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Title: Oral History Interview with Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, November 5, 1974. Interview G-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Anderson, Eleanor Copenhaver, 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: 156 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.
2006-07-20, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, November 5, 1974. Interview G-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0005)
Author: Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson
Description: 37 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 5, 1974, by Mary Frederickson; recorded in New York, New York.
Note: Transcribed by Linda Killen.
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 Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, November 5, 1974.
Interview G-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Anderson, Eleanor Copenhaver, interviewee


NOTE: Audio for this interview is not available.

Interview Participants

    ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON, interviewee
    SUE STILLE, interviewee
    MARY FREDERICKSON, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You're a perfect example of the southern women that we want to know about, so I'm going to ask you to tell about your family background and your parents.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I just threw away something this morning that came from [her?]. Well, look, how far back do you wish to go? I'm a real mountaineer. About seven generations. Lutheran preachers on both sides. [unknown] . I was in the DAR but I resigned over the Spanish loyalist. . was the. . . . What do you want to know about the family? It's an emormous family.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When did they first come to Marion?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, George Washington surveyed our farm, and when was that? It was before the Revolution, when he was a young surveyor. They came. . . all of them went first to Bucks county, Pennsylvania. You know, those Pennsylvania Dutch. It was well before the Revolution. I have a very boring cousin who sends out these mimeographed sheets. I know I threw it away. I just get so desperate with too many papers.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When did they come from Pennsylvania down to Virginia?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Before the Revolution. When was that? I know I have one ancestor. . . they're very humble people, really, but he did have enough money to give to George Washington. And I had good old ancestors in the War Between the States, too. What do you want to know? Good old mountain people.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did your parents grow up in Marion, both of them?

Page 2
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did your father do?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
This is easy. My father was superintendent of schools for 36 years, county superintendent. And he was one of the first to start mountain schools for illiterates. Had a lot of those. Rode around on horse back at first.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What kind of education did he have?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
He had, as did many of my ancestors. . . Roanoke College. Salem. Where he took all the honors. I've just seen the medals in the bank box. But he didn't do graduate work, I don't think. I know he didn't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did he run the farm there?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, yes, on the side.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did your mother do? What was your mother's background?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Look, I can give you a great deal of literature on her. Tell me how much time you have. My mother was very active not only in the national Lutheran church but other churches. She wrote hymns and pageants and things. And then she started a mountain industry at the time of the depression. A lady was in last week. . . oh, a descendent of President Tyler. . . who said how thrilled they were to bring in wool. My mother was very active. [On race?] Well, my father wasn't wildly radical, but I remember him being criticized for letting Negro school teachers come in the front door to call. But in the town we've always had. . . still do. . . very superior class of Negro. We don't want to get on that. When we integrated, for instance, the schools, no problem at all. People don't believe this, but the Negro teachers were so good. Well, two of them were ready to retire, but the white parents were very glad to have them. So I guess you'd say it isn't typical

Page 3
southern race situation.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were most of the schools that he was starting up in the mountains for white mountain children or. . .?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. There was a section of the county. . . I don't know whether there still is. . . where no Negro had ever spent the night. Now don't. . . schools weren't integrated until maybe five or ten years ago. But always had a very fine black school in the county seat and then some little ones around.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there many black people in the county?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No. Fewer than most. . . . It isn't a typical southen situation, from race standpoint.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Your mother went to college?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. Well, we had a local college which is gone now and now it's merged with Roanoke College. But she was a very famous English teacher. People still come who remember her.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did she keep working the whole time you were a child?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about brothers and sisters?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I have one brother and two sisters. One sister died. This sister that's in Minnesota. . . . Well, how much detail do you want? Well, she's married to this doctor. She's very active. I shouldn't say she's become the head of the Republican women in the county. I'm ashamed of that. You tell me what kind of things you want to know. She is head of the library board and works like a Trojan. My brother is a doctor, a medical general. He's retired to the Mexican border. But you don't want all this.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was your mother involved with the suffrage movement at all?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't think so. Well . . . I don't know. When did

Page 4
women get the vote?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
1920? I mean, do you remember her being involved in it at all?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No. I remember candidates coming and trying to get her support, but if you mean was she working for suffrage, I wouldn't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Where did you go to school?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I went first to Westhampton College—University of Richmond. Then I did two years of graduate work at Bryn Mawr. And then I did one year at Columbia in political economy.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you study at Bryn Mawr?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, I was in the department of social work. Psychology and. . . well, I guess it was practical social work techniques. Goodness, it's been so long. But it's still a going school of social work. I get literature all the time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were in graduate school, is that when you first became interested in workers or workers education?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, that's right. You know, there was a very liberal group of teachers at Bryn Mawr.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who did you study under, do you remember?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, I had two great teachers. One was Eva Whiting who was from Boston. The other was a really famous psychology teacher - His name was Dr. Metcalf. Both the husband and wife taught.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about at Columbia? Who were you under there?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, Carter Goodrich, who was very stimulating.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't know what's happened to him. Fascinating man.

