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Interview with Nile C. Schaffer, September 7, 1978

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Title:
Interview with Nile C. Schaffer, September 7, 1978
Creator:
Schaffer, Nile C. ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
University of Florida Campus (General) Oral History Collection ( local )

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Funding:
This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

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Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'University of Florida' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Resource Identifier:
UF 68 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
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Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.


UF 68Ab
Page 1 C. Pilkington
Today is September 7, 1978. My name is Steve Kerber and I am going to be
/"'
conducting an oral history interview with Mr. Nile Clarett Schae.ffer.
Formerly a technician and at one time acting director of the Florida State
Museum. This interview for the Univerz-&-sity of Florida's Oral History
Project will take place at 10:00 a.m. at the ~j Ford Library ;. the
Florida State Museum.
S: It was Dr. Van and Miss Baker, the janitor and myself} per'i~oL
K: And that; it?
S: Mm hm.
K: Just the four peeple?
S: At that time. Now, prior to me going to the useum, uh, they hired some uh,
An
specialists, it preparator or two and a taxidermist or two. A man by
tilC the name of Ashmire, Robert Ashmire who worked for U.S. National Museum~
for a long period of years. And a man that I got to know while he was
here and I stopped to call on him up in Washington one time. And he was
a skilled taxidermist. And the other man was a fellow by the name of
Stanley West. And he was the one <Ia built mos of that row of diaramas
around on the second floor. And I don't know what ever became of West
sed
but I do know that Ashmire pasA away about four or five years ago. He
and I would swap a note once in a while.
K: Well, West must have been with the useum for a long time then, because
I believe he was there sometime in the 20s. So he may well have been
sed
an older man at the time you knew him and may have already pasA away also.
S: The West that I knew was not what you'd consider an older man. No, when
he came here, he was single and he married a Gainesville girl. And to
my best knowledge when he left Florida State Museum, he went to Washington
I D.C.


UF 68AB
Page 2
Pilkington
K: Well, Mr. Sha/ffer I have a bunch of prepared questions. This isn't
very formal but it's just to help us get things going. So I am going
to start by asking you to give us your full name.
S: Do you have any interest in some of the things I have brought?
K: Yes, I would like to see them.
: I've been talking, chatting with Dr Dickinson and it developed th at
S: Uh, I've been talking, chatting with Dr.yDickinson and it developed that
la, A
he also had copies of the k1gs that we talked about on the phone together
eS; with one of the printed copies of this.
But this is quite informative
and it covers a point or two that might have been
K: Now this is by Mr. Van Hyning?
S: Yes, it explains itself and if you'd like to take
that carefully, you'll get the whole story with
places.
K: O.k., I think I know some of this but if it's all
let us copy it before you leave today.
S: Well now really, you've got one or more copies in
I called Mrs. Hunt like I meantioned on the phone
\^f
controversial.
a few minutes to read
dates and names and
right, perhaps she'll
the/useum files because
and when she came down
here she started hunting and she found them in a file cabinet some lace.
I, when I brought them here, I intended them for the scrapgbook and talking
to Dr. Dickinson it developed that they have copies of that in the scrape-
book but nobody knew where they were.
K: I see. This is really about how Mr. Van Hyning got the /useum going in
the early years, in the teens and ...
S: Yes, and it covers a disputed point. There was a time that Dr. Van Hyning
that's him if you haven't seen anything better. There was a time that
ti It
he had some stationary printed on which he said T. Van Hyning, Founder.


UF 68AB
Page 3 Pilkington
When you read that and really the first column, I think, covers that.
You get a better story of how it was founded. And, a man by the name
of White was instrumental in uh, getting things arolling. That was
back in the day of Dr. Murphree. And, uh, there's one story that to
my best knowledge I've never heard it from any other source except Mr. Van
Hyning. Now, he was affectionately know as Dr. Van but he never had a
doctorate degree.
K: I see.
S: So, that was uh, complimentary. But the only one I ever heard tell the
story was Dr. Van himself. And he told about back in the days, the
formative period, uh, he had no building to call his own and the meager
collections were housed in old Science hall, Flint Hall, I believe it is.
And that's where I first met Dr. Van. I went there as a visitor and met
Dr. Van and we chatted awhile and I may have met him some more times.
But anyhow, when I went to the )useum it wasn't because of any talentL
or skills that I had near so much someone who was able to get along with
a cantankerous old gentleman see. And that's the truth of the matter.
And here where they say I was CAm acting director for six and a half years,
it would be more truthful to say I was the housekeeper for six and a half
years because we didn't have funds or plans or schemes or anything and I
got instructions from Dr. Tigert who was then resident, to just carry
on the best we could as we had been. And, uh, there was no initiative
or definite plans or anything of the kind. We did fill in some gaps but
A
it wasn't a part of a long-range plan. But anyhow, getting to the story,
from time to time, Dr. V/n and Dr. Murphree would talk and consider about
a museum building. Of course, Dr. Van was just dying to have a building
of his own.


UF 68AB
Page 4 Pilkington
K: Sure.
S: And, the explaifnation was always regarding funds. They would uh, say,
well, as soon as we get some funds we'll, we'll try and get you a building
Dr. VAn. And that went on and on and on and on and finally, the time
came when Dr. Murphree called Dr. Van. I don't know if he saw him in
person or if it was a telephone conversation. And he said, in effect,
U il It
Van, he said, we got a little bit of money in sight now. He said, I
don't know if we've got enough to build a building, but we've got enough
to start preliminary planning for a building. He said, uh, I want you
to uh, draw up some plans. Uh, let us, uh, have something we can turn
over to an architect or the grounds committee, or what have you) Ao
that we know better how to plan financially. And, he said, the plot
that we have in mind for your new building is what is now the beautified
entrance just north of Tigert Hall. That was the site that was, supposedly,
reserved for Dr. Van's new museum. But, Dr. Van explained, he said, well,
Dr. Murphree, in effect he said, uh, our collections aren't complete or
>-S not complete enough at least. He said I don't feel like we're quite
ready for a new building. He said, let's hold this in abeyance for
awhile. And he said, when I think time has arrived I'11 certainly let
LCd 4-t
you know. In the meantime, Dr. Murphree pas away, what was that, about
1926?
K: 27, I...
S: 27. I never knew Dr. Murphree. Although I could have. Uh, I came here
sei
late in 1925 with my parents. Anyhow, Dr. Murphree pasA away, that plan
was forgotten. Dr. Van became embittered and the change of personnel
on the campus and so on, why uh, anybody that uh, just gave him half a
chance, why he would be antagonistic and that sort of thing. Uh, embittered


UF 68AB
Page 5 Pilkington
I think is the best word. From then on, nearly everybody on the
campus was a S.O.B. as far as he was concerned. And I am awful
sorry it worked out that way because you know and I know that sugar
(it will get a lot more flies than vinegar. So, he lost that ability to
negotiate and plan and so on. So, uh, when they forced him to move -
down to the Seagle "uilding, why, that was quite a letdown for him.
K: You say that they forced him. Now, he did not wish to move the
museum to the Seagle Building?
S: He did'nt want to, no.
K: Why?
S: I don't know the details. I don't know whether Dr. Van ever expressed
himself on that or not but the main reason as I understand it just
from spotty and dropped remarks uh, it wasn't designed for a museum
and it was hard to adapt. And they did give him some funds for moving
and uh, renovations, alterations and what have you to use it, but uh, in
effect it was not designed for a museum, it was designed for a hotel.
K: So, he would much have preferred to stay in Science Hall until the time that
he felt that there should be a new museum built?
S: That's right, yea. He had put up with what he had. Now, in the meantime,
in addition to the original two rooms that was allocated for his use,uh,
they got some additional space. I remember they had a storage room down
in old Language Hall. And, uh, another one or two. go, they were still
collecting and to begin with Dr. Vi was a shell collector. And, he
specialized in land shells up in Iowa e; starte with. But, he continued
his collecting after he got to Florida and of course, by nature, he fell
to collecting uh, marine shells and uh, as I remember the figure of the
1,500-.plus shells {j found in Florida waters, he had 1,300-plus.


