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Title: Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Adamson, Mary Price, interviewee
Interview conducted by Frederickson, Mary
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: 448 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.
2006-05-05, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0001)
Author: Mary Price Adamson
Description: 139 p.
Note: Interview conducted on April 19, 1976, by Mary Frederickson; recorded in Oakland, California.
Note: Transcribed by Lynne Morrison and Joe Jaros.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series G. Southern Women, 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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Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976.
Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Adamson, Mary Price, interviewee


NOTE: Audio for this interview is not available.

Interview Participants

    MARY PRICE ADAMSON, interviewee
    MARY FREDERICKSON, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Let's make sure that this is recording. All right; let's begin and talk a little bit about your family background and your childhood. You were born in 1909?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That is correct.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In Madison, North Carolina, in Rockingham County.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And you were born in an area where the Prices and the Moores had been for generations and generations. What came down to you as the youngest in a large family of Prices about the history of your families?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
The history of my family, I have found out more about it in later years than I knew about it as a child. We just had a little community there, and we heard a lot about the names of Grandma Miranda and Grandma Emily, and so forth. But I didn't really know much about them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember any of your grandparents?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Only Grandma Minnie Price is the only one. I remember her quite vividly because she stayed with us. She went from family, from one of her children to another, and so she stayed with us quite a bit, particularly since that was her home where we were living, you see, where she had spent her married life.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was this your father's mother?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, my father's mother. And we lived in my father's family home on a farm, the Rose Bank Farm, we laughingly called it. I

Page 2
guess it must have been named that by someone, I don't know who. But anyhow, Grandma considered it really her home and it was because she had been married in Alabama and had gone there. She was quite young when she was married. I've forgotten. There she had all of her children and her husband died when they lived there. He was buried in the family graveyard in the front yard, and so forth. So she spent a good part of the time with us when she was in the country. She stayed with my Uncle John in Winston-Salem quite a bit too. Now you already know perhaps things about our grandma, Grandma Minnie and her background.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No, not specifically, no.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, I'll tell you about Grandpa and about Grandma Minnie. Grandma Minnie was the daughter of a very prosperous slave-owning family in Alabama; Hillsboro, Alabama, I think was the name of the little community where she lived. Grandpa started a tobacco factory, a place there up, oh, within sight of the house where I grew up. It was used as a barn by the time I came along. But he had started his tobacco factory before the Reynolds and the Dukes, in Winston-Salem and Durham, started their factories. According to the family information, anyhow from what I was told, when the railroads were being built, the people in Madison refused to have the railroad coming through Madison. Instead, it went through Winston-Salem and another branch of the railroad through Durham. So R. J. Reynolds and whatever his name wasDukestarted those and they had easy access whereas Grandpa Price had to do all the merchandising of his product, so [unknown] he himself went out on trips to sell the tobacco that he manufactured. Now whether it was chewing tobacco or pipe tobacco

Page 3
or just what kind of tobacco, I don't know. Anyhow, on one of his trips he had gone as far away as Alabamain other words, he had sort of a wide range and it was a fairly successful operationand he met Minnie Wolfe there. I don't know anything about their meeting and so forth and so on, except he did ask her to marry him, and she did do so and came as a very young bride to the family farm there in Madison. We were five miles from Madison, but Madison was the mailing address.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What had been the effects of the Civil War on your family?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I heard only reverberations about it. My grandfather's family had slaves, and the most that I knew about it as a child was the slave graveyard in our front yard; it was sort of toward the barns as was [unknown] our family graveyard. But they were slightly separated, apart. Then there were the slave houses down from the house, down towards the creek, in the fields that way. There was a ditch that had been there, and it was told that the slave houses were built along that ditch, I suppose for the drainage. I don't know anything more about it. But these were just things that I accepted as a child. That's what it was. They were still known as the slave houses' ditch and the slave graveyard. These were places where I played as a child.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When your father was running the farm, were they still farming tobacco?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, it was a tobacco farm. I don't know how large the farm had been originally, whether it was the same size. But by the time that I came along, there were about 2,000 acres in the farm.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who worked on the farm? Who did he have to help him?

Page 4
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Tenant farmers and my brothers.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were they black?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They were black; let's see, I guess there were one or two white tenant farmers. There were aboutI could stop to count thembut there were about six or eight [unknown] tenant houses on the farm.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have any contact with those tenants?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, very much I had contact with those tenants. For one thing, Martha Oliver lived within sight of our house. It seemed to me like a considerable distance at the time, but now if I saw it it doubtless would be not very far away because we could see her house up the road, on the way to Madison. She was really more the house servant. She had a small plot of land, but she really didn't work in the fields. What she did was she worked at our house. Her older daughter, Nora, was my nurse, and so I was particularly close to her. And then Martha's youngest girl was just about my age. I can't remember her name right now. And there was a son Petras who was just older than I, so that I was associated with them very closely. Then the other tenant farmers were within walking distance but a little farther away. So when I started to school at the Gold Hill School, why, we had to go past some of these houses. Well, I just knew about them.
I perhaps should clarify something as far as time was concerned. My father was having a very difficult time, my parents were having a very difficult time about the time I was born. I was the tenth child, and that would [unknown] explain about it, but also, times were hard. I don't know enough about history to know what depression it was, but anyhow, it was very difficult for him to make a living. He had gone to Wentworth the county seat, to be

Page 5
the clerk of the court where some of the children had been born. But they had moved back to the farm before I was born because they were just struggling very hard to make a living. So my sister, Teeny, just two and a half years older than I was born in Wentworth, but I was born on the farm.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
After they came back.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. So my earliest memories are of the hotel in Leaksville-Spray where they moved, my parents moved again in an effort to make a living. There was a small hotel where mostly the drummers stayed. You know what a drummer is?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Now they would be called traveling salesmen, but then they were drummers. There was a railroad that went through, it was a cotton mill town, so the drummers came through in connection, I suppose, with the tobacco and the cotton business there. They needed to have a place to stay. And how large the hotel was? It seemed quite large to me as a child, but in later years when I went through Spray, why, it seemed a very small establishment. Anyhow, the idea was that they would have a place for the family to live, and then they could make some money in running the hotel. So it also was a very difficult life. My parents really, really had a hard time making a living.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they stay in Spray for a very long time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, since I was born in the farm and how old I was when we went there, a year, not more than two years, my first memories are in the hotel in Spray. Then we moved back to the farm when I was five

Page 6
years old because it was just too difficult in trying to run the farm. My father was trying to run the farm, to keep up with the tenants, and so forth. I have only one memory of the farm and during that period, and that is going up there with him one time, when we went in the surrey. We had to cross a stream that was swollen with rain, and it was a very exciting thing for me, you know, whether the horses were going [unknown] to make it across or not. We had to have hot bricks in the foot of the surrey to try to keep us warm for this trip up there. We didn't stay very long. I don't remember that we stayed at all, but I it was [unknown] one of my earliest, most vivid memories about that trip in the wintertime up to the farm.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What had your father's life been like all along? He was born, I believe Teeny told me, quite early. He was quite a bit older than your mother, in other words.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, he was only seven [unknown] years older than my mother. She was eighteen when they were married, and I think he was twenty-five. That may not be exactly right, but that's approximately. I mean, they were both at just the marriageable ages.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember hearing stories about or having him tell you what his life had been like when he was a child?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I don't. He had a friend in Madison, Mr. Pickett, Mr. Nat Pickett. He and Mr. Pickett loved to sit and talk. Mr. Pickett would come out to the farm on a Sunday, and they would sit on the porch and rock back and forth and discuss various and sundry things. Mr. Pickett was a more sophisticated kind of man. He had lots of books in his house,

Page 7
and he was said to be a Socialist. My father was a very devoted Democrat. So that perhaps provided a basis for them. But I happen to remember sitting on the edge of the porch and listening to their conversation one afternoon, and it made an impression on me because they were talking about what the Civil War had done to the South, and particularly to our section of the South. They both agreed that we were still feeling the effects of the Civil War economy. My father was saying that that was what was the basis for his having such a difficult time making a living, that the economy was still in bad shape. It seems to me that they said something like, in those years, [unknown] the big depression came along, you know, after the war, [unknown] but I have no real memory about what they said. But it made an impression on my childish mind that they were talking about the Civil War because all I knew about the Civil War is the room that I slept in upstairs that had swords on the wall that my father's uncles had used when they were in the Confederate army. So, there were other things too, but that registered because I would lie in bed and look up at those swords on the wall. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You knew that in some way you were a child of the Confederacy. [Laughter] Had your father been sent to college? Did he attend a college?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, he went to the University of North Carolina, but he was not able to stayI believe it was two years that he was therebecause my grandfather died. Whether it was a heart attack, I don't know what it was, but something rather suddenly. Grandma Minnie had a half a dozen childrenI could stop to count to tell you how many. But anyhow, my father was the oldest one, so it was taken for granted that he had to

Page 8
come back and become the head of the family. So he was not able to stay at Chapel Hill longer than whatever time it was. I can't think that he finished out whatever term he was in. I suspect he must have been in his sophomore year when his father died, and that he had to come home and take charge of things. Then my mother had gone to Greensboro College. Hers was a strong Methodist family, and her two half-sisters had gone to college there. In the Civil War and because of the difficulties of things in the Civil War, they had only been able to stay two years. So that when my mother got at the age to go to college, my Grandfather Moore was more prosperous and could have sent her to college for the full time, but since her two half-sisters had only been there for two years, why, he did not think it appropriate for her to stay more than two years. She and my father, both having had this taste of college education, [unknown] were obsessed by the idea that their children should have an education. And that was really the driving force in their lives. Everything was built around the childrens' going to school. Every effort was made not only for the children to go to school, but to go to the best school that could possibly be managed.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
By the time you were born, several of your older brothers and sisters had already gone to school, right?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
My brother, Tom, my oldest brother, was in the university at Chapel Hill. He was in the class of 1909, I think. That was the year that I was born. My sister, Ruth, went to Salem College. She was there at the time I was born. I remember her saying she was quite irate about coming home and finding another baby in the family. She would have to look after me,

Page 9
so she often laughed about it in a wonderfully good, human kind of way. She said the only way she could manage me was to yell at me, "Shut up!" [Laughter] She and Tom both reflected the fact that the family fortunes were better then. They got progressively worse as more and more children came along. They rather went to college on a different status than the younger ones did. They wore the proper kind of clothes and had some sort of social pretensions, you know, that sort of thing. Then when my next brotherwe called him Tiny; his name was, oh, Valentine, sort of an abbreviation. His name was James Valentine; he was named for my father and some ancestor. I've forgotten where the Valentine name came from. But anyhow, my father didn't want him to be called the same thing that he was called, so he was called Valentine and had the family nickname of Tiny. When he got to the point of going to college, the times were tough and he really more or less worked his way through the university. He was a brilliant student. He not only did his regular undergraduate work but did the medical school. Then he went from the university medical school to Johns Hopkins University, and how in the world he managed to do that, I don't know, to do it and to have the highest grades, because there certainly was not a lot of help. There would have been some help from my parents, but there wasn't a lot of help.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
We talked a little bit about your father's earlier life and his. . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
His what?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
His earlier life and going to college for two years, and you said your mother also went to college for two years. What do you

Page 10
remember hearing about her life when she was small?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Hers was a very devoted, close family. Her father had a mill on the Belew's Creek, which flows into the Dan River and then on down to Danville. Incidentally, it's been dammed up by the Duke Power Company and my mother's childhood home [unknown] is all under water. Anyhow, my Grandfather Moore was something of a scientist. I'm not sure whether he went to what was then Trinity College and is now Duke University. [unknown] Anyhow, my mother's two brothers went to Trinity. They were all of a scientific mind. My uncle Enoch turned into a manufacturer. He invented an electric machine to make [unknown] steelthe terminology somehow escapes me right now. But anyhow, he was quite successful in his business. My grandfather apparently was sort of the marvel around there because he had his mill set up so that it would run by water and then some scientific businessgenerating electricity? He also had a farm, but not as large as my Grandfather Price's farm.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They were sort of from the same social group in the county?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They were definitely of the same social level in the county, so it was normal that the two of them should meet.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What sort of plans do you think were made for your mother's life? Was she sort of raised to be a southern lady, or was she . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, she was raised to be good; southern lady's not the right term. She was raised to be upright, is what she was. As I say, her family was very strong Methodist. My grandfather had married Marinda Branson. And she was a ladyI don't know whether you [unknown] heard about Grandma Marinda or notbut she'd been to Greensboro College, and she was interested in the affairs of state. She said the children needed

Page 11
books to study from during the Civil War era because it just wasn't possible for them to get any. So she turned in and wrote books, textbooks, for the children [unknown] in the area to learn their reading, writing, and arithmetic. Incidentally, there are copies of her books in the New York Public Library in the rare book collection. She had them printed, oh, I imagine her husband or I don't know just who, did the printing of them. But anyhow, on the brown paper; they didn't have any other paper to do it on. I have seen those books, but I'm afraid at a time when I was rather scornful of the literary merit of [Laughter] a devoted Confederate lady writing a history book [Laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had they tossed out the regular history books, I guess, when the war broke out or when they seceded?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I imagine it was a combination of those things. There just weren't any books available for study, and [unknown] the ones that might be around were not acceptable to the southern point of view.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Interesting.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
So anyhow, Grandmother Marinda died. She [unknown] had three children; no, she had two daughters, Aunt Mary and Aunt Grace. And then she died, and in the course of time, my grandfather married her younger sister, Emily. Then he and she had two sons and my mother, the three children. So there was this very close tie [unknown] between, you couldn't really call them half sisters, anyhow, the two batches of children.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you think that your Grandmother Marinda's plans for the children having books to read and all, that she planned to have her

Page 12
daughters educated? I mean, there was no reluctance on her part or on that family's part to have their daughters read and go to college? What did they see them doing, teaching school or marrying, but being well educated, or. . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I assume from the fact that both of those aunts, Aunt Mary and Aunt Grace, married young men in the area at fairly early ages and had lots of children that that was the accepted social pattern. But just why those children . . . well, as I was saying, Aunt Grace and Aunt Mary went to Greensboro College for two years, and that was two years only because the times were so tough. Apparently they had what passed for what education was available.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did any of those women work for the suffrage movement that you know about?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I never heard any word to that effect. Now, just what their interests were, I don't know. But Aunt Mary was a very lively person. She had this great drove of children, and her husband, Uncle Jim Wall, his name was, wasI don't know, there was sort of the implication that Uncle Jimwas not as energetic as he might have been. Anyhow, Aunt Mary went to Greensboro and started running a boarding house and brought up her large brood of children. Then when the children were at least teenage, they read somewhere about Idahothat it was the land of opportunity, that people could go out there and they could get land, and there was an open opportunity. [unknown] Then the railroad had been through, so it was possible to get to Idaho. So Aunt Mary packed up a lunch sufficient to last eight days for her and however many children there were, at least half a dozen, and they managed to get money enough to buy their train

Page 13
tickets. They got on the train and went to Idaho, leaving Uncle Jim in Greensboro. He apparently didn't think it was such a good idea to go to Idaho. So they went out and just how they managed to get along, I don't know. But after they had become established, I suppose Aunt Mary ran a boarding house again, and whether it was Boise or Twin Falls, I don't know. After they were established there, Uncle Jim heard about it and he went out there too. He got himself on the train and went out to join up with them. He was not a skilled worker, so that what he did was he established a garbage collection business and managed so well at it that when he died before long, he left Aunt Mary enough money so that her last days were spent in ease, not luxury, but in ease as compared to her long years of hard work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember people in the family talking about them leaving? What was the reaction to her scooting off to Idaho with all these children?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was very young, and so my memories are vague; but anyhow, I'm telling you these stories, [unknown] I got the impression from the way that they were told. I would not verify [unknown] their being factually correct, but it's my childish memory of what I heard about them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did your mother ever participate in any of the women's club movements?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, there was Madison was five miles away, and out in the country there was nothing to do. We even had to go to Madison to go to a Presbyterian church, five miles away, and we didn't go very much, even though my parents were quite religous, because it was too much to get all of

Page 14
the children up and washed and dressed and get them off to the five miles to go to Sunday school or church. So there wasn't any opportunity for her to do that. She was quite interested in learning and knowing about things.
She had a cousin whose name was Eugene Branson, who was a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Now you would call him a sociologist, but his specialty was on the rural conditions in the South. He was quite an accepted scholar and professor, so that when we moved to Chapel Hill, my mother thought that what she would like to do would be to go [unknown] to the university since she had had only two years of college. She decided she would take one of Cousin Eugene's classes. She and my father had always been very stern with the children about studying and making good grades. We were supposed to apply ourselves in school. So, she had no alternative but to study hard and because she had the double thingsshe had to meet Cousin Eugene's criteria because he had been a tutor in her home when she was a child, and Miss Mary Trotter had also been a tutor. Miss Mary TrotterI was named for her [unknown] had lived in my mother's home because there was no school for them to go to. When she went to Chapel Hill, she did take the sociology courses and my, my, she worked hard. Whether Cousin Eugene may have given her preference in grades, I don't know. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did she take courses for several years?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I think it was for at least two years, and perhaps she took only one course a year. [unknown] But she found it enormously interesting. She was a person who liked to read, and she liked to find out about things. She had a good, curious mind, about such things as

Page 15
new kinds of foods. She did not feel that she had to have just the kind of food that she was brought up with. She read the magazines. I remember her winning a prize from Woman's Home Companion, or some magazine, about a cake. She chose a name for it that she called "Royal Tropic Aroma Cake." [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was she ever interested in politics?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't know. It would not have been appropriate. My father was very interested in politics. He was a registrar. When my grandfather, the tobacco manufacturer, was alive and in business, he had what we called the "office" in the front yard of our place where he ran his tobacco businessgoodness, I've lost the train about what I started to say about the office. Oh, it was in the office where the voting in the precinct and the registration took place; my father was the registrar. So anybody in that precinct [unknown] came to our front yard to register and vote. I remember that most vividly becauseI remember, you know, how things stick in childrens' minds without having any logical reason about why they didbut I remember my father coming in to the house one day saying that a Negro had come up to register. And he was very much confused about what to do about it. He's thinking, of course, he couldn't permit a black man to register, but on the other hand, he admitted he was better qualified than some of the people that had been there to register. I remember, and it must have been so for it to have stuck in my mind all these years, that he was really chagrined with himself about it. But he went through the business of making it so difficult for the man to register that he couldn't do it. Now I consider my father to have been an honest man, and I'm

Page 16
just telling you that story for what was going on, the approach about it because I'm sure that he was ashamed about doing that. But this was something that he thought he had to do.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did he and your mother both interact with the people who worked for them and with the people who worked for them both as tenants and also in the house, and other people in the community?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Never any harshness, anything at all. They got along very well indeed with them. And there again, I have only a child's analysis of the social scene. But something that I remembered quite well. I was telling you about Martha Oliver who lived there and who had been so very close to our family. Martha married or went to live with someone who was said to be a white man. I don't know whether he really was or not. Anyhow, he lived some miles away. So when she wanted to move over there, my father went up and he took his wagon and the team and so forth, and helped Martha with the moving. For some reason [unknown] I went on that moving trip, though I can't see how there was room enough for me to go, you know. So it must have just been my wanting to go, and they found a place for me to go along. But that stuck in my mind. I'm sure my father didn't [unknown] approve of Martha's going to live with that man, but he nevertheless did what he could to help her. And about my mother, I have a vivid memory of her at the time she was teaching school to try to get a little cash money, and how she was my first school teacher, incidentally. She went to some sort of teachers training course that they had in Wentworth, the county seat, one summer for several weeks, and [unknown] she got her certificate to teach at the local Gold Hill school, the one-teacher, and