Page 5
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about Tugwell. . .?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
He was a friend of Sherwood's. I knew him a little. But I didn't study with him. I don't know what's happened to him. He hasn't died, has he?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I don't know.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
A very attractive man, but I think he was younger than the teachers. Really, I'm not prepared for this kind of interview.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I'm just interested in what you do remember. What did you do when you finished Columbia?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
From Bryn Mawr I went straight to the national YWCA. And when I was studying at Columbia I was working, too. Already working.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was your first position with the Y?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
It was on the national industrial staff, but I was assigned to the southern region, with offices in Richmond. I'm sure that's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You were working in Richmond but while you were at Columbia you were still in New York on the national staff.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
That's right. NO! Yes! But I traveled some while I was studying at Columbia.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How long did you work for the Y?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, I'll have to call up about 40 years, 30 years. I don't know. At least 30.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So once you starting working with them, that's the group that you stayed with all the way. What kinds of other positions did you hold with the Y? Did you stay with the industrial department all the time?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Practically all the time, though for two years I went to Italy on a project, chiefly with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, but it was with the Y. Starting a model factory there. I didn't leave the Y. Oh,

Page 6
that isn't quite true. I worked for the American Labor Education one or two years in between.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But then went back to the Y? You were working under Eleanor Coit there?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What kinds of things did you do for them?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I did mainly conferences. You know, like in Cleveland. We would have conferences of labor leaders, workers education. Later, I was a volunteer for her. Polly mentioned a man yesterday. He's quite hot in the labor movement in Virginia. He was on the board. Arthur Goldberg was. We had some wonderful people. Board of AIES, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When did you first meet Louise McLaren?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh my goodness! Well, that would have been about 1925.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you meet her at Columbia?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Never. She was in the Y, the national Y. If she ever went to Columbia, I don't know it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I think she had a masters from there but it must have been—
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
You're right, you're quite right. Later she got it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then you worked with her for quite a while in the southern region, right?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, how do you designate quite a while? I was a good deal in the west, but I helped her with the Southern School. Did you get her dates? I don't know when that ended, when the Southern School ended.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It ended about. . . well, she left in '43.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
And Brownie Jones took it on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right, and it went until about 1949 or so.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
It did? Well, I must tell you I'm ignorant of dates. I haven't thought of any of this for years.

Page 7
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you around her at all when she was getting ready to start the school or had the idea to start the school?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, I must have been. She had some early conferences before they had the actual summer school. I don't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember the feeling within the Y about starting the summer school? What was the relationship between the Y and the summer schools, all of them?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, it would be my judgment that the Y helped in every way, but it couldn't have. The Y might have thought it was too radical. I don't think so, though. Polly should have told you that. I don't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She wasn't around when they were starting. Do you remember Katharine Lumpkin? What was she doing during this. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Of course! She was a national student secretary from, South Carolina for the YW. She helped a great deal. Is she alive? Oh, well, you should see her.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She was working in the South most of the time, wasn't she?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I think exclusively. But, you see, I'm not a good source. Now Polly said you were going to see Lois MacDonald. She would know it all and she would be. . . she's a trained researcher, too. And she's written a book or two on southern mill villages. But she was very active. Oh, she should know everything.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you in touch with her a lot?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. But I'm not in touch now. I never even see her. But she should be a good source. I hadn't thought of that until Polly mentioned it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did the relationship tend to be between the student group of the Y and the industrial department?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
The only thing I know. . . it was very friendly. But, you

Page 8
know, they were the liberals in the national Y, those two groups. And there's a great lot of history on the struggles. Some of the rich ladies thought the students were too liberal and some thought the industrial were. That's a long story. I keep looking for books. I don't know whether Lois MacDonald would know that. Eleanor Coit should.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have most of your contacts with the student groups? Did you work closely with the national student council?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I wasn't on it! We always cooperated and when we had industrial conferences we'd generally have someone from the student department, like Katharine Lumpkin.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember Grace Lumpkin, her sister?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Of course. Why do you ask? A wonderful person. But I don't know whether she was with the Y or what.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I think she might have been with the Y for a very short time but then she was in New York most of the time.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I'm ashamed to say I've forgotten.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember the two of them being together much? Was their relationship very. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, they weren't together very much, but they were friendly. Would be my memory. But goodness, it's so long ago.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember when Grace Lumpkin's books came out?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. What was her book? I know that created a sensation.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did it? Her book was To Make My Bread about Gastonia.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, right, right, right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember the reaction that people had when it came out?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, at that period there were a great many liberals in the YW. I don't remember but I remember now that you tell me very well. Lois MacDonald can tell you all of that.

Page 9
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you read it when it came out?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, of course, but don't ask me now what. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was an unusual book when it came out, wasn't it?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't think it shook the world, but I don't know. It was very pro-labor?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. She was writing I guess what you'd call proletarian novels. She wrote several of them.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
That's right. I've completely forgotten, sorry.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you in New York during the same time she was? Is that. . .?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, but see, we traveled. At that time New York was the national—it still is the national. Then later they put up regional offices. Now it's back to national. Everybody nearly works from here except the West Coast.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you travel the whole time you were with the Y?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, but that doesn't mean travel the whole year. Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But I mean, you didn't work particularly with the southern region, or did you?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. In between I had the west central. No. Well, it depends upon what period. I don't know how many years I worked with the southern region. I just don't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you the national industrial secretary? Was that your. . ?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No, we were called on the national staff, but I always had a region. And for a long time it was the eleven southern states.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who did you have working under you?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, the local industrial secretaries, of which we had in nearly every place, all those industrial centers.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Like the one in Roanoke or the one in Winston-Salem. Do you remember Pat Knight?

