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Title: Oral History Interview with Harriet Herring, February 5, 1976. Interview G-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Herring, Harriet, interviewee
Interview conducted by Frederickson, Mary Brown, Nevin
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: 400 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
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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.
2006-04-26, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Harriet Herring, February 5, 1976. Interview G-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0027)
Author: Mary Frederickson and Nevin Brown
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Harriet Herring, February 5, 1976. Interview G-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0027)
Author: Harriet Herring
Description: 417 Mb
Description: 112 p.
Note: Interview conducted on February 5, 1976, by Mary Frederickson and Nevin Brown; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Patricia Crowley.
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 Harriet Herring, February 5, 1976.
Interview G-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Herring, Harriet, interviewee


Interview Participants

    HARRIET HERRING, interviewee
    MARY FREDERICKSON, interviewer
    NEVIN BROWN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
HARRIET HERRING:
As I said a while ago, I don't know whether we're Scotch-Irish or Irish. I'll ask this niece of mine; I don't know why I didn't think to ask her the other day when she was here. And I'm sure she has gone all the way who the first ones were. I used to hear all the time when I was growing up that we had a land grant from the king of England, and I had heard dates from the late sixteen hundreds to 1772. Well, I didn't think that even George III would be giving a land grant to anybody in North Carolina in 1772—things were warming up a little too much! But I found that a descendant in another branch of the family had a copy of the grant—not the land that I grew up on, but where a cousin of mine and his father and grandfather grew up. And it was up near Lagrange. And it told even about a creek and everything, you know—just exactly. So some of us got here by that time anyhow. And I think it must have been that some of them lived in this county, as a matter of fact, because my grandfather, I reckon it must have been in, say, 1828 or something of the kind, he bought a farm down where I grew up. Well, there must have been about fifteen hundred acres. No, it was more than that, because he had four children and they each had about five or six hundred acres. And it was on the Neuse River, and it had a creek flowing through it. Then two of his four children, my father and an aunt, lived on theirs, and the other one sold hers to the two of them, and married a man from Greene County and came back. So I can't tell you exactly when I started, but I know it was a right good while: about four or five generations back.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How far was your family place from Kinston?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, three miles now [laughter] . We used to call it four miles to Kinston. I date back to when you didn't even have sand [unknown] roads;

Page 2
you had sand. My mother and father, in the spring if it wasn't going to be too hot and it wasn't too dry, they would go to church in Kinston; they belonged to church there. But otherwise you just went through sand that covered the wheels of the buggy, you know, covered well up in the spokes. You had to walk a horse; once in a while a place to trot him a little, you know. So I always went along, because I was the youngest, you see. My father was married twice, and he had children by his first wife, and then married my mother and started all over again. And I was the last one of eleven, so I could sit on a little stool like that in the foot of it, you know. So I would get to go to Sunday School. I thought it was great to go to Sunday School and get colored picture cards. [laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
Did you have all brothers, then, or did you have any sisters from the first marriage?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well yes, but the last one I just barely remember when she got married. I remember we had a fence/down the width of the house and everything down to the road, which wasn't as far then as it is now (they've straightened the road—it had a loop in it). Anyhow, I knew there was stuff going on around, you know, and somebody looked out the window and said, "Oh, there comes the bride and groom." We had a gate there because they turned the horses in there sometimes. I looked out there and I said, "Oh, it's / Don Uzzle (that was her beau, you know; he'd been coming there). It's nobody but Don Uzzle." That's the way I greeted him. Fortunately / [unknown] they stopped me; I didn't greet him that way. I said "bridegroom" or something.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you about your father's background. He grew up there on that land that he later farmed?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. You see, he had part of my grandfather's place, that he bought when he moved from Greene County. And there was a house on it. Here's

Page 3
a picture (I'm not a good drawer; I had a little effort at doing some canning and I drew this for my label). The road came from out here, you see. The road was, see, here, and then divided and went one side of the house and the other went around it. And this was trees. There were first elms in the yard and then walnut trees in the middle, two rows of walnut trees, and beyond that a row on each side of pecan trees leading down to the highway. We remodeled the house in 1929, and its roof just came slanting all the way. We put in those windows to get circulation (of course we've got air conditioning now, and it would have been just as well to have been the other way). Of course these are the various outbuildings; they come around like this, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Beautiful.
NEVIN BROWN:
Was that a house for a plantation at one time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, there were two houses on that, and Grandfather lived in the one that was sort of up the hill from there. While he built the house, it's still standing. It's changed hands two or three times, but ours hasn't changed hands. Anyway, the big trees and those barns and everything were as good as I could make them; I couldn't make them around in a circle and keep them their right size.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did your father attend college?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no, there weren't any colleges. You're asking both mother and father, I suppose? Well, my father went, a little while anyhow, to academies. Especially a man teacher would have an academy, and have two or three teachers to help. And that went on to all of my half sisters and brothers too. But by the time I came along there were—though I went to a four-month school until I went to Kinston to what was called the high school (seventh, eighth and ninth grades were high school). And until I went there when I

Page 4
was fourteen I had been to school four months a year.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well then, he ran what seems like a very large farm.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it was only about six hundred acres, something like that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did he plant primarily?
HARRIET HERRING:
Mainly cotton. He wasn't very keen about tobacco because it ate up timber too fast. But my brothers before he died did begin raising a little tobacco. A lot of people had been raising tobacco for quite a while, and he just saw that price floating away, you know. Of course they had a very valuable thing there in it; it was saved until fairly recently.
NEVIN BROWN:
Was he fairly successful as a cotton farmer?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, cotton prices were awful low: seven and eight and ten cents a pound, I remember. What is it now, a dollar?
NEVIN BROWN:
About, I think, yes.
HARRIET HERRING:
Generally, a little above or a little below and so on. I remember as a small child my father came home from town (that's the only way he knew what the price of cotton was for the day, you know). And he said to my mother (he was talking about the price of cotton), "I believe it'll go to five cents." And I said, "Oh, Daddy, a bale?" And so they at least got a laugh out of that, you know, because they had fifty bales of cotton. He had a gin, and he would gin his own cotton. And then you know what he did with his seed? He cracked them so they wouldn't come up and used them for fertilizer; that was before they were using oil, cotton seed oil. [laughter] So anyway, I had been used to the bales; they were just rolled out in front of the gin. And we children in the neighborhood as we gathered, or any cousins or nieces or nephews that I had (I was a great-aunt when I was twelve years old, you see; my father's older children married and had children, and they

Page 5
visited a great deal), we'd go out and jump from one bale to the other, you know, and have games (who could get on the most, or whatever). And that's the reason I measured cotton in terms of bales. So I think they felt better when they thought at least they didn't have to sell it for five cents a bale.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was your father interested in politics?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, not a great deal. He didn't talk politics very much. But you must remember my father was—well, let's see—I guess he was fifty-eight when I was born. By the time I was acquainted with him he was elderly, and his health got not so good. And so I don't know that he'd ever been very greatly interested in politics. But he always voted; I'd hear him talk about voting ("Time to go vote," and so on). And he talked politics with one of our neighbors, the one who bought most of the rest of the farm and lived there. As a matter of fact his descendants still live there, the third generation of them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What were his views on political issues?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I was too young when my father died to pay much attention to what they were saying about it. I just knew they were talking politics.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How old were you when he died?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, let me see: I was born in '92, and he died in 1906.
NEVIN BROWN:
Fourteen, right. Were you in some kind of community where your farm was? I mean, did you have a church that you went to? Was there a group of people that you pretty much knew?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, there was a little Methodist church about two miles from us, and these people who came and bought the farm of my uncle were Methodists. But my mother and father happened to be Baptists, and so we had

Page 6
to go to Kinston for church; we didn't have a church out there. We would have a preacher once in a while. The Woods, who lived up there where my uncle had lived, had him very often, because there weren't very many families and it was a very scattered neighborhood. As a matter of fact, up until about the time I was ready to start school there were (let's see) the Hills and the Woods and the Dardens and the Parrotts and us: there were five families that had from two to four children in school. And they paid a teacher for a nine-month school. And then when they got a little beyond where that kind of teacher was they'd go off to boarding school or somewhere, you see. I went through half a year under that basis. By that time three of the families had moved, and in the other ones the children had all gotten older. So I began going four months a year. I once in one of these borrowing jobs in Washington had to fill out some kind of a temporary thing, and they asked a question that I'd never heard put that way before, "How many years of elementary school did you have? Calculate nine months to the year." Well, I figured it up, and I had done more years in college than I had in elementary school—as you go spread them over, that took two and a half years, near about, to make one year. And I began to think when I got to figuring it and turned it in, "They just won't believe this." I wouldn't myself!
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I wanted to ask you about your mother's life. What kind of family was she from?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, about the same. Her father didn't have as much land as my grandfather did. And he was younger; had young children. And he was killed in the Civil War. A sister of his insisted on taking my mother over to live with her (there were five other children). After she went over there

Page 7
her mother's health got bad, but she didn't go back. I don't know why, but I gathered from what she said that her aunt (my great-aunt) promised to send her to school. And she went one day and never went any more. She taught herself to read and was a great reader; she just read all the time, when she wasn't working in the house or in the garden.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why did she only go for one day?
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't know why they even sent one day. I said, "Why?" Well, school started and so she started too, you see. I'm sure this aunt simply. . . . She had one daughter, and I'm sure, I know from things my mother said that she was simply a servant in the house, you see. And her father was dead and her mother's health was bad; she didn't have anybody to. . . . Some of your questions here, you can see, didn't fit my situation at all.
NEVIN BROWN:
Right. Did your parents ever say anything about the Civil War, about their attitudes toward what it was like then? Did they feel any animosity to the North? What did they feel about that kind of situation?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, there were bywords to talk about "damn Yankees", you know, and that sort of thing. But as far as I could see any real bitterness was over by then. See, it had been a full generation; I was just late coming along!
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did your mother, though, feel about her father's loss in the war?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I mean, everybody had somebody lost in the war. There wasn't any family around that didn't have somebody lost in the war.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did she meet your father?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, this aunt lived not very far from my father. And then

Page 8
when he was widowed, why, he had to have a wife, didn't he?
NEVIN BROWN:
To raise all the rest of the kids.
HARRIET HERRING:
[laughter] Yes. His youngest child was quite young.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How old was she when they married?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well I never did know just exactly. You'll think I'm awfully uncurious that I didn't ask, but she was grown and getting ready to get married when I first became really conscious of her. I don't know, but she must have been quite small [unknown] Well, let's see, my mother had four and he had eleven in all. One girl got married not too awfully long after her father did (the oldest girl). That's what made me a great-aunt at twelve years of age, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So some of your father's older children must have been about the same age as your mother.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Well this first girl, the oldest one, the girl that got married not too long after he did, must have been not more than a couple (two or three) years younger than my mother, than her mother-in-law. Then she was glad to get away from the mother-in-law.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Did your mother ever talk about the difficulty of coming into that kind of a family and being an "instant mother" to all of these children?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, not at all. See, there has always been a great deal of men marrying if they lose their wives; they'll get married again and have two families. So it was so common that I suppose it just wasn't. . . . And some of them were really quite devoted to her, and some of the others (particularly two husbands). . . . Well, my father, when the girl married, he gave her a farm somewhere wherever they wanted it (of course they usually

Page 9
married somebody that didn't live more than twenty miles away). And of the boys, one got in a fever to go out west. He went to Montana (that was being settled then); he was going to run a commisary there. So he took his heritage and went off to Montana. But he didn't stay but a few years and he was back. Then he lived there the rest of his life at Kinston and was a very successful contractor, although I think he must have been a genius at building because he didn't have anything except. . . . You see, at the time he was there they had a teacher for this family, and so they had more schooling than I had out in the little brown, unpainted schoolhouse. But he really was very good at that. He built the first concrete block house in Kinston. It was a new thing, you know, and he had to make the forms and everything. So he knew his business, if it was learned—I'm sure he didn't learn it in college. One of them did go to a technical college in Baltimore, one of the boys; he was very much mechanically minded.
NEVIN BROWN:
Were your parents really interested in education?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes. My mother in particular, because she had none. I've thought about it a lot of times since: it was amazing how interested she was in the newspapers and in magazines and books and all. Of course we didn't have an awful lot of books, because we lived too far from town to go get one from the very small town library, and [unknown] borrow books and so on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did she want you to have a good education?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I asked if she ever did any work for women's suffrage?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, it wasn't even talked about; didn't hear the term 'til I was grown and in college.

Page 10
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Did she ever participate in the women's club movement or anything like that?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, who would you have in it? Three families there that you visited with; the rest of them were [unknown] tenant farmers, what were white. Most of them were black. See, the combination of white and black on the same plantation didn't work very well. If a person had white tenants he had white tenants, but very few. Now there was one family that the daughter in that my age, we were great friends, and I was quite disturbed when they moved, you see. I mean, people stayed in their houses, I thought; they were born there, they ought to stay there.
We had, let's see, seven tenant houses; had that many black families. And you asking here about servants. Somebody in one or another of those families, when they were bargained with it was understood that somebody was going to do the laundry, and they did the laundry. And they helped with housecleaning and so on. But we didn't have a servant that came in every day. I didn't know but two families in my whole neighborhood who had; and one of them didn't have one all the time, but the other one, he had. Incidentally, this Mr. Kennedy had some of the land that belonged to Henry Herring of several generations back; it had been changing hands and he got it. And both of them had money besides a good-sized plantation, and had no children. My father with eleven to give some education to, you see, made a difference.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Exactly. Well then, were all of the tenants black?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You didn't have any white tenants at all?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. They would refer once in a while to when (I've forgotten

Page 11
the last name, but the man and his two children were Dick and Bink, and there was something else that rhymed with that) there were four of them that stayed on the farm for a year or two. But they weren't very satisfactory; didn't mix well with black tenants. So a person would have one or the other.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the tenants stay for a long period of time on the land, or did they tend to come and go?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, some of them were second generation. Joe Brown, for example: his mother had lived on the farm. He was raised on a farm, and they didn't forget it. And, of course, when I was young you were still in the period when somebody would tell you that "My husband belonged to your grandfather." And then they expected a little more consideration, you know. You'd run into that quite often.
NEVIN BROWN:
So your grandfather did have slaves also?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes. Because, you see, he didn't die until really after the Civil War. He had to be pardoned because he was a slave owner before he could ever vote again, you see. I had some occasion to look up cotton mills and the textile industry, and went through a lot of things. What do they call that set of books on the Civil War? Rebellion Records: you can tell who put that out, can't you? Congress authorized a printing of all the correspondence that they got between generals, between governors and everything. I was looking up things. An index helped to get it, but I browsed and ran into a letter from a governor (his name will come to me in a minute; he was a sassy sort of fellow). He was a governor before the war and then was a governor again afterwards. I ran across some of his correspondence between him and the confederate government. And he was telling them how he

Page 12
couldn't make every mill (North Carolina had a few cotton mills then, and of course they were in great need of cloth for the soldiers). . . . There was protesting letters, and he answered. And he said he had let such-and-such a proportion and they just had to have it. "I am your humble servant, Vance;" Vance was his name.
NEVIN BROWN:
Oh, Zebulon.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, Zeb Vance. But it sounded so disrespectful until this great respect, you know [laughter] , realizing he was writing to the president of the Confederacy.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But your father's father didn't fight in the war? He stayed on his plantation during the war?
HARRIET HERRING:
My grandfather? Oh yes, he was too old for it. See, my father was born in 1834, born before Victoria came to the throne. You're talking about things a long time ago when you go to my father. My age plus his makes a long time, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] So some of the tenants on your plantation had actually been there, their ancestors had been there during the Civil War?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, a few, not too many. As I say this Brown, the one I remember, he lived there for years and years. Now, for instance, there's a black man up not far from Kinston who cures very good meat, hams. Mary gets her ham from him every once in a while, and she stopped by there. The first time I went there with her she told him that I was her father's sister. And he said, "Yes. When I was first married I went there to live with Mr. Henry and Mr. Beck." I said, "Well, that's the reason you know how to cure good hams." He said, "Yes, Mr. Henry taught me how to cure good hams." But he hadn't ever belonged, but he had that very early connection with the family.

Page 13
But the ones that had belonged to you reminded you. Especially one (I despised her, she was so hateful), she just was such a tease. But otherwise she was forever reminding you that she worked for us for nothing, you know—worked for my father for nothing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was your relationship with the children of the tenants?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, I was crazy about them. See, I had nobody of my own to play with, and especially after this white tenant family moved. I'd run away; I've been switched for running away. One family didn't live very far, and there weren't any real small children there. And I could get by with running away and going over there. Sometimes my youngest brother'd be sent over to fetch me home, and I was sitting there eating collards and cornbread with them. [laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
So you did have some kind of childhood contact with black people.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh mercy! They came up every day twice a day to get the mule (three times, four times a day) and bring the mule back at lunchtime to feed, and then bring him back at night, you know. I'd see the black people and I would dash out to talk to the children.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, there were two or three families that would come back and forth, you know. He and his family stayed on for years and years. But I lost contact with them because I was away too much.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did your mother ever have any help, did any of the women ever help your mother with the children? Did you have a nurse or anything?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I don't remember having one. When she had two or three that were stepping-stones she may have, and probably had some of the older girls, you know. But by the time I came along, you see, there was five

Page 14
years' difference (or was it seven years' difference?) between me and my youngest brother. So I trailed around behind my mother all the time; didn't have to have a nursemaid.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see. You said that someone came in to help her with the cleaning and that someone else did the laundry. Did she have a cook? Did someone do the cooking?
HARRIET HERRING:
Not very much. If my mother was feeling bad she'd have her come in and help when she needed her. But, as I say, these people who had cash as well as land, they had not only a cook and maids (a maid or two), but also a phaeton with a driver and two horses. [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] My goodness. What was your mother's life like, do you think, on this really large farm? Did she work outside? Did she keep a garden?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, she tended a garden because she wanted to. I mean, the men plowed (my brothers or my father); I barely remember my father ever plowing, because the boys were big enough to, plowing the rows and planting. But she often planted. And of course she and I gathered the vegetables a great deal. Sometimes some of the colored ones would be there to help with that, especially if you were going to do some preserving or something, not as a regular thing.
NEVIN BROWN:
How old were you, then, when you left the farm to go to college? Did you go to Meredith College from the farm? How old were you at that time when you left to go to Meredith?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I left in 1909. I went to college in 1909, and I was born in '92.
NEVIN BROWN:
So you were fifteen years old then when you went to Meredith?

