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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
INTERVIEWEE: Milton Carothers
INTERVIEWER: Arthur White
February 2, 1973
W: This is Arthur White, assistant professor of education at the University
of Florida, interviewing M. W. Carothers, who was born March 19, 1899,
in Newbern, Alabama. He is currently professor emeritus of education
at Florida State University. He has been a resident of the state of
Florida since 1927. This interview is taking place in the education
building at Florida State University.
C: I was born in Newbern, Alabama, and lived there for the first
fourteen years of my life. My mother died when I was five; my father
died when I was fourteen. I moved to Selma, Alabama, and finished
high school there. From Selma I went to the University of Alabama,
and had a short interruption due to World War I, during which period
I was at Camp Pike at Little Rock, Arkansas. I returned in the spring
of 1919, and finished my Bachelor of Arts program at the University of
Alabama in the spring of 1919.
During the summers of my undergraduate work, I worked at a sawmill in
Monroe County, Alabama, and following my graduation from the University
of Alabama, I started my school work as a principal of a rural
consolidated school at Carlowville, Alabama. I should back up and say
that I started my teaching work when I was a freshman at the University
of Alabama. I did a great many things in the way of part-time
employment as a student at Alabama. The first of those was a part-time
teacher at Alabama Preparatory School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I taught
in the morning, and then took my classes at the university in the
afternoon. I did a variety of things at the University of Alabama as
part-time employment. Over a period of probably a couple of years I
was employed by the Tuscaloosa YMCA. I remember collecting for the
Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce. At that time, the fraternity houses
had a system of electing one of the members to serve as business
manager, or steward, as he was called, and I was steward of the Phi
Gamma Delta house for a period of time. I was also a student assistant
in the library at the University of Alabama.
Now returning to my teaching work, the first year I was at the
University of Alabama, I was principal of this rural consolidated
school. Then I returned to my sawmill job when I found I could do a
great deal better financially at sawmill work then than I could as a
principal of a school. I probably would have stayed longer at that
had I not found that my uncle in Selma, Alabama, needed my presence
on account of angina. So I returned to Selma, and I taught for one
year in a little private military school, Dinken's Training School.
I was then in public high school for two years as a mathematics
teacher, and then a vice-principal under Paul Monroe, who was principal
of both the junior high school and the senior high school.
So I had the pleasure of starting the junior high school at Selma,
Alabama. That was a brand new type of organization for Selma. I
then moved over to Selma High School as vice-principal under Mr.
Monroe. He moved up to superintendent when Omar Carmichael went to
Tampa, Florida, and I moved up to the principalship of Selma High
School. Carmichael went to Tampa in 1926 immediately after the
Strayer-Engelhart team had made a survey of the Tampa school
situation, and had recommended some fundamental changes in the
organization and program of the Tampa public schools.
After Carmichael had been in Tampa one year, in the spring of 1927,
he offered me the principalship of the brand new H. B. Plant High
School in Tampa. So I came to the state following my old friend Omar
Carmichael. During the ten years that I was in Tampa, for five of the
years I was principal of Plant High School, and for five years I was
supervising principal of District Four, which was slightly larger
than the city of Tampa. During the last two or three years of that
period, I also had a county-wide responsibility as director of
instruction for all of the schools of Hillsborough County. When
Colin English was elected to the state superintendency, he offered me
a position as director of the division of instruction in the state
department of education. I left my work at Tampa and came to
Tallahassee at the end of 1936, and began work January 1, 1937 in the
state department of education.
At that time, the bubble had burst so far as the boom was concerned,
and so far as Tampa was concerned, it was shortly to go into a very
deep depression. Tampa went through the wringers sooner than the
remainder of the state, and the nation at that time. First, the
failure of the Citizen's Bank in Tampa was a severe financial blow to
that section, and then the severe hurricane of 1928 was another body
blow, and the Florida fruit fly was a very heavy blow to the economy
of the state. Those three things sent that section reeling financially
even before the national depression reached its depth.
I mentioned the Florida fruit fly; that has always been a mystery to
me and to a great many people. Well, there are some people who are
skeptical as to whether or not there ever was a fruit fly, but I
suppose there is no real doubt of that fact. The mystery is how
completely, or thoroughly the fruit fly could be eradicated. When it
was first discovered in the Tampa area, and the specialists insisted
that it would completely ruin the citrus industry, the campaign
to eradicate it got under way.
