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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Sorority life at UNC-CH

When Adamson transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill, she joined the Chi Omega sorority, to the frustration of her sister Mildred. Within that organization, however, she found the social support and recognition she had desired.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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 Harold-Harold was a reporter on the paper in St. 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. (telephone interruption) . . . To speak disparagingly about the Chi Omegas, and I get to Chapel Hill. They'll probably see what's going on down there.
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.