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Title: Oral History Interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth, June 20, 22, and 23, 1975. Interview G-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Howorth, Lucy Somerville, interviewee
Interview conducted by Myers, Constance
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: 696 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-05-19, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth, June 20, 22, and 23, 1975. Interview G-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0028)
Author: Constance Myers
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth, June 20, 22, and 23, 1975. Interview G-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series B. Individual Biographies. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0028)
Author: Lucy Somerville Howorth
Description: 925 Mb
Description: 206 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 20, 22, and 23, 1975, by Constance Myers; recorded in Monteagle, Tennessee.
Note: Transcribed by Joe Jaros.
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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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth, June 20, 22, and 23, 1975.
Interview G-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Howorth, Lucy Somerville, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH, interviewee
    CONSTANCE MYERS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Constance Myers interviewing Mrs. Lucy Somerville Howorth in Monteagle, Tennessee on June 20, 1975. Mrs. Howorth:
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I wish to make a statement similar to the one that I made when Delta State University initiated a series of tape recordings. It is to this effect, that I have made many mistakes, I have committed blunders, I have done things that I wish I hadn't done and not done some that I should have, but I am not the type to go dwelling on errors. I think that life has to be lived positively and affirmatively. If I could learn from a mistake, I tried to do so. Otherwise, it was washed out. This may make my tape sound like a pompous egotist, and if so, it just has to be.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Thank you, Mrs. Howorth. Well said. Can you remember how you first became aware that equal rights for women was actually an issue?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well naturally, I imbibed that with my early sitting at the knees of my mother. One of my earliest recollections is sitting by her desk, she would be writing and addressing envelopes, and I would arrange in little stacks one leaflet of each color. They used to publish these little leaflets in pink and yellow and white and blue and she would want to insert in an envelope a set. My recollection is of playing with those and of course, I learned the colors, I learned to assemble papers in an orderly fashion and a good deal. But I was helping her to do whatever she happened to be doing at the moment in the way of a public cause. I just don't ever remember when I I didn't know that there was a question, because the right to/vote was obviously

Page 2
denied to the women. That was all wrong, as far as things went at our home. So, I just had it and I read the books and I read the articles and I attended meetings and I was just absorbed with all of it . . . The Woman's Journal, you'll know that and will have come across it. I used to read it everytime. I was and am an omnivorous reader, I don't care what it is, if it is printed, I pick it up and read it. As a child, I read all of those things that were probably beyond me, but anyhow, it made a dent.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were you raised in a politically conscious household generally speaking? Was your family aware of many other political issues and involved?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes. They were not political in the sense of being candidates. The first candidate in our family was my mother in 1923, but they always knew the candidates, they always knew the issues, they always discussed them. At our dining table, the conversation revolved around public issues, not around local gossip as to who had just gotten married or who_was going with whom or little petty things happening at the school. The conversation was on the level of public activities and issues and what was in the latest newspaper. Our house was full of newspapers. We had the Memphis paper, sometimes the Jackson paper, sometimes the New Orleans paper and sometimes the St. Louis paper.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about New York and Washington?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I don't suppose that anybody in town took The New York Times. Certainly, I was not aware of The New York Times until I went to college. Oh, I knew that there was such a paper, but I mean for any reading in the scope of it and so on. But when I went to college, I discovered it and have read it ever since all my life. I subscribe to the Sunday paper now.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
In the community of Greenville, were there sufficiently large

Page 3
numbers of other people similarly interested in political questions and compatible with your family, let's say?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I wouldn't say that there was any large number, but there were people. I have never found, and I don't know whether in her researches that Mrs. Meredith found out much about a Mrs. Mount, who moved away before I was old enough to know, but who seemed to have had a great influence on the women. I don't know what became of her or where she moved to.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I don't recall that name at all in the suffrage literature.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She is the one who introduced my mother to the homeopathic medicine and she . . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I see. Do you recall her first name at all?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I don't. You know, you don't think as you grow up to ask people those things and you get your mind on other things. But she seems to have been one that kind of stirred women up.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Mrs. Mount.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
In Greenville, in the 1880's and 1890's. But I didn't suggest her name, I think, to Mrs. Meredith.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And she moved away, you believe, because you didn't hear of her subsequently?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I have no recollection of ever seeing her. I suppose I did, but it was before I was recalling my observations.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were your parent's views, then, different somewhat from those that were typical of the community?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
We have to make a distinction between my father and my mother. He was a conventional Virginian who had moved to what was essentially a frontier type of community. It always went hard with him. He joined the Methodist Church,

Page 4
there was no Presbyterian Church, but in his thinking and all, he remained a Presbyterian. He was a Scotsman in the sense that that was the dominant element of his heredity. Now, my mother was a native of this frontier community which to him, was rather wild. She had a remarkable mind, as you have discovered, and it ranged over wide areas and she was . . . the Irish is what predominated in her. The give and take and the free mingling with people and the liking and the sociability of informal . . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And the absence of a reserve?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. That was in her contacts with people. Her personal character and life were distinctly reserved.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, she had the adventurous mind and she was a little more willing to take a chance, which is the dominant attitude of these cotton planters who could in one year, make enough off of their crop to pay for their land and many of them were real gamblers, as well as gambling in their lives against flood and malaria and yellow fever and all sorts of things coming in. She was more of that type. So, there was a difference. But insofar as the community interest and being concerned with what developed in the community, they were both concerned.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did your father disapprove of your mother's suffrage activity?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that would not be the word, because I don't think that would have gotten far, but he was a man who could not understand. You know, there are men, you have found them, who with the best will in the world, can't understand what it is about. Now, there are other men who do. My husband, he understands and my father never lifted a word in opposition and I am sure that if a vote had come, he would have voted for suffrage for women. But as to

Page 5
really understanding the basic reasons for the women's movement . . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The desire for equal citizenship?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
He thought, you know, "they have everything." It is partially a lack of imagination. That is, the kind of imagination that makes one person understand another person. Not the kind of imagination that can construct a story.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
An empathetic imagination.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. That's a good phrase.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Although your parents differed, still they doublessly projected a certain image before the community.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
A unified image before the community.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't think that the rest, my two brothers are dead now and I never discussed this with my sister, but I don't think that they were aware. They left home early and I don't think that they sensed anything of a lack of sympathy or whatever you want to call it, but there certainly wasn't anything publicly. It was getting along happily and satisfactorily.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There were no repercussions in the community because of the suffrage activity? Or were there?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, at times, yes. There were plenty of rows that went on, you know.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Can you tell about one or two incidents?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know that I can. It's hard to pin those things down, you know. There wasn't any case of open hostility. Now, you are writing in South Carolina, and you have the same thing there, that at the end of the Civil War period, you had the white people who were terribly poor and what you call deprived now, but none of them ever knew that word and didn't have that

Page 6
feeling. They had a deep understanding that no one of their own kind would be rejected or severely criticized for anything, no matter what they did, because they had stood together under great tribulations and they would continue to. So, my mother could get away with a great deal that if any stranger had come into town, she would have been. . . ..
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's the whole story, I think.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
You see, her father had. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He had been outstanding in the community.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Her father had been a colonel in the Civil War. He had been one of the four men in Mississippi who signed a declaration of freedom from the carpetbag rule and called on the other citizens of Mississippi to throw off the yoke. His daughter could do no wrong, really. They would mutter and wish that she wouldn't stir up the women and stir up the temperance work and try to close the saloons and this, that, and the other.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is the same story that I found in South Carolina, of course.
Do you recall if your mother ever told you how she became interested in women's rights?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. And I don't know that she pinned it to any one thing. Now, she had said that Frances Willard, who came to Mississippi and inspired Belle Kearney and inspired my mother and other women, that when she said that the women couldn't get anything done until they had the right to vote, then I think that is really what pinned my mother's mind to that point, that that was basic.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The vote wasn't to be an instrument for further reform?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, and that, I think, a lot of people ought to understand. It would be used as an instrument for reform, but it was a basic right. My mother had a great sense of justice and so did these other women.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
A twofold purpose, as a basic right and as an instrument.

Page 7
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Then, after you got it, you would use it. But she was a bit like I am, people would say something about how they are going to use the vote and I said, "Nobody asked my brothers how they could use the vote and I have the right to use mine exactly as I please."
It is nobody's business. She had a legal mind, her father offered to let her come into his law office and read law, which was an outstanding thing to do.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Why did she not do that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She didn't do it, she said, because she felt that she should go back to Greenville, her father was living in Jackson, but her grandmother lived in Greenville and was getting old and feeble and she was the only descendant of that particular grandmother and therefore, she wanted to spend as much time as she could with her. That is the reason that she gave, and I assume that it was the reason. There might have been reasons of a more philanthropic type, she was religious and she had what you call now a sociological urge to do some good and that reading law in her father's office and then doing some pure law business, that was a little more on the side of pure business than her nature would respond to.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about her children?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, of course then, she was not married.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's right.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She had an interesting little episode. I don't think that I told Mrs. Meredith this. When she was a girl, must have been about fourteen, she was on a steamboat, going from Greenville to Vicksburg to there take the train back home to Jackson and there happened to be on the steamboat a member of the faculty of Vassar College. This, I guess, was about 1876 . . . when was Vassar founded? In the '70s, wasn't it?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I don't recall which decade.

Page 8
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well anyhow, this member of that faculty tried to persuade her to go to Vassar to college. Something about her just flashed. So, she told her father about it and he said that she could. And again, she said that the reason that she didn't was because of this grandmother, that she felt that this grandmother would feel that she was deserting the South or something. In later years, she sometimes played with the idea of how different her life might have been if she had gone.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Something of this anecdote appears in the papers up at Radcliffe. There is a reference to her loyalty to the South and to Mississippi, rather than to the grandmother.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
If she wrote anything herself, she would have left her grandmother out, because you see, that was what she considered a strictly personal relationship which she would never have gone into except in conversation with someone like me, you know.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes. I wonder when she first became aware that there were women's organizations to promote suffrage and equal rights for women? Do you have any recollection?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know, but I think that she first ran into it through the home mission work of the Methodist Church, in which she was very much interested. She went to some meeting at which she met the leaders and I think that she read the newspapers and all. But Frances Willard, I think, is the one that really converted her to activity and shifted her major activity from the Methodist Church and the women in the church. But she used to boil at that even in the early days, because when she went to one of the first of these meetings, she found out that the bishops were insisting on the right to tell them how to spend the money and she didn't like that one bit.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
One anecdote that I think comes from your papers was the one that

Page 9
Anne Scott repeats in her book, The Southern Lady, about the minister worrying about women's prayer groups, "I wonder what on earth they will pray for." [laughter]
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I ran across that, it was actually in a book. I have seen it attributed to several things, but I picked it up in New York when I was with the YWCA. You see, that was another issue, could the women meet without the minister being present? I was just burned up once in Washington. They asked me to go an Episcopal church, [unknown] they wanted to talk about forming a business and professional women's group and would I come and tell them something about how to do it and so on. I got there and here was this minister, the rector of the church, and I asked one of them, "Does he intend to come to all your meetings?" "Oh, well yes."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you ask why?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I knew why, but I said, "You aren't a group of children and you should run your own affairs."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, I know that you knew why, but sometimes this brings the question right out and makes them state it.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's true, of course, all of the churches, I think, were pretty much that way and now, I don't think that the Methodists do and maybe the others don't.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think that women have a great deal more freedom to function without male supervision in the churches these days. You were born, virtually, with the suffrage association in Mississippi.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, July 1, 1895.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think that the suffrage association was born in about March and I think that Carrie Chapman Catt came and toured the state.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She came, whether that year, I do not know, but the records

Page 10
would show.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She came that year, I've forgotten the month, but it's a significant fact, I think.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I heard Mrs. Catt make her last speech at the Cause and Cure of War, when it was dissolved and then I went to New York when they had that big tribute to her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was this the Women's Centennial, or something of that sort? I read the newspaper account of that and saw her picture there and read that she was disappointed with the manifesto.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Or declaration, I believe.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They had something, yes. It was all cooked up to honor her, really.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She deserved it.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She did, she was a very able and inspiring person.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you know if the question of women's voting had ever been raised in an official deliberated party in the state of Mississippi before 1900?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, it was raised. I don't recall now, I don't have any notes with me, but it was raised in the constitutional convention of 1890.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was it raised in 1868, by any chance?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know. I would doubt it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But it was raised in 1890.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was raised in 1890, now. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you recall what individual brought the question to the body?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, but all of that has been written up somewhere. Did you run across an article written by a woman out in Texas about four years ago on Mississippi and the suffrage movement?

Page 11
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She's written a number of articles of that nature.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I wondered why she hadn't gotten in touch with me and I started to write and make some comments on some of her comments with which I didn't altogether agree, but then, it takes time to do those things.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Dr. A. Elizabeth Taylor?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I think it is. But in there, she used, as my recollection goes, the constitutional convention and the bringing up the matter of women. She puts it on the stand that it was a possible way of helping to alleviate the effect of the Negro voting. She dwells on that a good deal.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, this was a position taking by Belle Kearney and it was a position taken by Kate Gordon, according to the most recent historical literature.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They did, but what I object to in her article and in these others stressing that, is that when you are in the middle of a fight, you take every argument that you can think of and then after it, if you win that fight, then you begin to trim off what was essential and what wasn't and what you meant and what you just seized on, so that I think both Belle Kearney and Miss Kate Gordon are put in a rather unflattering light in stressing that argument.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It has been stressed, though, in recent historical scholarship, I think unfairly.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, and also to take people out of the context of their times. Now, as I recollect, my mother never got into that, but I don't think she got into it because of any feeling of what is now called civil rights, but she didn't get into it because she didn't think that it was a good, sound argument. At least, that is what seventy years later, I think.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did your mother and the suffrage movement have many supporters active in political life, either state or national political life, from Mississippi?

Page 12
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I wouldn't say so. They had more than was generally expected in Massachussetts, for example, but . . . and they had some quite influential people, mostly men, because they were the only influence that counted. But it was always an minority movement. Now, one year, an editor made a charge that nobody was interested in the suffrage activities and that there wasn't anything written about it. So, my mother subscribed to every county paper in Mississippi and I cut out every clipping for about six months and she bought yard goods and I pinned those clippings on and it went all the way around a large room and she took that on her trips to demonstrate the wide interest in Mississippi in what went on.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was there a state senator, for example, maybe just a single one. This is what I really mean, or maybe a representative, an assemblyman?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well yes, there were several men in the legislature and several in the state senate. Now, you know, I would hesitate to use their names because . . . well actually, this cousin, Vann Boddie, he voted some and helped Mama some and there were several. There was a man from up in Macon and over the state. The movement had some good support.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And what about in the Congress, from Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Of course, Vardaman was possible, I remember that they put him down as possibly voting. The older senators, none of them and Pat Harrison, of course, he was building himself up and was on the popular side as far as Mississippi was concerned, but once women got the vote, Pat Harrison was very helpful and friendly and so on.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I noticed that you had a continuing friendship with him.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Not only I, but a number of women.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What were these men like that tended to support suffrage? What did they do? Were they attorneys, were they editors, could they use their

Page 13
influence? This is a multiple question and that is unfair, but can you characterize them at all in a general way? Or let's do them one by one.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, you take the editor of the paper in Greenville, Mr. L. Pink Smith. Basically, he liked Mama, he was in favor of suffrage, but when the heat was turned on him, he would go and take cover, you see, locally. When whoever was financing that paper or maybe just somebody that he recognized as having a good deal of local influence . . . but they were lawyers and there was a lawyer at home, a very distinguished man, R.B. Campbell. He was always friendly with Mama and helped her and advised her and checked her if she was making a legal statement on anything. He was friendly to her and he never stepped out and made a speech for her, but he may have introduced some speakers sometimes. There was a great deal of friendliness.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Any editorials in support of suffrage?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes, there were some.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was suffrage activity reported fairly?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
In most of the instances, every once in awhile, there would be some unfair reporting, but my recollection is that there wasn't much.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And there wasn't a blackout on suffrage news?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, as I said, that demonstration. . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
. . . didn't need glasses and until you get used to wearing them, you don't like to.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
In addition then, to the men in politics who supported suffrage activities in Mississippi, you had some editorial friends, some editors. . . .

Page 14
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Now, these were for my mother.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Your mother's supporters.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
You are still back with her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Right. What about the merchants in the community, the early rising industrialists in the community? Did they take a position and were they vocal at all on this question?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They probably took a position in private, but insofar as my mother was concerned, they were always friendly. She would go around and she would get all of them to contribute if she was having a public speaker there, to get expenses for renting a hall and that kind of thing. Whether they were for it or against it, she could wheedle money out of them. It was a small, friendly community, you know.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How big was Greenville, then?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
If you ran across, which you must have, that speech I made at Randolph [Randolph-Macon Woman's College], "From the Surrey to the Atomic Age," I gave the figures there. That speech has it, but I don't recall them, but it was a small community. It was very different from these things now. There wasn't the meaness and there wasn't the fear that is so common now.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I see that Greenville is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, is it not?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It's in Mississippi, it's the Yazoo Mississippi Delta. People get confused because technically, the delta is the mouth of the river down in Louisiana.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I don't think that I am confused in this case, because I think of the delta that is formed by the confluence of these rivers.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It is the Yazoo river flowing southwestward into the Mississippi and this begins south of Memphis. Memphis is on a bluff and about twenty miles

Page 15
miles south, into Mississippi, the bluffs run off, disappear and you have this alluvial flat plain, which was flooded annually by the Mississippi River and the Yazoo River. Beyond the Yazoo to the east, the hills begin again.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes. I have been reading V.O. Key, Southern Politics in State and Nation and there is this geographical deliniation of Mississippi political patterns, you know. I was going to ask you a question about suffrage in connection with this geographical situation. Did you find a particular area of Mississippi more receptive to the notion of equal rights for women, did your mother find this?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I think not. I think there were little pockets here and there, as I mentioned, Macon over on the eastern part of the state it was a friendly community. It's in what they called the prairie section. And around Clarksdale, Mississippi, it was quite friendly. That's in the Delta. So, of course, as I said, little pockets here and there. And out somewhere that you would think would be mostly narrowminded, Vardaman and Bilbo types, you would get some friends.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But there was little crossing over boundaries in most instances, wasn't there, as with other political issues?
Do you remember suffrage meetings after the movement was reborn in 1911 or 1912? You were about the age to be aware.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I went to several of the state conventions and acted as a page and then in the year before I went to college, the spring of 1912, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw came and I went to the state convention where she spoke and then she came . . . well, maybe the convention was in Greenville, but anyhow, she spoke in Greenville. Then when I went on to college that fall, she came to Lynchburg to a meeting and spoke and I arranged, freshman girl that I was, I stirred them up and arranged to have her come out to the college. Now, there's

Page 16
where I began to run into this narrow minded business that really burned me up. They wouldn't let Anna Howard Shaw speak in the college auditorium.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, it was a touchy issue. This was in about 1912?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
This was the fall of 1912 and I found out, or somebody helped me out, because I was a freshman, that the rule of the college was that the seniors could entertain anybody that they wanted in what was called the Senior Parlor. So, some of the seniors agreed that Dr. Anna Howard Shaw could speak in the parlor and we had a reception for her and we had them hanging out the windows.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You used your influence with the members of the senior class, I guess.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, my sister had graduated the year before, so I didn't go up there as an unknown. I am still thrilled to this day that when the car came up with Dr. Shaw and she stepped out, I came up and started to introduce myself, she said, "Why child, I know you." You see, she remembered from Greenville.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Can you characterize her? Somehow, can you give a little descriptive paragraph?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, she was one of the most charming people that I have ever known. She was witty and friendly and warm and eloquent. She was the eloquent voice of the suffrage movement so far as I am concerned.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think that others concur with this.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
And then. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There has been some critcism of her organizing ability.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, that was the argument used to get her to step down and let Mrs. Catt come in to do the final victory.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was this a good decisiobn in your view?

Page 17
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I think that it was, because it was one of those things where Mrs. Catt's friends wouldn't follow Dr. Shaw and therefore to prevent a schism . . . you see this thing time and again in public life, that one leader is not . . . well, Lyndon Johnson, he said that he couldn't bring unity to the country and I think that he was correct. So, he stepped aside. What we got in return was something else, but we will skip that. [laughter] So, that was the thing about Anna Howard Shaw.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It was a strategic move politically?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You don't think that the thing could have been achieved had Anna Howard Shaw remained president?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Not if the friends of Mrs. Catt wouldn't have been whole hearted, whereas the friends of Anna Howard Shaw did go whole heartedly.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It's the first time that I have ever heard it expressed that way. Thank you.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
You see, I was at that convention. You see, my mother was at that time one of the vice-presidents.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I was going to ask you if you had been to a national convention?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, and I was a senior in college and we had this Equal Rights Club, you see, affiliated from Randolph-Macon and so, I went. My mother said that she wanted me to have the experience of a national meeting and I went as a delegate from the Randolph-Macon chapter of the college.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Where was this meeting held?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Washington, at the Willard Hotel. So, I was all ears and eyes and I knew from mother the undercurrents and I watched the whole proceedings.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This was about 1916, in October?

Page 18
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
October, 1915.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
1915.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I went up . . . it has been very helpful to me, and I hope to other people. I went up the elevator one day and Dr. Shaw was in the elevator. Someone spoke to her and said, "Dr. Shaw, are you ever nervous when you speak?" She said, "Always, my dear. Until I begin, I never know whether I will be able to make a sound."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Mrs. [Eulalie] Salley had the same experience when she spoke in Aiken, [S. C.] when Dr. Shaw spoke in Aiekn. Dr. Shaw said to Mrs.Salley, who was to address her on the stage, "I'm frightened, I'm scared to death. I am always this way before a speech. Aren't you, dear?" And Mrs. Salley said, "Why heavens, no. I just talk off the cuff all the time."
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I have two theories about that. One is that you do not reach your audience unless you are so tense and nervous yourself, so in the projection, you need that nervous tension. So many young women especially, you know, say, "Oh, I can't get up in front of an audience," so I tell them that. I say that one of the greatest orators of all time had this experience.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You are talking about Dr. Shaw?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. Oh, of course you get so that you can stand up in an ordinary meeting and make a motion without getting any nervous fits. I think that probably Dr. Shaw's nervousness was enhanced in the South, because all these people in the Middle West and New England and all were forever warning her, "Be careful down in the South, they are different and you will say something wrong." And so on. That is rather interesting that you ran across the same comment.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It is. So, you traveled with your mother some for suffrage. Did you travel around the state of Mississippi as she organized?

Page 19
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I did not travel with her on suffrage trips. I only went occasionally with her to a convention, or a set meeting. You see, there is a distinction.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, there is. But she did do traveling within the state as an organizer?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, she did quite a bit of it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And she did other things too, as an organizer?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know whether this appears in any of her papers, but she and Mrs. McClurg of Greenwood, were on a tour of the state, organizing and speaking and on the train this particular day, it was one of these local trains you know, there was a group of Millsaps College boys. They were on their way to Jackson, they had had a ball game or something. So, they saw the banners that my mother and Mrs. McClurg had, "Votes for Women." So, they began making some remarks and booing and cutting up as students will do. There was the old train "butch" they called him, the man or boy who went around selling candies and pop and so on. Mama signaled this man when he came along and asked him what it would cost to buy everything that he had. This was fifty years or more ago. He said, I think, five dollars or something like that. So, she handed him the money and said, "Take this to those boys back there and give them everything that you have." So, he did and then out came cheers, "Votes for Women. Hurrah! Hurrah!" [laughter]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What superb political sense she had. [laughter]
A question came to my mind when we were talking about your Randolph-Macon days. In 1912, Dr. Shaw wasn't permitted to speak to the student body assembled.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But in 1915, a chapter of the collegiate Equal Rights Association had formed?

Page 20
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
A lot of transformation had taken place on that campus. When did this happen?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we formed that as soon as I hit the campus!
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, but it had to be chartered by the administrators.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh no, not then. This was a simple day. [laughter] We were a subversive group, but we operated and I set out part of the bulletin board for announcements, a big cardboard poster where you put announcements of meetings of the Mississippi Club and the Literary Club and this, that and the other. So, I got a corner of that and I kept news items up there steadily and of course, there were a group of girls.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were behind the organizing?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But there were others?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, we had quite a nice group.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I mean, that initiated this project, that set up that chapter?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
And of course, I had a legal turn of mind, I didn't know what it was, but anyhow, I wanted to get us officially established. I knew that we were subversives, you see. But the student government at Randolph-Macon, they had a very strong student government association and so it adopted a rule that organizations should be set up on a points system and that one person could only have an office in so many points. In other words, if an organization rated one point, being president of it would be one point and the rule was that you couldn't have more than ten points. That prevented one particular person from holding all the offices.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And diverting too much attention from school work, too.

Page 21
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it was one of these kind of democratic moves and equalizing things in distributing honors and responsibilities. Of course, if one girl was president of everything, none of them got any attention from her. So, I had gotten on the student government by that time and when they drew up the list of what would have so many points, I got the Equal Suffrage group, whatever they called it, to be put on that list. So, from then on, we were a legally recognized group by the student government and the faculty could go hang as far as I was concerned, because we would fight to the death for the right of the student government to recognize organizations.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How do you account for this? In those papers up at Radcliffe, there is a little list of your accomplishments, your memberships in those early school years and any affiliation with a college Equal Suffrage club doesn't appear. There is no reference to it. The Franklin Literary group appears, and a number of other things appear, but not any reference to this. I didn't know you were a member.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I was the sponsor of it. It wasn't in the annual, ever, I don't think. That's my recollection and I wouldn't be positive, my annual has been lost, so I haven't looked at one. But we had quite a lively one. I remember that Cole Blease was an awful governor of South Carolina, and one day he announced that he was pardoning 1800 or something like that and so, I took that and made a big poster. "All of these men can vote, but the South Carolina woman can't."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
About the same time, he was involved in the firing of the first woman physician hired in the state mental institution, seeing to her firing. I see that you had a similar incident take place in Mississippi. Can you tell about that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know, I remember that it happened, but I don't recall anything about it. We had another thing at Randolph-Macon and that was Mary

Page 22
Johnston. Of course, she was a very strong suffragist. So, we finnagled an invitation to her to come and speak on American literature. You see, they couldn't refuse to have this outstanding Virginia author and so she spoke to the assembled student body. Of course, we had engineered this and we explained to her what the situation was. So, she devoted about two sentences to the development of American literature and then made her suffrage speech, her standard suffrage speech.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think that Ella Harrison reports similar events down in Mississsippi, when she was organizing down there.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
A person would be engaged to address a group on a literary matter and then would go off into suffrage.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, we knew a good deal about subversive activities. [laughter]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Tell about some of the Mississippi suffragists. We've mentioned Belle Kearney several times. What background did she spring from?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, she sprang from a background of one of the strong Mississippi families. Her father was a distinguished man and was pretty well wiped out by the Civil War. I knew Miss Kearney very slightly and when you read that speech, you will see the little that I know about her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You saw her a few times.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. I saw her. I saw her and went in and congratulated her the day that she was sworn into the state senate and I saw her after I married and moved to Jackson. She was spending most of her time in Jackson, so I saw her with some frequency.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was she a professional woman, or was she simply an inspired. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. Have you read her book, The Slave-Owners' Daughter?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No.