Page 15
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, I was fifteen years old when I went to Meredith.
NEVIN BROWN:
What led you to go to Meredith College? Was somebody here that influenced you in school, that had you go there? Or what was the attraction of Meredith at the time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I suppose it was just because, although we didn't go too regularly (not every Sunday) to church, our connection was with Meredith, and you heard them talk about it a lot, you know, and all. And at that time Women's College was about the only. . . . Well, there was little old College up in the northeast corner; it's still there. (I taught there for two years, incidentally.) It called itself a college, but it was really just an academy, you know; I don't know that it even called itself a college at the time. But girls came as far as from Texas to go there, because there were no schools for girls (I imagine they were people who have moved to Texas, you see). But there just weren't any schools. My older brothers and sisters went to an academy in Kinston that a man ran, and he had one or two teachers help him. I don't remember how many of them went off to school. I know one went to a technical school in Baltimore, and I think Sally went somewhere to boarding school. But you didn't say you were going to college until about the time I got to the stage of going to college. And of course Meredith had to have elementary courses; it had eighth and nin [unknown] grades. Well, as a matter of fact, I guess it had tenth grade, because the schools in Kinston didn't have but the nine grades. And I was conditioned on everything when I went there; had to work off the conditions, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Before we talk about the years that you were at Meredith, I wanted to ask just a couple of other questions about before you left home. Was the church an important part of your family's life when you were growing up?

Page 16
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, important enough to make an effort to go when the weather was good. With the sand and the heat and so on you didn't go too regularly, but it was fairly important.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about at home? Did you have family prayers or anything?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, we didn't have family prayers—just a blessing at the table.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did religion mean to you as a child? Was it important to you?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, only moderately so, I should think. I think it probably seemed more important to me when I went to Kinston to high school, because I spent the week with a family that lived just diagonally across the street from the church. And you went every time the bell rang, you know; they made us go. I got pretty bored with that. Then, of course, at Meredith you had to go to church a certain percentage of the time. You had a certain percentage of Sundays off, that you didn't have to go. So we went to church regularly then, and Sunday School. Some of it was almost taken for granted that you went, both when I was going to high school and staying with the Pridgens or at college.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Would you describe your family as being in any way non-traditional?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I think we were very like everybody else around— [laughter] as I say, except the Kennedys, and they had a phaeton and two horses to drive.
NEVIN BROWN:
They were the unusual ones, not you.
HARRIET HERRING:
We weren't unusual; they were the ones that were unusual [laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you have any idea, thinking about your family background, of what led you into the kind of work that you eventually went into?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. I tried to think about why I happened to get into this and that since I got this list. I don't know, it was quite accidental. The reason

Page 17
I went to Radcliffe was that, well you see, Meredith had a rather limited scale, and you were required to take a certain amount of science and math and that sort of thing. Then the only other things that really attracted me very much were history and English.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there any particular teachers who influenced you at Meredith?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, the history teacher did. And she was a New Englander and had been to Radcliffe—but that was incidental, my going on account of her. But she did have a great deal of influence on me; she was an excellent teacher. I also had at Meredith the poorest I ever had, and Miss Smith was one of the best I ever had. Just to show how accidental, almost. . . . I was taking this course in American history, and about that time was when Frederick Jackson Turner's emphasis on the West and the development of the country was a new thing. And I remember reading that essay, and I wanted to take some more American history. So he had moved from Wisconsin to Harvard during the interval after he wrote that; and so I went to Radcliffe mainly to study with Frederick Jackson Turner.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Hmm, that's interesting.
NEVIN BROWN:
Oh, I didn't realize that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you get to study with him?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes, I had his regular course on the building of the West. I got very interested in a project that I wanted to sort of pursue. (I came back and worked for two years and then went back, you remember—you seem to have gotten some way or other everything I've done!) He didn't give but that one course on the West, the development of the West, and I don't know if he gave any other course over at Harvard or not. I was an individual student of his the next year I was there. I had an interview with him about every two

Page 18
weeks; I went to his office and in the library. I had a little booth upstairs in the library and he had an office. And I went there and reported on what I had been reading and so on, and he would suggest other things. I went about every week or two, and sometimes spent as much as an hour going over things that I had worked on; and he suggested supplementing them, and so on. That was very delightful.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you think about him as a teacher?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, excellent. Of course he's been gone so long, as young as you are you wouldn't hear anybody speak of him.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, he was an excellent teacher.
NEVIN BROWN:
I guess the only thing now recently has been this new biography by Ray Allen Billington, who was a student of his also, I guess.
HARRIET HERRING:
I haven't read that.
NEVIN BROWN:
It's just been recently. And apparently it talks about him as a teacher too, and how fine he was.
Well, what did he do? What was the kind of thing that you liked especially about his teaching? Just his personal abilities, or
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, he was a very charming person, and he just had so much more information on it than he could give to you. You just felt there was banks and banks back of it. And he had just thousands (well, I reckon not thousands, but it must have been) of maps and charts and things showing movement of people, and what proportion were foreigners and what proportion were old Americans moving West and all of that. And it was just fascinating to me, because, I mean, it was like having a history book that had all those maps and

Page 19
charts in it. He brought them and would hang them up all across the room, you know, every morning when he'd come in for his lecture.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It sounds like he was a very approachable person.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh very, yes; he was charming.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you do any writing when you were. . . ? Did you start putting together any of your own research?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no. I wrote term papers [laughter] . I had economics with Edwin Gay; he was in economics, and I had a course with him. He was a very good teacher; I had economics with him, Financial History of the United States, for example—one cheerful-sounding course!
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Again, I don't mean to keep backing up, but I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about what it was like when you were at Meredith. What did students do? What were the main activities the students were involved in?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know. We had organizations; we had two societies, and sometimes we debated with each other.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What kinds of things did they debate?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh gosh, I can't even remember now: some political thing that was up at the time, I'm sure. And there were other kinds of programs. Some people would make readings or whatever.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How many students were at Meredith when you were there?
HARRIET HERRING:
I should say around between four hundred and five hundred, but quite a number of them were preps, you see. See, the high schools, you couldn't go from Kinston and get into Meredith. I barely did; one reason was because I had one very good teacher in the last year, a very good English teacher. She was really the only one. The other one made you write a one-page theme

Page 20
about every three weeks; she made you write a one-page theme every day, and a longer one every week. And that's the only reason that it didn't take me five years to go to Meredith, because I was put on condition on everything, you know. And worked them off somehow or other [laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Are you still in contact with any of the friends you had at Meredith?
HARRIET HERRING:
Very few of them. When I first left Meredith, whenever I was handy I would go over to commencement. But after I went to Chapel Hill the commencements nearly always came at the same time. And I knew a lot of people coming back for there, you know, and so I kind of got out of the habit of going over. So I really haven't. . . . A few of the people that I knew, but as contacts with Meredith I haven't had a very great deal.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What is the name of the woman history teacher who influenced you so much?
HARRIET HERRING:
Mary Shannon Smith. She was a Bostonian, and she gave the impression (she didn't say she belonged to the . . . what is it?). . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Brahmans, Boston Brahmans?
HARRIET HERRING:
Proper Bostonian. I'll show you a cover on a paperback book that looks not unlike Miss Smith. And after I learned a little more about the composition of Boston's population I wondered where she got that middle name.
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't believe that they had forgiven each other enough, gotten friendly enough to name the children for them unless they were kin to them, do you?
NEVIN BROWN:
No, I don't think so.

Page 21
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No.
HARRIET HERRING:
Very suspicious.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there a YWCA group at Meredith?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh mercy yes. My roommate and I, I was president of the student government and she was president of the YWCA. And I was editor of the Annual—see, they had small classes, and a lot of people had to do several jobs. They got to calling our room "the capitol," because I was president of one thing and she of the other main thing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who was your roommate?
HARRIET HERRING:
Gertrude Horne. She married—can't remember her husband's name now—and lived in Roxboro. I haven't heard from her in two or three years. Her health wasn't so good the last few times I heard from her. Her father was a candy manufacturer, and he would send us a barrel of apples every year when he'd go up in the mountains. And he sent us a box of candy every now and then, consisting of a box this long, this wide and this thick [laughter] , with several boxes in it and some in sort of paperish bags or something, you know (that was cheaper candy). And well, we often caught somebody coming out of our room when we'd go up there. We met one one day when the barrel of apples was there; she didn't have anything to take as many apples, so she'd pulled up her skirt and used that—of course skirts were longer than they are now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I wanted to ask you about the YWCA. What kinds of projects did they have? What was their program like?
HARRIET HERRING:
Mainly just the religious. They had prayer meeting every morning, and then they had a meeting every Sunday night.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you participate in all of that?

Page 22
HARRIET HERRING:
No, not nearly; I went once in a while.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they do any interracial work?
HARRIET HERRING:
No.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were they interested at all in the industrial problems?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no. They were interested in college.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Was there something called the Vocational Guidance Committee at Meredith?
HARRIET HERRING:
Not particularly; I don't know of any. You saw what there was to take: "What can I take now?"
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they have sororities when you were there?
HARRIET HERRING:
Dear me, no. I told you, we had five Sundays a year off from going to church (Sunday school and church).
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Is this when you started hearing about women's suffrage?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. You had one in connection with my mother. Even those great beginners way back hadn't begun to pipe out then. We never heard hardly anything about it; I can't remember anything particularly.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Anything about women's rights?
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't remember its being discussed in college.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was Meredith a very sort of protective environment? Did you have to be chaperoned all the time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Of course Wake Forest was nearby. But they couldn't have dances on their campus at that time, so they would come to a hotel in Raleigh and have a dance. And the Meredith girls, if they had permission from their mothers, could go to the dance, but they had to have a chaperone, you see. And if they went to any affair (unless it was a relative) they had chaperones.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about if girls went out together? Did they have to have a

Page 23
chaperone?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh you could go downtown by yourself, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you date a lot in college?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh dear me, no. I was born an old maid! [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I wanted to ask you about your relationship with your mother when you were in college. Did you have a close relationship with your mother?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you continue to be close to her when you were in college?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, she died my senior year in college. But she liked to hear about everything that was going on there, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was she very happy for you getting a chance to go away to school?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it had just always been so assumed, I don't know whether she had any specific happiness or not. It had just been assumed that I'd go to college.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever have any contact with or hear about the Settlement House movement or the Women's Trade Union League?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes, I had heard about it. One friend of mine who lives now in Franklin, Virginia (she was a good friend of mine), we wanted a course in sociology. And the only person there that could teach it was the dullest, I think really the poorest teacher I ever had, not even barring all the ones I had in the little four-months brown, unpainted school—I'll tell you, most of them didn't have what we'd call a high school education, you know. And he was worse than that, although he was one of the very few on the faculty that had a PhD degree: the dullest man in the world. But he was the only one that could teach a course in sociology.

Page 24
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And what was his name?
HARRIET HERRING:
And it really wasn't a course in sociology; it was a course in social problems. But we didn't know the difference then, so we took it. And you know what he did (don't let the thing record this into it; you won't put it in or anything)? When he came to . . . what's the word, people who have houses and they go to them?
NEVIN BROWN:
Prostitution?
HARRIET HERRING:
Prostitution, all that whole spate of problems, that was treated in a long chapter in the textbook that he had us get. When we approached that he had to be absent the next time the class met (it met three times a week, you see). He had to be absent, so we were to study that ourselves. Now that's the kind of person he was. [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] That's great. What was his name, do you remember?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, but I don't know whether he has died or not, so I won't give it. [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] At the end of college when you graduated from Meredith, where were you in your own thinking what about/your own future would be like?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I knew by then that I was going to Radcliffe. I wanted to go study with Mr. Turner, and I wanted to take some more history.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you didn't go straight there; you went to teach for two years.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
In Scotland Neck then?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, three years, really. No, wait a minute. I taught one year—and here's an instance of what I said about accidental. When I came back from Radcliffe, you see, in 1914, school wasn't over there until the middle of June. When I got back here there wasn't anything to do but teach, you see. I was sort of looking around, and this good friend of mine in

Page 25
Scotland Neck got after the principal there and told him that I might be available. So I went up there and interviewed with him. And she said I could live with them if I would go there; wouldn't have to live in the teacherage.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was the teacherage?
HARRIET HERRING:
The teachers in the public school had a house all of them lived in.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Not like a boarding house?
HARRIET HERRING:
It was sort of a boarding house, yes—dormitory kind of a thing, you see. And I didn't have to live in that. And then in the meantime I had known Mr. Lyonberry, who had been principal of a preparatory school at Winover. Two of my brothers went there, and then I had known other people who went there, and I had been there to commencements. He was acquainted with me, so he asked me to come up there. Well, I couldn't teach history, which I considered my major. I took some English—well, I had to take a lot of English and history both at Meredith, you see, because there wasn't a great deal else. The science wasn't very strong. And I had taken some English at Radcliffe, because I knew I couldn't get a masters in one year nohow, you know. I had to teach English, I guess it was, because somebody already had the history to teach. So I taught the English—and quoted Kittridge to beat the band! You don't know Kittridge. Do you know the name Kittridge? Do you?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes, just the name. [laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
Just vaguely.
HARRIET HERRING:
He's known even in England. You know the story they tell about his going over there and going to one of those old libraries at one of the universities—I don't know which now. He said he wanted some information

Page 26
on so-and-so about Shakespeare. "Oh, I'm sorry. The only person that can tell you, that can talk to you about that is a man named Kittridge at Harvard." He said, "Well, I happen to be Kittridge himself."
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Well, I'm a little confused about the chronology here. You went to Radcliffe for a year in 1914?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And then you came back?
HARRIET HERRING:
Went in the fall if 1913.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So you graduated from Meredith in the spring of 1913.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And that fall you went to Radcliffe. And then you came back in June of 1914.
HARRIET HERRING:
And taught at Scotland Neck.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
For. . . .
HARRIET HERRING:
Just one year. But I didn't like that. Well, of course, a girl who graduated from Meredith the next year I was at Radcliffe, she and I both were new, and the students just really rode you, you know, if you were a first year teacher. I didn't like that. [laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, what it like to be in a. . . ? That was sort of a small community, wasn't it?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. A lovely community, a lot of perfectly charming people in it. I knew a number of them, because a number of them had gone to Meredith.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But you generally didn't like the experience of the. . . .
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, I had some charming little students. I remember two or three little girls and several boys that were just as bright and sweet and

Page 27
everything as they could be. But some, just because we were new they ragged us all the time, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was this like a public academy, or was it a private school?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no, no, it was just the town high school.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was the town high school, OK. Then what did you do the next year?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, two years, you see, I stayed at Murfreesboro at—what's the name of the school there?
NEVIN BROWN:
Chowan?
HARRIET HERRING:
Chowan.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Chowan. And that was after the Scotland Neck?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you get the job at Chowan?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, as I say I knew Mr. Lyonburg from a contact with him, and somebody told him they thought maybe I would go there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Then in 1918 you went back to Radcliffe?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I guess it was 1918 wasn't it? Yes, because that was the year of the flu epidemic. No!
NEVIN BROWN:
Oh, was that 1919?
HARRIET HERRING:
1919 was one. Well, I've got the dates mixed a little, because I went to. . . . You sure that was the first one? You know there were two years: the first one was terrible, the next one wasn't quite so bad.
NEVIN BROWN:
I'm trying to think. Edward Kidder Graham of UNC died in one of them; I forget which one it was.
HARRIET HERRING:
Then the man who took his place died the next year in the next one.

Page 28
NEVIN BROWN:
That's right; OK, you're right then. 1918 and 1919 then; I think you're right.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, anyway, I went. And I went to Bryn Mawr. I had finished my masters at Radcliffe, you see, that spring.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Wait. I'm sorry, I just want to get it straight. You had finished the masters the first year you were at Radcliffe?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, because I went that one year and came back and taught, you see, at Scotland Neck and at Chowan, Murfreesboro. Then when I went back the next year and I got out. . . . Incidentally, we talk about a lot of it was accident; it was an accident that I got invited to go to the Bryn Mawr thing. I wanted to do some statistical comparisons such as Mr. Turner had been doing, and that was the year that I saw him every week, you see, or every two weeks—had a conference with him. And he said, well he didn't know much about sort of doing that statistical stuff. "But I'll tell you who. You go to see Miss Ann Besantson." She was working on her PhD and almost had it, and had done a lot of statistics. And he said, "Go and talk to her and ask her about how to do this." So I went to see her. And then that spring (that summer, really) I didn't even graduate at Radcliffe, because I had to leave to go to Bryn Mawr before commencement. She had invited me to come. She had been employed to come down to Bryn Mawr—they had gotten a grant. The name of the department was the Corolla [unknown] Graduate Department of Social Economy and Social Research; that's the name of the department I went to. They put on this course, and it turned out to be a course in personnel training. And Miss Besantson was asked to come down and run that part of it for Susan Kingsbury She was a great old fighter. She was kind of like Miss Smith: wore flat shoes and everything. So that's how I got into the personnel business.

