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Title: Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985. Interview C-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Everett, Kathrine Robinson, interviewee
Interview conducted by Dean, Pamela
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 108 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-02-05, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985. Interview C-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0005)
Author: Pamela Dean
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985. Interview C-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0005)
Author: Kathrine Robinson Everett
Description: 119 Mb
Description: 32 p.
Note: Interview conducted on April 30, 1985, by Pamela Dean; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985.
Interview C-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Everett, Kathrine Robinson, interviewee


Interview Participants

    KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT, interviewee
    PAMELA DEAN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PAMELA DEAN:
The date is 30 April, 1985. I'm going to be talking to Mrs. Kathrine Everett in her law office in Durham.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
My name is Kathrine Robinson Everett. I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the younger of two girls.
PAMELA DEAN:
O.K. Let's go on and talk about your family just a little bit. Start with your father. Do you know where he . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
My father was a lawyer, Henry McDiarmid Robinson. He was a native of Cumberland County and had practiced law for a number of years. In fact, when he died he was dean of the Cumberland County Bar Association. My mother came from Duplin County, was Mary Hill Robinson. Both my father and my mother had been very well educated for those times. My father had gone to Bingham as a young man first and then to the University of Virginia. My mother was educated at Mary Baldwin, in Virginia, and then Atlantic Female Seminary, where she had different certificates. They both came from well established families in North Carolina. I was lucky.

Page 2
Now, what do you want me to tell? My mother died when I was a year and a half old and my great aunt, Miss Georgie Hicks (who was never married) came to live with us and help rear us.
PAMELA DEAN:
Now was that on your mother's side?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
That was on my mother's side. She was from Faison, North Carolina and was kin to the Faisons and the Hicks and Hills and a number of people down there. My great aunt Georgie Hicks was a remarkable person. She was well educated, too, for those times. She was at St. Mary's when Sherman came through in 1865 and tells a rather interesting account. She got a message that the Northern soldiers had come up from Wilmington and they came through Faison and they stopped over there. And some of them had gone to her father's home. There was no news between the people at that time: everybody was afraid that Raleigh was going to be burned and their houses being burned as Sherman came along. And her parents had asked that he, (the soldier)—when he went through Raleigh—try to get in touch with her and tell her that they were all right. So she got this message (at 16, I think she was, at St. Mary's) that a Yankee soldier wanted to see her. She was scared to death and the lady principal was, but said, "I'll go in there with you when you see him, so I'll protect you all I can." So when they met, that was for the message.
My great-aunt not only was educated at St. Mary's, but she went to Charlotte later to what became Queens College. So we had the advantage of people who appreciated education. And

Page 3
my father was very forward looking. He believed that women had enough sense to do whatever they wanted to if they tried. So he encouraged us rather than discouraged you from trying to do things.
PAMELA DEAN:
That really made a difference.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I went to a private school. Well, first, my sister was three years older and she was very smart. Much smarter than I. She had quite a bent for English. She was a good English scholar and when she graduated she was one of the A scholars—top scholars—at Greensboro Women's College. She graduated there in 1910.
PAMELA DEAN:
What did she do after she graduated?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
She taught school one year, and substituted another year. And after that she got married. She graduated in music. She got a music degree. She really didn't work.
I graduated in 1913 and stayed home the first year and took a business course which would have been more sensible to have taken before, because I could've taken down the lectures in shorthand. But then I went to two years, teaching. One year in Mt. Airy and installed the business school and taught history also. And then to Salisbury the next year where I taught history.
PAMELA DEAN:
You were doing this in the public schools?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
This was in the public schools. Mr. Turlington was the superintendent in Mt. Airy. He was very nice. And Mr. Allen, in Salisbury. Mr. Allen had a fine reputation as

Page 4
an educator and I enjoyed both places very much. I decided though that teaching was not to be my permanent career, as I'd been brought up with lawyers. My father, as I said, was a lawyer and we'd always entertain lawyers a lot and knew them. Lawyers used to do a little differently from the way they do now. They didn't have automobiles and judges would go for six months to a place and stay. So you had opportunities to know the judges, and the lawyers, when they went to try cases, would perhaps spend an overnight.
So I decided I'd try it. So I went to Columbia one summer to see if I liked Law enough to go into it as a profession.
PAMELA DEAN:
This was after you'd been working in Washington during the war. Is that right?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No, I went there one year before. Then war broke out, and so I went to Washington to help there. And then that summer, after the war, I went to Columbia University. I went to Columbia two summers. The war ended and I decided to go on with my law. I'd had a year in Washington, too. While during the war I took law at night at the Washington College of Law. They had arranged courses for the war workers so they could carry on their education during their war work.
PAMELA DEAN:
Now, there and at Columbia, were there any other women taking law courses?