Page 23
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I gave a copy to Radcliffe. They are out of print and hard to find.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, it is probably available near where I live.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It would be available from. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
From interlibrary loan.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. But she had practically no formal education and I think that she was sixteen when she organized her little school. She herself said that she only went to school through the third grade. But of course, her home was a home of culture and had probably a good library and so she organized that little school and then she went to Jackson to hear Frances Willard. So, that was where she found her niche and became a professional member of the staff of the WCTU, eventually.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh, she went from WCTU into suffrage, too.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Back and forth. But she was a professional worker and she was the first American woman to take a world wide lecture tour and then during World War I, she went over to. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What did she talk about on that lecture tour?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She talked about . . . I don't know, I never have read one of her speeches, but I would assume that she talked on civic subjects and women and the part women should play and probably the evils of alcohol.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I wonder what kinds of audiences she addressed?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know. I would think that maybe her reports are up there in the WCTU papers in Evanston. Her papers must be there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Probably.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She wrote voluminously. I know that my mother would occassionally get a letter from her. My mother was very telegraphic in her style and Miss Belle was very flowery.

Page 24
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, what about Mrs. Ben Saunders? Do you remember her?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I loved Mrs. Ben Saunders.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was her first name? I think that she was president of. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, she was. She was the president of. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
All I have is Mrs. Ben F. Saunders.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She married again late in life and I saw just about a month ago, ran into a niece of hers and she said something . . . well, I believe that she was down there at the Historical Society and she asked me if I remembered Mrs. Saunders, her aunt. I said, "Oh, of course." She apparently, this niece, regretted this late marriage. Mr. Saunders died fairly early and Mrs. Saunders was a widow a long time. She was a very bright person and she had a good deal of business ability. She was not one of these national, outstanding leaders, you know, but she was deeply interested in the suffrage movement. She was a woman of considerable means.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It seemed to require that when you virtually had to foot the bills yourself.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, you had to foot all the bills yourself. She came to me, consulted me as a lawyer, to draw her will at one time and of course, I didn't have to know how much property she had to draw the will at that time, but she was a woman of great charm and she was quite attractive to men in an entirely dignified way. That meant that they didn't like to oppose her wishes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I see here a reference to Mrs. Mount, a Mrs. Thomas Mount, but her own first name doesn't appear and she is from Vicksburg.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, she left Greenville and went there, I guess.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I just wanted some comments about these women and the backgrounds they came from, what you can recall. I have a reference to a Mrs. Charlotte Pittman, for example. Did you know Mrs. Pittman?

Page 25
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I don't recall her at all.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Mrs. Ella Biggs?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I have a vague recollection of her, but nothing that would help you.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think that she did the publicity at the very outset of the organization. Miss Fanny Clark?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Now, that's not the Clark that I remember, but Clark is not an uncommon name.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Mrs. Mabel Pugh from Yazoo City?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I have a vague recollection, but I couldn't throw any light on her. I tell you, you can't go running everywhere, but the archives in Mississippi have been given the papers of Mrs. Lilly Wilkinson Thompson, who was in and out as president and those papers probably have a good deal of correspondence with different ones.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The interesting thing that I am seeking, really, is your characterization and the kind of thing that you might say about these women so that I can get an idea of their background. I would imagine that they are similar to the women who were active in South Carolina.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I would think so.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There is a pattern there.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
There is. They are all people of good social position, you know, and mostly of moderate means, as I remarked earlier. The custom of the period was that if you had the background of loyalty to the Confederacy in your family, then you were accepted even if you couldn't always buy your own ticket.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How did Mississippi educators stand on the question of suffrage?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
A few of them were friendly, but most of them were not.

Page 26
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The President, for example, of Mississippi State College for Women?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Of course, Whitfield, when he went in, was more friendly and eventually very friendly. He was president for six or eight years, but I don't think that they looked upon him for much help.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I wonder if the national leaders were permitted to speak there and how often, if at all?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know. I do know that a good deal of effort was made to try and get an invitation to somebody to try and speak at some of the colleges, but I don't recall.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
When were women first admitted to Ole Miss? I was going to ask you about the views of the Chancellor of 01e Miss and then I thought that I had better see if women were students there at that time.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It is my recollection that the University of Mississippi was the first state university to admit women. If it was not the first, it was the second.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I have a notion that Mississippi was the first state to open a state college for women.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Mississippi State College for Women, which was originally named I&C, Industrial Institute and College, was the first state supported institution for college education for women. [Presently Missippi University for Women]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's what I thought.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
And Mississippi was the first state to charter an institution to grant degrees to women and that was in 1819 and the compilers of one of these encyclopedias of education couldn't believe their eyes when they read that. So, they wrote it up as Missouri and Missouri was not a state at that time.

Page 27
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's quite a joke on them.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I ran into that when I was working up a speech in Washington, and I went over to the AAUW headquarters, where I spent a good deal of the time anyhow, and I knew they had this encyclopedia and I wanted to verify it and they had it wrong. [laughter]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's a real joke.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Isn't it. [laughter]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Mississippi has another first for women and this is married women's control over property.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes, and there too. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It always surprises people when I make reference to this fact in talks.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But what they do is, they say, "New York," which I think was two years later, maybe four years later, enacted a similar law and that the New York law was broader and therefore it. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Constance Myers continuing the interview with Mrs. Lucy Sommerville Howorth of Mississippi, the interview taking place at Monteagle, Tennessee on June 20, 1975.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
. . . and she was entertained by. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Your mother went to North Carolina and was entertained.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
At Dr. and Mrs. Archibald Henderson's, whom you may recall, was the great biographer of George Bernard Shaw, and a very distinguished member of the faculty. I do not recall the purpose of the trip, except that it was a suffragist trip and she enjoyed it very much and enjoyed the Hendersons and

Page 28
continued a sort of a friendship with them from then on, maybe once a year exchanging letters or something. But she came home laughing about it, that the maid was in her room cleaning and she began talking to the maid and the maid said, "You is the smartest person that has ever been here. You know what people are thinking before they know it themselves." So, that amused my mother but it also shows the impression that she could create.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I'll bet that you have a storehouse of those anecdotes.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, there are a good many, you know, incidents where she did some little stunt.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Can you recall her talking about organizing in the different states?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She would come home always with some interesting tidbit, you know, and discuss personalities. She had quite a bit of wit. She was wonderful company when you got to know her. She was one of these people that would not open up to the occasional public. There was a lady here who owned a cottage who was the daughter of Judge Mayes in Jackson, who a contemporary of my mother's father. The two families had been well acquainted, but she happened not to have known . . . my mother who was older than she, and she told me once that she was walking along out here and she saw my mother on this porch and she thought, "I hear such things about her being so fierce and stern and hard to get along with and this and that. My father liked her father and our families were good friends. I am going in and call." So, she did. Well, my mother, you see, knew who she was and knew the family and so on and she was in a good mood and they had a wonderful time swapping stories and telling jokes on people they knew. After that, Miss Mayes said . . . she was Mrs. Mary Mayes Sanders, she said, "I went regularly to see your mother because she was the best company that I ever knew." She told me that once in Jackson and she said, "Everytime I go to Monteagle, one of the first visits I make is to your mother." So, that is the contrast, you see, of people who didn't like her views and. . . .

Page 29
CONSTANCE MYERS:
"Fierce." That's the first time that I've heard that adjective.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh boy, you get into a debate with her, she could chew you up and spit you out so fast. Like that Negro woman said, she knew what people were thinking before they did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This was native ability, innate ability?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Sure. She knew when a speaker got up what that speaker was going to say and she had a devastating reply before he sat down.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did she have formal academic training?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes, she had a bachelor's degree.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
All right. I didn't know that.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, she went first, she was sent when she was about twelve years old . . . you see, a very bright child, I'm sure you have found, is as much a problem as a very dumb one. She had a stepmother who was a very fine person, but the stepmother had five children of her own who were younger and here was this little girl who was, I imagine, forever into something. So, when she was twelve years old, she was sent her to Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi. She always said that was where she got her real education and she was about to graduate there when she was, it seems to me, fourteen. The president of the college told her father that that was entirely too young to allow her to graduate. So then, he sent to Martha Washington College in Abingdon, Virginia and there she stayed, I don't know how many years, I think she was in the class of '78 or '79, something like that. I gave a book to Radcliffe on the history of Martha Washington College, which is no longer in existence. The president of the college when she graduated was Dr. E.E. Hoss, who became a bishop in the Southern Methodist Church and who had a cottage here at Monteagle and that was a lifelong friendship. He respected

Page 30
her mind from the very time that he met her. So, she had training, they taught elocution and they taught what we now call public speaking.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But she didn't go into teaching or into one of the professions, did she?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, you've got to remember the 1880's.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh, I know.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But she did . . . now, I think you can tell what a girl has deep in her, whether she begins early to want to be financially independent and she got a position as a sort of tutor in Greenville of a family . . . I can't think of their name right now. [Mr. & Mrs. Pollack] The man was the president of the Grumble bank and had two daughters. He later went to New Orleans to be president of a bank there and they moved down there. That put her back with her grandmother in Greenville and she did this tutoring.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Which is teaching.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, she was a strong teacher. We always had wonderful cooks, but she would take a field hand and make a wonderful cook out of her and never go near the kitchen. I never saw her in the kitchen.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But tell them how to prepare it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, and after it was on the table, after the meal, she would call her and say, "Now, this needed a little more of this and a little more of that." But she never went near the kitchen.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Isn't that something? The more I know of your mother, the more remarkable a person she appears.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
As I say, she was wonderful company and she read beautifully. She won a medal at Martha Washington for reading and she could project her voice over several thousand people in an audience.

Page 31
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Had she been a man, she would have gone into political life or in the educational field.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, she would certainly have been in the Senate. Of course, that was unheard of.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What kind of home background did she spring from? What was her home like?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Her home was like most of those post-Civil War homes. She was born in 1863 and her mother died the first of January, 1866 and her father was practicing law in Greenville. He had come to Greenville along about 1854, or something like that, and read law with her maternal grandfather Abram Fulkner Smith and formed a law partnership in 1856 and he was practicing law when he joined the Confederate Army in 1862. So, he came back to Greenville and then her mother died and he married again in about a year and that wife died after about a year and then he married Miss Aimee Webb in Montgomery, Alabama. There was a good deal of teasing. He went over to make the commencement address at a college and was invited out to dinner at her house and [unknown] he fell down the steps and broke his leg. So, there wasn't any hospital in that day. [laughter] So, her mother took him in, you know and took care of him and so, he fell in love with the daughter of the house. She was a very remarkable and fine woman. She came to Greenville and in 1872, he moved to Jackson. So, my mother of course went with him then. Well, as I said, when she was twelve which would have been in '75, she went down to Whitworth College. Except for family vacations in Greenville, Jackson was her home. She was married there and her father was a very prominent lawyer and he. . . .

Page 32
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did she travel? Or was her travel pretty well restricted to the southern states?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She went to the 1876 exposition, which is now coming to the front, you see and she used to tell of hearing the record, you know, the first phonograph of Edison's there. The little girl, "who had a curl right in the middle of her forehead and when she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid." She would do that in the squeaky voice of that machine. It was a wonderful thing, you see. It was extraordinary. Then when she married my father, they went to New York and Washington and up there on her wedding trip.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But she remained eternally loyal. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She said to me and to my elder sister and I take it to other people, that until she went to a meeting a Boston, and it seems to me that it was about 1920, it wasn't '20, but anyhow it was after World War I, that when she stood on Plymouth Rock, she felt for the first time that she was an American.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Up to that date, she had felt she was a Mississippian, or a southerner?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was there a chapter of the Southern States Women Suffrage Association in Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't think so. I don't have any recollection of it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I keep hearing about that, and I can't pinpoint its location.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't recall it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you recall if, when the National American Women's Suffrage Association moved over and became or formed the League of Women Voters, if

Page 33
a Southern State's League of Women Voters. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, you see, my mother wouldn't have anything to do with the League of Women Voters.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, now this is another important and interesting question.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She considered it a fatal mistake. She considered that the women were selling their birthright, so to speak, to go into that, that to make yourself effective, you had to go into a political party.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Which took, I presume, a partisan position on issues?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, and she considered that a very unfortunate development and she blamed Mrs. Catt for allowing that to happen. She never liked Mrs. Catt, really, after that. She wouldn't have said this publicly and generally, because she was very careful to avoid anything like a schism.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Of course, this was the position taken by the National Woman's Party and Alice Paul.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And I wondered if they were active in Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, there were one or two people in Mississippi that took an interest in and affiliated with them, but it was a very skimpy thing and I never heard of any kind of an organization that they had.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Can you recall Alice Paul or Maud Younger or Doris Stephens or Lucy Burns or Mabel Vernon or any of these individuals, if they came down and. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Let's go through that list.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
All right. Alice Paul, who was. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She never came. I knew Alice Paul. She's still living, isn't she?

Page 34
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She has had a stroke and is very, very ill in Ridgefield Connecticut.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I'm sorry. No, she never came, to my knowledge. Of course, you see, I was away a good deal of the time. It seems to me that Maud Younger made a southern tour, but I am not positive.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She came to South Carolina.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It seems to me that she did. Now, Doris Stephens I don't think ever did. And who else?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Lucy Burns.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I don't think so.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I may have mentioned Mabel Vernon. I just pulled that name out of a list.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Mabel Vernon I am sure never came to Mississippi. I can't be positive, because I was in New York, I was here then and so on. And I wasn't charging my recollection with all these things.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
To your recollection, there was no chapter or branch of the National Women's Party organized in Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You are not certain, are you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I wouldn't know positively, but. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you're pretty sure.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I'm pretty sure. I think they had one or two people from Mississippi who . . . I know that in later years they had some affiliates, but I think that back there they weren't. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Before ratification. I know that right after ratification that your first law partner was interested in the Women's Party, or so I

Page 35
gathered from the notes. Vivian Cook?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Vivian wasn't . . . [laughter] Well, the law partner part was in the University of Mississippi Law School. [laughter] For moot court. Yes, Vivian always . . . I was very fond of Vivian, she died some years ago. She married and I forget her married name.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I was going to ask you how her career turned out, what she did afterwards. I know that she graduated with distinction.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I'll tell you myself that that was dredged up, but I don't want to, you know . . . Vivian was an attractive person and I was fond of her, but she was young and had to wait to be admitted to the bar because she was not twenty-one and she only had a high school education. She had a grand and glorious time at the University. She hit the law books a little. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
A little lightly?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This may have been dredged up, but it was noted in some of the papers.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
When she died, it was in the paper then, in the obituary notice and there was something else in that notice that was not a fact in my opinion, but you know, you don't want to be. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What kind of person was she? What kind of a background did she have? How is it that she decided to go to law school, an unusual quest for a young woman then?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The distinguished member of their family was a brother of her mother and he was a chancellor at the time and later got to the Mississippi Supreme Court. It wasn't very much later, it might have been at that time and he was sort of the ideal of the family. Her father was a lawyer and he

Page 36
was more the county courthouse, tobacco spitting type. But she was devoted to him and he was to her. So, she thought the world of Judge Griffith and of her father. When the Republicans came in about 1920, her father was appointed United States Attorney, district attorney. He offered me a place, not as the assistant but as the next. I would have had to have a clerical title, you see and that wasnt' for me. But it was nice of him and I appreciated it. It seems to me that he was badly injured in an automobile accident. Anyway, Vivian practiced there in Clarksdale.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How long?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know, because you see, I went to Jackson and I was plenty busy and then I went to Washington. She married and for awhile kind of dropped out and then came back into law practice. I think I had one letter from her and then as I said, she died soon after I got back to Mississippi and I wasn't sure where she was. She was a likeable, friendly person. She was a blond, not a beauty, but attractive-looking. Well, there weren't many with distinction in that class, there were about five.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were the only two women. That's why I singled her out to comment on and ask you questions about.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I took quite an interest in her and did what I could to help her. All the class laughed one day, I knew, you see, that she had been out the__night before and I knew that she hadn't cracked a book. So, that particular class, the faculty member was a fine man, but very methodical and he called on everybody a certain number of times. So, he worked down, he followed the alphabet, he worked down to where she was next. I asked a question and got an argument going and took up the rest of the period. The boys knew what I was doing, they all knew that she had been out at a party.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's real sisterhood.

Page 37
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Some of them, you know, had been to the party. [laughter] So when we left the building that day, I said, "Vivian, you go home and you study because you are going to be the first one called on tomorrow and you be sure and know what you are doing." So, she did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And she got through all right.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes, she got through.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
At any rate, I noticed that she. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Don't correct that, I mean, I wouldn't go around and do . . . especially now that she is dead.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was attracted to the Women's Party. I don't know whether she took a membership card, but she was attracted to it. If I say, "belonged," that would mean a membership card. She was attracted to it and may have subscribed to the periodical, something of this sort. She lured a good deal of literature, I understand, to be sent into Mississippi to The Woman Voter offices. Miss Minnie Brewer says that she was being swamped with literature from. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, but I don't think Vivian Cook was responsible for that. There were two Vivian Cooks in Mississippi.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The other one, I don't think had anything to do with the Woman's Party. She could have. She was quite an able and skillful political personality. She held one or two state positions. She was from Crystal Springs.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, it's very possible that she was the one that was interested in the Woman's Party.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She might have been. The Cooks were a brilliant family and there were twelve children. One of them, Miss Fanney, was responsible

Page 38
for the development of the interest in wildlife consevation and the museum in Jackson there is named for her. She collected so many specimans and left them to the state. Viviam was once state president of the B & PW. She was active in that and in a great many things.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Not the Vivian that graduated with you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is difficult with the same reference to two different people.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, there is the chance of some confusion. Now, Minnie Brewer was a good friend of mine. Minnie is still living in the hospital, Mississippi Mental Hospital.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was the daughter of a governor, I believe. [Earl Brewer]
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. I used to have wonderful times with Minnie. She was one of the smartest people that I have ever known.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was mighty enterprising to run that newspaper.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And against all the poltiical opposition, I understand.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, it just gave them fits, there wasn't any opposition. I mean, they couldn't do anything about the newspaper, as long as her father would pay the bills.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
They could tell people not to subscribe and what crackpots they were.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But Joe Howorth edited that while Minnie went up to the University of Wisconsin in 1924, about six months to study journalism. He was practicing law in Jackson and Minnie was scouting around for somebody to edit it while she went there, to Wis.

Page 39
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That was good of him. He's a liberated man.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He has been.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, when Minnie went into the hospital, they said that they had never examined anybody with as fine a brain, a mind such as she had.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did some terrible calamity befall her?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know, I never enquired as to the diagnosis and none of the family ever mentioned to me what it was.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What interests in Mississippi opposed suffrage, according to your recollection? Who had the propaganda against it or was funding against?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, of course, the women always thought that the liquor interests did and I would assume that they did. Apart from that, I doubt if there was any really organized. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The railroads?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, there wasn't any reason for the railroads to be against them.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No, there wasn't any reason, but I've seen it mentioned in other connections.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't think the railroads were. Now, the preachers, you know, were the great obstacle.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And then you didn't have a significant textile industry to oppose it.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That was the case in South Carolina.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No. You see, we had practically no industry in Mississippi.

Page 40
But the liquor interests were . . . and of course, the labor unions were very, very weak, there was no labor movement there. But the preachers were a great thing and still are. Did you see in yesterday's paper that the . . . what do they call him, the Moderator or something, of the Baptist Church said that there was no place in the church for the leadership of women.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No. Is this the Southern Baptist Convention that has just met?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It was just a reiteration of their decisions last year. They made a similar decision last year. How pompous, how arrogant!
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, they just burn me up.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Your mother addressed the Mississippi legislature in 1914. Do you remember her reactions to that episode?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, she considered it quite an honor.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes indeed, it was.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But aside from that, I don't recall her comments on it. I was in Lynchburg at college.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you know what kind of a reception she received?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I think that she had a wonderful one. Once she got started, you know, with an audience, she knew how to play them just like a musical instrument. She had a beautiful command of language and her voice had the emotional overtones that so many Irish speakers have.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You think of her as a woman in which the Irish predominates?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Over the English or the Scots?

Page 41
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Her ancestry has a strong strain of Welsh and they are very similar to the Irish, but her paternal grandfather came directly from Westmead, Ireland and I have always considered that her political gifts were those of the Irish, although she had a stability and a logical approach that is not generally Irish. You see, the second Chief Justice of the Mississippi Territory was her great-grandfather.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Your great-great-grandfather.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. And his name was Lewis, and that particular Lewis family came to New England from Wales. Then, her father was a great lawyer.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, she was reared in the tradition of argumentation and political stance-taking.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was she interested in other questions as far as equal rights for women were concerned, such as equal pay for equal work?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Women's rights to guardianship?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, she campaigned, she is responsible along with all those others who helped her, but she gave the leadership.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was their leader.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She gave the leadership to the movement for equal guardianship in Mississippi. When I was a child in Mississippi, a man could will an unborn child. He could appoint in his will a guardian for his unborn child. . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

Page 42
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, I know about this law, it is what brought Mrs. Eula Lee Salley into the suffrage movement in South Carolina.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Women generally aren't aware of these things and then when they are alerted to them, some of them get into real action. My mother always believed in chipping at the fringes and making progress as you could and she felt the injustice of this and felt that it had an appeal. So, she enlisted others and it was part of the suffrage movement.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Usually this was in the platform, the suffragist resolutions.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Since Mississippi wasn't an industrial state in any sense of the word and didn't even have a small developing industry, I suppose, there wasn't a concern for the conditions of work and pay.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
About 1912, my mother went to a meeting in Atlanta, I think it was, of the Southern Council on Social Welfare and I think I still have the big fat printed report of that and there, they took up child labor and the condition of women in industry.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then she was indeed interested, enough to go to Atlanta for a meeting.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. She was interested in the whole scope of what today is the women's movement.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was there any concern with the status of black women? I realize that times were different, but I wondered in what way she might have. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Here is one illustration. My mother stirred up Greenville to have a public health nurse and this was the first public health nurse in the state of Mississippi.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What were to be her functions?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Tuberculosis was the great menance of the day and also, not spoken of so much, but venereal disease, which was rampant among the black people, especially. So, she said that at the time that a number of people asked her, "Is this nurse to go among the Negroes?" And she said, "Yes. They come in and nurse our children, they cook our meals, they wash our clothes. If they have an infectious disease, we get it too." She gave the practical reply. Now, she had herself a humanitarian interest, but she gave the practical reply to silence the opposition. That is one reason I say that you must not give too much weight to what a person uses as an argument in the middle of a fight. She could not see the community drawing any distinction between the white and the black in the matter of a public service like public health. I went with her once to where they were going to show one of these public health movies. They weren't movies then, they were just slides, you know, to a black church. I have never forgotten the picture of the fly tracking across the cake.

Page 43
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I'll bet that you always keep a cake cover on your cake.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I keep a cake cover and if I think a fly has been anywhere near that cake . . . but she did quite a lot of things like that to try to ameliorate the. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about birth control, family planning? That was a new movement, though.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
There was no such thing thought of at that time.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, between 1910 and 1920, there was a little agitation going.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
In the East.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But she wrote, she showed it to me late in her life and it is at Radcliffe, she wrote a paper which she read to a group in Greenville which . . . I forget the title, but the theme of it was a woman's right to her person. It was not caged in the explicit language of today, but there was no doubt of the meaning.

Page 44
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Much foresight. These are the phrases used today. I understand that your mother disapproved of the League of Women Voters because of its non-partisan position. I wonder if the women who joined the League of Women Voters initially in Mississippi soon drifted away, the suffrage women who . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Some did and some didn't. There still is a fairly strong, moderately strong League of Women Voters in Mississippi. Now the one that started in Clarksdale, was not the first, but one of the first and one of the strongest and then it disbanded and I am not sure that they have one there now. They have a fairly good one in Jackson.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
When it was first formed, the attempt was to capture the enthusiasm of these women who had just been engaged in that bitter suffrage battle. These were partisan women.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, certainly they were and they were practical, political women. They had learned some hard lessons. They had been sold out and they had been tricked and they had bitten some sour apples.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The League of Women Voters tended to lose them after a few years, in South Carolina it certainly happened.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. And you had to withdraw if you ran for office, you see.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And a different group of women then were led into the League of Women Voters.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, a studious, lady-like group that couldn't really tangle. At least, that's what I think.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I am very interested to hear of your mother's critique of the League of Women Voters. So many suffrage workers, people connected with the National American Women's Suffrage Association tried to get a loyal

Page 45
following for this new group and there was good reason why they were unable to, really. You concur with your mother's view?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I never had a thing in the world to do with it. When I have been in conferences where four or five or six or ten women's organizations were cooperating, yes and of course, I have always been friendly and polite, but around Washington, that Arlington League was quite a strong one, but several of them that I knew resigned to run for the Virginia legislature and so on.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did some of them leave to go into business, too?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Some, I said to one of them once, "You've learned your lesson, haven't you?" She said, "Yes, I wish the League would do something stronger." But, it does fill a place in the education of a voter. I remember once in my office in Jackson, a man came in about some business and I said, "The election is next week," he traveled for some business and I said, "You are going to be here, aren't you?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Well, you had better decide how you want to vote." He said, "You know, I've never voted." I said, "That's nothing to be proud of." He said, "I do not know how to vote." Then I explained some of the processes to him, but that showed me that that aspect of what the League of Women Voters does was needed and it is needed by the men as well as the women. Here was this man who was bashful and he didn't want to admit that he didn't know how to mark a ballot and how to. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So therefore, your mother was out of this whole business of citizenship schools, that were being held the first two or three years after the suffrage was passed.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, she helped with some of those where it was purely to teach them how to register, where to register, when to register. . . .