Page 29
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So it was almost completely by accident that you went into personnel work?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. And the accident of having Mr. Turner refer me to Miss Besantson. She saw I was interested, so then when she was invited to go down there to take up this. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She asked you to come with her.
HARRIET HERRING:
You see, at that time not many plants had personnel departments at all. The foreman did the hiring, or the superintendent. And a grand flurry of it had come along, and they were just pleading for people who knew anything about it. And so this course. . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you about when you left North Carolina for the first time and went to Radcliffe, what it was like. Was it a big change to go from rural North Carolina to live in Cambridge?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, the biggest change was having everybody . . . you would realize they were making you talk to hear you talk.
NEVIN BROWN:
As a southerner.
HARRIET HERRING:
I just talked so southern, you see. Radcliffe had very few southern girls in those days. The next time I went (what was I out, three years or two—-I've forgotten). . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Three years, I think.
HARRIET HERRING:
. . . I was in a graduate house then, and there were several southerners. As a matter of fact, when I got back some of them said I talked like a Yankee. And I said, "Well heck, I reckon it's just involuntary self-protection." Because I'd catch them making me talk, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you like it in Boston?

Page 30
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, very much. And I went to plays and I went to symphony and everything happening in Boston.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever think of staying there permanently?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, not really. I did realize there wasn't anything I could do but teach. I filed with a teachers' thing there, but I never did press it. I just had one notice from them, and by that time I came on back home.
NEVIN BROWN:
You say people asked you to talk because you were a southerner. How did they react to you as a southerner in Boston?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I was in Cambridge, you see, and it was in a dormitory. And it happened that I was in an unusual situation, because they had just opened a new dormitory. Practically all of us were either graduate students or freshman. And the dean said later that she had wondered what would happen in that combination. But we got along fine. And there were two almost middle-aged (it seemed to me then) women, sisters, that were studying there, and they in particular loved to hear me talk southern.
NEVIN BROWN:
There was no sense of you being singled out as being different or not as smart? Did they expect you to be somehow very different because you were from the South? Did they take you out as a student?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes, they took me as a student, but I was a new kind of specimen they hadn't ever seen before, hadn't been in daily contact with—I imagine they'd seen a tourist or something, you know. But those two elderly women (they were elderly to me then—the younger one was a little older than you, and, you see, I wasn't too far out of college), by george, they just thought everything I could tell, when I said something differently from the way they pronounced it or the emphasis or something. . . . No, they were very friendly and very kind; they were awfully nice. I didn't have a bit of trouble

Page 31
with the Yankees.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was involved in the course that you took at Bryn Mawr?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it turned out to be a course in personnel management. This woman, Miss Besantson, had charge of it really; one or two others were sort of economic courses, you know. But she farmed us out; I worked in the Winchester Repeating Arms Company for six weeks. Miss Bysanson went up and made the contacts to place all of us, some in Philadelphia. I was in New Haven, and fortunately they put another one with me. And we ran into a woman when we were looking for a room that teachers used (they wanted to sublet it). And the owner of the house and the one who lived downstairs was the dietician at Radcliffe when I was there, and she lived in our hall. So I went right to a friend, you see, there; had a grand time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you do at the Winchester Repeating Arms Company?
HARRIET HERRING:
I worked on a different machine twice a week. I worked in the drawing room, and the drawing room has had a different connotation to me ever since. The drawing room was where they make cases for the cartridge. It starts off a round of brass, and they cut it, but it's real thick. And so then they had a machine that drew it (that was the drawing room) longer and longer every time it went through a different one of these machines to make the cartridge. And then finally somebody had a machine that put a shoulder on it, you know. Then finally somebody put the powder in and sealed it. But there were all different operations. This drawing, there were about six or seven drawings, and it had to be annealed (brass if it's been bent, it has to be heated again or it will break—it will make it brittle—to keep it flexible). You had a dial and these little rounds (I was running ones about just right to go on my little finger). And you wiggled your finger

Page 32
like that to make them walk into a thing that was circling; it was a guide. One at a time, a hundred and twenty a minute: you wiggled enough to keep it busy at that. You were wiggling here to feed it into that thing, and this to keep them all in motion so they'd float in, you see. That was called the drawing room. And it went on: I reckon there must have been three or four hundred of those machines. You could speak, but you didn't hear yourself at all. A little Polish girl taught me—no, she wasn't the one; there was one in another job that I did that I thought I was being awful slow at. And she said (I was complaining about it), "Well, you're the best polisher I ever had." I was polishing screwtops for Springfield Rifles in that time. You had to hold it to an emory wheel which was whirring around, and the sparks just flew. Then you'd take it out of that and put another one in. Of course I was very slow at it. The person that was teaching me, I said, "I'm so slow at it! I didn't make but nineteen hundred all day." And she said, "Well, that's the most anybody's ever made here." [laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
[laughter] What was the purpose of having you go to Winchester and learn all these things? To have you get a better sense for what people have to do in a factory?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. You see, I didn't tell you about her; you aren't interested in her especially, are you? She was a Nova Scotian who had taught in Nova Scotia. And it was about the time that so many Nova Scotians were coming down to Boston. And she was the eleventh person hired by the Gilette Razor Company.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was Ann Besantson?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Pretty soon she was hiring all the new help; it was expanding very rapidly. I don't know how many others, but the extremes were

Page 33
hiring the help and testing the steel. She worked for them for quite two years, and then decided she was going to get an education. So she quit and went to Radcliffe, and was working on her PhD when Professor Turner sent me to her. That's why I say so many things were accidents, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was she getting a PhD in?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, in economics, supervising labor.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What were her basic ideas about labor and about personnel, and about scientific management?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, of course, scientific management was in its very height right then. That couple (what's their name?) Lillian and somebody Gilbreth, and two or three other people.
NEVIN BROWN:
Yes, Frank.
HARRIET HERRING:
She was interested in that, but she'd already seen it from the beginning, you see. As I say, she was the nineteenth person hired by the Gilette Razor Company.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How long did you stay at Bryn Mawr and do all of this work?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, by the time we finished the course the war had ended, and so it wasn't so handy to get jobs. If we had started six months earlier we would have gotten out and everybody would have been grabbed up as they came out of the door, you know. As it was we had to wait around. And finally a Bryn Mawr alumna got acquainted with some of us. She knew this company that made men's underwear: well, as a matter of fact, they spun their yarn and also all the way down to putting the buttons on the shirts and trousers and so on. She knew both of them; it was a Jewish firm and she was Jewish. They employed about a thousand people, and it was getting fashionable to set up a personnel department, you know. And labor turnover was so high it was taking so much of

Page 34
a foreman's time too, you see: that's the reason that it really came in then. So she suggested to Miss Besantson and to Dr. Kingbury that I go and see them; so I made an appointment, went over, and he hired me. I found out later, well, I had to set up a personnel department there, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This is at the Roxford Knitting Mill in Philadelphia?
HARRIET HERRING:
Roxford Knitting Mill in Philadelphia, yes. And so I went and lived in a boarding house, roomed in one place and ate in another, and took a streetcar down one street and the streetcar back up. That's my closest to being a real town worker, you know. Although I had to go out; I had a driver to take me around looking for workers. By that time people were scarce, you know: everybody was employed in the war, and they hadn't lessened their numbers so much. So they'd go through there. They did have a register of an address and card for them: that's all they had for personnel. And the foreman would look over the names of people who had worked for them; then I'd go at night and visit them to try to get them to come to work. I rode all over Philadelphia.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
My word! [laughter]
HARRIET HERRING:
You never saw such places as I went into, trying to get them to come. But not very many came. Then I went there in March, I guess it was.
NEVIN BROWN:
Of 1919?
HARRIET HERRING:
It must have been '20. Then it began to get so that you just had them floating in all the time, because there was a little depression there for a short time. Then Mr. (I started to say his name, but I won't [laughter] ) had me in and said that they found that they were getting. . . . He gave me as my assistant. . . .

Page 35
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was the foreman or the head of the mill?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, this was the head of it. He gave me as an assistant one of the most competent secretaries in the institution. She was the secretary to the sales manager, and he had so much typing and dictation to take that she had trouble with her arm, and so she wanted a transfer. Of course I was glad to get her: she knew the company and all that. But it turned out (she told me this herself; I was going to New York and I stopped by Philadelphia and visited with her—we were very good friends) that he had promised her that job. And they hired me, who knew how to set up (or thought I knew how to set up, he thought I knew how to set up). . . . I set up one, after a fashion. Anyhow, he told me along in the late fall that business was getting bad and he was going to have to discontinue the personnel department. So I came back to North Carolina. She told me that he had promised her that when he transferred her to be my assistant.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did she eventually get the job, take the job over?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, she took it over. But it didn't last; it lasted a year or two, I guess. But they finally did go into bankruptcy.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How many people were in that program at Bryn Mawr that you were in?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I guess those of us that went down there in June, we decided it was probably nineteen, right? When did the war end?
NEVIN BROWN:
November of 1918 was when the war ended, yes.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, we went in June and there were about thirty, between twenty-five and thirty. And then a new group was chosen and came in when school opened. And that's when we got back (we had had about two weeks' vacation, and I came to North Carolina) and registered we were handed a paper that said that we were (what do you call it? you can't go anywhere,

Page 36
can't go outside the town of Bryn Mawr). The flu epidemic had busted loose.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Quarantined.
HARRIET HERRING:
Quarantined; we were quarantined.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were most of the thirty people women?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes, they were all women.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They were all women. Did you ever meet M. Carrie Thomas at Bryn Mawr?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, she was president.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, she was president when Woodrow Wilson taught there, and she and he fought.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you know her?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, I knew her.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was she like?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, short and stubby and just as bossy as anybody could be, as Woodrow Wilson could be. She was really a charming person. She had this industry group over to her house for dinner, and after dinner she said, "Go in and we'll all talk. Now you sit in that blue chair over there, because your pink dress will look so pretty in it." And she settled everybody. And then she said, "Now what would the graduate students like to talk about? I suggest that we talk about so-and-so." Just like that, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Was Susan Kingsbury there at that time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes, she was head of the Corolla [unknown] Graduate Department of . . . what was the rest of it?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said it before [laughter] .
NEVIN BROWN:
Something social research, I think it is.

Page 37
HARRIET HERRING:
Social Economy and Social Research, yes. And Miss Besantson went to the University of Pennsylvania shortly after that because, you see, the program was finished. But they had three different groups: my group, that came in June, and then the group that came with school (and they got a late start; well, of course they could do this talking to them, but they couldn't go out working), and another one in January, at semester. And those are the only three by that time there were; they nipped it off, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever know Hilda Smith? Was she there at that time? Hilda Livington Smith?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, her name sounds sort of familiar, but I can't place it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She was dean of women at Bryn Mawr.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well Helen Taft was dean when I was there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And then later Hilda Smith worked for the WPA and with Harry Hopkins.
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't place her. I know that Miss Taft, she was the one that introduced Miss Thomas, Dr. Thomas, President Thomas (you didn't say "Doctor," you said "President"); had a throne-like chair all carved up and everything and you were ushered in. You had appointments; you knew you were to see her. She met every student this way. And she had a low chair (not a stool, really, but a little chair) at her knee. "Would you sit there, Miss Herring? Oh tell me this," she said, "you're from North Carolina." And I said, "Yes." "Tell me this: do they have as big families in North Carolina as they used to have?" And I said, "Well, President Thomas, I'm the youngest of eleven." "Oh," she says, "This is wonderful!" [laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
[laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Oh, that's incredible.
NEVIN BROWN:
When you left Philadelphia, then you came back to North Carolina,

Page 38
to the Pomona Mills in Greensboro? Was that where you first came?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Well, that's when I made the. . . . Where did you find out about that survey in Kinston?
NEVIN BROWN:
In the Sociology Department they have a whole file of information about you.
HARRIET HERRING:
Gosh! I've got to go up there and clear that out!
NEVIN BROWN:
[laughter] They have several [unknown] things.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you about why you decided to come back to North Carolina.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I didn't have a job there. And, you see, the college had stopped that course six or eight months before; didn't even take in the last group that they accepted.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But did you come back to a specific job?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. I just came home. I had three brothers here, all married and all had a family, so I just came. I don't know how anybody at those mills in Kinston heard anything about that I had had any personnel experience; but anyway one of the men was a good friend of my brother's, and he found that I was home. So he asked me to come down and talk to him about it. They were having a great deal of turnover (of course everybody was), and having difficulty getting enough workers. They had two mills: a knitting mill and a spinning mill. They decided that there ought to be people in Kinston other than the mill village. Of course, if you lived in a mill house any potential worker was supposed to work for them. Anyhow, he seemed to think that if I'd go around (or somebody'd got around) and tell them something about the work and how long it would take to learn to spin or to knit or whatever. . . .

Page 39
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You were going around within the mill village in Kinston?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I didn't have to go there, you see. They worked because they lived in the house. So we chatted about it, and between us we decided that it wouldn't be a bad idea for me to make a sort of a survey in the general area, people of about the same income, you see, as the mill workers. And so I did. And it was really very—he didn't get his money's worth on that, because they just wouldn't work in the cotton mill.
NEVIN BROWN:
Was it because of pride?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Cotton mill workers were a stage lower.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What were they doing?
HARRIET HERRING:
Most anything. Somebody might be a carpenter in the family, or somebody a plumber or something. I don't remember. But anyway, as I say, he didn't get his money's worth out of it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You couldn't find any workers [laughter] for him.
HARRIET HERRING:
But I learned to spin in the process.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You did work in one of his mills?
HARRIET HERRING:
One of my propositions was that I wanted to know something about what the work in the mill was. I never got a chance to work on the machines at Roxford, because I was to set that up. But I had my assistant work on a machine for some weeks, 'til she could do any—well, she didn't try all the operations, but two or three different operations—so she'd know what it was like, and what the machines were like, and what it was to sit there for the hours and turn off those things, you see. I wanted to learn some of the processes, so part of my bargain was that I would learn to spin. And I was taught by a girl (we got to chatting and we got very friendly). . . . Incidentally, one of the little Polish girls that I worked with at Remington—

Page 40
no, not Remington, it was. . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Winchester?
HARRIET HERRING:
. . . Winchester, we got to be quite good chums. But anyway, this girl and I turned out to be exactly the same age: we had the same birthday the same year. And she had worked in that mill twenty years.
NEVIN BROWN:
And this was about 1920 or '21, so she was. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was in 1919.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Well, she was born in '92, you see. I'd seen children working in mills and all that, and read about it and all, but nothing ever brought it home to me. And I thought that I had traveled to California and came back through Canada and stopped at various places, and I'd been to college (three colleges) and all that, and she'd been in there spinning all that time.
NEVIN BROWN:
What did that do to your image of workers in general? What did you feel about workers in general before that time, and did that experience change your attitude to them?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I suppose that I knew so little. We knew the cotton mill people there, you know; and they were called . . . what did they call them, "fuzzy heads" or something or other, because of the lint. It was linty in them then and all. I guess I just, like any farmer's daughter, thought a mill was a pretty bad place, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You never had really had any contact, had you, when you were living on your father's farm?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh mercy, no, no. I went to high school, and all the people I knew were friends of these people that I lived with, you see, and people that my parents knew in church (some of them, and some others).

