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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 >>

Balancing career and femininity

As a career woman during the 1930s and 1940s, Adamson worked to balance her desire for success with the cultural expectations placed on femininity. She explains how she understood the intersection of the two.

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:
In Harold Coy's book on the Prices he says that during this whole period, the thirties and up until '43, I guess-he talked about when you left Lippmann's office or stopped working for Lippmann-he 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)
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.