Page 46
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But this was a League of Women Voters activity.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, but it wasn't solely the League of Women Voters.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No, but generally the League sponsored it. But still, if your mother believed in the citizenship schools. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The women's clubs did it, the federated clubs, the civic clubs. There wasn't any League of Women Voters then.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The League of Women Voters really gets all the credit for it in South Carolina, the citizenship schools.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I don't know anything about it in South Carolina, but there wasn't any League of Women Voters in Greenville, Mississippi, the Woman's Club taught and tried to show people how. In Mississippi then it was quite complicated. You had to register so far in advance and you had to register in the county and you had to register in the town.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, it really did require some [unknown] procedure. She spent her last years in Cleveland, Memphis and Monteagle, I guess.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
In 1930, she . . . you see, I had married, my father had died and there wasn't anybody left in the family in Greenville and in Cleveland, my two brothers and my sister lived. So, she bought a corner lot out of some property that my oldest brother owned and built a home there and that is the home in which I live, although we enlarged it, changed it and put in air conditioning and so on. So, she lived there until her death and she voted there, but Cleveland, she said to me, was a little country town and she said, "Anytime that I went down Washington Avenue in Greenville, I could stir up some excitement." You see, in Cleveland, she lived out on the edge of the little town and somebody had to drive her and there wasn't any block that she could walk along and speak to everybody and stir up some excitement and get some votes for her candidate. So, we suggested to her to

Page 47
spend the cold months first in Greenville. So, about the first of December, she would go down to Greenville and live in a hotel until March or April and then go back to Cleveland. Her house didn't have any central heating. So then, in the course of time, that's a problem, you know, if you live long, your contemporaries drop leaf by leaf and she began to feel not so happy when she went back to Greenville. In Memphis, they started one of these Independent Methodist Churches that she took an interest in, she didn't like the unifying with the northern church. So, she was interested in helping that church and those people in Memphis were very kind, friendly and nice people and she found a small hotel that welcomed her and she would go there and spend the winter months. Then she and my sister, my sister brought her up her to Monteagle the latter years of her life. Before that, one of her grandchildren would come with her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It was this very cottage?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. She bought this cottage in 1912. I will show you the first cottage the family owned.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There was one in the 1880's, wasn't there, or 1890's.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
1890's. I think that it was about 1892 when she and my father bought the first cottage, which was over on this street over here, across this little bridge. She sold it and then it burned two or three years after it was sold, so it is no longer around. She bought this in 1912. She found that she wasn't happy to just come up here and go to a boarding house. They don't have those anymore, you either own a cottage or you rent one from somebody. There is no hotel and no boarding houses.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
When your mother died, she left her library to the little southern Methodist college in Aiken.

Page 48
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, she didn't. She left her library to me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then, how did this. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Then my sister, who shared my mother's interest in the Independent Church, which I do not, asked me about giving to that school my mother's theological books. She had a very fine library of theological books, religious books.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How many volumes would you estimate?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was a little over two hundred that we sent there. So, she my sister asked me if I were agreeable to sending them there and we wrote up a document that they could be recalled at anytime, but I never expected to recall them and neither does my sister and for all practical purposes, they are given there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You might know what happened to the college, or do you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No I don't.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I telephoned, because I thought that you might be interested in this information and I thought it should be included. This Southern Methodist College was coeducational and attracted fifty to sixty students annually, starting in the 1940s. However, as soon as the University of South Carolina chose Aiken as the [unknown] of a new and its first regional campus, Southern Methodist knew it could not compete with the branch of the state university, so the campus moved with all its appurtenances to Orangeburg, South Carolina. The building that housed this college is currently the Aiken Public Library at 435 Newberry Street. It was built as a mansion in the 1930s by one of the members of the winter colony in Aiken, a Rhode Island man. So, if the library remained with the Southern Methodist College of Aiken, it is now in Orangeburg.

Page 49
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
For several years, we would occasionally get some report from them, but I haven't heard anything for many years and I have no intention of reclaiming the books. As far as I am concerned, all along, it was a final gift. My sister thought that some of the family or someone might want them. My mother asked me once, "What is to become of all these books, Lucy?" I said, "Give them to me and I will see that they have a home." I have made a practice of when I see somebody who is interested, [unknown] I give what I consider a suitable book. There is a man at Delta State University who is a Methodist minister, but he has now gone into teaching, teaches philosophy. I asked him if he would like to have a biography of Bishop Hoss. [unknown] The book to me was very dull. He said, "Yes." So, I gave it to him and he told me later, he said, "It's wonderful and such an addition to my library." So, later I ran across an 1892 Discipline of the Methodist Church and a Discipline of the Japanese Methodist Church and a Discipline of 1906, so I called him up and asked him if he would like them. "Yes indeed", he said, "I'm making a collection of disciplines." So, I gave them to him. Then, I sent to . . . Radcliffe has some very rare books on the women's movement.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
From her library?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
From her library. Then, Randolph-Macon, when they instituted the Women's Studies program and named that section of the library for me, I sent them something over a hundred books. I sent them a list and let them select, you know, the ones that weren't duplicates. Then, Emory University, Bishop Harmon, every once inawhile I run across . . . this sounds funny, in your own house, you know, and not a great big house, but those books are hard to look at, they are hard to read. So, every once inawhile, I run across one and I write Bishop Harmon and ask him if they need it at Emory or want

Page 50
it. So, I sent a dozen or fifteen to Emory's library.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, I think that you are choosing some very fine repositories.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it's a problem. I am on the library board in Cleveland and I have learned a whole lot about libraries and I learned that the American Library Association has its standards and one of the standards is that they have to "weed", as they call it. Well, these little libraries with libarians picked up from here and there from very limited backgrounds, they don't know the value of a book and its potential value and. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
They may weed it out.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They throw them away. In fact, I go there and pick up some every once inawhile. Well, you don't want twenty copies of Elsie Dinsmore.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Or twenty copies of a certain edition of American history textbook. One copy will do to show how people were thinking about American history in that period.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Tell me a little bit about your mother's work in the Mississippi legislature. Did she seek reelection and why not? Or why?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She didn't seek reelection. The reelection came in 1927 when Greenville had gone through the flood. The worst flood of modern history was the Mississippi River 1927 flood. The levee broke the 21st of April and the water didn't all recede until in August. The whole community was in a state. She announced for reelection and then the opposition began to show various signs of stirring up a very bitter campaign and announced some candidate. So, she withdrew. She said that she thought the community couldn't stand a badly split fight and that it was obvious that there would be no holds barred and it would be a bitter and desperate campaign. She

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withdrew and it was one of these curious things that happened. A man announced who had been who had been a supporter of hers and he had been an alcoholic but he announced that he was reformed and so on. He was a weak character, but he was in her camp, so she threw her influence behind him and he was elected. Which is one of those travesties that can happen. I think that they would have defeated my mother if she had run, because they had used the woman's issue, you know and they had used some others. But her influence was strong enough to bring this weak man in.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was the man loyal to her program?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, he acknowledged, you see, he was for her, he was a friend of hers.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I mean her program within the legislature.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, in the Mississippi legislature, you don't have much of a program.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What did she accomplish in her term?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She accomplished quite a good deal. Her main accomplishment or her biggest accomplishment, was the reorganization, the rebuilding of the Mississippi Hospital for the mentally ill; it was on the edge of Jackson and a very rickety old thing, built in the 1890s and flimsy and just awful. Well, the Jackson building interests wanted the land. The medical people and the humanitarian interests wanted a new institution. She was chairman of the committee on Eleemosynary Institutions. So, they worked out a plan for the disposing of the land gradually and there was never any scandal. There was grumbling about the way it was done, but there was never any scandal and it was one of those things that could have been a scandal. My personal attitude is that it is a personal tribute to her aacumen and business ability, plus other considerations that enabled them to evolve this scheme. They set up and built what is now called Whitfield, which

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probably needs rebuilding now but was one of the outstanding institutions of the time when it was built. That was her major accomplishment. She signed the bill for the establishment of Delta State University and she supported all of the moves toward the improving of the state institutions and she sponsored the bill that changed the name of the deaf asylum to the School for the Deaf. They recognized her a number of times when they were celebrating anniversaries. She was active in the whole legislation, then at the end of her term, they had a joint session of the House and Senate and presented her with a silver vase and a very remarkable tribute.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This certainly was not done for all legislators.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It has never been done for any others, so far as I know. Now, they did have recently a man who is dying of cancer and who has been in the legislature for twenty years and was speaker of the house. They had something recently to give him a testimonial and so on, but nothing at all like this thing for her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, for what do you think that your mother most wanted to be remembered?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't think that she ever bothered about that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You don't think that she was thinking about it.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, she was always. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Here and now.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. Now, she did ask me about her papers. I was down visiting her and she opened a drawer and had it full of stuff. She said, "Lucy, shall I burn this?" I said, "Oh, no. No." "What's going to be done?" I said, "Well, I will see that it will be put where it can be used and help in history."

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
I'm glad that you have that historical sense and that you got those materials deposited up there at Radcliffe.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I did a lot of thinking about where was the best place and of course, I have been jumped on for not having them in Mississippi, but I said, "No."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I would think that Randolph-Macon would have wanted them.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Randolph-Macon didn't have a grain of sense about that kind of thing then and I'm not sure that it has now. It has more, because they have the courses in women's studies and they did set up this section of the library and name it for me, but I don't know how much . . . and it didn't have the money, it didn't have the space. They did try to get some of Pearl Buck's and I believe she gave the manuscript of one book. They had the manuscript of one of Frances Parkinson Keyes' books. For a long time, her associate and collaborator was a Randolph-Macon graduate Katherine McKeiver and it is through this alumna that they got it. Bird trilling outside That's what we hear up here, the thrush.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's what I hear, too.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
We never hear it in Mississippi, but up here. I don't know all of the birds, but the thrush I know. Back to historical papers Most people don't have any sense about such things. I have rescued things occasionally. Of course, Joe, he keeps every scrap of paper.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He should and he must. File them away. Why not? I have some questions on Mississippi political life, but I think that I will defer these questions until the last session, when I do ask your assessment or evaluation of trends in Mississippi and regional and national politics. What I wanted to ask you about were your views of the generalizations that historians of Mississippi and historians of the South have made about Mississippi events and personalities.

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, Mississippi has had a bad press from about 1830.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And South Carolina hasn't fared much better.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. South Carolina has had a little glamour that Mississippi hasn't, even Natchez hasn't had it. But so far as people having respect for the predominant attitudes . . . they are not so different in South Carolina.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What historians have said, they use this term demagogue so freely, I just wondered what you think of that term for Mississippi politicians from 1900 through the present?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I think as I have read and observed the history of other American communities, that insofar as the demogogue is concerned, we don't have any more than other places. Now what Mississippi suffered from from the days of Vardaman on until World War II, was the use of the race issue in politics and there, of course, that issue was not so strongly abused in other states, especially in the Middle West, for example. You get out in Nebraska, you have demogagues. . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Constance Myers continuing the interview with Mrs. Lucy Somerville Howorth of Cleveland, Mississippi in Monteagle, Tennessee on June 22, 1975. You wanted to make a comment, Mrs. Howorth, about Vivian Cook.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. Yesterday, you mentioned that Vivian graduated with distinction and I made a remark indicating that that was a bit of news to me, which indeed it is. But I wouldn't quibble about a thing like that because it is a matter of record. The University of Mississippi, if anyone

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is really concerned, should have the record and if it doesn't, the Oxford Eagle customarily published the list of honors and distinctions and awards at commencement. So, there is no use in quibbling over what is a fact in one way or another. Now, after thinking, I did have a vague recollection that Vivian did, as you say, flirt with the Women's Party. I also still think that the other Vivian Cook who lived outside of Mississippi for some years at about that time, that she may have also, but I do verify your recollection about Vivian Cook of Clarkdale. For some reason or other, I saw very little of Vivian in the early days after graduation. Now, my recollection is that the obituary of Vivian not only contained the statement about her graduating with distinction, but also something about her being the first lawyer or something of that sort and neither she nor I were the first woman laywer in Mississippi. She was the first in Coahoma County and I was the first in Washington County. But so far as I have been able to find, the first woman was Bessie Young, og Grenoda who graduated in the law school about 1910. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Ole Miss Law School?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. And who was from Granada and she practiced there a little, with very little success and then I think that John Sharp Williams secured her a position in the government and when Mabel Walker Assistant Attorney General, she took Bessie Young, or accepted her, in the Alcohol Control Division that set up the Volstead Act Enforcement Group, which had a very thankless and tough job. She [Bessie Young] did very well at that. When the New Deal came in, she manouvered a transfer from New York, where she had been, to Washington. That is where I met her when I went there in 1934. She died a few years later of cancer at a rather young age. She was quite an able person and had a successful government career as a lawyer.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Now, this was Miss Young?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Miss Bessie Young.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
In the reference I have to Vivian Cook's National Woman's Party affiliation, there is a letter to you from Minnie Brewer dated February 20, 1923 indicating that Miss Cook visited the National Woman's Party in Washington and the party expressed a desire to have her run information about their operations in The Woman Voter. Minnie commented, "If women find out that there are two parties, maybe they will wake up and form some concrete ideas on the subject and apparently, she indicated that Vivian Cook was a member of the Woman's Party, because I put this notation down after reading that letter. Then later on, Miss Brewer writes to you, just a few months later in the same year, that the National Woman's Party is just sending literature into this office by the carload. She published some, but killed the worst part. [laughter] She said in no uneertain terms, "I want people to understand the difference between the National Woman's Party and the League of Women Voters. Lots of intelligent women do not know the difference." So apparently Miss Brewer was a member of the League of Women Voters, but the League didn't want to say that her paper was their official publication in Mississippi.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I don't think it was. In fact, it wasn't anybody's official publication, except Minnie Brewer's. [laughter] Oh Minnie and I, we had more fun. You know, that's one thing that I try to get into the heads of these younger people. You don't have to be so glum. Minnie and I, we cooked up many a stunt and we had fun. Just pure, unadulterated fun.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Both of you were professional women. Even after you had reached this status?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Minnie wasn't what I call a professional woman.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
But she was. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She was being a journalist, yes. I don't know where Minnie got the idea. She started it and then got ahold of me. Somebody told her that I would be a good person. Up until that moment, our acquaintance had been casual, because . . . well, I had been away from Mississippi when her father was governor and I had met Minnie occassionally, you know, but I hadn't paid much attention. We became very close friends and she called me her general counsel. Well, of course, if we had needed any big lawyer, her father would have stepped in, because while I considered that I was a good lawyer, I was still a neophyte at that time and just barely beginning to practice. But I saw Minnie and was up there in Clarksdale, oh, I would say at least once every two weeks and sometimes she would come down to Cleveland and we corresponded, as you have discovered. We plotted and planned and worked. Then, she did decide to become something of a professional journalist and did in the spring of 1924, go to the University of Wisconsin to study journalism. That was when my present and only husband, Joe Howorth, (we were not married then) became editor of The Woman Voter for that period. That's when he had some experiences with the problems . . . of course, as soon as I heard that he had taken it, I said, "Go back to your law practice. It is fatal to mix, to try to run any business like a newspaper and be a lawyer."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How could you perceive that at such a young age? How could you perceive these things?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, insofar as law practice, while my father was a civil engineer, I was brought up in the legal atmosphere and hearing people's comments on what makes a lawyer and these people who had fallen by the wayside and failed were so often ones that the money wasn't coming in fast enough, so

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they took up something else. They taught school, or they ran an insurance agency and the first thing that you know, nobody thought of them as a lawyer.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh, I seeYou see, people have got to think of you as. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You've got to have an image to project.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I was furious one day, and every woman lawyer has had this experience, I would venture to say. One day, I was talking to somebody that I thought was a friend of mine, a member of the Business and Professional Women's Club and she had gotten more free advice from me, I suppose a thousand dollars' worth. She was telling me of something that had come up in her business and she said, "I needed a lawyer." Did she come to me? No. She told me that she needed a lawyer and she had gone to Johnny Jones. You see, she didn't associate me, despite the fact that time and time again in a casual conversation, she had asked me to solve a legal problem. So, if a man does something that associates him with something other than a law practice, he gets in the same box and so, that's what I told Joe.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What were your aspirations when you were in high school?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I didn't go to high school, I went to a preparatory school in Greenville and my only aspiration was to get to college. They had a little benefit bazaar or something and they had this lady who hadn't lived in town long who was an amateur fortune teller and she didn't fool herself or anybody else about the validity of what she wasy saying. But each of the girls would go to the little tent that had been put up, you know, a little cloth around poles. She would talk about a dark man in their lives. These were teenagers, you see, or she would talk about the family that she saw coming down the road. When she came to me, she said, "You won't be rich,

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but you'll always make plenty of money." Well, you know, I was a bit let down. Why should I be different from anybody else? That puzzled me very much. Then later, my mother told me . . . I didn't tell my mother about this . . . that this lady had been talking to her and she said, "I was so glad when Lucy came and I could say something different."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then, she knew the family, she knew a little bit about you.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She didn't know much, she was a stranger in the community. She had been there a year or so, a very casual acquaintance of the family. She wasn't a relative or a "connection", as they say in the South. I've forgotten who she was. So, that puzzled me. It always did puzzle me, what made her do it, but she knew that she had done something, you see, and she made that explanation to my mother, that she was glad to have somebody to say something different. I could see, you would get bored.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It didn't make a special impact on you, did it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. [laughter] But it put me to doing a little thinking, you see.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But if you were in a prep school, weren't the aspirations of the other students there also to go to college?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. I was put in this little school that was set up in Greenville on the condition that they get me ready for college in three years. My mother decided that I wasn't working hard enough in high school and she saw no sense in dilly-dallying four years. They adopted a rule that they wouldn't let you skip a grade.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then, your aspirations weren't really different from your peers, there in the school, at any rate?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I didn't dress up as much as many of the other girls, but we were all good friends, you know, and we all went to the same parties. It was a simple life in a small town at that period.

Page 60
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But maybe you weren't as interested in being on the dating circuit?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I had some boys making glances in my direction but I wasn't too concerned about it. And I thought that some of the girls were just silly with their concern about primping and all that sort of stuff.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Could you make a generalization about what has happened to most of those girls that you were in prep school with?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, unfortunately, most of them have passed on, but the one that I . . . that was really just the best friend I've ever had, she lives in California. She went to college, she was a year behind me because she wasn't jumping a grade, in effect. She went to Randolph-Macon and then we went to Columbia together and until the last few years, we have managed to always see each other once a year. She is a gifted person. I always thought she would be a writer and she did get at least two books to publishers. I never saw them and one of them, she was quite enthusiastic about and wrote me about, but then it never came out. So what it was, she is a bit languid and was low on the energy side, and I [unknown] was, too. She married a very fine, attractive man and she had one daughter who is living out there in California. Her husband died a few years ago.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Would you mind telling her name?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, her name is Mrs. Clive Marshall and I have kept nearly every letter that she ever wrote.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Who was she?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She was Augusta Stacey and those letters are to go to Radcliffe, but I think that I will make a provision that they are not to be used until both of us die.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
I've come across her name now that you have given it to me
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I kept the letters in the beginning because I thought that she would be, not a Faulkner, but a good writer. When we went to Columbia, she studied journalism and she had a job in Virginia on a little country newspaper. But here is the way we met. They lived on a plantation and her mother wanted her to have better schooling, so they were moving into Greenville and the Episcopal Church — we were members of the Methodist Church — borrowed the lawn of a prominent Methodist member for an Easter egg hunt. So, I think that I might have been ten, but this lady from the Episcopal Church came to my mother and said that she hoped she would let me go to the Easter egg hunt and that she promised to look after me. So, I went to the Easter egg hunt and they had tables, you know, for the ice cream and cake part of it and sitting across from me was this girl who was a perfect comedian at age nine or ten, she is a year younger than I am. I was fascinated, so when I went home, I told my mother, "I met the most wonderful girl and I want you to go call on her mother. They have just come to town and I want to be a friend of hers." So, that's it and I just never forgot that party and meeting Augusta. She was just marvelous company.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How different were your aspirations from those of your classmates at Randolph-Macon?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know . . . the girls of that period were not as frank about what they were thinking as in later periods. I remember one day, there was a girl I thought was on the stupid side, but she looked wonderful. She was sort of tall, she was substantial, she wasn't stout, but she was substantially built, a wind wouldn't blow her over. And she had a kind of comfortable expression on her face, you know. She wasn't a beauty, but she wasn't homely either. And as I say, a placid expression that reassured people that looked at her. I don't know who was sitting by me on the bench out on

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the campus and I looked at that woman or girl, I said, "You know, if I looked like Laura, I would be in the United States Senate some day." So, there must have been something kicking around in my head, but not articulated. So, whoever was with me, you know, she caught the implication and she said, "She is kind of dumb." [laughter]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, the Randolph-Macon girls weren't terribly expressive about what they might have intended to do in life, or was it pretty assured that they would marry?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that was it, but they didn't articulate that like the girls did in the `30s and so on. Some of them were going to teach, but it was generally assumed that most of them would go home and do a little society and marry.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was there ever any question about the value of an expensive college education for that kind of life-time vocation?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh well, now, that argument has raged since Plato.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But I wondered if you women at Randolph-Macon thought about it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that kind of thing is thrown at you, you couldn't avoid it. Somebody would come along, "What does your father think of throwing away all this money?"
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, what have they done with their lives, those women that you went to Randolph-Macon with, other than Miss Stacey, who became Mrs. Marshall?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, now, she worked on a number of newspapers and so on. She wasn't just domesticated.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were other women in the professions?

Page 63
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh, yes. One of them, Virginia Allen, she went to Africa as a missionary and then died from cancer. There was one, Virginia Howlett, somebody ought to get ahold of Virginia. She lives in Philadelphia and she was executive secretary, at one time, for the Junior League. She helped get them into the constructive social work. She is, I think, the first woman elected as an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia that she goes to. She is badly crippled with arthritis. Then another one was Mary Stahlman, a brilliant girl. Mary Stahlman who married Judge Douglas in Nashville and helped him write some books and edited for, I think, over fifty years, the book page of the Nashville Banner.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, that's a Stahlman venture.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, her father was the owner and her brother, Jimmy, was the editor for so many years. Well, Mary did a most distinguished job on that and she was very well known among literary circles and always went to New York at least once a year for some of the big literary events. She gave to Randolph-Macon her collection of autographed books, which is quite a collection. Mary broke her leg or hip or something and had arthritis and couldn't walk and last year or the year before, she had one of these new operations and they replaced the joint and she walks now. She never got over the fact that I trimmed her twice in the annual debates.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I'll bet you trimmed quite a few people. [laughter]
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, in the course of time. [laughter] But Mary, I think she has finally gotten over it. One of the old girls told me that Mary said that she wished she had won that debate . . . this was just a few years ago, you know how these things stick in your mind. She is a very able person. So, we had quite a few. I think there was another missionary. I could hardly take it when these young shrimps were carrying on about nobody having

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had any ideals or anything. Well my goodness, at Randolph-Macon when I was there there was this student volunteer movement where they were all going to be missionaries and we had all kinds of organizations and groups going out to the orphanage and going here and there and doing all this sort of thing. Much more constructive than tearing down buildings.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think there is a discontinuity with the past in the present generation, I don't know why.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's one thing at Delta State, Dr. Dennis has me come over, he has a class in current events and for the last two years, he has me each winter semester be at the class one period. They just ask me questions and when they ask questions about something like idealism, I go all the way back and come down very quickly so that they will get a sense of that. To brag a little, they voted my class as the most interesting period they had had for the year.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That is the value of oral history, where persons who have contributed and participated in significant events, can't be present, an oral history tape recording may be second best and. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, if it is relevant to the particular issues being brought up and discovered. That is the problem with something like we are doing that wanders all over the face of the earth.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I know, but when they are indexed, Mrs. Howorth, you can pinpoint specific areas where it will be helpful.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes, you can.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Right after Randolph-Macon . . . well, you stayed a year after you graduated, didn't you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, I was invited to. The psychology department in

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Randolph-Macon was one of the first in the United States of any institution to separate philosophy and psychology, but they still had the same head. He thought that he was a broken down old minister, and he taught philosophy and really didn't know anything about psychology, but he always had an assistant who did. And an adjunct professor. So, he liked me and he asked me to come back as an assistant. So, after thinking about it that summer for a little after I got home, why I went back for that year.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you like doing it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That taught me that college faculty wasnt for me. And when all this uproar about having students attend faculty meetings . . . well, shoot, stop quarreling with them. Let them come, they will be so bored that they will forget all about it and be thankful that they don't have to go. [laughter]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You didn't have uproars when you were there?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
There were not uproars, but what I was talking about was the student uproar about their demand to be admitted to the faculty meetings, that if once they attended three or four, they would be cured of that complaint. No, there wasn't anything unpleasant in the meetings, but they were deadly dull and they offended my sense of order, because here with all these Ph.Ds and what not, [unknown] they didn't have the foggiest notion, most of them, about any parliamentary procedure and they would. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How did you know parliamentary procedure?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
From home. My mother was a great parliamentarian.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And the legal tradition, too.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They had a big fuss in Greenville once, the Kings Daughters had the only hospital in town and they gave one of the medical profession's doctor's orders not to send patients to the hospital. Well, the community split between the doctors that the Kings Daughters would admit and the ones that

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they refused to admit. And really, it was just wild, the people were so mad. Finally, they had a mass meeting, the Kings Daughters, I think, called the meeting with the public to see what could be done. Everybody was so at everybody else's throats. They asked my mother to preside, men, women and all. They all thought that she would be both fair and firm and hold it to the point. So, that shows what kind of a parliamentarian she was. I was brought up in that tradition. Then, we had student government and we had these literary clubs, the Franklin and the Jefferson. Mary Stahlman belong to the Jefferson and I belonged to the Franklin and that was how we happened to be pitted against each other at commencement. We operated our student government with parliamentary procedure and we had parliamentary drill in the little exercises and so on. So, it was quite amazing to me to find these people not knowing how to make a motion or how to amend a motion or in what order it ought to be voted or anything.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you considered very briefly an academic career?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I really did, I thought that I would probably go on and get a doctorate and most likely teach. Then, I was asked to come back the next year in the political science department. I was also offered a promotion to come back in the psychology department. But my mother wanted me to try not doing anything and maybe she thought that I needed a rest and maybe she wanted to have me around. You know, the motives are mixed in those things. So, I agreed and the war, World War I, was going on then, you see and my mother was the chairman of the county council of the women's council on defense. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw was the national chairman and she called on her old friend and ally to head it up in Washington County. So, she was full of activity about that and I started helping with the Red Cross. One of the