UF 68AB
Page 6 Pilkington
K: Not bad.
S: Not bad, not bad at all. And just what has become of that shell
collection, I remember the difficulty Dr. Dick.nson had in getting
the shells back to this museum. Although I don't know the real
details but he had a problem getting them back here.
K: Had they been loaned or do you mean they were stored somewhere where
he couldn't place?
S: Before Dr. Van Hyning left the museum, he had his son Clyo Van Hyning,
come here with the truck and they loaded, fact is, I think he made the
seeond trip, they loaded the shells that had been uh, bundled and in
uSkSASs cartons and so on, on the truck and took them to Sebring where
S3i they were stored in an unused office, a little office building. I
understand an attorney once had his office there and he left. And,
eahere's a vacant little building and Clyo stored the shells, cartons,
boxes, in that office. In the meantime, Dr. Van Hyning passed away.
What was it? 1948...
K: 1948.
S: He was retired July 21, 1946. I jotted that on this clipping at the
time. And there's some dates in here. This is essentially correct
as I remembered. It's all right. So then, somehow or other, the sons
see, there was another son in Tampa who was circulation manager for
the Tampa Tribune in his day.
K: Do you remember his name?
S: Art.
K: Art.
S: Arka. Dr. Van Hyning had five sons and four of them were named after
shells. The exception was the youngest, George Van Hyning. And I've
lost tract of him completely. But that was Arka and uh, everybody


-UF 68AB
Page 7
Pilkington
called him Art.
K: Uh-hm.
S: Now, uh, maybe I've got you off the track, but if you have uh, an
established channel there...
K: We can always go back. No trouble at all.
S: Well now, uh, I'd like to get this out of my hands. I told you were
welcome to this copy even if you have a dozen on hand.
K: Well, I don't think we have one here in the Ford Library, so, we would
be most happy to have that one.
S: Well, you're certainly welcomeT to it.
K: Thank you.
S: uh, just what date that was published I've forgotten. But uh, I've
had it all these years uh, in the bookshelpf and I'd much rather you
folks down here would have it and maybe use it once in awhile.
K: We appreciate it and I will have them acknowledge it.
S: You're certainly welcome. Do you people have a copy of this?
K: I think that there is a copy of this up in P.i. Yonge Libsrary of
Florida History up in Library West.
S: Well, I hope so. That is the old steam scow that traveled back and forth
from south Gainesville to Micanopy. And that was drawn by a man by the
name of Smith who's first name I don't recall but I'm sure you've got
the record in the /useum files. He brought the drawing to the useum
and uh, because as a boy he remembered that and he uh, told very inter=
esting stories about the Micanopy-Gainesville area, and the old T & J
tracks and that sort of thing. It was a pleasure to talk to this Mr.
Smith and he was by profession a newspaper illustrator.
K: Must have been an interesting ; T` tl
S: He was a fine man, a very fine man. And uh, that's one of his works.


UF 68AB
Page 8 Pilkington
Now, I know you've got that.
K: Uh, yes.
S: And, I know you've got this. And, this. Is this a duplicate of one of
those?
K: I guess it's taken at the same time as this one, the ground breaking
ceremony.
S: Now this, like I mentioned a minute ago, to my very best knowledge that
is uh, a reasonably accurate, the way a newspaperman writes a story he
might do a little adding here and there, but essentially that is all
correct. But I don't think there is a record anyplace of Dr. Van's
birthplace.
K: Where was that?
S: That was West Point, Iowa. I looked it up on a mag one time. It's
close to the southern uh, Iowa-Missouri state line, quite close. And
d; it's not near the corner. It's more or less in the center of the state,
east and west.
K: What else can you tell us about Mr. Van Hyning a; ',, background before
he came to Florida from what he told you over the years? Do you know
anything?
S: Well, one of these articles tells about him being director of the Iowa
State Museum or H/storical Society maybe. Seems to me he used both
terms. Which was located in Des Moines. And that is mentioned in one
of those, I'm pretty sure. But I don't think he ever mentioned his
birthplace in any of those clippings or copies.
K; Do you know where he went to school Mr. Schacffer? Where he got his
education?


UF 68AB
Page 9 Pilkington
S: Mr. Kerber, to my very best knowledge, he never had uh, formal
education uh, as advanced education goes. Uh, he had a quick mind.
He was alert, although his appearances were deceiving many times.
But uh, he was a knowledgeable man in many, many respects. And, to my
best knowledge, he never had formal education may be beyond high school.
But, I nver heard him mention a high school but judging from his speech
and uh, knowledge of books and being well read, I rather assume he did
A
go through high school.
K: Before we go into our usual routine let me ask you a few more questions
about him. Now, you mentioned before your first meeting with Mr. Van
Hyning. When was that? When you just went into the /useum.
S: That was when I first came to Gainesville which was October of 1925.
I went to the useum just as a Xuseum visitor. And there, I met him
and we shook hands and chatted a minute or two or three or four what-
have-ya. And uh, I'm pretty sure I went back there the second time
and maybe there was a fairly long void but my parents operated a cafeteria
here in Gainesville for quite a few years. About sixteen years. And
of course, I was there most of the time. Dr. Van ate here usmost
of the time. So, we would sit down and talk and chat and joke. And in
that way, I got to see a good bit of him before I ever went to the Museum.
And uh, his people uh, had to leave for other jobs and greener pastures
and things of that kind. And he was virtually without help there for
uh, a year or more. And uh, in the meantime, we disposed of the cafeteria.
And I was footloose and fancyfree and I had full intentions of loafing
for one year tfivs being tied down to the food business. But I did'nt
A
make it, it was only abnut six months until I came to work for Dr. Van.
And, like I've said before, I didn't have any particular qualifications.
Now, when I went, I went to Carnegie Institute up in Pittsburgh, I was


UF 68AB
Page 10 Pilkington
aiming for courses that would be of value in industrial teaching.
I took things like machine shop, batteries, uh, uh, automotive work'
.'' and allied studies, you know. And I stuck it out two years and got
a certificate and, and gave that up. I never did actually use it.
But,,,I came to the luseum, it so happened that all of those courses
became contributing factors to the work that I did in the Museum.
Uh, I could use a two-finger typewriter so to speak. I uh, did what
really uh, belonged to be secretarial work there for quite awhile.
When Miss Baker was in the army uh, there was nobody there for. awhile.
And on top of that, uh, we had a typewriter up on the third floor of
the Seagle Iuilding and we could make out labels and write letters
and so on up there. So, with my two-finger typing, and I'm slow as
the seven year itch, but uh, we got by. And uh, as you probably know,
I was with the Museum until February 1 of, that would be 19... what year
did I...it was 69. Have to be 69.
K: So you retired before the move into the new .useum building?
S: Yes, yes, yes, I did. Oh, it might have been towards tesh year. But,
I signified my desire to retire about a year ahead before I retired.
I didn't want to be accused of running off and leaving the place and uh.
We had a couple of cases of that. And uh, I didn't want that stigma
attached to me.
K: O.K., let me back up now and once again ask you to give us your full
name.
S: Uh, that is correct. That's Sam's letter. Maybe you wrote it.
K: N.C.
S: That's my initials. My first name is Nile like the Nile River.
K: And where were you born, Mr. SchaOffer?
S: Wheeling, West Virginia.


UF 68AB
Page 11 Pilkington
K: Do you mind telling us your birthdate?
S: January 30, 1902.
K: And what was your father's name?
S: William J. Schatffer.
K: And how about h your mother's?
S: Josephine Schatffer. Her maiden name was Gaines.
K: What did your dad do for a living? What was his profession?
S: Ile was, I think his correct title was machinist in a planing mill.
There's a lot of machinery in uh, modern planing mills and the man
that is responsible for the operation and maintenence is usually known
as a planing mill machinist.
K: I see. Now, did you grow up and go to grade school in Wheeling?
S: lh, Wheeling and when I was about uh, in the first grade, we moved
from Wheeling twelve miles south to Moundsville, West Virginia.
And when I was ten years of age, we moved back to what became a part
of Wheeling. It was a uh, relatively small town by the name of
Warwood, named after a manufacturing plant in the area. They made
coal mining tools. And uh, we lived in Warwood until I left home to
go to school and a few things like that. Now, uh, I have no desire
to parade this. The lady who wrote that uh, to my best knowledge
did a reasonably good job and all of the facts and figures are correct
to my very best knowledge. There's nothing in there that's misleading.
K: Uh-hm. Very good. Maybe you'll let us copy this then.
S: You can copy that all you want to.
K: Put that in with the interview. Now, did you then go to high school
in this communit* also? And when did you graduate?
S: In Warwood. 1921.
K: Then did you.s!isnh-to Carnegie at that time?
A


UF 68AB
Page 12 Pilkington
S: .d ent to Carnegie then for two years.
K:
K: Your family stayed put and you went on to school?
S: Yes, yes, yes. And then in 1925, mainly on account of my nother's
health, we came to Florida. We stopped in Gainesville because we
knew a family here. I couldn't even tell you the name of the family
right now but that caused us to stop. We liked the place. We made
/ -.: C :
some friends, b.ought some property and this became home base and I Ve.
never regretted it.
K: Now, you and your family opened a cafeteria, you mentioned a few
moments ago.
S: We bought a cafeteria.that was already in operation.
K: Where was that located?
S: Uh, Mr. Kerber, uh, I have to reconcile myself to the quadrant system.
Uh, do you remember Wilson's Department store when they were downtown?
K: Sure.
S: Well, now if you traveled east and just kept going, in the middle of
the very next block, was were the cafeteria was located -GS we bought
it. After we operated it for a few years,we moved over to what was
known as the Grand Hotel Building. And that, that would be in, be on
the corner of first block on north Main Street. There's, there's a
resturant of some variety in the location right now.
K: I know. I know exactly where you mean.
S: Well, that was our, that's where we uh, moved to and the cafeteria
was bought out by oh, what was his name. I'm getting old among
other things and I uh, don't have...
K: Oh, that's o.k., don't worry about it.
S: Well, maybe I'll think of it as we talk. Many times, we old folks have
that faculty. Sometimes we think of things after the need is gone.