Page 17
then the two-teacher school, that was near us. She was working at that, and yet I have this vivid memory of her sewing at night and making clothes for Martha's little boy. I particularly remember it because she was making pants for the child. She showed me about how she waswhatever you would call it; these days it would be a zipper, but whatever it was the opening in the pants What the little boy needed. The subject of one's personal parts, or much less sex, was never mentioned in our house at all. My parents had ten children but we'd never have known any sex life at all [unknown] went on. My sister Ruth had lots of beaus, but they were always talked about in a social, entertaining, kind of way. There was never, never any real discussion about the serious aspects of these things. So I'm wandering around, I'm afraid.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No. I've wanted to ask if you were aware of sort of the nature of the relationship between your mother and father. They ran this farm, they had trouble making a living, they had children together. How did they get along together? What was it like? Your mother often went out to work, I mean, she taught school outside the home. How did your father react to that? How did they get along?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I never heard any harshness at all between them. As a matter of fact, it was not permitted for the children ever to have any harsh words. I mean, my father would say, "We won't have any snaps, please." [Laughter] For instance, when she started to teach school was when I started school; she was my first teacher. [unknown] Martha came to help with the cooking and cleaning so that she could go to teach school. I started my school

Page 18
with as my mother the teacher at this little country school. I remember very vividly about my father, the trouble he went to to make a path for us, the shortest route for us to get over to the Gold Hill school because to go by the road was several miles and would have required the horse and buggy for me to go. It was a shorter distance to go through the field. So he not only cut a path, he put a log across the stream to get across and there was a rail [unknown] to hold onto. There's a word for these things which are part of our childhood vocabulary. Then when we got over to the Wilsons farm, which was the largest farm between us and the school, to get through the Wilsons' pasture, he made a stile over the fence so that we could get through and go through the field to the school. That was a rather arduous task. But he put his mind to it and figured out about what was the best route for us to go. Then if there were really bad days, he would hitch up the buggy and take us. But it was too much for him, with his farm work to do. He couldn't spend his time taking us back and forth to school. That's one thing I remember about it.
Another thingI remember these things; there's no rhyme nor reason about what I remember, certain things I don't, and others I do. But I remember sitting on the porch, the front porch, one time and my father talking about the contempt he had for the people in the little town of Madisonwho, incidentally, considered themselves very much socially above us because we lived out in the country. So the Madison people fancied themselves as being much above those country people. My father was talking about the Madison social set, and to show his disdain for them

Page 19
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
. . . concern. He would [unknown] I've forgotten what his expression was, but the implication was he'd just as soon walk down, naked down the streets of Madison, you know, as far as those people were concerned. My mother drew herself very proudly and said, "I trust you would have too much respect for me to do it." [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
As the youngest of ten children, who were your closest companions on the farm? Were they your brothers and sisters or . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
My sister, Teeny, who was two and a half years older than I was the person I was closest to. And then my brother, Wright, who was five years older than I; I saw quite a bit of him. Then in a large familyI understand it's a general customwe sort of divided up into cliques. The first five children were boys, with one girl, and the last five were girls, with one boy. So the boys in the upper bracket sort of adopted one of the girls in the lower bracket, and to these days, my brother Paul, who was myI don't know what you would call him, but anyhowI'm going to see him for his eightieth birthday in Greensboro on the second of May. That's really one of the objects of going to see him, although Paul and I have very little in common. He is a shrewd businessman and very conservative as far as political and social As far as race relations are concerned, I can only say that he's deplorable, and I'm well known as being one who has worked and felt that the rights of the black people are something that's very important to me personally and to the society. So, despite these things, Paul and I have never had any disagreement at all, even when I was active in politics in North Carolina on the opposite side of the Democratic party's affairs than he was.

Page 20
We never had any disagreements. So that was just the way it went. My brother, Enoch, was the patron of my sister Teeny, as she may have told you. So it went. Each of the girls had a special brother, and Mildred will tell you perhaps about Tom being her patron.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was very interested in looking at what most of the boys went on to do and the kinds of things the women in your family went into. It's almost like you and your brother Paul, it's almost diametrically opposed in a way. Do you have any hints about why that happened? Did it have to do with them being older, or the women coming along at a different time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I have speculated about that quite a bit over the years and have never come to any answers that satisfied me. The only thing that would be a comment that I would make about it was that the boys, being the first five children, came along when the family had more social pretensions. The economic status was not as hard as it was for the last five. Although Wright one of the last five, takes after the boys, and my sister Ruth, who was the girl [unknown] amid the four boys, was completely apolitical but a wonderfully human and sensitive, tolerant kind of person.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Could it have had anything to do with the relationship that you had with your parents, the girls perhaps being closer to your mother or the boys being closer to your father?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I never, never thought that that was true. Of course, the boys worked in the fields, and it was strictly forbidden for the girls to work in the fields, no matter how hard up our family was. The girls did not work in the fields because that would have been below our social

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status to do it. We worked in the garden, yes, but not in the fields. But then to get back to your question, my brothers were more associated with my father since they were working in the fields and running the farm and doing the things there. The girls were more associated with the house.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you closer to one parent more than the other?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I was very much closer to my mother because she was my first teacher in school. Then my father died when I was eleven, I think it was, twelve, I suppose it wasin 1921; I was born in 1909, so I must have been twelve years old. My mother had very difficult years with trying to get along on the farm and finding she couldn't do it, and moving to Chapel Hill to run a rooming house so that the children could go to school there. There again, she maintained the drive. So that it was only as a grown person that I looked back on my father and our relation, and I'm very critical of myself for not having understood him better. I think he must have been quite a person. He was irritable and a very stern parent. He didn't permit nonsense from the children. But he was very good and always encouraging about reading and helpful about information, and just trying to guide us in the way that we should go. And I think that if I had known him later on, I would have liked him very much. As a child, I was very disapproving of him.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Because he was so stern?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Because he was so stern, and because he was difficult to get along with, and he was very unhappy about his not being able to "provide."
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Earn a living?

Page 22
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Provide. He was brought up, you know, the head of the family and it was his job to "provide." I can see it was just a terrible assignment that he gave himself.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did he feel as strongly that the girls in the family should have as much education as the boys?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Definitely. Both of the parents felt very much that the girls should have an education. Mildred may tell you about [unknown] how when the time came for her to go to highschool, there was no high school within our area where she could go. He got my Uncle Ashby, his [unknown] brother who lived in Miami, Florida, to take Mildred [unknown] to live with them so that she could go to high school in Miami. Uncle Ashby died of TB, and my mother apparently knew that he was a very sick man. She was alarmed about Mildred's going to live in the house with someone who was sick like that. Ruth has told me the story about how my mother tried every way she could to get my father to agree that Mildred should not go to live with Uncle Ashby and his family. The night before they were to leave, my mother cried all night, Ruth said. She was just heartbroken that Mildred should be sent. But still she had to give in; that this was the only way that Mildred could get a high school education. Now, my sister Branson was sent to live with our Uncle John in Leaksville, which is in Rockingham County also. That was a different matter, I think, because Uncle John was a fairly successful businessman. He lived not too very far from us, and that was a different experience. It wasn't just Branson's and Mildred's leaving home; it was a question of whether they should have an education, and that was the only way

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that my father could figure that they could get an education.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about higher education, about sending them to college or making available some kind of advanced training for them?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Just as the boys had to go to college, except Paul. Paul wouldn't go to college. He flunked out of prep school. He just flatly refused to take up with the academic life at all. His three older brothers were brilliant students, and he would have none of it at all. Paul has a very sharp mind and is a successful businessman. I don't know why he got the different perspective. But anyhow, both parents were intent about the girls having an education. I told you about Ruth going to Salem College, and that she only went there for a couple of years. But that seemed to fit the mold all right since my parents had only been able to go to college for a couple of years. Those couple of years fitted Ruth to teach school and to earn her living, to be in a position to support herself. When my mother moved to Chapel Hill, one of the reasons was because Mildred and Branson were both of college age, and Wright also, the three children of college age, so that two of them could live at home. Mildred and Wright could live at home so it would be fairly easy for them to go to college. But Branson had been a big woman on campus. She was vice-president of the student body and so forth, and so a terrific effort was made that she should continue to go to what was then . . . Female Academy, the female college, Greensboro Female College, I think was the name of it. Anyhow, both Mildred and Branson had gone there for the three years, I guess. How in the world my parents had managed to pay for it, I just don't know. Anyhow, they did and then not

Page 24
only were they there, but my mother insisted about their being able to graduate from college. They didn't fit into the pattern of having only two years of college.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You mentioned that your family couldn't go to church very often because it was so far away and it was hard to get there. But how much of a part did religion play in your lives?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
A great deal. My father was an elder of the Presbyterian Church. My mother's family had started the Methodist Church in that part of the county where she lived. [unknown] That church is still in existence. There are stained glass windows of members of her family around. I guess my Uncle Eeny, when he got money enough, probably payed for them. But anyhow, he probably also paid to have the grounds taken care of. Both my father and my mother are now buried at that Eden Church. As children, we always said our prayers before going to bed. When the minister came to call on us all members of the family, no matter where they were, were called in. They were brought in for the family prayers, they called it, when the minister came to call. My mother never held any office in the church, but they were both very religious people. They were not tolerant of the Primitive Baptist Church, which was closest by. It was just a short distance to go there. Inasmuch as my father had a relative by marriage, Cousin Charlie Dalton who had married Cousin Ida who was a member of that Primitive Baptist Church, and we were very close to Cousin Charlie and Cousin Ida and their family, [unknown] there was never any unpleasantness about that. But my family only went on special occasions to that

Page 25
Primitive Baptist.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Oh, but they did go sometimes?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Sometimes they went, I mean, to keep the social relations and the family relationship because Ida was the only one . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was their disagreement with the Primitive Baptists? In what ways were they critical of that religion?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
You know, I don't exactly know about why they were so critical, except the preacher. They only had services about once a month at this church and there was a traveling preacher. My sister Mildred, to this day, can put on a dinner entertainment by preaching a sermon by the minister, whatever his name was, I've forgotten. [Laughter] But it was literally what it said was a primitive kind of. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The style was different than the Presbyterian.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes it was. And they had foot washings, so that was always something that, well, we just looked down our noses at . . . [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember ever going to a black religious service or church?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, it just wasn't in the mores for us to do that. Not at all. I went to some revival meetings at the white, and I went to a baptism up in the creek, which was several miles from where they would, you know, immerse people under the water. I went to some of those, but they were not, oh, certainly not integrated. They were not black. So what the black services were like, I just don't know. I do know that Martha and her family were quite religious, and Nora, my nurse, married a minister whose name was Frank Barum. Just exactly the mechanics of

Page 26
it, I don't know. I maybe could find out because my brother Wright was enough older than I. He very much liked and respected Frank Barum who [unknown] worked in the fields with him. He's made some reference recently about being in touch with him—Frank is quite old and infirm—sending him some small gifts or something.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered if any people in your family had maintained contact with maybe some of the tenants on your father's farm or people you knew.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Not for any reason other than that our home place was sold, had to be sold, and the people who bought it were people that my father did not like at all. We very much looked down our nose at them. We said he was a local bootlegger. Whether he was or not, I don't know.
Anyhow, that sort of cut off our base in the area. Then my cousins who lived up at my mother's home place, when their father died it was too difficult for them, for the women, to live out on the farm. The two daughters of that family, they wanted to get jobs, and they moved to Winston-Salem where they were able to get jobs and lived. So we just had no base. I was talking about Mr. Pickett, who was my father's friend in Madison. He had a daughter who was just my age. When Mr. Pickett came out to see Pa, why, Nancy always came. Then I would be invited every so often to go into town to visit her. When I was living in North Carolina in the 40's, I saw Nancy and her husband, and it just runs me mad that I can't remember what her husband's name is and exactly where it was that she lived, that I should have forgotten, because we were close friends for a long time and good enough friends so that I got in touch with her and I went down to see them. Otherwise, there just is no base

Page 27
left there. All of our family was away, and there was no one we were close enough to. When I was living there in the 40's, I tried to go Madison, and it was just a sad experience for me because I didn't have anybody that I wanted to see. I could remember exactly how the street turned, and so forth and so on. But Tom Wolfe says you can't go home again. So I just gave up. I didn't even have the heart to drive up to look at our old home to see what the [unknown] years there had done to it. I just couldn't make myself do it. The highway ran close enough by so that I could see it in the distance from the new highway that went through.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I had asked you about the church being a part of, or religion playing a part in your family's life. How did it affect you as a child, do you think?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It affected me in this wayI wasn't close enough to be an active Sunday school participant, but the town churches always . . . was it more than one church? I don't know. Anyhow, there was a big church picnic out on our place almost every year because we had a big yard and there were creeks on both sides of the place. So it was a good place for them. I had that contact. But I really wasn't close enough to do anything about it. And once during those early yearsthis was before we lived in Chapel HillI went to Winston-Salem to visit Uncle John and his family. He had two daughters I think I told you. He had three daughters. One of them was a year younger than I, one a year older, and one three years older, just the age of my sister Teenie. So they were very strong in the First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem.

Page 28
So I would go up and would go to Sunday school with them. Do you read Elizabeth Spence's books about the South?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No, I haven't.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She's one of my favorite writers. Her books are really quite good. One of them was set in that Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, much to my interest. The Reynolds family were also members of that church. My Aunt Carrie much admired the Reynolds and the Hanes families and the other members of the church. But anyhow, once when I was staying with them there was a big revival meeting in Winston-Salem. You're acquainted with revival meetings, I'm sure. A traveling evangelist would come through. This one was a Reverend Culpepper, they called him. So the Reverend CulpepperI don't know why they didn't speak good English; you'd think they would. But anyhow, that's what they called him. He had a big revival meeting, and I was there visiting Uncle John's girls. So we went to the revival meeting several times. Once when the call came to come up front and give yourself to Jesus, why, I proceeded up front [Laughter] and gave myself to Jesus. When I got home, I thought about it enough that I did not think my parents would be sympathetic with that kind of behavior because they were more serious, and they took their religion seriously. So I figured, now, what am I going to do about this because I said I'm going to try to be as good as I can and you know, [unknown] . I've done this and I'm afraid to admit it. I finally worked out the planand you can draw what conclusions about my character you wish [Laughter] but I figured that if I behaved as well as I knew how to behave, did not act like a spoiled brat and so forth and so on,

Page 29
and in general tried to behave properly. That would be all right, and I wouldn't have to tell my parents about my having yielded to the Reverend Culpepper. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they ever find out?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't know whether they did or not. They never said anything to me about it if they found out. I just don't know whether they found out about it and just thought it would be better to ignore the whole thing as childish, which it was.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever get any feeling, or do you have any feeling now that your family was in some way non-traditional when you were very young, the time especially when you were living near Madison? Or were they pretty much in the tradition of the families in that area and what people had been doing for a long time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They were and they weren't. They were in that their family plans and procedures are very much the same. But they were differentand our neighbors thought we looked down on them, even some that were remote relativesbecause they were so intent on the education and trying to know what was . . . they were interested in cultural things. One of the big events in my life was when my father went to Winston-Salem to sell his tobacco crop one year, and there was comparatively good prices on them. So he bought an Edison phonograph and about six or eight records. This was the most wonderful thing that happened to us. We would sit every night after we'd had our dinner, supper I guess we called it. We would gather around and play all of the records. There

Page 30
are still things there like the sextet from "Lucia" and the quartet from "Rigoletto" that [Laughter] are favorite pieces. In some way or another, my father and mother had aspirations. They wanted to have a more culturally complete life than they were able to have. And they liked to do things. I like to play bridge now, but [unknown] always say to me I remember my father and mother played wisp before I was born. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you think about your family background, do you have any sense of how your own values, the values that led you into such progressive causes later, where they came from in that background?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I have wondered about that. The only answer I have that I was very much influenced by my sister Mildred, but that isn't an adequate answer. Mildred got an M. A. in sociology at the University of Chicago, and then she got acquainted with the YWCA when she was in Chicago. She went to work for the YWCA as the industrial secretary. I was of an impressionable early teen age, and she was working in Lynchburg, Virginia. I went up to stay at the YW camp with her, and there was just a whole new approach to life as far as I was concerned. Mildred is a very decisive kind of person. She never takes a mild stance. She has keen ideas. She and Branson both were much influenced by men they metEdward Linderman, a sociologist, who was at the Women's College in Greensboro when they were there. He befriended them and my sister Teenie also and had a tremendous influence. He was an editor later of the New Republic. He was concerned with what was going on in the world. So I got from them that interest in current events, current affairs. But there must have been other things, but I have never been

Page 31
able to figure out just what they were.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How do you think your position in the family as youngest influenced you? What effect did that have on you?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was a terribly spoiled brat for the simple reason that I had three serious illnesses before I was five years old. I had pneumonia when I was just an infant, then I had an awful case of measles, and what was it . . . smallpox. No, I didn't have smallpox. I got vaccinated for smallpox. It was while we were living in Spray that I had a very serious illness. Whether it was my character or the fact that I really did just need to have attention, but I remember that I was quite old enough to figure it out for myself that when I started going out with boys, about the time I was living in Chapel Hill, it was better not to cry when things didn't go my way. I mean, this was a [unknown] process [Laughter] . Isn't that horrible? [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you what some of your early school experiences were. You started at the Gold Hill School very close to your home, and you and your mother went off through the path every day to school.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. And then later on, Helen Rankin started. It got to be a two-teacher school, and she taught there. She married my brother Paul, so that's another link-up in the county. Her family was down in the other end of the county, down closer to Reidsville.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You mentioned Miss Mary Trotter too. Was she . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, now that was in my mother's childhood. You see, Miss Mary Trotter and cousin Eugene had lived in my grandfather Moore's house to tutor the children because there was no school for them to go to.

Page 32
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you didn't know her did you?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. No, so far as I know I never saw . . . I must have seen Miss Mary Trotter, but I don't remember anything about it. Cousin Eugene I knew very well when we lived in Chapel Hill because he lived in Chapel Hill naturally. Then after I went to the secondI'm not sure whether the third grade at Gold Hill Schoolmy sister Ruth and my mother started teaching at Bald Hill School, which was a little bit larger school and a little bit farther away from us. We went in the surrey to there. I went there, it must have been, through the third and fourth grades. Then my sister Ruth got a job of teaching at a school up in the mountainsGlade Valley School. I think it must have been a church school, but I don't know. Anyhow, the family times were so hard. This was about the time when my father was having his last illness, and it was really very tough. So Ruth took TeenyTeeny may have told youup to that Glade Valley School, which was . . . they could board and live in the school. When that happened, then my brother Wright was in high school, was of high school age. The first couple of years he rode the horse, Old Sam. My father had a good saddle horse, so Wright rode Old Sam to Madison to go to high school. But then somewhere or another, I don't know, I guess it was because my father was no longer to drive, and he had bought a T-model Ford when they first went around in the country. He must have had to have sold the tobacco well some of the time. Anyhow, Wright was just a very young boy. But he drove the Ford to Madison to school. Teeny, I think, I'm not sure whether she graduated from Madison High School or not. It would be easy enough to

Page 33
find out if it were of any interest.
Anyhow, we rode into Madison to school when I was in the fifth and sixth grades I guess it was. Then the next year, my father died during that time and we had to sell the farm and get the household goods and so forth. And this big move about going to Chapel Hill took place.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you feel about having your mother as a teacher? Was that easy to deal with?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It was very easy to deal with because she had had some experience with children [Laughter] . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The good teacher.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
. . . So I never remember any unpleasantness at all with any of the other . . . I had a desk mateyou know, they wouldn't have individual desks, they doubled themmy desk mate was Ola Wilson through whose land we had to walk in going to school. That was at the Gold Hill School. Then I guess the older children, Helen must have taught the older children. My mother [unknown] her the first two or three grades and then Helen [unknown] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you think of school? Did you like it from the beginning?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It never occured to me not to like it. This was like we had been brought up in a highly religious family, a family of ministers, you know, to not like going to church.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. Did you want to be a teacher like your mother and like Ruth?

