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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 >>

Adamson struggles to find work during the Great Depression

Adamson graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1931, and though it was the middle of the Great Depression, she managed to find some jobs. Though it would have helped secure her financial footing, her mother never pushed her to marry.

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.

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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.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.
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 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.