UF 68AB
Page 13 Pilkington
K: I'm sure that it'll come back to you, very soon.
S: laugh
K: Now, uh, you mentioned a moment ago that it was then shortly after
/
you had moved to Gainesville that you first went to the Museum as
a visitor and met Mr. Van Hlyning. Where, exactly in Science Hall
were these rooms located that contained the Museum?
S: It faced the avenue. And he had placed a rather sizable sign out in
front. And the sign, looking at it from up above, was a V-shaped
affair. Like this. And it was attached to the building in this
fashion and you walked under it when you went into the hallway.
K: So there was a main entrance on University Avenue?
S: It faced the Avenue.
K: Now, which floor was it on?
S: Second floor, as I remember it.
K: And there were just two rooms to it?
S: Started out with two rooms but as time went ea I think he got some
/ A
adjacent room. Besides, I mentioned Language Hall and another storage
room or two. And he had uh, a room devoted to dugout boats and he
took considerable pride in his dugouts. Uh, then he had birds and if
you would go through the scrapfbook, that Dr. Dickinson and I just
browsed through. You'd see the uh, rather crude cases that probably
were stylish in their time. As good as anybody's cases but they had
quite a few birds on display and iC, at one time, they had a display
of snakes. And ther's a little bit of interest in that. In order
to get glass containers, he wanted to display his snakes hanging from
something, a hook or the lid of a vessel, what have ya. So that it
could be seen the entire length and you could walk around it so to
speak and see the markings and identify them. And in order to get


UF 68AB
Page 14 Pilkington
glass jars, th would permit that sort of thing, he had to order them
from Hamburg, Germany. And he said he pulled a very foolish stunt.
The shipping rates were different on manufactured glassware and
scientific collections. He said he didn't know any better but he
ordered them as glassware and if he had just ordered-them as scientific
specimens and they could { have dropped a snake or a frog or two in
there some place, they would've come to this country at a much, much,
cheaper rate. Heh, heh. That's the story that he told.
K: Do you remember that first time or the first few times that you visited
the useum if there was anyone else working there besides Mr. Van Hyning?
S: This man, Ashmire, was with Dr. Van at the time of the moving. But
he finished up, Ashmire finished up after theluseum was at the Seagle
Building because I use to uh, call on him once in awhile. Ashmire's
nickname was Ashy. Uh, everybody liked him. He was a congenial type
of fellow, a little bit shorter than the average. He had a very
pleasant wife and I'm not even sure that she's still living. I don't
think that I got a Christmas greetingVfrom her last year, and you're
suspicious when that happens you know, among old folks.
K: Sure. O.k. now, would you tell us when and how you statted working
in the /useum for Mr. Van Hyning? How you got the job? I know you
mentioned that, that you had visited with him many, many times when
4^t he ate in the cafeteria.,.
S: Yea.
K: rhen did you.start work?
'*' Jbece;?..W
S: It was the middle of E-eMsl in 1941. And I was supposed to go on
the payroll on the 15th. AtheJwords, I'd have half a month. But uh,
it was early in the month like the 3rd, or 4th, or 5th that I actually
went on the job and uh, was doing things.


UF 68AB
Page 15 Pilkington
t:
K: And that/ of course, was in the Seagle Building?
S: In the Seagle Building. All of the time that I spent was in the
Seagle Building.
K: Now, what exactly did he hire you to do? What did your job involve?
Could you describe it?
S: Well, at that time, he was still working on shells and I would uh,
juggle shells so to speak for him. I waAn't a student of shells.
Mollusca had no particular interest to me. And uh, uh, we repaired
some of the habitat groups. I could do crude repairs on the painting
Backgrounds and so on. And uh, it wasn't very long until we uh, put
in a new section of habitat groups. That would be the north side of
the second floor. Had nothing on it when I went there. And a man by
the name of Greason, a uh, rather skilled woodworker who had his shop
facilities in Tampa, he came and got a set of full-scale blueprints
and took them to Tampa with him and from that he was able to uh, cut
and saw and drill the parts and they were tied up in bundles and
brought to Gainesville. And I was implicated in assembling these
habitat groups. And uh, virtually everything came from Tampa except
the glass itself. And as we would finish case, why then we would
buy the glass locally. And uh, the cases were made so that if you
maintenace to do, if something fell down or got tilted 0gj what have,
ya, had to take out the glass p in order to make the repair or the
addition or alteration, whatever it was. And uh, most of those cases
were never used. We finished oh, maybe three or four of those cases.
After Dr. Van left, when I was housekeeper there, we hired an artist
by the name of H. R. Besant, and he was a rather good artist but he
was one of these personalities that you/had to wear kid t gloves
so to speak.
K: Sure.


UF 68AB
Page 16 Pilkington
S: And hard to get along with. And in the meantime, he was involved
in an automobile accident and I suppose six months or more went
by that no work was done on habitat groups at all because of his
predicament. But he finally came back and we finished three or
four of those cases. So, for a long time, I was involved in that
J:i! of habitat groups.
K: Now when you started in 41, what exhibits were there in they useum
and where were they located in the Seagle Building?
S; The space uh, was all of the, wait a minute, all of the main portion
of the first floor. Now, there were other offices that would be east
from the /seum... other offices. I think the /ounty ent was in
there part of the time and allied offices. So, you might say, thinking
in terms of the main structure, we had virtually all of the first
floor, all of the second floor in its entirelty, no. offices cut off
or anything like that belonging to other departments7 /d all of the
third floor. But the way the Seagle Building was built, the first
floor covered more area than the second floor, the second floor covered
more area than the third floor but from there on up it was uniform.
And you can glance at itat a Bai glance you can tell that's what took
place.
K: Were the exhibits only on the first SQAW. or wlhere they on each floor?
% <. arJ
In other words, were some exhibits and some offices -L.work areas?
:- t
S: The, the exhibits were confined to the first and second floor. The
third floor was entirely ftle. storage facilities. We had quite a
number, up in the eightys or ninetys, wooden storage cabinets that
A
were built on the campus and brought there for the purpose of putting
storage items in them. And there was uh, an office on the third floor
that Dr. Van used uh, in working withis shells more than anything else.


UF 68AB
Page 17 Pilkington
As time went along, a Dr. Bill Sears made an office on the opposite side
of the room but that gets into relatively late years. Dr. Sears left the
, g A' 1 (.f r./f'///'f:7f^U Vey I;? ei ,
/seum and went to Boca Raton as haad of anthropology or something, maybe
you have the story on that.
K: Now, what...
S: Now, you're back in business,huh.
K: What were the major collections that the xuseum had on display? The kinds
of collections in 1941. You just mentioned the shells ags, e> cod ,e
S: Yea, well Mr. Kerber, they never had a shell collection on display in the
Seagle Building. When you went in the from entrance, right and left were
cases containing ~ restored Indian pottery. And uh, that would
be quite old fashioned nowadays, with modern concepts of displays. But
they had two or three men working down there oh, for quite a few months
restoring pottery. And I would say they did a real good job and his
idea was to just fill those cases full of pottery. And he would give
a --
location data and don/r and maybe some interesting fact but it was far
from being a modern and educational type ehibit. But uh, people 1 ied
it within reason. Then you came to another sizable room containing the
dugout collection. And uh, they were of interest to me although I don't
think they would be of any great interest tod rank-and-file visitors.
They were just uh, oh, I would say eight or ten dirty old dugSouts in there
is all it amounted to. But, I had heard side stories associated with some
of those dugouts. For instance, one day a big, husky and rather elderly
colored man came in the /useum and uh, he saw me and told me what he was
looking for. He had been told that a dugout that his father had made over
on some creek in the Jacksonville area. He had been told / /V/ft was in the
Flotida State Museum and he would like to see it. Well, and I said, well,
that's it right over there. And he gave us the ole typical fat man's laugh.


UF 68 AB
Page 18 Pilkington
Ho, ho, ho, that is it. He recongnized the dugout after it was pointed
A
out to him. And he told about how they used to haul vegetables and
eggs and produce into Jacksonville and it was sold. And if the season
was wrong for ~ vegetables and eggs or what have ya, then they would
haul cord wood and sell it in town. And he said, from time to time,
a passenger would go with them. Somebody that, I guess, highway conditions
back in those days were rather crude, and uh, they would occasionally
take passengersp into Jacksonville. So, uh, he came back two or three
times just to look at the dugout and get another belly-laugh out of it
you know. And then, uh, some of them that were collected in uh, areas
that I might have some knowledge of or something like that. To me, the
dugouts weren't just deadwood, they did have some interest. But they're
not showy, they aren't spectacular. And in the main, they don't make
much of an ?' impression; just to look at a few dugouts. Then uh,
when you wAnt up stairs, you came to um, [t this rather sizable room that
uh, had um, finished habitat groups on the right as you went in, up to
the corner, made the corner and went east, almost to the next corner and
that's where we finished a few of the cases. But they were done along,
about the time of the moving. And that was in the middle thirty's, maybe
up to 1937...along in that period that they moved and the habit tat cases
uhm, I think, some of them had been used on the campus, although I don't
have any visual recollection of finished habitat cases on the campus.
But, I'm pretty sure that some of them were built and installed down C-1
on the campus. And uh, those that could be moved intact by, they were
moved in tact, and they had to make a skid and use ropes to pull the
fairly heavy habitats group up over the parapet of the building in order
to get them on the second floor. Now, I didn't indulge in any of that
work. That was before my time. But I heard the stories and conversation