Page 41
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Where had most of the mill workers who lived in Kinston come from?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, from the countryside. Now you wouldn't find that farther west; they'd come from Virginia. Now when I did personnel work in Spray and all that I'd ask, "Where were you born?" "Pittsylvania County, Pittsylvania County," you know, up in Virginia, most of them—thousands of them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But most of them from the Kinston area had just come off the land. Were they white tenants on the land then?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, they were all whites. The mill didn't employ any blacks except in—well, I'm sure they had some if they had any dyeing, and probably had them in the early stages of spinning, what they called "breaking" (they loosened up the bales and run it through the first rough processing; that's heavy work, and they nearly always had blacks on that back then).
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you get the position as the community worker in Greensboro?
HARRIET HERRING:
I've been trying to remember who told me about that, or who told Mr. Causy about me, since I saw you all had that in there. Where did you get that?
NEVIN BROWN:
The same place. [laughter]
HARRIET HERRING:
I tell you, I've got to go up there and clear their files.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who was the man who hired you, Mr. Causy?
HARRIET HERRING:
Causy, C-a-u-s-y. Well, he's dead now. And that mill went into bankruptcy [laughter] .
NEVIN BROWN:
When you were there, or after?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, no, a long time after.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did he hire you to do?
HARRIET HERRING:
Community work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had he ever had a community worker before?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, he'd had one, and she had gotten married or something or

Page 42
other. That summer he had one of the teachers. It was a public school, but it was a school for the children of that mill, because they were quite dense there—that was before bussing, you know. So it was just the mill children; maybe there might have been a half a dozen (I doubt if there were half a dozen) farming children in that school. And one of the teachers was a widow and had two boys in school; when this person left he asked her to kind of hold the things together until he found somebody, during the summer vacation. So I went up there. I can't remember how I heard about it or he heard about me; I've just completely forgotten. But anyway I said, "Well, let me work in the mill, then, until she leaves." So I learned to spin and learned to weave. I couldn't have done all the things to one loom, to say nothing of to have twelve looms, but anyway I learned all the different things.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did these people like Mr. Causy and the man in Kinston react when you said, "I want to learn to spin; I want to learn to weave?"
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no, I said, "I want to know what the people are doing." And absolutely, I never had anybody question why I shouldn't do that. I worked some, a little bit, in the mills when I went up to Spray, because I already could spin, you know. And so I'd stop and chat with somebody when I'd go in and interview people. I'd stop and chat with a spinner and I'd say, "Let me spin a little." And so there it would go. I never did weave enough to be good. I couldn't meddle with that; I might have thrown down part of the warp.
NEVIN BROWN:
What did community work mean? When he hired you as a community worker, what exactly did he want you to do, or what did you do as a community worker in Greensboro?
HARRIET HERRING:
Anything from visit the sick to have a club of mothers with a county nurse come in and tell them about the importance of weighing the baby and so on. I put on a community fair each fall the two falls I was there. I

Page 43
don't know, just anything.
NEVIN BROWN:
And all your work was within the mill village, then?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
NEVIN BROWN:
Entirely.
HARRIET HERRING:
But I refused to be limited to the mill village. As I say, I had this chance to work in the mill a little, so I knew some of them from working there; and then they'd see me at their homes and so on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How large was the village that went with Pomona Mills?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know, but they employed about, I should say, eight hundred people or so.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did almost all of them live in the village?
HARRIET HERRING:
The majority, but not all of them. Some of them, much more than at Kinston, came in. You see, the mill didn't have as bad a name up that far as it did in Kinston.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you visit those people who lived in their own homes out from the village?
HARRIET HERRING:
Not very many of them. I had a boys' club and a girls' club, and I borrowed from the. . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE 1]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
HARRIET HERRING:
. . . and some kind of a phonograph or noisemaker.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have an active program? Did you have a lot of people eager to work with you? Was it hard to get close to the workers at Pomona?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, no. Well now, there were a few that I never did get to come, women who didn't work that I never could get. One, for example. . . . I got the county nurse to come out once a month, and I'd try to get all the mothers. I had a women's meeting some afternoon in the week, and had it about

Page 44
once every week, but about once a month I would make it specially for mothers with small babies. A lot of them didn't know that it was important to weigh the baby; the baby could fall off pounds and they wouldn't know it, you know. And I got the county nurse (I wasn't going to tell them how to raise their babies—I was the last person to do that) to come out and meet with them. And they came, except the one woman that I never did get; she had about ten children already and had another while this nurse was coming out there. And they didn't come during the pregnancy nor after: couldn't get her to come. Went to see her two or three times.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, on the eleventh one. . . . [laughter]
HARRIET HERRING:
Thought she already knew something; I think she did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you do at the women's meetings the other weeks?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, sometimes I had somebody come and speak about something I thought they'd be interested in or something like that. But most of it was largely socializing, because they didn't do much visiting except to the person next door.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were these women not working in the mill?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, they were housewives, you see, that particular group were. Then I had young children from about ten or twelve to fourteen or fifteen; and the other hours and parts of the day I had boys and girls courting age, and that sort of thing. And I even had a boys' group; just boys came one evening. Everybody said I'd have trouble with them, that they'd get into fights, so I was watching out for that. When I began to see any kind of roughness I just sent both the boys downstairs (it was in a big hall upstairs). So I didn't have any trouble with discipline—didn't have half as much as I did in high school at Scotland Neck!

Page 45
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I'm curious about these women who were housewives. How was their family well enough off that they didn't have to work?
HARRIET HERRING:
Probably had children too small, babies too small.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did most of the women in the mill village work, though?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, not nearly all. I had quite a group: oh, I would say I had thirty or forty that came, and then not nearly all of those that stayed home to keep their babies came.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was the family wage not in effect at that time, or did the men make enough to support a family? Or did someone else like an older boy or an older girl work?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it might have been that. Of course wages were low; they were lower in the South than they were any other place. But prices also weren't what they are now. Especially if they had two working (and you could tell by the furniture and their dress and everything),
NEVIN BROWN:
How much control did the mill owner have on your work? I mean, did you have to report to somebody every week or every month about what you were doing?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. If I decided I wanted to try something else, sometimes I talked to him, and sometimes I talked to the second man because he was so busy. And I was also interested in the inside of the mill, you see, and I didn't forget that. That's when I went out to Dinwiddie in Minneapolis to go to that training on labor problems, particularly foremanship and so on. And by George, I set up a class there and had the foremen one night a week for weeks and weeks, sort of telling them all I'd learned at Minneapolis.
NEVIN BROWN:
What was that at Minneapolis? What lead you to go to that, and what was it? Was it a conference, or a series of courses, or exactly what was

Page 46
it?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it was sort of a gathering of people interested in labor problems. It was under the auspices of something in Washington; I can't remember now. Don't even remember the name of the man, but I know he was very good. And we had a woman who was some sort of labor official in Texas, and a man from Kansas that was evidently something nearing a personnel department in a plant. Had them from all over; there weren't but about thirty or forty, I guess, in it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did the head man at the mill send you there, or did he want you to go to this?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I told him [unknown] and that I also wanted to talk to (I thought that I would want to talk to) the foremen after that. I've forgotten now the financial part of it; he didn't pay my whole expenses, but I got my salary during that time. I don't remember specifically now, it's been so long.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did they talk about as the most important labor problems?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, you don't expect me to remember that from now, do you?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I was wondering if there was any particular thing like turnover that they were most concerned about.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well that, you see, goes up and down with the various cycles. They talked a great deal about training. And I know that then when I came back that fall I had a sort of a little seminar with the foremen for weeks and weeks. And they submitted to it; they were just as nice as they could be, you know, and had a grand time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I wondered if you could compare the workers and conditions and the employers in the Pomona Mills and also in the Roxford Knitting

Page 47
Mill in Philadelphia.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, they were more humane down here. They seemed to know their workers more. And I don't know, maybe it's because they had a village and they had contacts with them for various things. I don't know what the difference would be.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What do you mean more humane?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, their workers were people, you see, in these mills, and the superintendents and even the managers knew a lot of them personally.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
That wasn't the case in Roxford?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, you see, they spread out all over a city and didn't have as much chance to; and usually just one in a family, and that sort of thing—I reckon that would make a deal of difference. But I think they were just friendlier people.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were there more women in one place than the other?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it depended on the operation. At Roxford, you see, except for the knitting and the dyeing it was mostly women, because it was seaming of one kind or another: putting on buttons or putting buttonholes or sewing up a seam or sewing cuffs on or sewing the collars on the sewing machine. And they were all women, so the majority of the thousand or so that worked in Roxford were women.
NEVIN BROWN:
How did the employees at both Roxford and Pomona feel about the employers? Was there any difference in the way they viewed the people who owned the mill, who ran the mill?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know whether I could at this distance try to evaluate that. I think they knew the men; they probably didn't even know the head man in Roxford at all, because he didn't get out among them. He had one

Page 48
favorite forelady (who was one of the bossiest people I ever saw), and this man said she was the best forewoman he'd ever seen. Well, she was a tartar, there was no doubt about that! I took Miss Besantson when I was down there, I took her over (she was interested in seeing where I was) the mill; when she came to this woman, Miss Reiscock (she was big enough to be a policeman, and looked like one). . . . Well, of course, that department was a huge department with sewing machines doing various and sundry things on it, and whirls of stuff in process, you know. It always looked terribly messy to me, but Miss Besantson nearly had a fit when she got in there. I said, "Why, he says this is the best forelady he's ever seen." She said, "Well, she's got the worst looking department I've ever seen."
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] How did you get the job at Spray, then, and why did you change?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, that again was accident. I was very interested in turnover (there was a great deal of labor turnover then), and trying to make the foremen conscious of how much it was—they just didn't know. I could go from some records there; they had a foremen's council that met once a month.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was at Pomona?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, no, this was at Spray. I made up some figures showing them how much turnover, and some of them were perfectly astonished that they'd had that much turnover. And then the superintendent got interested in it, that it was an expensive thing; he hadn't realized it. They just don't know that there's that much coming and going, you know. Of course where they had a village they may go and stay out six months and come back, and they're experienced people so it isn't so bad. But just the same it's still expensive and everything.

Page 49
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who asked you to come to Spray?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I was just telling you. So I was really doing a little sort of personnel research, just from the records that were already there (it really was not strictly speaking a real personnel department, it was a record-keeping) because they had fourteen mills there in three towns, and people would go from one to the other. And nothing made a foreman madder than for somebody at one of the other mills to take one of his workers, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who had set up the original record-keeping?
HARRIET HERRING:
That was set up about a year before, and all that preliminary one from all that were then working had been taken when I got there. But anyway, from some of those records I had been making some studies of it, you see. Some of my best friends in college were two Johnson girls, the sisters of Gerald Johnson—have you ever heard of him?
NEVIN BROWN:
Oh, certainly.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, anyway, he knew Dr. Odum. And I'd been with them a lot of times, and I would tell him something I was counting up there. And he told Dr. Odum that I was doing some industrial research there just with the back of my hand, almost, you know. So I got an invitation from Dr. Odum to meet him and Gerald Johnson at dinner at the O. Henry. We talked about whatall (but I didn't know what I went for anyhow: he called me or wrote me or something or other and said would I have dinner with him and Gerald Johnson at the O. Henry such-and-such a night, and so I did). So then he offered me to come; that was when the Institute was starting, in '24. But I was in the midst of something that I really wanted to see, sort of, the end of it, and I said, "Well, could I wait a year?" And he said yes, so I went and waited a

Page 50
year, and didn't start with the Institute.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had you started collecting information about workers and about turnover when you were at Pomona as a community worker?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. And then when I went to Dinwiddie, you see, that's when I started all these things I saw at Dinwiddie, from stuff that I had shown them that they were having this huge turnover.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. But how did you go from the work in Greensboro to the work in Spray?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it wasn't hard to drop that walking around the village and visiting the sick, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
OK. So they just asked you to come to Spray and be the personnel director?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. They had set it up. And as a matter of fact I didn't hire; I interviewed all the people but I didn't hire them. The foremen and superintendents did that. And the next step later was when they had—they really put it in when they began to have threats of unionism: that's when they put in a full personnel department. But it had just been set up for a year or two when I got there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see. Who in the mills at Spray was most interested in collecting this information?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, all of them were interested in labor turnover; they were all interested in that, and anything they thought could help to keep track of people and get them back if they could, if they were experienced, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who was your boss?
HARRIET HERRING:
The superintendent, Mr. Clark.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see. Had he been involved in the original establishment of the

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program?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Mr. Hodges had really started it, though—getting down to your generation now, with instant knowledge. No, he went to Dunwiddie (is it Dunwiddie or Dinwiddie? I've forgotten.)
NEVIN BROWN:
Dunwiddie.
HARRIET HERRING:
It was Dunwiddie, wasn't it. When I went up to register I had spent the night and had gotten a place to live, and a woman from Texas was just across a gap (a sort of a building, you see). We could see each other: "I'm going to breakfast; come on," you know. We went up to register, and there was this man from Raleigh that had told me about the Dunwiddie course and said he was going, and why didn't I go. And so I did. He was standing there with this best-looking, homeliest good-looking young man I've ever seen in my life. He had a huge funny nose and a great big mouth and thick lips and stubby, you know, and everything—did you ever see Governor Hodges?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I've only seen pictures of him.
NEVIN BROWN:
I never did.
HARRIET HERRING:
Haven't you ever seen him?
NEVIN BROWN:
I never have, no.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, he just looked so alert, you know, and all, and he was standing there with this man (I can't recall his name now) who had brought us both, really. I didn't know he was going; I didn't know who he was until he introduced him. And he was the one that. . . . Then this young man who had gone through that horrible business of interviewing everybody that was already working, you know (that was already set up). . . . Then my office also took care of being sure that all the children of a certain age that worked had certificates; the government sent a person around to mills to be

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sure that they had their age and they had a work card (I've forgotten what they called it). That was done in my office; they had to do that or they'd get in trouble, you see, so they had set up that machinery and that was added to it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, when you met Luther Hodges at Dunwiddie was he working at Spray at that time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see. And then did he leave that next year when you came, or were you there together for a while?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no, he didn't leave until '52; I think it was '52 that he resigned and went to Germany on some—no, it was a little earlier than that, it was after the war.
NEVIN BROWN:
And the Marshall Plan?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. And who was the man? It was somebody that was important; it was like Averill Harriman, but it wasn't Averill Harriman, that was head of all of this in Europe, when they saw right after the war that they weren't pulling out. The government sent him and this man (I know his name perfectly well, but can't think of it), and asked Luther to come over there and sort of whip some sense and method in the coal side of it. So he spent a while over there. And after that, then of course he became Secretary of Commerce, and after that world chairman of Rotary and so on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, what was he doing [laughter] in the mills when you were there? What was his position?
HARRIET HERRING:
Handyman to the superintendent. He grew up there, and his family had worked in the mill; I think he had worked in the mill some. Anyhow, he went to the University of North Carolina, and worked his way through

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school waiting on tables and building fires in furnaces, and that sort of thing. Then he asked Mr. Clark for a job; he wanted to learn the business, he said. He took practically no salary (of course he was paid, because Mr. Clark got so he just turned pretty near everything over to Luther, you know). Anyway, then when this young man who had been there at the beginning of it left, Luther asked me to come over there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see.
NEVIN BROWN:
I'm curious about this Mr. Clark at Spray. Was he in any way connected with the Southern Textile Bulletin?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, no, no; that's a different set of dogs.
NEVIN BROWN:
OK, fine. [laughter]
HARRIET HERRING:
This Clark was a New Englander, and a gentleman if there ever was one. David Clark was my great enemy. When I started working on this stuff at Chapel Hill, on the book of welfare work, you know, he chose that time to begin—no, well. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
We have a lot of questions about David Clark for later on [laughter] . Maybe we could just finish up with this section on Spray, and then we'll leave and go to lunch and you can rest. And then we'll come back and talk about UNC and the Institute. Would that be OK?
Superintendent Clark at Spray: was he superintendent over all fourteen of the mills?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, he was superintendent over, let's see, the two in Draper and the eight (I guess it was) that were in Spray. But he wasn't of the carpet mill and the bedspread mill that were in Leaksville. Now we kept the records; they sent us records to keep people from going from one to the other, you see, because they checked not to be hiring somebody from another

Page 54
mill. So we had the record of them, but we didn't interview them; I never did have anything to do with those two. And I didn't have with Fieldale: there was a towel mill and a hosiery mill up there, and that was part of the company. And they sent their names of their people and a little bit of personnel about them; and then when they left they sent an exit, so they were free, you see, to go to any other mill. You see, when they all belong in the same company they had more or less the same policy and same wages, and in that group of things a lot of the same kind of work. And you may get mad with your foreman, and then you just think you'll just move along (and they don't like them doing that, which you can't blame them for). So they want to know whether somebody's just moving around from one place to another.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have any contact with Mr. Mebane?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, he was before my day. I think he had died before I left. I knew his wife—I mean, well, I met her, but I can't say I knew her. What was the queen over that she got so friendly with, in Europe after the war?
NEVIN BROWN:
I don't know.
HARRIET HERRING:
Mrs. Mebane, yes. He's the one who built most of those mills.
NB and MF: Right.
HARRIET HERRING:
But, you see, and he sold an awful lot to. . . . You knew how Marshall Field got mixed up with it, didn't you?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes.
NEVIN BROWN:
I haven't.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, Mr. Mebane built several mills there, and there are two or three other mills besides his that different families owned. But he was quite a promoter, and also quite a salesman, because he sold Marshall Field more goods than he could deliver—and then had to borrow money from them to

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finance the manufacture of them. So you see he was a very smart man. They finally had to buy the mills not to lose their money and to get their goods done, and that's how they got them. Then they built two or three others; I think they built the ones at Draper. But then they sold them quite some years ago.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Wasn't it sort of unusual for. . . . You had the title of Personnel Director; was it unusual for a woman to be in that position? Or at this time was it so unusual enough for anyone to be in the position that it was an open field?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know; I didn't think it was. Nobody seemed to think so. A young man who didn't have any training in any kind of personnel at all did the dirty work of interviewing that first business, you see; he was somebody that was just around. I never remember the slightest thing of feeling that a woman ought not to be on that job.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
OK. What about your relationship with management and your relationship with workers, as far as being a woman was concerned? Did you have any problems?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I was talking about management; I never heard anything from a worker either. They took me for granted when I came around to interview them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was your relationship with the workers? Were you close to them, or not as close as you'd been at Pomona, perhaps?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no, not as close, because, you see, I visited them in their homes there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. But did you have a lot of contact with them?
HARRIET HERRING:
For instance, some of them I got to know, and a lot of times

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when I'd go through I'd see one that I had interviewed not very long ago, and I'd stop and chat with him a few minutes. Because I went to the mill; they didn't send them out to an office, I went and interviewed them right in there with all those looms crashing. And I'd stop and chat with them, and that sort of thing.
NEVIN BROWN:
So your work was very different, then, than what Mrs. Berryhill did later on. I mean, she said that when she went to Spray she was a social worker, versus what you seem to have been, more like on the management side. Is that accurate?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, see, I didn't have anything like I did at Pomona out in the village itself. No, just a completely different job.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
If you had to describe a typical worker in Spray in the twenties, what would you say? You were saying most of these people were from Virginia?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, in the mountains, and some of them from the northern mountains of North Carolina.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had most of them been either tenant farmers or mountaineers?
HARRIET HERRING:
A great many of them had, yes. But, see, tenant farming didn't pay much; the cotton mill didn't pay a lot, but it did pay more than that. And like one man said to me—I would ask in this interview "Where did you work before here? What did you do? How long did you work at that?" to get some idea of their experience . . . . And they'd use that too, if he had done a different kind of job he could be transferred on it if they needed him, you see, with that skill. And one man kept telling me, "I worked in such-and-such a mill, Washington mill up and so-and-so;" he mentioned all the way around us, you know. And I said, "Well, you really have worked in a lot of places." And he said, "Yes. Seeing the world." And it was about a diameter