Page 34
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. Never once did I consider that I wanted to be a teacher. Why, I don't know. I never did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you not want to be a teacher?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Just how I came by that I don't know. But anyhow, definitely I never once thought of being a teacher. Teeny, I think, who's the same way. She never taught at all, whereas the older girls, all three of the older girls, had been teachers.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever feel like you should be a teacher, like that was one of the alternatives that you had?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't remember if I went through that, but there must have been some sort of decision that was made in my mind. Why, I don't recall at all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you moved into Chapel Hill then, you were almost ready for high school?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I went to the sixth and seventh grades in Chapel Hill. I guess it was. I started high school there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was that move hard for you to make?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, it was difficult for me because I was a country bumpkin really. At that time, the town was divided between Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Carrboro was a mill town, and Chapel Hill was the university part of the town. And the two did not mingle at all. There were some of the students from Carrboro at the school. We all went to the same school. But the social life was never considered at all. Just for the fact that we happened to be living in the university part of the town, why, we were automatically in the social circles of the university.

Page 35
I was asked to the faculty children's parties, my classmates, that sort of thing. It was very difficult then because, well, they had danceswhether it was every Saturday night or how often, I don't know. But anyhow, the boys took turns asking the different girls. And some of the girls were popular and they would get broken on at the dances and all. Well, I wasn't. I didn't know at all how to play the game, so it was a very humiliating social experience, to literally be a wallflower. I did not feel that I could refuse to go. Except one time we had a next-door neighbor named the Thomases, and there were two children in that family, Helen and Monk. And Helen was very popular. She had a steady beau and was very popular. Monk, I don't know just exactly what about. Anyhow, he was always asked to the parties. Once I created a real ruckus because I was put with Monk to go to one of the dances, and I flatly refused to go with him because I had been put with him at a previous dance and he hadn't even done the minimum, that is to dance the first dance with me. [Laughter] And his mother, oh, his mother was absolutely furious. She came over and said, "Why, Monkford was descended from royalty on both sides of the house." And that I should refuse to go to the dance with him, it was just absolutely intolerable. But I still wouldn't go. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, there was quite an active social life . . . you were quite young.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You were still in early high school?

Page 36
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But that was what you were supposed to do, you were supposed to know how to go to all these dances.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. I was supposed to know how to dance, which I didn't at all. I was supposed to know how to make small conversation, which I didn't know how to do at all. I got along fine. I don't know whether you remember about the Woolens or not, whether any of them are still around Chapel Hill. Charles Woolen was the treasurer of the university. His daughter was in my class at school and was sort of a special pal of mine. And the Lawsons, Estelle Lawson later got to be a national golf champion. So I was quite friendly with them. My brother Tom had been a good athlete, and Dr. Lawson was the head of the physical education department. Tom had been a special pet of his. When we moved to Chapel Hill, why, the Lawson families were very kind to us. So there was no social awkwardness there. But it was a hard adjustment for me to make.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did your mother make the adjustment? She was running a boarding house?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She was running a rooming house, not a boarding house. She made the adjustment fine because she proceeded to go to the First Presbyterian Churchyou probably know it in Chapel Hill. And she set me off, as far as religion was concerned, by arranging with the minister that on thus and such Sunday I should join the church. And I was furious about just being told that I should do that, although I liked Dr. Moss and it's a very pleasant church. But anyhow, you asked about my religious

Page 37
tendencies. That took me a long time. In later years, I worked, my last job, worked thirteen years for the National Council of Churches, and I found out many good things about the church and many excellent people. But anyhow, she went to there, and we went to Sunday school there and so forth. She established there. She kept fairly busy, having four children at home, and then there were about five or six students who lived in the place. She didn't get them any meals, but anyhow, they had to be looked after and kept after, and so forth and so on. [unknown] going to school; you've forgotten that she was a student. She had to study.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. But it just seems that the change would have been incredibly abrupt for her, from having lived on the farm and raised all these children and sort of lived a certain kind of life and then suddenly, like you, being thrust into this very social scene, in a way. I was just curious as to how she . . . do you think that it turned out in a way to be an opportunity for her, that her life really changed in a good way?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She had a wonderful ability to adjust to different situations, and she had to make some, oh, quite a number . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDEB]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
When I was a junior in high school and my sister Branson was working there, so she got an apartment. My mother, and Teeny, and I lived there in the apartment in Greensboro. Teeny entered the Women's Collegeoh, maybe she'd been to Women's College. I don't know; that's her story, not mine. But I rushed through, got through high school

Page 38
and entered college at mig-term, early. When I went for my physical examination, I used to go home. They called my mother and said I was to be put to bed.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was wrong?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I had anemia. I don't know. Anyhow, in the course of time my mother moved up to Lynchburg to live with my sister Mildred who was working for the YWCA up there. So the next year, Teeny and I went to the college, and we were together at the college. There was a different kind of life. Then in the course of that timeI could get all these straightened out [unknown] it's not importantmy brother Jimmy came home for a holiday from his work as a doctor of the Guggenheim Mine in Bolivia. He, incidentally, had taken that job when he got through with his internship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Massachusetts and went to Bolivia where he lived for seventeen years and sent money home to his mother and the five younger children in the family. So he, in effect, supported [unknown] . I mention this because it's a very significant angle of our family life for a member of it to do. He didn't ever expect any appreciation. This was just something that he could do, just as my brother Enoch, who had been at Chapel Hill, he finished his graduate work in journalism. This was the time my father was very, very sick. So Enoch just came home to the farm, and lived there for a winter and took care of things so that my mother [unknown] there. There was nothing else to do. I mean, that that's a [unknown] it [unknown] . This has meant a great deal to me, my family background, and it's now distressing to me that our family, which had been so close, has now in the course of

Page 39
time dissolved. Whether that's of any sociological interest, I don't know. But personally it was a matter of great concern.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So even though you weren't at home when you were small with these older brothers and with your older sister Ruth, you were very close to them anyway.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And they remained very close to your mother and close to Chapel Hill.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. And to all of us. We were a very close family.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were graduating from high school and making plans to go to college, was there any question of where you would go? Was it just assumed that you would go to North Carolina College for Women?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, because of the financial angle of first living home, and then it was the cheapest place to go because although I didn't want to teach, supposedly one got free tuition by agreeing to teach at the college, which I didn't do. But I was willing to take my chances. So with the money that Jimmy was sending home, you see, I managed to go to college and pay what had to be paid.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have any plans, career plans, or any plans about why you wanted to go to college, or what you wanted to do when you finished?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I have thought about it. From my earliest, I was always interested in journalism of one kind or another. The first instance of

Page 40
that is when we were living in Chapel Hill. The Daughters of the Confederacy each year gave a prize for something. One year it was for a life of Robert E. Lee. So I wrote a life of Robert E. Lee and won their $5 prize. Then the next year they were going to give a prize for a history of the Civil War. So I wrote a history of the Civil Warthis is in seventh grade [Laughter] and won the $5 again. So those were my only outlets in high school and grammar school. In Chapel Hill High School, after I got there, there wasn't any kind of publications. When I got to Greensboro High School, they had a magazine and a little newspaper. I volunteered and worked on both of them. When I started going to Women's College, there again I volunteered on them. When I was at Chapel Hill in college, I worked on the Tar Heel and on thewhat's the name of the humorous publication? It's probably gone now, but anyhow, something I know very well. I always worked in publications, and I've always been interested in publications. Most of my working years have had to do with publications of one kind or another.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So it was not just chance that got you into journalism. You'd sort of planned to do that.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. These were just the things I was interested in doing. I don't know whether it was because Enoch had bought a set of books when he was studying journalism at Chapel HillRichard Harding Davisand I read them from cover to cover several times. When we moved to Chapel Hill, in some way or another, I guess it was somebody we knew worked for the library. Anyhow, I was permitted to use the university library and go in the stacks and get books. So I was

Page 41
a very big bookworm and interested in these things.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Could you major in journalism at NCCW at that time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No; at Chapel Hill, yes. It was not a really big department. Oscar Coffin was professor and he taught a class in journalism. But there wasn't really a department, so I majored in English. But it was sort of understood . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you spent your first three years at North Carolina College for Women, right? In Greensboro.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And when you were there, did you major in English as well?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Tell me what that place is like when you were there. You were there from 1926 to 1929.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was supposed to be in the class of 1930. I can tell you what it was like from where I sat when I finished, was getting to finish my junior year. I was living at home by that time in Greensboro. I was starting to tell you about my brother Jimmy had put up money and built a house for my mother in Greensboro. It was a nice house, and so I was living at home and going to college. Sogoodness, I've lost the thread of what I was saying. What was I talking about?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
North Carolina College for Women.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, about what it was like. So I flatly said to my mother, "I am not going back to the Women's College anymore." The expression now would be "I've had it up to here, and I'm not going back there." I was fed up with the Women's College. I was getting old enough, I guess,

Page 42
to be interested in boys. Just the whole atmosphere . . . I had several friends that I liked, but I was just bored with the whole business. So I just presented her with a dilemma, but by that time, I was the only child of college age. So that gave a little bit more leeway. I transferred to Chapel Hill.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
For your last year.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
For my last year. And in transferring, I lost credits because they had been required courses at the Women's College, and there were required courses at Chapel Hill. They did not coincide, so I had to spend an extra quarter. And that was the reason I was graduated in 1931 instead of 1930. That's the reason I'm not sure how many of these people I'm going to recognize in the dormitory that I'll be staying in.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Let me ask you a few more things about North Carolina College for Women and why it was so boring. Were there any activities among the students that you were involved in?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I worked on the Carolinian, the paper. That was about the only thing. Since I was living off campus and the last couple of years I was there, perhaps I didn't give it a fair share. But there were the two debating societies which I just thought were just . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did they debate?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
What did they debate? I don't know. Anyhow, I just found the whole thing was not stimulating. I wasn't a brilliant student, so if I'd applied myself to my books, why, I would have done better.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember any faculty or teachers who particularly influenced you?

Page 43
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, there was a woman from Wisconsin who was named Magnhilda Gulanda, who taught history. I had a good course of her's in European history, and it was really the best course that I had therevery stimulating. Then I had a good English teacher. I'd had an excellent English teacher in Greensboro High School. I also was fortunate in having a good English teacher at Women's College. I've forgotten what her name is and I shouldn't because my niece, Mary Louise Price, when she was there, this woman recognized her and, "You are a niece of Mary Price, aren't you? She used to sit right there in that seat." [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were most of the faculty women?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. There was a Dr. Arnett, who taught American history and lived across the street from us in Greensboro. His daughter, Dorothy, was wonderful helping in the Progressive Party campaign in '48. His wife was a friend of my mother's. She's really an excellent person. And Dr. Arnett was a good person too, but his class was just dull, dull, dull.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you think the place had changed since Mildred and Branson were there?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, it was very much in the process of changing during all of those years, and what it's like now, I of course wouldn't know at all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So from the days when Edward Linderman was there, people like him had sort of drifted away from Greensboro, do you think?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't remember any really stimulating faculty there at the time I was there.

Page 44
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was the YWCA active?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, it was not active on campus.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They weren't doing any kind of work with industrial groups like the work that Mildred was doing in Lynchburg?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, there was no stimulus at all. I remember the Gastonia strike was during that time I was there. Because we subscribed to the New Republicmy sisters had started doing itI knew about the Gastonia strike. But I never was able to go down there at that time. To get from Greensboro to Gastonia would have been quite a trip for a young girl.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The whole time you were in both Greensboro and Chapel Hill earlier, you mentioned Carrboro was the textile town, was the mill town, and was apart from Chapel Hill. Were you aware of mill workers around Greensboro?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, it was very much class differences. Out in Proximity and White Oak, the workers out there, it was just complete division. There was no thought of. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you did go to school in Chapel Hill with the children of mill workers?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I can't specifically remember, but I may be wrong about that because I don't remember knowing any of those children. I said that, I think, because I couldn't think whether there was a school in Carrboro. So I think I was probably wrong about that. The class structure was very firmly established.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you really never even saw these people, or did you see them and just think of them as being very far apart?

Page 45
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. When I went to school in Madison, the mill village there is called Mayodan. It's at the confluence of the Mayo and the Dan Rivers. My mother's family had lived on the Dan, you know, it went on down in there with the Mayo, in Danville. You know, it's down there. That was very definitely a mill town, and there was just no mingling between Madison and Mayodan. It was really a very bad social situation. I don't remember being [unknown] there. But you asked me about influences. I think that these things must have seeped into my consciousness some-where.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Back to North Carolina College for Women for a minute. Was it a really protective environment? You were living on campus, but did you feel that, why were those women there? Were there serious students? Were people training to be teachers, or were people being sort of, having their eyes open to the possibilities?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Again, I lose my historical perspective about it. I'm not sure about Governor Aycock's years in North Carolina. If you happen to remember about those years, but in the later years I saw, when I became interested in the race matter, his statement published around about the right of every child to develop the best of his talents burgeoned the best of his ability. There was sort of that thinking was carried over. As I say, I can't remember whether the governor . . . at the University of North Carolina, you know, Harry [unknown] Chase had come from Wisconsin, I think. And so there was quite a renaissance there. I was close enough to that to be influenced by it.

Page 46
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you obviously felt sort of restricted at the North Carolina College for Women, at the Women's College, and wanted to go somewhere else.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Not that it's not enough reason, but other than not having stimulating faculty and not having things going on, what do you think that school thought that women would go on to do? What were you being trained for?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
We were not being trained for anything, and that's what got me down. It was a purposeless exercise, as far as I was concerned. There was nothing that was stimulating to do. I had a few good friends there. One of them, incidentally, I introduced to my brother Enoch and they were finally married, oh, a dozen years ago. She continues to be my very, very close friend. And a couple of other people that I found. But there was just nothing for us. All there was to do would be to . . . it was forbidden, for instance, to smoke. The most we could think of it by way of [unknown] to take cigarettes and go down in the park and sit on the log in the park and smoke a cigarette. Charlotte was always one who managed to have boyfriends, but I didn't have the technique that she did of [unknown] . I wouldn't go with those fellows, even so. [Laughter] All the while envying her.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then when you went down to Chapel Hill for your last year, or last, as it turned out, about year and a half . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Year and a quarter, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Year and a quarter.

Page 47
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It was a quarter system, so it was for four quarters.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How would you compare the atmosphere at Chapel Hill to the one you'd come from at Greensboro?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, I was as happy as could be. I lived in a boarding house on Columbia Road. There were some other students living there that I was congenial with. And then I met them. I met people, of course, at the Tarheel and the other things like that that I was interested in. I managed to have a date almost every night, and always to go to the dances and get broken on the proper number of times [Laughter] at the dances.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said that in Greensboro your technique hadn't been developed about getting dates and going out.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What made it suddenly develop?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, I don't know. I suppose it was I was getting older and more observant about the way things were done. My mother, wonderful woman that she was, never gave me, anyhow, so far as I know any of my sister the least bit of guidance about how to go about making one's self attractive in the social scene. She was married at eighteen and apparently it just didn't occur to her that it was necessary to put your mind to it and what to do. She was always wonderful about it, when we were going to the dances or something, of going to the trouble to try to see that we had something to wear. But I just had a good time in Chapel Hill.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the things you were studying? You said you took

Page 48
under Oscar Coffin in journalism. Were there other people who influenced you?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I was interested in my classes. I was majoring in English and minoring in French. Liked both very much, except I acquired a lifelong boredomas far as [unknown] is concerned. [unknown] [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there anything else that you read that particularly influenced you at the time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I was reading avidly, still reading avidly at that time. I sort of had a policy that if there was something that I heard about or an author that I didn't know anything about, I would get him out of the library and see what about. Mostly fiction; I wasn't a student of science or anything like that. This was pretty much fiction.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember being influenced by any of the expatriates, say, Hemingway, or . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, you asked me a leading question. Yes, when I was in school I read about the Left Bank and the bunch in Paris. And I was just dying to read The Sun Also Rises because that was very much talked about then. I couldn't figure out how to do it because it wasn't in the library in Greensboro. Money was very scarce. I had a good friend, Elizabeth Stone, in high school. We exchanged Christmas gifts. So I figured that what I would do would be to give Elizabeth a copy of The Sun Also Rises for her Christmas gift, and then I would buy it early enough so that I could read it [Laughter] before I gave it to her. Which I did, and which I thought was well worth all of my conniving [Laughter] because it was a

Page 49
window opening to a whole new approach to life.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you continue reading Hemingway after that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I liked Hemingway very much until his later years. I didn't care for his later books.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about Fitzgerald's books? Were you reading those when they came out?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Very much so, very much so, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you think about the whole idea of the flapper?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I didn't either think or not think; it just was.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it real? I mean, did it compare to what you were doing and the things you were involved in? Did you ever see yourself as a flapper?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, not really, because my circumstances were too quiet for me to. It wasn't for lack of interest in same, but it wasn't much possible for me.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Harold Coy says in here that you learned to drive an automobile like a man? I was very curious about that.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, Harold's such a lousy driver. [Laughter] Oh, I shouldn't say that; he might read this sometime. Who knowssome things about coincidence and somebody knows about . . . No, when I was talking about living at home in Greensboro and going to college, my mother bought a car at the time. I learned to drive there and drove over to the college. To get out of the driveway, it was sort of a circle up a hill and there was a tree on one side and the house on the other. You had to learn to be

Page 50
pretty expert.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who taught you how to drive?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I guess it was my brother Wright. I can't quite remember.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it unusual for a girl to learn how to drive?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, no. Now Elizabeth Stone, for instance, drove and it was not unusual at all. I took to it. I'm not an athlete kind of person, but there are certain sorts of things that I did rather wellmechanical things. Oh, I danced rather well and swam ok and, you know, that. But I never excelled in sports. I played tennis and hockey and basketball but never really any good at all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you, besides working for the Tarheel and the humor magazine at Chapel Hill, were there any other groups that you joined? Were you active in Student Government, or were you in a sorority, or anything like a sorority?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was in a sorority, yes. I joined Chi Omega. I was pleased about doing it because from my background in Chapel Hill being on the outside of the social circle, and then in Women's College there wasn't anything like that. So I just figured, now this would be a good move to make as far as my broadening my social perspective was concerned. And sure enough, it so happened that at the national convention of the Chi Omegas my senior year, for some reason or another, I don't know why, I got chosen to go because somebody else who was supposed to go couldn't or something like that and I could. So I did my first traveling, and it was Hot Springs, Arkansas, and it was really a big deal to go there because Mildred and HaroldHarold was a reporter on the paper in St.

Page 51
Louis. They were living in St. Louis. Mildred was working for the YWCA in St. Louis. So I went by to see them, and they were terribly ashamed of me. They didn't want anybody they knew to know that I was going to a sorority convention [Laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
That was too . . . social, or too conservative? What was their objection?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, they were very forward-thinking people. Mildred again will tell you about it. But she, for instance, used her own name when they were married, and that was something very, very far within position. Harold was a good reporter. I think he still is a good reporter in the paper there. They just had a different perspective. The week with them was of great interest. And I liked it much better than I liked the big hotel.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In Hot Springs?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
In Hot Springs, yes. And the sorority.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So the sorority turned out to be mind-expanding in an indirect way.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, but it was good. For instance, the friend who wrote me about coming to the reunion and urged me to come and some of our friends was a Chi Omega. She was talking about the Chi Omegas who were going to be there. So it broadened my social perspective, which is what I wanted to do.
[interruption]
. . . To speak disparagingly about the Chi Omegas, and I get to Chapel Hill. They'll probably see what's going on down there.