UF 68AB
Page 19 Pilkington
about it. Anyhow, the second floor was uh, almost entirely devoted
to habitats and then this blank wall which I got involved in, in the
new habitat cases and the cases were, they were not plastered or finished
when Dr. Van left. I, one of the first things that I had to do was "t,
sand and sometime scratii case fronts, the wooed portion and uh, varnish
and rub down the finish on those fronts and it was all done by hand and
uh, I was working on the finish4P of thoses cases for uh, I'm guessing
now, four,(?' five, six months. Uh, now I might have started and stopped
a number of times on some other project. And then, of course, the next
thing to be done was to plaster the interiors so that a scene could be
printed, uh, painted I mean to say. And uh, a local plasterer oh, who's
/ A
name I don't reeall right now but he was a skillful plastererand I uh,
mixed the plaster for him to tell the truth pvSl about it, and carried it
to him and he would uh, plaster the interior of the case, and by the way,
we had to use lath: on thtse curved surfaces and that called for a parti-
cular approache used uh, cypress because it didn't buckle when it got
wet from the plaster. And uh, virtually all of them that we fixed were
jf lathed in that fashion. Now, some of the other ones were different.
Some of them they tried bristol board, sometimes called bend board. And
some of them tried papie mache instead of plaster and uh, maybe another
approach or two. But, anyhow we stuck with plaster and to my best knowledge
it proved entirely satisfactory, especially if you have a skillful plasterer
that can do the job. I wouldn't say that the average plasterer would be
Arid
patient enough p skillful enough to do the smooth, slick job that would
be necessary for the interior of-fl habitat.
K: How were these lit' Mr. Schaqffer? Was there any interior lighting in the
case or was it just all old overhead lighting?
WA5 Kl.afescclT .
S: Yes, there ?ase interior flewu ama-i lights, all of them. Uh, the upper
A


UF 68AB
Page 20 Pilkington
portion of the case had a transom here gn hinges so you could go
in there to service the electric uh, facilites and change lamps,
what have you. And there was glass separating the space in the top
from the habibtat from itself. Now that's quite necessary from the
standpoint of dust, and sawdust,and dirt getting into the habitat
group itself and uh, each case had several lamps in there. They
had to think about uh, space was important and it wasn't uniform.
Y/u can imagine taking a slice eai off of the top of a habitat, you
would get a parabolic shape space. And uh, there would be one
fairly ~xfS long and one quite short to make up the space and the
next one would be two long ones we'll say and C it looked quite
haphazard but it was necessary. That glass uh, was sealed in with
the idea of keeping out dirt and dust.
K: Now did the habitat groups contain ai exhibit bird life oS animal life?
Zf llhat sorts of creatures were exhibited?
S: All birds.
K: All birds?
S: All of it, uh-hm. Uh, some minor exceptions, for instance, in the
monkey-faced owl, barn owl, -iWMn they had a rat eating an ear of corn
down here on one side so just minor exceptions like that. That waSn't
the main message of the group, of course.
K: Did Mr. Van Hyning have mulh interest in birds? In the same way that
he did in shells...
S: Yes, he was very knowledgeable on birds, quite knowledgeable.
K: Was there a collection of birds' eggs at that time?
S: Yes, therehquite a few mounted birds stored up on the third floor,
besides the birds that were used in the habitat groups. AOf course,
numerically, that wasn't so many. Now, just what the ; approach was


UF 68AB
Page 21 Pilkington
on selecting specimens of birds for a group, I never was actually
able to determine. Some of them were showy birds, some of them were
birds that we seldom see, and some of them were very common. There
didn't seem to be an established scheme. Maybe they had to be expedient,
use .~b what they had at the moment until the time came ~a,:- that they
could do better. Probably, that was most of it. There was no methodical
approach that I was ever able to detect.
K: So you basically had to exhibit ~e#gl what you had and keep it to thatT
S: That was true- 'especially with the birds.
K: I should ask you if you had to be interviewed by anybody but Mr. Van
Hyning when you got the job. Did you have to go to the administration
building and be interviewed by anyone?
S: No, he wrote a letter or two that evidently served the purpose. I didn't
come to the campus for interviews or anything of the kind. Fact of the
matter is uh, I don't know who was qualified to question @ a prospective
preparator.
K: Probably no one.
S: No one.
K: Now you worked continuously for the/ useum from '41 until your retirement?
S: Right, uh-huh. No breaks.
K: Who else besides you and Van Hyning was working in the/ useum in '41
when you got there?
S: Nobody but the four of us: the secretary, Dr. Van, the janitor, myself.
K: Do you remember thAt janitor's name by any chance?
S: Leroy Banks, a uh, very likable colored man and he did good work and was
trustworthy. We didn't have to worry about anything disappearing or
being mishandled. And uh, he uh, passed away oh, uh, three or four
.f -ve- years before I left the useum. Died in his sleep.
0\" I '~~~~/


UF 68Ab
Page 22 Pilkington
K: :
....- :!?I:~2 (o`^ea \ :ow''^51i:Ms~:y` Who was the first woman
to work in the useum as either a technician or a faculty member or
curator? Was there one during your time,, in those positions, anyone
other than just a secretary?
4 ? ... ..-. -...
S: Exclusive of secretary.
A
K: Uh, huh.
S: I can't think of a woman that was there as a member of the staff. Now,
there might've been women brought there for a specific onga purpose such
as looking up data. Oh, I do remember one time we were getting ready
to do a diorama to be used in the, useum out at uh, Panama City. And
a lady who was a historian and i"sgsk name I do not recall but I under-
stand CYS-her husband was in history department out here on the campus.
Anyhow, this very fine lady came to find out what the need was and uh,
she would use your librayy facilities out here and she came up with uh,
oh, maybe a dozen or so pages of typewritten information pertaining to
our exhibits and our diCramas. See uh, we installed fourteen small
exhibits in the respective state parks around the state/ p until the
time I left and they kept installing small museums and exhibits after
I left and maybe the totals up, I have no way totell, maybe twenty-five,
thirty or more. But the Park Service grasped the idea that an exhibit
uh, contributed to the park and the appreciation and uh, just as funds
would permit, they would contract with our yuseum to build and install
the exhibits.
K: Did they come to you with a design or did they just come to you with
an idea? And did you people here at the Florida State Museum really
develop the whole exhibit for them?
S: Why, obviously an exhibit in Pensacola we'll say was expected to delve


UF 68AB
Page 23 Pilkington
into the background of the area. In that case, it might've been
forts or battles or what have you. Whereas the one in Jacksonville,
a//
would be entirely different. So they were is keyed to the site and
at that time, most of the time, Mr. Gilbert Wright was curator of
exhibits at the time and he would either work up the displays or have
somebody work them up. Anyhow, actually it was his responsibility until
the time came i^ he left the iuseum a -aou've got data
on that probably.
K: What hours did the /useum keep for the public in the days of the Seagle
Building?
S: We were open every day in the year except Christmay and the Fourth of
July. And uh, Miss Baker and I would take turns on keeping the office
open on those?, on Saturdays and Sundays and holidays. Now, I have no
family, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool bachelor. Although, my mother was living up
until 1951. She and I kept house after Father passed away. But, uh, I
didn't mind in the least keeping the office open on weekends and Miss
Baker didn't either but in my case I didn't have a family that wanted
to have a weekend outing or go swimming or something of that kind. It
wasn't what I'd call a burden =uSha from my standpoint. But I a have
put in, gosh knows how many days, weeks and hours just keeping the
place open, besides the usual workweek.
K: Were you open on Sunday mornings or just in the afternoon?
S: One o'clock, til five.
K: So, it really hasn't changed very much:
S: That part hasn't, no.
K: Did you offer ~ guided tours of the fasrm to groups in the way -that
it's done now or was it just open to individuals or families to walk
through
through.


UF 68AB
Page 24 Pilkington
S: t, didn't cater to groups or gatherings as such. No doubt, there were
A
occasions where maybe, uh, there might've been a meeting in the area
someplace, including such things as a Sunday school uh, conference of
some kind. And they would discover that here we've.got a blank hour, let's
go over to the museum and enjoy it. No doubt things of that kind took
place. But so far as organized groups were concerned, no, no, no. Until,
eC
uh, when I became housekeeper, we workjd up a series of programs for
school kids. And uh, they were quite successful at first but they tended
to taper off and we would get the uh, usually, a graduate student or a
faculty member from the campus and whatever their specialty was, snakes,
birds, spiders, Indians what have ya. We had our own archeologist a by
that time. Why, uh, we would have the groups come on Saturday morning
and we would put on the program. If I had to, It gather up some uh,
snapshots of some of the gatherings. And uh, when uh, we would get a
call from a teacher, uh, wanting to know when would be a good time to
visit the Museum, we would explain that you're welcome to bring your
class uh, anytime except, we didn't like to have two different i groups
intermingling at the same time. We tried to space them if we could.
Although, sometimes it could4 t be done. Uh, you're welcome to bring
your class uh, anytime you v33 want to or anytime except Thursday morning,
you know, how it would work out. gtf you want us to, we'll put on what
we call the demostration. I took the attitude that to a school child,
4
the word'lecture" sounded stuffy and I called them demonstrations because
invaribly we had birds, pottery, or something by whrh we demonstrated
something. And uh, most of them wanted the demostrations. Maybe they
A
had already seen the demostration on how birds are mounted and they were
interested in Indian pottery. Well, we had a demostration worked up for
A
that. ...