Page 5
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. And there was a woman who was in charge, who was one of the high ranking officers at the Washington College of Law.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you remember what her name was?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No, I don't remember her name. And there was a woman in my class who must have been 60 at the time; she'd always wanted to take law and had never had the chance. And she was very smart too.
At Columbia University I had the advantage of some excellent teachers. I remember Mr. Abott from London taught real property. And there, they didn't think anything about a woman because they were more interested in my taking it as a white woman because there were some blacks in the course. I remember they wanted us to debate on the Negro question, but we didn't. [laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
I would think that would have been an interesting debate at that time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
But they were much more interested in the black and white [issue] than they were in the women's issue. But in 1913, the year I graduated . . . (my father had been at the University of Virginia with Woodrow Wilson, and Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated that year) my father decided that he'd take the whole family to Washington for the inauguration. So we all went. And the women's suffrage fight was getting pretty hot at that time, so I met and saw a lot of very interesting women who were making speeches for women's suffrage, standing out on the street and other places. And I think that gave me

Page 6
more of a desire to try to do a little more. So I think it was after that, maybe that next summer, that I went to Columbia to try it and see how I liked it.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you remember any specific one of the women's suffragists that you met?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I was trying to think if I could remember them. One of them was Mary something. I think it was Mary Phillips, who later became the President of the National Business and Professional Women's Clubs. I think Mary Phillips is right. It's been a long time! [laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
It has. You've had quite a remarkable life.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
It was very interesting. Well, after the war ended I went to the University of North Carolina, after the University of Virginia turned me down. They wrote me they were "still ungracious enough not to take women."
PAMELA DEAN:
That was their wording?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
They admitted to being ungracious.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They admitted it. And someone told me they did open the doors to women not too long after that. But Harvard of course had no women, and Yale, and I don't think Princeton. So then I wrote to the University of North Carolina and they couldn't have been nicer. They not only took me, but tried to adjust their schedule enough for me so that I could get in the courses I needed to graduate in one year there. And I found excellent teachers. I think they rate fairly well with Columbia, the way I judge it, and with Washington College of

Page 7
Law, where I'd had those courses. And so I was able to graduate that year in Chapel Hill, but stayed on to take the summer course to get ready for the Bar exam and then went direct from Chapel Hill to take the examination in August, I believe it was, that year.
PAMELA DEAN:
Tell me a little bit about that year at Chapel Hill. You lived in a rooming house, I believe.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, I lived at Mrs. Daniel's. Mrs. Daniel was a widow with one daughter and she had this rooming house where several of the women had rooms, and a lot of the people—the women and the boys—ate. And I was there and roomed with a girl from Dobson: Rachel Freeman. Elizabeth Taylor was there from Morganton. By the way I think Rachel Freeman was interested in math; I think she was going to be a math teacher. And Elizabeth Taylor was interested in dramatics, acting. And there was Annie Smith from Durham there. She became a doctor, a very good doctor located in Durham. And there was another woman—Annie Twitty I believe was her name—who was going to be a pharmacist. So there were women doing all kinds of things. And we found it very pleasant there.
Coming in for meals there was George Denny. And his mother visited him. George Denny started the Town Hall in New York. He had these talks and everything on the air and made quite a reputation with them. They were very successful. We did have an opportunity to meet Tom Wolfe, he would come occasionally for a meal. And then we knew Paul Green. It was an interesting year. The war had ended and a lot of the old

Page 8
students had come back. I remember at the law school, it was rather funny, I'd look down and see these boys' names on the outside of their shoes. They had fixed them evidently that way at camp so they wouldn't lose their shoes! [laughter] And it was an interesting time.
PAMELA DEAN:
I'm sure your studies kept you very busy, but did you have other extracurricular activities you were involved with?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well the women kind of banned together. I remember at Halloween one time, the women put on a fair which was quite a success and it was fun. And we were fairly active in church. Parson Mose was there and I'm a Presbyterian, and of course he was. So we were very active there. Went to a lot of things. But as I said the women were pretty good workers; they did right well. You felt like you had to do as well as you can for the sake of the women.
PAMELA DEAN:
You thought of yourself as being something of a pioneer, an example?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, you realized that if you didn't do it maybe the next woman would have a harder time getting in. So you did feel a sense of responsibility.
PAMELA DEAN:
But you've said that you really didn't have a "hard time" as a woman. That your fellow students and professors . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They were real nice. The students would kid you a lot, that you were going to ruin the law school, with