Page 10
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Very well. I'd love to see her. She's still alive, isn't she?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She's alive and she's in Lima, Peru with the State Department.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I've always kept up with her until very recently.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was the background of most of the industrial secretaries? Did they tend to be middle class women who had gone to college?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. Very few up from the ranks, but a few. They were very strict on college education, I think. The Y. For their secretaries, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How strict were they on religious background?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't think they were ever strict, but what do you mean?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I mean did you have to be very christian. . .?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No, I don't think so. But in some of the famous fights there were questions of whether we were religious enough. We had a great many fights. When the Y was attacked as being too pro-labor and too liberal. Lois is [unknown] a wonderful source. But doesn't she come up here.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I don't know, she must. I hope to see her some time.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I've always kept in touch with her but I'm just lost out on all my friends.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Can you give me an idea of what the fights were about or who they were with.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
The fund raisers who thought we were too liberal. A lot of that is documented with some of these women. One who was a great supporter was Mrs Rockefeller, the mother of all of them. They had several women like that in the Y that just stood up for labor.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They stood up for labor.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, of course.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
That's interesting. The Rockefellers don't have a

Page 11
reputation for standing up for labor. Was she unusual from the family? Was she different from the men?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
All the men? I'm speaking of the mother of all these. She was an Aldrich, wasn't she. Well, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller did a great deal to help the YW. But goodness, I don't know when she died.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were they mainly contributing money?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh no, Mrs Rockefeller was very active. I remember, she had me come over and speak, you know, down at the modern museum about labor conditions, well, conditions of the working girl. Oh no, she really worked. The YW had about six women. . . I'll try to get that book from my neighbor. It's called Six Famous Women, or something. You tell me when you have to go and I'll get my neighbor in, who is a disciplined research worker. She would know. Well, the mother of Mrs Lawrence Rockefeller, Mrs French, was another one who was very liberal. I don't know how liberal Mary French Rockefeller is. She's still very active in the Y but mostly the foreign. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So they were actively involved in helping set up programs and that sort of thing?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
You mean for working girls?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. I mean they didn't just give money.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh no. They did [unknown] actually work. They made speeches and supported it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But they weren't the ones the fights were with? Who were the fights with?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, they would get women on the national board which. . . they still do. Now I'm out of touch. Norris would know. We always had some strong women who were. . . I don't know what word to use, reactionary. You know, they just did this thing on gun control and they lost a great deal

Page 12
of money on that. I have no opinion one way or the other. The Y has nearly always done these social action things. I don't know what it's doing now. My neighbor can tell you.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I'm mainly interested in what they were involved in. Did the industrial department cause most of the furor?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Labor. Race. There are plenty of people here. . . . The thing on race I guess you'd say was more definitely related to religion. And right down through they were very active on race. We were talking about a camp, Merriwoode. You know where that is?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes, I was just reading some things about one of the conferences you held there.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
This Mrs Day. . . goodness, she had a famous husband. She really risked a great deal on letting us have interracial conferences there. But you see it hasn't much point if I don't know what date it was. It was an exceedingly swanky camp and she let us do it. She really risked a lot with her prestigous clients. She was in the Richmond Y. Her husband was a very famous liberal in the city government here.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The conference I was reading about was in 1936, and I think that was the first one where you had an interracial group. Grace [unknown] Hamilton was there and Winifred Wygal . . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. That shows you shouldn't trust me. I just told Polly Sunday it was lots earlier than that. Yes, Winifred Wygal.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Where is she? Have any idea?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
She's in heaven, I guess. Very recently. Everybody's been dying. Far younger than Winifred. She was a very fiery leader of the students for years.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She was in the student group, that wasn't clear.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, but you could always count on her. And she was active

Page 13
up here. Don't ask me which famous causes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Where did she go to school? In the South. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
It's ridiculous. I don't know. I have a feeling she was western. I don't know. But very active in all these things. Well, and she was a personal friend of Mrs, Jonathan Day Merriwoode.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So she helped get the place.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, and was always there. Marion Cuthbert. . . see, everybody is dead from those pioneer days. Marion Cuthbert. She was a very famous, rather prominent poet and writer. Colored. Black. But she went down there to the industrial camps when they first became interracial.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was touchy to have these interracial conferences. . . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, extremely. We were under fire a lot. But we had these good volunteers backing us.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The Southern Summer School never integrated while they were in western North Carolina. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Goodness, that's amazing. You're right. You see my ignorance? I don't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They didn't push it very hard.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, there was a religious fervor back of it all. And when you go around to local YWCA's, I remember once in Knoxville there was a question of would we have the board meeting at the Negro branch. They all wanted to do that just as a gesture. And then we had another very famous siege in. . . what's the Mississippi town where that singer1. . . Laurel, Mississippi. Where that famous opera singer, she came from there. And Mrs Robert E. Spear was then president. She went down with me because. . . it was an Eastman Kodak town and this man, or this president of Eastman, he had heard we always had a thing called Rommany Day at Merriwoode. And we had a very popular speaker, a labor leader. And when they had this

Page 14
Rommany Day, he wore a red sash! Well, no one thought anything of it. But this head of Eastman, he took it up. So Mrs Speer and I . . . but then you couldn't just fly down to Laurel, Miss. We went on the train and had an interview with him. Don't put this down. I'll never forget this. We were sitting in the Y before this man came in. And Mrs Speer was leading the praying that we do right. And just then in came a Western Union boy with a telegram. I remember so well. She stopped. . . reading the telegram stopped the paryer and then she picked it up again. The Speer family, they were great religious leaders. Margaret Speer. I guess she's still alive. I haven't heard to the contrary. He was a very, very famous church leader. Robert E. Speer. But this was a long time ago.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This would be in the 20s?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Absolutely! It was before race. It was this man wearing a red sash.
[Interruption.]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It's very difficult to get an appointment with her. She's2 writing her memoirs, also. I think someone from George Washington, perhaps, is helping her. They've started a new labor history program there.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't think she was on this southern thing much, but don't listen to me. And yours is southern, isn't it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was just trying to put together things about the Southern Summer School. You were telling us about Mrs Speer in Mississippi. Would she still be in Mississippi?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh know, she's been dead a long time. Her daughter was president of a school in Bryn Mawr. Very famous preparatory school. I'm afraid so many of these people are dead. I don't know when Mrs Speer died. I'll get this book. I might as well get it now. It's got those famous women, most of them. And someone's written another book.