All host plants, including for instance shrubbery and trees, guava
trees, citrus trees, and a number of other host plants were destroyed
within a certain radius of where the fruit fly infestation was found.
Fruit trees were burned or buried with quick lime poured on the citrus.
In the first zone, all the trees would have to be destroyed. In the
second zone, all the fruit would have to be destroyed, and in the third
zone, a very tight quarantine was placed on all fruit moving out of
that zone. That zone, I think, would cover pretty much all of the
state of Florida
For instance, at the state line, there were inspectors who inspected
your cars and.your baggage to be sure that you were not carrying out
fruit. I expect that was the first time that I had vividly brought to
my attention that there are many of us who are chronic law-breakers.
I think of one or two very high-class citizens who took it as a
game. It took a lot of effort to conceal a sack of oranges under
the hood of your car to take it out to Georgia or Alabama on a trip,
and get by the inspectors in that way in spite of the fact that it was
known to be a very great hazard to the fruit of other areas of the
But to go back to Tampa and the financial situation at that time,
there were many good businessmen, former bankers, former contractors
and so on who were making a living in any way that they could. I
think of one very successful road contractor who made a living for his
family raising tomatoes down in the Ruskin area south of Tampa. It
is almost true that there were good businessmen who were selling apples
on the streets at that time trying to make a living. The financial
situation was very precarious. I mentioned the fact that the old
Citizen's Bank had failed, and a little while after that there was a
run on the First National Bank. It is an interesting background as to
how rumors of that sort could get started and how a panic could start.
At that time in the cigar factories of Tampa, and you will remember
that Tampa boasted of being the cigar capital of the world, the cigar
factories had a very interesting situation for the entertainment of
the workers. Many of the factories employed a reader who would read
aloud so that the cigar factories could have something on their minds
as they did their handwork on the cigars. The story goes that in one
of the large factories there, the reader read a news item from another
part of the country regarding the failure of a bank, and gradually,
one by one, and ten by ten, and dozens by dozens, the cigar factory
workers left their work and started to the bank to take their money
out of the bank.
I always thought that the officers of the First National Bank showed
unusual courage and ingenuity in that case. The run at the First
National Bank started in the late afternoon, and there was a logical
reason for closing it at the usual time, but they realized that there
would be a heavy run the next day. So when the bank opened as usual
the next morning, the bank officials had set up refreshment tables
and tried to impress on all of the people who came into the bank that
their money was available if they wanted it. It turned into a sort of
a social occasion, and the hysteria quickly subsided and none of the
other banks had failed at that time.
There were a great many cases of buildings burned, and I am sure many
of them were cases of arson. I was increasingly impressed with the
difficulty of proving arson. For instance, I remember one case, out
in the Temple Terrace area, near the present University of South
Florida, to the misfortune of the owner the fire was put out a little
bit too early, early enough for them to discover that the furniture had
been moved out the day before. Excelsior had been wrapped around the
stair rail, and gasoline of kerosene poured in the building, but the
building did not burn. No one saw the man strike a match to it, and
he was tried and acquitted of the charge of arson.
The insurance company pretended to give up, and be willing to pay
the insurance. The representative finished the paperwork necessary,
all except for one or two little details, and then he said to the
owner, "Oh, that is all right, just complete this at your convenience,
and drop it in the mail." The man did as he was told, he was immed-
iately arrested, I think this time on a federal charge. I am not sure
as to just the legal points involved here, but he was convicted of
using the mails to defraud and conspiracy to defraud. Evidently, it
was easier to convict when it was the difference between federal
court and state court. The difference in evidence required
two charges. He was convicted of the latter charge, though he
had been acquitted of the charge of arson.
Well, just one or two other little details in regard to the financial
situation of the section at that time. I rented a number of homes
in Tampa. I reckon people wondered why I did not pay my rent. The
only home that I bought there was on Jetton Avenue, the first block
off of Palma Ceia Golf Course, in a very nice section of town, and
that house is an attractive house right now. I bought that house for
$3,000. I borrowed $3,200 with which to buy it, and used the $200 to
paint the exterior woodwork. As I say, that house was then, and is
now a very attractive home.