Page 9
the women coming. But they were nice to you, they really were very considerate.
PAMELA DEAN:
They weren't serious about it.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No, I think you felt like they were doing it with their tongue in their cheek. When I took my license, I happened to be lucky enough that year to lead the class. Judge Walter Clarke wrote me a letter that I'd led the class.
PAMELA DEAN:
I suspect it was more than luck.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, Fred Borman who is a lawyer and who was in the law class from Chapel Hill, said that it was because I wrote in a feminine handwriting. Judge Clarke could tell that it was a woman and he believed in women doing things. So that was why! That was the only reason I got it! [laughter] Our examination papers were signed by numbers, not name. But I did get the award from the University—the Callaghan Law Prize, a senior law prize. So I did get that.
PAMELA DEAN:
One thing I recall that you did very shortly after passing the bar exam was that you were active in registering women to vote from the very beginning.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. I went back to Fayetteville to begin my practice. As I told you, my father was a lawyer and had an opening for me right away. So again, I was fortunate. That's why I say I really don't deserve much credit because I had a family to help me and a place. Generally, lawyers have to find a place, but I had one waiting. So he put me right to work on cases. He had a backlog of all kinds of things. And

Page 10
he sent me to try a case in Clinton, North Carolina. I was going with a Republican there who was in the law office often—the two of us were going. And we found out we were up against two native lawyers, both of whom were Republican. I happen to be a Democrat. Sampson County was Republican. So one of my cousins said, "You're up against a hard time; they're never going to vote against two local Republican lawyers on the other side." But I was lucky again. The judge who was in charge was Judge Bond. And his son Lynn Bond had been in my law class in some subjects and I knew him real well. He had been in our home in Fayetteville. So I think Judge Bond determined I was going to get, not only a fair trial, but one with all of the odds if possible. He was very considerate. So it turned out all right. We won.
PAMELA DEAN:
Is that the case where you've said "People came from miles around to see a lady lawyer."
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, they came from all around because I think the women who I'd been in school with (both in Greensboro and whom I knew) heard I was coming and they had spread the news in Durham here. A real funny thing happened about two years ago. I was down here in front of this building going downtown, when a man stopped me and he said, "Are you a lawyer?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Are you Mrs. Everett?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, I was on the jury when you tried your first case." So he remembered that. So we talked a minute or two, but I thought it was real funny that he recognized me.

Page 11
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Because I can't say I recognized him! [laughter] I was more scared.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well probably watching you was more memorable for him than you.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, at least, he might not have been as scared as I was.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you were nervous that first time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, oh yes, and still feel nervous when I get up if you're going to make a speech or try something. At first you're nervous.
PAMELA DEAN:
You went door to door trying to get women to register when the 19th Amendment was passed.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, you asked me about that. When I went to Fayetteville, I was made vice-chairman of the Democratic party of Cumberland County with the job of trying to get women to register because a lot of women did not want the vote. And they wanted to get out the women; get them to where they could vote. So that was my particular job as vice-chairman: to get a registration of women.
PAMELA DEAN:
Had you been active in either the suffrage movement or Democratic politics before that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I hadn't been home, you see. I'd been away. Not in the Democratic party. While at college, we had had mock conferences and mock conventions and I remember at one of them I think I was Debs—to represent not the Democratic party [laughter] , but they gave us a different side to represent.

Page 12
The women's college was real active for women. They were very much interested in getting women out and registering them. So we did do that. And I debated, had been the society [unknown] (Adelphian) debator for two years while I was in Greensboro, so I was kind of interested in doing things.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had at least debated the issue and had thought about it a great deal.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had some interesting experiences, did you, in trying to get these women out? Run-in with a few of their husbands perhaps?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. Some of the husbands didn't want their wives to vote and whether the women wanted to vote or not, we couldn't tell unless we got them without the husbands. So we found out that you had to go before the husbands came back from work. And then sometimes they wouldn't register. Women weren't all crazy to register by any means.
PAMELA DEAN:
It seems strange, but I know it's true.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I find though that some of it still exists today. That a lot of people still don't feel like women ought to hold office.
PAMELA DEAN:
The movement against the E.R.A., I think, has demonstrated that a lot of women who are not in favor of this.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They think they're going to lose their protection, and no longer have the courtesies: they would no longer have a door opened for them, or a man get up when they come in, or some of the courtesies, and they really prefer