Page 15
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember Virginia Durr? Were you friends with her?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. Well, not intimate but I admired her very much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She was in Washington during a lot of this time.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. Let's see. . . she was the sister-in-law of some famous man.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Hugo Black.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
That's right.
[Interruption. Sue Stille comes in. She is neighbor.]
SUE STILLE:
—our pool was desegregated, what is the word? Anyhow, before we integrated the pool.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, Sue, when did this passion for interracial come in the Y? National Y. It was before my day. You've read some of these histories. I read them, too, but I've forgotten.
SUE STILLE:
Well, I don't think the passion. . . . Lately they've had the passion, very lately.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No, I'm saying when I got in it it was a great cause.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Is that why you got in it?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No. I hadn't thought about it, I'm afraid.
SUE STILLE:
I'm afraid I hadn't either. I liked it. I had joined up and taught swimming at [unknown] conference camp, you know, and loved it and got a good job in Detroit, so I went there. I liked it very much then. I taught school one year and was going back, but this other job came up and I liked it better.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why did you go to the Y to begin with?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, Mrs Robert E. Speer was the national president and she came to Bryn Mawr and recruited me right out of college. I don't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I mean cause it just sounded like a good idea?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Very good.

Page 16
SUE STILLE:
It seemed to me the leadership was so good. [First thought she would do it for one year.] And that was when I got out of the school [something about degree] and we were told before we left. . . I was asked back with a raise. Anyone who bobbed their hair couldn't teach school. Well, for me of course I wanted to go out immediately and bob my hair. I didn't care. [unknown] Then I got this job for summer anyhow, [unknown] and I liked the people. The leadership seemed so much broader. And there were Indians and blacks and all there at the camp, you know. And that was wonderful. It was my first job. I went to school. Nebraska University. And then I taught in Falls City, which is a town about 15,000 I guess.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why was the leadership so different in the YW as compared to the YM?
SUE STILLE:
I don't know enough about it. It's not fair for me. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
[Something about the men are there to make the money.]
SUE STILLE:
A man would give $10 to the YMCA and maybe a $1 to his wife for the YW.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
But the women weren't pressed, as the men were, from reactionary. . . You have to say that.
SUE STILLE:
Yes, you're right. In business and everything else. They just worked on that basis. It had to make money. Although the YW has always had very good backing. I don't know whether they do now, so much.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Fervent liberals. A few of these great women. . . I don't know. I should think of more southern women.
SUE STILLE:
This building here. . . the first cooperative in New York. And this was started by a group of women who worked overseas in World War I. They couldn't get housing when they came back, so they bought four brownstones.

Page 17
One was an architect and she made this building with 34 apartments. Had cross ventilation, bath, kitchen and bedroom. Everyone of them. And that kind of thing happened. It was a true cooperative because we do the work for it. And we live certainly very reasonably in New York. But that's a side of the YWCA.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
These were all YWCA people who started it?
SUE STILLE:
Yes, it was originally. Not now. There are very few YWCA left. The Ford Foundation has taken over. Well, I think I'm getting you off the subject. I have to go anyhow.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
How about any of these southern women? She's been in the southern YW since I have.
SUE STILLE:
Well, only to travel when I came back from overseas. But I don't know enough about. . . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, they've given me an awful jolt. You don't know, we have a new county YMCA. They make a point of saying ‘family YMCA.’ But I don't know what they've done about race. I must look into that.
SUE STILLE:
Well, I think they've come to it. I think they've had to. But I think also the YMCA will take over family and then it will take over women's work, when they're not qualified to do it. That's happened all the time. Happened when I was working in cities. Have clubs for girls. And have [unknown] camps for girls.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, that's very strong now. When's the next convention? I don't know. They will merge though, certainly. Could be wrong.
SUE STILLE:
I'm not sure. They haven't been able to get together in New York City and they've worked awfully hard on that.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, Miss Stille is much closer to it than I, but the talk I get is that they certainly are going to merge.

Page 18
SUE STILLE:
Well, the talk I get is they certainly aren't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
One thing before you go. Did you have any contacts with the YW in Atlanta? The Phyllis Wheatley branch?
SUE STILLE:
Yes, I did. That's before. . . now I don't think there's still a branch. They worked very well. Both branches. [unknown] One thing they didn't want to do. Give up their branches. Because it meant then a great many blacks lost their leadership that they had in their branches. That was another difficulty came up when they did integrate. You see, if you were head of a Phyllis Wheatley or another Negro branch, you had a certain status. But if you. . . it was all integrated, the chances are that the white woman might be better trained for the job or something.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Wasn't this a thing that ran all the way through as far as integrating industrial girls with business girls because business girls would dominate?
SUE STILLE:
Well, they never really tried too much to put them together, when I knew them. Did you think so?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I think not. The industrial leaders then. . . the great leaders, the fervent, ardent. . . were the industrial people. Now that's changed, hasn't it?
SUE STILLE:
I think it has. I think the industrial girls as such, they don't think of them. They just think of them as people. But at that time it was very necessary they did have help because the industrial girl, of course, was kept down. Her wages and everything.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, were you in favor of separating industrial girls. . . . Having a separate department or club for industrial girls.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, I certainly was. I may have been wrong, but. . . yes.
SUE STILLE:
[unknown] See, the business girls were at that time