The nicest home possibly that I have ever lived in was on the corner
of Orleans and Inman, the old Tibbett home as it was known then in
Tampa. Itwasjust off of Bayshore in the nicest section of old Tampa. I
rented it nicely furnished for thirty-five dollars a month. The owner
of it let me have it rent-free if I would return to it when I came
back with my family from summer school, which was for a number of
weeks during the summer.
At that time, Tampa had the unfavorable reputation of being subject to
criticism from a political angle. The old paper ballots were much
easier to manipulate in a dishonest way than were voting machines, and
I think the reputation of the city has been much better politically on
the political scene since the changeover from the old printed ballots
to the machine voting.
Tampa's economy has always rested pretty strongly on cigar production.
I do not know to what extent the workers in the cigar factories there
have abandoned their strong objection to machine methods. For a
period it seemed that the cigar industry there would go into a decline
on account of the unwillingness of the cigar workers to permit the
management to introduce machine methods. Of course, Dale Mabry Field
has also been an important source of prosperity to the city and also
one reason for the very great increase in the prosperity of that
For instance, the peninsula section that I knew best in my early years
at Plant High School seemed to be almost out in the country. Now, of
course, it is in the center of a very heavily populated area. That
whole peninsula section was sparsely settled from Ballast Point out to
Port Tampa and on around the Gandy Bridge. Gandy Bridge.had been
built for several years, but Davis Causeway and a third
causeway, the name of which I have forgotten now, was not built at
that time. [Tampa's causeway to Clearwater is the Courtney Campbell
Causeway, and the Howard Franklin and Gandy bridges lead to St.
When I went to Hillsborough High School it was the only senior high.
Plant was completed first, and at that time, the old Hillsborough
building became Jefferson High. The new Hillsborough was completed
out on Central Avenue. During my years there in the city-wide and
later country-wide responsibility, those were the only senior highs in
District Four: Hillsborough High, the largest; Plant High; and
Jefferson High. I am not so well acquainted with the other highs that
have been built since.
There were six junior high schools, and I am not sure that I can
quickly recall those. On the peninsula side, there were Wilson Junior
High, and West Tampa Junior High. On the other side of the river,
Memorial, across from the Hillsborough campus, and Franklin Junior
High, and George Washington Junior High. I regret that I missed one.
I am sorry to hurt the feelings of the graduates of the sixth junior
There was only one large negro senior high, and the schools were
completely segregated at that time. As I remember it, Booker Washington
Junior High School was the only negro high school at that time. This
is an interesting little sidelight on the high school programs of that
day. I think at that period negro educators and leaders in the second-
ary field felt that any emphasis on what they would consider practical
courses of the woodwork or tailoring work, or any courses of that
nature, were efforts of the white man to keep the negro youth in sub-
ordinate types of employment.
I remember asking at one time the principal of the negro high school
what he regarded as the greatest lack in his program, and I rather
expected him to speak of the falsity of opportunities in courses of the
more practical nature. But instead, his reply was that the greatest
weakness of his program was the lack of a department of romance
languages. That same impression I got later as I traveled the high
schools of the state.
For instance, in Pensacola, there was a woefully inadequate industrial
arts shop ridiculously equipped with practically no equipment with,
say, three or four hammers. Yet as you would leave the
industrial arts department, impressed with the falsity of equipment
there, and pass down the corridor, you would hear the boys and girls
very freely going to their French conversation.
W: The black students?
W: What year was that?
C: The reference to Pensacola High would be somewhere in the period from
1937 through 1942, the years that I was in the state department of
education. The conversation, as I quoted from the high school in
Tampa, was in the period about 1935 to 1936.
I might give a word in regard to the history of Tampa. I think Tampa
was not of any importance until Henry B. Plant brought the Atlantic
Coast Line Railway [at that time, the Jacksonville, Tampa, and Key West
Railroad] into Tampa from Jacksonville, and if I remember correctly,
that was approximately 1886. The road was built to Port Tampa, which
since that time has been the terminus of that branch of that railroad.
Henry B. Plant was to the west coast of Florida what Henry Flagler was
to the east coast. Flagler had already built a part of his railroad,
when Henry B. Plant built his road into Port Tampa. He invited
Flagler to a big celebration at the opening of that line. The story
goes that Flagler wired to him and asked, "Where is Tampa?", and Plant
wired back to him, "Follow the crowds."