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natural things was that they put me in charge of a group of girls that the home economic agent was teaching to can and we had explosions all over the place and I broke glass jars and tomatoes and beans were all over the place and what not. [laughter] But it was kind of interesting, I didn't mind it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But soon, you became involved in the war industry.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That was later. I had this friend, this Augusta Stacy, they had moved away from Greenville. Her father was a most remarkable man. He made and lost three fortunes, so . . . .
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, Augusta Stacy wrote that her mother said that she could go study journalism at the summer session of Columbia University if I would go with her. So, after some conferring at home, it was agreed that we would and I would go into the university graduate school. I wasn't going to go to the teacher's college, which most of the people that went from Mississippi did do, but I was going to be in the university proper. So, we went, but her mother decided to go, too, and take the next younger daughter, who was about twelve I guess, Margaret. She was quite a bit younger than Augusta, there was a boy in between and so we all went to New York. Well, about that time, there had been one of those horrible murders in New York, so we were cautioned by Mr. Stacy and my parents and everybody that we knew not to get into a taxi in New York. Well, here we were, we had all this luggage and we got off the Southern Railroad in Pennsylvania Station and got a red cap and told him that we wanted to get on the bus for Columbia University. We got on the bus and we enjoyed it all, you know, we climbed up to the top and somehow or other loaded all these suitcases and everything. We rode and we didn't see anything that looked like a university to us. Finally, we began

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talking, "What had happened? Surely we should have been at the university by now?" Then one of us remembered that we were supposed to get off at 116th Street and here we were up around 139th Street. So, we had gone by it, but rather than unload all that stuff and stand on the corner, we rode to the end and came back and got off at 116th Street and then had our problems. We were housed in a dormitory that had formerly been a man's dormitory, but Mrs. Stacey and Margaret weren't allowed to be there and they had a little apartment.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What years were these? Do you recall?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, sure. It was in 1918, the summer of 1918. So, after a little while, I decided I liked New York and I didn't think my parents could afford to keep me there and so, I found that another college friend, who had left Randolph-Macon and gone to Smith and graduated that summer, she had lost a year by the transfer, she turned up and was there and these Smith girls were working for the Allied Bureau of Aircraft Production. So, Hilda said that she thought she could get me a job in there; I might have to pretend to be from Smith for a day or two, but that didn't matter. So, she did and I did and this was my first taste of industrial activity.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I wanted to ask you about this, but I wanted to ask you a question about Columbia University first. You liked New York, how did you like the university? Was the work very different from the kind of work that you had had at Randolph-Macon?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I was interested in that. First of all, I was kind of shocked at the factory-like atmosphere of everything, it was a tremendously large institution and I had never been north of Washington. So, I disliked that impersonality, which must be dreadful now, but my ego was picked up by the fact that I was admitted to the classes that I wanted as soon as I said

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I was from Randolph-Macon. And some of these people from Vassar and Wellesley and what not were having to send back for further copies of this, that or the other and so, as I said, that built up my ego.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you have some distractions in New York? I noticed that on your report, you dropped out of some classes?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I did two things. One, you see, I got this job at the end of the summer session and then I enrolled in the extension evening classes. Well, as long as this Allied Bureau of Aircraft Production continued, my work was that of a gauge inspector, which you probably don't know what is. It is measuring the angles of screws and bolts.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So different from the study of psychology and philosophy.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right. But as long as I was working with that, which didn't take one ten-thousandth of a brain cell, I could study at Columbia and I enrolled to take a master's degree in psychology. I had this course in abnormal psychology, which was wonderful for me because we made trips out to all these institutions and so on. Well, then after the end of the war, this mechanical work lost interest for me and I began scouting for something else and my mother was worrying about me up there in New York. She had volunteered in Mississippi to help the YWCA get money for its war work activities and they had set a goal for Mississippi for ten thousand dollars and it never crossed their minds that they would get more than five hundred. So, she got out and beat the bushes and got ten thousand dollars for them. So, they wanted her to come as an exhibit number one to a big reception they had in St. Louis. So, she went up there and she met some of the higher ups and she told them that they were missing a great opportunity, that the brightest thing that had ever hit New York was there and when they got back to New York, they should get in touch with me and give me a job.

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[interruption by Joe Howorth] So, you see, while this does exhaust you, it is pleasant to be dishing up about your adventures, and flattering. Well, so they did when they got to New York. They wrote to me and invited me to come by for a conference and the Armistice had come and my interest in being a mechanic had passed, waned and so, I dropped into the YWCA more out of politeness. They had written me a nice letter and I had been brought up to be polite. But the YWCA had no real appeal to me because I wasn't a missionary type. There is a difference between the humanitarian, which maybe is a classification that I would fall in, and the missionary.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I know the difference.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Then, I hadn't been a big YWCA member at college. I liked the secretary all right and once or twice, they roped me into doing something, but that wasn't a major interest of mine. So, I got there and chatted with whoever was delegated to speak to somebody of my classification at that time and then somebody in the office spoke up, said, "We just had a call from the Industrial Department that they want a research clerk." I, of course, didn't have any notion of what that was. They said, "Call . . . " and I've forgotten her name, but they said, "Tell her that we have someone who might be interested." She came and she was one of these people who fascinate me when I first meet them. She later left in about a year and went back to Colorado and she was the first woman ever elected superintendent [unknown] of Education in Colorado. So, you can see she was a real person with basic keen intelligence and so on. So, she talked to me and she asked me what I majored in in college and I said, "Political science." Now, here is another point. Political science was just barely beginning to be called political science as a separate study. Randolph-Macon was one of the first

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to have separated political science from either sociology or history. So, I said that I majored in political science and she said, "Oh, political economy, wonderful!" I said, "No, political science." "Oh," she said, "Political economy is just fine." "No," I said, "Political science." "Oh," she said, "it's all the same." Well again, I was polite. Why should I be arguing a question like that with someone obviously my elder. So, she said, "We'll take you. We don't pay much." It was settled that I would come in the next Monday. Well then, I guess that they had second thoughts or something. They said, "Well, nobody is supposed to be employed until Miss Eliza Butler meets them." Well, I didn't know who Miss Eliza Butler was then, but of course, eventually I learned that she was the sister of Nicholas Murray Butler, the president of Columbia University whose reputation I of course knew. Miss Eliza looked very much like Mr. Nicholas Murray Butler and she was like a steamship under full steam. So, she came and we chatted along and they were just beginning this psychological business of trying to find aptitude. So, she said, "What do you do most? What interests you most?" Well, you know, you can't answer that kind of question, really. So, I hesitated a little and I said, "Well, anything that I belong to, after awhile, they ask me to rewrite the by-laws." "Well," she says, "that won't affect us." Well, all right, she had asked a question and I tried to answer it honestly. But then she turned to the others and said, "She'll do." And do you know, that is almost the only time that the particular office and the people that I was talking with had "processed", in the current terminology, a clerical position. A clerical position was supposed to go through the business office and the business personnel. If that woman or someone of similar distinction hadn't interviewed me, I wouldn't have taken

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that position there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How do you think that came about? I mean, how was it that. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It came about . . . you see, I learned all this later. Of course, I didn't know anything about that procedure then and I learned about this later, that when the vacancy occurred, this woman said, "I don't want a file clerk. I want somebody who can come in here and help plan programs, make up reading lists and so on." Well about the second day I was there, I realized that they needed not a political scientist, but they needed an economist and a student of things like the labor movement. Randolph-Macon, which was a wonderful institution in my opinion, had the very poorest sociology professor that, in my opinion, ever lived. I scarcely knew what the Industrial Revolution was and I wouldn't have known at all if I hadn't read the novels of Charles Reade as a child. I had read the novels of Charles Reade and I had read the novels of Charles Dickens and I had a little notion of what they were going on about when they were talking about the Industrial Revolution. So, I did two things. I went over to the New York Public Library and got a stack of books on the industrial conditions and the history of the Industrial Revolution and economics and then I went out to Columbia and switched my courses.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I noticed that switch. International law. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. I got that, you see, it was post-war and I was interested, that was an interest of mine and also with the YWCA, I had observed enough, that they had an international interest from college days. So, that was the explanation for that switch and I really studied that. I was becoming an industrial expert. It was the Industrial Department of the YWCA and they had classes for industrial workers and they were sending

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out industrial groups and having training conferences and all this kind of thing.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Now, back to your war work, wasn't this in Mississippi that you were involved in it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. What I was involved in in Mississippi was simply the Red Cross and I got quite an acquaintance with the Red Cross people while I was there and when I moved to New York, I joined the Red Cross group and began to build my acquaintance there. I did those things, not anticipating that they might become important in my life, but I was just instinctively knew to build wherever I was, whatever I was doing. I joined the Democratic Ward Club in New York because women could vote in New York and they couldn't in the country at that time and my first vote was cast for Al Smith for governor in New York State.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, you really didn't go into war work in Mississippi, it was Red Cross work.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was local, too, Greenville. Well, of course, I went around with my mother in her. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Now, this guage work . . . what was that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
A gauge inspector.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was this for a company or for the government?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, it was one of my first experiences in the handicaps and foolishness of the treatment of women. This was an Allied Bureau of Aircraft Production. The United States, in its usual fashion, put up the

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money and the British ran it. Under the United States Civil Service Rule, women could not be employed as gauge inspectors. That was reserved solely for men. Here we were in the middle of a war and the active men were in the army and they needed this very much. So, we were employed, all these women, by the British and then the payroll was transferred to the United States and we went on the payroll as British employees and nobody checked to see whether we were men or women.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Where was the plant, where were you doing this work?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
We were doing this work in New York City.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
In what location?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The first location was down near Wall Street, in what they call a loft, and we were divided in sections that did different parts of the process. Then, we moved up to much pleasanter quarters in Abercrombie and Fitch, the fourth floor, I believe. The second or fourth floor. They weren't doing much business during the war. The point about having a central inspection of gauges is that that was how mass production was possible. The Greenfield Tap and Die Company could make a gauge, a screw or a bolt, in Greenfield, Massachussetts, which I think is where it is, and then that could be used on a part of something that was made in Ohio if the gauge, the screw and the bolt fitted the place on the machinery and consequently, every ten thousand or some figure, was pulled from the mass and sent to us to check. Now, they had about six different processes in the checking because you had to have those measurements to a ten thousandth of an inch.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Great exactitude.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. And the man at the head of it was an Englishman who

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was later knighted. He was Mr. Bingham Powell and then he was knighted and was Sir Bingham Powell. He was one of the most charming men I have ever met. Under him was an Australian, who was a very fine man and also quite attractive, but not quite with the elegance of Sir Bingham Powell. Then, the supervisors were the rough and tumble industrial types who wore shirts and ties and tried to look like gentlemen, but were on the crude side. So, I will give you another feminist incident. After the war was over, that is the Armistice, we didn't anybody take much interest in this business, because we knew that it was all going to blow up pretty soon and all close down . . . the dressing room facilities were very limited and so the women started a little early to go and freshen up to go out to lunch. So, this thuggish type who was over the room I was in decided that he would put a stop to that kind of thing. So, he called them all in one day just as we were about to go to lunch and gave a very rough talk about how he wasn't going to put up with that business anymore. Well, it just riled me. Nobody had ever talked to me in that kind of language before and I didn't like it, I thought that it was unjust. If he wanted to say something about it, he could have sent a memo around about please not to get [unknown] ready for lunch too soon, the type of thing that any good supervisor would have done. It was the sort of thing that all of them have to do, and even as mad as I was, I recognized it. Well, after I cooled down a little, I went out to lunch and I missed my appointment with my friend who was in another division and so I paced the streets, I was just burning with fury.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Southern sensibility.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Southern sensibility, feminine sensibility, all of it rolled

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into one. So, I paced the streets of New York and I went to an employment office and enrolled or enlisted for a job. This woman was alert and interested and said, "Well, here is one that I can send you right now." It was McGraw-Hill, to be an editorial assistant. So, I went there and this woman was sensible and she said, "Are you sure that you want to leave?" "Well," I said, "I think I am." She said, "I'll take you on, but you think about it and come back in a day or two after you have thought about it." So, there I was, I had gotten myself a job and I went back to the office and went into this Australian's office, Mr. Sutherland he was the superintendent of the whole thing, you see, under Sir Bingham Powell. I asked to see him and he asked me to come in and said, "What's the matter? What's on your mind?" So, I told him that I had come in to resign. "Well," he said, "Why?" He said, "Of course, we aren't going to operate long, but I want it to be an orderly liquidation. What is the matter?" I told him and he said, "Oh, I'll get him in here and make him apologize." I said, "No. It wasn't a personal insult, it was an insult to every woman in that room." He said, "All right, I'll make him apologize to the whole room." He said, "You go on back to your desk." So, he called that man in and I guess that he really laced him down and they both came back up and asked for the attention of everybody and the man gave an apology. Mr. Sutherland said that he recognized that the facilities were limited and they wished they could be better. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was Mr. Sutherland the Australian?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. And he said he hoped that everybody would do the best they could under the circumstances and that as long as we worked together we would be happy.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
How many employees were there?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
About twenty-five in that room.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How many in the operation as a whole?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I don't know. They came and went, but I would say around 100.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How many women of your twenty-five in the room?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They were all women.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
You see, there were only these men supervisors. That's where I learned that men gossip as much as women. There was one of those men who every morning wanted somebody to run to him with some stories.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You had some to give, too, I suppose. Some tales.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were many opportunities open for women in war work?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. After the war came the great "go back home."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about in Mississippi? Were there any opportunities for women in war work in Mississippi or was it principally Red Cross and volunteer work?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I would guess, you see, I wasn't there, but I think there was some shipping work down on the coast and some women probably. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was there a Women's Land Army in Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, not as I recall. Rosie the Riveter was a Second World War slogan. The production methods in World War II were quite different from World War I, the mechanisms had spread so much more. Randolph-Macon sponsored Dr. Meta Glass, in charge, they sponsored the Land Army. She later, you know, went to Barnard as Dean and was President of Sweet Briar.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
I don't know the history of the Land Army, I just know that it existed.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, she Dr. Glass did and sponsor the Virginia unit that was Randolph-Macon's contribution. Whereas Smith, you see, was furnishing employees not only to where I went to work, but to a great number of factories and plants in the New York and New England area.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Where did you live in New York?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I lived with a friend who had an uncle and aunt who lived in New York. They lived in a very staid and dignified boardinghouse Mrs. Fitch's, on West 76th Street and they had gotten Hilda in early. I had at the first a room down the street then moved into the boarding house, Mrs. Fitch's when a room came vacant.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Near Central Park West, or near what?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was about two blocks west of Central Park West. There was wonderful food and very dignified. They had a parlor that you could use occasionally if you wanted to and eventually I had a nice room there. It was up on the fourth floor, what used to be the maid's quarters. They converted it into [unknown] rooms where unmarried ladies lived. Then, there were a number of married couples like Hilda's uncle and aunt.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The YWCA involvement and changing your course work to international law, I guess. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
And economics. You see, I had one of the fine economics professors there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
These stimulated you and inspired you to go to law school, I suppose?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that came to me . . . I do not know when it was formulated in my mind, but the first time that I knew that it was in my mind was when a dentist in Lynchburg . . . now, I've always gotten along

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famously with men, really. We've been good friends and I resent very much all this stuff going around that women and men can't be friends, that they just have to have a sex relationship. So, this dentist, I had a good deal of work my senior year and he and I settled [unknown] world issues in between his grinding on my teeth. So, the last time I was there, just before commencement, he said to me, "You aren't going to be a lawyer as they say you are." I said, "No, I think not." He said, "I'm glad, I don't think much of women being lawyers." So, when I left his office, I walked down onto the street and on to the college and. . . .
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, after this encounter with the dentist in Lynchburg. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Then, I began thinking, "If I do want to be a lawyer, why, there is no reason why I can't do it like anybody else." So, it was in my head and then as I thought along, I decided that, well, there would be a lot of quarreling and fussing about this and I had better see if something else would appeal to me. So, you see, I tried the year as an assistant on the faculty, more or less trying out if that was the field for me. Then, the war came along and so any permanent decisions were pushed aside in the effort to win the war. Nobody today can understand how in World War I everybody pitched in to do something to help win the war and every person like me wanted to do a great deal more than they did. So then, this YWCA job came along and I thought, "That's a practice something like social work and I'll see how that sits." Then, I had a friend in New York and she and I figured out something about starting a business in New York with something different and eventually, she made quite a success of it. But I finally decided somehow that I wanted to study law. Then I announced that decision and resigned at the YWCA and believe it or not, they tried to keep me and

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the general secretary sent for me and she said, "I understand that you are leaving. We would like to keep you and if you haven't seen the position that you want, if you will describe it, we will create it."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But before you resigned, didn't you make application to law schools? There was no competition in your mind that law school was. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, there was a competition in my mind in that I wished I could go to Columbia University and I was just irritated beyond words that I could study international law in a room and then when I left, they took up a course in evidence and I was not permitted to stay in that room and take that course. That just made no sense to me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Women were not permitted to go to Columbia Law School?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh no, not until about . . . when was Harlan Stone Chief Justice? He was Dean of the Law School and a friend of mine, Judge Mary Donlon later she was a judge on the Court of Customs Appeals, she went to him along with some others, you know, trying to get Columbia University Law School open and he said, "It will be over my dead body." So, when it was opened and he was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mary Donlon sent him a telegram that said, "I congratulate you on not having your dead body lying on the steps of the hall at Columbia. Women are now there." So, you couldn't get in and I couldn't get in and New York University Law School didn't really appeal to me, yet women were admitted there. So, I decided that maybe the South was the place for me after all and I could go to the University of Mississippi. So, that's what happened.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I am surprised that southern universities didn't have their law schools closed to women.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Some of them did, but the University of Mississippi was a state institution and it had admitted women back in 1880 and no school of the University was closed to them and as I have said earlier, Bessie Young went there, I think,

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around 1910. So, there had been a number of women graduates there, not a great number, but some.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I take it that your stay at Old Miss Law School was a happy experience?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. You know, I don't worry about whether I am happy. I think happiness is a by-product. It's not a goal and if you are doing what you want [unknown] to do and you are enjoying this, that and the other, you will be happy. If you aren't, you won't. I can't stand the way that people say, "Oh, I'm not happy." Get your mind on something else and do it and then if you do it right, happiness will come.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There is also commitment, throw yourself into a commitment.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Now, when I got to the University of Mississippi campus, it was to me a deadly place. I had come from New York, where there was stimulation on every corner and people who fascinated me and inspired me. In September, 1920, Lee Russell was governor of Mississippi, the worst that we have ever had, so far as I can determine and he had abolished, led the movement to abolish fraternities and they had been abolished. The fathers of many sons and daughters of the type who would ordinarily have been there, they sent them somewhere else. There was almost a boycott by quite an element within the state of the university at that time. Then, Lee Russell and his kind were all for egalitarianism. They didn't want anything that put anyone above another. There wasn't any kind of student activities like Randolph-Macon had. They (Randolph-Macon) had had a student activity for every moment of the day and of all kinds of descriptions. That's how this relationship . . . not "relationship", that's too strong of a word, with William Faulkner came about, in that this friend of mine in Greenville, Mississippi, who was a

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senior law student . . . it happened almost the first day when I was there, when we were registering, Ben Wasson came across the campus and called to me and we had quite a warm reunion. He said, "Oh, I am so glad that you are here. We want to form a dramatic society and put on some plays and I want you to meet a talented friend here, Bill Faulkner. He says that he will help us and if you will use your organizing technique, I'll do the running around and Bill help us with his advice and we can make a go of it." Well, we did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was this a two year course in law at Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was a two year course. They were trying to change to a three year course. For myself, I felt that if I went to school for three more years, I wouldn't be any good. I had to get very quickly into something. Then, the other members of the class said that they had come with the understanding that it was two years and they either couldn't afford another year or this, that and the other. So, we won our first case. We had a little session of the enrollees of the freshman law class and appointed a committee and went to the dean and made our presentation. He agreed that the catalogue had made a contract and they couldn't make the change until the next year, which they did and Mr. Howorth was in that next class. But we did it in two years.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did this include summers?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No and they put in some new courses, of course, to make the three years and I took all of the extra courses.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
When did you do this? On your own after you had graduated?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I did it while I was there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You just took a double load?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, they let me do it and I did it. This sounds awfully conceited, but I don't know when I came to the conclusion that I could do three times what anybody else could within a given area. I couldn't go out and dig a ditch, I knew that. But in a lecture room, I could do three times. Take at Columbia University, there were these old Yankees, you know, oh you see, the University was distinct from the Teacher's College. The Teacher's College was full of southerners.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I know. Anita Pollitzer from Charleston, who was an organizer for the Woman's Party . . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I knew Anita.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was there when you were there.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She was there, she probably overlapped, but you know, you don't get acquainted with all . . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you did know her?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I knew her later, I knew her quite well. In fact, we were quite good friends. These people, as I said, there were very few southerners in the University proper, especially in the summer school and especially then when the men were all in the Army mostly. So these people, they were much older than I was, and said "we didn't know anybody from Mississippi would be interested in all this kind of stuff." Then, when the grades came out, this little shrimp from Mississippi was up there with the best and they continued to not understand. Well, I could tell them, but I didn't, that both of my great-grandmothers went to, one of them went to Elizabeth College

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and took her degree in 1828 and the other one went to Nazareth Academy, Bardston, KY. which was the first boarding school for girls west of the Appalachian Mountains and she went by boat in 1832 from Washington County, Mississippi to Bardston, Kentucky.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, you experienced that patronizing attitude, condescending?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I had been a wonder to so many of these people, these Yankees. [unknown] I could run into it all the time and I would lay traps for them sometimes. Somebody would think that she knows it all and where she probably didn't know anything, I would get it into the conversation and watch them fall.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you excelled at Old Miss, too?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I took first honors. The story as to that, I've told it often. I will show you a picture of the law school, I think that I have it in the car that has just come and as you entered, off to the left, there was a round room that could have been used for a classroom and the boys had appropriated it for what they called "The Bull Room." Well, I recognized that they had a right to get off to themselves and talk like they wanted to talk among themselves, but I also recognized that the room was in the Law School Building and as far as I was concerned, nothing was to be off limits, but that this would be handled discreetly. So, I would drop in there every once in awhile just to establish that I had a right to be there, but not enough to be a nuisance.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The Bull Room.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. So one day, I came along, I think that it was the first week of the school semester and I was a few minutes ahead of class time and three or four of the boys were in there, we called them boys and I guess that

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they called me a girl, although most of them were actually war veterans. There were four or five sitting around there and so I went in and sat down and one of them began to [unknown] talk to me [unknown] and it was a nice young man and he said, . . . they called me Miss Somerville and he said, "Miss Somerville, we have been talking about you." I said, "A good thing that I came in." "Oh, no, we were having an argument. I said that you were smarter than anybody in the school, the law school, and these others said ‘Oh, no, that Sid Berry can beat anybody.’ " Sid had graduated the year before and had led the academic school. So, he was a good choice. And this Phillips said, "I bet that you could beat Sid Berry." I said, "Well, you may be putting your money on the wrong person. Sid is a nice man and I understand that he is very smart." "That's all right, you can take him on." So, take him on I did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How? A debate?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, knowing what was the assignment, and by that time, of course, I had had a lot of experience that most of these young men hadn't. I had studied at Columbia, I had competed with some real good minds. Now, I don't mean that they didn't have good minds, but they hadn't had anything like the education that I had. They hadn't had anything like Randolph-Macon. So, Sid . . . I always felt kind of sorry about it. When the quarter grades came in, I was a half a point ahead and when the half came in, I was two or three points ahead. So, he was either deciding that he couldn't have it close or . . . then, by the end of the second term, the summer, he was definitely about seven points or something like that behind. So, from then on, nobody came within ten points of my grade.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you set your goal on delivering this senior oration.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that was something else. I hadn't thought about that at first. I don't think that anybody does much, maybe some people do, but I didn't because I was helping start this dramatic club and then decided that the weekly newspaper needed some upbuilding and I persuaded them to let me edit a column, which I stole the title from The New Republic. I don't suppose that three people knew about The New Republic there, anyhow. "Books and Things." That's how I really worked with Faulkner, because he contributed to that column and while I never changed a word of anything that he put in, technically I edited his contributions. I did ask him for contributions and I did discuss what they were and I did print them. So, I was doing a good many little things besides sticking to the books. So, I thought it would be more or less automatic that whoever made the highest grades would be the class orator and then at commencement of the first year I was there, the man that had made the highest grade was not the class orator, but somebody further down the line was picked.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How did that happen?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Politics, I guess, but anyhow it happened. I hadn't any idea of how it happened, I may have made guesses, which I've forgotten by now, but the thing was that I caught the significance that you not only had to have a high grade. So, I knew that there would be some strokes against me as a woman, that some of the people on the faculty committee would say, "Oh, well . . . " So, I did what I could and I don't know what all, but I do know that the dean's wife pulled for me and I do know that some of the faculty did. So, I was appointed class orator. The class orator was supposed to be the person who had made outstanding scholastic record and who had done the most for the student body. I am sure that they counted

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in this column in the paper, and the dramatic club, the Marionettes. . . . I was president of it the second year, the first year, Ben was president and there was a Scribbler Society, which was a chapter of a Greek letter honor society, but because they couldn't have any Greek letters on the campus, they called it The Scribblers. It only admitted men and so, I organized a group of women writers. We called it The Ravens. I deviled them into having a girls' basketball team and got out and acted as a referee for the games, got teams from two or three places. Believe me, it's work. I've always had respect for anreferee since then. [laughter] But I was pretty well known all over the campus.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, you told us this morning about your inspiration for getting this hard hitting commencement address. I wonder if you could tell it again?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
As I said this morning, I am basically an advocate. I may not look like it in all this free talking, but I don't like to make a speech to celebrate Decoration Day or something like that, you know. I like to be pleading a cause and of course, sometimes like that historical society, there was some sense to that, I was trying to make those younger people see what had motivated things and that there were people who had done things before. So, after I had agreed to be the class orator, I was worrying about what to put in there, to get my teeth into something. We had convocations there of the student body, they called them "chapel" and we had them about once a week or once every two weeks. So, I came to chapel and the chancellor of the university presided at this particular one. He didn't always. Usually, they had some minister or some outside speaker or something, but he decided to do this one. So, in the course of his remarks, he quoted from some statement that had been made at some institution. I think that perhaps it was by some parent who was upset that his son had heard