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of twenty miles [laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I wondered if you perceived any differences in the lifestyle or the families or the movement of people who came from the mountains as opposed to those who had been tenant farmers before?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, well, they were just so much better. This crowd at Kinston, you see, had been tenant farmers, and they were not too promising people. You could drive through the village; it just looked sort of sodden, you know. No, a lot of those were very alert. And there was one woman, one of my very best friends: she was highly intelligent and one of the best weavers in the mill, and she took a part when we had a fair or some special thing. Although she worked she could find time to help me with all that. And she couldn't read and write—a very intelligent woman.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, back to the question about the mountain people: could you tell if someone, maybe, had been raised in the mountains or if their family had been from the mountains?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know that you could just by looking at them; they were all the same kind of general blood.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they have any more money, perhaps? Were they more sure of themselves? Did they have closer family ties?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, my recollection is that they were just terribly interested in their families, and very distressed when anybody was. That's why when I was in Pomona I had to visit so much; if anybody was sick I just had to go see them.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did a lot of the people who came to Spray and Leaksville from the mountains go back? Was that one reason for turnover?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. Like the man that was seeing the world, they'd go somewhere

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else. I don't know that they went back; there wasn't anything to go back to, except if you lived in Wilkes County and made whiskey. If you came from there you probably were skilled in making whiskey.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did any of the mountain people seem less satisfied with the mill work, perhaps, than if. . .?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, you see, I wouldn't know about that, because in the first place I didn't necessarily know. . . . [Interruption]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
How long did most of the workers stay with the company when you were working with the eight mills in Spray and Leaksville?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I didn't work with the ones in Wilson, but I did with the ones at Draper.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Draper I meant; I'm sorry.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, some of them worked there thirty years. Some, oh we had lots, were like the man who was seeing the world. Sometimes the drop would come before we'd get his personnel record typed up and put in file.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was there a mill village in Spray?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes, every mill had houses, every one of those mills.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
That was a very, very old mill community. Were the houses old as well? Had they been redone?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, the ones in. . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
. . . the types of houses, and you were saying that the village in Spray was older, I think, than the one in Draper, that the ones in Draper were newer houses. I was wondering if within the village there was an organized plan of any kind for education of the mill children? Was there at that time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, nearly always, you see, there would be a school located

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there, because there'd be enough children for a school. And we didn't have so much bussing then as we do now; they bus them in. I don't know whether they bus them up there or not. But the school grounds nearly always had a ball place, and they could play there—I think nearly all of them; maybe the one at the woollen mill (it was a little more isolated) may not have. But they had some space. But, you see, everybody had a considerable yard; the houses were not crowded together at all, so they had lots of space.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So most of the children in the village did go to school, at least through grade school? Was there a high school?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Well, I guess they nearly always, in the bigger ones they had a whole high school—I'm sure they did at Draper. Now in North Spray, where the mills were a little bit farther apart, they may have had to go to the town school away from the village, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you remember anything about the impact of drifters in the town? Of people who were not employed, maybe, but were just kind of going through? Were there boarding houses where people could stay?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, there would be boarding houses for singles, you see, for just eating and sleeping; and sometimes they roomed at somebody else's house. But we wouldn't have had a drifter. He came and signed up and went to work even, as I say, if his leave card got to me before the hiring card did. Sometimes they didn't stay but a day or two, and decided they didn't like it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But there wasn't talk about a problem in the town with drifters going through?
HARRIET HERRING:
I never heard anything about that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever hear the term "public work?"
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did that mean? How did people use that?
HARRIET HERRING:
They used it mainly if they worked on the roads or some kind of thing like that; mostly, I think, it's the roads.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did people ever talk about mill work as public work?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, they'd say the mill.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. Were there ever any efforts to organize among the workers when you were at Spray?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, there wasn't; didn't start until well after I left up there, a pretty good while before. They didn't get much of that flurry in the early thirties, when we had such a bad time down here in North Carolina. And, you know, two people were killed in connection with it: one at a mill up farther west (I've forgotten what town that was in now), and one at. . . . No, that one at Charlotte wasn't. . . . Well, I believe there was one shot in some of it; they had right vigorous organizers, you know. It got sort of a mobbish spirit and some shooting. And then I went down to the trial: went the first day and they were getting the jury. And they had about finished getting the jury, so I thought they'd take a little time to get the last one. And I didn't break my neck to get over there after breakfast, and got over there and the courthouse was perfectly deserted. Now what in the world had happened? They said that when they got that last one and they were all seated, the sheriff had the bright idea of having somebody dressed up in the clothes of the man who had been killed, and motored him down the aisle of the courthouse, as if they were going to. . . . I don't know whose idea it was to have that kind of an exhibit. And one of the jurymen went crazy on them right there in the jurybox, screaming and carrying on; they had to dismiss the jury. So there was another strike going on at the same time up Morganton way, or

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somewhere there. There was a famous (locally famous) newsman from Raleigh that was there, and he was standing around there like me without an occupation going, you know. [laughter] I was there in my car, and so I said, "Well, let's go up to Morganton (or whichever the town was)." So we went up there and looked at that strike, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was he reporting on the strike for the paper?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. He was going to report on it for the News and Observer, on that trial, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was his name?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, what was his name? His son works at Chapel Hill. I just forget people's names.
NEVIN BROWN:
You left Spray, then, for UNC in 1924 or '25?
HARRIET HERRING:
'25.
NEVIN BROWN:
'25. And you said through Gerald Johnson was the person that you met.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Well, I had known him for years, but he was the one who mentioned me to Dr. Odum. He said, "Well, Harriet Herring's carrying on some of that same kind of stuff up there on that job." So Dr. Odum or Gerald, one or the other, arranged a meeting there in Greensboro. I was working at Pomona, so they had me down to dinner. And that's when Luther Hodges began arranging for me to go up there. But I stayed another year up there before I went down. I was just as glad after I went that I wasn't there at the very first beginnings of it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why where you glad about that? [laughter]
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know, it was sort of settled down, and everybody knew there was an Institute and so on, you know—knew what it was.
NEVIN BROWN:
What was the attraction of the Institute to you? Why did you feel

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that you wanted to go?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, because I could take some courses. And I took some courses in sociology (finally!) [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you plan to get a graduate degree when you went?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I thought when I went that I probably would be getting a. . . . I had a research. . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Assistantship or associateship?
HARRIET HERRING:
Not an associateship, the one below that: assistantship. And the offer was, you see, that these people would take that, and then they would take some courses and do some research and could get their doctor's degree. Well, I didn't have enough of any one thing; I had taken what I wanted, you know, and I'd had history and government and economics and everything else. Well at Harvard, you see, government and economics and history—no, government and economics and what's the other one—the three were together.
NEVIN BROWN:
Political science?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. And I had taken in that group field; but, you see, they didn't come together in the others. He came up with a manuscript of the welfare work and he said, "Now, are you going to get a degree? Because this is a thesis, and if it goes to the publisher you can't use it." And I said, "Well, do I have to?" And he said, "Well no, you don't have to." [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
This was Welfare Work In Mill Villages, your first manuscript?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes [laughter] —well, I mean, the first of any size. So I went along peacefully.
NEVIN BROWN:
When you got to UNC what was it like to be a student there? Did Odum set out a series of classes for you to take, or were you pretty much on your own?

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HARRIET HERRING:
Very much on your own. I took another economics course with a very lively and very fine young professor that was there; he left not too long after that. And I took two or three courses with Dr. Odum. I took a course in the community with Dr. Steiner, who moved on then to. . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Tulane.
HARRIET HERRING:
. . . Tulane. So I began to fill in some of the gaps that Radcliffe had left me, you see, when I just wandered about among assorted things—you weren't compelled to take any particular group there; the limitations were nothing like they are at most places.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When did you first start teaching?
HARRIET HERRING:
Not until '35. I think Dr. Odum was tired of my not being on the faculty. I was going to faculty meetings, though; I was a research associate by that time. And incidentally, you talk about women there: after the medical school came, well the whole university was growing, and the faculty meetings got so big (and we had several people that had to speak every single time the faculty met, you know). So to sort of slim it down a little they decided to have each division select its own representatives, you know; it boiled it down to about a fourth the size, the number of people. It had grown to be a great big hallful. And then that division, the Social Sciences Division and the Classics, selected their own representatives. I've forgotten whether it was every year or every two years that a list of all the people that were eligible came to you. And speaking about women, I was elected (I don't know whether, I've forgotten whether we were elected every year or every two years); I spent twelve years on the council. When I first started there were very few women except in Nursing—no, the Nursing School didn't come 'til the fifties. But education had several—of course we weren't

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in the same one with them. But anyway I kept getting elected to go, so they didn't seem to hold it against me that I was a woman.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Once you started teaching in 1935 what was your academic rank? Did you go up any?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I was a professor then, a full professor.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see. And you taught. Did you teach every year from 1935 until the time you retired?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. I had class in the afternoon, and that sort of weeded down people. The people over in economics, they had personnel stuff too over there. Well, some of the sociology people took it, but I don't think they trusted me too much as much of a sociologist. But I got a lot of students from the economics department that were taking personnel stuff, you know. I always had class in the afternoon; that would discourage some, you know, from doing it. But we'd meet for two hours two times a week, and that sort of helped to cancel it being in the afternoon. One time during the war. . . . A number of people were away, you see; a lot of them went—well, some of the younger ones had to go, and some other ones were called to Washington and all. So Dr. Odum asked me if I minded teaching at nine o'clock in the morning. We were on a quarter system and it was the winter quarter, and nine o'clock seemed to come before day, you know. And I had big classes the next year or two, you know, because at nine o'clock they'd take it, the ones that wouldn't take it otherwise. I had several athletes at that time (I always dreaded athletes)—well, two or three. I had one athlete that was excellent; as a matter of fact he got some kind of an extra word on his diploma. But I had one that . . . two of them sat together on the front row, and both of them at first looked as though they just weren't half awake. Of course this was

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the winter quarter; they were footballers, but they weren't practicing. And one of them woke up, but the other one never did. The other one just got real eager, and he did pretty well. So when he came in at the end of the quarter to get his grade after his exam I told him I was turning in a B for him, and I thought he was going to weep [laughter] . I said, "It's because you improved so much." And I did think he deserved it; he really did very good work the last half—well, he just improved all along. And I thought he deserved for improvement as much as one that had plugged along. I didn't give that other one a B, I'll tell you that! [laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
Going back to the Institute again for a little while, I'm really interested in getting your impressions of some people that were there, I imagine at the same time you were, most of them that I mentioned in the list of questions.
HARRIET HERRING:
In that list? Well now, you've got Thomas Woofter; his name was Jack.
NEVIN BROWN:
Well, his name was Jack, I know that. His real name was Thomas Jackson Woofter, Jr.
HARRIET HERRING:
Thomas Jackson?
NEVIN BROWN:
Right, but he was called Jack; everybody called him Jack Woofter.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, well I thought his name was Jack or John.
NEVIN BROWN:
No, he was Thomas Jackson.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, you have better information on me than I have, so I think you must be right [laughter] .
NEVIN BROWN:
But I wondered first of all, since you did work with Odum for a long time, both first as a student and then as a colleague, what were your impressions of Odum as a person to work with? And what were your impressions of

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his work at UNC? Do you feel that he was as effective as he could have been? Do you feel that he gave enough time to UNC, to the UNC programs, to make them successful?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well I do, because he did so much in such short time; he could do things so rapidly. And he kept up with all the people in his department; he would drop in when he'd go to Miss Jocher's office (she was sort of manager of the office, you see) to talk about different things. He'd drop by my office, sometimes just walk in and make a remark about what he was going to do or what he was interested in what I was doing or something, and turn around and walk right on out. Then a lot of times he'd sit down and talk. Sometimes he'd make an appointment to see them in the evenings. I think he kept up with everybody, although he was always busy writing a book or running off to teach—you know, he'd go for a semester or two or three times a year. But he knew what was going on when he was there when he was supposed to. I thought it was remarkable how well he kept up with it. Well, he read so fast, for one thing: he was the fastest reader I've ever seen. I remember taking an Atlantic Monthly that had an article in it that I thought he would be interested in reading, and I took it down there to his office. I had something else to say and I said that, and I said, "Oh, I thought you might like to read this article;" and I opened it, and he took it. And he said, "Oh yes," and he began sort of looking at it and turning the pages. We talked on for, I reckon, three or four minutes (maybe five minutes), and when I started to leave he handed me the magazine. I said, "No, I brought it for you to read." "I read it," he said. I said, "You haven't read it!" He said, "I have;" and, by George, he summarized what was in that article. He sure did. Of course it had hinges, but it was just about like this

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[rustling of papers], and darned if he didn't get the essence of that article like that. He was a very rapid reader.
NEVIN BROWN:
What kind of a guy was he? Did you study specifically with him for graduate work?
HARRIET HERRING:
I had two courses with him.
NEVIN BROWN:
What was he like as a teacher, as an advisor for a student?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, he was superb as an advisor (when you went to discuss anything with him, you see) and as a teacher. Sometimes he sort of wandered. I often wondered what graduate students. . . . Sometimes they got sort of befuddled with him, because he would start something and he would assume they could finish it out, you see. And a lot of them needed to have it spelled out the whole thing. Once in a graduate course all of us were graduate students: Mr. Brown (you know, the one who was head of the School of Social Work) was in that class, and Katherine Jocher and several others. Have you met Miss Jocher?
NEVIN BROWN:
I would like to. So far she hasn't responded to my notes to her, so I'm not really sure if I'm going to have a chance to see her or not. I hope so though.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, she was there when it started.
NEVIN BROWN:
Right; right.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, of course she had to retire before I did, because she was a little older than me, but she could probably tell you an awful lot. Well anyway, this class, we had just gotten kind of lost; he would talk along, and it was sort of rambling. I remember Mr. Brown and Katherine Jocher and one of the others (I've forgotten who it was now), we just said before class one day, "Well now, we don't understand what this is Dr. Odum's

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been talking about. Let's quiz him and see if we can get better explanations." So one of us said something and then the other one pitched in, and the third one pitched in. And when the fourth one did he says, "You all don't know what I've been talking about in the last few days, do you?" He just sat there and gave one of the finest lectures I ever heard on that subject. He just thought we grabbed it out of the air the way he was saying it, you know. No, he could be a superb teacher, but he was slap-dash, you know, and rapid—because he thought fast himself, that was the reason. But he dropped in on everybody every two or three days, and knew what they were doing and would tell them what he was doing.
NEVIN BROWN:
Two things that I've noticed that he talks about a lot are regionalism and public welfare, the two terms that he uses all the time when he writes in his letters and all.
HARRIET HERRING:
Qu'est-ce que c'est que cela?
NEVIN BROWN:
I'm not sure. [Interruption]
NEVIN BROWN:
Well, I was asking about Odum using "regionalism" and "public welfare." What did he mean by those two terms? Or what did you feel he meant by that?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know. Regionalism, he certainly felt that the social and historical background of one region gave something to its way of thinking: that's the only thing that I can say. And the South was more identified with its own ideas because of what it had been through, you see. And as far as the other, well of course, he had been an administrator of public welfare, I don't know whether in Atlanta or not, but I think in Philadelphia.
NEVIN BROWN:
Yes, that's right. He'd done some studies on black school children there. The reason I ask was that he set up the whole school, the School of

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Public Welfare, and always talked about it in some of his letters, and how he wanted governments to include public welfare as one of their goals, one of the things they should do. And I wondered if he talked to people about it, or if he just sort of kept it to himself.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it was so close to the Sociology Department (see, he taught there for quite a while). I guess it finally went over to Mr. Brown and the School of Public Welfare. But I don't know whether the regionalism would have that; I'm sure he always brought that out in his lectures in his regular courses. I can see how he might be puzzling. And I heard at the time, sometimes students would say, "Well, I just don't know what Dr. Odum's saying." Well, I mean, we graduate students, we were grown people and had been grown for years; that time we got sort of puzzled and we just stacked up on him and made him come across.
NEVIN BROWN:
Did you ever work with Jack Woofter very closely?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, very. I went up to Washington to work for him. He was in charge of something or other on—what was it?—some studies that were made of communities: the WPA made a lot of studies. There were three of them on part-time workers, part-time farming and part-time industry. One was in the lumber business; I've forgotten what the three were in now. And he came down there one time on a visit and he said. . . . It had been set up before he went up there on that. And the group that was to do each one of those was supposed to put it together and make it a study of part-time farming in the Southeast, you see, and weave the whole thing together. And each one of them had such a . . . proprietary feeling about theirs that it couldn't be combined with the other ones: it just couldn't be done. And Jack said he wasn't going to have any three little old studies, you know, and so he came down there and

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asked would I put them together. It was getting along toward summertime and I had a regular faculty fee (I didn't have to teach in the summer), so I went up there and talked to some of them. And they turned over all their stuff to me; and I browsed on it awhile and then went back up. And finally I went up to Cornell to see Dr. (what's the name of the man who came from Cornell down to Chapel Hill? I guess he's retired now). . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Olaf Laarson? I don't know.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh gosh; you see, I'm just getting so old I can't remember names. Maybe I'll forget my own sometime! But anyway, Jack asked me, "I think before you finish putting it together you might like to confer with him. He really laid out the study and supervised it, I think: he chose the places and everything." And he said, "Wouldn't it be a good idea to let him kind of look over it and talk with him about it?" And I said yes. He was teaching at Cornell that summer, and he said, "I can have him come down here or I can send you up there." And I said, "Well, I haven't ever been to Cornell; I'll just go up to Cornell." So I went up there and had a conference with him, and we got along fine. And I saw that he knew it had to be put together: there couldn't be leaflets on it. Well, the whole thing was about that thick when it got finished. But it was just silly to have such similar situations—of course some worked in sawmills, and some were part-time farmers and mill workers, and I've forgotten what the third was (there were three main industries)—and it would have looked just too botchy, you know, too sparse each one, too sparse or repetitious. So I worked on it all the rest of the summer, putting it together.
NEVIN BROWN:
Was this in the late thirties or the mid thirties?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
1936?