Well, the beginning of the railroad service, of course, was the first
big push for the Tampa area, followed by the Spanish-American War, when
Tampa was an important port of embarkation. If I am correct in my
memory, that was the port of embarkation for Theodore Roosevelt and his
Rough Riders. At one time while I lived in Tampa, I owned a lake lot
near Odessa, twenty miles north of Tampa and ten miles inland from
Tarpon Springs. My closest neighbor there was an old army sergeant who
remembered vividly the very lively times in Tampa when he was a soldier
with an embarkation group.
I suppose there was a period of rather slow growth until the beginning
of the Florida boom. I do not know exactly how to locate that date. I
would say about 1920 would be the time when the real estate development
began to be feverish in that section. As a matter of fact, all over
Florida the stories of the Florida boom are almost unbelievable. Many
people who were paupers in the early morning, thought they
would be millionaires by night; that is of course a bit of an exaggera-
The sudden rise and the sudden fall of fortunes was a very feverish
period when many lots were bought by non-residents without ever seeing
their property. Many of them found that their lots were underwater
when they got around to a closer examination. There were many real
estate developments in Florida that never really got off the ground.
For example, the section north of old Tampa Bay, Espiritu Santo, I
believe, was the old Indian [Spanish] name of the area where the horse
track is now. During my day, we would pass that area on the way to
Clearwater and Indian Rocks beaches, and the streets and the curbs
were there, but there were no developments at all. Similarly, a set-
tlement south of Tampa, known then and I think still is Sun City, was
started to be the Hollywood of Florida. For many years it was nothing
except streets that were laid out, but no buildings.
In other words, the boom collapsed just before the construction or
building period came along. The Temple Terrace section, as I
mentioned, where the University of South Florida is now, and Forest
Hills, a similar development on the northern side of the Hillsborough
River are where a number of beautiful homes were built, but they never
got off the ground as subdivisions.
I omitted one chapter that I should have mentioned. V. M. Ybor might
be regarded as the father of the cigar industry of Tampa. He brought
over from Cuba a great many Cuban families as workmen in the cigar
factories, in which he started what became known as Ybor City. Ybor
City is on one side of town, and the west Tampa Latin section, on the
other side of the river, became the locations of the cigar factories
which were the principal places of employment during my ten years in
There were a great many Cuban and Spanish and Italian people in those
two sections. As you would go through those Latin sections, you
frequently would hear no word of English spoken. The restaurants and
clubs of those sections were a conspicuous part of the social life
For example, the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City was then an extremely
popular restaurant, and I suppose is still. There are two or three
dining rooms in the Columbia. The first one that you would pass
through always interested me because that was the popular part of the
restaurant for all the Latin citizens, who I noticed would spend a
great deal of time over their coffee. The tourists would move on
through that first dining room to the plusher sections of the restaurant
--in the second or third dining rooms. But even in the parts of the
restaurant that were popular with tourists, you would make a mistake if
you went for dinner with the expectation of a hurried meal, because the
business was not geared for a man in a hurry.
The Latins think that a dinner ought to be a time for social pleasure
as well as for enjoyment of good food. It was always an occasion for
spending two or three hours. As I say, you would never expect to go
and hurry away because there was so much good food and it was served in
a rather leisurely fashion.
The schools in those sections were almost completely segregated as to
national origin, or former origin of the parents, although English was
used as the language of instruction in all of those schools. But many
of the parents could not speak English. I remember how interesting an
occasion it was to be asked to speak at a meeting of the PTA in one of
the Latin schools. As I spoke, an interpreter would give me a signal
to halt every few sentences while he would repeat in Spanish or Italian,
I do not remember which, my remarks to the citizens who were present.
I do not think any great adaptation was made in the curriculum of the
schools because it was so predominantly Latin at that time.
The problems of those schools were somewhat different from the problems
of those where the parentage was, well..., I started to say native
Floridian. As a matter of fact, except in the northern counties, where
"a great many natives of Florida could be found at that time, there was
"a mixture of people from other sections of the nation. That is one of
the very interesting things about Florida. For example, one day at the
county school board meeting in Tampa, someone raised the question, and
they took a quick handcount to see how many members of the board, or
citizens who were there on business with the board, were natives of
Florida. Not a single person in the group was a native of Florida.
You find a very great mixture of origins in the central and south
There was a sort of a separation, not intentional, but on account of
location in the schools that were patronized largely by Latin people.
There was a pretty good mixture so far as faculties were concerned.