Page 13
those. And a lot of them say, as you ask them, that they think women are being cared for pretty well. How do you feel?
PAMELA DEAN:
I believe in the E.R.A. and that women ought to be able to do whatever they want to.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I feel like some of the supporters of the E.R.A. have hurt the cause by going out so far and doing some of the things they're doing. And, I can't say I'm rabid about E.R.A., because I feel like women deserve it and will get it. I fully believe they're going to have it. But I don't think that helps. I've still got an E.R.A. sticker on my car! I may be the only one in Durham [laughter] that's still got an "E.R.A. Yes!"
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, I think that's excellent. I think that you're a good argument for E.R.A.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't believe in just giving women a job because they're a woman. I think they've got to be qualified. And I think that if they're qualified, they ought to get the same position and the same salary. There's still a big disparity in salaries. Especially in education.
PAMELA DEAN:
It's true, it's true. On this same subject, would you tell me what you think about affirmative action as a way of insuring that women get the training in order to be . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Affirmative action?
PAMELA DEAN:
There's a lot of controversy on that and I've sort of got mixed feelings myself.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I may have mixed feelings too. I think probably so. I say I think you can go beyond, a little to

Page 14
far. And then I think the reaction puts you farther back. But I would like to go into that a little more carefully.
PAMELA DEAN:
I understand. That was by way of an aside basically, bacause it's something I've been thinking about a lot recently. Let's go back to your early law practice. You practiced law about six years before you got married?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, I practiced six years before I got married. I went to a North Carolina bar meeting in Pinehurst and met the man who was going to be my future husband, found out that we were both going to the American Bar Meeting in London. For the first time the London Bar were to entertain the American Bar. So I went to Philadelphia first to the American Bar Meeting in the United States before and then went over to London. And it happened that I went over on the same ship that my late husband was on. So it was very nice. A boat trip is very interesting anyway, I love boat trips. And I had an opportunity to see him then. Saw him over in London. And then when we came back, I saw him. So I was married to him about two years later.
PAMELA DEAN:
Tell me a little bit about the boat trip. We don't have trips like that anymore.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We went over on the Laconia, which was a nice ship. It wasn't as big as the Queen Mary but it was a delightful one; it was in the same group. They had some form of entertainment all the time. It was just a nice cruise. There were a lot of lawyers on it.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you talk shop?

Page 15
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We had all kinds of things. We met lawyers from all over the country on that boat. When we got over to London, we found that they had arranged a delightful program. We were to go to Buckingham Palace for a garden party and the Prince of Wales was to be there. At that time the Prince of Wales was the most interesting man probably in the world. I remember when we went there for tea and for the garden party, the Prince of Wales came out to meet everbody. And I remember he had on a blue shirt. And the paper said the next morning you couldn't buy a blue shirt in London. Everybody had to buy a blue shirt!
We went to the Inns of Court. They had arranged for every lawyer practically to be invited to a dinner at the Inns of Court. And again, I was lucky. I sat next to the man who was Dean of Baristers at Parliament, Sir Lyndon Macassey.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
PAMELA DEAN:
We're on side two, and we're at the Inns of Court.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I was lucky as I said, to sit next to the Dean of Barristers of Parliament. He argued his cases only in Parliament. He invited me to his home for a luncheon in a couple of days, and had his wife, Lady Jane, come to call on me and do the proper thing. And that was very interesting because I ran into some English women lawyers. You see England and France had a number of women lawyers. And the French women lawyers were so very pretty. Their robes and

Page 16
their little collars were very pretty. Didn't hurt them! [laughter]
We went out to Crittenden for the Astors gave a party. We were treated like we were in the embassadorial party which was very nice. And then after that I went to Paris to the meeting of the French bar. They entertained. They all had followed suit, of England. And then later, I went to Scotland where the Scottish bar entertained. And they had been very much embarassed because some of their friends had said that they were just going to let the Americans pay for their own entertainment. So they were put on their mettle and they were very lovely too. So we had all three of those countries.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well that must have been a very interesting trip.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
It was. And this year the American Bar is going to meet in Washington and then go to London for the fourth time. So again, they've entertained several times since that first time, I think twice. I've been to both of the entertainments. And I'm hoping to go this year.
PAMELA DEAN:
Was that first trip the first of many?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No. When I was in college, a rising sophomore, I spent three months in Europe. As I said, my great-aunt had not only been well-educated but she'd spent some time in Europe. She'd travelled much. So she was a great believer in travel rounding out education. And she had taken my sister and me over for three months. We'd gone to most of the countries and when we got ready to come home there was a strike. So we had to stay a week longer. So we went to