UF 68 AB
Page 25 Pilkington
So, uh, it w/is keyed on a small scale. I had no help. We had to put up
chairs, folding chairs which we borrowed from the campus on Saturday morning
to accomodate the crowd, and take them down when we were through. That sort
of thing and I uh, got virtually no help. And, I'm not even sure if it was
justified because it was largely an experimental beginning. You ai.Cta start
someplace. So, in the meantime, the organ... the reorganization took place
and we had more people, more facilities, more talent, more skills, professions,
what have ya. And, then of course, it's been on an entirely dif-
ferent scale which it deserved.
K: Were there any restrictions against black people using theAfacilities at that tin
S: None whatsoever.
K: It was just open to the general public.
S: Uh hum.
K: Now, you mentioned the reorganization a moment ago. I assume. that comes
after the appointment of a permanent director, after your interim term?
Could you describe that reorganization a little bit? Was that breaking the
X)seum into departments or what?
S: Mr. Kerber, I have very little knowledge of that. I never represented myself
GY 6D
to be a uh, ornithologist, herpetologist, or anything of the kind. Uh, my
A
chief interest and love was the technical aspects. I like to work with my
hands and uh, I enjoy it. It's therapy for me. And, this matter of reorganizatiod
was largely done on the campus. In other words, they would meet and cab
confer and talk and whathaveya. And that made good sense. And uh, when Dr.
appointed director, why, I was notified by a letter. But he
I rffaM^ ftasjttR -Gs-eveaTa was appointed director, why, I was notified by a letter. But he
kept in contact with us and uh, fact is, uh, he gave me the same instructions
that Dr. Tigert gave me in effect, in that he said: Just carry on as you
have been. Well, that's a blanket somethin g or other. And uh, he didn't,.
%_1


UF 68AB
Page 26 Pilkington
he was appointed I believe in September or about September, e, the beginning
of the school year. But he did't come on the job until after the first of
the calendar year. Uh, he had his assignments on the campus, whathaveya.
A
And, we still didn't have an active director except he would come occasionally
and we would talk and uh, we had no trouble getting along. We saw things
in the same light. And uh, goodness knows, my appointment as acting director,
anybody knows that that's a temporary expediency of some kind. So, I never
had any idlsmte claim -sis the job. Uh, fact is, it's not the kind of work I
do enjoy. And, uh, when I come here, I usually head for the shop. That's
more interesting to me than a lot of things. But there's lot of the cases
down there -6t3 in use now that I built for use in the Seagle Building that
have been transported down here, of course. And cases that I've built
in the /useum shop are more or less strung around all over the state.
K: Did you 4 need to store anything on campus? Says in Science Hall or where-
ever while you were in the Seagle tuilRing? Did you have room there for all
-your collections?
S: No, there were mo facilities on the campus. Everything was brought to the
/1useum. Fact is, if you are familiar with the Seagle Building, if you go
to the east side of the building, you see sizable double doors, big enough
you can drive a car or a small truck in there and load or unload. If you
kept walking to the west, you would come to the shop area and the storage
area, then to the right of that, there was an area between the columns that
held up the building. Oh, roughly twenty to twenty-five feet wide and
we'nty
roughly, I'm guessing now Mr. Kerber...roughly sixty feet long, When I went
there, that was f full of rough items, materials, old looms; there must have
been a half dozen or so old loomsI /et up for weaving, or they could've
been set up for weaving. But they weren't very good display items, they
weren't colorful, they weren't too educational to tell the truth about it.


UF 68AB
Page 27 Pilkington
Because, if you were going to display one of those, you'd almost have to
have an attendent there doing the weaving itself injrder for you to under-
stand why it was there. So, it was... that room was filled with rough
things like that that had no immediate t' use. And as time went along,
K14
those were uh, dismantled, probably most tf them were tied in bandles,
maybe a cat number put on there someplace and stored in another portiAn
of the building. And uh, I'm sorry it was necessary but under the circumstances,
here we had people come in who needed space and facilities and we just had
to do some of these uncouth and ill-advised things. It was necessary. But,
anyhow, what I'm coming to...this cleared this, this space that accomodated
these rough items that I mentioned (r was allocated to somebody else and we
no longer had the use of that. So, that put the pinch on us. So, a lot of
time was devoted to juggling things around. Now, Jerry EvAns can tell you
about juggling a lot of materials down there. He was there with Dr. Sears
at the time. Fact is, I want to see Jerry if he's here.
K: Unfortunately, he's on vacation.
S: He is!.
K: I think he went off to Alabama to visit some relatives. He's been gone about
a week.
S: In talking to John Ma~lfield yesterdayA he start4-his vacation today, started
A
his trip.
K: Scuse me, was there a favorite say, lunch time hangout for the Museum people
or a place you took your break, a restaurant or something? Uh, anywhere near
the Seagle building or in downtown Gainesville?
S: Well, Mr. Kerber, for a period of a few years, there was a lunch counter in
the lobby of the Seagle Building where you could get Cokes and ready-wrapped
sandwiches and candy bars and so on like that...coffee, and they had a vending
machine or two or three... A A hat was there. Then uh, so far as public
A v "


UF 68AB
Page 28 Pilkington
as public eating places T are concerned, r, I wjnt home myself. I lived
close enough that just a three or four minute walk from my front door to
the back door of the uhseum and I was there. No problem at all. Other
people would eat at their favorite restaurants or some of them who had
families come and go and there might be exceptions to the usual routine
as far as that's concerned.
K: Can you tell us any more about Mr. Van Hyning's personality and his character
as you got to know him? Any stories, or any mannerisms, or anything of that
nature?
S: (laugh) Mr. Kerber, if I--if I told too much I would be infringing on what
could be interpreted as being personally his. Butj:i~ there are other
things that I saQi tell about. He had a family of five boys and his wife,
the mother of the five boys, was a very sweet and pleasant type of woman.
She was a uh, big-like woman. But her tone of voice, her expressions, her
attitude, she had the reputation for being a fine, sweet woman. Now I
didn't know her too well because when I was at the tuseum with Dr. Van Hyning,
Mrs. Van Hyning was living-with a son, Other, named for a shell, uh, in the
Eustis-Umatilla area. A Dr. Carr and Other were good friends way back yonder
when Dr. Carr was still a student here. But anyhow, uh it wasn't very often
that I saw Mrs. Van Hyning and uh, sometimes we would get in Dr. Van's uh,
Ford coupe and drive down there. He would want tqsee her about something.
for
I don't want to say too much Sf fear I'll infringe upon his rights. Things
that were personally his. And I remember one Christmas I took him down there.
I had to leave my mother at home. I remember that very distinctly but I hated
to disappoint him. He wanted to go to see his wife and give her some money.
We didn't stay more than thirty minutes. Uh, seemingly, after Dr. V/n got to
Florida f then the boys came. I have no knowledge whether they all came
at one time as a group or A if they came one at a time. I--I don't recall
*t, .Z


UF 68AB
Page 29 Pilkington
U!p that was ever actually covered. But I do know about the one C-5 became
the circulation manager for the Tribune, and I knew about the oldest one,
Arca----oh, his name----maybe I'll think of it in a minute. And uh, one
of the boys was on the police department of the city of New York. And
if you have any recollection of this second World War period, the tme came
when a hospital ship was permitted to bring some refugees and crippled
people and wounded people----the name of the ship was the Swedish V y M L
Remember anything about that?
K: No, I'm sorry, I don't.
S: Well, when that vessel made that trip, this son whose name I don't remember
now, being on the police force of the city of New York, he was engaged to go
on that trip. And he made it and came back. And on one occasion, he visited
the Xuseum and that's the only time I recall ever seeing him. And that was
also the time that Mrs. Van Hyning came to the Museum. The only one time
that I can recall. And that was because they were celebrating an anniversary.
And uh, Dr. Van, I don't know, had me or the janitor or both, we borrowed
some dishes and plates from the collections and they ate their anniversary
dinner at the Primrose Grill on/ useum spicimens jlaugh] and the menu was
beef stew. Dr. Van was very fond of a nice spicy beefstew. Fact is, I'm
am too. And uh, I couldn't tell you the rest of the menu but uh, all of the
boys got here. George was in west Florida at the time as I remember it.
And uh, I've lost trac, of all the boys. None of them have uh, kept in touch
or anything and gosh knows where they're at now. But all of these boys were
alert, bright type of people. And knowledgeable in museum affairs as far as
that's concerned.
K: Did any of them actually work in the/useum here?
S: Yes, at times both Other and George activiy worked and that was, part of the
time, before the/usem moved to the Seagle Building. And then


UF 68AB
Page 30 Pilkington
you see, if--if the moving took place about 1935 to 37, I came on in 41
late in the year. There was a span of a few years there and Other worked
here during that time but not while I was here. We never worked at the 5Si~T;,~
place at the same time.
K: And, not after that, they didn't?
S: No, he never worked here after that time. But uh, I think Other spent a lot
of his time on a collection of turtles. I don't know if they're still in the
Museum or not. But he had a pretty fair collection of Florida turtles that
he had mounted and tied up and varnished and prepared for storage. They
were never exhibited. Maybe Dr. Carr has those. I don't know. And uh,
George, I think he devoted most of his time to cataloging. You can well
imagine under the circumstances items coming in and maybe collections coming
i-AU.
in and uh, Dr. Vans was set too feeble and uh, he had a double hernia and
uh, he'd have to stop right in the middle of anything and go lay b5i down
for a minute or two so he could adjust-----um, what do you call them, his
truss. And uh, he'd work awhile and maybe next thing yoknow he'd have to
do the same thing all over again. A time came when he went to the Alachua
General Hospital and had surgery. And uh, I would say it was----uh, partly
successful. He would still get deathly sick. And uh, he had some ailment
or maybe it was because his choice of foods wasn't right but he~' get sick
to his stomach sometimes. And he would be sick all over and uh, more than
once I've taken him to the hospital and he'd get out in two or three or four
days. And uh, go through the mill again.
K: Mr. Schaffer, let me pop---- So ah, of course, he didn't commute down
there, he didn't live fere. Ur, did he just have a room in town or did he
own a home here in Gainesville?
S: He never owned anything in Gainesville that I remember, outside of an auto-
mobile.
hi