Page 19
beginning to have big business girls clubs and all.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Very upper class and conservative. But that's all changed. The industrial was the real movement, there's no doubt about that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You were actually setting up industrial clubs, weren't you?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, I guess. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But I mean until that time the YW had been run by business interests?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No, Miss Florence Simms. . . . you mentioned Lucy Carner before my day. I knew Florence Simms. When did the industrial movement start? There is a book on Florence Sims.
SUE STILLE:
It was very active. . . on the ascendency, let's say, when I first went with the YWCA in 1924. And I was in an industrial city, of course—Detroit—and I was in an industrial center [unknown] where all the people who had come over after World War I to work in the big factories
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
This book on Florence Sims is all on the industrial. And she was very interested in the South. Who wrote that book, do you know? Life of Florence Sims is a whole separate book. [unknown] [Stille leaves after a short discussion about her work in writing up the history of the cooperative in which they live and the problems of research and sources in general.]
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't even know who's president of Chapel Hill now. Now Frank Graham. . . goodness. . . he would come to our conferences. How long ago was that? Oh, he was very popular with the industrial girls.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You would ask him to come speak at a conference?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. We had him at Merriwoode. Mr Frank, as they called him. He was a great supporter of the industrial. . . . You see, I'm weak on when the thing on race began. But I think he helped the Southern School.

Page 20
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He did. He was on their board for a long, long time. How would you compare the work that the Southern Summer School was doing and the work that you were doing in the industrial department? Did you run into them a lot?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, constantly, but, I don't know, it was very different—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you were tied into a larger picture of. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Much larger. The whole community. They just did labor and they didn't have to raise money from community chests, as we did. Don't ask me when the Chest movement started.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you in your mind associate them with unions almost completely?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. And they raised money from people like me, who gave a little. You know, hard working people who gave small gifts. They will tell you, it was verymuch more labor.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was your connection with labor? Did you have connection with the unions?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, not until years and years later. We had a very, very strong union at the Y and a very controversial union.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
A strong union within the Y?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
National Y. Oh yes. Of course the labor union by then courted the YW. And in a lot of places the YW were in the labor movement, see, outright in the trade union. They are now, but I don't know what union.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Now these were people who worked for the YW?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Right. Absolutely.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Like secretaries and—
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Everybody was in an industrial union and some of our best people were maintenance, you know. It was a straight industrial union. But

Page 21
that's a much later—
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you a member of it?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh yes. It was no joke to be in the labor movement then, in the rank and file. We had the same struggle in our trade unions. They would put a woman, a rich woman, to be with us. And then we would have these snips from the labor movement. They would come up and be down right rude to these women. Well, everybody knows you don't do that. These women were our employers.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who would come. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
We had some good ones. I mean some that understood. But mostly we'd have a typical, hard boiled trade union guy. And they'd be different ones. They'd come into a meeting. They wouldn't know what we were talking about, what the issues were. Don't ask me when that was. I couldn't tell you. Many of the good people in the national Y were ardent trade unionists. But it nearly killed us all to be in the labor movement. Be for the labor movement, but not to be in it. I think that would be true now. I would hate to be in a union myself. Though of course I believe in it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was a group within the Y that formed. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
A real, honest-to-God trade union. We had to have all the discipline of trade union. Which is right. We would send delegates to all committees and things. I don't know. She would know better how the union is now. But of course the union courted the YW terribly. It was one of the first unions in, I guess you'd say, social work field.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people up and down the staff in the YW belong?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Absolutely. Executives. No, the very top executives. That was always an issue. Nearly to the top, but they did exclude a few in the

Page 22
personnel who did the hiring and firing. I've forgotten all that. But practically everybody was in it. All of the employees.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Which union was it associated with, do you remember?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
It's ridiculous. . . . I don't know. I could look it up. It's a well known union. I think it still exists. Though it changed. We were once in one that was just social workers. You know, there are many agencies in town. It was a huge union.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Back to when you were working for the Y. In the industrial department. Was a big problem women not being accepted by unions?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't think so. Equal pay for equal work, that was an issue. But they always wanted women in the unions.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was just wondering if the Y didn't become stronger or more active because women couldn't get a place in the union.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Maybe not. One of the most famous was that huge plant in Roanoke that ended. Oh, I think you're wrong on that. There was discrimination against women on jobs. You don't mean that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, I thought there was discrimination within the union as well. Like women not being able to hold offices in the union and that sort of thing.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, yes. But that was not overt. They wouldn't admit it. That's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the YWCA at the time? What was the feeling of being female? Was there a stress on being a woman worker instead of just being a worker?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Very strong. I guess the woman's movement—I don't know what it is now—has always been a strong factor in YW. Opportunities for women. We should have asked Sue. She's kept up with it more than I.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you were there, do you remember talking to women about we

Page 23
need to be conscious of ourselves as women?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Constantly. Not exactly fighting against men, but standing up for women's rights, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Clint was doing some reading about Sherwood Anderson and wanted to ask you some questions about him and the work you did together during this time in the late 20s and early 30s. When did you first meet him?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, I'll say '28.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He said that you felt that he was wasting his life. This was written in one of his memoirs—that you wanted to get him involved in the labor movement—
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, I can't sit here and deny it if you've read it. . . . No, I wanted to get him. . . . He loved to go around. We went to all those famous textile places. And I told him he was wasting his life?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes, I think you thought he was floundering.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
He said I said that?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He didn't say you said that. That was his interpretation of why you wanted to get him involved. That you thought his talent could be useful—
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Listen, he was involved before he met me. But go on, you may be right. That's true, I guess.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You thought that his talent and his influence could be helpful to some of the struggles that were going on at the time. And it certainly was, I think.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, it was helpful to his writing. You have a big library you see. He wrote about the Danville strike. He wrote about the Elizabethton strike. You know the Etheridges, I guess. He visited them in Macon—I wasn't there—and wrote about that. Well, all right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you travel with him to the Danville strike and the Marion?