Page 52
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I just wonder what was involved in being in a sorority in the late 20's. Did you live with these people?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, we did not have a house. It was simply like belonging to any club, of having a circle of people with whom you were socially accepted. I liked them, and I hope that several of them are going to be at the reunion.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How would you compare having been in this Women's College? You said you were tired of its being a women's college, and you wanted to have dates and go out, and then coming to Chapel Hill and joining a sorority, a group that was specifically for women?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Status, status.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was a group specifically for women, but it was more oriented to the social scene.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They were socially attractive women. That's what I was doing. I was still aware of my country, hard-poverty years, you know. I was trying to break out of my cocoon.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were at Chapel Hill, did you have any ties to or hear of anyone who was involved in any of the settlement house movements, maybe, or in the Women's Trade Union League? Or again, was the YWCA active at Chapel Hill?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, not at the time . . . oh, you were talking about the years I was in college. There wasn't any kind of socially conscious movement on the campus, as far as I know. There would be now, people, the Farm Workers group, that sort of thing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there just sort of this atmosphere that Chase set up

Page 53
of open inquiry. You said you were sort of influenced by Chase, President Chase.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh yes. The person I was really influenced by was Frank Graham. When Mildred was at Chapel Hillshe also will tell you about that probablyshe was a student of his, and he was an excellent teacher and had great influence on her. So he was still a teacher when I was there, and he was a decided good element to my way of thinking on the campus. But I didn't have any of his courses. I wasn't associated with him. I got to know him later on, of course, at the Southern Conference.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right, right. Did you have any contact with the people in the sociology department, like Howard Odum?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I lived next door to Howard Odum.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But were you aware of the work that that group was doing at the Institute?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was aware that there was work being done, but I was not aware of the content. I lived next to him when I was a child, and when I went back to college he was an established person, and I did not take any of his courses.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
One other thing about the Institute and Howard Odum and Frank Graham. Do you remember anything about the way most students regarded those people, Frank Graham, or Howard Odum? Did they have a lot of supporters, or were they sort of considered odd or unusual?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I think they were respected and it just wasn't a debated kind of thing, so far as my awareness of it was concerned.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then you graduated in December of 1930?

Page 54
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
'31. When I transferred from Women's College, I lost credit [unknown] So I had to [unknown] an extra quarter, and I was in the class of 1931.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So when you finished in 1931, you were thrown out of school right in the middle of the Depression. How did you and the people you graduated with sort of view the Depression? Did people think it would be over very quickly?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It's amazing to me, but I don't think we had any social consciousness at all about it. I knew that times were tough, and it was not going to be easy to get a job. There wasn't a bank open in Greensboro for several years. I had no idea of what to do about it. I was quite lucky to get a job reading proof on the Greensboro Daily News and learned a lot about reading proof, which has stood me in good stead forever.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you get that job?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I guess I applied, but I knew about it. Branson had worked in the office there, and Enoch had been a reporter for the Daily News. One of Mildred's and Branson's classmates, Ann Cantrell White, was the society editor. [unknown] Incidentally, she's about the only person I see when I go back to Greensboro. She's now retired from the Daily News, but she is still living in Greensboro. I had dinner with her when I was there in 1973, and I shall be in touch with her.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Ann Cantrell White?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. She now writes feature articles. She's old enough so that, you know, she's been retired for some years. But she does special pieces.

Page 55
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see. So how long did you work with her?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I didn't really. I was reading copy, and then every so often I would get an assignment to do a story. I was assigned to do some social stories, and, when she was away on vacation, to do the social page. I didn't work there very long because it was a job that required working at night. It was just no good, you know, for a young girl working at night, then to have only the morning. Now I think that would be a fine arrangement. I would love having mornings, but then for a young girl it wasn't good.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who were you living with in Greensboro at the time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was living with my mother there in the nice house, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did she feel about your coming back from school and going to work? Did she sort of expect you to get married? Was there anyone around to marry?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She never expected of me to get married. If I had dates and went out, she tried to be agreeable about it. But she would always sit up until I got home at night, which was much better than her saying, "You will be home by this and such a time." [Laughter] I knew that she tried to be very careful about it, but she did not promote my social life at all with men, except to oversee my clothes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The year after you left Chapel Hill and went to Greensboro, did you have an active social life? Working, I guess, nights that limited you.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's what I got fed up about, is that it just wasn't possible to do anything about it. So I quit, and got a job, and learned to type at the expense of the Vick Chemical Company when they were introducing their

Page 56
cough drops. That was before processing letters came along, and we individually typed letters to every doctor in the country, the same letter. A whole crew of us, you know, just over and over again. But it let me say, when I went to apply for a job that I knew how to type, you know, I had a skill.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was learning clerical work, gaining clerical skills at that time sort of a more forward-thinking thing to do? Was it if you have the alternative of teaching school or going into business or becoming a secretary, were people interested in doing something different or unusual, taking a secretarial route?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
There wasn't as much as now. My sister Branson, for instance, had good secretarial jobs in Greensboro. So it must have been a difference in the people, and me and her, for instance. She turned out to be a successful businesswoman later on in life. I've never been successful in business, you know, never been a business-minded person.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I guess I mean as far as the things that you had open to you to do. Did learning how to type open a wider variety of things? Was that one of the things that you could do?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Just think for yourself in a town like that, with not a bank open. There just weren't jobs, that's all there was to it. There just weren't jobs. That's the reason it was very foolish of me to quit the Greensboro Daily News the way I did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well then, how long did you stay with the Vick Chemical Company?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, that was just a matter of months. Then Branson and her husband, Bob Daniel, were trying desperately to make a living as all

Page 57
of us were in the Depression years. Bob went to New York and worked as a salesman of office furniture, and Branson got a job working in Macy's executive offices. So they were not very good jobs, but they and Teeny had an apartment in the Village. They let me sleep on the couch in their living room. Bob told them, when he sold the International Paper Company a filing system, he said he had an expert installator. So he got hold of me and said, "Come quick. You're an expert installator."
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He called you or wrote to you in Greensboro?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. So I picked up and went to New York, and as I say, they put me up. [unknown] That's another example, you see, of the family relationship. We accepted responsibility for each other. We were a unit.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did your mother react to your going to New York?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She was worried about my not having a job because by that time, the situation with Jimmy in South America was not good; he had been involved in the war between Paraguay and Bolivia. He waa a doctor, but it got very difficult for him to continue sending money. And there weren't members of the family to finance me or her. So, what to do? She came out west to stay with my brother Tom and his family, and I just had to find a job somehow or another. So it wasn't any romantic trip or anything else, but looking for work. It was a simple economic necessity. I had to have a job, and how was I going to get it?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And New York happened to be the place.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
And Bob pulled this little business.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, once you got to New York, what was your life like?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
A friend of Teeny's, I guess, had a friend who was coming up from Alabama to study at the New York School of Social Work. So they said maybe she and we could look for a place to live together. I was making twenty dollars a week at the International Paper Company. Her name was Margaret Shook, [unknown] called Tommy. Tommy and I looked for an apartment. We found one for forty dollars a month that we thought we could live in. That was [unknown] twenty dollars apiece, which was about what we could pay: one week's pay. I lived there for about a year. Oh, that's where I first really learned something about cooking and living separately, and so forth. It was a very, very pleasant place.
Then I started getting salary cuts of ten percent. Then when the third ten percent cut came I looked for another job.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you eventually have to give up your apartment?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I gave up the apartment when Tommy married Foster Nix. So I had to look for another place to live. There's no sense in going into all the intermediate things, but I eventually answered an ad in the New York Times, I guess it was, of someone who had an apartment to share in the neighborhood. It was on Commerce Street, which was the same block I had been living on, at Bedford [unknown] Street. So I answered it, and I did start to share that small apartment with Hope Sterling, her name was, who was a nice enough person in a way. But we really weren't very congenial. However, we not only lived in that apartment [unknown] but we moved over on another side of the same block, over on Morton

Page 59
Street, and lived over there for about a year or so. It was sort of just a business arrangement; we got along all right. We sometimes went to concerts together.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What were you doing for the International Paper Company at that time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, I was installing that file system that Bob Daniel had sold them and told them that he had a trained installator. So I was trying to work on that. Then when I got the third ten percent pay cut, I realized it was impossible for me to live on that. So I sort of took a flyer, and told a tale that I was sick, and didn't come in for a week, and used the time to look for another job because what was I to do? It was sort of a tough situation. I don't know whether it was unethical or not; maybe so. But anyhow, I got a job working for the French Management Company, the builders and owners of two city housing developments over by the East River. I also told them that I knew shorthand, but I only knew it from lunch time going to the continuation school next door to the Daily News building where the International Paper Company was located. I went over there for lunch hours and tried to learn something about it, but not very well [Laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you work in Tudor City?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What kinds of things did you do there?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, as secretary to an executive. He wasn't the manager, but he was sort of a representative of the company. He had a top job there

Page 60
anyhow. So I was working as secretary to him, and it wasn't a very congenial arrangement because for one thing, I wasn't qualified for the job, and he wasn't interested in the kinds of things that I did know how to domy writing interests, and that sort of thing. It wasn't long before I got fired, and that was at the time [unknown] when things were very difficult in the Depression, and the day that I got fired from that, it was a day of some sort of national business crisis.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was in 1932.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, it must have been 1932. Well, I just can't recall. But the thing I remember about it was the film, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" which was just playing then. So I walked across town on 42nd Street and went over to [unknown] that movie to give myself a little boost. I couldn't afford to go to the movie, but this was a big fling. I had to go down to stay with my sisters with whom my mother was living at that time. She had come back from California.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She came back then.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Came back east from California. Teeny and Branson didn't have a sumptuous apartment at all, but they did manage to try to find a place for me to sleep in the living room since [unknown] I was, without a job. I had no financial reserves at all, as you can imagine. So when I went to live with them, I looked for a place to live and for a job. I was very lucky to get a job, making what was then the munificent sum of twenty-five dollars a week. That was really big pay, and that's when I started to work for the Insurance Brokers Association of New York

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down on Johns Street. With having a job, I looked for a place to live. That's when I went to share the apartment with Hope Sterling on Commerce Street.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you worked for the Insurance . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Insurance Brokers Association.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The Insurance Brokers Association. You edited their journal for them, didn't you?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was the only secretary in the office. There was a manager and a man who did the bookkeeping. I did the secretarial things around. But in the course of that, I acquired the skill of running a mimeograph machine, and I took minutes of the meetings, and so forth. Then they published this monthly magazine called The Broker Age. I was able to use my journalistic interests so [unknown] that I got to be associate editor of that magazine. [unknown] The six years that I worked there I got small raises, but not anything very big.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were going from job to job, the job at the International Paper Company and then the job with the French Company, and then finally the job eventually editing The Broker Age. . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
The secretary in that office, and then I got to be the associate editor.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you feel like you were sort of building a career?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, this was strictly a struggle for survival.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Just to get enough money to live.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. That's all I could do. This was in the

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height of the Depression. I was trying to just make out. That's all I was trying to do. Because of my transfer, not having in New York real experience and so forth, it was tough going. And I was rather proud of myself that I managed to survive under those circumstances because there were many, many unemployed.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was happening to Teeny and to Branson at this same time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They were both working at steady jobs, Branson as the secretary to the economist at Macys, R. H. Macys, and Teeny doing some sort of bookkeeping job at Peck Peck, you know, the specialty shops. So they worked steadily, but they didn't make a lot of money because this was Depression years, and there just weren't those kind of things. Bob also was having tough sledding trying to sell office furniture. So we were hard up.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were Branson and Teeny living together most of that time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, the three of them continued to share the apartment on Perry Street where they had taken me in when I first came to New York. Then they moved to Hudson Streetyou probably don't know the geography of the Village, but anyhow, that was in the neighborhood. By that time, Branson and Bob were separatedI don't remember about that; that's her story, not mine. But anyhow, the going was tough in the Depression years, as you may have read. I hope you never have that experience.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering if you could sort of describe what it was like to be in New York, not from the job perspective or economic

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perspective, but from a social or cultural or political perspective. I have a sense that a lot of young people like you and your sisters who were living there at that time sort of enjoyed a . . . there was a certain atmosphere about living in New York or in the Village at that time. Am I being too romantic about it?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. If it's romantic, it's the same sort of romanticism that I have. The Village was an interesting place to live at that time, particularly for young people. It was a place that one could get around in easily. I didn't hesitate to go anywhere in New York day or night by myself. I was in entirely different circumstances. I happened to have two friends from the University of North Carolina who were sharing an apartment over in the Washington Square area. It was very nice for me to have that kind of built-in friendship. I was beginning to know other people too.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
These were people you had known at Chapel Hill?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. They had been in the university at the same time I was thereEdna Fussell, who was from Rose Hill, North Carolina and Virginia Payne, who was from Tennessee, who later became my very good friend when I moved to Washington. I'll tell you about my long association; I'm still friends with Virginia Payne and her husband. I knew him before they were married, and so forth. Anyhow, they were good friends. Then I had a friend from Greensboro High School. [interruption]
Here we go again. What were we saying?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You were saying that you had a friend also from Greensboro

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you had known in high school.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, a high school friend who had married the rabbi in Greensboro, and he went to work in Brooklyn. So they lived out in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, and I saw quite a bit of them. She is still a friend of mine also. She's now living in Greensboro.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
O.K. So you had this sort of network. . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I had some contact. I was not isolated, and knowing a few people, and Mildred and Branson knew people. Margaret Shook, of course, and her husband were living there. I knew people around.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you begin to meet new people, sort of building from your southern friends out to meet new people?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, that's right, uh hub.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you meet any of the people who were with the YWCA in New York or with the Women's Trade Union League?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I did not. This was my own fault. I was not social conscious enough to know about looking for them, so I didn't get acquainted at all with them until at a later age in that very important part of my life, which I will talk about. Through sister Teeny I became acquainted with the Trade Union movement.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What kinds of things did you and your friends do in New York at that time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I managed somehow or another, even with my very low income, to go to almost everything on Broadway that I wanted to see. There was a way of going at the last minute and to Gray's on Time Square and getting tickets at a very cut-rate price, the ones that were left over, not sold.

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So I managed, as I say, to go to the theater. Then otherwise, it was simply a socialite. Hope Sterling was interested in going to the symphony concerts, and it was a great thing. It was when Toscanini was conducting. We would go, and again, get the cheapest seats to sit at the top balcony at Carnegie Hall. It was a great new experience for me; I was fascinated with it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was the lifestyle that people had? Were people sort of holding to social traditions that they had known in Greensboro or in Chapel Hill, or did any of the people you were around begin to sort of live in a looser, freer sort of way?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, you're very minded that this was in the height of the Depression. We were all managing to get along and having whatever fun we could. That also was a prohibition era, so that was one reason that there was a lot of drinking going around. There was a bathtub gin era because that was the only way people could finance a social life, by going across to New Jersey and buying some big A, and then make some bathtub gin, and have a party, and invite people in.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But that you would do, the friends you were with?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So that was a fairly common thing.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Uh huh, uh huh. I never made bathtub gin. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You never made it yourself.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. But what I was saying was we managed to be joyful in very limited circumstances.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were any of the people you were around or were you yourself

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politics at that time at all?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Not at all, not at all. We were about the same involved that we had been in Greensboro of being aware of such magazines as The Nation and The New Republic, though I never had money enough to subscribe. The new school for social research was opening up over there. I took courses there at a later date, but I did not do it at that time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then you worked with the insurance company for six years and left them in . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
1939.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
. . . 1939. Didn't you take a tour of Europe during the summer one summer?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh yes, I did indeed. [unknown] Mildred, and Harold were going on a trip to Europe, primarily to the Soviet Union. They had some friends who were leading the tour, and they had sort of assistant conductors of the tour. So they thought it would a great thing for me to be able to go. Well, I'm a tight-fisted kind of person. Somehow or another, I had several hundred dollars that I had saved from my pay at the Insurance Brokers' Association. The cost of the tour for six weeks was six hundred dollars, as I remember it. I managed to get together half of it, and Mildred and Harold lent me the other half, which I paid back to them in dribbles when we got back. But that was a big, new experience for me.
During that time, Teeny had heard about the, it was an office workers union in the AF of L, CIO, the Bookkeepers, Stenographers, and Accountants Union. So she found out where their meetings were held, and she said, "Let's go." So I said, "Okay, let's

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go." I was just interested in anything. We went, and I was quite interested in that. Later on when the CIO was foundedthe Industrial Union thingsthat group of office workers formed the United Office and Professional Workers, I guess it was called. I was interested in that and was very, very active in it. I brought that up because I was thinking about this trip to Europe. I had begun, from these people that I met in the union, to get perspective because the union was mostly made up of people who worked in the trade union offices. So there were varying degrees of politics in the membership, and there was a perspective on the outside world such as I had not had before. So I was very much interested in going on the trip to Europe and going to the Soviet Union to see for myself what was going on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had you joined the Officeworkers Union?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh yes, I had joined the Officeworkers Union of the AF of L Bookkeepers, Stenographers, and Accountants.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And the Insurance Brokers Association thought that was fine?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, of course they didn't at all. I had to be very quiet about that and didn't say anything about it at all because the man I worked for, [unknown] well, I'll just say that he said that he thought that Herbert Hoover was the greatest statesman who ever lived. And so there wasn't much conversation about current affairs.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
. . . Politics. Could you tell me a little bit about the trip that you went on, what your impression was of the Soviet Union, where you went, what you saw.

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. We went on the Polish linear, the Batory, which is still in existence I understand. We landed in Copenhagen and stayed there for about a week. Harold had been to a workers' school of some kind outside of Copenhagen, so he was familiar with the set-up and he was an excellent guide to getting acquainted in the first foreign city that I lived in.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He had been at this school earlier?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, that's right. He had been at this school while he was still in school. He had managed to go to this school, and I have just forgotten exactly what the name of it was and the location. I simply remember that he was an excellent person to introduce me to the first foreign country that I ever was in. We went from Denmark across thethe geography escapes me now; I know quite well. I guess it's the Kattegat. [unknown] Anyhow, we went over to Sweden and then up to the capital of Sweden . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Stockholm?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Stockholm, yes. My mind, you can see, shows my sixty-seven years. . . . And stayed there, and that was when Stockholm was getting much talked about in this country because of its following what it called the "middle way" of trying to be in between the capitalist and the socialist economy. Again, Harold was informed about it and was a good person to give information about that beautiful city and the country. So this was a very stimulating experience for me. From Stockholm, we went to Helsinki in Finland and stayed there a few days, which was mostly memorable, as far as I was concerned, by the Finnish

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baths. Something entirely new experience. Then we went by train from Helsinki to Leningrad and stayed in Leningrad for about a week. Leningrad, as you know, is a beautiful city with a tremendous history. Part of the tremendous history is the Russian revolution, the historic sites there. The Hermitage museum was really the best museum I had ever, ever been toan enormous collection of the French impressionists and of the great artists of all around. There's no sense in my talking about the history of the Hermitage. It's well known. But that was a very stimulating and awarding trip there to Leningrad. Then we went on by train to Moscow, and there again, there were all sorts of things. There was a friend of Mildred's who had worked for the YWCA in Moscow. She had left for reasons I don't quite recall. But anyhow, she left Mildred introductions to some of the people that she had known in Moscow, including a woman who had worked in the office or something or other and had been connected with Lenin. We went to see her in her small apartment where she lived. Remember, I was rather young., and I was uninformed. This was a very stimulating system. Then the Pushkin museum, the modern art museum in Moscow is wonderful. We lived across the Moscow River. We could see the Kremlin across the river, but I never went in the Kremlin. Whether it wasn't possible to get tours; it was not as open in the Soviet Union as it is now. It was not as easy to go to these places. One had to have an in-tourist guide who went with us all the time, someone who could translate for us and arrange the trips that we wanted to make. There was very little of my being able to go out alone, not because of restrictions but because even though I tried