UF 68AB
Page 31 Pilkington
K: Did he live downtown somewhere in a room or do you know?
S: For quite a while he had a room in the Primrose Grill.
K: Upstairs?
S: Upstairs. I've spent many hours up there.
K: Uh-hm.
l;kT 1,4 --tI saved -DrXV----;
S: And there's a little interesting side-x'Cw. -I think I saved Dr. Van Hyning's
life once upon a time. Dr. Van was in his room and i= he received a
parcel post package from the son who was in New York on the police department.
K: Uh-hm.
S: And it was a sizable pasteboard carton, so big by so big by so big. I won't
mention what was in it because it was illegal.
K: (laugh)
S: And, on the back end, which would be the north end of the Primrose Grill,
at that time was a wooden platform. About four feet square, four feet by
four feet. And there was a hand rail up here, that was wood too, conventional
wood construction. And the whole thing,was supported by two-by-sixes that
anchored in the building and came through and allowed room for flooring and
banister and what-have-ya. And that had been there long enough, that it had
rot in it.
K: Oh.
S: And Dr. Van gathered up the wrappings, papers and sawdust, maybe excelsior,
what-have-ya. Put them all in the box. I was in the room watching the
procedure. And he steps out on this little platform and he was going to
throw the box on the wood pile. At that time, Primrose Grill used wood in
their cooking range. And lo and behold, he went through the floor. And he
wound up hanging on the banister, like this----with his legs and body down
through the hole in the floor. Of course, I heard the commotion and I stepped


UF 68AB
Page 32 Pilkington
out there and through the hole I could see a two-by-six here and a two-by-six
there and I got ahold of that long, lean, (laugh) lanky, Abraham Lincoln
type of man and juggled him up through that hole and got him on his feet.
(laugh)
K: My goodness, that was a close call.
S: And uh, it was I'd-say fifteen or sixteen feet fall. And a-man his age, I
don't think he could have taken that so----------
K: No, no way, no way. How tall was he? Was he extremely tall?
S: He's tall as Dr. Dickinson.
K: Uh-hu. Was he stooped at all by that time? He was an older man.
S: Oh, not much, in the main he carried himself pretty well. Oh, maybe the last
couple of years he stooped a little bit. But in the main, he did very well.
Ah, his gate would attract your attention probably as much as anything else.
He tended to drag his heels. And I imagine that became more pronounced as -
he aged. And, you know, I was jokingly telling Dr. Dickinson just before I
came in here, he had a picture of Dr. Van in his hand or scrapebook, what-
have-ya. And I said, J. C., you know, Dr. Van never, never, never would wear
underwear. And I said whenever a little cold spell would come, he would
freeze to death (laugh) and he would not wear underwear!
K: (laugh)
S: And another characteristic, that was sort of an old timer's characteristic,
he wore these wing collars. Like old time professors and music teachers and
people of that kind (laugh) wore them you know. And a bow tie that was on
an elastic, and of course that came around and attached. And he had trouble
getting shirts that would accomodate these collars. And uh, if he went down
to Chitty's clothing gtore on the southwest corner of the square at that time,
to buy a shirt, he would have to take the shirts to somebody, who in effect


UF 68Ab
Page 33 Pilkington
cut off the collars and put on the band type, you know, that accomodated
the collar button. And one time he ran out of collar buttons and couldn't
find any at his place and I resurrected some at home. I, I found that I
had a half a dozen or so old time collar buttons. I was raised, started out
on stiff, starched, collars myself. I guess I was long about the age of
maybe a freshman in high school or something like that, when the so-called
attached collars became popular. But Dr. Van wore the little pinched down
type. I don't know the correct name for them.
K: Uh-hm, was he a smoker? Mr. Schaffer did he --------
S: ---he smoked cigars. Uh, up until the last X year or so he got to uh, he
laid off of cigars. He said they don't taste good any more. I imagine his
taste changed you know uh, advancing age.
K: uh-hm.
S: But he smoked cigars.
K: Now you said at the very beginning that he had become somewhat irrasible by
the time that you went to work for him. Did he have a hard time getting
along with uh, people from the University in general? Or was he just some-
times moody or was he always somewhat bitter because of what had happened?
S: He detested Dr. Tigert because of this move.
K: To Seagle?
S: The uh, the entrance to the campus being used for another purpose. When his
verbal agreement with Dr. Murphree was that that's where the)/useum would be
located and landing in the Seagle Building. He was embittered and he didn't
try to understand Dr. Tigert's position. As far as I can tell Dr. Tigert was
in a hot spot too. He couldn't, he didn't have unlimited space and facilities
and funds to please anybody. He had to do the best he could under the circum-
stances. But Dr. Van Hyning didn't take that attitude at all.


UF 68Ab
Page 34 Pilkington
K: Mm.
S: Uh, the law that went through the mill. Dr. Van had uh, P.K. Yonge, from
over here at Citrus was on the Board of Control for awhile. I knew P. K.
Yonge enough to know who he was and maybe shake his hand and say how-do-you
-do but I can't say I really actually knew the man. But it was his son,
Julian,that was librarian of the Library of History was it not?
K: Yes.
S: He's been gone for quite awhile. I knew Julian better than I knew the father.
I'm trying to think who the other personality was. But there was another
personality on the Board of Control that helped Dr.kan steer the law through
legislature and the necessary committees. Who in the world was that? I'm
sure of Mr. Yonge. I can't think of it now.
K: But it was these two members of the Board of Control who helped him get this
act through the 1917 legislature?
S: Yep. And they were staunch friends. And they stuck with Dr. Van Hyning and
Dr. Van Hyning appreciated it and looked upon them as staunch, good friends
of many years. I don't know whether---I don't believe this mentions anything
about P. K. Yonge. Don't believe it does but he was a helpmate and you will
read in here when you have the time to digest it a little bit, uh, Dr. Van
Hyning was the founder of the /us9my after a fashion. But it would be pro-
visionalA debatable a little bit. This man White probably spark-plugged
considerably more than Dr. Van Hyning. He happened to be a museum man by
profession that got here on the scene at the right time but he didn't furnish
the set of spark plugs.
K: So it was really Hoyt by contributing his collection---
S: Yea.
K: ---that stimulated it.
S:: I think his collection was purchased but the amount was very nominal.


UF 68AB
Page 35 Pilkington
K: Ur. .
yD 0l ti
S: He had a lot of birds and uh, eggs, but essentially he was a taxidermist.
K: iUh-hm.
/7. K2 /W- -^[i'f,-'/iJ ~ -rq c. ,C4iJ4 ,l;4C ./ Cc/>.>^ Y7
S: And then, when the University left Lake City, there was supposed to have
been quite a lot of material sent down here, casts of fossils and smaller
- 0 ---X -X,.... .-*- ski*;_-- '
fossils. Uh, some of artifacts and pottery as I remember it. I never saw
this stuff as it was isolated but in coming through the files. And uh, -
that stuff that came from Lake City evidently got down here and was shored
someplace until the time came uvA they could get to it and catalog it.
And I imagine you could recognize that Ag class of material by virtue of Z
working the files.
K' Uh-hm
Gc/fJ le/. S, scictr}}-^ 1U-
S: But, there's another interesting thing, oh, this man &manowBe, sg s "'
he was ZJ--r- .-Jss--- Z
K: < pfer"c.t'Nd Jt' i K iUc. TsO ts/tC
S: He was State Superintendent of schools. S are those the correct initials? l
K: I'm not sure but it is Cawthon. We can check that easily enough.
S: Cawthon. uh-hu. I heard him telling about, he was on the faculty at Lake
City when they were moving their materials and you probably have the record
of that. But anyhow, the interesting thing was that most of the moving was
done by horse and wagon and they had to keep in mind the feelings of the local
people for fear they got run over. (laugh) Mr. Cawthon told that story.
Well, uh, he and Dr. V/n Hyning were acquainted but I don't know if they ever
had a close association. Uh, for a long period of time, for a vast number of
years, uh, whenever Dr. Van Hyning would catalog or have catalogged a page or
two of typed records, he would have a clean copy so-to-speak made and it was
sent to /omptroller I guess, in Tallahassee, for filing.