Page 24
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
We traveled to the Elizabethton, the Marion, the Gastonia. I think he went to the Danville alone. I wouldn't swear to that. We went to Winston-Salem a good deal. He went to a lot of those textile mills without me. And some places he just drove me around and he would go in factories or talk to workers. I'm sure of those I just mentioned.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He had a good rapport with workers, did he not.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Of course. Well, that's all written up.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you do when you were at the Marion? Do you remember some of the things. . . when you would go, say to the Marion strike, what were you doing?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, the Marion. Did I say he went with me there? I went with this Mrs. Cushman there. At the Elizabethton strike, there was a big hall, a big meeting of the strikers. We both spoke. Marion, I think he went separately. I went for the YW with Mrs. Cushman and all we did was talk to two or three of the leaders. We didn't go to any mass meeting. At Danville he did. I don't know, that's written up I think in the New Republic. I should be able to find some of that. Oh, Harlan, the Harlan Miner Speaks. Now he didn't know that's a hot subject. Edmund Wilson and Drieser, they came by Marion and they visited in our home, but for some reason Sherwood didn't go. But he did speak up here at a mass meeting up town. And he is in this book A Harlan Miner Speaks. I don't have it here. I have practically nothing but Sherwood's [unknown] books.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was he eager to contribute to the Harlan Miner Speaks?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No. Oh dear. You see, he was a friend of Drieser no matter what you read. I can stand up for that. Edmund Wilson pushed him on that and pushed him to go to this huge mass meeting up town and make a speech. But he wasn't. . . no. . . . He would stand up for Drieser and

Page 25
you know that famous episode. But he wasn't that kind of. . . action.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said you went to Gastonia together. What do you remember about that?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't remember anything but driving around. Now you're getting at the subject of whether Sherwood was a communist. We did see some labor man, but he wasn't a communist. But then the strike was over. We just drive around, talk to a few people.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Vera Buch. Did you remember her? She was at the Gastonia strike. She's writing her memoirs now, about the strike.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
There was a woman there, that's right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She was one of the organizers.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, there was someone else there but I'd have to look that up. If I saw her, I don't know it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you stay for any length of time?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Gastonia? No, not there. We stayed. . . . Spartanburg and Greenville. They weren't strikes. I knew people and he knew people. They weren't all labor people. There were two doctors in Greenville that Sherwood kept up with the whole time. I don't think we knew anybody in Gastonia but some of these outside leaders. One very famous one. What did he do? I don't know. I don't remember his name but I could look that up. Of course the Newberry Library will look up anything for you. That's where Sherwood's things are. In Chicago.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you went to these, were you actually working with the people who were on the picket line or did you work in the relief or. . .?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No, at that time, no. . . it wouldn't have been considered right for me to work on the picket line. I sometimes made talks to the strikers. But we wouldn't have come out. . . I don't think we'd come out

Page 26
on the picket line. Maybe Mrs. Cushman did. I don't believe Sherwood actually went on picket line. Going to these meetings, maybe that would have been considered going on the picket line.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He anguished a good deal about these strikes, did he not?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I remember reading. . . he was saying he always worried because people would go down and they would help with these strikes or they would actually foment some of the strikes and at least keep them going. And then the strike might be lost or the settlement wouldn't be as good as what had been expected. And then the organizers would leave and the people would be there and would have to live with it. I know that bothered him a lot. . . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
He felt very strongly about that and of course you know that's true. I don't know whether it still is. Yes, it still is.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about other people? A lot of the people connected with the Southern Summer School were from the North. Was there any feeling that they weren't accepted, or it was northern money trying to stir up things in the South?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
They were attacked, but it wasn't any feeling among the officials of the Southern Summer School. A lot of them were from the North.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And with the YWCA. Was it difficult to have an industrial secretary in a southern town who wasn't from the South.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. We tried to get southerners. And that was fairly easy to do. These Lumpkin sisters, they would watch in colleges for girls that would make good industrial secretaries. Because it wasn't easy then to, you know, do things.

Page 27
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What kind of training did you put them through?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, we had seminars and then some good college professors. We knew which were the good departments that would have a little training. But I'm afraid we took a lot of them untrained. Though we did have, every year, some kind of training thing for secretaries. They weren't very much in-depth, though.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So they would just have some idea of conditions—
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, and training on the job. You see, we would go around and help them with what we knew.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The whole time from '28 on. . . you married in '32. . . you kept your position with the Y?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Off and on, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you in an official position with the Y during all that time?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Nearly all the time. And Sherwood would drive me. . . . But then I was working on the west coast. . . . Well, once we were making a study of Kansas City. That was in the depression. Sherwood went along. Another time San Francisco. And he had speaking engagements, too. When we had to have money for things. He would just move to town. He wasn't working with the Y. Later the Y tried to get him to speak. You know, he hated to make speeches, poor man.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
We were talking about people from the North coming down and organizing and leaving. Do you remember the group of communists who came in to organize? Do you remember thinking at the time about the effectiveness of their organization, especially in the South?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, Gastonia's the only one I know, of all those famous organizing campaigns, where it was supposed to be communist. But I could be wrong. Of course Harlan, if you're speaking of the mining, that was supposed