Page 17
Chester, which is out from London, and spent a week enjoying the old Roman city of Chester. So we had gotten a taste of Europe before that.
PAMELA DEAN:
It must have been nice to be able to spend a whole week there.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
It was because you go so fast most of those times. In March of this year I was in Israel and we had quite a nice time. My son, my daughter-in-law, my two oldest grandchildren, my niece from Raleigh, and I went and we employed a guide who had a station wagon. There were just enough of us to fill a station wagon. That way we could stay in a place as long as we wanted to. Well, we found out that we were very fortunate in getting a guide who's one of the best in Israel. He's an Englishman who'd worked in the United States, so he spoke English that we could well understand and he is going to be a lecturer in the United States this fall, up in [unknown] Philadelphia. So I hope maybe he'll get down here.
You see, it's very hard to get both sides when you're in Israel. You get the Arab side, or the Jewish side. And he would tell us both sides. He is a Jew and of course, he did want us to realize and told us every day that the Jews had purchased the land—they hadn't taken it from the Arabs—and he gave me a book to prove that a Commission had found that they were paying more for the land there than they were paying out in Ohio, or Iowa, at that time.
PAMELA DEAN:
You visited all of Israel?

Page 18
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, we did. We took the children's week long holdiay. We went Friday. It takes a day to go and a day to come back. So that way we were able, altogether, to get ten days. Because you have to go to Paris and it's about a 16 to 18 hour plane trip. You see it takes a day going and a day coming back and we had 8 days to travel so we really got around right much.
It's a very interesting place. Loads of tourists. And they're doing a lot of excavating. They've found that there was a city, or ruins underneath the temple in the old, old part of Jerusalem. And everything's torn up. It's like the Forum in Rome: it's got columns and things. Very [unknown] interesting.
PAMELA DEAN:
That must have been marvelous. And you've also been to China?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, we went to China and to Russia, and Iran and Afghanistan. And went to India. I've been around right much!
PAMELA DEAN:
I guess you have. [laughter]
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
And last year we went to Germany and that was especially interesting because there were just four of us. My son, who is Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, had to go on a mission himself for the government. So he wanted me to go to look out after his middle son who is 13 years old. And then my niece went. So the four of us went. And while he was in meetings we went around seeing Germany. We saw the Passion Play, we got to that too. And we found out

Page 19
that my son had the rating of a four star general, and so they gave us all these wonderful opportunities to go places and be treated by people in the company as a four star general would be. We went around and enjoyed it very much. And it was good because you associate Germany— sometimes—with some of the things that are not as pleasant. It was very nice. We were in Bavaria. And it was cheerful and joyful and everybody having a good time, and we did, too.
PAMELA DEAN:
Of all the places you've been, all the countries you've been, what's your favorite? Do you have a favorite?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't know. I like, of course, where you speak the language. So it probably would be going to England or Scotland where you have the advantage of the language. They're quite different though. It's interesting. England and, for instance, Afghanistan are entirely different, you can be sure. And so I wasn't especially anxious to go to Iran and Afghanistan and I wanted to go to India. But, I found when I got there that it was most educational because you've got to take a different point of view. You've got to realize that maybe things that you had never considered were the "right" way to do things, in their eyes are the "right" way. And as we've had this trouble since, I was especially glad because I could put myself much more in their places, having been there, than I could just going to visit England.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well they say travel is broadening.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I liked going and meeting the people so I could form my own ideas.