UF 68AB
Page 36 Pilkington
K; Hm.
S: And it took a lot of time and uh, seems like, as far as I knXw, it didn't
produce anything. We didn't get any replies, nobody acknowledge that page
number s and so was received on so and so-- no acknowledgements at all. So,
I wrote a letter up there and asked them if those sheets were required and I
got a letter--I don't know if it's in the file or not, maybe--to the-effect
that it never had been required. I quit sending them in. There's a lot of
-t-ssa-
time going down the drain not doing anybody any good.
K: Sure, sure.
S: So, I stopped that.
K: Did, now, Mr. Van Hyning retired in 1946. Did he do that voluntarily or was
his health so poor that he had to quit? Or were there any other factors
involved in that?
S: Well, he was about eighty-four when he retired and he passed away when he
was about 4 and he was quite feeble and you know how old folks do-aged
people--how they acquire this bended knee stance?
K: Hm.
S: Well, he had that pretty bad. A lot of old folks get that. I, I guess it's
just a let down of muscular tension or something, but uh, I've seen it and
you have too and uh, but he was well past being productive. On top of that,
vrnotey$
Dr. Van Hyning had the reputation for not getting his mravois worth if you
know what I mean. If he was given some money, uh, he didn't necessarily spend
it foolishly but he would spend it without visible results so many times.
And uh, seems like he didn't have much to show for his expenditures. When
s II
they moved down there, they had a fund they called the Seagle Building and
A
iptf 4-~Furnishing Fund or some title that meant that p anyhow. It was
a fund created, they needed bookshelves and desks and gadgets and gizmos


UF 68AB
Page 37 Pilkington
you know, besides the office--strictly office equipment that they brought
in. And he was allowed traf that fund and he used the most of it and that's
rA
w where the expens6 moving came from.
K: Uh-hm.
S: And that's the way it stacked up. .
K: Uh-hm, now, when he retired, then, at that point, Dr. Tigert asked you to
serve as the acting director of the /useum. Is that correct?
S: Yes. Uh, he wrote me, uh, a short letter and he called me out to his office,
and uh, there wasn't much to either one of them. He simply explained, he
said uh, well, you see the wajkt period was uh, staring us in the face at the
time, and all of the emphasis was on the uh, /rmy and /avy students
coming to the campus to take specialized courses and things like that kind,
4-Fs he you know. 1laughl
K: Uh-hm.
S: And uh, he said the uh, with the country in its present situation, and uh,
funds being hard to come by, the way they are, he said obviously, this is
not the time to develop the Museum. He said, just carry on the best you can
as you always have. That's the blanket instructions I got.
K: uh-hm. So that left just the three of you down there in the useum or were
there other people?
S: Yea, that's right. That's right, just three of us there. Until the time
came, you see this, approximately six years went by until Dr. o m4tl
got interested, the war was over by that time. And uh, he knew enough people
and he uh, was a professional man where I was not. He was in position to
make contacts and uh, revive some interest in the /seum. At least what we
ought to have whether we it or not and he, he's the one who got the ball
rolling. Dj Then when he took another position, I don't know from memory


UF 68AB
Page 38 Pilkington
just where he went. Why then, uh, Dr. Dickinson came on.
K: Did they cut bacwhatever budget you had during those years where you were
just the caretaker? I mean did you have any budget other than for the three
of you as far as your salaries? Did you have any bllCl (tif acquisitions?
S: Well, there was an item to pay for janitorial supplies and uh, oh, the minor
goods that you'd have to have to keep a museum going: some paints and a
few boards and some nails and, we lost the hammer, we had to buy a new hammer.
Just small items like that were all that were provided for. And one time
Dr. Tigert called me out here to his office and he was going to fix up a little
budget for us and he apologized for being so small and he had about four
items in it. And I don't believe I could give you the proper terms for those
items but he had one item in there under the heading of collections--$1,000,
and I was quite surprised after we got just dribblings. But here was, here
was a budget and one of the items was $1,000. And I brought up the point,
I said, Dr. Tigert, I said, my status is temporary. I don't know what future
people will want or think or believe, but I said, that $1,000 isn't enough
to develop anything of any consequence. If you hire a man why, that is spent
right quick. You start buying materials, it's still not enough to make a
mark. I said, you're at liberty to drop that. We have to have these other
items, some materials and some janitoridal supplies and a few brooms and so on.
So, that was dropped and with my consent and I thought it made good sense
to drop it. We were jt in a position to start any developments and I didn't
know enough about the professional aspects of the museum work to carry the
ball.
K: Uh-hm.
S: However, Dr. Tigert, after he retired, we were friendly. And uh, when he
was teaching philosophy, I believe, down at the University of Miami, he used


UF 68B-Side 1
Page 39 McKenzie'
to come back to Gainesville every three or four-five weeks whatever
his schedule was. And if he got here ahead of time he neededa place
to sit down and uh relax and uh maybe chat with somebody he'd come
to the museum in the Segal Building. And uh quite often we would have
the opportunity to talk and chat. And then another thing, this Mrs.
/t Asfsl/j
PKTI'Wth at made the uh bust of uh Dr. Tigert-she was here a whole
lot and uh she had a uh plaster paris cast to start with and she
converted it into bronze--that here some place?
K: I believe it's right down in the L SoctI Qae'C NY4(
S: I lost track of it. But uh sometimes he would have to come here in
e s 55 Ir '5
the interest of Mis t &eie work.
K: Mm hm.
S: So he kinda made--after a fashion he made the museum a minor headquart-
ers when he got back to Gainesville. And s we had a uh a very pleasant
association and we weren't required to make any decisions to aggravate
each other anything like that. It was just a pleasant association.
K: I'm sure. Now when did Dr. Grolaman take over from you? Do
you remember? Around '52--51?
S: See....It should be about September of '62.
b b
K: '62 or '52? I-I mean Groman now not-not Dickinson--Gro man
S: J^^^ ^rJg^ ^.^^^ ^ell, when Dr. Van XMing was retired, add,
add six years to that--
K: Okay, 52 then. 1952.
S: And uh-
K: Uh huh.
S: See, I was here roughly six years, six years and a half--


UF 68A-Side
Page 40 McKenzie
K: Yeah.
L J
S: --and then Dr. Gromiman came on legally but he didn't speiA any time
at the museum until uh the end of that semester I would say was about
the time.
K: Mm hm.
S: He came on.
K: So, he was a faculty member here at the /iversity?
S: Oh, yeah.
K: What--what was he in? What was his discipline?
S: He was in biology--think he was a herpetologist and--
K: Uh huh.
S: --what have you.
K: Did--did he ever actually move his office to the SaCg Build ng or did
he stay on,..
S: No/b ..
K: '& campus?
S: '0fafter he got uh settled he-he moved his office facilities and he
had a secretary--
K: Mm hm.
S: --Mrs. Hunt and a Mrs. Smith--
K: Mm hm.
S: Mrs. uh Smith was the first one and Mrs. Hunt was the next one to my
and
best knowledge A from there on out I--
K: Mt hm.


UF 68AB-Side 1
Page 41 McKenzie
S: --don't know the score.
K: Now, what did he try to do with the museum? Did he try to build up
the collections or did he want a new building or--or how would you
characterize his term as director?
S: I'd say that his chief interest was getting professional people on
the job.
K: Mm hm.
S: I think that was his first objective.
K: Mm hm. So he tried to get a larger budget?
S: Mmm.
K: And he was the one then that would have begun having uh staff people uh--
S: Right.
K: --curators in the areas--
S: Right. Mm hm. Broke it up into departments.
K: Uh huh.
S: We got a curator of exhibits...
K: Mm hm.
S: And uh uh we needed a separate department really on account of these
state park installations that w<J~fxwere making.
K: Mm hm, mm hm.
S: And Dr. Dickinson can tell you a lot about those state park installat-
ions.
K: Now when did you start to get more people coming in as technicians?
People to help you in the work that you do?


UF 68AB-Side 1
Page 42 McKenzie
S: Oh, that was after uh we had a curator of exhibits, after Mr. Wright
came...
K: Mm hm.
S: And Dr. Pp, r
K: Mm hm.
S: And we uh from time to time have to have uh additional help and many
times it would be students and uh including girl students uh many
times a boy or girl that had uh a little backgrouin uh art work
and uh oh, we had to spend hours and hours and hours doing uh Lg6o~
lettering and things of that kind. And uh these signs you might see in
the lobby or the front of some of our park installations-they had
to be traced from something and cut out on the jigsaw and sanded
and smoothed and provisions made for attachment. And painted and
finally it goes up supposedly to serve its purpose.
K: Now did you become the uh head technician for one of the departments
before you retired or what did they call your position?
S: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. In one of these stories--
K: Mm hm.
S: --here it t 5___ on that where I was rather needlessly
l'e4J Ar-:
called--ijf preparatorysomething like that--
K: MM hm.
S: And actually it don't--it didn't mean a thing. Uh our--our efforts
were in different categories. It didn't matter very much.
K: Mm hm.