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HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it was getting toward the latter part of the thirties, I think. It was published, though.
NEVIN BROWN:
Right. I think I've seen it referred to before. Did you know Woofter very well when he taught at UNC and when he was working, like, on the TVA studies and things like that?
HARRIET HERRING:
I knew him both times, because, you see, I went up there and worked in his office there practically a summer on putting that. . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
The TVA study?
HARRIET HERRING:
. . . part-time study together. But I had known him ever since he came to Chapel Hill, and then his wife both; knew him socially, and we had offices right next to each other and everything. [laughter] This sounds ungracious: I was very fond of him, but if he wanted to talk about something he'd come in no matter what you were doing. If you had a fire on he would have to talk about what he wanted, what he was interested in. Then he'd stroll out. If you wanted to see him about something you couldn't corner him to save your life. He wouldn't pay you any attention, or he'd have to go somewhere, you know. He had a good sense of humor and I liked him; he was a very able man. Did you ever know him?
NEVIN BROWN:
I never did, because he passed away in 1972.
HARRIET HERRING:
I knew he had died, but I didn't know just when.
NEVIN BROWN:
Right. So I never did; and I've had a hard time finding people who knew him, to find out just what he was like. For example, how did he and Odum get along? I know Odum in his papers praises Woofter for his ability. Did they get along well as co-workers at UNC?
HARRIET HERRING:
As far as I knew. I don't know anybody in that department that didn't admire Dr. Odum and follow his leadership, and depend on him for guidance

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when they needed it. Have you struck any that did?
NEVIN BROWN:
No, no I haven't either. I was just wondering, because Woofter, again very few people have said much about him and I just wasn't sure.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, he was a very quiet sort of person, except, as I say, when he had something on his mind he could stand and talk to you 'till your biscuits burned! [laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
[laughter] What about Rupert Vance? I mean, you mentioned just before we started this morning how highly you felt of his sense of humor and his abilities. Did he more or less take over from Odum Odum's ideas and Odum's work? I've heard people say that he sort of inherited Odum's sense.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I think they did have right much the same philosophy. They were certainly very congenial; and both of them admired the other immensely, I'm sure of that. But I must confess I haven't read enough of. . . . I've dipped into Rupert's work, but people were writing too many books around there: I couldn't read all of them. I know they didn't read mine! [laughter] No, he just was a very, very bright person. And, of course this is just one of my suppositions that I got from some hint, but he had graduated from some little college down there in Arkansas, I think. . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Henderson Brown, I think it was.
HARRIET HERRING:
. . . and I gathered (now I don't want this quoted anywhere, but you can maybe run upon it) he was having some difficulty getting a chance to do graduate work, especially to get any kind of a teaching fellowship or anything. You saw him.
NEVIN BROWN:
Yes, yes.
HARRIET HERRING:
Of course it was sort of puzzling looking to think about him. And I'm sure that they felt if he would work for a PhD what would they do with

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him when he got his PhD. Anyhow Dr. Odum took him, and of course he just was a brilliant student and a very charming person, and amazingly enough had a great sense of humor. To think anybody as botched up as he was—he had polio when he was two years old, and he didn't have any strength at all. He just swung his legs, you see, from his armpits and hands (his crutches). You didn't see him enough to see his hands?
NEVIN BROWN:
Well no, not really.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I'd known him for several years, dropped by his office and everything, before I finally one time saw the palms of his hands. And there were enormous corns on the palm of each hand where he grasped his crutches, you know, because he had to swing his whole weight right on his hands. I'm sure he probably had corns under his arms too. But he was always so cheerful, and very witty (just as funny as he could be), and a brilliant person. He wrote well, and, not like some of the rest of us, wasn't called off to do all sorts of crazy things as often as the rest of us were.
NEVIN BROWN:
Why do you think that was? Not just because physically he might not have been able to, but do you think maybe Odum wanted him to do more theoretical work, or what?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I think it just was that he couldn't have gone off and done it. Of course he had a car fixed so he could drive it with his hands and didn't have to use his feet. But it was such a struggle to get in and out of the car and everything, I don't reckon it ever occurred to him to send him off to do a field work somewhere, you know. Now, talking about women being in difficulty going around working, a person as badly crippled as he was would have had a very difficult time, don't you think?
NEVIN BROWN:
True, true. Did you ever have any courses with Eugene Branson?

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HARRIET HERRING:
No, I didn't.
NEVIN BROWN:
Not at all?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. He was in his last years when I was there.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
HARRIET HERRING:
He was sort of important, you know. A very charming person (had lovely manners), a good old southern gentleman. But he was very southern and very rural; you see, Hunt Hobbs was his disciple and succeeded him, and taught rural sociology right on 'till he died.
NEVIN BROWN:
Right. Did the rural sociologists and Odum get along? I mean, it seems to me that rural sociology at UNC pretty much kind of went in one direction and Odum went into another.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, you see, Branson went there much before Odum ever did. And they didn't have any courses in sociology as such until Odum went there. What's the man who brought him there?
NEVIN BROWN:
Harry Chase, didn't he?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. He knew him in. . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Clark University, I think.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, I think it was at Clark. They hadn't had any sociology; when he became president, very shortly after that he brought Dr. Odum there. And he was so dynamic while Mr. what's-his-name was getting slowed up. And he was a little sort of pompous too, you see. But he and Hunt Hobbs had big classes in rural sociology. Well one thing, when I first got there the people in his class would work up a county: he might have two or three in his class in Lenoir County, and they'd work up a study of Lenoir County. And most of them were published, you see. And that kind of kept them going and alive. And of course North Carolina was more rural fifty years ago than it is now.

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I think he served quite a purpose. I never felt under any inclination to take a course under him just because he was Dr. Branson.
NEVIN BROWN:
Of course you were working in the industrial side. One thing that both of us are interested in is: what happened at UNC about studying the mills? I mean, Odum had Johnson and Woofter doing studies of blacks; he had Arthur Raper doing studies of farm tenancy and the like: lots of rural and racial kinds of studies. And yet when, I guess, you tried to do studies of the mills then there was lots of opposition from mill owners and all kinds of problems.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. David Clark called me "several women," he encountered my trail so often.
NEVIN BROWN:
[laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I wanted to ask you: as I understand it, even before you came to UNC you tried to persuade Dr. Odum to present a research proposal to the Southern Manufacturers Association and he refused to do that.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, he didn't actually refuse, but he didn't think he was the one to do it, because he was labeled as a sociologist, you see. And what I did was get a man in the Economics Department who taught personnel, and we went down.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who was that?
HARRIET HERRING:
I can't remember his name. He left the university a few years after that.
NEVIN BROWN:
Was it Holland Thompson?
HARRIET HERRING:
No no, Holland Thompson never was there; he taught there in summer school once or twice, and a son of his taught there. Got his degree there, I think, his doctorate degree.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it Harry Cassidy?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well anyway, he was over in Economics and he taught personnel. If Dr. Odum said absolutely to me that he wouldn't want to be the one to ask about it, he said it so gently that he must have said, "Get somebody in economics that was doing personnel," because I didn't even realize I'd been rebuffed. At that time labor turnover was really a problem in mills: they just came and went, you know. I knew of a study, a cooperative between a university (I've forgotten what school it was now; some friends of mine were there) and the mills. The mills would report to them the people employed and the people that had left and everything (the total turnover), and then they would compare theirs with each other, you know. So this man and I (maybe his name will come to me when I keep saying things around him), we talked it over and decided that we would suggest a similar thing in the Institute, if we could get a dozen (we didn't want all the mills, but just some representative ones) mills to cooperate on that. Of course it would be an awful nuisance to them to report to us both of those all the time, but we could set it up so that it would be very simple for them to. He and I went down, and I talked to Mr. Clark at Spray, who had been my boss and seemed to like me all right and didn't think that I had turned rabid or something or other just because I'd gone to a university. Well Luther Hodges, you see, was a product of the university too, and by that time he was counting on him quite heavily as his assistant. So I talked to him about it, and suggested that at the meeting that we were going down there and tell the Association, the North Carolina Textile Association about it and see if we could get some volunteers to cooperate with us on it. And he agreed that he would. Of course this professor and I weren't allowed to go to the meeting at all; we asked if we could. I knew the president,

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the current president, and talked to him. But he thought it wouldn't be a good thing; it would be better for me to tell him about it and let him present it. And Mr. Clark did speak up in the meeting and said that he knew what kind of work I did, and he felt sure that this professor and I together could work it out and it might be useful to them. But Dave Clark just put the [unknown] on that, you know. He just was the lord of the textile industry along then through his magazine, so they refused to cooperate. And that's when I changed in study. I was going to study labor turnover and so on, you know (try to get at the basic reasons of why so they could do something about that) when I went to the welfare study, and I went on that. Not long after that he finished his. . . . The magazine came out every week then. In the first place he was mad with Frank Graham: thought he was a radical and they were about to make him president; and they did make him president, and he thought the university had gone to the pigs.
NEVIN BROWN:
Why was he so upset with Frank Graham?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, he was too liberal. What's the next word after liberal?
NEVIN BROWN:
Radical?
HARRIET HERRING:
Radical. He was radical; yes, they applied that word to him. He did make acknowledgement in an editorial after that meeting at Charlotte that the university, some of the people at the university had suggested making a study, but we think we don't want anything mixed up with anything as radical as the university, you see. So he warned the faithful against giving any information at all. Then when I started going around getting information I changed subject on him, you know. I think that sort of puzzled him; he didn't say anything for a while. But finally he had an editorial saying that there was a woman from the university going around getting information, and he sort

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of thought it would be a good idea if they didn't give her information. I kept on going. And it happened that year he was touring the mills and writing up some of the outstanding ones and some of the oldest ones, and they had a feature each week on some mill. And he kept running into my tracks, you know. So he had another editorial saying that the university had several women out trying to get information from the mills and he thoroughly advised them to have nothing to do with me. [laughter] Then that got into the papers, and I had to go home and lock the door so I wouldn't be interviewed by newspersons. Anything that was put in would just itch him worse, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did your friend and old boss Mr. Clark ever bring up your proposal at the meeting?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know who presented it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
It was presented though?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, it was presented, and Mr. Clark told me that he (my Mr. Clark, not Textile Bulletin's Mr. Clark). . . . My Mr. Clark was a New Englander that came down here for Marshall Field. His father was on the Supreme Court in North Carolina, and was considered one of the most liberal judges of his time on the Supreme Court. Wasn't that funny?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes. When your Mr. Clark from Spray presented the proposal, did he say anything about the way the manufacturers themselves reacted to it?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well no, I never got any real detailed report on that. I just got a report that they thanked us for the suggestion, but thought it wasn't practical to try to do it. It was very polite and very nice, and very cool.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you think about David Clark? How did you react to him?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I never saw him very many times. I read his magazine every week; at least I read his editorials, and that was enough for me.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
People seemed to have taken him seriously.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, the mill men did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why do you think they did?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, because he was a very forceful writer on things concerning the mills, looking out for their interests: that's why. He didn't want them pestered. No, he was all right [laughter] .
NEVIN BROWN:
I know one time Paul Blanchard tried to get some kind of a study going. There was a meeting in Greensboro and other things where he invited Odum to work with him on some kind of study of the mills. This is later on, I think, in '37 or '38.
HARRIET HERRING:
Paul Blanchard, of course, rings a bell all right, but I can't hook it up with anything connected with us. Maybe he did with Dr. Odum, but I can't remember Dr. Odum saying anything. I might have, but I've forgotten it. It didn't make enough impression to last this long.
NEVIN BROWN:
OK, fine, fine. Because there was just a mention in the correspondence at one point about this. Blanchard was from, I guess, outside of North Carolina and was going to try to do something, and Odum didn't like it very much.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, Dr. Odum probably realized that his name would be enough to queer a thing, you see.
NEVIN BROWN:
Odum's name would be?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, no, Blanchard's. Well, pretty soon Dr. Odum's would have gotten to be if he'd done that, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was Dr. Odum's relationship with Frank Graham at this time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, all right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I mean, David Clark seemed to have been onto Frank Graham, as far

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as calling him a radical and labeling him a radical.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, he was already on him before he ever got on Dr. Odum and me—and "several women" [laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I just wondered: did Dr. Odum and Frank Graham see pretty much eye to eye as far as what should be done in the textile industry, or feelings about manufacturers or how to deal with them?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know. I hate to say what Dr. Odum felt about it. I would think, knowing him as well as I did, that he would say that Frank's flat-out speeches irritated them so that it didn't do much good, you know. One thing: there was a strike up there in the hosiery mills in High Point, and Frank had been making speeches around that labor should be allowed to unionize if they wanted to. Well, that was a bad sentence; that was bad language right there, you see. Then when this strike happened they climbed the fence (some of them climbed the fence) of the mill (it was a hosiery mill in High Point)—gosh, when have I ever thought of all this mess? Anyhow, they got in there and got in the mill and began talking to the people, you see, about that they were organizers. They hadn't been able to get too much response getting them in their homes or in the streets or the drugstore or somewhere. And I think that my recollection is that they had the police and got them out and so on, and arrested the ones who climbed the fence. Frank was down at. . . . He knew this organizer. He was a North Carolinian, he wasn't a "foreigner"—if you could just say he was from up North or somewhere else, you know, you would damn him right away. So Frank was down at the beach, and all he knew about it was what he saw in the paper. He sent up a telegram to this fellow that had been put in jail for climbing the fence and taking two or three of them in with him, and he said, "I'm sure you've done nothing wrong."

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And there was a few other remarks in the telegram, but I remember that one, because that was the key one that made them all so mad. It isn't right to break in somebody's property and climb their fences and invade your property, you know (invade your mill). So Dave Clark (and, as far as that's concerned, some of the other papers) didn't think that was a very wise thing. And it wasn't a wise thing to put it that way. So he was still worse off. About that time Dave Clark was writing the most vicious editorials about him, when they were considering him to be president. So he thought he'd get in his knocks right then; it was a good time. And he said some pretty rough things about him. The Institute took the Textile Bulletin for me. And Frank would come by every once in a while, and I showed him [laughter] his name in the paper. He counted on seeing what they were talking about him. The only time I ever saw him mad in my life he turned perfectly pale right to the lips, he was so mad. If he'd been a good cussing man I'd have had a good lesson right there. He was just as mad as he could be, and he wrote a letter to him. It was dignified: it was against his stand, and he didn't think his saying it was wrong or anything. And then at the end he wound up, "With best wishes to you and Mrs. Mary" (or whatever his wife's name was, you know). And so that was the end of that.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was your own opinion of Frank Graham's outspoken nature?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I just think that he honestly felt that way about it, and he was just going to. . . . One of his first speeches on the labor situation—they were just beginning to have some efforts at organization. . . . The first one was a mill up at Mocksville—not Mocksville; what's the other town up there?
NEVIN BROWN:
Statesville.

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HARRIET HERRING:
No, along the Virginia border.
NEVIN BROWN:
Reidsville?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Danville?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, not that far; it's in North Carolina. Anyhow, it wasn't Oxford, but it was somewhere along that area.
NEVIN BROWN:
Henderson, Yanceyville.
HARRIET HERRING:
It may have been Henderson.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Henderson in 1927, I think.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well anyway, a union tried to get formed there, and of course it was a little early for it and it didn't get very far. And the mill just squashed it, you know. And I went up there and talked to managers, and I spotted one or two workers and talked to them on the street (picked them up and talked to them a little about it). And I wrote a little article, and it was in the Survey.
NEVIN BROWN:
Oh yes, yes.
HARRIET HERRING:
That helped to make them mad with me, you see; my name on it didn't help any when David Clark saw that I was suggesting this study. (That name, I thought when I approached it unsuspecting it was going to come out, but I'd forgotten what it was: that professor in economics, in personnel work, that I worked with.) I sat on my doorstep and was able to go around to the back of the house for several days, as long as the reporters stayed inside. [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] I wanted to ask you how important all these incidents with David Clark and the Textile Bulletin were in formulating the Institute's future as far as research in industrial relations and working conditions and labor problems was concerned.