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hard to learn some Russian before I went, I did not have really enough to manage. I can remember, though, going somewhere or another and written out the name of the place where I wanted to go, and how very kind the people on the streetcar were about being helpful and showing me where to get off, and exactly showing it. So I got a friendliness towards the Russian people because of their friendliness to us. It developed further in the course of that six-weeks tour that we had.
We went from Moscow over to the Volga, and there again, my memory falters about the river port on the Volga where we got the steamer and went down the Volga River for about four or five days, down to what was called Stalingrad. I believe it had some other name at that time, but I can assure you in the course of later years, I remembered very well that stay in Stalingrad because it was a developing, industrial city there on the Volga River. It was a most interesting experience to be there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you very much in tune with and aware of different forms of industrial development, of cooperatives being set up? Were you able to see?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was not. I had a boyfriend in New York who, I think he was probably a Communist. No, I didn't inquire; it was none of my business. But anyhow, as a going-away present, he gave me the Webbs' book. I took with me those two thick volumes in my limited baggage that I had to take their story better. So I tried to study as much as I could before-hand to see what they had to say about the Soviet society. I wanted to learn, and believe me, I had much to learn.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were in Stalingrad, though, what was involved in being excited about it, being a developing industrial area? What was most memorable about that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I expressed myself badly. I say I was interested in the industrial city and the development. But because of the later history of Stalingrad, my somewhat short time there and limited experience came back to me vividly when Stalingrad got to be the crucial battle in the war later on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
As you were traveling, were you awarethis was in the summer of 1936.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
'36? I'd have to stop to figure. I don't believe it was '36. I think it was '35, but it may have been '36. I would have to count back to be sure about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you aware of Stalin coming into power, of a change in Russian society, or in Europe at large of a growing fascist threat?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I was somewhat aware of it. On that same trip, we were routed back to spend one or two nights [unknown] in Berlin. I knew a little bit of German because I'd had it in college, so I could talk fairly well. I remember going to a restaurant and striking up a conversation with a woman, and asking her about Hitler. She told me about how I could walk up and see the place where Hitler lived. We were right in the city. I was very much in opposition to the Nazi government. As a matter of fact, I had first learned about that, I remember vividly, from Oscar Coffin in my journalism class at Chapel Hill. One day we had been given the assignment to write a story about what seemed the most significant event

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that was taking place since we read the newspapers. I've forgotten what I wrote about, but Mr. Coffin pointed out to us that the most significant thing that was in the papers at that time was the Nazi conquest of Germany, the Hitler development. So, I had had not very well informed but some knowledge of what was going on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you, or were Harold and Mildred very optimistic about what was going on in Russia and the whole possibility of a different kind of social system?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
We were very much interested about it. Harold, particularly, was well informed about it. He's a student of these things, and he was well informed. Mildred also knew a good bit more about it. They will tell you about that. In comparison to me, they were quite well informed.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you came back to New York, you continued working for the Insurance Brokers Association?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Let me just tell you . . . yes, I did continue. I had got that leave, and the man I worked for was a postage stamp collector. He said I could have a leave off if I would collect postage stamps for him. This was unpaid of course. I was able to sublease my share of the apartment with Teeny to a girl from Greensboro, who came up and paid the rent while I was gone. So it took quite a bit of planning, and it worked out very well.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You stayed with the company through 1939.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, but just briefly, since you were asking about the impressions of the Soviet Union. We went to Rostov-on-Don next. We had

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with us several of my friends because just as Mildred and Harold had told me about the trip, I told my friends. My cousin, Martha Price from Miami, went, and two very close friends. So we were known on the tour as "The Price girls." They were not Prices, but anyhow, we were a body. One of them, one of the Price girls, whose name was Betty May, was my particular friend. In Rostov, she came down with tourista very seriously. You know what tourista is. So I stayed behind with her when the rest of the tour went over to the Caucasus. She and I stayed in Rostov until she was able to travel. Then we traveled alone [unknown] across the Black Sea to, I guess it was Sevastopol. [unknown] Then, that's it, we went [unknown] to Yalta. Here we were, two on our own, and my limited Russian. We didn't have an In-tourist guide, but I had by that time learned enough Russian. The coaches on the railroad, the sleeping accommodation, were not separated by sexes. The gentleman who had the berth in the room where Betty and I were staying, I could talk to them well enough to carry on some sort of conversation and to pass the time. But that was a stimulating experience for me because it gave me confidence in being able to manage in a foreign country. Here I was very much on my own, and it was enormously interesting. You can imagine it was. We joined up with the rest of the tour in Yalta. They came back across there and then finished it on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they, the people on the train and the people you were with when your friend was sick, were you always received very warmly? Were they curious about Americans, or were they hostile to Americans?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Our conversation was limited, but I found without exception that the people I came in contact with in the Soviet Union were well-mannered

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and kind. No problems.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then when you came back you continued working until 1939 with this group. Then didn't you work for E. P. Dutton for a short while?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
After I'd been at the Insurance Brokers for six years, I wanted to get another job because the insurance business was not my line of trade, really. I came to the conclusion that the only way I could get another job would be just to leave and spend my time looking. It wasn't possible for me, particularly since this was downtown New York and I didn't care to work in Wall Street or in [unknown] John Street, which is the insurance area. So, I just gave notice and left having again, in my penny-pinching way, [unknown] put a small amount of money aside from my weekly pay. I started out looking, and I had several jobs, the most [unknown] interesting of which was working for the editor at E. P. Dutton while his secretary was on vacation.
While I was still there, a friend of a friend came to see me and said that her husbandsomehow in the same Long Island society that Walter Lippmann and his wife had moved in and she knewthat he was looking for a secretary and had asked her if she knew anybody to recommend. She came to see me, and on the basis of a mutual [unknown] acquaintance, she gave me an introduction to him. We made arrangements about my going down to Washington to interview him.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He was with the New York Herald Tribune, and he was the Washington correspondent?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, his newspaper column"Today and Tomorrow" was [unknown] syndicated by the New York Herald Tribune. He had an office in the Herald Tribune building in New York, but

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he lived in Washington. So it was a matter of working in Washington and occasionally going to the office in New York City. He agreed to hire me, [unknown] his contract with the Herald Tribune including their providing him with a secretary and a research assistant, so that I was on the payroll of the New York Herald Tribune. But I was really under the entire supervision of Mr. Lippmann. So he worked in the library in his home in Georgetown in Washington, and the research assistant and secretary had an office in a room built over the garage in the back.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who was the research assistant?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I beg your pardon?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You worked as the research assistant?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, he had two people working for him, a secretary and a research assistant. By that time, my shorthand was good enough so that I had no problems about that. I worked for him there for three and a half years. During that time, I had some very interesting experiences. The first summer that I went to work for him, they had rented Admiral Byrd's summer place up on Mt. Desert in Maine. So I went up there for that summer. I lived in a farmhouse close by and went over to work with him. The Lippmanns were always very civil to me. Well, that was it. He knew about social procedures, they knew how to behave correctly. [unknown] They both, and I, liked to walk, and we were apt to go out, not walking togetherwe did not infringe on each other's territory although I was occasionally invited to stay for lunch [unknown] when I was over there working. Anyhow, we did stay there.
Then the other interesting trips that I had with him, I went to both

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of the national political conventions during the course of the time, one when Roosevelt was nominated in Chicago for his, it must have been, third term. I've forgotten about it. Anyhow, we were there for the entire time of the convention. Then when Wendell Wilkie was nominated by the Republicans in Philadelphia, we went to that trip also. Then in 1941, it was obvious about the war developing and that the United States was becoming more and more involved in it. He wanted to go on a trip on the west coast to see what the war installations, the war industry were. So I came with him because he was writing all of the time his column, you see, was [unknown] . I've forgotten how long that trip was, about a month, I think. Anyhow, we were in the Pasadena-Los Angeles area and then on up to Seattle and Portland and back. It was a very interesting experience for me.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, this was the first time you had lived in Washington or attended political conventions? You were really sort of thrust into the mainstream of what was going on.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. I remember my first vote was for Roosevelt. I registered and voted in New York, and I voted for him. But that was the extent of my knowledge of political affairs. I just had not been in any contact with them at all whereas in Washington Lippmann knew everybody. He wanted me to come down and work in his office there for a few days before we went to Maine so that I would be adjusted to it. I went down on a trip with him to Washington. I was quite thrust in the middle of things. He said that what he wanted to do on that day or two that he was going to be there was he wanted to see Roosevelt, and he wanted to see

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Dean Atchison who was Secretary of State oh, Cornell Hull, I guess it was, the Secretary of State. But Dean Atchison was a friend, so he said to call up and see when he could come to get appointments [Laughter] . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
. . . all three of the gentlemen, you see, did see him on that trip. He was an important person in Washington, and there was much talk that he was to be Secretary of State. Then there's been gossipif you're at all interested in that periodthat he got very cross with Roosevelt because he didn't get the appointment. I don't know what truth there was about it at all. Anyhow, he didn't favor the Roosevelt administration as it went along in the later part of it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you tend to see eye to eye with him politically?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. He had been a socialist at Harvard, as you know. You remember his background, that he was Lincoln Stephen's protege brought from Harvard. He was very sophisticated politically. He was not aligned at that time, so far as I know, in politics in any way. But I learned a lot from him. I typed the two books that he wrote during the time that I worked with him. When the research assistant would be away, I had to double as the research assistant, just as she had to double for me when I was on vacation. I learned a lot with him, and I was occasionally invited to their social gatheringsa couple of dinner parties, you know, the formal dinner parties kind of thing. They were nice. I got an orientation towards the political scene and the social scene that was very helpful to me.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you sort of grow in the same direction that Lippmann did

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as far as being critical of the New Deal, or were you always a supporter of the New Deal and of Roosevelt?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was not at all active in politics. I don't really remember during those years I worked for Lippmann where I went to vote. I wasn't a member of any political club.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So the opinions you had about the New Deal were just sort of on issues as they came up or on individual
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. I was getting along in years. I had my thirtieth birthday during that time, and it was high time that I became aware of what was going on. In the course of development from the Depressionaffairs in New York, my activity in the Trade Union movement, and my working for LippmannI was automatically a member of the newspaper guild because the newspaper guild had a closed shop with the Herald Tribune. But I did not go to, oh, more than a few guild meetings in Washington. I was not active in the guild. For one thing, the members of it were in a different scene since I worked at Lippmann's house. We syndicated the . . . the articles went out through the Washington Post, and I was much in touch with the people there. They sent somebody every morning to pick up the articles from him on the days of the week that he wrote. He wrote three days a week. There's very much close connection there.
I made reference to Virginia Payne, whom I'd known in New York City. When I was going to go to Washington, I wrote her to ask her what she could suggest about a place to live. She wrote back to say that she was living in a walk-up apartment on Columbia Avenue, I think it was, and it wasn't

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a fine apartment with fancy plumbing and so forth. It was better than outdoors, she said, and it was inexpensive. There were two rooms to it, which meant a degree of privacy, and I could come and share her apartment with her. She had been working for the government for some time, and so she knew people. I had sort of a built-in opportunity to meet people.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Where was she working at that time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I have just plain forgotten what department with the government.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
With one of the agencies?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, she worked with one of the agencies of the government, and I've just forgotten about which one it was. I could find out. I didn't send any Christmas cards this year, but if I'd been sending one, I would have sent her her's.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said that you didn't have any evolving opinion really about the New Deal or about Roosevelt. What about World War II and our entry into World War II? Did you take a position on World War II?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, very, very definitely. I was in favor of that. I worked in the civilian defense, and I did whatever I could as one did at that time. One did whatever one could. I developed a very strong feeling about fascism.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In Harold Coy's book on the Prices he says that during this whole period, the thirties and up until '43, I guesshe talked about when you left Lippmann's office or stopped working for Lippmannhe said that you were thoroughly acclimated to working in a man's world, but you were no less a woman for having done so. [Laughter]

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
You would have to ask Harold what he meant about that. Like any young woman, I was interested in young men. So I had various romances or people who would take me dancing. You know, there was no matrimony.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have any feeling of the way your family viewed your career, that they viewed your working, continuing to work, or was it a perfectly natural thing that you had to work to support yourself?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I had to work. There was no question about that. There wasn't much a choice about it. By that time, I was fairly successful, and so my family would have been pleased about that because when I went to work for Lippmann, I made the munificent salary of $50 a week, which was a big step up from the $35 I'd been making at the Insurance Brokers. And it was considered to be a very good salary at that time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was that a job, more than the others that you'd had before, that you were really satisfied with, that was stimulating and exciting?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, it was very stimulating and exciting, and I liked it quite a bit. The fact that I left after 3½ years had nothing to do about whether that job was stimulating. In fact, it was so much so that I began to have ideas about doing things while I was still young enough to do it, to try to get myself involved in things that more personally concerned me, not to be a secretary forever, but to involve myself in things I was interested in.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you do when you left Lippmann? Where did you work then?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I took a summer off and went to Mexico. Wright and

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Arla were living in Mexico, so that worked very well. After I stayed with them briefly, I found an apartment with the help of Wright's secretary and wrote to my friend, Virginia Payne in Washington, why didn't she come down. So she did, and the two of us had quite a pleasant summer in Mexico.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why was Wright in Mexico?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
He was working for the Henry J. Kaiser Company. He was running the Mexican office. Wright is a civil engineer. He has lived all over the world in various assignments for Kaiser Engineers. That particular assignment was in Mexico at that time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then when you came back, did you move back to New York?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
When I came back, I decided one of the reasons that I left Lippmann was that I decided that I really liked New York better as a place to live than Washington. I thought it was a more stimulating place. It certainly has a better climate. So, as a matter of fact, when I got back I looked for a job in Washington, and Lippmann was simply wonderful about giving the introduction to all top . . . he knew only the top people, of course, in the various agencies. I was able to get appointments whereverat the State Department, and at the OSS, and so forth and so on. But whether it was because of my having been active in the trade union movement in New York, in other words, whether there was a mark against my record of that, or whether my personality and experience did not approve, anyhow, those jobs did not quite pan out. But that's the way it is.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would they ask you if you had been involved in the trade

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union movement? Was that a stock question?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, but I suppose that me and my still country kind of way that people asked me about what my interests would be.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
That, you said, was one of your interests?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't know. It's been a long time ago. The very much inquiry into people's lives was just beginning then in the OSS. You can imagine that sort of thing. It's been so long ago. But I'm just [unknown] speculating about what happened. Anyhow, none of those jobs in Washington worked out.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Lippmann did understand about why you wanted to leave then?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
He seemed so, and he was very good about saying he would do whatever he could. He gave me introductions. And when I went to Mexico, he gave me an introduction to the ambassador in Mexico, whose secretary happened to have been an old friend of Mildred's from Chicago. Through themthe ambassador didn't do anything about entertaining me himselfbut he gave me introductions to people who did. Lippmann gave me an introduction to someone who had handled the Spanish translation of one of his books. I had some good contacts there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So then you decided to move back to New York?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Things were not developing in Washington, and while the applications were still in, I decided that I should go and look in New York because my meager resources would not carry me very far. I needed to get a job. I couldn't play the negotiating and waiting game.
So I went to New York, and I remember quite vividly I was having lunch at some place on 42nd Street. I looked down toward the McGraw-Hill building

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and said, "Well now that, the Business Week, that's a good magazine. I like that. I believe I'll just go by their personnel office and make an application to see what about." So I went by, and it was a fortuitous circumstance. The personnel office, they had just had a request forI've forgotten what you would call itbut anyhow, it was not a top reporter but an assistant reporter on the Business Week editorial staff. They asked me if I would be interested in going up and talking to the managing editor there. Yes, I would be very interested indeed. So I went up to see him, and I won't go into the details. Anyhow, they said did I want to come to work the following Monday? I did want to come to work there the following Monday. I liked very much working for Business Week, but there again after three, four years, however long it was, I was not married and it began to be obvious that I wasn't going to be able to do the home and family bit. I had to figure out for myself what I would do. I was not really most interested in the business world. I was more interested in the social scene than I was in the business world.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered if, at that time, you were sort of becoming more and more aware of social problems. . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
. . . And if a conflict didn't develop as you were working for Business Week.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It developed in me personally because I just thought that I had better concern myself with the things to develop a life for myself around the things that I was interested in.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
The time you were working for Business Week during that three or four years from '43, I guess, until '45 or so, were you able to do things along the lines that you were interested in, along social concerns, more social concerns, after work?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
To a certain extent. I maintained my friendship with the people I had known in the Office Workers Union. Oh, I went to the Democratic Club in the Village where I was living. But there's not a great bit of it, just the normal kind of interest that I would have. But I decided that I was really more concerned about social issues than I was about business issues. And mind you, I had done some very serious, not just articles but special studies. For instance, one of the last things that I did on Business Week was to write one of the long pieces about the pension system as it was then. In the course of time, I continued to write. I was listed as a staff member and continued to do . . . as I say, thus and such is an interesting idea. Would you like to have a story about it? And I continued for several years to do special articles.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Even after you left?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, and I was paid on the basis . . . I've forgotten what it was. But anyhow, it was a nice supplement to be able to do.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there ever a time when you wanted to write about something in one way and they sort of saw it in a different way?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, because I had Oscar Coffin and my journalism career had strict journalistic standards. And I still have them. If we were not talking about this, I could give you much oration about the San Francisco

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Chronicle and about the editorial standards. I'm very strict in my idea of not carrying over your personal views into your reporting material.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you decided that you would like to pursue your interest in social issues and social concerns on a more permanent, sort of fulltime basis. What was the first opportunity that you had to do thatthrough working with the Southern Conference?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
My friends at the Office Workers Union, Louis Merril who was president of the Union at that time, persuaded me that I should quit Business Week and come and do publications for the Office Workers Union. So as I look back on it, it is one of the most foolish things that I ever did, to quit what was in many ways the best job I ever had to go for a romantic notion that I had about the trade union movement. But anyhow, that's what I did. That just was a foolish venture. I didn't get along very well. In the course of the time that I was working for the Union, I went as the Union representative to a dinner that was held. Just exactly what that dinner was, I don't know. It was at the Commador Hotel. One remembers inconsequential things. Anyhow, seated at the same table with me were Clark Foreman and Palmer Weber. I don't know whether you ever knew Palmer Weber or not. He was from Virginia, and Clark, you know very well about his background. One of the Alexander family from Philadelphia was also at that table. I thought of him in connection with his being in the Cabinet, you know, Transportation, one of the members of that family. But anyhow, it was an interesting bunch of people at that dinner. It happened againcircuitousthat

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the Southern Conference for Human Welfare did not have a branch, or whatever they called ita committeein North Carolina. They wanted to know what I was doing, and I was working for the Office Workers Union. I was obviously not very well satisfied with it. So Palmer said, "Come around to see me at thus and such an address and we'll see about it." But he had immediately, you see, since they were looking for someone to work in North Carolina, and I had had the Trade Union experience, and I had had a little bit varied experience. So whatever the details were . . . he got in touch with Clark Foreman, who was president at that time. In the course of time, they offered me the job to organize the committee for North Carolina for the Southern Conference for Human Welfare.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had you heard about the Southern Conference before that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I heard about it because my friend, Virginia Payne, again was from Tennessee. She had known about it, and she was perhaps a little bit more hip than I was to what was going on in matters in the South. I had not kept up. She was a friend of Virginia Durr, and I had met Josephine Black, you know, Mrs. Hugo Black, who's Virginia Durr's sister, in Washington. As a matter of fact, Justice Black and Mrs. Black came over to our apartment one day. It was a big event. They came to tea one day. Anyhow, we were interested in what was going on. Mrs. Claude Pepper, you know, Senator Pepper . . . Mrs. Black and Virginia Payne were trying to help whatever her name was Pepper. Did I mention her name before? Anyhow, to be better suited to her job as a leading senator's wife. So Mildred Pepper, her name was, she had met her in Florida. She was a woman who had not had a broad range of experience, shall we say. So my interests, in