UF 68AB-Side 1
Page 43 McKenzie
S: Uh besides the-the curator of exhibits from there on down it didn't
hardly matter.
K: It was just the job that needed--
S: The job--
K: --to be done next.
S: --to be done.That's the reason you need diversified people or--
K: Mm hm.
S: --people with diversified skills.
K; Mm hm.
S: That's more important. And in here some place it--see, I call myself
the housekeeper...
K: Mm hm.
S: But in there some place it makes mention of I
CZ
preparatory and actually I didn't do typical preparatory work. It-it
got over into maintenance of everything in the place and building
cases. Individualized to fit situations of course. And uh the last
two or three years I was down there I spent virtually full-time
building cases.
K: Mm hm. Roughly how many people would there have been working in the
museum at the time that you left? Just--just af nA?+t (yl .t
S: Including the part-time students around fifty.
K: Mm hm.
S: Maybe plus a little bit. That would be part-time students, the -the
b
professional people that Dr. G roeuman brought in, Mr. Wright.,,
/ V cAr


UF 68 a -Side 1
McK-ni*r.e
Page 44
K: Mm hm.
S: ...secretaries, lA7/ I think the time came we had the
second janitor-well, maybe it was tied up with the maintenance of the
building, I-I'm fuzzy on that.
K: Now, did Dr. Dickinson take over directly from Dr. Gro-man or--
S: Yes.
K: --was there nyone else in there?
S: Directly from Groy man to Dickinson.
K: Uh huh. And uh Dr. DIckinson is what--an ornithologist?
S: Yes, yes.
K: Was lie in the museuefore he became the director? Was he--
S: Yes they had him listed as a uh uh curator.
K: Mm hm.
S: Uhh I have not been receiving annual reports. I guess you stilYput
them out do you not?
K: I guess they do.
S: But uh I've sort of lost track--
K: Mm hm.
S: -- uh actually and honestly outside of keeping track of people.
K: Mm hm.
S: That's about all the use I would have for an annual report but it does
help.
K: Mm hm.
S: And you forget names and initials and....
K: Sure. I was going to ask you just a couple of more questions. I wanted


UF 68 B-Side 1
Page 45 -McKenzie
to ask you if uh the people who did the work in the museum were con-
sulted at all when the plans were being made for this new building. If
the architects or anyone went around and talked to you about the-the-
space needs and the area needs that should go into the new building.
Do you remember any of that?
S: Uhh I remember distictly...
A
K: Mm hm.
S: ...Vincent--what's his--?
K: Gab'nelli?
S Gab'nelli.
K: Mm hm.
S: Italian man. remember he was interested in how much and what kind of
facilities we needed for the shop.
K: Mm hm.
S: And he and I conversed about the shop on several occasions.
K: Mm hm.
S: Ahh I didn't draw up any sketches but seems to me he had a sketch ortwo
or more and I brought out the point that from time to time you would be
handling long lumber and if at all possible try to have your saw and your
joiner in front of a doorway some place...
K: Mm hm.
S: ... maybe you'd only use it two or three or four times a year but when the
time came it was terribly important to have provisos for the length of
something.
K: Mm hm.


UF 68 B-Side 1
Page 46 McKenzie
S: And we talked about the rack to hold plywood and masonite and 1C0/ O-
ply and so forth and so on.
K: Mm hm. .
S: So uh uh to that extent that's about all of the planning we did. And
then of course)in the meantime, why, theyad to nail down designs, plans,
carry on ....
K: Well, Mr. Schaffer, that's about all the prepared questions I had for you.
Is there anyljing that I haven't uh reminded you about that you think is im-
portant and that you'd like to mention now.
S: ]TC sidelines stories?
K: Mm hm.
S: [chuckle] Well, I-I wanted to tell the story about the location of the
m useum.
K: Mm hm.
S: And I jot--scribbled down the note here so I wouldn't forget it.
K: Mm hm.
S: I-I-I can't think of any other pertinent stories.
K: Okay.
S: I wish I could think of the man that helped Dr. Van along with P.c. Yonge.
K: Mm hm. Well, we will be sending you a copy of this so that you can go over
it and make any changes or correct a ny names or anything of that sort...
S: Mm hm.
K: ;.. before we prepare the final version. So uh I'm sure it'll come back to
you before then. If not we can possibly try and look it up somehow.
S: Now uh on the subject I'm-I've still got my finger in museum work.


UF 68 B-Side 1
Page 47 McKenzie
K: Mm hm.
S: The grand lodge of Florida built a new headquarters building in Jackson-
ville in e.-i-eoi~h:
K: Mm hm.
S: Including a wing for a masonic museum.
K: Mm hm.
S: And uh ever since uh that ime we've been working in the new building and
prior to that time dating back to an ei we've had uh uh
characteristic masonic museum...
K: Mm hir
S: And uh we got the new building why uh we got new cases, new everything
and uh it's uh not a world beater by any means because we didn't have the
money or the talent or the people to do it.
K: Mm hm.
S: But it's been maintained and it's clean iad it's well-lighted, it's neat...
K: Mm hm.
S: And we have a membership- in the state of 83,000 people and some of those get
in Jacksonville from time to time and part of the time grand lodge meets in
Jacksonville and those people who come to see it usually spend about an
hour...
K: Mm hm.
S: ...and they talk in terms of it being interesting and revealing how much
material is available in the line of masonry.
K: Mm hm. So you've been working with them on that.
S: Yes, I've been on it 411 the way through. I-I made the original recommendation
to the then grand master, Fred B. Noble, that uh the time had arrived that we


UF 68 .B-Side 1
Page 48 McKenzie
should have a museum and uh I could back that up by another recommendat-
/
ion from a previous grandmaster. So uh I was loaded with uh that much
^ bt-l t i firoluinformation...
K: Mm hm.
/-,
S: And uh ever body was for it and uh when--when we moved into the new
building we--we were amply funded for moving itself--not-not scientifical-
ly or anything....
K: Mm hm.
S: And uh were also sort of an unofficial headquarters for what is known as
the grand lodge of research and uh that is a publications proposition....
Anyhow we--we've been uh very well pleased and gratified with the results
and uh uh the first year that we moved into the new building I made seventeen
trips over to Jacksonville. I took my vacation at the rate of two days a
week...
K: Mm hm.
S: And I'd go over there Thursday morning and work through A nday afternoon
and come home and did that fifteen or sixteen times--a couple of the trips
we went for other purposes...
K: Mm'hm.
S: ...and uh that's hoewe got our toehold. Now I didn't have an artist to
lean on for designs or anything like that so I avoided as much as I could...
K: Mm hm.
S: And what had to be done I did thebest I could.
K: Mm hm.
S: Or I got help or suggestions or something. And uh we--we _t e6-re__
;~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *<?"-!


UF 68 B-Side 1
Page 49 McKenzie
it.
K: Well, that sounds like a lot of work but I'm sure it's been very rewarding
to you.
S: If you ever go to Jacksonville, this building i4 on the corner of Monroe
and Ocean.
K: Mm hm.
S: And it's open to anybody.
K: Mm hm.
S: Uhh during the normal office hours of the grand secretary which is ee-
~ ~30
till ssaen iS every day.
K: Mm hm.
S: Something like that. Closed on Saturdays and I ndays.
K: Well, I'll make it a point to go over there the next time I'm in Jacksonville.
S: I wish you would, I wish you would.
K: I'd like to see what you've come up with.
S: It's on the corner of Ocean and M nroe, facing actually it's facing on
Ocean but the huge majority of people use the opposite entrance which faces
Main S/reet.
K: I'll have to tell Dr. Proctor about it. Because of course he comes from
Jacksonville and he still has family there so he gets over frequently.
S: Seems to me I talked to Sam about that uh one time.
K: Did you?
S: Uhh I don't know that there's anything innovative about it...
K: Mm hm.
S: Uhh see it--it fulfills one tiny little niche in the scheme of things...


UF 68 B-Side 1
Page 50 McKenzie
K: Mm hm.
S: Here's a highly specialized little approach and uh the upper floor the
cases are suspended cases between aluminum columns, very-nice, and they :
Were built by a contractor but they were designed by an architect.
K: Mm hm.
S: By the way, that brings up another minor point. WAen the architect de-
signed the building he had all four corners indented and built up with
glass brick...
K: Mm hm.
S: And we uh we got knowledge of it--well, we--we met the man....He's the
same--he belongs to the same architectural firm that designed this arts
building over here?
K: Oh, the new architecture additin here?
S: I don't think they called it architecture but Funk, McDaniel--McDowell?
K: Mm hm.
S: And somebody--that's slipped my mind. I haven't had occasion to use it for
so long! But anyhow uh we explained to him and--and this architect was a
princely type of man that was willing to sit down and talk things out
whereas so many of them -- Lt\ A
K: Has to be T+ecY bA./U ?
S: So we brought up the point that this would be mixing naturailight with
artificial light and would it interfere with his scheme and so on if this
became solid brick or blocks or what have you--whatever his best taste
would dictate so we wouldn't be mixing two kinds of light. And he saw the
idea instantly and he agreed to it and designed it that way and that was it.


UF 68 B-Side 1
Page 51 McKenzie
We had another case there in the middle of this room is a stairwell so
big by so big. And he had this rather attractive ballister around there
and the stairway going down to the bottom floor?* And in standing there_
looking at that one of my co-workers is a very, very good long-term friend
by the name of Simmons--he and I were standing there talking and looking
and one of us came up with the idea that the open space between the up-
right portions of this bannister a child could fall through without a
bit of trouble.
K: Mm hm.
S: I said let's raise hell and see if we can't get that filled in...
K: Mm hm.
S: ...some shape, form or fashion--either acetate or--or glass or whathave
you and uh he um contacted the architect and explained of our fear that
I
a child could fall through there...
K: Mm hm.
S: ...and uh men were procured and they put in glass panels between the up-
right portions and so on.
K: They sound like good cooperative people then to deal with.
S: I had a full set of amateur photographs at home of our exhibits, cases,
and what-have-you if you care to come by I'd be delighted to show them
to you and talk to you and ....
K: Well, thank you I wouldn't mind doing that at all sometime.
S: I wish you would. I uh I live on the uh cornevthree blocks north of where
Shaw and Keeter used to be. You know where I'm talking about?
K: Yeah, mm hm. I sure do, yeah.


UF 68 B-Side 1
Page 52 McKenzie
S: That's an easy way to uh explain it.
K: Mm hm.
S: It's on the same corner of the intersection three blocks north of Shaw and
Keeter...
K: Okay.
S: My nam e4 beside the door.
K: Okay, well, I want to thank you very much for--
[END OF TAPE]