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something at this institution that had shaken his faith, something along that line, you know. He said, "Now, I want you, each and every one, when you go home to tell your parents that you will never hear anything at the University of Mississippi that will disturb your faith or which would upset them." So, that was my chapter and verse. I didn't think then and I don't think now that an education or an institution exists for any purpose except to stir and train the minds of the students and to just pour in a lot of pre-digested material is not the purpose of the institution in my judgement.
So, I worked that speech up and I didn't let anybody see it before it was delivered, because I wanted it to come as a. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You had that much freedom?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Not after that. After that, they made a rule that the faculty committee should go over the speech. The average student had a faculty person to help with his commencement oration, he had tutoring in the delivery, coaching, so that the matter of not knowing what was in the speech really hadn't come up.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you hadn't asked for these aids, had you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I didn't want them. I had no intention of asking for them. There wasn't anybody around. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But ever after?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's what I was told, that they took care that it didn't happen again. Although, you see, as I said this morning, when the faculty committee studied the speech, there was nothing that they could take a stand against. That is, to say that I shouldn't get my degree.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But it's a critique of administrative practices.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, it is. Dr. Cash, at Delta State, he read it this

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spring, I suppose in the course of Jane Elliot's researches and said, "That could be made today."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It could.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it almost got lost for posterity.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I wonder if it was published?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, no.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, Miss Florence Simms at the YWCA wanted to see it published.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
[unknown] Miss Florence Simms is one of the people who influenced my life. She gave it the slant toward social conditions.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
[unknown] She's the one that recommended that it be published but I think that she died before she could promote it.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. I may have . . . no, I didn't. She took a great interest in me and in 1922, the YWCA in Mississippi had a state secretary who was doing the high school work, the Girl Reserves, they call them Y Teans now. Well, the YWCA had run out of war money and was getting down to basic activities and they served notice on Mississippi that it had to take over the financing and operation of this work. So, the secretary had picked up my name somewhere and she came up to Oxford to see me and she asked if I would become chairman of the board that would have to be set up to administer, to collect money for employees and make policies and this, that and the other. So, I agreed to do it. Now, the YWCA was having its bienniel convention at Hot Springs, Arkansas that spring and I thought that if I was going to go into this, I should renew my affiliation or associations with national personnel. You see, I have never been a local person, I have always wanted to know who was at the top. So, I arranged to go over for the convention and Miss Simms was there and she gave me the opportunity, one of the pleasures of my life, Judge Florence Allen was going to speak and she arranged that I would introduce Judge Allen,

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Judge Allen, then already. Now, Florence Simms always believed in trying out your voice. You know, you didn't have microphones then, you had to pitch your voice to the room. So, this is an illustration of the care she took. She said, "Come on, let's go to the convention hall," before I was to introduce Judge Allen. We got in there when they weren't having any meeting and she sat at the back and she made me stand up on that platform and pitch my voice and test that I could make it carry. It was a large hall and my voice is really not a strong one, it is only by skill that I make it go. That hall, I think, seated six or eight hundred people. It was quite a large hall. So, she had me to do that. I spent a great deal of time with her. I hired a car one afternoon and took her and another former associate for a drive. You know that Hot Springs is in the mountains.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes. I haven't been there, but I know.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It is somewhat similar to this. The car broke down, which in 1922 was not unusual and we sat there on the side of the road and talked for an hour or more and it was a great occasion with me. Then, she died the next January.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How did she know about your commencement address, its merit?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, she didn't know the merit, I mean, I think that I probably discussed it because it was already being formulated in my mind. I probably discussed it then and I don't know how she heard about it, maybe I wrote her. I wrote her occasionally and she may have learned that it had been well accepted.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It's said that this address was inspired in part by the evolutionary controversy then, the view of evolution being . . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that inspired the chancellor's remarks and the whole

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atmosphere of Mississippi and Alabama and Tennessee, not to say anything about Georgia and South Carolina, was having all of this controversy in the churches and schools about what you should be taught. It was fundamentalism and so on.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And what was the community reception of the address?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it was enthusiastic. I assume that there were some people who went to sleep, there always are, but the vast majority were just very attentive and very enthusiastic and I got a long standing ovation at the end, which after all, for a commencement oration . . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were you lambasted in the press at all?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, not in Oxford. The Oxford Eagle, their little paper, never would . . . .
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Why is it that you said you were so willing to give of your time in interviews this way?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It's not giving of time. That is no particular gift at my stage in life, but it is a giving of innermost thoughts, many of which I have never tried to put into words to any other person. Because it seems to me that the times, which always seem to older people and maybe always are, out of joint. I think the spread of alienation and the attitude of so many people today that there is no hope . . . these students at Delta State University asked me, "Do you think that the United States is done?" Well, if a person can study the life of another person and see that with purpose, with attention to each step and directing it toward the next step and by seizing opportunities, and concentration, that person can accomplish a great deal,

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maybe it will be worth taking up the time of the people who interview and my effort to articulate rather vague thoughts.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You seem to have your philosophy pretty clearly outlined.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I pity the person at eighty who does not.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There are some, though.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I'm sure the "fliberty-gibbets," as they used to say.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Back to your commencement address, just one more comment, one more question. I would like to know more about community reaction, not just audience reaction, but community reaction. You said that a woman approached you.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I described that incident and I want to say that this is the first time I've ever told that incident in what might be called "public." It had a great imprint on me. After I spoke [unknown] there were other events of the evening and after the program was over, then my friends and maybe some people who weren't so much friends, all came up with a great deal of commotion and to do, you know, shaking hands and congratulating and bringing in flowers and this and that. So, I lingered a long time because even then I had the political gift that you are sure to shake the last hand because that may be the hand that cast the deciding vote. [unknown] So, as I moved on out, the commencement exercises were held in what was then called the old Fulton Chapel, which had been used as a hospital during the Civil War and was a kind of a sacred place on the campus, with its tradition. I think that in the sixties two thirds of the senior class of the university didn't come back and fell during the war. To read the list of that class killed is just to make you weep. Well, the place, therefore, has quite a feeling and outside the main hall was a rough kind of lobby and then on the side were

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the steps leading out of the building. That hallway was dim, and when I got out there, I thought I saw a figure in the shadows and then this lady came out and touched me and said, "May I speak with you?" She gave her name and where she was from and it was one of the most poverty stricken of Mississippi counties. It was a county in which they joked that no one paid an income tax and to my mind, the county, the whole area, was desolate and I would never expect anything to come out of it that had any hope. She said, "I'm the aunt of (a certain student) and his parents are dead and I've done what I could for him and I thought he should have some family here. I'm glad I came. I've heard you say tonight what I wanted to hear someone say all of my life."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was a woman of some education?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She was bound to have been. She probably taught school or something like that and she had sat back in that miserable, poverty-stricken area, I'm sure that there wasn't a library in the county and there wasn't anything, and thought her thoughts. Well, I never forgot that. It did several things for me. It made me think that you can never judge an area solely by its appearance and statistics, that there may be gold in them thar hills that look so barren and desolate. And it also made me feel that if I had a gift that could move people so, I should be very careful of the cause in which I used it. I have never wanted, I have accepted money sometimes for speeches, but mostly I have insisted that the public was supporting me, or the government, or I had adequate means and I didn't want anything. That's one of the reasons. Then, I have never made a speech that I didn't believe in. And a good deal of it is due to that woman, because I developed it, I always had quite a wit, you know, and I could get up at a banquet and make them all fall off their chairs laughing, but I wouldn't

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do it just to do it. I never have.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But this instance
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
You see, you don't have that kind of thing happen much and I was feeling high and this came in.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What were the kinds of cases that you first handled? Well, let me ask you another question first, did you have any trouble getting clients when you first began to practice law?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, every lawyer does and you certainly wouldn't be telling the truth if you said you didn't.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But this was something of an unusual phenomenon, a so-called "lady lawyer."
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
A "lady lawyer" gets publicity and gets attention, but getting business is something different. I opened in a little office in Greenville when I came from law school in June. I wasn't making much headway, I did a little business and then I wanted to get to making enough money to support myself, so I came here to Monteagle with some cousins. The first automobile trip from Greenville, Mississippi to Monteagle and we went over creeks! I mean, the road was nothing but creekbed and it was a very adventurous trip. Well, anyhow, I began to think that maybe I ought to try to connect up with something and be a law clerk or something. Well, in talking around, my brother-in-law, Mr. Audley W. Shands, a Cleveland attorney, offered me a place in his office and I accepted and I went to Cleveland. He had one of the largest practices in the Mississippi Delta and he was an amazingly fine lawyer. He was equally good before a judge as well as a jury and he had. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did he do criminal cases, civil, corporate law, what did he do?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
He did very little criminal law at that time. He had practiced a good deal of criminal law and later, he went back to some of it. But at that time, he was doing chiefly chancery, land law, estates, guardianship and suits on accounts and suits on contracts and enforcements of contracts and all of the business law. There wasn't in Mississippi at that time much of what you call corporate law. He represented the Illinois Central Railroad and when the Mississippi Power and Light came in, they employed him and so on, but not like what you call corporate law today. It was a country law practice, a very interesting one and a very human one, you might say. As I said, estates and so, he made me a lawyer. Up until then, I was. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were going serve as his apprentice?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. He took me, whenever he had a client come in with a case, he would send for me and I would sit there and learn how he elicited the facts and how he shaped up to what principle was involved. Then, I did a great deal of research and I looked after all the papers. Then, he let me argue cases as he felt more confident of my ability and I worked on briefs. He made a lawyer of me. He was a great lawyer and he died in 1935 when he was only fifty-five. But I left his firm in the fall of 1926 and he was very much upset with me. He said, "You are just getting to be some account." I said, "It may seem so to you, but I'm getting to where I don't make any decision without checking with you and I can't be a lawyer and not make my own decisions." So, I went back to Greenville and opened an office and shared it with S.B. Thomas on his invitation. It surprised me, he wrote me and said, "Lucy, I hear that you are coming to Greenville and I want to rent such and such space and I can't afford it. Will you come in

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and you can have one room and we will share the waiting room?" It was quite an opportunity, his father was chancellor and he was a very popular man and while we were not. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Chancellor at the university?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, chancellor of the court. We have divided jurisdiction in Mississippi: the law side being the circuit judge and the chancery or equity side having the chancellor. That court handles all land cases, wills and so on. So, I was in Greenville then and I had a thriving business built up the first thing.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was this law partner's name?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Sam(S.B.)Thomas. He later became chancellor himself and he just died last year. He died while Joe was sick, so I couldn't go to the funeral. He told somebody that he didn't know what work was until he watched me. He made very good company and wit, you know, and told funny stories and was popular and easy-going. But we would get a case together and he would work then, because you see that he was enough of a fair-minded person, he would see what I was doing and he would do his part.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I see that you were drafted as League of Women Voters counsel?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I wasn't. If you saw that, it was wrong somehow.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, it was informal counsel. They were going to investigate an irregularity involving a Mrs. J.O. Wallace.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I've forgotten the details of that, but what I was, I was the legal counsel for the Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs. Now, I steered clear of the League of Women Voters. It may be that they wrote me sometime and asked me to see "how come" about something.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think this woman had involved herself under League auspices and declared a political position and the League was up in arms against her because it was a supposedly non-partisan group.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Every once in awhile something turns up that I am supposed to have done and maybe I did, but I don't have the foggiest idea and I do know quite distinctly that I was always polite to members of the League and as I said the other day, maybe not on tape, that I had conferences with their officers in conjunction with officers of other organizations where there was some common organizational problem, but mostly I was always a partisan Democrat. As I said, I joined the ward club in New York City and I never made any pretense of not being a Democrat. Now, when I came to administer the law, it didn't matter whether the person appearing before me was a Democrat or a hottentot. The law was administered as fairly as I could see it, which is a very different thing. Some people don't understand the difference.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then I see that you drew up the articles of a business partnership between Minnie Brewer and Miss Forbes and Miss Smith.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It wasn't Miss Smith, it was Miss White.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It was subsequently dissolved, I understand.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. We had a big set-to down in Jackson when it was dissolved. Well, I wish we had time to go into that particular project and the beginning of my associations which started then from time to time with Earlene White. Because she subsequently became the national president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women and I was what she called jokingly . . . and the joking was proper, "her campaign

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manager." What I did, I was the floor representative for her and nominated her. I didn't personally nominate her, but I selected the people who were the nominators and I saw to it that they got recognition. I was on the nominating committee and I saw too, that it brought in a unanimous nomination. I organized the Mississippi and Washington delegations to that 1937 convention of the Business and Professional Women's Federation to keep track of all the other state delegations and report to me and keep my hands on the whole thing. But she had wrapped it all up by her visiting the clubs over the countryand she was a warm, outgoing person and the members loved her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was she a Mississippian?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes and the members loved her. So, it was like reelecting Franklin Roosevelt in '36. It was just one of those things: [unknown] they all expected her to be the next president. But no matter how things are set up, you have to have somebody to manage the details, which she understood and I understood. So, she just called me her "campaign manager" and I took care of all the details and everything. The National Federation has asked me to write about Earlene because they have very little material about her, but I haven't gotten around to it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was this set-to down in Jackson?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, Earlene White and Ligon Forbes were both newspaper women but more on the business side of newspapers, that is, advertising. And they had come up with one of these ideas of promoting a newspaper and they would go to a community and sell, persuade the editor of the paper to let them put on this campaign of getting subscriptions, you know. Usually, they would give some little awards or something, but I don't think they agreed to do that in this case of The Woman Voter. And The Woman Voter,

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Minnie wanted to get more subscriptions and she wanted more interest. So, she called me and said that they were coming with their proposition and would I come up to Clarksdale from Cleveland and be present and help her see that they got a good contract. Well, I forget the details now, but the contract was that they would get advertising and that they were to get a commission and there was some protective clause thrown in there that if they didn't get so much within a certain time, the thing would be forfieted and they would turn over . . . it wouldn't be entirely forfeited, but they would turn over their papers and their prospects to The Woman Voter. Well, I don't know whose fault was what, but the upshot was that they went along a few weeks and then began to get into some difficulties and so, we wanted to enforce the clause in the contract about reclaiming these lists and they didn't want to turn them loose. They wanted some considerable payment and I suppose that maybe I had some business in Jackson and they, Ligon and Earlene, had left Clarksdale. Anyway, we all met down there and they kept on asking [unknown] Mr. Lampton . . . that cottage over there belonged to his wife and he was a great friend of the Brewers, he kind of sat off on the side to give us some backing and we finally worked out some kind of a settlement, but they all got very mad, you know, people do.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You had a great tribute paid to you as a person who could draw up a contract in a most excellent fashion and this was so surprising among "lady lawyers." [laughter] I think that the tribute was from either Minnie's father [unknown] Governor Brewer.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That was her father. You see, I had put in some little trick that favored Minnie and that Ligon and Earlene didn't realize quite the impact that it would have. But after that, you know, the strange thing

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about a law practice is that by the time you have worked ten years or something like that, at the end, the majority of your clients are people that you have defeated, won against.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Who you won against?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
You see, Earlene marked me down from that day as a person who would be a good ally and not to try any funny business with. But Earlene was quite gifted in the warmth of her personality and she could make a fine speech. Now, it didn't have any ideas, but it made people feel good.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was she a good administrator in her position?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, she was. She made me chairman of the Program Coordination Committee, they called it, it was new. She made me chairman of nearly every special committee that popped up.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, you had a good working relationship?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. She sent me to Norway to represent the national at the board meeting of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs and that was a wonderful experience.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were connected with AAUW. Did you know Jessie Stokely Burnett? This is just off the cuff.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The name is familiar. Who is she?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She's the South Carolina organizer of the AAUW.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She was one of the early ones. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She taught at Furman University or Greenville Woman's College, as it was called.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, she was with the Southern Association of Collegiate Alumnae. I knew most of those women slightly. I knew a few of them well, but you see,

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I was just beginning.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was a suffragist and had lunch with the Pankhursts when they came to Greenville. I see this Association of Women Lawyers caught you up in its membership.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I've always believed that you should support the professional organization of whatever profession you are in. I was present at the organization meeting of the National Association of Women Lawyers in Minneapolis in 1923.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, I remember that now.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I don't know what they call me in it, they have a history that is coming off the press in August 1975 and I am kind of curious to see if I will be listed in there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Who is writing this history?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't recall. I ordered a copy. It was announced in a recent letter from the president. I attended a number of the conventions of the National Association of Women Lawyers and I knew some of them very well and some of them not so well, practically every president until the last four or five. I was what they call a vice-president from Mississippi for many years. I had several articles published in their journal.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I saw those.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But I never got into the real workings of the organization. You know, you can't do everything.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I sometimes wonder how you did so much. There was an International Association of Women Lawyers.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh yes, I belonged to that. I forget when we started it up, but. . . .

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
About 1929, was it not?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Somewhere along there, you know, when so many international movements were getting under way.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What do these groups actually accomplish in the long run?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it depends on which group you are talking about.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, let's take them one at a time. The National Association of Women Lawyers.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The National Association of Women Lawyers has done a great deal. It battered and banged to get Columbia University, for example, and people like Anita Pollitzer and myself and so on, we never missed an opportunity for that kind of thing. You would write letters to the papers and you would go to see whoever was the dean or you would go to the trustees, more likely, because you had sense enough to know that that's where the power is . . . or some donor. Then, it has promoted solidarity among women lawyers, kept them driving on unified lines. Then, I think that there would never have been a woman judge if it hadn't been . . . I mean in the strict judicial area, and prior to 1950, there were no women judges, if it hadn't been for the National Association of Women Lawyers. All over the country, they worked for it. And you see, the American Bar Association . . . finally, I think a year ago, they presented some woman's name, but they didn't ever before. But the woman lawyers always threw a name in there so that whoever was doing the appointing, the governor or the president or the mayor or whatnot, couldn't say that there wasn't any woman.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
They were active regionally, too?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you said that you just couldn't organize those Mississippi

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women lawyers. I guess that you finally did, or somebody finally did.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Did I say that?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You said, "They were so cool toward organizing into an association."
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, there weren't but four or five and one of them went to the Labor Department and Miss Buchanan made quite a success there in the women's division and then later on, the legal staff of the Labor Department.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You got an interesting letter from the Connecticut organization, the "OWL", Organization of Women Lawyers. They wanted you to join as an associate member, I think.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you join?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I don't think so. I think that I decided that Connecticut was too far away.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The International Association was interesting. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It was so noble, grand. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
As I recollect, we had some meetings in Washington and New York and I met a number of them and then of course, when I was in Paris for the International Federation of University Women, the Paris women barristers gave a dinner party for me and were also very nice in many ways and then in London, the women barristers gave me a luncheon in 1924 and again in 1970.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This organization, with its statement of purposes, was it an action group or was it just an association where women lawyers could get

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together and hash out grievances?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, of course, they were too few and they were too far between to be a real action group, but they encouraged each other. Now, you live in a different age.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But when you are all alone and trying to get something done, this encouragement even in a letter from somebody over in South Carolina who is in the same sort of a box and then if you can meet even once a year, a little, it is very encouraging and keeps your spirits up.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, then you moved to Jackson and married, or you married and moved to Jackson.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, that's it. You see, Mr. Howorth was a lawyer in Jackson and to tell the truth, we talked about his coming to the Delta, because I really had a good practice going there and I decided, I think more than he, that it wouldn't be fair to him. In Mississippi then, and the situation being what it was, if he came there, everybody would say that he was just marrying me because I had a good law practice and he would go down in public estimation, while I could move to Jackson, which was my mother's childhood home, where her father had practiced, where. . . .
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Constance Myers, continuing the interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth from Cleveland, Mississippi, the interview taking place in Monteagle, Tennessee on June 23, 1975.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
[looking at picture] Is this Mrs. Waldrop?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, that's Mrs. Le Point Cassibry Smith, who is the director of the Bolivar County Library and who has traveled with me for . . . oh, we started in '63. She went to New York with me. Joe arranged that, he saw that I was getting restless in Cleveland and he doesn't like to travel and he doesn't like New York and I love it. So, he approached La Point one day and said, "How about taking the Judge to New York? I'll give you the trip." So, she did. She had never been and she is one of these people kind of like me, don't ask her something if you don't expect a "yes", and so we went to New York and had ten days of theater and concerts and I showed her some of my old haunts. So, we went to New York every year through '68, then my brother had a stroke in '69 and Joe and I moved in and took over his law practice and kept it going. So, I had to skip the New York trip, but I. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Have you been back since?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That summer, 1969, I said, "Come on [unknown] Point, get some of your clothes and let's go to New York. I've got to get away to think." You see, there was this situation of this man getting better and he wanted to go back to work and so, we went up. So, she, pushing her luck, said, "I've never been to New England" and I said, "Well, I would like to go to Cambridge, I haven't been up for some years to the Archives." So, we set up the trip to be in New York for four days and then to go to Boston and go out to Cambridge and talk with the staff of the Archives and introduce her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What year was this again?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
'69.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And Pat King wasn't there yet, was she?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was Jeannette Cheek?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She is a friend of mine, we have appeared on programs together.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we got to be quite good friends in earlier years when she was there. I had known all of them, but I have never seen Patricia King.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She is a very young woman.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So then, the next year, I don't know what struck us, but I said, "Let's go to England." So, we went to England and I visited what we claim is the old family home, but I think that it's a rather shaky claim. It is a beautiful place outside of Edinburgh and we stopped in Ireland and then the next year, things were all in an upheaval in Europe. So, in '71 . . . Joe [unknown] suggested [unknown] "Go to Hawaii." But we talked it over, Le Pointe and I both agreed that two days were all we could stand of Hawaii. [laughter] So, we finally got a trip, one of these American Express "Swinger" Trips. [laughter] The trip that we wanted was cancelled. So, we went to Japan and Thailand and Hong Kong and stopped at Taiwan for just a couple of hours and stopped, of course, in Hawaii and came home. Then the next year, we went to Spain, and Portugal.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You've been hopping.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, why not?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Why not? Are you going anywhere this year?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know. Le Pointe is all sewed up. She is the president of the Mississippi Library Association this year and she goes out of office technically the first of January, but the new one gets elected in October. So. . . .

