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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Domestic expectations stifle women's movement

Before women's suffrage, female students at Randolph-Macon were not particularly concerned with gaining the franchise, Boyd remembers. They married quickly after college, so they never experienced the kinds of disappointments that might have motivated them to act. Boyd's husband's shock at seeing a woman in Congress reveals the entrenchment of the male-only political world.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. 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

CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were you interested in the suffrage movement at Randolph-Macon?
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
No, we students at Randolph-Macon were busy studying of course, and we considered ourselves equal to any man. So much so, that it was said that when you had a degree from Randolph-Macon, it took a long time for you to get married because you couldn't find just the right mate. You were so particular.Randolph-Macon girls found themselves professionally and vocationally so they were independent economically as well as intellectually.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I wondered if believing themselves the equal of any man if, when they did come forth from Randolph-Macon with their bachelor degrees, they found some rude set-back in the world at large because of some discrimination.
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
Yes, I'm sure of that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This often has been enough to catapult a woman into the suffrage movement.
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
Yes, but of course this was the period when all women expected to marry, and very soon, after college. So, they probably didn't run into too many set-backs.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes. Today, I think, women have a similar expectation. They expect to have both marriage and some outside work in the world.
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
Yes, they do. In fact, women today have so many roles that they play simultaneously. Some women are wise enough to play them sequentially but many are home-makers, wives, mothers. They are civic leaders. They hold a job and make an economic contribution. They are "politicos" too.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes. Do you have some active women of that kind in Spartanburg?
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
Yes, indeed. Large numbers of them now. So sentiment changed decidedly. My husband was saying-he was in the state legislature from about 1911 to 1919 and then he was there from 1924 to '26-that somewhere in this period he was in Washingtonin the gallery looking down on the floor of Congress and Jeanette Rankin, who was the first woman Congressman (Congresswoman), was on the floor speaking. He said, it startled him and it was just amazing. Yet, this was in the twentieth century.