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one way or another, my interests in the South grew rapidly, my interest in public affairs. So this was a fortuitous circumstance for me to be offered a job to live in Greensboro, go back to my home town, and to work in North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you live with Virginia Payne the whole time you were in Washington? Did you two live together?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I did not. We continued to be good friends, but our apartment that we lived in was too small for us really. I was making enough money to be living a little bit better. I got an apartment, a house if you mind, we rented a furnished house in Georgetown with the girl who was doing the research job for Lippmann. And so we went out to live there. I won't go into the dull business about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were in Washington, you had met people like the Blacks, and the Peppers, and Virginia Durr who you sort of kept in contact with. It seems there's always been sort of a close relationship between people active in the South and groups in Washington, especially during this period. Were you sort of in touch with people you'd met
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Virginia Durr was very much a close contact. When I went to Washington to live, Mildred and Harold were living there. He was working on the writer's project, and my sister Branson was working there for the Labor Department. So my whole social outlook was considerably expanded.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you moved back to Greensboro and started working to set up to organize the committee for North Carolina.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I organized the Southern Conference for North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you see as your job? How did you envision what you had to do?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was enthusiastic about the interracial program of the Southern Conference and its general plan for raising the standard of living and the life in the South. I could state that better if I were sitting down with pencil and paper at hand.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The Southern Conference had been set up in 1938. How were you tuned in to how that organization had evolved from '38 to the time when you came in 1945? Did you sort of have any feeling about what has transpired during that time? Was it on the up? Was it beginning to sort of have trouble?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, it was not. It was a whole-hearted bunch of devoted people for whom I had great respectJim Dombrowski, and Clark Foreman, and of course Virginia Durr who continues to be a close friend after all these years, and many other people I could list, Mary McCloud, for instance. In Greensboro, there was Charlotte Hawkins Brown at the [unknown] Institute, and so forth. It was my first real experience of knowing personally outstanding black people. It was very stimulating to me.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you started setting up the committee in North Carolina, didn't you ask Reverend Lee Shepherd and work for the committee?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, no. I soon found out, and I knew enough about organizing, that if we expected to have an organization and get members, the first thing to do was to get someone who would agree to be chairman of the organizing committee and to get some other names of prominent people who would be in favor of this so that one could talk to people in terms of, these are the people who are interested in it. Dr. Frank Graham was

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a tower of strength to me in this respect because he was on the board and had been one of the founders of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. I had know him since I was a child in Chapel Hill, so that he gave me great help about telling me if I got a lead on who would be a good person; I would be able to ask him what do you know about this person? If he doesn't know, he'd say, "Well now, but there's somebody who may have been in touch with him." Just how I heard aboutyou just said his name, the Baptist . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Lee Shepherd.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, just exactly how I got referred to him, I don't know except the Pullen Memorial Church was more liberal than most churches, and I was very keen on getting this kind of view we needed to have if we were going to get this organized church support, some black support, some trade union support, some young people's support. Anyhow, I went to see Mr. Shepherd, and he did agree to be chairman, I guess we called it, of an organizing committee. Then to get a broader view, I heard about a man who had a tobacco warehouse in Smithfield, Laurence Wallace, and he was a great admirer of Dr. Graham. Dr. Graham had said to me, "Now, here's someone who is a businessman who might be willing to do." So I went down to Smithfield and got him to agree to be the vice-chairman. Charlotte Hawkins Brown was, as you know, at
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Could you tell me a little bit more about her? I know that she had been a founding member of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in the '20's. How old was she when you knew her, and what was she like to work with?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She was . . .I'm just guessing entirely, I would say about fifty at the time I knew her. In other words, she was older than I was. She had the great respect of the business community in Greensboro. She had managed to get her work done and to get her PR job done.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had you heard about her when you lived there before, or was she there at that time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, and I'm terribly embarrassed to say that I just knew nothing at all about the black community other than in the most awful kind of contacts.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, this was a totally different experience for you, to go back to North Carolina and have completely different kinds of contacts?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was she helpful to you in setting up the committee? Was she responsive to the whole idea?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, she was responsive to the whole idea but what she did was from her own office. She did not go out to try to see people and that sort of thing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But she continued giving you support and to try to get other people interested.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. And to give me guidance. That's what I needed, was guidance. I could remember the names of other people who were very helpful, such as the trade union people. I was given a place to work in the office of the trade union secretary and again, I could think of his name if I took your time to do it, but I can't. Anyhow, I was able to get this diversified experience and my brother, Paul, who lived there was very helpful

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to me, because at that time cars were difficult to get and I had to get around. The first time that I went around on the organizing job, I rode the buses. This was in the summertime, so I say that if I ever get to heaven, it was for that bus travel that I did in North Carolina in that summer.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you trying to get a basic group of people, a chairman, vice-chairman, who would be able to expand the membership in North Carolina? Were you actually trying to sign individuals up or were you trying to set up this framework for an organization?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was trying to get a framework and then to call a state meeting of whoever would come that wanted to come and was interested in it. I did publicity through the papers and was able to get some public notice about it and through the contacts and so that when we had our organizing meeting in Raleigh, I think it was . . .oh, there was a wonderful young woman named Carolyn Goldberg who was the newspaper woman and she was interested in the organization and she spent full-time doing publicity for that first meeting. She knew the publicity sources and so forth and she was a grand person. She later worked on the staff when we got to the point of having anybody in the staff. I've often thought, I don't know where Carolyn is now, but she was such a skilled newspaper woman that I hope she had a good career.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you had your first meeting in Raleigh, how many people came?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I would have to guess, and among the things I have of what I always thought would be a scrapbook, I would tear out stories and put them in and these days, I've still got a fat book of clippings which I have never

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gotten around to pasting up and getting in order and so forth, but my newspaper background had led me to clips and so, I don't remember how many people there were but there were enough people that I would guess that it must have been between twenty-five and fifty.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was that an optimistic meeting, about being able to set this up and get support within the state?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have trouble interesting southern liberals in North Carolina in doing this . . .from what you are saying, it sounds not like it was easy, but that you had basically a good response.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I had basically a good response and I had very good help. Frank Graham's name was magic and the Reverend Lee Shepherd, a Baptist minister with one of the largest churches in Raleigh, and Mr. Findlatter, do you know him? Well, he was very helpful. And Lawrence Wallace was . . . he was a state senator and they were just people who were wonderful. Louie Austin in Durham. Did you ever know him? He was the editor of a paper called The Carolinian, which was a very good paper aimed primarily at the black community.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was Louis Austin black?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. And there was a marvelous family called the Logans in Durham. He was a black businessman. Conrad Pearson, who was a black lawyer . . .they were just simply wonderful people.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you get more support or more enthusiastic response from the black communities than you did from white groups within North Carolina?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. On a numerical basis, no, but on a sociological basis, in

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other words, a black community saw the need more clearly for an interracial organization that was concerned about the economic status of the state. So, naturally, that was more appealing. Young people were very keen about these things, the students at Chapel Hill, for instance, and the students at other colleges in the state. We had good response from them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did any of the southern liberal groups in the state ever disappoint you by not supporting your work?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, naturally, the more support we had the better it would have been, but there was never any serious clash with people. On the whole, . . .you are acquainted with the writer, James Street, he wrote a great many books and lived in Chapel Hill at the time and he was a better known writer in the country. He was simply wonderful about it. I would go to see him and ask him and he would say that he couldn't do anything and that all he could do was to give contributions, which he would do. I would be apologetic about it because by that time I was trying to raise money that I was spending. I got paid from the Southern Conference but the expenses were more than that. He gave me a very severe lecture about being apologetic asking him for money. He said, "Look, I'm not doing the things that are you are doing and I'm the one that should be grateful to you." It was a gracious speech and that was somewhat typical, I would say. The Green family, for instance, the wonderful Green brother-in-law who was . . .whatever, there again, it is hard for me to remember, but it was just invaluable. We wanted to run someone for Congress in that Congressional district and . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In Chapel Hill?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. And he gave wonderful leads about recommending someone

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that would be good and might do it, and then talking to him about it. So the man did run . . .this was later on, because obviously the Southern Conference didn't have any political things except, of course, that it felt that would be part of the more general upgrading if we had more liberal . . .and there was Douglas Maggs at the Duke Law School, who was an invaluable help. I'm just saying that these are the kinds of people. Then in Charlotte, there was a woman who was a YWCA secretary and knew her way around . . .oh, and that great fellow who edited the Jewish magazine in Charlotte . . .he's nationally well known, you would know his name very well . . .and Burt Davis, who was a reporter on the Charlotte Observer. He was on our executive committee. Just terrific people who were helpful in this thing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You mentioned a couple of times the support that Frank Graham gave you and how important that was for you. How would you compare him to other southern liberals, in North Carolina and the South?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
One says "liberal," and one has the question about whether a liberal is one who is just the least little bit optimistic but wishy-washy when the pinch comes. Frank Graham never was wishy-washy. He had a body of principles which he lived by. He was really a wonderful fellow.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you always know where he stood and what he meant by what he said and that he would back up what he said?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, that's right. He was an honest man. When you asked him something, he would give you an answer.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered when you got the committee set up, what relation you had to the CIO in particular? You mentioned trying to get labor support.

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
The textile union was the biggest union in the state and I worked very hard trying to get contacts with the textile unions. I got a few individuals but there never was any success in getting the real support of the textile workers union.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why do you think that was?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I think it was because the . . .well, it was just a matter of the conservatism within the CIO organization itself, the conflict of interests. The textile workers have been, and so far as I know, still are on the side of the conservatives, the IGLWU kind of forces, the old . . .well, I won't get into that. I've got theories about it, but that's all they are, just theories. There was a woman who was working with women in the textile union, Pat Knight, who was from Greensboro and her father was a doctor in the Cone Mills and she worked for the YWCA . . .not in Greensboro but other places, and she was back in there and trying . . . .
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
. . .and there were good volunteers.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You were talking about Pat Knight. She had been with the YWCA and at this time, was she working with a group called the Southern School for Workers? Did you know anything about that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I knew about that. Mildred will tell you about that. Mildred was closely related to the Southern School for Workers. I rather imagine that Pat had been to the Southern School for Workers. I don't remember about that. I remember more her sophistication as far as other kinds of affairs. For instance, Susan B. Anthony III was a friend of hers and was in a terrible

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automobile accident in Greensboro when she was visiting Pat at one time. I say this by way of saying that Pat had a wider perspective than one might have thought possible. She was a very intelligent, very good kind of person.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was she one of your main contacts with the labor movement, with the textile workers?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, she was a contact with them because she worked for the textile workers union. She was limited in what she could do by way of using her name in this organization, but she was not limited, of course, in her freedom of association.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were some of the other labor supporters that you had, wasn't Christopher Crittendon involved in . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Who?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Christopher Crittendon.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't remember him at all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Or Grady Morton?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't remember him at all.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wonder, in Tom Krueger's book on the Southern Conference, he says that at one time you took Jim Dombrowski to task for a speech he had made, in which he . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I did?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes. In which he conveyed the impression that the Southern Conference for Human Welfare was a tool of the southern labor movement. You don't remember anything about that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I can't imagine taking Jim Dombrowski to task for anything, a person for whom I had the greatest respect.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you don't remember anything about the overall group, the Southern Conference having one opinion about labor support and your North Carolina committee having a different experience with labor?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I didn't have that problem at all. There was always a problem of trying to work with the textile workers, because they were the largest union in the South and one of my early memories is about the Gastonia Strike and it had a lot of influence on me. I think that I may have told you that there wasn't . . .I tried as hard as I knew how to get labor support and I think of Hardy Scott in Asheville, the Fur and Leather Worker's Union. Then there was an excellent person in the Shoemaker's Union. Then of course, there were the Tobacco Workers in Durham and in Winston-Salem and we had excellent members among the Tobacco Workers in Durham, but the organization itself was never cooperative with us.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So individuals within the union would lend you their support but they could never use the name of their union?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. It was the same way with the Textile Workers and the Tobacco Workers in Winston-Salem. It was not possible for them to speak for the unions.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there individuals within the Textile Workers Union, like Pat Knight, who gave you support? What about rank and file members?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, there were rank and file members who did. I have forgotten now about what the size of our dues paying membership was, but it was a hundred or so and so it had a rather broad scope.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
If you had about a hundred or so dues paying members, do you remember at all how they were divided, say between men and women or blacks and whites or workers and middle class people?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I think that I could make a generalization that it was a fairly well divided and as far as the population was concerned. Now, that doesn't mean that there were as many black people in proportion to the . . .I don't remember what the black population of the state was, but of the active people in the state, I would think that it was fairly well divided. For instance, in Greensboro, students at what was then A&T College and is now, I think, part of the University of North Carolina, we had a very active group there and at Bennett College. Dr. David Jones, who was president of Bennett College, was just a tower of strength and he and his wife were really bulwarks of strength as far as their knowledge and their know-how was concerned. Their friendship meant a great deal to me.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about men and women. Did couples seem to join together?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Or were there women who joined, perhaps without spouses or . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I don't remember women joining without their husbands, but

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there were couples and there were single women who were active.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Maybe more single women than single men, or do you have any feeling about that? What I'm thinking of is trying to relate to women's groups within the state. Did you have the support of some of the North Carolina women's groups?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. The women's movement was just nonexistent, practically, at that time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But nothing like the Federation of Women's Clubs or . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, the YWCA was a tower of strength. Everywhere and in every town where there was a YW we could get interracial meeting places, which believe me, was no easy task and the YWCA secretaries were just tremendous help.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about other women's groups like the League of Women Voters or the Association of University Women?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
There must have been an Association of University Women, but it did not present itself so that I knew anything about it. Or the League of Women Voters. I really didn't know about the League of Women Voters until I met it in the North.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Could you compare your program in North Carolina to some of the other state programs? Were you aware of the committees that were set up in other states, for example, Margaret Fisher's program in Georgia?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I went to the board meetings of the Southern Conference and there I met Tex Dobbs and Margaret Fisher and whoever else there was working. We may have been the only three states that had definite committees, I don't remember.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But do you remember any comparison between what you were able to

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do in North Carolina and what they were able to do in other states? Were the programs working for the same sorts of things?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, Tex Dobbs in Alabama had really done a terrific job because he managed to be on good terms with the governor there who . . .oh, whatever was his name? One of his relatives, a daughter or something, has been married to the present Governor Wallace and she is the only liberal influence in that in sofar as I know, although she never seems to . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Oh, Jim Folsom.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Jim Folsom, yes. So, Tex Dobbs was able to be on good terms with him. I remember once that Folsom came to some meeting to speak in North Carolina and not our meeting, but just some meeting, and on the basis of it, I was introduced to him and I said that I really appreciated the big help that he had been to Tex Dobbs and he laughed and made a typically political statement, "Oh yes, my Communist friend." [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you know Margaret Fisher very well? Were you ever very close to her?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Not at all, except for going to board meetings.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was her background, do you know anything about her?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She was in some way related to a church . . .she had a church background, but I can't think. It seems to me that she had a voice and sang in a church choir or something or other. I can't . . .I really don't remember well enough.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever have the feeling that she might have had an easier time setting up a committee in Georgia because of the influence of groups in Atlanta than you had in North Carolina?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No question about it. And in Tennesse, also, because the Southern Conference had been founded in Tennessee, as I recall. Or

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was it in Birmingham?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was in Birmingham at first.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. Maybe that's the reason that Tex had such a good structure in Birmingham.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to talk a little bit about the programs that you were able to set up. Weren't you working with . . .you had a suffrage committee that was headed by William Poteat, is that right? And then you also held minimum wage hearings. Were those the primary things that you were working with or what were some of the other programs which you were trying to get set up?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Here is where you should have given me written questions in advance because with my slow thinking, I probably could recall about specific programs, but it's just not possible for me after however many years it has been.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember Mr. Poteat and the suffrage committee at all?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, I do indeed. The Reverend William Poteat. He was a Baptist minister and worked in the student ministry in Chapel Hill and he was a very knowledgeable, very wonderful person.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you trying to do any work with voter registration in the state, trying to register black voters to vote?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
And Indians. We were trying to register Indians, wherever we could. That was a main objective, to help people get registered and urge them to vote, to participate in the democratic system.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever work with the anti-poll tax campaign in the South?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I didn't. I knew that Joe Gelders . . .I had met him when I lived in Washington with, I guess, maybe Virginia Durr. She was a great

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friend of Joe Gelders and I never really worked specifically on the poll tax. I can't remember when the poll tax was abolished in North Carolina, I don't remember about it and so it may have already been on its way out in North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember working with a man named G.W. Forster?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I don't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In 1947, or there abouts, again according to Tom Krueger's analysis of the Southern Conference, he says that there was a decline in membership beginning in '47. I wondered . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Of the Southern Conference as a whole or of the committee for North Carolina?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Of the Southern Conference as a whole, and also a decline in revenues. He said that salaries couldn't be paid and that you didn't receive your salary for a quite a number of months during that period.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It could not have been very crucial, because I do not remember about it and it may have been that during that time I was talking about, that I was trying to raise some money to live on myself, if possible.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember anything about the Clark Foreman-Jim Dombrowski split within the Southern Conference?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I remember quite well that there was the split and I have never been one for factionalism and I've always tried to stay out of factional fights. So, I would have been quite acquainted with what was going on, but I did not play a leading role in it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember your reaction to the fact that there were factions within the organization? Do you remember feeling, not for one side or the other, but just having a reaction to the fact that there were splits?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I remember just as I remember in the trade union movement that there was factionalism and everywhere that one goes there is factionalism, even in women's work here in the East Bay area. There are two organizations which are doing the same sort of thing and there is just no sense to me about this factionalism.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you a little bit about the controversies that went on within the Southern Conference, about whether Communist party members should be involved in the whole thing or not?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
There is always in my lifetime and action, there is ever this question about Communism. And there again, I tried to avoid getting into conflicts about it. I am not in favor of discrimination as far as race, sex, national origin or politics are concerned.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever get involved in any of the discussions about whether Communist party members should be allowed to come into the Conference? Wasn't that an issue at one time, whether they should be barred? Did you actively oppose that or speak out against it?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I did not actively oppose it and we never had any serious action on anything of that kind in North Carolina. I may have heard something about it at board meetings, but that's something that sort of fades off into the distance. But as far as North Carolina is concerned, it was not a leading issue. There were Communists in the organization, I'm sure, and such that were known as such, but it was not an issue in the committee for North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
As you tried to get support among all different kinds of groups in North Carolina, were you ever actively involved in trying to get the support of the democratic groups or . . .was there an active Socialist party in North Carolina at that time? Did the CP ever have an organizational

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base in the state?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, and this is just from viewing back, but I know that Junior Scales from Greensboro, whom I had known as a child in the First Presbyterian Church there, was an active Communist at that time, but that is about the extent of what I know about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, there was not a group that you could go to that you could try to solicit support like the way that you did with other groups within the state?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the Socialist party? Was there a base of support?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Again, I don't know if there was or not, and there was no affiliation of my work with political organizations, that's what it amounts to. What individual members might have done, that's something else again.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the same hold true with the Democratic party? Did you have any kind of concrete endorsement from the party groups?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. No, we tried to be friendly with all kinds of groups who wanted to be friendly with us.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said a few things about this, but I was trying to understand how autonomous your relationship was to the Southern Conference group, the larger group. Was this always a very straightforward relationship? Was there ever any confusion about it?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Not that I recall?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, . . .but were you autonomous? Were you free within North Carolina to . . .was your committee able to make it's own decisions about what it would support and work for?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't remember that we had any conflict on that matter at all.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
In 1947, in the fall, Ralph McGill came out with a statement in the paper in Atlanta against the Southern Conference. Do you remember anything about that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I sort of remember about it, but it was far away as far as we were concerned.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He was attacking the leadership of the Southern Conference.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Whom was he attacking? Was he attacking Clarke?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He made general statements about "the leaders."
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's what I meant, was it a general thing . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Clark Foreman did, I think, threaten to sue him and got a retraction of the statement.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I would think that was right. So, this was not anything that we had to take a stand on, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember being upset by that kind of thing? Would that have surprised you, that Ralph McGill would have done that? He had a reputation as a southern liberal.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. I was very disturbed that people who were supposed to be southern liberals were not supporting what I thought was a correct approach. I'm a southern patriot and I was disappointed when that sort of thing took place. I don't remember entering into any factional arguments about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered if you had any feeling about the interaction within the larger Conference, of people who were alligned with specific political groups, especially the Socialist party and the Communist party. Were you aware of those factions being at odds?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was aware that people existed who did not always think exactly the same, but again, I make the point that I have a very definite feeling and intention to stay away from factionalism. Personally, and as far as maintaining the life of the organization, I think it is suicidal to get into that sort of thing, and I was dedicated to trying to build the committee for North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have any feeling that people within the Socialist party or the Communist party were trying to destroy the organization by creating factions or by refusing to cooperate?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't think that was true in North Carolina. Here again, I would have to do more study to see about it, but I don't have any memory of that being true. The only kind of factionalism that I remember anything about, and this is something I remember because I don't much admire my view about it, the rights of the black people were beginning to take a more definite stand at that time and there was some thought among the black members, a few members, that the organization should be run by a black executive director.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was the organization within North Carolina?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. My feeling was that we had to have an interracial organization and we should have black employees, which we did have in the office, but to have the head of the organization be black, I did not think that would promote the growth of the organization. That is the only kind of argument that I remember. At this point, when I look back on it, there has been so much change in the social scene that I am somewhat ashamed to be confessing that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, you won the argument, as it were, it stayed in the control or was headed by a white person?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. Well, they wanted somebody to have my job. Maybe that

