
P: Let's talk a little bit, Ancil, about the philosophy of the
university. How would you evaluate the general image of the
university here? You think its philosophy has been conservative,
or liberal, or what over the years?
A: Well I would say as Franklin Roosevelt said, he was a little bit
left of center. I would say perhaps a little bit right of center.
P: The university is a little bit right?
A: Yeah, a little bit to the right until recent years.
P: Do you think this has been good?
A: Well that's hard to say. You can't tell what might have been
if it'd been otherwise. Of course I more or less lean...I'm
more conservative than some of my colleagues, but I'm not an
extreme. If you can use such a term, I'd call myself a conser-
vative liberal. I think the philosophy of the university and
my philosophy of education and life go along pretty well. I
think it's open minded, and I trust I have an open mind and the
university has too, to receive new ideas and evaluate them and
profit from them if they merit that. But you take Dr. Tigert,
for instance. He opposed the university going co-educational,
and he may have held it up some time. But it came anyway. Of
course, when Dr. Leake retired in 1950 is when they divided the
P: And Manning Dauer took over chairmanship of political science.
A: Yeah, political science and Patrick, history. Then they set
up this five program, which I don't exactly go along with. We
had Patrick and we hdd Worcester and Harrison and McAlister and...
[Rembert Patrick, Donald Worcester, Jack Harrison, Lyle McAlister]
P: Mahon [Dr. John K. Mahon].
A: ...Mahon, and I think Mahon's a good man, and I hope he con-
tinues. If you get a good man.... Of course, Manning has
stayed on all the time. It has its good points; it's had its
bad points too.
Say you destroy a good teacher by making him an adminis-
trative official--a head or a dean. It doesn't follow that a
man is good at both. Usually a man only excels in one line.
Exceptions to the rules, of course, but I know two or three
men that are good research men and very poor teachers.
P: And some who are very good teachers, but....
A: Yeah. But I remember reading years ago, a man in an English
department at Harvard was let out, and the excuse was that he
was not productive although he was reported as an excellent
teacher. The students thought he's one of the best they ever
P: The university has taken too much of that attitude, has it?
A: Well, it's getting that more and more. This idea of publish
or perish seems to be taking on more and more.
P: You feel that perhaps the emphasis on teaching is not emphasized
A: Yes, I do. I think it's shifted and continues to shift, until
they won't know what you've written and what you've produced
more than how you excel as a teacher. I think that teaching is
secondary, and probably more so...not only here, but other in-
stitutions as well. That's where your smaller schools have the
advantage...their emphasis is on teaching, and there's more per-
sonal contact between the students and the faculty. Generally
speaking, they get better instruction.
P: I want to ask you a little more about Gainesville. Do you
feel that there has been or is a division between town and
gown here? Is this something that you're...?
A: Well, I think maybe there's a little rumbling. You hear a
lot of criticism all along about the professors are overpaid.
I remember one man, a merchant downtown, he thought the pro-
fessors were getting too much, but then he found out that he
had to close his store up because he wasn't getting enough
business. Of course, most of the faculty's pay is spent in
town--groceries and clothing and rent and whatnot.
P: Socially, have you always found people in town receptive to
A: Yes. I don't know of any open conflict of any kind.
P: You and your family have crossed the line without any difficulty?
A: You mean town and gown?
P: Town and gown, yes.
A: I think so. My wife belonged to a garden club for a long time,
was chairman of the Circular Garden Club, and she belongs to
the D.A.R., and....
P: Ancil, one of the things we haven't put down on the record is
anything about your son except the fact that he was born. What
happened to him?
A: Well, he's now teaching in New York University in the Bronx.
P: Teaching what?
A: He's teaching classics. He's teaching Latin and a translation
course in mythology. Next term he's going to do some advanced
Greek and Latin teaching.
P: Did he do his undergraduate work here?
A: No. He went to one or two nursery schools, and he went to
P. K. Yonge kindergarten, and he went to P. K. Yonge half
through the seventh grade. He was dissatisfied soon after the
beginning of the seventh grade, and we told him, "We paid your
fees for this term, so you go on over there this term. If you
feel the same way about it at the beginning of the second term,
we'll take you out." And we did.
Soon as he went over to G.H.S. [Gainesville High School]
in the middle of the seventh grade he wanted to be in the band.
He wanted a clarinet, so we bought him a clarinet.
P: So he went on through the public schools then?
A: He went on through Gainesville High School, graduated first
in his class of about 149 or 150. And playing in the band--
clarinet. He'd taken music with Claude Murphree and with
Maurice Henson. He's very good on the piano as well as his
clarinet. Then he went to Cornell University when he graduated
from high school.
He was so good in mathematics. Dorothy Pips, who had
taught him math, wanted him to go on in mathematics, and I
wanted him to go on. He got the catalog and showed me where
in the past there's a number of positions that classics people
did just about as well as mathematics teachers did. Course,
P: Then he was interested in classics?
A: Yeah. I pointed out to him, of course, the advantage in business
and government and so on with mathematics. But I said, "Now,
you go ahead then, you major in classics, but I'd also like you
to take your major in mathematics." So what he did, he had a
declared major in classics, but he also had a major in mathematics
at Cornell. He graduated with high honors in classics and with
a distinction in all other subjects. Was elected to Phi Beta
Kappa in his junior year and Phi Kappa Phi his senior year. He
had all kinds of scholarships.
Then his mother was interested in him taking law, and he
applied to three or four graduate schools, and admitted to all
of them, and offered fellowships--Hopkins and Yale and another
one or two...Harvard. So I said, "Well, if you go...." Was in-
terested in taking law, so we'd like him to go to Harvard Law
School. We hdd taken the position that we want our kid to
have the best that he can get. He got a scholarship to Harvard
Law School, but they wouldn't pay very much because you have to
submit your resources, and if they think that you can finance
it, why they don't give you much.