Page 28
to be communist.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But Gastonia was the only. . . and the strike failed. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I think that was the only one. Though at that period natives would label anything having to do with labor as communist. But I don't think. . . well, you check. I know Marion, N.C., wasn't communist. Elizabethton wasn't it. I don't think. . . Winston-Salem. . . they weren't real strikes. Gastonia was, or was alleged.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But did you know at the time?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh. . . I was about to say that at that time I didn't know what a communist was. No, I knew it, I guess, at that time. That is was alleged. But this woman you mentioned, I think she was admittedly a communist. But don't listen to me on any of that. It's so long ago.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was just wondering if you thought the communists in that particular strike, whether they were or weren't good organizers.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I think they were good organizers. And the dear old darling mountaineers who were the members, they didn't mind them being a communist. I'm pretty sure of that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But they did have some problems, though, the communists because of their position on race relations.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Certainly.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Which tended to antagonize the workers.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Of course Lois MacDonald has written on all of that. I have those books in Virginia. No use of my looking for anything here. Let's see. Frank Graham died, didn't he? He knew all of that. He wasn't scared of communists.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How much of a factor was being afraid?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, it was a great deal and it was religious, too. But if

Page 29
you were a communist you were anti-Jesus. All of that was in it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It's a problem now talking to people about the 20s and 30s. People who were active. . . . I think ever since McCarthy it's a problem to talk about it to strangers who come in off the street.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, there are certain people who have suffered a lot: From being labeled. But most that I know are people who could take it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In the early period, in the late 20s and 30s, it was sort of an open game, politically, wasn't it? A lot of political experiments were going on.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, and there were communists down there. Some in the open and some not.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about socialist organizers?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, there were one or two famous ones. I think Alice Hansen was, admittedly, a socialist. But don't listen to me on this. I've forgotten it all. But the talk was communism, not socialism.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Socialism was reasonably respectable, was it not?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Right. I think.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you think that the presence of the communists in Gastonia, which is the best example, was a help to the workers or did it actually hinder them because of the fear and the hatred that it engendered?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I think it hindered a successful outcome of the strike, but I don't know what did happen. That strike was regarded as a failure, wasn't it?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Uhhuh. In fact that mill still isn't organized, to this day.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, but I'm vague on the period. So many strikes of that period, they would say it was communist. After we were married they had a strike in Marion with a clothing factory who are in the ILGWU. And Sherwood got all the merchants to put up signs in the window — "We favor the Marion

Page 30
Strikers." And they did. Everybody did it. I guess it was ridiculous. Anyway, it worked. But then someone came along from the outside and said that's communist. I know there were no communists in that strike. And incidentally, it isn't organized yet. The furniture factories around are, but this clothing plant it is hooked up with that famous, you know, in the southwest. . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Farah.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So it would have gone over at that time if someone hadn't come in from the outside and. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I don't know. These people that joined, they weren't ardent trade unionists. Now I know now, mostly in the furniture. . . which it is a big furniture center, as is High Point. We went there, too. They are good, old trade union people. And a lot of them are Republicans. Though they come out now. . . . We have a wonderful man running for Congress. Coal miner's son and a millionaire and everywhere the big union is for it. The Furniture Workers. Maybe I just don't know. The communist issue is dead down there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
On the whole, then, it was a hinderance to people like you who were trying to do something. . . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh, yes. Labor was communist and we were ruined. . . and even now scholars come and ask me "Was Sherwood a communist?" And I know the answer to that. But he did sign this manifesto that Edmund Wilson got up. But that wasn't communist. But there are people that are just sure Sherwood was a communist.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But he was attracted by communism.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
He went to this international meeting in Amsterdam. Well,

Page 31
it's possible. But as for signing anything. Now Drieser did sign several things. I don't think he was a communist. Not that I would mind.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The critical biographies that I've looked through, mainly Howe's and David Anderson, the more recent one that he's done. Are you familiar with that?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
What did David say? I love you? Howe was very negative.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yeah, but even then he said he didn't believe that Anderson did in fact become a communist. David Anderson said essentially the same thing. He quoted a letter he wrote to you, back in I guess '31 or '32, saying I may go to communism. But shortly after that he quoted a letter written to someone else saying that communism perhaps might be a more vicious form of Puritanism than we have experienced. [unknown] the problem that people like you had in that you were both looking essentially for the same thing, that is, the good of the working people and trying to improve working conditions.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, someone may come up with absolute proof that Sherwood was a communist. I don't know. Now we did entertain communists. I remember once [unknown] at the time of the Danville strike. And I've just told you that it wasn't communist. Awfully attractive girl came by. Uninvited. And I said "Sherwood, who is she?" He said "Well, she's secretary of the communist party in Virginia." I don't know. Maybe she was. What does he say about Edmund Wilson? Drieser would joke about it. I don't know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
My impression from all this was that none of these people really were communist in the true sense of the word, but rather they were attracted by some of the programs and the fact that they wanted to help working people. At the same time, the totalitarian aspects of communism

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were repulsive to them.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I know that they. . . not David Anderson, I love him, but Irving Howe . . . . He came to Chicago and talked with me. I was working at the Newberry at that time. Talked with Sherwood's best friend, Roger Surgel and he did have that. And this is an awful thing for me to say but Roger told him, he said "I advise you as a scholar not to put in your book that Sherwood was a communist." I wouldn't have said that and of course Roger shouldn't have. But I haven't read the Howe book for a long time. So I don't know but I would be very surprised if he said it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No, I haven't read anything that really said that Mr, Anderson was a communist. It's just that he was. . . I think all union people at the time were. . . alligned with communism as opposed to management. You had to pick between the two and that was the situation these people were thrust in.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, there's a letter or two Sherwood wrote Russia on some anniversary or something. But I don't think that means he was a communist. Oh, there were several letters to Russian scholars. And of course Sherwood wrote a lot about his admiration of Russian writers. I better say I don't know. I don't think he was a communist. But these scholars can find out anything. I don't know how David Anderson got to a letter to me, because they are sealed. But David is a great favorite at the Newberry library.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You've spent a lot of time in recent years organizing his materials and helping. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, not as much as I should. I have two darling professors now at VPI. You know what it is? They come up and help. Oh, they're just heaven to me. Both helping on the grounds and helping with files.