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was why I didn't think that would work out.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember any group that came together in Durham in 1948, a black group that wrote up a set of demands of the type . . .I have heard it referred to as "The Durham Manifesto."
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
In '48?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes, in '48. Do you remember anything about that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I don't. That's amazing that I wouldn't remember that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I'm not sure how large it was, or how significant it was. I was just curious to know if you . . .I thought you would have been aware of it if it was . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I would think that I would and I would think that it would have been something that I would have remembered. I don't remember anything about it. That doesn't mean that it necessarily wasn't there, I'm just saying that I think it is astounding that I would not remember it and I don't remember it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you about the Wallace campaign and had a little bit of trouble with chronology involved in the campaign. I wondered when the decision was made that you would head the party in North Carolina and run for governor? Did you decide to step down from your job with the Southern Conference and work full time on the campaign and run the campaign for Wallace in North Carolina?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I'll try to be brief about it. Calrk Foreman and Palmer Weber, you will remember that I said it was through Palmer that I got my job working for the Southern Conference . . .I remember quite well that they call me up from New Orleans and said that Wallace was going to make a speaking tour of the South and to see about what kind of support and reaction he

Page 108
would get. He was trying to make up his mind about whether he should run or not. They suggested that since the affairs of the committee for North Carolina were not in a very active point at that time, that I organize that speaking tour for Henry Wallace. Well, I was amazed. I did not have the background and so forth to do a job like that. But here again, "O.K., I'll do it." So, I went off on this and we had large public meetings in Atlanta, in New Orleans, in Louisville and in Norfolk. I think that's all of them and they were fairly successful. What I had to [unknown] do was to go to all these citiies beforehand and try to get the committees organized to make the arangements and . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, you were not at all restricted to North Carolina, you were involved in setting it up for the entire southern campaign.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Right, what a mouthfull and how in the world I had the temerity to do it, but Palmer and Clark were not ones to say no to. They had decided before hand that it would be a good idea. So, I went ahead and did it the best that I knew how.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who would you contact in each of these cities?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They, being Southern Conference officials, they had knowledge of people who might be the progressive forces in communities and so they gave these introductions to people in those places who were asked to bring together in the communities the people that they knew who might be in this, that I would be in town on such and such a day and could we have a meeting?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember some of the variation in support that you got in different places?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
When the meetings actually took place?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No, did the support that you were able to garner in these cities vary considerably?

Page 109
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, it varied. The Atlanta one was practically running itself with such a strong base, and the New Orleans one, because by that time, the Southern Conference had its office there. That pretty well ran itself, but then in Louisville, there was a real problem and in Norfolk there were problems about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said that when you were first contacted, Wallace was trying to decide whether to make the decision to come South or not?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, he was trying to make the decision about whether he would run or not.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes, whether he would run or not. Did you have an opinion about that, did you advise him one way or another?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
My advice was not sought, but . . .I mean, I wasn't in the position to be advising, but I had my own opinion and I was enthusiastic about it because I was very disturbed about the Truman, the Cold War fight and I was alarmed about it, it seemed like facism to me and I had made up my mind against facism, that I would do what I could.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, you were enthusiastic and hopeful. Did you see it as a long shot or did you see it as something that could happen?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I hoped that something could come of it, but if I were a betting person, I would not have put a great deal of money on it, shall we say. [Laughter] But one plays a long shot, I understand that, I'm not a gambler, but you do. [Laughter] The situation was really bad and Wallace had taken an excellent stand in this business between him and Truman and it was quite clear cut as far as I was concerned.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When did you first have contact with him and meet him?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
You know, I've sort of forgotten about it, the time that I remember most about it was when we were flying, it must have been from

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Louisville to Norfolk, we had to spend a night in Cincinnati in travel. With nothing else to do, he said, "Let's go to the movies." So, we went to see the Walter Mitty movie, I remember about that. Then we flew on to Norfolk and we got to Norfolk, we couldn't land. So, we circled the airport for an hour or so and I remember that quite well, his calm and not getting alarmed about this. He acted like a brave soldier. So, those were among my most vivid memories of the personal contacts. Then, in the course of time, I saw him at other times and my name is always for some reason or another, brought in. I was sort of photogenic at that time, not pretty, but I was photogenic and it startled me that so often when there was something about Wallace, there is apt to be a picture in which I am shown.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, you went on the entire southern tour, to every city when he actually made the tour?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I did not. But these speaking engagements, I went on them. He made a southern tour which is something else again. He made a southern tour which opened in Durham, North Carolina at a meeting that we arranged in Durham. That was when the situation really became very difficult for me personally and organizationally.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How was that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, there was a faction in Durham in opposition and they were organized in opposition and I well remember the night where he was supposed to speak. We had a program and so forth and we naturally wouldn't have him on the stage at the first time, but it began to be apparent that . . .I was presiding at the meeting and it began to be apparent that

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trouble was brewing. My inclination was to go out and see what it was and try to figure it out. There was a great, great fellow named Louis Burnham, who was the black organizer in the Wallace effort in the South. Palmer Weber was the white organizer, but it was necessary, you see, that there was a black. And Louis was on the platform with me and he turned to me and said very quietly, "You stay in that seat. Don't you dare get up and leave this platform." [Laughter] I mean, he was calm and he was so right about it, but it was a difficult thing for me to do, to sit there and see this business developing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were people outside the place where you were meeting?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They must have been. As I say, I did not go out. And I'm jumping in time, because this was not . . .this was after Wallace had decided to run, that he made the southern tour and that's where I'm talking about the meeting in Durham where things were so difficult. On the earlier speaking tours, there were no real problems about that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When he came to Durham at one point, wasn't there an incident when you were involved in cancelling his reservation at the Washington Duke Hotel because they would not let the black members of his party stay?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That was the same meeting that I'm talking about, the Durham meeting where hell really broke loose, I would say. Wallace had been to Raleigh [unknown] and spoken for the Southern Conference and there has been a long history about having celebrities in town and so forth and making reservations at the main hotels, but the situation had developed worse. I made the reservation at the Washington Duke Hotel and it was fairly apparent when I was making the reservation that there would be interracial kinds of things, but this faction that made the trouble at the meeting apparently

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got to work and so the hotel got in touch with us and they could not permit him to stay there unless he agreed not to have any black people who might come and ride in the elevators. Well, we couldn't agree to any such thing as that. So, it was impossible. There was not another hotel in Durham for him to stay in. There was a small black hotel, but the black people flatly refused to permit the former Vice-President to stay in the hotel, particularly when the situation was obviously fermenting.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They refused to let him stay there because they were worried about his safety?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right, because they were worried about his safety. And maybe there were black people who were not sympathetic to this. I don't know, but anyhow, they did not want him to stay there. So, we had to find a place for him to stay in a private home. The situation was such that Mr. and Mrs. Logan, who I was talking about, they were black people and he was a very prosperous business man and they invited him to stay there and so he did do that. Then the next place, I know that it was true in Winston-Salem, he also stayed in a black home. It was not safe and it was courageous for these black people to do it. But the young people on the campuses constituted themselves as bodyguards and patrolled to maintain the safety. That southern tour of Wallace's was the only time in my life that I've been afraid and it was in Hickory, North Carolina when we were just going to stop there on the way to Asheville and there was a mob gathered when we got there. People again, were trying to . . .well, in Charlotte, my clothes had been torn and a pin that I had on was taken from me. My sister, Mildred, had given me a pin that had wings on it and when Wallace was speaking in Charlotte, he

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said, "Well, Mary Price stand up, please. I want you to look at her pin that she has on her dress. It has both a left wing and a right wing, that bird needs to fly and it can't fly without its wings." Well, when I got out of there, and I don't even remember how it happened, but that pin was gone my dress.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had someone grabbed you?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Obviously.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you sort of jostled by the crowd?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. So, by the time that we got to Hickory, there was a mob gathered to witness us. That was the only time in my life that I was really frightened and the people who were with me said, "You don't get out of this car. You stay in the car." They thought that with nominal protection they could get from police and from our young men, you see, to act as bodyguards, that it would be safe. Wallace got out, I've forgotten how long it was, and greeted the audience. I remember sitting in that car with these people crowding up, making faces and yelling at me on the inside. It was difficult. So, then when we got to Asheville for the next real meeting that we had scheduled, I was really afriad to mix in the crowd there. I sat at the edge and did not try. Then when that meeting was over, I drove back by myself down the mountains to Winston-Salem and stopped there and got a room in a hotel and stayed the night, because I was really hesitant about going home. It was a very bad situation.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you worried at that time about being followed?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was worried about being attacked. As I say, it was the

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only time in my life that I've been afraid, that Hickory and Asheville experience.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did Wallace react?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
He acted with calm, just as Clark Foreman did, for instance. They had due consideration of the situation, were trying to take all precautions and not wanting to aggrevate any situation, but not willing to just give up.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had he expected this, or do you think the virulence of the reaction really surprised him?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It must have. I hadn't expected it. As I tell you, the virulence of it surprised me and shocked me and I would never have been willing for him to come if I had had any idea that there could be such ugliness in my beloved state of North Carolina. It was a shocking experience.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When was the decision made that you would run for governor on the Progressive Party ticket?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
After the nominating convention, the Philadelphia convention, I was by that time state chairman of the Progressive party, which included many of the stalwarts who had been in Committee for North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you go to the nominating convention in Philadelphia?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I did. I headed the delegation, our delegation, to Philadelphia.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was the main network that you were in Southern Conference people in the South who had been involved in . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
If I had to make a generalization, I would say yes to that. I'm

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sure that there were many people in the Progressive party who were not . . .
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
There were many people who remembered that Henry Wallace had been Vice-President of the United States under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you get acquainted with a lot of the people who were nationally involved in the Progressive party?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you close to some of those people?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was close to them in that I went to all of the national board meetings wherever they were held. Some of the people that I had known, like Palmer Weber and Clark Foreman and Virginia Durr and I've forgotten others, but they were people that I had known and worked with. I had and still have a friend, Edith Pratt, who worked under . . .she was really the person who did the leg work on organizing that Philadelphia convention, the person who brought it all together.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So in a way, these were people you had known somehow in the past, or did you meet a lot of new people through the Progressive party?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Both. I saw people I had known and I met new people. And my sister, Branson, was very active in the campaign. She had been very active in the Southern Conference. She ran the New York office of the Southern Conference and was an expert fund raiser. She did a good job on that. She worked in Georgia and organized the petition campaign in Georgia just as I had organized it in North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did Mildred and Harold support Wallace?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. They had, however, full-time jobs, so they . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They weren't active in the campaign.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did your family in North Carolina react to what was happening?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
We have a strong family loyalty and neither my brother nor neither of my sisters ever said to me, "What are you up to? What are you doing this for? Don't you know that you are hurting our situation?" And so forth and so on. No. And there was never a time when I was not welcomed to their homes even though I was getting quite a bit of very glaring publicity. My family was loyal. I never asked them about whether they intended to vote for me or not. My brother, Paul, who was a friend of Scott who was running on the regular Democratic ticket, Paul laughingly told me that he went to a bar-b-que out at Scott's farm and Scott said to him, "What are you doing here? You know that you're not going to be voting for me." He and Paul had a good laugh on the subject. Paul told me about that as a joke.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they offer you any kind of support, by staying behind you and being loyal in a family sort of connection they offered you a kind of support, but did they offer you any kind of financial support?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, they never offered me and I never asked them. I respected them for what they wanted to do and they respected me for what I wanted to do. That's our family.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did it ever take the form of any kind of concern after that tour, when you were really in a very dangerous position? Were they worried

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about your physical well-being?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
If so, they never said anything about it. Mildred and Harold were a tower of strength to me and in a time when I had no job and no way to get paid, they always stood by me. For instance, in that very busiest summer in North Carolina, they insisted on my coming up to Maine where we had gone every summer for a great many years. They paid my plane fare for me to come to Maine and be able to have a rest in the midst of that very hectic summer of 1948. I went to Maine for a week at their expense.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
We were talking about exactly when the decision was made that you would run for governor. You were nominated by a committee within the state?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. And by that time, we had moved our office to Durham because of the many active young people at Duke and at Chapel Hill and at North Carolina College and they all said that they could work so much more effectively from their home base. It was too far for them to come to Greensboro. There were young people in Greensboro, but not nearly the quantity as . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was the Progressive party offices?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You had officially resigned, or did you take a leave of absence from the position as executive secretary of the Committee for North Carolina?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It more or less just had to die because there was no money to pay my salary. I had no money at all, you see. Wherever I was working, I

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had to get some money for my rent and food and so, there was never a formal action taken about calling a statewide meeting. It just couldn't be, that was all. So, we moved our office to Durham and I remember quite well the groups who were most active in this, who said to me, "Look, it's important, we've done all this work, we've got to have a candidate for governor on our ticket. We can't just not do it." So, we started talking about who would be possible and we discussed the possibilities and I explored and found out about people who would do it, the various offices, governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general and so forth, and we got what I thought were excellent people who agreed to be the other candidates. We just could . . .no one was willing to do this job of running for governor. I didn't want to run for governor, but I had to agree with all the effort that we had made, it was right that there should be a candidate for governor. I was young enough at that time to do some things that I would now think was very foolhardy. So, reluctantly, these people who came and talked with me and they were some of the ones who had been most active, and I . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who were some of the people who were most active? Do you remember any of their names?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I remember very well about Marge Franz, for instance. Her father was Joe Gelders and she was a full-time volunteer. She and her husband, who was a GI, a lawyer . . .I've forgotten exactly how it was, but anyhow, they were full-time volunteers in the office. Preston Lewis, that was her name at the time, her husband taught in the language . . .he taught French at Chapel Hill, in other words. She came and worked full-time in the

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office and Louie Burnham, I've told you about him, he was a southern writer and was very much in touch with leaders. And Palmer Weber, who was sort of an organizer. They came to Durham to see me and I particularly remember sitting on the porch of that apartment where I was living . . .I lived on one side of the hall and the office of the Progressive party was on the other side of the hall. I remember sitting on the porch and Louie telling me that he thought I should do this job of running for governor. I said, "But Louie, I don't want to do that. I'm not aspiring to be governor and it would be a very tough thing." He went on to point out to me that having run that much of the course, the only thing to do was to try to go on through and if there was no one else who was willing to undertake the job, I should do it. So, I had such great respect for Louie and for Palmer and the other people and I decided, "O.K., I'll do the best I can." So, there it was. This was the beginning, really, of the civil rights movement in the South, civil rights as we knew it. This Wallace campaign of the Progressive party in the South was really the first serious one. The Southern Conference had done a grand job and the Atlanta organization whose name we were trying to think of that I know so well, Ralph McGill and so forth, had done excellent work on this, but there had not been a serious proposal of having integrated organizations, of not having meetings if they could not be interracial and make that a prime objective. So, I really have considerable pride in having contributed "my little light" . . .is that Paul Robeson's song, or was it Pete Seeger, "My little light, let it shine . . ." Whatever. Anyhow, I was pleased, even though my light was small, to try to let it shine.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was the idea of having to have a slate of candidates for the Progressive party part of wanting to be able to enhance Wallace's campaign within the South nationally?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
The South had become a key issue and it would be a stimulus around the country, so we thought, for the work of many dedicated people to have Wallace committees on the ballot and getting on the ballot was one heck of a job, of course. Because we had to have the signatures of a certain number, a percentage of registered voters. I remember only particularly about North Carolina and Georgia because I ran that registration in North Carolina . . .not registration, the signatures for the petition, and my sister Branson did it in Georgia. If I had a hard job, that was really one for her in Georgia, because North Carolina was my home base and I had background and friends and supporters whereas she went into Georgia cold. So, it was really quite a . . .not cold, I mean that she did not have the long acquaintance. There were many people who she had known before, but . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you pleased with the outcome of the petition campaign?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was pleased that we got on the ballot and it was because the young people, just as the did in the Mississippi Summer, enough of them came to help us and work, work, work to go out and gather signatures of registered voters to get on the ballot. It was a terrific job and a transpiring job. How could I not want to do what I could with such a thing as that?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember any of the students who were your supporters?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, I remember a great many of the students and I could sit

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down and make a list of them. I remember one particularly, a student in Chapel Hill, a very dedicated worker and we gather around and he would say, "Look, we've got problems we haven't even used yet." [Laughter] But that didn't keep Gerry or the rest of the people from it. Back when we were talking about me and my student days at Women's College, one of my professors was Dr. Arnette, who lived across the street and the youngest daughter of that family, Dorothy Arnette, worked on that petition campaign. I always remember Dorothy because she didn't have . . .she took a bottle of ink and one of the pens and went out in the mill section to get signatures and she was a very pretty young girl. That's the sort of thing. How could you see someone who was doing that and not . . .
You probably have in the back of your mind this terrible unpleasantness about Elizabeth Bentley that broke during that time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. I wanted to ask you about that, but one more thing about the campaign. I wondered if you have any feeling about the role of the press?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
How could I help but have a feeling when the Raleigh News and Observer called me . . .what was the word they used, "North Carolina's biggest complainer?" I've forgotten the exact word, but anyhow, "She's at it again," and all that. That's the kind of clippings that I have in the press book if I would ever get around to looking at them and organizing them again. The press was very hostile.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have any supporters from the press?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, Austin and the Carolina Times were supporters and I will say that of the whole bunch, the Greensboro Daily News, whether it was because I had worked for the Greensboro Daily News and it was my hometown

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paper and my brother, Enoch, had worked for them and so had my sister Branson. . .they definitely did not support the Progressive party or my campaign, but they did not go into the real violent attacks.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered about the Elizabeth Bentley incident, when she was testifying in the summer of 1947 . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, it was in the campaign summer when all of that . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was actually the summer of 1948?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's my memory of it and I fell sure that's right, because I know that my reaction was that this was a putup job to discredit the Progressive party, when the reporters came to see me in the office in Greensboro, my to my surprise, to tell me about this Elizabeth Bentley before the House Un-American Committee in Washington. She had said that she was an agent of the Soviet Union and she had been assisted by me. She got much publicity, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, you heard about it first from the reporters and they asked you for a statement and you said, I think I read it somewhere, "That's fantastic!" Did you have any idea where she came up with this story?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
The only thing that I could think of . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you know her?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I knew her on the basis that I had met her casually in New York as one does, and when she found out that I lived in Washington, and again, as I do, I had a bed in my apartment and said, "Look, if you haven't got a place to stay, you can sleep over at my apartment." I just didn't think about it at all. So, she never asked to sleep there but she would call up and say she was on an expense account and how would I like to have dinner? Well, I just didn't see anything in it but a casual

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business.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did she ever talk to you about political matters?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Not really. I came soon to the conclusion that I didn't care for her as a person, as a matter of fact. I rather thought that she made homosexual advances and I didn't care for that and so, I tried to just not be available when she would call. Whether all of this fantasy of hers was a case of a woman scorned or not, I don't know. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This had been when you were working for Walter Lippman and the acusation that she made was that you had gone through his papers and fed her information. What was his reaction to that? Did you ever talk to him about it?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I never talked to him about it because I didn't quite know what I should say. By that time, I had gotten hold of legal advice and they advised me not to talk about it, that it was better for me not to be open and tell what I . . .to express myself but to be very careful about what I said. So, I never thought it was proper that I should go and involve Lippman, but I remember quite well that when the press came to him, his remark . . .and this shows what an excellent newspaper man was, his statement was, "It's news to me, if it is so," which pretty well covered the situation and that was enough to say.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered how you would calculate the effect of this on the campaign.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, it was terribly distressing to me, I'm sure it had a bad effect on the campaign and I had worked hard.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you feel support sort of slipping, or was it that easy to . . .