So he went on. He went through Harvard Law School and
graduated cum laude, L.L.D. from Harvard. Just lacked .08 ;
being magna cum. The next man was magna cum; he was the top
cum laude man. Then he got a ruling from the New York Court
to take the bar exam, New York bar exam. That was in the
summer of 1961, and he went down to New York and took a few
weeks crib course. You know how they bone up on those. We
went up there to meet him when he finished his bar exam. Of
those people who took the exam, half of them passed, and half
of those who passed had taken it at least once before. He
passed it, but he had to have a residency requirement for ad-
mission to the bar in New York.
He'd worked one summer with a law firm in New York City,
and he got a job with one of the Harvard law professors who was
working with the Dean Acheson committee on the division of federal
jurisprudence, or something like that. I have it in his disser-
tation. So he went back to Cambridge and worked a year there;
so he was four years in Cambridge. Then he said he was going
back to Cornell to establish his residence and do graduate work
in classics. He applied around again, got some more offers of
fellowships, but he went back to Cornell. He could get his
residence requirement and admitted to the bar, which he was.
He's a member of the New York bar. He went on and did his
master'is and doctor's degrees writing on Cicero--Cicero's
proconsulate in Silesia. Expanded his master's into a doctoral
dissertation, and he's now teaching in New York University in
P: You had a long andifull teaching life here. What's your future
A: My plans are to teach till I get old enough to retire. After
that I have no plans.
P: You just going to sit back and enjoy life?
A: Just like when I was up at....
P: But you've enjoyed your years here?
A: Oh, very much. There was a man at Eastern Illinois University
was in graduate school when I was in graduate at Illinois,
and he's retiring from E.I.U. this December. I asked him
what he was going to do. He says, "Well they tell me I don't
have to do anything."
P: So you're going to follow that kind of plan of operation?
A: Oh, I read all the time. I don't know what I'd do if my eyes
fail me. I'm ready to go I suppose, then, because reading is
P: You're planning to stay right on here in Gainesville?
A: As far as I know, yeah. My brother and my parents, of course,
are gone. My brothers are gone, and I have six sisters live
in Kentucky. They have their families. Course, one of them--
this first one--she never was married, and she's about ready
to retire from teaching.
P: You have no regrets about having stayed here all these years
at the University of Florida?
A: No. I haven't gotten very far. I've had one promotion, but
this publish or perish thing has affected me along that line.
P: But you really haven't been unhappy. You've had a good rela-
tionship with your students.
A: Yeah, I haven't been unhappy. Of course, I think I should
have had another promotion, and I think I should have more
salary. But like I tell them. "When I leave this world, I'm
going to take just as much with me as you will with you."
P: That's right. Is there anything else you think you ought to
put down here on the record?
A: I'd like to have it so my wife wouldn't have any worries if
I preceded her. No, you can ask me questions if you want to,
Sam. If there's anything there that you....
P: I think we have covered a great many things. A lot of curiosity
questions I have about personalities here at the university,
but nothing of any special importance. I was just wondering
what impact you felt Dr. Leake had made on the university's
growth and development?
A: That'd be hard to evaluate Sam. Leake came in 1919; he was
here till 1950. Here thirty-one years, and as far as I can
tell there wasn't much change in his curriculum, in his course
offerings.; At least not from the time I came until he was
gone, which is a period of twenty-one years. He's more or
less, I'd say, somewhat of a stable influence. He had friends
everywhere, and I suppose he inspired more people in his dis-
cussions other than the history itself, the topic. He was a
learned man. He knew a lot about literature and art and music
and so on. By the way, I have his records, his phonograph
records. I have them all. I boughtithem from Hayford Enwall,
who was administrator...I think 125 or so records. And I've
go Curci and, Caruso and Madame Schuman-Heink and....
P: All the collector items now.
A: Yeah. Of course, they are rewriting a lot of them now. And
Louise Homer and the Paderewski, and a whole host of them.
P: Ancil, you've been active right from the very beginning in the
graduate program here at the university. Do you think we've
got a good graduate program here?
A: I think there's room for improvement.
P: Well, that's sort of a general statement. I'd like you to spell
that out a little bit.
A: Well, I think one thing we do, we jump these young faculty mem-
bers into graduate programs too soon. We have kids that don't
quite have their doctor's degrees and they're on Ph.D. committees
and direction, and I don't think that's too good.
P: Do you think we're turning out good graduate students?
A: I know as far as I've had any contact with, I think we done
pretty well. I think we measure up to the average. There's
one or two maybe that...well, I don't know. But I think the
graduate program should be in the hands of older men. I know
that a Ph.D. is a union card, but it marks a degree of achieve-
ment and experience, and I don't believe in bringing a man
right out of the graduate school with.... Well, maybe he hasn't
finished his dissertation, doesn't have his degree, and put
him in the graduate program right...I think there's room for
improvement on that one, and I know status comes from necessity.
Well, that's the only thing we can do, and I accept that, see?
I don't think it's good.
P: What about our demands on the students? Do you think that
we're demanding enough of them in terms of writing and studying
and reading and learning?
A: I don't think we are. One difficulty we have in our seminar
program is that we can't get these students to use the sources.
A: Well, in some instances they're not available. Of course, you
can hardly require them to do term papers and seminar reports
unless the sources are available. Of course, when you're a
P: Well, we have a good library here, haven't we?
A: Well, in some lines, yeah. In some it's limited. But it's
very difficult to get them to hit rock bottom on their research
in their seminar programs. I don't know whether you have had
that experience or not.