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HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it didn't do any good because, you see, they really weren't organized firmly enough.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The Institute, you mean?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I mean the workers couldn't be organized firmly enough. Now those in this other town up there that I keep calling Morgantown, but it isn't Morgantown. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Marion?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, that's not it; it's something in that area, though. It was sort of a bad strike, and I think somebody was shot. I don't think he was killed (somebody was killed in Gastonia) but there was some shooting and hard feeling. If you want to look up the articles (if you can get the dates of them), I have millions of clippings from newspapers on file. Do you know anything about them?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes. A lot of people have used those.
HARRIET HERRING:
Have they?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. Did you just collect those during this whole period?
HARRIET HERRING:
For quite a long time. I had a tenured little man that had to be given work by whatever was giving unemployed people work. He was a graduate of the university, and wore his Phi Beta Kappa key here so nice and [unknown]. And when he'd come to see me about something he'd just tremble, you know. Anybody that'd be scared of me, they really are timid, aren't they? [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
He cut out all those clippings?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I had begun already to do a lot of it, and then I had him. When I got him full-time (well, the full-time that he was allowed to work each week; he was just allowed to work a certain number of days a week)

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he clipped paper for two or three years (several years). And he's the one that filed them in those things that they're in now. And I'm sure there are a lot of editorials from all over the state and South Carolina, any papers. I'd go over to the library once in a while and go through the papers that they had laid aside and were going to turn in for pulp or burn up or something or other. I shouldn't take the time to tell this, but the room that they put them in in the old library (which is now a music building, you know) was very handy to get to, only a semi-basement thing. But in the new library, the first time I went over there to check on them (I went about every few months, you know, so they wouldn't throw them away) he said they were down in the basement. And I said, "Will you tell me how. . . ." "I'll have to take you," he said. Got down on the ground floor (the real ground floor); it turned out you had to go through the "Men's only" to get to there. It was a space under those front steps (steep, you know). And the door to that was into the men's room. He said, "I'll go in and see if there's anybody in there and convey you in." And I said, "Well, it won't take me but about an hour to go through that batch, I'm sure"—because I just went through the editorial page. "You come back for me, will you?" It was in the afternoon, and he said, "Yes, sure, I'll come back there for you." Well, I got through and I waited and I waited. And I'd hear people come in and go out, and come in and go out. And then the traffic got less frequent, and it was getting to be way after five o'clock. And I thought, "Well surely these students have gone to eat supper or something." And finally I got up my courage to sneak out, and got out into the hall without being seen [laughter] . Next morning I went over to the library, and when my head appeared on the steps, you know, before he could see all of me (he was behind the desk there) he began to laugh. But I had gotten my paper

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[laughter] , and this man filed them. But they're there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No, they're used very frequently.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I'm glad somebody's using them. A man from Louisiana came here and used them one time. He was writing on something about the attitude toward them. And he came over, and he was astonished that there were so many papers that had had editorials favoring unionism and the right of the union. He said that he hadn't found that anywhere else, that it just sounded as though the [unknown] and the workers weren't interested. But he saw that certainly the papers were saying they had the right to organize, and why don't they do it.
NEVIN BROWN:
Was there any other effort after you tried to do mill studies for the Institute, was there any effort made to do studies like that (like in the thirties)? Did anybody else try to follow up what you were doing?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I don't think so. Well then, you see, in the forties I did that study on the sale of them. And then just about the time I retired two students, two graduate students, came in, and they were talking about making another study of what the state of them was now. I said, "Well, it ought to be done, to see whether they have become part of the town or not." I said, "Now, it's been plenty of time, because most of the sales started just before the war started." And then they stopped, but right after the war they were very fast. And that's when I made my study, in the middle of the last half of the forties. And I said, "It's quite time to see if they are still just a neighborhood and are not part of the town." But I never did get anybody started on it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering if at the time you were doing your early work, you felt that the research you really wanted to do (for instance labor turnover

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or investigations into working conditions), if what you really would have gone into was hampered because of the relationship between the manufacturers and the university.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, of course I was disappointed at the time, but there would have been an awful lot of pure routine, you know, doing it. If you had had, say, twenty mills that sent in their turnover (all that left and all that didn't and everything, you know), over a period of years it would have been a very tiresome job. It would have been revealing, and I think would have. . . . I know right there at Spray when I began sending them around to the superintendents (I sent around a report every, I don't know, two or three months or something; of course I turned it in to Mr. Clark all the time, what the turnover in the different mills was, and even sometimes broke it down by departments), the superintendents were very interested in that. And I think maybe it might have done some good, to sort of urge them to. . . . You see, the foremen or the superintendents did the hiring, and they should have sorted them a little better. But we didn't ever get anywhere with it, and of course it would have been a big routine work. I'd have had to have somebody who did nothing but that with that many mills; every day there'd be some.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Didn't you at one time propose to do some work with J.J. Rhyne?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. He had about finished his study.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You never thought of doing work together on the lives of mill workers or anything like that?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, no. He was interested sort of on the side, because he grew up in a mill town. He was working on his doctor's dissertation, and had a good deal of his material when I got there.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
I see. What did you think about his book when it came out?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, to tell you the honest truth I never read it, because I had talked to him so much about it I felt I already knew it. [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you feel he was doing good solid work though?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I thought it was solid enough, but he was not a very brilliant . . . didn't make his case when talking to you. I just don't remember much about it; didn't sound like a very exciting thing to me. And [laughter] I shouldn't say this: he always had to go back down there to see two or three more people, you know. I think that got a little sort of edgy with some of the . . . that he was making an awful lot of trips trying to go down and stay a little longer [laughter] , you know. So I must confess I'm ashamed that I didn't, but I knew about what was in it—I don't know it now—because I talked to him. My desk was in the Institute as long as we were . . . . We were over in one of the buildings: not Saunders, the other one that looked like Saunders.
NEVIN BROWN:
Manning Hall?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, Manning used to be the law one. This place is west.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Murphy? That's the one that faces Saunders.
HARRIET HERRING:
No, Saunders is the one. No, we had a big room there the first year I was there, and a lot of desks. The Johnsons were here and I was here, and Rhyne was here in the corner. And we talked about it all the time, both of us mill hands, you see. So I felt I knew enough about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered what the response was to your own book, Welfare Work in Mill Villages, when it came out? How did people within the university respond to it?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't think many people in the university bothered

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about it, to tell the truth [laughter] . Everybody in the place was writing a book, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Writing their own. What about the manufacturers in the state? What about your friend Mr. Clark? Did he ever respond to it at all?
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't think he ever said anything about it; I can't remember that he did. I believe I would have remembered it if he had.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about other manufacturers?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, one or two that had been particularly helpful I had them send copies, and they wrote me nice letters about it. I think Mr. Cone, Bernard Cone, didn't think much of it. I ran into him afterwards, and I didn't make the mill village good enough, you see, to suit him. That's the only one I remember that ever spoke to me about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about organized labor? Did anyone in organized labor respond to it?
HARRIET HERRING:
I can't remember that any did. And I didn't see any because, you see, after that flurry of organization in the thirties, when the killing at whatever this other town is that I can't remember and the man dying in the jury box when this spectre came in, it died down for quite a while. Then when it came back it was on a little more solid ground. As far as that's concerned, Marshall Field mills (they still belonged to Marshall Field then), they opposed the union as hard as they could. As a matter of fact they had some sort of a hearing up there. I like a nut was always going wherever anything was happening about the mills, you know, and I pulled up there as hard as I could. I can't remember his name, one of the main people from the Labor Department was there and was going to testify. And they put him on the stand,

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and it took him all morning to tell all the different things he'd done. And then they began asking him about unionization, you see: they were trying again to unionize, and getting some opposition. He began telling about that.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
. . . '29, did you anticipate any reaction like that from the workers, from your work?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I was surprised, I really was. Well, you see, the first one was that one in that town up there. Maybe it was Henderson; I believe it was Henderson, that one that I wrote up in Survey. And that was isolated for a long time. And then they began down around Gastonia and up at this town west of Gastonia.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why did you go to Gastonia? What were you looking for? Were you just interested in observing, or were you really hoping that the workers would be able to form permanent unions?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I was hoping if they knew enough about it and were going to make a try that they knew what they were doing, because they were going to have a hard time. And they'd have to stand up and be counted.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you think they did know what they were doing at the time?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I think they realized that they needed some help on their side, because their wages weren't. . . . Of course it was during the Depression; I guess wages had gone down. See, I wasn't in the mills then, and I didn't know what had happened exactly to wages. But I'm sure they must have gone down in the early thirties, and they hadn't been any too high to begin with, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What were you hoping would be the outcome of the strike?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I just hoped nobody'd get killed: that was the main thing.

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Nobody was disciplined enough, you see. The police weren't disciplined enough; they weren't used to dealing with union members that were marching and yelling and waving flags. And the workers weren't used to that kind of thing; we hadn't had any. See, the organized work here (railroads and that sort of thing) they weren't public; they didn't see how you behaved on them. So I felt sure that there'd be hard feelings and probably some shooting, because Southerners are right good with guns, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Did you think any of the manufacturers, the managers, overreacted?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well yes, I think some of them did. When you come right down to it, I think the Marshall Field ones did. To get to the place that they had to have a hearing shows that they were doing everything they could to it. Once they gave over to it. . . . I went up there a year or two after; everything was peaceful and they said they were glad they had it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Had the union?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Said they didn't have to discipline them anymore: if people were absent too much they'd just tell the union they had to get their folks in [laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I know that in a lot of your writings you spoke of, for instance, the positive side of workers owning their own houses. Did you sort of view unionization in the same sort of way, sort of the positive side of self-government?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I felt that they were so helpless in a not-too-skilled industry and naturally not a high wage industry that they had to have some protection besides just good will, because every mill management didn't have good will, you see. I had one young man that made me so mad I didn't know

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what to do. It was a small mill. I tried to get a lot of little mills as well, because everybody knew that the big mills carried on all these things, so I stopped to a lot of little ones. I went to this one, and I don't think he had more than a hundred and fifty workers; it was a small mill down a little bit to the east of the main part of the industry. And he was very affable when I said that I would like to ask about some of their working community and so on, and the housing and everything. He sat down and he answered every question I asked. Then he said, "Is that all?" I said, "Yes, I believe it is. Can you think of anything else I should ask, that I haven't covered, that I wouldn't know about?" No, he thought not, he said. "Now just give me those papers." You see, what I usually did was not start to write until they gave a figure or something. And I'd say, "Well now, I've got to put that down; do you mind if I write this down?" And after that I could keep on making enough of a note so that by the time I'd get back to the office I could remember to fill it in. And I said, "What?" And he said, "I just wanted you to know that I didn't mind giving you the information, but I didn't want to include it in the study." I said, "Why didn't you say so to begin with? You'd have saved my time and yours too." I was so mad with him I didn't know what to do, because it had taken quite a little while and it was boring—it was just like any other little one, you know. I said, "I had a lot of little ones just like yours."
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Didn't need you anyway.
HARRIET HERRING:
And I said, "Besides, I've done so much of this I could sit down, I could go out there and sit in my car and write down everything we said." Well, he looked a little abashed, but he took the papers.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you have any relationship with people who were involved in

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organizing?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I never did know any that . . . well, I knew some that were sort of professional organizers, but more the people—what were the people that had some meetings up in the mountains on trying to educate the workers to it? Can't think of those people's names.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The Southern Summer School for Women Workers?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. They were trying to; I mean, that was a missionary work with them, you see. And I knew them very well. Some of them came by to see me right often, and I kept in touch with them. Went to one of their meetings; took Luther Hodges to one of them, as a matter of fact.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] Could you tell me about that? Do you remember about that?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, don't put this in it [laughter] .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] All right.
HARRIET HERRING:
No, he and I had gone up there. The textile industry always had a summer meeting up there at Blue Ridge.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
The textile industry?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. A lot of people would come and speak, and it was a general revival kind of a thing, you know. At the same time—what was that woman's name? She was a good friend of mine.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who was with the Southern Summer School?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Louise McLaren? Was that the one?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Do you remember another name?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Louise Leonard McLaren?
HARRIET HERRING:
I remember one was named Louise; her first name was Louise.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
Lois MacDonald?
HARRIET HERRING:
Lois MacDonald; she came by Chapel Hill to see me very often, and I went up there. Now that's the one I took Luther to. They were having a spree of meetings at the same time this was down at Blue Ridge. So we went up there. He said, "We'll have to go in your car." He had gone up and taken several foremen or managers or something in the big company car this long, you know. I said, "All right, we'll go in my Ford." We went up there, and I introduced him—just introduced him by his name; I didn't say where he was from. I said that I was over at the meeting at Blue Ridge, and she knew about that, so she probably assumed that it was somebody in the mill. And we listened to the speeches and talked to her, and talked to two or three of the people. And then we came home; and the only time I ever hollered in a car in my life was coming back. They closed the gates there at 9:30 or 10:30 or something or other at Blue Ridge (you know, that thing that all sorts of organizations go to). And we knew we had to get back (we hadn't warned them that we weren't coming), so he was making time. And the curve didn't ever stop, you know; it just kept right on being curved. The only time I ever hollered in a car I said, "Luther!" And just then a road appeared right there off from this circle, and he rode down the road. [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did he think about going to the. . . ?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, he didn't want to be identified. I introduced him and told her who he was. I introduced him by his name, but I didn't say he's with Marshall Field mills.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did he think about what they were doing, though?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I think he thought they were probably getting up false hopes. I don't know, I shouldn't say what he thought. I know he wasn't too

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enthusiastic about their methods, because they were so weak, you see, then. And this sort of missionary spirit just wasn't sufficient.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What basically were they trying to do?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, organization, and organization meant strength, you see. That's all I know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But, I mean, were they working closely with the unions?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, they had the backing of the unions. They usually had some union organizers that went along behind them or ahead of them or something. I know they had organizers, because they were prepared to organize any group that wanted to try it, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Their title was "for Women Workers." Were they working primarily with girls at textile mills?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, wasn't it under the YWCA somewhat?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I think most of the instructors. . . .
HARRIET HERRING:
I think it was. I think that's the reason it was women, it specified women.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you think about both of those women: Louise McLaren and Lois MacDonald?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well I liked Lois very well; I saw a good deal of her. The other one, I just knew her but I didn't know her as well. I thought she just had missionary spirit, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Lois did, Lois MacDonald?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes. Did you ever know her?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes, I met her one time.
HARRIET HERRING:
She's like me; she's getting kind of old too, isn't she?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes. [laughter] What did you think about her book that came out,

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Southern Mill Hills? It came out the same year as yours, I believe.
HARRIET HERRING:
I read it. But, I mean, there were so many things (articles and things) coming out then, including mine, I couldn't keep up; I can't keep them differentiated.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you think of her as an academic colleague, that she was in basically the same kind of study that you were, doing the same kind of academic work?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I thought she was doing missionary work; her whole spirit was missionary. I wasn't missionary-ing!
MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter] What did you think about . . . that kind of work, about workers' education or that kind of an approach? Did you think there was any hope in it?
HARRIET HERRING:
Not from outsiders coming in to try to do it on almost a semireligious thing, you see, because the owners just had the upper hand so completely without having to express it. He had the job; and if you'd get a bad name as agitator you couldn't get a job somewhere else. So I thought that they probably got people in unhappy situations unnecessarily.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever talk to Lois MacDonald about her work? Did she ever ask you anything?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, we never went into it in great detail, because we just would refer to it. She'd tell me where she'd been and where she'd been having meetings. No, I can't remember. I know she had right much missionary spirit about it. But I wasn't missionary-ing, and so I was just getting information from her to try to see what the situation was.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were you ever tempted to do that kind of work yourself?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I never have been a missionary. [laughter]

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
[laughter]
NEVIN BROWN:
[laughter] I had a few questions sort of, I guess, getting back to UNC, because there were a couple of things I wanted to know about that, when you were there. When you were talking about David Clark and all the attacks on the university and all the attacks on Odum and Graham and yourself, do you feel that North Carolina in general didn't like the university? What was the relationship there?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, there's always been some people in North Carolina that criticize the university, just like there are more that think it's holy land, you know.
NEVIN BROWN:
Which side do you think most people in the state were on? I mean, ministers attacked Odum at one time about the evolution issue, and Clark attacked Odum. Did North Carolina not like the university in the twenties, and did they like it better later on? Or was it always kind of a negative. . .?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I think it's always been under criticism, all its whole time. Before the Civil War it was criticized. And I think it's perfectly natural for it to be; I think it's unnatural for it to be just so praised all the time and no criticism.
NEVIN BROWN:
Did that bother Odum?
HARRIET HERRING:
No.
NEVIN BROWN:
It didn't bother him?
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't know that it did. I guess he just took it as part of the day's work. They never did get on him nearly as hard as they did Frank Graham anyhow. Have you seen any indication that it was comparable?
NEVIN BROWN:
No, except for the fact that in Odum's letters oftentimes he refers to it in some degree of frustration, because I think he wanted UNC to be much

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closer to the people of North Carolina. And I just wondered if he gave you any sense for that, if he would talk about that?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, some of these times when my door would be open he'd come in; he'd say "Clark's on me again" and go out, you know. That would be about the end of it. I don't think it really worried him; it may have. He looked tough, but he was a very sensitive person.
NEVIN BROWN:
I had another question too, I guess going on later into the thirties and even the forties. And that is: Odum's whole desire to plan things (in other words you had the North Carolina Planning Board, you had his efforts to start the Southern Regional Council and things like this), how closely were you in touch with his efforts to do that?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, only just little snatches, you see. I wouldn't know the whole program particularly, unless it was something like an organization that did develop and so on. I might know something about that as it began operating. He didn't discuss them in great detail with us.
NEVIN BROWN:
Were you involved, for example, with the North Carolina Planning Board?
HARRIET HERRING:
No.
NEVIN BROWN:
Not at all?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, now I worked for a while for—what was that man's name that was the ambassador to Columbia in South America? That might have been planning. That's the one that I did that study of industries in.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I don't know the man's name, but in 1944 you did a pamphlet for them that had a lot of pictures.
HARRIET HERRING:
Percentages of things, and there was black and red and so on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Right. But there was also a pamphlet with photographs talking

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about resources in the state.
HARRIET HERRING:
For manufacturers, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
For manufacturers.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well that's the one. I really can't even recall the name of the man; I know he was ambassador to Columbia. He was the editor of a paper in High Point for years, and I'd known him for years. His organization was very eager to get new industries started. He got me all steamed up about it, and I did that little do-dad on what we had raw materials for, you see. We had a very good man who would make those charts, you know (circled percentages and so on). When he was making them he didn't have any black stuff, and so he had red and he put red there, because he knew that it would photograph black. He brought it in to me and he said that these circles that he was doing percentages on, the Institute didn't happen to have any and that would hold him up, and he'd just use red and it would photograph black. I told (the name nearly came then, and I can't say it) when I took it over to him to be printed. I told him that; I said, "Now this red will turn black; that's the most intense, that's the highest percentage." The figure was there beside it to say 57 percent, and 32 down here would be gray and so on, you know. I thought he understood that. And I went over to see the proof of it, and by george, they'd done it in color. The silliest thing that ever was in the world, all those little red. . . . Of course it was always the top one, but it looked sort of silly to have them. . . . They should have been red, solid red, and diced-up red and striped red and pale red, you see [laughter] . One of the frustrations.
NEVIN BROWN:
What about things like: did you ever try to join or get interested in the Southern Conference for Human Welfare or Southern Regional Council at