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It was pretty obvious to the people who had been dedicated workers in the campaign about what it was all about. It was the beginning of the McCarthy era. My friends and so forth, they were loyal about it. For instance, in Durham the students said that it wasn't safe for me to sleep alone in the apartment and that on the porch that I was talking about before, they could put a cot out there and they would take turns in coming to stay. I got a rash of telephone calls, ugly telephone calls and so forth. The people who owned the building were wonderful about it. They never tried to get me out and so forth, so there was wonderful loyalty and that meant a great deal to me in general terms about the goodness of people and about specific things when I was in an uncertain situation.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you know the opposition in Durham well, the group that came at the Wallace party that night in Durham? Was it an organized effort that was opposed to you or was it individuals? Crank individual calls, or was it a more concerted effort than that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I can only conclude from the fact it was so well organized that it was organized.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you didn't know who was . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I didn't know at all who was doing it and so far as I know, none of the loyal supporters within the party knew about it at all, but it was obvious on that Wallace tour in the state that there was bound to be some sort of organization. I will not make guesses about it. I have some guesses but I would not like to make them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was the Klan ever involved directly in leaving any kind of message for you?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
There were no signed messages. There was nothing like that that I could say, "This is a Klan action," or an action of anyone else.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What were the consequences of Bentley's charges on your personal life and within your own family? Did they show the same kind of basic loyalty and support that they had?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Again, we have respect for each other and there was that kind of loyalty, very much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever consider suing Bentley for libel?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I didn't at that time, which would have been the time to do it, but I was so much involved with the campaign that I really couldn't do anything about it. Then because my friends in North Carolina didn't have a job to give me . . .I had to have something to live on, and my enemies wouldn't give me a job, I had to leave North Carolina to get a job. So, it happened that I knew more people in Washington than I did in New York at that point, so I went from Greensboro to Washington and some Progressive party angels took me in to stay with them as long as I wanted and helped me to find an apartment when I got a job where I could pay the rent. My friend, Don Henderson of the Tobacco Workers Union in Winston-Salem, as I think I said, had a legislative office. He and the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers man had a legislative office in Washington and so, he said that I could go to work in that office, which I did for some months.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Later, in 1954 or so, didn't you testify at a grand jury hearing of the whole affair?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Oh, look. In the Wallace campaign, I was talking about when

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I organized those meetings and one of them was held in Louisville while I was there organizing that business and just before the meeting took place, somebody came knocking at my door and gave me a subpoena to appear before a grand jury in New York City. So, I had to leave Louisville [unknown] to go to New York for that grand jury session, go back to Louisville and finish up running that meeting.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was during the . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
This was during '48.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It wasn't later? It wasn't as late as '54?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No. I went to another grand jury and I could figure the time, but it was when I was living in New York, after I got back from France. I had to go down to Camden to a grand jury and I was before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the course of that time, too.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, what was involved in the subpoena and testimony when you went, had to leave during the campaign and go up and testify?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, apparently I must have . . .I didn't realize this when we first talked about it, but I must have known that Elizabeth Bentley was on the prowl at that time, because I knew that New York grand jury session was in relation to stories that she had told, but this didn't blast forth in the press until later on. People that I was working with knew about it, I mean that I hadn't tried to hide it. Naturally, I didn't go around and in public meetings discuss my experiences at the grand jury, but I had not made a secret about it. So, it wasn't entirely a complete surprise when the press came to me. It was a surprise that Bentley had gotten to the point of getting people taken in by it. The publicity of the McCarthy era was

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really what it amounted to. The press had swallowed all this stuff.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you want to refuse to testify or did you feel that by testifying you could straighten it out?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
By that time, I had advice of counsel and the wonderful legal profession gave me counsel about how to handle the situation. By that time, there were enough other people who were in the same circumstances that they had worked out already about how to take the Fifth Amendment, just not to talk about it. So, I refrained from talking about it. As a matter of fact, I probably should have said to you in all this talking somewhere or another, "I decline to answer that question on the basis of my rights under the Fifth Amendment." [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Didn't Elizabeth Bentley name or also try to implicate Mildred in her testimony?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. So, Mildred will tell you about that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, you went back to Washington and you worked for the union there through contacts that you had made with Don Henderson in North Carolina?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, and in the course of that I heard about another job. There was a sort of little McCarthy act in Maryland called the Ober Law, which involved another petition campaign. So, since I had had experience in running a petition campaign in North Carolina, they asked me if I would come and do the petition campaign in Maryland. So, I did go over and work there and we did get it on the ballot in Maryland. Incidentally, the Marylanders voted for that Ober Law.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was it called?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Ober Law, named I suppose for the person who introduced it in the legislature. So, in the course of the petition campaign, I got an inquiry from one of my friends in Washington about whether I would like to go to work for the Czech Embassy, the Czech Ambassador needed to have an English speaking secretary. They had Czech workers but particularly when he had any kind of press releases or anything, he wanted someone who was able to speak or write correct English. Since I knew that the Ober Law petition campaign was just about over and that I was going to need another job, I got a friend who had worked on the Progressive party, she had worked in Philadelphia on the convention . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Edith Pratt?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, Kay Lutz was her name, and I knew that she did not have a job at the time, so I asked her if she would be willing to take over that campaign and I asked the people in Maryland if they were willing to make this switch. It made sense since it was almost over. So, I left there and went to work for the Czech Embassy.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was that experience like for you?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It was a really wonderful experience for me, because I had no knowledge at all of the Eastern European people and when I worked . . . the State Department has what they call a Blue Book that lists all the employees in the Diplomatic Service below the top echelon. By being listed in the Blue Book, that meant that anybody who wanted to invite me to a diplomatic party would know how to reach me and the Eastern European countries did. So, one is apt to think about the caviar at the November party of the Soviet Union. [Laughter] But there were other many more interesting things and one

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of my jobs was to run the anniversary party of the Czechs. When I first went to work there, that was really about the first big job that I had, mailing the invitations out and the procedures. I didn't have anything to do with ordering the food, but I had the mechanics of . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you able to settle back into Washington and have a good . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I mean, you had been working very hard for the years preceding that, about six or so years.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes. I had been in and out of Washington with these jobs, so that I still had this . . .it's like in Greensboro, you know, except that most of my contemporaries are now gone in Greensboro, but there is still a basis of feeling at home there and I felt at home in Washington. I had an apartment, you see, the one that I was talking about having found after I came up from North Carolina, and it was a good apartment.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you feel about what had preceded? I mean, did you sort of have good feelings about the Progressive party and the Wallace effort and your participation in it? Was that overriding, or were you sort of . . . were you ever down about what had happened? Was it personally strengthening or was it a damaging thing personally?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
The whole experience has been strengthening for me and I'll make a statement about that. But . . .oh, there was something else I was going to say before I said that and I've forgotten, but beginning with my activity in the trade union movement in New York in the thirties and my contact with all of these various things, I didn't do any of it for financial reasons or self-aggrandizement, but the whole experience has made a difference

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in my kind of life and it has made it worthwhile for me. I'm a different kind of person than I would have been if I had grown up on the farm in North Carolina or if I had gotten some kind of office job and married as one might have expected. I can't regret the trials and tribulations and so forth, because I feel that my life has been a lot more interesting for me and worth a little bit. I'm glad to have participated. Oh, what I was going to say was that by that time I had made up my mind that in the class struggle that goes on, I'm on the side of the working class. I don't want to be rich. I don't want to be a big shot, I 'm glad to do what I can to make this a better . . .and I'm a patriot. I'm a southern patriot and I'm a U.S.A. patriot. So, I feel strongly about these things and am glad to do what I can.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, you outlined the rest of the time that you spent in Washington and then you had this accident which just really . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
A triple basal skull fracture, I had. I was picked up off the street on the sixth of December and I don't remember anything, I had amnesia, until New Year's Eve in 1949 . . .or 1950. I remember that people came by on their way to a New Year's party to see me at the hospital. That was my first memory for a month. It was a very serious accident. The Czechs were simply wonderful to me and they kept my job for me and when it was deemed that it would be good for me to try to work again, they made work that wouldn't be too much for me to try to do and so forth.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But your recovery from that was sort of long lasting, I mean it took quite a while to recover.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It was very serious. I had so many EEG's. I hope that you know what an EEG is, it is a way of measuring one's brain functioning and I

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had scar tissue on my brain, so there was no wonder about it that I was not at what they would call prime efficiency. It was the kind of accident that my doctor brother told me people just didn't recover from before penecillin was found. So, I owe my life to penecillin.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then, for part of that recovery you went to Europe?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, that's right. I went to Europe because I had some good friends in Washington, the Hydes, who had been very active in the Progressive party. They had gone to Georgia to work with my sister Branson on the campaign. Eugenia had shown the good sense to have been born comparitively rich and so, they went to Europe to Switzerland. After they had been there for awhile, they wrote me and said, why didn't I take a really long vacation and come to visit them in Switzerland. This was a serious proposition and they would be glad to have me visit them. In other words, I wouldn't have anything other than my personal expenses. I paid my fare over and so forth. So, that seemed to my sisters and my other friends and me a good idea, because I was still not really capable of working. By that time, I was doing research for the Czechs, getting information that they needed. They would say, "Prague wants to know about this or that," and I knew enough about Washington to know who to call up and go about finding things. So, I went to Switzerland and by the time I got there, they decided that they would go down to the Riviera, to Antibes, where their friend Charlie Adamson had a villa. So, they went down to stay there and visit him and I went along with him and they got a villa not very far away and in the course of time, why Charlie and I got married.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was he like, what did he do for a living? Was he American?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
He was from Georgia, which meant that we had the same southern

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background and talked the same language. He appealed to me because he had a trade union interest. He had gone to work in Ohio in one of the . . .I believe that it was Goodyear, where they were taking in the young men to learn the business, these training squads, you know, that these big companies were apt to have. So, he went to work in Akron at a Goodyear plant. Instead of being trained to be on the executive staff, it was the time when the CIO was being organized and the rubber workers were forming a union and he sided with the workers and that sort of ended his career to be on the executive staff of Goodyear. [Laughter] He went home to Georgia and just about that time . . .I've forgotten the chronology, but his father, who had gone to Georgia to start a textile factory, he was a World War I profiteer, then the stock market crash of '29 came along. So, then he went to Georgia to try to work with his father but there again, when he got there in the cotton mill industry, he found that he liked the workers better than he did his father's employees and so he sided with them and that didn't make a very good impression. The Depression was underway and so forth and so . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did he end up in Europe?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
He ended up in Europe by the fact that his father had died and even though he had gone bust in the Depression, there was still a certain amount of the estate that was left to be settled. Charlie had two sisters and he turned in and settled the estate and after he got that settled, he decided to take the money and . . .when he was in college at the University of Pennsylvania, he had spent summer vacations abroad. They had been rich enough so that he could go to France and spend the summer and so he had

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lived in France and spoke French [unknown] fairly well. When he got over this stint of settling the estate and had a little bit of money, he decided to go to live in France for a while. Since he had known the Hydes in Washington, it was natural that they should plan to go down to Antibes and stay down there for awhile. This just all happened to work out.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How long were you married?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
We were married from 1951 to 1964.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you come back to the States?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, because his money began to run out and I had [unknown] received a settlement of ten thousand . . . .
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You received ten thousand dollars?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, from the '49 accident and by the time I had paid the lawyer and expenses I had about $8,000. Clifford Durr, Virginia Durr's husband, [unknown] was my lawyer there. But there again . . .I'm referring to a [unknown] later accident; in both cases I received injuries and was the victim, but the only amount that was available was insurance, ten thousand dollars. When I went to visit the Hydes, that's how I had money to pay my fare to go.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then when you came back to the States, you moved back to Washington?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, because Charlie had a house in Georgetown which he had subleased while he had gone to Europe. I had kept my apartment, I had subleased it and so it was a logical place for us to come back to.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And then you started working in 1957 for the National Council

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of Churches?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I had a very uneven work effort. That's the McCarthy era, if you know about that era, it was underway and getting jobs in Washington was not easy for one who had had adverse publicity as I had. The same thing was true of Charlie because he had been very active in picketing the White House to try to keep the United States out of the war. You may remember about that. So, it was just very difficult. So, I fortunately had the skills of a stenographer . . .as I say, I never really properly learned shorthand but by that time I had become confident enough in making out about it. I just went to New York and worked for those temporary places because I didn't have a record that I could very well refer to. The years of working for the Czech Embassy in the McCarthy era, that was not a good recommendation. Working for the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, on the Committee for North Carolina, they were not what you would call sound recommendations.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you react to that? Were you angry?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I was angry and I was scared, because the FBI wouldn't let me keep a job. One calendar year I had fourteen different jobs. They wouldn't let me keep a job at all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you mean that they would go to the place where you were working and . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were they following you all this time?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
They must have been. I wasn't aware of it but they must have

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been because I don't know how else they could have found me.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Your employer would suddenly come in and tell you . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
My employer would come in and the usual thing, I remember a couple of them would say, "How long did you work for Lippman?" I would know that this was it. They would ask me something that they had no other way of knowing about it at all.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did many of your friends have the same experience of losing jobs like that?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I'm sure they did, but I was not in any position to be pursuing my interest in social problems at that time, because I had to have a job and it took all that I was capable of doing to manage.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, it turned into an individual experience for you rather than one that you could share with people who were in the same situation? I mean other than the closeness that you had with your husband, who was . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Charlie was very loyal and very helpful, although he was running to the end of his financial resources, too.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was an experience that was difficult to share with anyone or to get support for?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. There again, my friends didn't have jobs to give me and other people were not able to. I got jobs through personal contacts, but there again, those people, when the FBI would come to see them they were not willing to make an issue.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you ever angry enough that you wanted to have the whole thing fought through, to defend yourself?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, I would have liked to, but you fortunately, were not old

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enough to know about the McCarthy era, but it was . . .a couple of the people whom Bentley named had gone to prison. One of them was killed in prison and another one I happened to know because he lived on the same street that Charlie's sister lived on in New York and I met him through her. But it was not . . .it was a very, very serious matter and I had to have a job.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
There was no network through which you could begin to think about staging any kind of counter offensive?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, you asked me about it and I had good legal advice and people were very helpful to me, but there just wasn't . . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did Clifford Durr continue to help you? Had he been involved in defending you earlier?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, I didn't ask him about trying to bring charges against Bentley. I guess that perhaps it was a defeatist attitude at that time because McCarthyism was so rampant that it just seemed that what one had to do was figure out a survival scheme.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Have you been following the recent evolution of Alger Hiss's case?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
No, I haven't really. I'm interested in it. When I was working for Lippman, I told you about my office, it was over the garage and I found out later in the course of his case that he lived across the street from there. I never knew him and Whitaker Chambers had lived in the apartment that I lived in in New York before I moved into it. I never knew him. That's how life goes. [Laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, after this year of sporadic jobs, temporary employment, you had a long tenure with the National Council of Churches.

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I did. I went to employment agencies and at the time, I've forgotten why, it was just the appropriate time, I guess, but I had worked enough to get references of sorts in the offices of people for whom I had done short term jobs, people I had know, a lawyer in Washington and had done some work with Harold and so forth. Enough that I had a skeleton reference business that I could use. One of those resumes was probably made up at that time. So, I decided that I would just barge right into the employment agencies. So, I went around and registered at the agencies and interestingly enough, when I got the job at the National Council, I also had applications in at two other employment agencies and I think that I could have had the job at either of them. One of them was the American Bible Society and the other was the Salvation Army, which would have been interesting jobs, both of them. The other one was the National Council of Churches and the National Council, I thought, was the most interesting one. There were wonderful people there. I would guess, it would seem logical, that the FBI must have been to see them as far as I was concerned, but they must have known about what the legal rights were . . .the whole thing, you were asking me about it. They never once said anything to me about it and it's not logical to me that the FBI did not go there, but they had their attornies or whatever consider about it and that was it. About the other two, the American Bible Society and the Salvation Army, I don't know if the same thing would have been true there or not, but it gave me quite a perspective about the society.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What type of work did you do for them? You were with them for twelve years?

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MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Thirteen years, yes. I worked for nine years as a secretary to a woman who was the . . .I've forgotten exactly what her title was, but anyway, she was the associate director, that's what it amounted to, of the division that at that time was called Foreign Missions. So, I was interested in the contact with the overseas places and so forth and so on. So, I worked with her until she decided to go back to her own denomination, the Baptists in Valley Forge, and by that time I had acquired tenure in the National Council and by that time, "mission" had become a dirty word in religious circles and the name of the division was changed to the Division of Overseas Ministries. I went to work as a research assistant to the director of the division, where I stayed until the time that I had the second accident.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So, this was a way . . .you were in interesting work and you could channel some of your social interests and concern?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right, I could channel my interests there and it was not a way to get rich, but the Council made a point of trying to pay the going wages and knew exactly what your rights were, how much vacation and all. It was not a matter of this rat race of trying to beat the system on the New York job market. So, I was very happy and had expected to stay there until I reached retirement until the second accident came along.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And then in the course of recovering from that you moved to California?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
In the course of . . .well, I'm still not recovered from it, you will notice on the door my cane that I walk with. In the course of that, it was too difficult for me to get around in New York City, going up and down stairs in the subway, for instance, it was just very difficult. I

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would have to go one step at a time and that sort of thing in the subway at rush hour. And to do anything that one likes to do in the city of New York required travel. I had an excellent apartment but it was two flights up and I just was not physically able to continue living in New York. My arthritis was bad. I had done all the things that the medical profession knew to do about arthritis and so I did one more thing they thought. Tucson was supposed to be the place to go for arthritis and so, I had a North Carolina friend who had lived in New York and got arthritis very badly and had gone to Tucson and so, I wrote her when I was still bedridden and said that I just couldn't cope with life in New York and what did she know about Tucson. She wrote back immediately and said, well, she still had her arthritis but why didn't I come, she had a place where I could stay with her and she would help me to find a place to live in Tucson if I wanted. So, I went there and during the course of it, my brother and his wife in Sebastopol, California came down to see me and they invited me to come and stay with them and see how I liked living in California. So, I did and I stayed with them until I found a place I could manage. By that time, Social Security had started because disability began since I was unable to work, why I got full age 65 Social Security retirement. I got retired, you see, at sixty years of age.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So then you came to the Bay Area . . . .
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I lived in Santa Rosa, which was a little bit larger town than Sebastopol, where Wright and Arla lived and I hadn't been able to find an apartment in Sebastopol and I lived in Santa Rosa for four or five years. I decided that life would be more interesting living closer to a metropolitan

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center, but on the other hand, the hills in San Francisco were too much for me to manage. So, my nephew, who worked here in Oakland said why didn't I come to this section. He had lived not far from here, so he knew it and he said that it was as safe a neighborhood as there was around anywhere and had good transportation.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Now, is the main organization that you are involved with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, and I'm very active in the farm workers union. I'm not in any way affiliated with them, I'm just a volunteer. I've been out half a dozen times getting signatures on the initiative that is coming out on the ballot. I have a date to go out canvassing with them tomorrow and I went to church last week and got two petitions signed. [Laughter] I'm a busybody, you see, I like to do things. So, those are my two main activities and it's enough to keep me busy, because in the course of my disability, I had to learn to do nothing. It's something that one learns and I learned too well to do nothing, so now I find it quite strenuous to have a normal schedule.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Although, from the number of times the phone has been ringing, you're still . . . [Laughter] Pretty active, I would say. Thank you so much.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Well, thank you so much.
END OF INTERVIEW