For instance, several of the most outstanding principals in Tampa were
from Latin families, and I expect a majority of administrators and
teachers in the Latin schools were not from Latin homes. But there
was a natural mixture of teachers in all of the schools. You would
find some Latins in the faculties of Hillsborough and Plant and
Jefferson, and I can think of several Latin families that made strong
contributions to the educational program of Tampa schools at that time.
I do not remember any friction or lack of good will which might be
contributed to differences of family background. Clearly there were
differences in educational opportunities. For example, during the
depression years, not as a result of any federal program, and I am not
clear in my memory as to whether there was public money of any sort
used, but there were soup kitchens in some of the Latin schools, on
account of the realization that a great many of the Latin children did
not have the nutritional necessities.
I remember the generosity of a number of the leading citizens. For
instance, I remember one day at a Kiwanis Club, I had made some
mention of that problem in the Latin schools. As I left the meeting,
one of the non-Latin citizens handed me fifty dollars with a statement
that he wanted that to go for soup in one of the Latin schools.
But as I say, I do not remember that it was public money. It was more
of a project of the Tampa people themselves, and I am not quite clear
as to whether there were any public funds used for things of that sort.
I am sure that the faculties in these Latin schools would take the lead
in this promotion. And I am sure that civic groups, as well as
individuals, would support such individual projects. I expect it is
true that both the district board, which we used to refer as District
Four board, and the county board would authorize the expenditure of
public funds for that, but I am not too clear on that point.
I was very much interested in the period in which I had a responsibil-
ity county-wide in the so-called strawberry schools. The needs of the
rural schools were quite different from the needs of the schools in
Tampa, and particularly in the cigar-producing sections of Tampa.
Many of the schools in the county operated on what was known as a
strawberry schedule. The students would go to school all summer and
would have their three months vacation period during the fall when
the strawberries were ripe and called for much manpower in the
picking of strawberries.
I have often wondered to what extent the frozen food industry has
affected the strawberry producing industry. For example, then, the
fact that that area could produce strawberries at a differnet time of
the year when strawberries were not available in the northern states,
or for that matter, even the adjacent southern states, gave a great
advantage to those sections of Florida that could produce strawberries
then. Around the Okeechobee area, the same thing occurred with regard
to all of the winter vegetables.
There were a number of very interesting large rural schools. Turkey
Creek, for example, was a very large school center at that time, and
operated up to the high school grades. Other names were Pine Forest,
Brandon, and Dover, and Calker, and so on, and they operated during the
I do not remember ever seeing any air conditioning equipment in any of
those strawberry schools. The hot summer days were bound to produce a
sleepiness that was quite a problem to the students in those schools.
The hot summer days would make it hard for students to be alert and on
their toes. Then in the fall, they would be in the fields picking the
I spoke a few minutes ago as if the strawberry crop was a source of
wealth. There is an interesting sideline on that angle, and this is a
commentary on the inflation of our days when the market was flooded
with strawberries. I remember on occasions when my wife and I would
drive out to the strawberry section of the county on Saturday or Sunday
afternoons, and find stands on the roadside at which we could buy
strawberries for five cents a quart for making strawberry preserves or
jelly. I think a rather typical peak of the season price was twenty
cents a quart, and that would be about as much as anybody would hope
for at the highest priced part of the season.
At that time, Plant City was the principal town or city other than
Tampa, and the others were largely rural. I understand that Brandon
has grown greatly since those days. At that time it was just an
attractive rural community, as was Valrico, and Ruskin, and Sun City,
and so on.
Now, I should hurry on and begin that period of my professional life
in Tallahassee. When Colin English was elected as superintendent, I
do not remember any nomination other than the Democratic that amounted
to anything. Colin had several opponents in that campaign. The
incumbent superintendent, Mr. William S. Cawthon, ran for reelection,
and Bill Keeps in Tallahassee was a candidate, and Claud Jones, an
attorney in Arcadia, and Buchholz of Gainesville was a candidate, and
When Mr. English first suggested that I come to Tallahassee with him,
I declined the offer thinking that I had a better job where I was.
When he renewed it later in the summer or fall, I decided to accept it.