Page 20
PAMELA DEAN:
And you've been able to do that wherever you've gone?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, we went to Russia too. And I was on my way to Russia the year after my husband died. And I had an accident in Germany. I fell and broke my pelvis bone. Had to come back on Medical Airevac, and give that trip up. But I did go back the next year and got the trip.
PAMELA DEAN:
That would have been about 1973?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
It would be about '74, I reckon. My husband died in 1971. It was '73 or '74.
PAMELA DEAN:
You actually got to talk to people? To Russians?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We found out we could talk to them if there wasn't somebody around, that they'd talk to you [unknown] . In fact, when we'd come out of a shopping center maybe, and be on the street a minute or two, in a few minutes somebody would come around you and gradually the crowd would gather more, and somebody spoke a little English and they wanted to talk to you. We had been briefed by the State Department, before we went over, not to say anything derogatory about Russia.
I had a right funny experience. I was with a friend from Greensboro, Louise Smith. And we were travelling together on a University of North Carolina tour. And our little group, about 10 of us, got separated from the bigger group. Our guide was with us there and well, we finally got back together. We had just gotten there, we knew no Russian, we had no money (we had nothing but American money; we hadn't had

Page 21
time to change money). You know, the guide was demoted from his job. He was put in charge of the luggage. We had to have a different guide from that time.
Another rather interesting experience there was when Louise and I were getting ready to leave. I got ready to go to breakfast, we were going to leave right afterwards. And you'd put your baggage outside your room, and I told her that if I'd left anything, please just put it in hers because I wouldn't get back. And they had warned you not to pick up anything—not to take ashtrays, not to take towels, not to take anything—that that would get the whole tour in trouble if you did, that they thought that was stealing, not souvenier collecting. So when I saw her later, I said, "Louise, I didn't leave anything, did I?" She said, "Yes, but I put it in my bag." I said, "What in the world?" She said, "This whisk broom." I said, "Goodness gracious. That's not my whisk broom! Get rid of it as quick as you can!" [laughter] Which we immediately did.
PAMELA DEAN:
What did you do with it?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Left it there in the hotel.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, let's go back again a little bit. One question I wanted to ask you . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Let me just tell you one thing, going back to the Law School at Chapel Hill, Mr. McGee was the Dean. And he was a remarkable person. He wore glasses. And I remember he'd take off his glasses and twirl his glasses around while he was talking and he had this fantastic memory. He could

Page 22
quote any reference to a case—giving the citation—without looking it up, which is quite a feat because you have so many. Mr. Macintosh was there, one of the teachers, and he was quite good. He later got out this book which was almost a lawyers bible for a while: all the references to the general statutes. He did that over. He asked me, when I graduated, to stay there and help him with that. But I didn't want to do that; I wanted to go into active practice. But we were fortunate, I just thought you might want to know some of the names. Mr. Pat Winston was a law teacher there too. And others. We were very fortunate.
PAMELA DEAN:
One thing I did want to ask you. In an interview with Naomi Morris she mentioned that—of course, she was in school much later than you were—she really felt that the Law School only taught theory. And once you got out, then you had to learn how to really be a lawyer. Was that your [unknown] experience? How relevant do you think law school is?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
The law schools today do much more in training you for trial, moot courts. I'm impressed with how much both Carolina and Duke do in letting people try cases like this. And how well the schools do it. I've been a judge over there at two or three moot courts and these boys do it well. But, we didn't do as much moot court. Ours was more lectures and recitations, that type of thing.
PAMELA DEAN:
So when you got out you still had a lot to learn?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We used to say we could tell when the Supreme Court was wrong, but we couldn't try a JP case! [laughter]

Page 23
And I think that the law schools recognized that a change was needed. [After coughing and having to clear her throat, Ms. Everett explains that she had recently caught a bug after a trip to Asia.]
PAMELA DEAN:
You worked with your husband after you got married. You didn't actually go into active practice with him, but you did work with him, didn't you?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I worked with him on briefs and I also helped him work up cases. He had a lot of cases. He had been practicing and was a very popular lawyer here. I still meet people on the streets who were clients of his sometime. I was rather amused— when I went to the hospital when I went on the way to Russia that time—one of the nurses, a black nurse, who had been one of his clients. And she called me Ms. Lawyer Everett all the time, and I find some of them on the street. Some of them who were his clients, not mine.
PAMELA DEAN:
He was also in the state legislature.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, he was in the state legislature for ten years. Five terms.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were you involved at all with that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
The first year we were married he was in the legislature. And I went everytime. We went to the meetings and I just sat back and listened. I was made, another time, President of the Sir Walter Cabinet, which is the wives of the legislators. Mr. Everett had gotten the Sir Walter Cabinet, some years before, interested in trying to use their influence to get a bill through, to lobby for a bill for the deaf, or the blind. And they formed then this group originally held in