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
You might have an autumn trip.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know what we are going to do. She has a daughter marrying in August.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What is this woman's name again?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Her name is Smith, but her given name is French, La Pointe.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And you call her Mrs. La Pointe?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She is Mrs. Warwick V. Smith in social life.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I see.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But in business, she is Mrs. Le Pointe Cassibry Smith and she is a remarkable person.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Makes a fine traveling companion.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She suits me. You see, that's essential.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Now, we were talking yesterday about the change over, you married and moved to Jackson. How different did you find Jackson as a place to practice law?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It's the difference between a country town and a city. While at that time I think the population of Jackson was 60,000, whereas today I think that it is around 275,000, but 60,000 and 5,000 is quite a bit of difference. So, there was more industry, there were more people, it was more difficult to know the people who were going to sit on the juries and you see, with a woman in that day and time, when only men were on the jury, you had a problem. In Cleveland, I solved the problem by joining the Eastern Star. My father was a great Mason and in Cleveland and in most communities in Mississippi, then men of the Masonic Orders . . . who were carpenters, day laborers and railroad employees and men of that type, except the farmers, who sat on juries, their wives and sisters and cousins

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belonged to the Eastern Star. That was a bridge. My father had been a great Mason. Now in Jackson, of course, I had Joe to do a good deal of that, but I still tried to know some people, but in a big city, it is more of a problem.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You joined the American Legion Auxiliary.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh my, yes. Well, you see, Joe was quite active. I think that he was a charter member of that Jackson post, anyhow he was quite active in it. The Legion then and the Legion today are two different organizations. All of the men of prominence and influence had been in World War I and they were all in the Legion then and they all threw their weight and influence about it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think that the Masons and Shriners have changed somewhat in composition, too, between then and now.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I think so, too. I think they had begun to lose their influence back in the '30s and I think that has continued. You know, I knew people in Jackson, I had an aunt there, Mrs. H. R. Shands, formerly Bessy Nagut and her husband, [unknown] Dr. H. R. Shands [unknown] they were very prominent people, I had a flock of cousins.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you have a lot of clients?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we were building.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I'm interested in your marriage and how it might have affected your career in retrospect. Did you find your marriage in any way an impediment in your career, in any way whatever?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That is very difficult to know, because it's as Roosevelt used to say, an "ify" question. I think it changed the nature of my career in that as a solo person I would have operated differently and in a way, I might have struck within the state a little more power. But I think it

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made me a sweeter person, if that word can be applied to me, because I am pretty mean. And it also made much easier acceptance from many groups.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You avoided that label, that unhappy label.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right, you see, and I think that I also avoided some of the sharpness that many single women seem to develop, that comes out as a rasping quality. I certainly would not change the course of my life.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
To have a confidant of the opposite sex is a tremendous release and. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I think that human beings are made to go in pairs and I think that each supplements the other and if they are really congenial and devoted and none of this stupid domination. Soon after we were married, Joe said, "I want this to be a freeing experience for you." You see, he had seen this other kind of stuff, even if he hadn't as an individual, he had as a lawyer because he saw divorce cases every few days. And he has never . . . and I have never asked him to go into it, but he said that he had to change his whole point of view after he met me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He did have to?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
He said that once. So, I assume and you would have expected that he would have grown up with the traditional Lutheran-Presbyterian attitude that the man is the lord and master. His father was a Lutheran minister
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The tradition of the Judeo-Christian attitudes.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, you've had a rare and valuable helpmate.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, I'm well aware of that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, you didn't find it a hindrance to your career; it just altered the nature of your career somewhat. You had no children. Was

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this a conscious choice?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that's my private business.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were you caught up in the political hubbub of Jackson right away?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. You see, I had a political background with my mother having been in the legislature and my family always more or less prominent, but in the city of Jackson there was a very astute man as mayor and he balanced all the elements pretty well, but we considered ourselves as being among his supporters and I think he always considered that. We were always very friendly. He had to be very discreet, but I think that he threw a little weight in my favor and I don't think he was party to the cabal that was formed, I'm sure, in the latter days of the legislature campaign to defeat me. I never thought that of Walter Scott, he was very careful in things of that type, he had to be.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How did you begin to move onto the political scene? What were your first political baby steps in Jackson as you sought to move into the political world?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I didn't want to move into the political world, I knew that, you know you do know, you know the color of your eyes and you know what you can do within limits and I knew I had what I call a political gift. That is, I could attract people, I could have them see my way of thinking, I could make them willing to follow me, persuade them is a better word. But I wanted to be a good lawyer, that's all I wanted to be. Then the Depression came and it was catch as catch can then. We had a good client who did our dry cleaning and he came to us one day and said, "I'll keep on doing your cleaning for you and won't charge you and I hope you'll keep on doing my legal work and won't charge me." Then, there was a very

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large prominent printing office there that we had done business for. The head of that office called us one day and called Joe to come around and said, "Joe, I can't pay any lawyer's fees, but I'll see that you get what stationery and printing that you need and I hope that you will keep on doing my work." Well, you see that helped out tremendously, but it didn't pay the rent and we had moved from a modest office and taken a whole floor that had been the office of the largest law firm in Jackson, expecting to sublet the offices. Well, we had to cut the rent to keep any tenants in those offices. One of them was Louis Cochran, who had been at the University when I was; he graduated before Joe. Louis turned out to be a writer, in fact, he was writing a novel then and was pretending to be a lawyer. He married a woman who was active in the Christian Church and she wrote a history of the church, Campbell and so on. Louis got pretty much recognition for his writing.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was one of his titles?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
One of his titles was Bossman; Son of Haman, Black Earth I believe that was it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was his theme, do you remember?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, his theme was the Negroes and the whites in the Mississippi Delta and the beginning of trouble. I didn't read all his books that he wrote; I think there were about six. I had too many acquaintances who wrote books and then I had to read all the law decisions. I don't know what general readers do now; books come out so fast.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And his wife's name and the title of her volume?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't recall. I was trying to run down something about Louis for this Faulkner business and I couldn't find either of them in Who's Who or her's in Who's Who Among American Women, but her's would be

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available from the Christian Church Headquarters.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, did his novels simply attract a Mississippi readership?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, he joined the FBI. You see, the Depression ran us all to doing different things and he joined the FBI and some of his writing was about that. He lived out in California, the FBI sent him out there and he was out there for quite awhile, then they moved to Nashville - he died a year or so ago.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I see that you developed a friendship with Senator Pat Harrison?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, that came fairly early. You see, we were never in the Vardaman-Russell-Bilbo and all that tripe faction. So, when Pat Harrison ran against Vardaman, my family fought for Pat Harrison and I got acquainted with him. I was in Washington every once in awhile and met Harrison, but the real acquaintance came at the 1924 Democratic convention when my mother was a delegate from Mississippi. Now, I wasn't there but for two days, but she was one of the few members of the Mississippi delegation who was financially able, because of obligations, able to stay throughout the convention. She demonstrated her skill. Harrison, you see, thought the delegation should be in his pocket. Well, she outsmarted him steadily. They didn't agree on who should be the candidate part of the time and part of the time they did. And he developed a genuine respect for her. So, then, soon after something sent me to Washington and [unknown] I dropped by to see him and he knew who I was and from then on, we had quite a friendly relationship of mutual helpfulness. I liked Pat Harrison very much and I think that he was a very fine man. Of course, he was what his background had produced, but nevertheless [unknown] I think that Pat Harrison hasn't had credit for what he did in the New Deal. You see, the Social Security Act they always term [unknown] the Wagner Act, but the person who got it through the

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Senate was Pat Harrison.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He had to get a lot of southern support for one thing.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was in his committee. He was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. It couldn't have gotten to first base without his help and Wagner, he could make speeches in New York, but as to collecting votes in the Senate, he couldn't do it. He was a fine man and I have great respect for Senator Wagner, but I have always felt that the cabal of newspaper people and writers would boost anything that showed up from New York and were unfair in not giving credit to Pat Harrison.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It has never been just or accurate as far as the South was concerned.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It is, but you know, it is the same way with other places. I went out to North Dakota once to the AAUW and I sat there listening to them talk about how they couldn't do this and they didn't get recognized for that and one thing and another and so when I was introduced to make a little greeting, I said that I felt so much at home, that they sounded exactly like a Mississippi group feeling oppressed and at the bottom of the totem pole. [laughter] These things happen.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It's a remote state with a small population and it does share a great similarity.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And a homogeneous kind of population, too.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, of course Mississippi, what the blacks call the power structure was homogeneous, but the state was far from it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But as far as participatory citizenship of the time was concerned, it was homogeneous. About the business of Governor Mike Connor

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trying to run for the U.S. Senate. Was he indeed destroyed by his opposition, Senator Harrison?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Pretty much. And the record of his administration, which was a very fine record of restoring the state to financial stability and starting on a constructive road and reorganizing and getting the educational institutions back on accredidation lists, all of that and Connor has never been given adequate credit, in my judgement. Now, all of this is gone into in great detail, I think . . . I know on the tapes of Jane Elliot..
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Is it really necessary to besmirch an administration and to destroy a person politically, even in a political contest for office?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That is one of the tragedies of our system and maybe of all systems of government. You see it in Shakespeare's plays, "If I be King, then Thou art the Knave." I told Jane Elliot, this I think is interesting, but it is a repetition of what she has, that when we went to Washington to the Roosevelt inaugural in 1933, there was a large delegation and I was among the delegation. On the way up, it was a sleeping car special with all of us and so on the car, Mrs. Sennet Connor wife of the Governor asked me if I would be a part of their residence at the hotel. They had learned that a large suite at the old Wardman Park, the Sheraton Park now, had been set aside for them and that they had an extra room and would I be pleased to occupy that. So, that threw me with the governor's party, which of course, was fine and saved me money that I didn't have. So, I was included in the smaller entertainments of the Mississippi group. They had a large ball for all of us, they had a large this, that and the other. But then they had smaller ones just for the governor and his immediate circle. So one

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of these events was at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, a dinner in one of the private dining rooms there and among the guests was a man who lived in Washington, a businessman who had given George E. Allen, the man who wrote Presidents I Have Known, well, they said then that he had given George Allen ten thousand dollars to pay for the entertainment for the Miss delegates I don't know how much he had given, but he had given this money to pay for the entertainment of the Mississippi delegation and he was a guest, but [unknown] he didn't know anything about Mississippi politics. He had not been near Mississippi. He wasn't a politician, he was a businessman in Washington and he was just like my maid, he didn't know anything. So, here we were and they had all served some drinks despite prohibition and some of them were getting a bit high and happy and so all of a sudden, we were still sitting there with maybe coffee on the table, he got up and said, "I want to propose a toast to the next Senator from Mississippi, Mike Connor." So, you could just feel the shivers through that group. We weren't a bit at that stage ready to cut down Pat Harrison and some of us never were and Connor, you know, was an egotist, most people in public life are, and he beamed at it, but demurred a little. Somebody slipped from that room, I never knew who it was and didn't think much of it at the time and called Pat Harrison and told him what had happened. So the next morning, we were still most unhappy and we one by one trotted up the hill to Harrison's office to disclaim any part in that business. As far as I was concerned, it was an accident that I was there. But that planted the idea. You see, Harrison was the next one coming up for election, so if Connor was going to be the next Senator, Harrison would have to be defeated. It planted the idea in Connor's head. Well, when

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the news came that Connor was going to announce, I hadn't seen him for some time. While we got along, we worked together, and you can see it from this fact that I was invited to be a part of the household so to speak, but he was not a man that I could ever get chummy with. He had a wall around him as far as I was concerned, maybe I had a wall around me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But Senator Harrison did not?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, no. No. So therefore, I didn't telephone Connor, I didn't write him but one of his best friends turned up in Washington about that time with whom I could communicate. So I said to him, "Do everything you can to persuade Mike Connor not to run against Harrison. He is going to have the worst defeat of his life and his record will be smeared and smirched and he will never get credit for what he has really done for Mississippi." Now whether that man got that message to him, I don't know, but if he did, it didn't do any good and that is exactly what happened.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you agree with the historian, Albert D. Kirwan, about both Vardaman and Bilbo? What Kirwan said was that "it was necessary to resort to dramatic steps and slogans to attract attention to your political campaign, to yourself, in the face of a hostile press."
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I do not agree. In Mississippi at the time that Vardaman rose to the surface, there was no diversion at all except politics. I as a child went to meetings, I loved them, it was the biggest excitement of the season, everybody all ages went and out in the hills they had what they called "dinner on the grounds." It was a big event. You had no radio, you had no t.v., you had no good roads,

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you had no automobiles, you had a train coming through once or twice a day maybe and sometimes stopping or not and here comes a candidate and here comes a band. You didn't have to resort to demagoguery. If you had sufficient persuasive power and character, you could persuade the crowd. There were three excitements people had, revivals, political gatherings, and criminal trials in the county courthouses. That was all the diversion they had and they were going to go no matter what.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Kirwan would argue, would have argued that both candidates in opposing each other had to outdo each other in one way or the other and in the case of a hostile press, the other had to become more flamboyant, perhaps.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I would agree that in a contest, each person has to resort to something to attract attention and to convince the potential voters that he, because at that time there were no women candidates, that he could accomplish more than the other person. The hostile press . . . what in the world did the press mean in Mississippi? You had the Jackson Daily News and the Clarion Ledger and the New Orleans paper and the Memphis paper and I doubt if one-tenth of the people read them and they had a built in. . . .
[END OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[TAPE 5, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE B]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You say that the press represented the interests, sometimes the railroad interests so that sometimes there was a built in. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, there was a built in rejection of it. Now, I think that in things like Watergate, for example, where the press kept

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digging and producing facts, the press does carry great weight. But as to. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Don't you think there's a different attitude, maybe, toward the press today than then, more respect for it than perhaps there was in the '30s?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know about that, but I think that maybe a larger portion of the people look at the press, although you see these comparative analyses of t.v. and the press and t.v. is something else, but let's don't get into that. I mean, it is interesting, but it is not on my career.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Kirwan also claims that overdue reforms were effected by the so-called demagogues, curbing the corporations, regulating public utilities, tax equalization, the building of hospitals and sanitoriums, literacy programs. Do you agree?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
To some extent. Now, Vardaman did make on the whole a good governor. Now he committed what to me are crimes, his destruction of the pitiful little Negro Normal School in north Mississippi set back the education of the Negroes fifty years, because the teachers . . . I've known some of them. Good people, but not much more than a third grade education and here this little Normal was struggling and he killed it and he tore up the higher education of the state and they said that he threw out a cousin of mine at the university and he threw out the father-in-law of my sister, all of which is true, but that wouldn't make me . . . if they needed to be thrown out, in my judgement, why I wouldn't have opposed it. But he got the political turmoil into the University of Mississippi.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was its accreditation removed temporarily?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, at that time, they didn't have much accreditation, but that stirred up a hornet's nest there and it continues to this day. They have done a great deal of trying to get rid of it, but they haven't succeeded.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did Bilbo do some good?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Bilbo is . . . I don't give him much because he was such an immoral character. I don't mean his personal conduct, I mean his political conduct. The less said about his personal conduct, the better, but he was always trading and trafficking and he kept the legislature always not knowing what would happen.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Here's my last question now about Kirwan and his themes. He. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I haven't read him for a long time.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He insists that these reforms were brought about by such as Vardaman and Bilbo. The fact that these reforms were brought about by such individuals was the price that Mississippi had to pay for neglecting reform for so long. Do you agree with that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't agree with that. I think this, that Mississippi did neglect reform. I think that Alabama did, I think that all of the South did and I think when you neglect reform and it is brought into being, there is bound to be more of a shock and difficult adjustment than if as soon as the problem appeared it was dealt with. We see this in Washington today with this energy business. Forty years ago they should have begun to see this. So, I never did agree with Kirwan entirely, he's a fine writer and certainly worked with the subject and his writing, I

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think, has aroused interest and discussion and served a useful purpose and he wouldn't agree with me on anything.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, one more historian and I won't say much about him, but James Silver, I understand, instigated a great deal of heated controversy during his term at the university.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Of course: James Silver's wife is one of my best friends. She and I, "Dutch" as she is called, we belonged to the same college sorority and. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Is this AOPi or ADPi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
AOPi. Alpha Omicron Pi. Somebody asked me once, "I can't imagine why you take an interest in doing anything for these silly college sororities?" I said, "How do you think they continue to exist? Somebody has to put some sense into the management." So, Dutch has been one of those who has helped with the administration of the sorority and I like Jim Silver and I think that he served a purpose, he made a cockleburr every once in awhile and he certainly was one. They are very happy down in Florida.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I didn't know where he went.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, he went first up to Indiana to Notre Dame, but he has arthritis and the cold there just immoblized him and he suffered terribly and he developed a heart condition and the doctor said that they had to get to a different climate. He went down to Florida and expected not to do anything, but they were starting this . . . you know, they have universities springing up everywhere and one was springing up where he was and they got him first, I think, on the. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Which one was that?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I can't recall now. But his book, Mississippi: A Closed Society, which I. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What did you think of it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I agree with it a great deal. He wrote it hurriedly and it is slap-dash and I think it. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, and it is loaded with prejudice.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. There is no effort at all to be fair. I thought that his attack on that rabbi was totally uncalled for because the man had helped him and the man had tried to do what he could and I think that somebody set fire to his house and all and just because he wouldn't go along with something that Jim Silver wanted, why he put in . . . and I was told by a mutual friend that Jim Silver's friends tried to make him take that chapter out, that it was totally uncalled for and in the long run, in the circle of friends, it reflected on Silver and not on this man, Rabbi Somebody.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I don't remember that chapter.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I think it's the last chapter in there, toward the end of the book. And you had the feeling of it being dragged in. Silver has great admirers among the students of the university, he was at the University of Mississippi a wonderful teacher. He was arrogant, but opinionated people sometimes make the best teachers, you know. This idea that a teacher has to be a bland pussy-foot is utterly wrong. You don't remember those if you look back over who taught you.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
As far as historians of the women's movement are concerned, I see a new chapter beginning for you in 1928 and this is why I want to ask you what your views are on a thesis advanced by William L. O'Neal in his volume, Everyone Was Brave. He says that all the impetus gathered

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up by these various organizations that pushed for women's suffrage and finally saw ratification in 1920, was dissipated after ratification was accomplished and it was a terrible loss. That they had been after the wrong goal in the first place and then they lost their organization immediately after ratification and it was virtually a blank as far as accomplishments for women were concerned through the 1920s. Do you agree with him?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I have never accepted that thesis. I do agree that to some extent the fervor and enthusiasm and unity was dispersed, but I do not agree that it was entirely dispersed and I think that without all that effort and without winning the vote, we would be back where we were in 1890. I could certainly never have had my career. The women who like Bessie Young [unknown] were admitted to the bar before we had the vote in Mississippi, got nowhere. But once you had that base of power, [unknown] when you walked into the sheriff's office and asked to have a writ issued, it was issued, and if he didn't know you had the power to vote and the potentiality of rounding up fifty or a hundred or more votes, you would not have gotten any service, if it did not suit him to give it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Of course, William O'Neill would go on to say that women didn't effectively use this new found power.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They didn't use it to maximum effect and they didn't use it to the degree that the women leaders and the rank and file of the suffrage movement wished that they had, but they here and there used it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Of course, William O'Neill believes that the goal of the vote was wrong for women to seek. They should have been seeking

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economic change and things like that.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, of course, that is a lot of foolishness in my judgement.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Gerda Lerner disagreed with O'Neill, agreed with you.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Of course, this same thing is bobbing up down here in Mexico, this International Women's Year from down. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I guess that I have thought too much about our interviews and I haven't been able to follow the news.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that conference is going on and the dissension is showing, well largely from the Communist-oriented countries, that until there is an economic revolution, women cannot expect anything and that the goal should be that first.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Gerda Lerner points out that women's liberation in the Soviet Union means old ladies sweeping the streets.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Exactly. I had a friend who went there. He was an army officer and I asked him, I said, "When you get over there, if you can, find out whether the men in the army salute a woman officer." He came back and told me no.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Gerda Lerner, who is a very level headed historian of women in America, [unknown] is the author of The Grimke Sisters of South Carolina and Black Women in White America, and is a professor at Sarah Lawrence, [unknown] insists that even though the vote was won and organizations didn't hold together terribly well, women immediately became extremely active in business and social reform projects and remained so throughout the '20s.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She's correct. You take in Mississippi, you've read

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that little speech and that the women elected Whitfield governor and it wasn't until 1930 that the men got over that shock and began to think that "well, we can handle this situation." In that period, Whitfield gave appointments to women and he gave recognition to women. Bilbo, with all his faults, did the same thing because they had seen what might happen. By 1930, they began to think that it wasn't going to happen, that they had "pacified Mama."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was Whitfield a good governor?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, he died in office, you know. He died from cancer and he was ill, so that actually, he only had about two and a half years. He initiated many reforms. There is a new biography of him that has come out and I. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Can you remember the author and the title?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
His name is Baker and he calls it Catch the Vision. His name is Bill R. Baker. He put a notice in the paper and asked people who had anything, personal experiences with Whitfield, to contact him. So, I wrote him a letter and he refers to it in his book and I met him down in Jackson at this historical meeting. He is a Baptist preacher in Clinton, Mississippi and he points out all the progressive programs that Whitfield initiated. It was an era of good feeling. He was a kindly man, sometimes did some things that were not too bright and he was not an exciting man, but the session of the legislature and all was cooperative and there wasn't all this infighting that went on whenever Bilbo took office.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I would like you now to insert your comments about your father, if you would.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
My father was born in 1850. That made him thirteen years older than my mother. He was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was educated

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in the private schools, as was the custom. He was obviously a good student because I have recently given to a great-grandson named for him, two sets of books. One given "to Master Robert Somerville for general excellence," and one "given for excellence in German." Then, he was a page in the Virginia Senate which voted secession and we have the autograph book that he had made up of autographs of all the senators. Then he went to the University of Virginia in '67, '68 and left there with a certificate in mathematics and something, engineering or something, and so from then he was deemed to be, under the standards of that day a civil engineer. He worked on the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railway helping lay out rights of way and things that a civil engineer does. Then he went into some railroad in North Carolina and somewhere, and you don't know as a child what to ask and it is only when people drop a word here and there that you pick things up, but somewhere he met a remarkable civil engineer, Major William Starling from Kentucky, who asked him to come with him to Mississippi where he had been employed to help work on the levee protection system. Now, that is called flood control and so my father came to Greenville, Mississippi in 1884 and he lived there until his death in 1925, although actually he died in a sanitarium outside of Nashville, Tennessee. He was a man of conservative views and not inclined to take chances. He explained a matter very clearly, but he had no eloquence in public speaking. He was literal minded and I have inherited that trait, which is a handicap, because you don't know when people mean for you to actually answer a question or whether they are just fooling, [unknown] anyway, he was very much that way. He would laugh at a joke, but he didn't have what is called a sense of humor. He was greatly respected in the community. He was [unknown]

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the Sunday School, I think, for twenty-five years. He held some state offices in the Masons, of course, they were secret, you know, and he had a reputation for integrity and he would be most unhappy in this day and generation. I recall one day, he was to go and buy the tickets for us to come to Monteagle and a relative in the room said, "Well, you are not going to buy an adult ticket for Lucy are you? She is a little thing here and nobody would think that she was more than ten years old." "Oh," he says, "Yes, she will be twelve the first of July so I will buy her an adult ticket." Well, you see, I was Little Miss Big Ears and that impressed me. Then, a part of his responsibility was inspecting the work of the levee contractors when they built the levees. Well, if he would agree to shave an inch off of ten miles of levee, it would put a lot of profit in the pockets of the contributors so, these gifts would come to the house, you know, a ham and bunch of bananas and a barrel of molasses and this, that and the other, and they all went back no matter what. Well, a few times he became really indignant and that was when something came addressed to my mother and he said, "How low can they get," to try to get tora man through his wife and of course, that went back, too. Of course, she agreed with all of this, but when I got to be first assistant General Counsel to this War Claims Commission which was going to dispense a lot of money and we were setting up regulations and establishing policies, one of the men came to me and said, "What is going to be our rule about gifts?" "No such thing," I said. He said, "You mean that if somebody wants to give me a bottle of whiskey, I can't take it?" "No," I said, "You can't take it."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Women are no fun in politics, are they?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I was fun all right, but I wasn't going to have that kind of business.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
I really feel that a good many male politicians fear a woman entering their particular bureau or. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, they do.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
They fear that women are not as susceptible to this kind of thing.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They also, and it's understandable, think, "Well, I've got to not swear as much and I've got to be careful about the kinds of stories that I tell." You know, the atmosphere changes. It changes with a group of women when one man walks in. I have always understood all of that, but if [unknown] it is a matter of political right, [unknown] if it is a matter of ethical right, I belong there as much as they do. They have no preemptive right to public office, or to commercial office. There is this business of drawing the line at ten dollars and fifty dollars, the value of the gift you see, and it is utter foolishness, just take none. Mr. Howorth was for awhile in the procurement division of the army in the early days of the war and we had an invitation to a cocktail party. We didn't know the people, I asked him who they were and he said that he didn't know and I said, "Well, we don't go." he was of the same opinion. It turned out, you see, it was one of these parties given by some corporation that was hoping to have a contract. You don't have to do that kind of thing. I might add, the invitations stopped.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I imagine that your father was a good counterbalance to your mother's personality.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I think so. He was quiet, you know, and he didn't get into all these excitements and he took things mostly calmly.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Not a partisan person especially, was he?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, and you know, you and other people think that I am so much like my mother. I am not. I am intellectually and I am in my bents and I am in my sense of justice . . . at least I call it that. But she was a fighter to the last ditch.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you have a sense of partisanship.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. But in my practice of the law, in my governmental administration, in my activities with women's organizations, I have been the moderator of disputes and worked out compromises time and time again. On the AAUW, one of the national board members said, "You are John Adams." And he was partisan, all right. So, I couldn't understand and I read two biographies of John Adams after that and I found out what it was, that when he was in a meeting he did try to bring them to an orderly finding and he was universally deputized to write the finding. That's what happened in the board.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There was his effort to keep possession of neutrality during the Napoleonic Wars.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right. Oh, I can fight to the ditch, all right, if I have to. Now, my sister is like my mother in the extreme partisanship. She considers that I am a. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Your mother was still able to keep her friends. She didn't make enemies, did she?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She made plenty of enemies, but she kept her friends. There is a difference. When I was elected, of course it was due to the system and not to me, as vice-president of the AAUW unanimously. Well, as I said, it was the system and not me, but I telephoned from Atlantic City to my mother. I knew that she would be pleased and so I was told that

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there were some visitors there at her home at the time, that when she reported it, she laughed and said, "I was elected many times, but never unanimously." [laughter] But as I said, it was the system of the AAUW. They occasionally have fights on the floor over nominations and then they have a secret ballot, but in the year in which I was elected, the entire slate as proposed by the nominating committee went through, but she made that comment.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you want to make any further comments about your mother here?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, I don't believe that any of these tapes with Mrs. Meredith or yours have brought out her very fine business ability. She inherited a little real estate from her grandmother who had lost all property during and after the Civil War and she in 1924 worked out and accepted a settlement from her [unknown] stepmother and in 1925, my father died and left her everything. It was a modest estate. She took that money and in two years, she had doubled it. Now, she hadn't doubled it by buying cotton futures or buying the equivalent of IBM stock and sitting there watching it grow, she had spotted what property might enhance in value and purchased and sold and I was with her one day and she said, "See that house, Lucy?" It was all out of style. "If I can buy it, I can spend five hundred dollars and make two thousand." We had a cousin, a most interesting personality, who was president of a bank and she dealt with him in the bank and so he was familiar with all of her business activities. She said that he said it was the most remarkable handling of property that he had ever seen and by the end of ten years, she had quadrupled it, so that when she died, she left a good estate.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She did this time and time again?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. She left a substantial estate and those of us who inherited that property, it has all enhanced in value, I mean what was left when she died. It just illustrates the universal type of person she was, the sort of mind that she had. She was a good architect, she revolutionized this little cottage. When she bought it, the porch was out to here and it had plain steps going down to here. She widened the porch and she put those circular steps, which make it fascinating. She did the same thing at the front, the porch went all the way across and she cut it and the steps went down to the walk and she put them to the side. The cottage is full of little things that she did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It's full of her own little personal touches.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
My sister has inherited that quality. She can take a place and do it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Why did you decide to run for the Mississippi legislature?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we were going down in the financial hole and as I told somebody, I decided that I could win and so, I did. But I asked the advice of people, partially because I wanted to get angles on the county and how the pockets of influence were arranged and partially, if you ask a person's advice and that person says, "Do something," and you do it, then you've got a supporter. So, before I announced, I did do a good deal of preliminary soundings. But really what made me think I could win was this aunt, my mother's youngest sister, half sister, and her husband. [Dr. & Mrs. H. R. Shands] He was the brother of my sister's husband, you know the family is all in a mess of interrelationships all tangled, so. . . .
[END OF TAPE 5, SIDE B]

[TAPE 6, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 6, SIDE A]