I was not presumptuous enough to say that I mentioned this as a
condition, but I did mention it as a hope. I began at that time to try
to plan, and I asked not for a commitment, but an understanding that as
soon as I felt more at home in my work in the Tallahassee department,
that he would give me a leave of absence so I would be able to continue
my educational preparation, to the extent of being able to get a Ph.D.
degree. That part did work out as I had planned it.
After I had been in the department two years and eight months, I was
given a fellowship by the general education board, which made it
possible for me to complete my work at Columbia Teachers College,
Columbia University for my Ph.D. degree. I did it with the definite
idea of shifting to higher education work when the opportunity presented
Now, coming back to the beginning of my work here in the state depart-
ment of education, English undertook a financial...
...came into the department with a fundamental difference in
philosophy regarding the department. Mr. Cawthon did not conscien-
tiously feel that the department should be aggressive in its leadership.
For example, he felt that it was not the place of the superintendent
to formulate a program for submission to the legislature. And his
attitude was that if the legislature wished for his comment and
opinion, they would ask him for it.
Mr. English's opinion was idealistic. It might be a fine position,
but as a matter of practical politics, it does not work that way. I
think that sums up the difference in the change that took place in the
administration of the state department at that time.
I spoke a few minutes ago of a fundamental change in the administrative
structure of the department. In the interval between his nomination
and his beginning work, Mr. English had received a general education
board grant which enabled him to travel in several states. I am sure
it gave him the opportunity of employment in Tallahassee in an educa-
tional capacity, as a sort of an interim break in the state super-
intendency. So he reorganized the department into two divisions. The
division of instruction, which I headed and included the subject matter
consultants, and to the surprise of some, trade, industrial, vocational,
agricultural, and home economics education. It was everything relating
to instructional programs of the schools, including these subject matter
specialties, and textbook selection, and accreditation of schools, and
the division of administration and finance.
For the directorship Mr. English imported Dr. Edgar Morphet, formerly
with the Alabama state department, whose experience was extremely
valuable. Morphet's period of service in the department was much
longer than my own. I do not remember exactly when he left the depart-
ment. It was at least a decade after I left the department. After
leaving the department here, he went to the University of California
at Berkeley where he served until retirement. He is still quite
active as a consultant or director of different projects in the western
states, and is still an educational leader in the California area.
Under that division were placed the areas relating to finance and
administration--the apportionment of state funds, the bus transportation
of the state, and all matters of a more definite business nature.
Those first months or years in the department were very stimulating
to me, and I think a rather exciting period among the educators of the
state. I believe this state was ready for a much more aggressive and
active leadership from the state office. For example, I came to the
state department at the beginning of 1937, and in the legislative
session of 1937, at the suggestion of Mr. English, the legislature
passed an act directing that there should be prepared by the state
superintendent and his associates a school code in which an effort
would be made to pull together all of the scattered sections of law
relating to education. There were scattered and obsolescent and
conflicting provisions of law, which had never been organized into
one body of school law.
I remember very well the tremendously interesting meetings that were
held all over the state in that connection. This legislative act
directed that there be prepared under the supervision of a legislative
committee. My memory may trick me with regard to the membership of
that committee. There were representatives from the house, LeRoy
Collins, later governor [1955-1961], Russell Mora, who I think is
presently a judge on the lower east coast, probably in the Lake Worth
area, and Helen Lewis, an attorney who I think now is a resident of
Tallahassee, and on the senate side, Senator Tanner, who later was a
judge on the lower east coast, and I believe that the other senator
was Senator Harlan. I am not clear on that point.
Now, the legislature directed that not only should existing law be
codified, but that under the direction of this legislative group,
recommendations be developed for improvements in the school organization
and program. So, Mr. English did not feel that these should be pre-
pared by a limited group here in Tallahassee, and he held citizen and
professional group meetings all over the state at which people were en-
couraged to discuss the various issues involved. An attempt was made
to reflect these opinions from all over the state in the writing of
the school code as it progressed. I was one of staff members in the
department who did the mechanics of preparing the school code. We were
not the ones to make decisions in the matter. The decisions were made
by Mr. English and this legislative group, and this legislative group
of five held frequent meetings, at which our progress reports and
tentative drafts of certain chapters of the school code would be pre-
It was easily seen that these meetings all over the state would cause
a tremendous increase in interest in school problems, and I think were
an extremely important part of educational progress in the state. At
the same time, there was a decided interest in various other aspects
of development. I do not remember exactly when Mr. Stone came
into the department, though it was a little bit after I
arrived. I came into the department as director on
January 1, 1937, and when I! took a leave of absence in
September 1939, Mr. Stone, who had been my associate during those
years, became acting director during my absence from the state in
Mr. Stone was the principal person to whom credit should be given for
curriculum revision progress of that era. He assembled school people
from all over the state in these various committees that wrote numerous
separate pamphlets or books relating to the curriculum of the state.