Page 24
the hotel where they were sitting around talking. And so they became more active. And they would meet every week.
PAMELA DEAN:
Discuss the issues that were important to the legislature?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Discuss the issues or have speakers. And they are still doing that.
PAMELA DEAN:
And then you'd go back and talk to your husband and tell him . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
And then go back and maybe they'd see then. [laughter] But, the other day I went to a meeting of the Sir Walter in Raleigh, and we heard the President-elect of Duke, who was the speaker that day. They have good programs and they have a lunch.
PAMELA DEAN:
You were fairly active in that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. And Duke. I think it was the first year that the legislature had ever gone away from Raleigh to something. And we had them over to Durham for an open house, at our house. And then Duke had them for dinner that night. And now they go off a lot. They will go and visit different places where they're invited.
PAMELA DEAN:
Keep in touch. Did you ever lobby your husband on how he should vote on certain issues?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Not much. He'd made up his own mind! [laughter] And I'd make up mine.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you ever disagree on major issues?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Oh yes, we'd disagree and discuss things very much, but we believed in everybody doing their own thinking.

Page 25
PAMELA DEAN:
I see. You were very active in local politics. In fact, you were on the Durham City Council for 20 years.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I was on the Durham City Council, I believe, for 20 years. Mary Seemans and I were the first women to run and be elected. A woman had run before but had been defeated. And Mary got married—her first husband had died—and she got married during that term so she did not run again. But I did, and was reelected. I was there 20 years until Mr. Everett got sick, it was the year he died, and I decided not to run again. I thought if I hadn't done something in 20 years, there was no good in staying on longer!
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you think you hadn't achieved anything in 20 years?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No, I think we did a lot. As I compare it with the Council meetings—I've talked with some of the former members—and we think we did real much.
PAMELA DEAN:
What would you consider your major accomplishments? The major thing that happened during that time?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
It'd be hard to tell, just off hand. I'd have to think about that.
PAMELA DEAN:
You mentioned, in one interview you did, that you were very interested in public recreation and you had made some efforts for that.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We were. We did first try to get more recreation for the young, especially the high school age. We

Page 26
worked real hard on that. We did right much in a lot of ways. Better not get me on that!
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, I know that one of the major things that happened during that period was the whole civil rights movement developed in that time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We were also the first people to get places for cars, I mean public parking garages, which was needed. We did something to try and help downtown. And it did for a while.
PAMELA DEAN:
Was Durham going through that whole "center city decline," sort of thing?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, we went through that period.
PAMELA DEAN:
I know fair housing was quite a controversial issue, and public housing during that time. Were you at all involved?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We were involved because the city council had to approve certain things that the housing authority did. And my son was chairman of the housing project—of the Redevelopment Commission, they called it. So that was real controversial.
PAMELA DEAN:
And you were very involved in that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, we were on that. And we did a lot for Durham because we got rid of a lot of places that were becoming slums and made them very nice.
PAMELA DEAN:
Put in a lot of good public housing?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, we've got a lot of good housing here.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, there are a couple of broad general questions I'd like to ask. One more issue I'd like you to talk about, if you would.

Page 27
You were certainly a pioneer as a lawyer. You were also certainly a pioneer as a woman who combined successfully career, marriage, motherhood. How did you do that? That's something women are still trying to perfect and you seem to have made it. Can you say anything about how?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I'm afraid you've got me stumped. I wouldn't give them advice. I think, maybe, your interest in both. Your interest in people. I like people. I'm interested in what they do. Of course, I'm very interested in my son; still am. And I try to stimulate him and encourage him and I think he has done well. Someone has said that I think he has gone much farther than I have, but maybe it was easier for him because he had the good opportunities. Well, I had the opportunities too, but anyway . . . I've always been interested in the people I meet; maybe it's a curiosity.
But I think a woman can combine both. It's even easier today with all the things that are available that you did not used to have. For instance, all these foods that you pick up or go out to meals. So many people can go easily. And I still think you can keep your family intact working, because after all, children are away at school a lot of the time. I don't think just necessarily being with them every minute is the answer. Do you?
PAMELA DEAN:
No. I've been a working mother.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
You are?