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all, yourself?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I'm not much of a joiner. I had some relations. . . . I've kind of forgotten all about that now; I don't know when I've ever thought of that organization. Tell me a little more about it to remind me.
NEVIN BROWN:
The Southern Conference?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes.
NEVIN BROWN:
Well, the Southern Conference started in 1938 under Frank Graham and Virginia Durr of Alabama and a number of people. It did not include Odum. Odum did not get involved; Will Alexander did not get involved. And I'm not really sure why. I don't know whether you remember anything about Odum talking about the organization, or anybody else at UNC. They met at Birmingham in 1938, I believe—wasn't that right?
HARRIET HERRING:
What were they trying to do?
NEVIN BROWN:
Well, it was basically an interracial organization trying to carry on the Commission on Interracial Cooperation much further in terms of obtaining integration.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, if it was interracial I wouldn't have bothered with that anyhow. He wouldn't have told me about that particularly, because I didn't work in that field at all. All I knew was just that I grew up with blacks and all sorts of [unknown]; but I hadn't ever studied any of their problems, so I wouldn't have been brought into that. I just couldn't register; I didn't register a thing about it. I'm sure I must have known about it at the time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Why do you think you never got interested in interracial work or interracial studies?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well because I got interested in industry, and that was interesting

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enough to me.
NEVIN BROWN:
[laughter] Did you ever find any students, let's say in the nineteen forties or fifties at UNC, that wanted to do studies of industry in North Carolina? You mentioned these two that thought they might want to do a study of one of the mill villages that incorporated into the cities. Were there a lot of people that wanted to do that kind of thing later on (let's say after the war)?
HARRIET HERRING:
That's the only time. . . . No, that wasn't just after the war. You see, the big mass of the selling came after the war, and so by the early fifties I reckon nine-tenths of the plants had sold their houses. You could hardly find one that they were still around. Calloways still ran theirs for quite a while before they sold them, but they finally sold them. They had a whole bunch of mills down toward Columbus, Georgia, you know. But the game was over then. And the trouble was that so many of them were enough isolated that they weren't big enough for a town for themselves; and they weren't quite close enough for the town to grab out and get them, because the mill would try to keep itself (the mill itself) from being included, you know, to avoid town taxes. I was afraid at the time. . . . That's when those two boys (I can't remember who they were now), I know two of them came in and talked to me about it. It was in the early sixties, because it was not long before I retired. And I said, "I wish you would do it, because it's time now to see if. . . ." Because that was one thing that I asked, tried to find out in every place when I went in the forties (late forties) after so many sales: "Now what's going to happen to you? Are you just going to be a little blob of people sitting out there in the country on the edge of town, or is it going to be. . . ?" A good many of them had been taken into town. Some had been taken in before, indidentally,

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and a lot of them were taken in about the time. . . . But I didn't know whether it had gone on or not, because that kind of thing was routine and didn't get in the papers. And Clark's magazine wouldn't have told anything like that. So I was hoping they would, but they never came back and said any more. I urged them very strongly to try to do it, because I thought it was a good thing to see the end, to see what the end was, because I was sure such a large number of them had become part of the town that it would be right impressive to see that. But I never did get that made, and I wasn't willing to get out and hit the road again.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
There was another woman at UNC at the Institute for a while, Margery Potland.
HARRIET HERRING:
No, she never was in the Institute.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you know anything about her work? Was she connected with the university?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, I don't think she was ever connected with the university. Wasn't she associated with Lois MacDonald and those?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No. I thought she had been at. . . .
HARRIET HERRING:
What's the name of some of her studies?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
People of the Piedmont was a book that she did.
HARRIET HERRING:
That sort of vaguely rings a bell, but I don't know much about it.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I thought she had been at the Institute for a while.
HARRIET HERRING:
No, she never was with the university.
NEVIN BROWN:
Did you ever have much connection with Margaret Hagood?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh yes, she was in the Institute with me, but we didn't work in the same field. She was a statistics specialist and went to Washington and

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worked in statistics.
NEVIN BROWN:
Because she wrote a book called Mothers of the South; it seems to me that didn't she have at least some mill people in that?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They were tenant farmers' wives.
NEVIN BROWN:
Were they tenant farmers?
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't even remember it.
NEVIN BROWN:
OK. She's another person that has been a little bit hard to locate information about. I don't know: is she still living, or not?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, she died. Her daughter married and went to Israel; married a Jewish person and went to Israel as a young woman. Her mother went over to see her after she was in Israel; but I've lost track of her entirely now. She died not too awfully long after that daughter married and settled in Israel. I saw her once in Washington when I was up there. She was working (I've forgotten what department).
NEVIN BROWN:
She was working for, I believe, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Arthur Raper worked with her for a while on some studies.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well I lost track of what Arthur Raper was doing.
NEVIN BROWN:
Did you know him very much in the Institute?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I only knew him as one of the graduate students that was getting his PhD degree. And I was a little surprised at your having his name in the letter and then in that list and all. What's he been doing all this time that I didn't know anything about all these things?
NEVIN BROWN:
Well, of course he worked for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in Atlanta for a long time.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, that's right, he was interracial.
NEVIN BROWN:
And then eventually he went to work on the Carnegie study, the

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Myrdall study on race relations, and then, well for a long time, for the federal government. Eventually he went overseas to Iran and Taiwan and places like that doing agricultural redevelopment work. And now he's retired in Washington.
HARRIET HERRING:
Now that you mention that agricultural redevelopment, I have a vague recollection of hearing something about that. But I knew him as just one more of the graduate students that were around; you know, there were always a crop of them. And I knew him pretty well, but I didn't know what he had turned into doing.
NEVIN BROWN:
One other person that I think both of us are interested in is especially Guion Johnson. She, of course, was married to Guy Johnson. They were both fellows at the Institute. And then in the nineteen thirties I guess she was, during the Depression, was she fired? I'm not really sure exactly the situation with her, whether she was fired or whether she quit from the university.
HARRIET HERRING:
I think she quit. She had a couple of children close along there. Then she got interested in various women's organizations and activities and didn't do research anymore.
NEVIN BROWN:
How well did you know her during your time at Chapel Hill?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh very well indeed. They had the office together. Well, I told you, you know, back over there the first year I was there here was Rhyne and here was me, and here was Guy and here was Guion across the back end of that room we were in. Then when we went to the university we were in adjoining rooms; they were together in one and I was in the next one. And I was dropping in or they were dropping in. Guy and I had more common interests and saw each other more often in the office at least, because we had things

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to talk about. But she was supposed to be in history, you see. While I'd studied a lot of history I wasn't working in history, and so I didn't have very much. . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
She left sociology and went to the history department, didn't she?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, she taught in the university during the war. They got so short, you see, that even though she was the wife of a professor in sociology (which was not looked upon very well, you see: they don't employ a wife and husband at the University of North Carolina very much). . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering about that. Did you have any feeling that married women were treated differently from single women?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well wives certainly were. Now, for instance, in the English department a friend of mine who was the most brilliant of her generation in her final examination and her work and all, she got a PhD in English and couldn't get a job at the university because her husband worked in the French department and was a full professor in the French department. And she didn't get a whack at the game until the shortage during the war. And then they brought her in and she taught for a while. Then she taught some over at the Negro college, in what is now University of North Carolina-D (Durham).
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you think about that policy? Did you think it was fair?
HARRIET HERRING:
Now they apparently abandoned it in the Nursing School, the School of Public Health and. . . . But there were three over there in the health stuff that had them. But it was very unusual for a husband and wife both to be teaching in the university, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you ever get the impression that it was hard on your friend in the English department, or hard on Guion Johnson to have that rule operating on them?

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HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I suppose it was. But they knew it when they took their degrees and planned to stay there, that it had been a long-established policy. So they knew what they were getting into. And I don't know that they do go by that as much now as they did, because enough breaking over over in the whole health thing, you see, would bring it around some; I'm sure it does.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wanted to ask you about one other group that I think you were involved with, the North Carolina Conference for Social Work.
HARRIET HERRING:
Social Service.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Social Service, sorry.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well I was secretary of it for two or three years. [Interruption] Well, I was selected as secretary of it because they had to have a secretary that had some clerical help, you know. And the first year I was secretary I couldn't get any word out of the president. It looked to me as though they'd always had the meeting I've forgotten when, but sometime in the early spring. And not a word in the world, you know.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who was president of it?
HARRIET HERRING:
I can't remember his name. I didn't like him nohow; you just couldn't get anything out of him. And I knew that they were thinking I was terrible, you know.
NEVIN BROWN:
Was this in the nineteen twenties or the nineteen thirties?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, it must have been in the late twenties. So finally, though, he buckled up and called. . . .
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]
HARRIET HERRING:
. . . could stay on during Frank Graham's. . . . Frank Graham was president two years, and I stayed on with him. And lord, he had meetings all over. He set up committees and had meetings to do this and that and all. Was going to solve all the social problems of the state, you know. We went to meetings all from Charlotte to Oxford. I don't think we did any better than they did under that other man whose name I can't remember at the minute.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
What was the overall purpose of the organization? How did it get started?
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't know. It was quite old; it had been going on for quite a long time. Have you read anything about it?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Just a little bit.
NEVIN BROWN:
Just a little.
HARRIET HERRING:
It was quite active. It seems to have disappeared. Then Miss Gertrude Weaver succeeded me as secretary, and she was secretary for two or three years. And it stayed on alive for a good little while after that. But it was just general social problems and things that North Carolina was weak in, and things that needed to be done and so on.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You said the directors were called. Who were these directors who came? You said the directors came in for a meeting; who were the directors?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, they were prominent people all over the state.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was it still going at the time of the New Deal?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, I'm sure it was going in the thirties, because Miss Weaver was secretary during the thirties. It was just a sort of a rallying the problems of North Carolina, and what ought to be done about them.
NEVIN BROWN:
But it didn't have any particular goal?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, it had no program of action particularly, but it usually attracted a right good crowd and fairly prominent people (people social minded and interested). I don't know that it ever stirred up the dust a great deal,

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but I guess it wasn't a bad idea for them to all think about it.
NEVIN BROWN:
I had a question when you mentioned the New Deal, and that was: I know Rupert Vance and some other people were very, very enthusiastic about Roosevelt and the New Deal. What was your opinion of the New Deal and its approach to the South, southern industry and other southern problems? What did you think about FDR's approach? What was your reaction to it?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I don't know what you mean by his approach.
NEVIN BROWN:
Well, his idea of setting up all these national organizations, the National Recovery Administration, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, to deal with problems on a national scale.
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I suppose they did awaken some people, and maybe it's better than having somebody that doesn't do much of anything (like Mr. Ford). I guess it stirred up the people a little.
NEVIN BROWN:
But do you remember, for example, when Roosevelt was elected in 1933, do you remember what your own feelings were about him being president? I mean, did you have any feelings one way or another about the kinds of things that he was doing?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, I was enthusiastic about him, enough to feel that he would get things done; and I think he did. Well, you see, I worked on two or three things there that were part of it: that business of setting up committees to hire people for these jobs. Mr. Ford is just getting around to getting some of them; Roosevelt started them right at once.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You worked for the U.S. Employment Service in Raleigh (that was a part of that) one summer in 1933, I think, which was right after Roosevelt came in.
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, it must have been that year.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
You apparently worked as a field worker in county offices. Do you remember much about that summer, what kind of work you did?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well what I did, you see: they were going to set up work to put people to work (I mean roads or ditches or clearing roadsides that were too tight and so on). And they had to have some sort of hiring, because there were no employment offices, you see. (I thought that man's name that I did the pamphlet for was going to come then, but it didn't.) Anyhow, he was in charge of that, and he got me to do the field work for the middle section of North Carolina. And somebody who lived in High Point (he used to be the editor of a newspaper in High Point) he thought would be good for the western part, and he got somebody for the eastern part. Although it was a Democratic president's initiative, still I was abjured to get a Republican or two on the committees, you know. Well, I just never had messed with politics except to go to caucus meetings, and was county vice-chairman for years and years and went to the Democratic convention one time (over a nice, fat fellow who wanted very much to go, but I beat him out to go to it). So anyway, my political activity was just sort of a side issue of fun, you know, and interested in going to that. And when they told me about that I said, "Well, I just don't believe I'll know a Republican when I see him. How am I going to find proper Republicans in these counties?" You've got to set up a committee of four or five people, and they've got to be scattered in the county. And that's when I began to smoke cigarettes so often, I was so unhappy. When I would leave one place and had gotten a Republican, now was that Republican going to. . . ? I went to the courthouse first and talked to two or three people there; and I assumed that the courthouse had some democrats in it. I'd ask them to tell me a Republican or two that would be suitable or would be acceptable, be some

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use, in different parts of the county, and some Democrats too. Then I'd dash out and run around the county trying to find them and see if they would be on the committee. Well, of course, they got all ready so quick and the work wasn't ready (it didn't amount to much), and I think it was a very great disappointment all the way around. Still, it made quite a little flurry at the time, that they were going to set up hiring offices and there was going to be some work for these people.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they set those up? Did you ever do that?
HARRIET HERRING:
Yes, they finally did. No, not in every county, I'm sure, but they did, because he had a lot of work going on on roads and bridges and all that sort of thing.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You never did any of the actual hiring?
HARRIET HERRING:
No, no, I was setting up through this middle section of the state: from the Virginia line to the South Carolina line, a band like that. I'd leave one and then have to go see another one. And I'd wonder if he was the right one, and I'd smoke another cigarette, you know. I was just as fidgety about it as I could be. And I finally got them; and all of us together, the three of us, I reckon, set up committees all over. I never did hear how effective they were; I think that probably in some counties they really didn't have projects big enough to take care of them. But that would be inevitable anyhow, because it was just like it is now: there were so many unemployed that you just couldn't have provided enough, you know, in a short time to put everybody to work.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Were these committee members to receive any kind of pay for their work? It was voluntary?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no, that was because they were prominent citizens, their duty.

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MARY FREDERICKSON:
Other than starting you to smoke [laughter] , what did you think about the whole WPA program? Were you thinking that this would be an answer to problems in industry?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh no, it wasn't going to employ anybody in industry, except if a man couldn't get a job in industry and he was unemployed, he'd get a job chopping things away from the edge of the road, you know. I mean, it was down to that, because unemployment was a lot worse than it is now, you see.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the NIRA, the National Industrial Recovery Act? Did you feel that that would answer some of the problems in industry, and would
HARRIET HERRING:
Well, that was pretty complicated. I went to Washington and sat around for two or three days and watched them talking about that. And it never did seem to me that it had, and it never did have, a great many useful results, as far as I could make out. But I know they took up the textile industry first; and so I just sat there for about a week and listened to them yammer about it. I guess it did some good; I don't know. I reckon motion helped some; made them feel better.
NEVIN BROWN:
I was just going to ask about the New Deal, if you were ever offered a permanent job. Did you ever have a chance to work in Washington permanently? Did they ever offer you a job in any way?
HARRIET HERRING:
No. The only Washington work I ever did was when Jack Woofter wanted me to consolidate those three studies into one. I went up and stayed a week, and talked to the people that had worked on it, and then came back to Chapel Hill and wrote it. I took it up to him, and then went to see this professor. I just spent the summer on it.
NEVIN BROWN:
But you never had the desire to leave UNC permanently for a job?

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HARRIET HERRING:
I had no desire to go to Washington [laughter] . I didn't have any offer either, except this temporary one. I never tried to get an offer.
NEVIN BROWN:
Right.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I wondered about the years you lived in Chapel Hill (you said you weren't a joiner) but if you were aware of or observed certain community groups that were active. Did you ever work with the Chapel Hill Community Club?
HARRIET HERRING:
No I didn't. I knew a lot of people who were quite active in it. But goodness, I had a job to do; most of them were housewives who had some spare time.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Who were some of the women who were most involved in that?
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh, I don't know; I couldn't list them for you now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the League of Women Voters in Chapel Hill? Were you ever active in that, or was that an important group?
HARRIET HERRING:
I never was active in it. I'd been a voter ever since I was allowed to. Well I didn't vote the very first time, I think; I think I didn't get registered in time to vote. When would that be, '24?
NEVIN BROWN:
1920?
HARRIET HERRING:
I don't think so; I think it was '24.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
'24 when you would be old enough.
HARRIET HERRING:
Oh mercy, I'd been old enough. I was old enough.
NEVIN BROWN:
I think 1920.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Oh, when women could vote, 1920 was [laughter] the first year.
HARRIET HERRING:
Was it really?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Yes, 1920 was. I'm sorry, I was thinking about your age. [laughter]

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You were old enough.
HARRIET HERRING:
I didn't vote the first time (I hadn't qualified), but I did afterwards, and went to caucus meetings and everything: county meetings and congressional district meetings and the state. . . .
NEVIN BROWN:
Conventions?
HARRIET HERRING:
Conventions, yes. My cane over there I got at a. . . . That's not a sartorial cane, as you can see, and it's not a medical cane; it's a political cane. You know, they give out pins or something or other to people, the candidates do, to the convention visitors. And the man who was senator from this state and died, from that little town up there near Greensboro, he was giving out these canes. And I grabbed one of them; so I have a political cane that I've been using ever since. I get more crippled all the time, and nobody's given me a cane yet but Mr.—I can't say it, but I know who he was. He was a former senator of this state for years.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the YWCA and the Industrial Department on campus? Did you ever work with them?
HARRIET HERRING:
Didn't even know anything about it; don't remember a thing about that.
NEVIN BROWN:
I think we're done.
HARRIET HERRING:
[laughter]
END OF INTERVIEW