Social studies teachers prepared a social studies curriculum pamphlet,
and the math teachers in mathematics in the various areas of the state.
So those early days were the days of very great activity, and I think,
of very great progress in the state.
I mentioned the development or revamping of school law, and the
increase in curriculum discussions and improvements. I might mention
also what to me was one of the most interesting phases. At my sugges-
tion, or maybe he suggested it, we developed together the idea of a
closer relationship between the higher education institutions and the
state department. For the first time, Mr. English created the advisory
committee on teacher education, for which I served as the chairman
during those years that I was in the state department of education.
That has been, through the years, a very important part in developing
recommendations regarding programs in teacher education. I have not
been associated with it in recent years, so I cannot vouch for its
importance in the state at the present time. So far as I know, it was
the first systematic way of bringing to the state department recommen-
dations regarding accreditation of teacher education programs and the
cooperative development of standards regarding certification.
I remember the first meetings of that body did not include lay
representation. I think at the present time, that they are repre-.
sented, and I think it was a deficiency of the early days. As I
remember, we did not consciously bring in lay representatives, but we
did have representatives of all of the institutions of this state that
aspired to have a part in the preparation of teachers in the state.
It was largely through that agency that standards, policies, or even
minutia were gone into considerable detail as to just what should be
embodied in a program for the preparation of mathematics, secondary
teachers, and the like. It was pulling together the thinking of all
of the professional people who were very close to the needs.
We did have, in that body, a lack of lay representation. We did not
lack the consumer point of view. In other words, we did have represen-
tation from teachers and principals and superintendents, as well as
representatives from the institutions themselves. I do not think of
any particular culmination of the teacher education activities of
this advisory council comparable to the completion of the Florida
school code, which was adopted by the legislature of 1939. And I do
not think of any single culmination point for certification proce-
dures, other than a gradual and a continuing result as the result of
I would like also to mention another specific part of that teacher
education advisory council which I think is of considerable
importance. In that body, we had developed a first impetus for the
internship program of teacher education, which has since been a
conspicuous part of our teacher education program. For example, I
have vivid memories of a very interesting nature regarding the con-
ference for which I served as chairman at Camp O'Leno, near High
Springs, for a week when we had over a hundred people representing
various groups and interests. We took the first steps in the
development of a program of internship for the preparation of future
If you want to identify a particular time or result, I would regard
the development of that internship program as one of the very
interesting accomplishments in this specific phase. Some of the conferences
we had at that time, particularly with the representatives of
institutions, were important in the development of plans for the
internship program. We had the assistance of a number of outside
people from the state. It tied in chronologically well with a national
commission on teacher education, from which we secured assistance.: Dr.
Armstrong, who had been a member of the faculty of the department of
higher education for a period of years, now retired from FSU, served
as executive director of the National Commission on Teacher Education.
Dr. Armstrong gave us assistance at that time.
A very considerable amount of assistance was given to us by Dr.
Charles E. Prol, and was furnished to us by the general education board.
At my request,wegot a grant from the general education board which
enabled us to have with us for a period of three months in the develop-
ment of plans, Dr. J. D. Williams, who at a later time, and until
recently, was chancellor of the University of Mississippi. But at
that time, he was connected with the University of Kentucky at
Lexington, and later president of Marshall College in West Virginia.
Dr. Williams spent several months with us, and his salary and expenses
were paid by the general education board, so it was not entirely a
I remember, too, we had also some assistance from Dr. Paul Bigelow,
of Columbia University, who was connected with this national
commission on teacher education at that time. He attended one of our
conferences in the state on the development of the internship program.
I had my reasons for being partial to the O'Leno location for several
conferences. I had the pleasure of being a director. A very
interesting sideline of that is that I not only served as a director,
but also almost as head cook. For example, I remember one
conference held there, the cook from Gainesville whom I had employed
to do the cooking for the group failed me at the last minute. On the
Sunday that the group began to assemble there, I had to get out and
hunt a cook, and for one or more of those conferences, I did have the
assistance of a home economics specialist from one of the participating
universities. I actually planned the food purchasing and securing of
servants and so on.