Page 28
PAMELA DEAN:
I'm a working mother and one of the things I think is much better for my daughter that I'm not there all the time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
How old is your daughter?
PAMELA DEAN:
She's 15.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Fine. Well you've got time when you need it. And what you're doing, I don't think hurts her. Maybe you've stimulated her, maybe you haven't.
PAMELA DEAN:
I hope so, I hope it works that way. Let me ask you something, just tangentially, on this subject. Did you have any servants, or household help when you were raising your child?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes that was one advantage. I don't know whether the fast-food places offset that! We were very fortunate in having good servants and they're increasingly hard to find. My husband, on the other hand, used to say that maybe we got our freedom when we realized we had to do things ourselves and could do them, without having to call and be dependent on somebody. So there are two ways of looking at it. It may not be as easy, but I think you can do it.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
PAMELA DEAN:
This is Tape 2 and we'll go on a little bit longer, if we may. I'd like to ask you . . . Your father was clearly very influential in your life. Would you say he was

Page 29
the most important influence or are there other people in your life you feel have been important?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I think my great-aunt was a very inspiring person. She was a lovely person. She was gracious and sweet, somewhat retiring. But she had a lot of character, so did he. And then I had a mighty sweet sister who was almost like a mother to me. She felt the responsibility for me too. So I've had two or three people who have helped me a great deal. Then different friends later. Here in Durham there are people like Mrs. Few, who I knew real well, who I saw as a successful mother and career person.
PAMELA DEAN:
What was her name again?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Mrs. William Preston Few, the wife of President Few. She did so much for Duke. Because at that time, Duke didn't at least have available for use—for some of the things that it wold have now—money to do the entertaining. Oh, she did so many things. She had 4 children. And you found that it wasn't unusual that somebody who was married could do a very capable job. I feel today you've got so many [unknown] illustrations of people who have families, who are working and doing both jobs well. I really feel like you can have the home life and still work; I think it's the quality of the home life more than the amount of it that really determines what you have.
PAMELA DEAN:
You weren't actually working as a lawyer when your son was young, but you were very busy.

Page 30
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I took a hiatus from the law. You see, I had married and it was about two years later that I had this son, 1928. And I stopped. Well, I did a lot of work in the city; I was on the Welfare Board and I was on the Air Defense Filter Center, I had been head of the Women of the Church. I had a lot of jobs and I had some political jobs. Then during the war I was in charge—for Durham and also for the district—of selling War Bonds.
PAMELA DEAN:
Went up and gave speeches and so forth for that, did you?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I did that for about four years and before that, even before I was married in World War I, before I went to Washington we had formed a little club to make sweaters for the soldiers and do things for them. So I've done a lot of war work. I was interested in the Daughters of the Confederate Veterans, and the DAR, all the veterans I think are important, from way back. So I've really been right active.
I've had state jobs. I was state president of the UDC, and of the Business and Professional Women's Club. I [unknown] travelled around right much making talks for them too. So at times, I was away maybe as much as if I had been working. But I'd get back home at night.
PAMELA DEAN:
Your son went to public schools in Durham, did he?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, I was President of the P.T.A. I don't keep up as much. My grandchildren are not in the public schools, two of them are in Durham Academy and one of them is

Page 31
at St. Mary's Day School. So I don't keep up with the public schools. When I first came here, though, I was real active in the public schools. I was President of the parent-teachers organizations of the public schools for awhile.
PAMELA DEAN:
Parent-teachers?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Parent-teachers. The City Council on parent-teachers association. And then I was a local city council person. Robinson, my son, went to the public schools. And I went to a public school after about the 5th grade—we went to private schools first—but went to public schools, because my father was a great believer in Democracy. And he wanted us to know people which was helpful.
PAMELA DEAN:
Was the public school system in Fayetteville a good one?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They had very good teachers there and I graduated there, in Fayetteville, in the public school. I was Valedictorian in 1909.
PAMELA DEAN:
The question concerns the quality of education in Greensboro. Did that give you a good preparation for going to law school?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, Greensboro believed in people doing their work. They believed in study, they believed that you should do a thorough job and I think service was their motto. They believed in not only doing the work but in an obligation to other people.
PAMELA DEAN:
At that time it was basically the Normal School.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Normal, yes.

Page 32
PAMELA DEAN:
And people taught after that.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Most people agreed to teach two years and then get free tuition. We did not agree. We did not get free tuition, because my father paid. He was a lawyer and had a very good practice, so we didn't feel like we ought to agree to that, to get free tuition. But we did teach two years, but had not agreed to do so to get the tuition.
PAMELA DEAN:
But you found that teaching was not your thing?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No, I enjoyed it and got along very well and got one of the highest salaries in Salisbury, in the schools. But I enjoyed other things more.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, at least for a start that covers most of the topics I wanted to talk to you about. If you have the time, and are willing at some time in the future, once we've gone over this, there may be a couple of places that we could go a little bit more in depth.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Maybe we could make it a little bit better [laughter] !
END OF INTERVIEW