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But, you two intellectuals, that's the saddest thing there is. All of these people have [unknown] There's a thing called a letter a day for every day of 1932. Nearly all letters to me, but they're essays. And Sherwood wrote them and put them beautifully in envelop up in a big closet at the farm and said that he would leave me and I would be lonely. Well, of course, publishers, everybody wants those letters. They're at the Newberry, sealed. But these two darling professors who had helped me so, I did have a set of those letters and I let them see it. . . . . . . Without say- [unknown] ing anything to me. They weren't deceitful; I just didn't get the point. They wanted to edit them. Well, I had already, ten years ago, told a man named Ray White. . . . He was at Chapel Hill. I've just had so many letters from Ray. I had told him that I wasn't going to publish, but that if I did I would consider him. I didn't say I would do it. As an editor. Well, now dear Ray's terribly sick. He has written me the most heartbreaking letter about it. You know, he did a lot of work on Sherwood. But the worst of all is Sutton who. . . did you see his Road to Winesburg? He has really written. . . he's worked 40 years on Sherwood. He's been to see the most remote relatives of which Sherwood had never heard. But, he's found a manuscript. . . . It must be psychic. He's found a manuscript at Newberry called Mary Cochran. And he wanted to publish at the same time as a man I don't know from South—I know him now, he's been to see me this summer from British Columbia. He got them. And I had written notes on this manuscript. It looks as though they were my notes. But I had read them to Paul Rosenfeld. He couldn't read Sherwood's writing. Here I've got three people. I guess it's my carelessness. Who think. . . they want to publish that. And I had promised Sherwood's best friend . . . . I

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wouldn't publish anything Sherwood didn't publish. But Paul Rosenfeld took the opposite position, that anything Sherwood wrote, even his failures, were worthy of publication. How did I get off on that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Rosenfeld did the original memoirs, working with you, didn't he?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
[Laughter.] Oh, you're in literary gossip. A lot of critics that think. . . and they're right. I had Louis Galantiére advising me and Roger. They think that he sliced up sections. Which he did, I know now. But he was editor. He pieced together things. Sherwood had in his briefcase when we left for South America an outline of the memoirs. Surely Paul did. But most people like that better than the new edition Ray White did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was going to ask what you thought about it?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Poor old Ray worked so hard. I'm very fond of Ray. You know, he's a native of the next town, [unknown] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you think the uncut memoirs are. . .
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No, I think Paul Rosenfeld's are best, even if he did splice in a few things. He didn't make up anything. But many scholars think it was an awful thing he did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you about the industry. . . you're still running that in Marion, aren't you?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
No—well, it's very hard to tell the truth. I am the president but I'm not supposed to do anything. I did have a lot of things to do. I got a call this morning. . . . Now there's two people that have written me about writing that up. Of course Sherwood wrote the best thing about it. But there's a man in some college up in western North Carolina that's writing on Appalachia. Yes, it's running with great prestige but not enough workers. Amazing though. It's still running and people come

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that knew my mother. But I'm out of it. Maybe I'll go to the poor house, but I gave away my patrimony.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Are your nephews running that?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, it's a family business. One nephew is supposed to run it and he's doing quite well. But it's just unbelievable the prestige people come who knew my mother. I had an aunt who died a year or two ago at age 96. But we cannot get the stuff made.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Fast enough?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Good enough. And then, of course, speaking of the election, there are a great many handicraft that are open supported by the government. Our workers. . . that's another thing. We had real craftsmen. Sherwood just loved several of them. They either get arthritis or they die or they go into the industries. The women.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Didn't your mother found it originally because women couldn't get jobs in the industry?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, the depression. A woman just came by a week or two ago. The niece of this Miss Lucinda Terry. I don't know if I mentioned her. One of the great YW. And she remembers—no, it's not this woman, it's Polly. Did I say that? The descendent of President Tyler. And she says she remembers when they couldn't sell wool. They had a great big farm. How proud they were to come up . . . and then mother could get things woven. Now we can't.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The women. . . their children aren't going into this? Is that the main problem?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Certainly. The children are going into the industry. Much of this work sweet old ladies could do sitting around the tv. But they do work but right now they're canning. They're all canning. Even though they can't get can tops. But it is going on. I don't know whether this

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nephew will do it. It's remarkable. And we've been getting tourists right up now. And tourists that have bought things 10 and 20 years ago come back. Oh, we can get some things, like canapes. But the quilts are the bad things.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have a store in New York at all?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Never, never, never. Well, certain antique people have bought things and resell. We've never had any. . . . Mother used to come to the flower show here and have booths. But that's when we could get things made galore.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How many workers are involved now?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Goodness. Shows what kind of a person I am. I guess we have about 50, but they don't all work. Right now our best ones have been in and say with the price of food they just have to can. Production's bad.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They're canning food for their own families.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes. We don't sell any food. The main thing we sell is canapes, furniture, handmade furniture, quilts, hooked rugs. You know, the quilting is so popular.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said two people were writing up the Copenhaver. . . just the industry. Is that what they're writing about?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
[unknown] . One's a man. Guess they're writing about Appalachia industries. It will take me a little while to get his name, there're two of them. I'll send you. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They're both from western Carolina. Did your mother run that? She founded it, right? And then did she run it?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Oh yes, for years. And then I have an aunt who, as I said, lived to 96. She did it until. . . I guess she's been dead two years.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And then you started running it.

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ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Well, I'm not suppose to but my nephew is, but I've had to do a good deal.
END OF INTERVIEW
1. Leontyne Price.
2. Regarding Hilda W. Smith.