I had started to give my reason for preferring Camp O'Leno. If you
hold a conference involving say, one hundred people in Tampa, or
Jacksonville, or Miami, you have the difficulty of having the
participants see enough of each other to feel fully at home with one
another, and to have the give and take that I think is an essential
part of such a conference. On the other hand, if you have a
conference at Camp O'Leno, or out in the woods, there is no picture
for anyone to run to in the evening, and that was in the day when
picture shows were prominent in city life. In other words, it was
held where the participants had to work together, and play shuffle-
board together, and go hiking together, and where their whole life
was as a group for the five days that they were there. I always felt
that it was an ideal place to hold a conference of that sort.
It has its drawbacks, however. For example, we were in session for a
conference at the time that Dr. Doak Campbell was new to the
presidency of Florida State College for Women. I had invited him to
make a talk to the group. He did not spend the night with us at
O'Leno, but he did come for an evening and talk. Well, that particu-
lar occasion, we had fourteen inches of rain in two days, and all the
participants were sleeping in scattered cabins in that woodland
setting, and we faced the necessity of transporting them from their
cabins to the dining hall for meals or for meetings. Then, for
example, when Dr. and Mrs. Campbell had to leave us after the evening
meeting to go on to Gainesville where they had planned to spend the
night, I had to precede them in my car to show them where the road was
through the woodlands until they got on the main highway. So it had
drawbacks, but I still regard it as a very good place for a group of
school people to spend several days at work together.
Dr. White has just asked me the question of my former relationship
with Colin English. English had been county superintendent of
schools at Fort Myers while I was in Tampa, and I had a close
personal and professional relationship with him during that time.
At a later time, he had been the head of the Tampa schools at Ocala,
and I had known him there. Then his work at Columbia and mine had
been in overlapping periods, and I had known him through our joint
interest at the teachers college in Columbia. So, I had known him
quite well professionally and personally during the days before I came
to the state department. As a matter of fact, at one time in Tampa I
had dared to hope for the possibility of getting him into Hillsborough
County to assist me there in the Tampa school program, but that did
not work out as I had hoped that it would.
We have had some interesting developments in this state regarding
certification. For example, the earliest efforts at systemitizing
teacher certification, and this antidates my period of service here
in Florida, was regarded as a very great advance over the very
informal or almost non-existent system of statewide planning--the old
so-called Flying Squadron of, have you heard anything of that, during
which Miss Clem Hampton...? That was regarded as a definite
When English came into the state, I expect the biggest difference
that he made in certification was in bringing together all of the
higher education institution representatives, and the consumer, and
the school representatives to plan. Now, I think that there has been,
since that time, a trend toward putting more of the responsibility on
the institution to say when a teacher is adequately prepared. I am
not close enough to it to see whether that trend is continuing at the
present time or not; you know much better than I.
I am very much interested in some developments. For instance, I
recently was visiting in North Carolina. As a matter of fact, I have
a summer home there, and keep in touch to a degree with things there.
North Carolina is embarking on a change. The state board has already
adopted the proposal for a change, but there is so much agitation over
it that I think that they may be backing up on it, in which they are
injecting a very subjective angle of the personality and motivation
and personal relationships, along with the more objective measures of
competency for a teacher. While I think that the idea back of that is
very fine, I think that the North Carolina people are realizing the
difficulties of administration. Who is to say how much rapport she
has with her students, or how much motivation does she have, or how
fine is her influence on students? All of those things are supposed
to enter into this third big factor of certification.
So I am not closely enough in touch with the situation at the present
time to comment on your question other than to say that several years
back, I think that the trend definitely was toward placing more
responsibility on the institution, and in that way, receding a bit
from a statewide uniformity of policy.
You have asked whether or not I campaigned actively for English. I
did not in the sense of making any speeches for him. I had no
hesitation in stating to friends how I felt on the matter, and I
remember friends of mine who were supporting Mr. Cawthon, who sought
my support, and I expressed admiration for Mr. Cawthon as a man, but
stated that I had a fundamental difference in my point of view
regarding the active leadership which the state department ought to
provide. For that reason I intended to vote for Mr. English. But
other than responding to questions from friends, I took no part in