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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, November 5, 1974. Interview G-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Anderson describes her family business and the changes in labor

In this excerpt, Anderson explains the increased opportunities for work afforded to women during the Depression. She also describes then social and economic changes that have undergone in her family business.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, November 5, 1974. Interview G-0005. 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:
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 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 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.