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Constance Myers, continuing the interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth of Cleveland, Mississippi, the interview done in Monteagle, Tennessee on June 23, 1975. We're talking about the Faulkner Week at the University of Mississippi.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, and that was extended to two weeks with the second week to duplicate the program of the first week.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
In this upcoming August, 1975?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, beginning on August 3rd and running through the 17th, I guess and I am to be a participant in a little discussion group, people who have known Faulkner personally. And I agreed to do that and the president of the AAUW and the chairman of this annual women's conference that they have been having this last four years, moved in on me to hitchhike on this Faulkner business which would bring me to Mississippi in August when I gnernally never show up. You know, people have been nice to me and I said, "All right, if you can fit it in and if you can handle it." So, they have scheduled in Jackson on August 2nd some kind of a women's conference. I haven't really paid much attention, but I think the last few years, they (the women's organization) have had an annual "Woman's Day and have given what they call the Susan B. Anthony Award anb which Mrs. Meredith said ought to be called the "Nellie Nugent Somerville Award," because why name something in Mississippi for Susan B. Anthony? They haven't told me, but they are cooking up something and the price of this thing, I learned was to make a speech. Well, they knew that I wasn't going to agree to write a speech in the summer and deliver it. I have to write speeches now, it doesn't look like it as we talk, but I can't depend on my brain to find the right work unless I've some guide, so now I find I must write speeches. So, they said to do the speech that I did at the Mississippi Historical Society.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's a fine one.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, I have polished that up and cut it here and there and added something about their meeting. They haven't said it, but you know you feel these things, they are going to give some kind of an award and the University of Mississippi is to send a car and chauffer up here for me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
For heaven's sake.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, if they wanted me, they had to do it. A friend of mine acted like you did, said, "At a boy, Lucy, make them produce." I said, "I'm not going to ask Mr. Howorth to drive me to Oxford in August, and I don't do cross country driving."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And to get to the airport is an ordeal.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, they said something about flying and I said, "Look, I would have to get somebody to take me to Nashville and then you would have to meet me in Memphis. No, I'm not going to do it. Just send somebody up to Monteagle." So, they are sending a car and driver to Monteagle and there is no problem for the women to get me from Oxford to Jackson. I'm not going to stay all through the second week, I will leave the day after the part of the program in which I am a participant and come on back because that weekend is the annual free-for-all meeting up here of Monteagle assembly members and I don't like to miss that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, let's go back to the Mississippi legislature now. How did this, then, come about?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
This uncle, Dr. Harley R. Shands and his wife, Bessie Nugent Shands, sitting around, they brought up the subject, as I recollect, that there were no good candidates for the legislature and this was going to be

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an important session of the legislature. They hoped that Connor would be governor and they wanted people who would work with him and . . . they wanted good people and how about my running? Well, I said, "I'll think about it." And Dr. Shands became very much interested. He said, "Lucy, I'll help you." Well, I knew that nobody would ever spot a doctor working for me who had never taken part in campaigns he voted and expressed his support for candidates, but he never had really tried any politics. Then Bessie was the most popular woman in all of Jackson and beloved. She came back from a trip one day and I was with her on the corner of Capitol and North State and the streetcar came along. It stopped, the motorman got off, came over and said, "Miss Bessie, I'm so glad to see you." She just had the universal love of the whole community, every kind of people. Then, she lived on North State Street in one of the most beautiful homes in the city and was a leading socialite. You don't get that combination often. She was a graduate of Goucher College and had a beautiful voice. Oh, she sang so lovely. She died prematurely from a heart attack in 1934. But with all that backing, I announced and went to it. Now, I give a great deal of credit to Joe's brother. He had been for a short time a professional baseball player on the Jackson baseball team and he had maintained his interest in sports. He had been an all letter man at Millsaps and all that kind of thing. Joe's brother could reach a whole element that I would have had difficulty and that Joe would have had difficulty in reaching. Then my mother came down, and she got the women all organized and I tell this as an evidence of her insight. She phoned me one day, she didn't stay with us, she stayed down at the Edwards Hotel. She called me to come down to the hotel and said, "Come in the side entrance and don't let anybody see you." So,

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I went up to her room. She said, "I have to leave, Lucy. If I stay here another day, the fight will be on me. People that don't like me and don't like my ideas and all, they will concentrate on fighting you through me. I'm leaving." She [unknown] gave me a check for some money and said to call her if I had any problems. She gave me a list of names of those who had all promised to help. She said, "I am taking a train, but I don't want you to come to the train. I want this to be it." You see, that was what was in a campaign. That the opposition will see a chance in some direction to strike down candidates through attacking something else. So, she left and didn't come back. She came on up to Monteagle, actually, although she was at home on the day of the voting, the primary and the next day she came on back to Monteagle. So, as I said, that illustrates her sense of what is happening. You know, you have to have your antennae out. If you don't, you are sunk.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, you won the election?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How decidedly?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was not too flattering, if you mean that. It was decisive, it wasn't like this New Hampshire thing. I think that I won by about 200 votes, something like that. I've forgotten. 200 out of about 14,000. So, it was nip and tuck. There were some precincts that I carried overwhelmingly and some that the opposition carried.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Can you tell why you carried certain precincts?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Organization. No mystery. You get good workers and they get out and touch all the bases.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
What were the hardest fights that you had in the legislature?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That is hard to say, because legislation is negotiation and compromising. Tom Bailey who was speaker of the house and later governor, he called me in and said that he wanted to appoint me chairman of a committee. Well, that was unusual, you know, for a first termer. He said, "I'm going to make the three women, each of you a chairman and I will give you first choice." So, I said that I wanted to reply later, I wanted to look over the committees. [unknown] I went back and looked them over and went on and said, "I want the Public Lands Committee." So, the next day he called me and . . . [Recorder is turned off and then back on.] You were asking about the legislature and I was explaining about the chairmanship of the committee that was handed to me. So, the next day, the speaker sent for me and he said that he had had the Public Lands Committee looked up in the Journal of the house for the two preceeding sessions and he said that they never did have any meetings. He said, "I don't want to give you a committee that doesn't function and doesn't have anything really to do." I said, "Give it to me, it will have plenty to do." So, it was after the major committees, the judiciary, appropriations, education, highways, those . . . it had more on the calendar than any other committee. We reorganized the public land office, we established the Mineral Lease Commission, oil had recently been discovered in the state and gas, oh, we just legislated right and left.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you cause any fireworks?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. Sometimes, but mostly. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you step on any vulnerable political toes?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I tried to avoid that, everybody knew which ones they

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were and you knew to sidestep. I never hit the floor with a bill that I hadn't shown to many of the members and talked to the members about. I remember one bill that I thought might have some problems and I took a copy and went to a man. I said, "Look Mr. Bingham, you are a good Baptist aren't you?" He said, "Yes." "Well," I said, "the Baptists believe that no human being is perfect, don't they?" He said, "Yes." "Well," I said, "You have voted against every bill that has been brought to the floor this year and you shouldn't be allowed to have a perfect record and here is a bill that I want you to vote for." So, he said, "I'll study it." The next day, he came to me and said, "I'll vote for it." [laughter] Well, you know, it is just work if you are going to get something through. So, when I had a bill that I thought had potentialities of stepping on toes, I tried to work around. Now, the bill that really was the most controversial was the Mortgage Mortorium Bill. This was the Depression and in Mississippi when a deed of trust or a mortgage was foreclosed on the property and the property sold, there was no redemptive period. That was it. Many states had redemptive periods of from three to six months or more within which the owner could come back and tender the money and redeem the property. In a period of Depression where property sales were being held everyday and people were losing their ancestral homes, losing their livelihood and all, some of us thought that this was important and a lawyer in Jackson Mr. Robert Ricketts, who was a very fine man and was one of my major supporters, he did the ground work on this bill. You see, I couldn't do everything and we had no staff, the attorney general's office had no staff to assist members with the legislation. I wrote bills, I suppose, for a third of the members of the legislature who weren't lawyers. You know, they would come to me. Well,

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Mr. Ricketts worked up this bill, we got laws from different states and we got a bill up. Now, ordinarily, that bill would have gone to the judiciary committee and it would have been killed pronto. But the speaker, I had talked to him about it and he sent it to the public lands committee. So, getting that through was one of the major accomplishments of my year.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was another?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we set up the public park system, we hadn't had any.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Hadn't had any?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
There was a forestry commission and so they were happy as birds in the springtime . . . my committee, you see, had this forestry bill and the federal government was coming in with the Roosevelt administration with all its development of public parks and public lands and public forests. So, they kept coming in and we passed all these laws giving the federal government authority to acquire lands and so on. So, we greatly extended the authority of the forestry commission and the whole system of publicparks was initiated. Then, they had for the first time a Conservation Committee [unknown] and I was secretary of that committee. That's the last time that I was secretary of anything, but the secretary of a legislative committee, if the chairman is kind of slow motion, the secretary can make up the agenda of a committee meeting, which means that you put the bills that the secretary is interested in on the agenda and the ones that the secretary wants to kill stay in the pocket. Also, when the chairman, this is a Mississippi rule, is not present and a bill has been approved by a committee, it is moved onto the calendar and the secretary can

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floor manage it, so that it is a position of power. I was secretary of that committee when it established the Game and Fish Commission and all of the conservation program that developed tremendously in the state. I was busy as a switch engine.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Why on earth do you think that you received this federal appointment? Did you seek it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh sure, we needed money. And so, I had gone to the Democratic National Convention. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
In 1932?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, in 1932.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Now, this was before your term in the legislature?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I was a member of the legislature.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This must have been. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was 1932. The convention met at the end of June and the legislature had been from January to June. So, you know, I went up there and Miss Dewson who was the head of the women's activities for Roosevelt. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
First name?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Mary W. Dewson. I had met her when I was in New York City with the YWCA and she was a good politician and she remembered names. So, it was a renewal. Then you see, after Roosevelt was inaugurated, she was put in as head of the Women's Division, of the National Democratic Committee in fact she was practically that before the inauguration. But anyhow, afterwards, there was no question. So, she is the one that said that about Ellen Woodward being a bit of southern fluff. I had a little place in her mind and I was cleared, the Mississippi delegation and all the people had me

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on the list of prospective people and they talked about Joe and they talked about me. We just faced the fact that I could get a larger appointment than he could because there were fewer women than there were men of the same talent.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And people were purposefully seeking, in a sense, token women.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right. So, there's some of the civil rights business. Therefore, I would have a chance of getting something more important. I would have preferred something, maybe, in Mississippi, but there wasn't anything there that appealed. They were smaller jobs at that period, you see.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, once you got up to Washington, you really liked it didn't you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I liked it. "Brer Rabbit in the briar patch." I began to see people that I had known in New York and college friends. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You didn't feel at all overwhelmed when you first arrived?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What were those first days like?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, they were full of excitement. They had a big dinner at the Washington Hotel not long after I got there for women appointees, not especially me, in the Roosevelt Administration. I joined the Woman's National Democratic Club and I was active in the AAUW, you know, and the B and PW and I was here, there and everywhere and having myself quite a fascinating time from my point of view. It might have bored somebody else.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about your office facilities? What kind of arrangement did they give you?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I was along with two other women appointed to the Board of Veteran's Appeals. It was a presidential appointment and the veterans were making a drive at that time to make it an important position. Foremerly, it had been just a division within the Veteran's Administration and they had quite a fight over whether it should be entirely independent of the Veteran's Administration and that fight was lost. But they insisted that the members be called "Judge" and it finally shook down that 1/3 of the members would be selected from professional employees of the Veteran's Administration and 2/3 from what they called the outside. Those were looked upon with a bit of scorn by the Veteran's Administration as a group of political appointees that had to be pacified and kept quiet and not allowed to throw any monkey wrenches in the working of the machinery of appellate judication. The board had been operating under its new statutory authority and regulations for about six months when the three women arrived. The two other women, one from California and one from Missouri, were not professional women. They were good practical people. So, we were put in a room similar to the room that the other members occupied. The board was divided into sections of three. One doctor, one lawyer and one lay person was the theoretical setup. We had very important looking offices for those simple days, they wouldn't be now. There were rugs on the floor of a degree of thickness and the desks were mahogany, well simulated mahogany, but they looked mahogany and had plate glass on top, which was a mark of distinction. These things are very amusing, you know, and they come out in books time and time again. We were put in there, there were three desks and outside the office was a secretary who (we were told) was to take phone calls and

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appointments and process the business. They weren't personal secretaries. Ours was very nice and competent. So, here we were, the three of us never having seen each other before.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
They put three women in the office together?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
And on each desk was a set in a looseleaf folder of statutes governing the rights of veterans, the jurisdictions. There were about six volumes of administrators' and solicitor's precedent decisions and there were two fat volumes of regulations and procedures of the Veteran's Administration. So, we chitchatted for a day and then I began to think about it. So, the next day, I said, "We are supposed to be reading all this stuff and if you don't mind and think it's a good idea, I'll check through and I will make out a little outline for each day of what we will go over and discuss."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The school teacher.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, we did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were you, in a sense, above them in the pecking order? Because of your professional status?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, eventually that emerged, but not. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Not initially.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
At the moment, we were all the same. So, this went on, you know, nobody came in to see us, nothing. Well, we were smart and we knew what made the world go around and we knew that we were being hazed and that they were hoping that we would pack up and go home.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Please let me insert one question. In this position, did you have the opportunity to stir things up the way that you had stirred things up some in the legislature?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, not so much. Occasionally a little.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do think that there was any effort on the part of any individual in Mississippi politics to get this firebrand out of the Mississippi legislature?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I wasn't a firebrand.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
O.K. You were changing things?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, but I. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were an innovator.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
But they didn't think so.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Really?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't think that if you talked to any member of the legislature . . . Jamie Whitten is up in Congress and he was a member of that legislature. I worked through people. I was just somebody who was interested in the subject and I would say, "Now, you go around and see So-and-So." I didn't stand up there and denounce them, any of that kind of stuff. It wasn't my idea of how to get things done.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, they weren't removing a troublesome person?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I might have become that later, but I wasn't at that time. I mean, I wasn't recognized and my views weren't fully understood. So, we worked along there, I think that it was at least three weeks, studying and going off and having a pleasant lunch together.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And nobody came in?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. So, finally one morning one man came in a board member, an outsider. He stood around and chatted and told some stories and had a little pleasant

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time and the ice was cracking. Then the next day, another man came.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Who were they? Were these people soliciting your advice?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, no. You see, they were presidential appointees. They were Democrats. They were outsiders and it began to dawn on them that if we were frozen out, then there would be a sense of success by the insiders and they would be next. The first caller was from Tennessee, the second from New York. Now, they didn't put it that plainly, you know.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you had enough savvy to. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They began thinking about it. "After all, these are loyal Democrats. The President has recognized them. We shouldn't be acting like this and doing the dirty work of these inside people." Which is what they were doing. Then, there came an inside man, you know, the grapevine worked for us all right, [unknown] the women secretaries knew that this inside man had been appointed. So, that made, in my mind, us have seniority over at least one person. So, he was a very able man and they [unknown] put him to work in a day or two. And [unknown] we learned that cases were being sent into him. No case had ever hit our desks. So, we asked for a conference with the chairman. Now, the [unknown] was a delightful gentleman, former governor of Virginia, who thought he wasn't employed to run this thing, he was just employed to be there. He had been given a cushy job. The vice chairman was the one, he was an inside man, a very smart man. He did the actual running. Of course, I had learned that, but that didn't make any difference. We approached the chairman. We explained to him that we had been there all that time and we had studied the regulations and all and he was a lawyer and he knew that it was very difficult to learn law in the abstract and we felt that we were ready to apply the knowledge that we had attained and pass on some cases. He said he hadn't realized that this had happened. Then we brought it up about Galbraith and that he was already getting cases.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
This man, what was his training? The one that was already having cases?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, he had been a troubleshooter in the Veteran's Administration for years. They put him wherever they had a problem. He had at one time been on the old apellate section. And as I say, he was quite an able man. So, the governor said that he would look into it. So, in a day or so, there came a memo around that sections of the board were being reorganized and with new assignments and each one of us was put on a section. So, that was the end of any internal discrimination.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you have to leave your office and move elsewhere?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we moved into a similar one, you see. Each section had this office with three members.
[END OF TAPE 6, SIDE A]

[TAPE 6, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 6, SIDE B]
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
. . . we wanted to be treated like just another member of the board and we were assigned from then on to different sections. You see, these other two were lay people and I was a lawyer. So, it never would have happened except that two of us would have been on the same section. That is, I could have been the lawyer and one of them could have been the lay person, but under normal conditions, we never would have been, with two of them being lay persons and me being a lawyer. That really would have let the V A in for someting if we had wanted to start something.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How did women in Washington seek each other out, women appointees, women in politics?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The grapevine worked and the papers reported appointments. The ones that were in the field of presidential appointments were, the Democratic party women's division made a point of seeing that they got

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acquainted with each other. Then, the National Woman's Democratic Club was another meeting place. And also, of course, Mrs. Roosevelt got us invited to the White House every once in awhile, to teas and. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I saw a lot of invitations in your papers.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, I really did have quite an active social life.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You did. I want to ask a question about that later. Was the sense of sisterhood or the sense of competition stronger amongst you women?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, sisterhood. We didn't call it that, but we knew that we were all in the same boat. I don't mean on the Board of Veteran's Appeals, I mean throughout Washington. Now, that little talk I made about Mrs. Woodward, I brought out that the minute that we felt that one was threatened, we all threw in whatever political weight that we could, plus the grapevine information.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I wonder to what degree that is operative today?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I couldn't say, but I imagine that it is to an extent. Maybe not as much because there are so many more women, but they are under a good deal of harassment now that for awhile we didn't have. Some individuals had.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What on earth was Sue Shelton White doing up in Washington?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Sue was one of the finest people that ever lived. She was from east Tennessee, the daughter of a not too successful Methodist minister and she studied law. She went to Washington. I don't recall how it happened, but she affiliated with the National Woman's Party and she was thrown in the clink for parading and protesting and so on. But she came down to Tennessee and [unknown] headed the ratification activity. Sue never sought

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glory and she operated from the background and let Mrs. Guilford Dudley and Charl Osmond Williams get the credit. But I always thought that Sue was the brains of political management in that campaign. But of course, she was the Woman's Party and they wanted to hush-hush that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Right. Mrs. Dudley was N.A.W.S.A.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, she was a very charming person. Sue went back to Washington and I think that she worked for the government somewhere and then in the low days of the Democratic party, she went into the national office and Sue White single-handedly built and held together the women in the national Democratic party through the lean days of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. Now, sometimes, in the beginning, you see, Charl Williams was brought there and that was part of the price of her support, that she be given a place in the Democratic setup. I don't know when Charl left. You see, Charl was basically an educator. She had been superintendent of schools in Shelby County and Charl was quite somebody. I always got along with Charl. Lots of people didn't, but I did. I knew her, you know and she was a very able person. So, she got into the National Education Association headquarters staff, which paid a whole lot more than the Democratic party could at that time. So, there was a succession of women who were the front, but Sue stayed there and worked. I persuaded Florence Armstrong to scrape together what papers Sue had left and give them to the archives. Sue was a modest person and she would always let somebody else take the credit, but she wrote wonderful letters. I remember meeting somebody from Utah that had come to Washington. I don't know how I happened to see her before she had seen other people, she said, "Where is Sue White? She wrote the most wonderful letters and she is the one person in Washington that I want to meet." Sue left directions that I was to be

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the alternate executor of her will, but I knew that Florence wanted to be and I didn't. Anyhow, Florence was the proper person. She also left directions that she was to be cremated and I was to see to the arrangements of her funeral.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And you did do that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I did do it. She left directions that minimum money was to be spent. So, you shouldn't laugh at something like this, you know, but Gawler's was then the place that handled the funerals of presidents and dignified people and so on and. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was the place?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Gawler's. It may still be there. So, they took over and I went to select a casket. The law requires, you know, that you have a casket for cremation, but I couldn't see any sense in spending much on something that would be burned up right away. So, I kept telling the man to show me something more reasonable. He said, "When are the family coming?" I said, "The family isn't coming and I am the only person you have to deal with. Show me what's next."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He was nonplussed.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
[laughter] Well, anybody that could be completely detached under those circumstances is very rare, you know. But we had a beautiful service for her and then I asked Jack Tate, he was General Counsel of Social Security and went back to . . . what is it, either Yale or Harvard, he's there on the law faculty. I said, "Jack, you take over. I can't go out and watch the cremation." So, he and one of the other men of the legal staff at Social Security where she was employed at that time, went out. Somewhere, I ran across that Jack had written a very beautiful tribute for the papers and they are there in the archives. I guess that

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once when I was up there or something, somebody told me. But I suggested to Florence that she wouldn't find many people or papers and so she should seek out people who knew Sue . . . you see, Sue left everything at the National Committee that belonged to it and she wasn't the kind to keep papers. Some of us do and some of us don't.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Good thing that some of us do.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, I said, "Get some of these people that were associated with Sue and get them to write about what she did and what it meant." So, Jack Tate was one of them. I don't know how many she asked from the Woman's Party. Florence had joined them and was friendly with all of them.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
In what context did you know Anita Pollitzer?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Anite Pollitzer, it seems to me, studied law at New York University.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was not a lawyer, she studied art history at Columbia. She taught at the University of Virginia for one year and then was hired as an organizer for the Woman's Party, but was in New York City all the years that you were in Washington.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, you see while I never joined them and whereas I frequently wished that they would go away, I was quite friendly with many of them and she was one of them. Now, Mabel Vernon, we became great friends and worked together on many committees and especially for what is now the Organization of American States, the Pan-American Union. Mabel Vernon was always interested in peace and international movements. There were others of them and through Sue White, Sue saw that I met ones that she thought I might like and that might like me. I had narrow escapes, you know that in Washington or in life, you've got to make sure that you don't get into what are fringe outfits and especially when the Cold War and all and the McCarthy business came up, but this was before that.

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I've always felt and still think that the American Bar Association is run by big lawyers more for their benefit than for the young and struggling who need some help. And Sue had that same feeling and she knew I did. So one day, we were having lunch or something and she said, "Lucy, they are starting something that I think you would be interested in. It is a lawyer's guild and it is going to do what you and I think ought to be done for young lawyers to help them in the profession and so on and they are going to have an organizational meeting. Won't you come?" I first said, "Yes." Then I thought, "No, Sue, I have an appointment that night. I can't come." She said, "Well, I'll go." I said, "You tell me what it is about." So, she went, but before I saw her, I read a news account of the meeting and it said that they voted to organize and so on and then they voted a resolution in favor of the Spanish Revolutionary Government. Well, when I saw Sue, I said, "Look Sue, what are they doing with that resolution. I am kind of sympathetic with the Spanish republican movement, but lawyers don't have anything to do with that, it doesn't have anything to do with practicing law in the United States. And especially with young lawyers. This looks to me that it is going off on the left as bad as the American Bar Association does on the right." "Well," she said, "I didn't like it either, but I joined." I said, "I'm not going to join, I'm going to watch."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, you stayed clear of that.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was just luck. Although if I had been at that meeting, I wouldn't have joined, I don't think, because it was obvious that it was going to be a propaganda agency and not a lawyer's bona fide professional organization. But that got a good many lawyers in trouble and it got a

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great many black lawyers in trouble and that was unfair, because the American Bar Association at that time wouldn't admit them and there wasn't any place for them to go.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You commented in 1949 that it seemed as if you ran up against a stone wall. You made very little impression on the powers that were in attempting to promote the appointment of women and things of that sort. Did it remain that way?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, we got together, you know, eventually. When the war came, (WW II) Dr. Mary Woolley, emeritus president of Holyoke, she wrote a letter, I never knew the list that it went to or how many, but I got one of those letters saying that women had been neglected and didn't get into the peace process following World War I and that there definitely should be something done to see that that didn't happen after World War II. Well, she chose the very awkward title of the Committee on Women for Post-War Policy Planning, something like that. So, she asked me to join and she asked other people. I said yes, I had great respect for Dr. Woolley, she had been president of the American Association of University Women, she had come to Randolph-Macon when I was a student and I had run across her here and there. That is not to say that I think that she wrote that letter to me personally. I think that it was written to a list, but nevertheless, I had a personal feeling of respect for her. So, she was in bad health then and getting quite feeble and she asked Dr. Emily Hickman who was a professor of history at Rutgers to take charge, which Emily Hickman did. I had never run across her before, but she was a very fine person and with a lot of drive. Whether she used her own money or whether some friends

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in New York financed her, I don't know, but she would come anytime. If you telephoned her that something was hot in Washington, she would take the night train down and be there. Rutgers apparently gave her a good deal of freedom of action. She was killed very tragically in an automobile accident. She was going out of New Jersey and the highway was along a dam and it was foggy morning and her car went off the road and she was drowned. I have always wondered whether anybody with intelligence about women went through her papers and saved the records of that committee. Because it should have been.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I wonder where the papers are?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I never heard. You see, I knew nothing of Emily Hickman except herself. I didn't know her family or anything. Well, this committee . . . they set up a committee in New York and set up a committee in Washington and like that article said, we just stayed on guard for appointments at that time in the international field, people going on missions to Britain and later to France and this, that and the other. We raised cain over getting women on those and Mrs. Roosevelt, of course, was a tremendous help. We got a professor of economics at Vassar on the international monetary business up there in New England, named for the hotel where they met Bratton Woods . . . [unknown] but it is very famous because it set up the International Bank and it set up the International Monetary Fund and it established the monetary policies to be followed following the war. Newcomer . . . was that her name? Mabel Newcomer. She was at one time on the board of the American Association of University Women. Well, she was appointed delegate after a knock down, dragout, whatnot. These things are amusing to me. There strated toward the end of the war in Washington, a

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group of economists, a professorial group that had come down to help win the war, not the professional Washington government employees, not the regular ones. I had two or three friends among these economists, they organized a little discussion group which met once every two weeks, I think it was, I know that it wasn't every week and it might have been once a month, they would get some prominent person to come and discuss a problem that was anticipated to come in the post-war period. So, I was invited to come to those sessions, I was a lawyer, I wasn't an economist and I wasn't anything that they were, but some of them linked me and they invited me to come. Some of those sessions were fascinating. Now this you won't believe, they persuaded Harry Dexter White to come to a session. There were men as well as women in the group mostly men in fact, they persuaded him to come and tell about this Bretton Woods conference, his side of it. You see, he has been painted as a communist, and I don't know rightfully or wrongfully, I take no stand about that, as the archbrain that designed all this economic-fiscal program and that he was probably in cahoots with the Russians, although the Russians wouldn't join in. Well anyhow, you know that he died very suddenly and a lot of people thought that he committed suicide because it was going to be shown up that he had a Communist card and this, that and the other. I don't know anything about it. I do know that he was an entertaining man. So, he came and this was my only time to see him. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He didn't try to convert your group?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, he was talking about the conference and the people there and he said, "You won't believe this. We had to have a woman there just because she was a woman. I don't understand that and I don't know how

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it happened." [laughter] I thought, "Well brother, I could tell you, but I'm not going to. It's going to be my secret."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Your organization, though, you were active in working to promote women for federal appointments and you were instrumental in getting a number of them appointed, you and your group.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There was Mary Donlon. Was this a successful appointment?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Mary Donlon . . . that was funny, she's a very prominent Republican and she and I belonged to Alpha Omicron Pi and we had worked together on some of its committees and so on. She was a very able person, she was an early law graduate of Cornell University and built up a highly successful practice in New York and then . . . who was the Republican governor that came in along in the '40s? Well, anyhow, he appointed her chairman of the Workmen's Compensation Commission, I believe it was. And then he was defeated by Lehman, I guess it was. Anyhow, he was defeated by a Democrat and later she went out of office, and she took it very hard. She said, "Lucy, I worked hard and I did these things and got these policies going." All of which was true. "Now," she said, "this new crowd, they are going to throw all that out and do something different." "Well," I said, "Mary, that's just the way it happens and that is the great waste of government. It could operate on a third of what it costs if people would accept what had been done before and go on from there, but they won't." So, she said something or other and I said, "Well, there's a Republican administration down there in Washington." I happened to be up in New York, you see, and I said, "You had better strike for something there." "Well," she said, "What?" I said, "The government publishes a Red Book that has every office

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above GS-2 in it. It has them by numbers. You know, that there are 24 GS-2s in this department or section, but after a higher grade, they name them. You get a Red Book and study it and see. With that, you have to get the congressional directory that has all these judicial things and you should strike for something." So, she looked around and found that there was a vacancy on the Court of Customs Appeals and she started trying to get it. She telephoned me and said, "Lucy, what do I do? How do I get this?" I said, "What are you calling me for, Mary? I'm a Democrat and you're a Republican. I don't know who is shoveling these things out." Then I said, "Well, if you want to talk to me, I can't come up to New York, you had better come down to Washington. Anyway, this is where the appointment is going to be made, you had better get here and begin stirring around." So, she came down. You know what happened? She had asked I don't know how many people, at least six and maybe ten, how to get an appointment and every last one of them had told her to come see me. Isn't that funny?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were a string-puller, she thought.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, she knew that it had to come through the Republicans and that I was a Democrat. She didn't expect me to do it, but they'd expect me. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh, I see, the political knowhow.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, she got this appointment and they called her for her confirmation and by then, Eastland was chairman of the committee, so down she came to see me again. Well, I said, "Mary, you don't have to worry. They always dilly-dally about this and do a little hazing and have a little fun. This is the only time that they get a chance to let you know who is the power. Now, you try to get your Senators to see who is on that

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subcommittee to consider your appointment. See if they won't stop this fiddling around and get you an appointment to have a hearing." So, she did that and they got this appointment and she wrote me and then phoned me that the hearing was going to be at a certain time, what should she get ready? I said, "There are only two things to get ready. Get your two Senators to sit one on one side and one on the other." She did that and they didn't even ask her her name. The Senators said something about her and evidently one of them said that he had known her, had gone to Cornell or something, somebody on the committee.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
There was also the episode with Sarah Hughes, I believe.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes, Sarah. Sarah, you know, is the one that swore Lyndon Johnson in.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She is?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Judge Sarah Hughes.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Sarah T. Hughes. Sarah and I have known each other a long time. So, they were kind of putting her through the jumps, you know, dilly-dallying. So, she came to town and it was perfectly natural for Sarah to see me, because we had been in so many joint activities; well, Mary too, but Sarah more and she was a Democrat. So, she asked what to do and I said, "Stop worrying, Sarah. Lyndon Johnson backed you. There are only two things. Don't admit, if it's true, that you have ever been a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and take Lyndon Johnson with you." I suspected that she had been a member. She didn't tell me and I just said that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then, there was the business with Gladys Tillett?

Page 156
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, Gladys Tillett was the chairman of the women's division.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She sought an appointment, too.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, she was appointed to the United Nations, one of the committees . . . was it the Status of Women Committee?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Possibly, I don't know.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I think that was it. We were very good friends over a long period of time.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you maintain this friendship?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, you know . . . is she still alive?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, I hear of her now and then.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Her husband committed suicide and. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She is living in Charlotte.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Her husband committed suicide. It was a sad thing, he was a nice man. I don't know what it was, whether he felt that his mind was going or something, you know to some people it is actually happening and to some people, they just get the notion, but I liked him and I liked Gladys. We were in and out of many a stunt, but Gladys always tried to deliver the goods. If we found a person that we thought could do a job and would stay put, you know, that's one problem. I have had at least four cases, where the women said they wanted something and I went to work and sweated and used my influence and as somebody said, that's a bank account and each time you draw on it, you are reducing it. With help, I got them the appointment and they turned it down.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did they give good reasons?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I said, "Don't you know that you are making it harder to get

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the next one?" And so, that problem is there, number one, to find somebody who can stand the "gaff" and stick to it. So, I worked six years to get women back on the Board of Veterans Appeals after we were bumped off. Gladys Tillett and India Edwards were the ones that kind of swung it. We got them back and they have been back every since.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You met Lucy Randolph Mason early in your Washington career?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, I met her in the YWCA.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You did?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She inveigled you into joining the National Consumers League, did she?
[Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
[END OF TAPE 6, SIDE B]

[TAPE 7, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 7, SIDE A]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Constance Myers continuing the interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth from Cleveland, Mississippi, the interview taking place in Monteagle, Tennessee on June 23, 1975.
Why do you think the assembly in 1950 of those women's organizations with the theme, "Mobilize" was significant? Or is this a different organization from the. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't recall the language that we used, but it was an assembly of women's organizations for national security and this is the background: following World War I, the peace movement which had been flourishing before World War I began to recover its forces and the American Association of University Women and the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the then young National Federation of Business and Professional Women and the Society of Friends and the this, that and the other, all began

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to resume certain peace and international relations activities. Judge Florence Allen, whom I told you I introduced at the YWCA convention in 1922, she made there the speech that she was making all over the country, of "law, not war." Billboards over the country were plastered with that slogan and Mrs. Catt and a group got their heads. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. They got their heads together and they formed what they called The Conference on the Cause and Cure of War and all of these organizations coalesced to meet in that conference annually in Washington. And to directly or indirectly press on Congress the importance of something, if we couldn't join the League of Nations, something of that nature, the Kellogg Peace Pact and this, that and the other. Now, that annual conference and coalescence of these organizations began to have some weight, so the people who were for a big navy and stronger defense and this, that and the other, they began to get nervous and they went, they didn't do it directly, but they persuaded the DAR and the American Legion Auxillary and a few others of what I call the "genelogical organizations", they call themselves "patriotic," but I think that I as a member of the American Association of University Women am as patriotic [unknown] as any [unknown] member of the DAR.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Or as the UDC and the Colonial Dames and so forth?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right. So, they all got together, but they called it The Coalition of Patriotic Organizations and that just riled the others. That is the beginning of the sniping between the DAR and these other organizations. I read that book, The Daughters and it is a very well written book and a fine book, but it doesn't pick that up. It says that

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but it didn't explain. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It didn't explain the basis of that feeling.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. Then, of course, came Hitler and it began to be seen what was happening. So, Mrs. Catt, who really was a statesman, she said that it was time to dissolve The Conference on the Cause and Cure of War and I think the last one was in '36, maybe it was '35. Anyhow, I attended the last of that conference and Mrs. Catt made the closing speech and it was a wonderful speech. Her words were prophetic. She said, "Do not tell me that the future of humanity is a figure huddled in a scholar's gown with a Phi Beta Kappa key gleaming in the dim light in the deep recesses of a cavern trying to be protected from the bombs." Well, that pretty near came to be true and it may be true yet. It was dissolved. We went into the war and everybody was helping win and the Patriotic Coalition went along helping, too. Then after the war, here was the United Nations and these same women's groups were all supporting it and doing what they could and they were interested in the Marshall Plan and so on and the Patriotic Coalition began to reassemble again and we began the beginnings of the McCarthy era. Now, none of those groups, the General Federation or the AAUW or any of them, were willing to have any truck whatsoever with this Patriotic Coalition. So, the Patriotic Coalition began to smear them and put out statements. I met the wife of a Senator one day in the late '40s and she said, "I've been back visiting some relatives at (some place in the Midwest) and one of my relatives asked me if the AAUW was a Communist organization. I (the Senator's wife) said, ‘Indeed no. I know Mrs. Howorth very well and she is on the board and she wouldn't be if it was.’ " Well, it got so bad that the AAUW sent someone to talk to the DAR and I for one was promoting the idea of suing them for slander, although

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I didn't mean to really go through with it, because that would just be hay raking season for the press. But you see, it was getting to be a very critical situation in that these charges that the General Federation had been taken over by subversive groups and that the AAUW and Business and Professional Women were. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was the principal issue support for the United Nations?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That was one of the major issues and it . . . you know, it's hard to pin down these things. They get kind of amorphous, but then, you see, came the McCarthy hearings and Dorothy Kenyon, who was vice-president of the AAUW was called up there and of course, that was as foolish as hauling you, but that didn't make any difference. The papers beat you, "Judge Kenyon, vice-president of the AAUW will be testifying today." Esther Brunauer, who had been our international relations staff associate, her husband, Commander Brunauer, he was as loyal as anybody, I think, but he had acted foolishly. He was a Hungarian or something like that by birth and he was so proud of being a Commander in the Navy that he went to see his relatives shortly after the war, who were in that country, and wearing his uniform and it was a Communist country. So, he got reprimanded and all this stuff. So, we had to do something. So, Margaret Hickey and four or five others, Mrs. Dorothy Houghton was president of the General Federation . . . I ran into her on the street one day and she stopped and said, "I just don't know what is going on. I get these letters asking me questions about our loyalty and all." We set up . . . I didn't go to it much because I had too much to do, but we set up a conference of the League of Women Voters, the B and PW, the AAUW, and the General Federation top office and staff in Washington to exchange notes and to see if they could sense what was coming up. So, we got our heads together and decided we would just put on our own

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patriotic show and that's how this originated and that's why I said that it was very important at the time. Now, this didn't last more than six years or something like that. It took all the influence I had to keep the AAUW in, because you can imagine that most of those college professors who were on the board, not the membership, couldn't see why they should be mixing in any such triviality from their standpoint. I couldn't tell them that their organization was going to be destroyed and they were going to all lose their jobs all over the country unless they put a counter propaganda in motion. Without saying it in plain words, although I did to some of them, it was our need.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I'm very glad that you brought this out. This does not come out at all from a reading of your papers, this purpose behind this organization.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't doubt that that's correct, because it is the kind of thing that my discretion would tell me to keep in my head.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I think that sufficient time has lapsed that. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
One of the most fascinating meetings we had, we had some good meetings, was Lady . . . what was her name? She was the head of the British women. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I've read this, and I've forgotten her name.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She was fascinating and she came and spoke and Mrs. Woodward sort of had her in charge, Ellen Woodward, and she invited me and Margaret Hickey and I think one other person out, so there was just the six of us there, to chat for a couple of hours. Here is a story she told. She said that at the height of the bombing of Britain, I guess that it was the last of that, Churchill sent for her and he called her by her first name and

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he said, "How long can our people take this?" She said, "Two weeks." And the Germans stopped, I think, in twelve days. That's how close they came. So, she was quite interesting in many ways, she was a fascinating woman. She told jokes on herself. She had one of these figures, you know, like a bottle.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Hourglass?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. No, the top wasn't so spread out, but then when you came to her hips, they were all. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
[unknown] shaped?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. Well, anyhow, her outline, a drawing of her was on the bulletin board. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Caricatured?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, it was meant to be. She was speaking and saying, "Do this," or "Do that." She was working late one night and the charwoman was out in the hall and the charwoman didn't know who was coming, you know and she looked at the picture, [unknown], and said, "Ain't she funny looking?" [laughter] She would tell these jokes on herself, you know. So, that's the rationale and it served its purpose and I made no more effort to keep it going when I felt. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I saw some significant issues that are contemporary, virtually, issues appropriate to 1975 were raised at this meeting, at this initial meeting, the transcript of which is in your papers at Radcliffe.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I would say that we had three significant meetings and maybe four and I think that I was the third president. We decided to rotate the presidency and I was representing the AAUW.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
Now, this was the organization, was it not, that was considered controversial, was it not attacked as an effort to dictate to American women that they must build this tremendous and powerful machine?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes, all of that. But you run into that anytime that you try to form a coalition.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And on your reflection, you still regard it as having been a significant organization because of the purpose for which it was formed?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
That's right. It pulled us out of that tailspin . . . you can't imagine. And in that period came the Stockholm Peace Movement. I don't know if you've ever come across it, don't ask me about it, ask the Swedes, it was a peace petition and they formed this organization all at the instigation of the Russians. So, the first time I saw it, [unknown] it was shown to me by the international relations staff member and she said, "Lucy, this won't do." I said, "Let's go into the General Director and see if she can get a letter out to the International Federation of University Women warning them to see what this is." So, that was done. Then, we sent it to the State Department and they thanked us. They had heard rumors of it, but hadn't seen a copy. It was a manifesto and a petition and that was the group that sent a delegation to Korea to look into the conduct of the American army and the United Nations army and that smeared us so, reported all sorts of atrocities and all. It was a pure undiluted Communist group. We stayed clear, the AAUW and the IFUW stayed clear by virtue of our having received a copy early and alerting everyone. But a number of the women's peace groups did fall for it and had quite a headache as a result. Then, we were on the mailing list like I suppose all these other organizations, of the Russians. So, I said that

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we would have to get off and the State Department and the FBI both asked us to stay. But with all the McCarthy upsurge, we finally told them that they would have to get their material somewhere else.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Now, in looking over the papers, I formed some impressions and I was going to ask you about them. Was there not a genuine and sinister effort to capture this organization as an instrument to mobilize women in a stepped up defense program?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, so far as I know, there wasn't any organized effort to capture it. If they were going to do that, they would get that Patriotic Coalition, but I never had anything to do with them. I mean, I belonged to the organizations, but I didn't like their policies, or some of them.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
When I saw the nature of some of the speeches delivered, some of the lectures delivered, it seemed to me that there was a lot of doom saying and fear mongering.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, you can't understand, you had the McCarthy era . . . not him, himself. His name designates a certain part of the era, you had all that, you had all these people who would get into hysterics over the atom bomb and you had a lot of things, so there were people who thought along those lines.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, you were even questioning AAUW's remaining in the organization and I thought [unknown] perhaps [unknown] your personal questioning of this was a result of its being transformed somehow.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I don't doubt that I said something like that and I was willing when the AAUW wanted to get out eventually, but I kept it in as long as I thought it was useful, what I call "protective coloration." I didn't want this Patriotic Coalition thing to get complete

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control of civil defense. I was very concerned about civil defense. It looked to me like there was maybe an effort to establish some sort of a guerrilla movement in the country. It could easily have been. They were organizing all these little groups with equipment and potentialities for military or forced action. I didn't want that Patriotic Coalition, so-called, to be the only one that was consulting about its activities.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It seems to me that this Women's Assembly began to degenerate.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And I mean when I say degenerate, the kinds of speakers that were holding forth and the kind of scare messages that were coming from the podium.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't remember being too concerned about anything, but I did think as far as I was concerned that the purpose had been accomplished. However, the actual attacks on the AAUW and the effects of the McCarthy hysteria, they did not disappear until the late '50s. In 1955, I think, I was out in Utah and some of the members got up and wanted to know what was what. I explained the service that we had rendered to the State Department and the FBI and that we had been commended by them and also that some of this other was totally unfounded, like Dorothy Kenyon.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Many careers were ruined.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. It almost ruined her. She had Judge Robert Patterson formerly Secretary of the Arm to represent her and she had a most difficult time for awhile. She just joined anything that came along and asked her that looked like it was a humanitarian thing. Well, beginning about 1935, you had to be careful what you joined.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The Popular Front, the American Communist Party adopted that

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Popular Front policy.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, it was very strenuous and that was the most unpleasant part of my activity with organizations. I remember that a member of the staff of AAUW came to me, and where she had taught, a young man had been called up before the faculty and charged with being a Communist and he had written and asked if she would testify for him. So, I said, "I know that you want to help, I know that you want to be honorable and you want to be courageous, but let's wait a minute. If you testify for him, you are going to be cross-examined and so you just sit there and let me cross-examine you. How often have you seen this young man in the past two years? Were you ever in any of his classes? Do you know what he taught? Do you know how he spent his free time? Do you know what he read?" Well, you know, the answer to all of that was "No." I said, "They will make a fool of you and they will get the AAUW in trouble. So, just fence around as best you can." She never did testify, she realized then that all she could say was that he was a nice young man when she knew him five years before, which didn't signify a thing in his political beliefs or activities.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I saw that in Jackson, Mississippi, there was a Conference for the Cause and Cure of War.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, we put that on in '28. Mrs. Pennypacker spoke. (Ex-President of General Federation Woman's Clubs and President of Chautauqua.)
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was this a kind of spin-off of the Kellogg-Brand Pact?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, it was a very national thing. Mrs. Catt . . . they tried, you know. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But it was in the general spirit of the Paris Peace Pact?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that was kind of the text, but I don't know who wrote me and asked if we could have Mrs. Pennypacker, who was then, I think,

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president of Chautauqua in New York.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
First name?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I've forgotten. I can get it. And she had been not too far back a president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. She was a wonderful speaker, so whoever in connection with the Cause and Cure of War was trying to promote these state conferences, wrote somebody, I suppose they wrote me. Anyhow, the letter landed with me, to see if we could have Mrs. Pennypacker. So, I talked to Martha Enochs. Now, Martha was an outstanding person in Jackson and she had been appointed, or she was appointed later, this was in the '20s, to the reorganized Board of Trustees of Higher Institutions of Learning. So, she was very much interested in the AAUW and was responsible for organizing over the state and there is a fellowship named for her in the AAUW fellowship program. Well, Martha agreed and and the two of us organized committees and we got Galloway Memorial Church and I have never spoken from a platform that had such wonderful acoustics. I introduced Mrs. Pennypacker. She made a marvelous speech. I never could understand. Some years later, you know, she got all mixed up and was accused of being a Communist and a fellow traveler and I don't know what what was the truth of it. She did drift steadily to the left, but how far, I don't know.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You had another friend that you worried about as far as her political tendencies were going and this was Olive Van Horn. Did you know her personally?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, Olive was one of my dearest friends. She was my superior for awhile at the YWCA and we kept in touch and when I went to New York, I would try to go, and did for many years, go to New York every year and I always saw Olive. I never knew exactly how far her thinking

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went. She is dead now, she died and her sister wrote me about three years ago. She had the quickest mind that I have ever had an association with. She was quick, her mind was quicker than my mother's. It was a different type mind, but it was quicker. Some years later, they did a thyroid operation on her and it didn't destroy her mind, but it slowed her and after that she was more average. the group that she was in were not . . . you know, as I said, I thought that she would just get too far and outsmart them, but I never . . . I still don't know how far she went. She was in a group with Howard Fast, you know who he is?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
And you see, he's a reformed card carrying Communist.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, there are so many of those who have written novels and then seen the light.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, he was in this group that she was in. Of course, if it was Communist, they would call it a cell and she spoke about him, about how he was erratic and sort of wild and how in the meetings they had, he would speak up and she would get him back in line. The last time she came to Washington, she asked if I would meet her in a park. You see, I knew that she was coming and I was expecting that we would go to dinner or something like that or that she would go to my apartment. And you know, by that time, anybody who met you in a park, you knew was afraid of being overheard. You didn't know that?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No. So you met in a park?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we sat out on a park bench. On a park bench, nobody could get close enough to you to overhear unless you knew and they wouldn't be having microphones at a distance unless they knew that you were going to be there and so on. So, we had quite a conversation and all and she

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quite distinctly didn't want me to have her to dinner or something that night and said she was going back to New York. So, that worried me, but I don't know. Then, I think that it was several years later in New York, she was discussing things and she said, "Of course, Lucy, I wouldn't be one of those crackpots." Which is what I thought.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But she was interested in the ideas that they were generating, I guess.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She was very much of a civil libertarian. Now, she got cut off. She worked for the YWCA and they fired her. There was some sort of a row and she never told me about it and nobody else in it told me because they knew that I was a good friend and they probably thought that the least said, the better. But she was a wonderful person. We took a cruise down in the Caribbean one time. She was at one time quite wealthy. Her father had been a highly successful steel and coal operator. If he was not a partner, he was a close friend of the Fricks and the Carnegies and all that. She told me that when her mother died, she knew that her mother was going to die and her mother was in New York. Well, her mother's legal residence was in Pennsylvania and they owned a great deal of property in New Jersey and she knew that they would have to pay state taxes in Pennsylvania and they would have to pay in New Jersey, because the property there was real property and that kind of thing and she said she wanted something left, so she told me that when she realized that her mother wasn't going to live, she went to the bank where they had a joint bankbox and took everything out, put all the securities in a suitcase. Her mother died and they took her back to Pennsylvania with that suitcase. Why be robbed? New York had no right to it, Mrs. Van Horn wasn't a citizen, her property belonged

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in Pennsylvania and they weren't going to evade Pennsylvania law, but the presence of mind was unusual. I was devoted to her. She had so much practical sense and such good business sense.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, I'm glad that you elaborated on that a little because there is just enough information in your papers to inspire a little curiosity. I wanted to ask you about the American Association of University Women and your role on the. . . ..
[END OF TAPE 7, SIDE A]

[TAPE 7, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 7, SIDE B]
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
When I was in college, Randolph-Macon graduates were eligible for the Southern Association of Collegiate Alumnae and we were told that negotiations were underway to make us eligible for the Association of Collegiate Alumnae and that the best thing that we could do for the college was to join when we were notified that we had become eligible. So, the merger of the two with the western was made and the name was changed to the American Association of University Women. That news came in 1918 and I joined the New York branch, which a lot of people won't believe, because that branch was [unknown] supposed to be rather exclusive, but I just walked into [unknown] headquarters and said that I wanted to join.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I had no idea that it was invitational membership.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
There were spots where that was true and this New York group was supposed to be very snobby. Well, I was fortunate enough to be a member and to be present at the famous reception that Dean Gildersleeve gave for the visiting English women after World War I, which led to the formation of the IFUW. Well, then I went back to Mississippi and dropped this membership because I was back in school and didn't think that the

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thing to do was to kkep it. Then, after I was there, Martha Enochs wrote me that I should belong and would I be a member at large? Which, I became and then after I went to Jackson, they had a branch which I joined and when I went to Washington, I joined the Washington branch. Well, we sent down a bunch of resolutions of something that was going to be brought up at a convention and presented them at a meeting of the Washington branch. Well, you know, every once in a while, you don't want to be run over and that afternoon, I didn't want to be run over and there were four or five others and we tore these resolutions to pieces and the by-laws to pieces and said that we thought the delegates from Washington should raise a rumpus at the convention. So, then after that, they picked me to be on the national by-laws committee of the chairman of which was Bessie Carey Randolph, who was one of the wonders of that period. She was the president of Hollins College. So, we got along famously. So, that began to draw me into the national picture.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What were your objections to the resolutions and the by-laws?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I don't remember. I think that it was centralizing power or something about it like that. You know, they get these things in organizations where the branches don't know anything and the people don't know anything. It's like the federal government and you have to jack them up every once in a while and put them back and start over again. Then it goes on up and you knock them down and start over. I had known Sarah Hughes for a long time. So, I was having lunch at the AAUW headquarters where the Washington branch operated an elegant restaurant and in came Sarah Hughes and I said, "What are you doing here, Sarah?" "Oh," she said, "We've got a meeting of the Status of Women Committee and I get tired of all that talk and I don't know what in the world we can do." Well, I had just received a few days before from Mr.

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Howorth, this handbook of the Civil Service Commission and I think it was headed, "Employment of the Handicapped" and in it were "Women, Children and Cripples." It just burned me up. So, I told Sarah about it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were you at this point chairman of that committee?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
On, no. I wasn't even a member. I was on this by-laws committee which didn't rate anything like these standing committees. But I was kind of beginning to be known by the national set-up. So, I told Sarah about this and I said, "I've been thinking about how to get at it and you can do a blistering letter and we can get it delivered right away, maybe you can take it to the chairman and get that thing called back." So, she was delighted to have something and I think that I had a copy of it on my desk at my office and sent it over. Anyhow, she got the machinery going and they had a hot letter and she may have taken it over. Within a week, that thing was recalled and apologies to the women in general were issued with the new one and a separate manual for the employment of women.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Within one week. Who wrote that first one, who was responsible for that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't know. They (the Civil Service Committee) apologized and their face was red because they knew that they had really tripped. But anyhow, we got that knocked out. Then Sarah told me, they stayed there about three days, or she did, and she said, "I'm going to see if I can get you on the committee, Lucy." That meant, as I knew, that she had to wait until a meeting of the board, because the board has to approve all these committee members. So she at the next meeting of the board, had my name cleared to go on the committee. It was Helen Bragdon, who was then president of Lake Erie College and later became general director of the AAUW, who was on it.

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The most interesting from the viewpoint of the public person was Ruth Benedict and there were two or three other members. I would know their names all right and recall them if I saw the names but you know . . . Well, I had [unknown] some fascinating debates, and the rest just sat back and listened, with Ruth Benedict on "Can Law Change Society?" She contended it couldn't and she said that customs, social customs, change very gradually, which is true and they only change as conditions outside impinge on the individuals. It was sort of an evolutionary theory. I've been sorry that she died before the enactment of the Civil Rights Act because that has really forced a revolution. It may not has changed many hearts, but it has certainly changed. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The outward appearance of things.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
With me on there and living in Washington, that was Sarah Hughes argument, that I was right there and could see what was going on in the government and we did accomplish a good deal. Then, there was this business of women on faculties being demoted and what not and with deans of women. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
This was in the '50s, wasn't it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
The '40s. You see, I became chairman in '47. Sarah's term was out and she was putting her mind more on the Business and Professional Women. She was getting ready to go in as president in a couple of years. So, she wanted to retire as chairman and she recommended me and I was told later that they had a knockdown, dragout fight over having me as chairman because I favored the Equal Rights Amendment and most of the Board did not. They didn't trust me and they didn't really trust Sarah, because she did too (favored the ERA) and they had kind of had enough of her. They wantéd a different

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type and of course, they were getting a worse one with me, in some respects. Now, Sarah would stack up as high as I do in many respects, but I was more technically knowledgeable, you see. In Washington, I had my hands on what was happening and being in Dallas there, she couldn't. But as far as backbone goes, she probably has a stronger one.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you did get this chairmanship?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And how long did you have it?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I served until 1951, when I was elected second vice-president. So, I served about a four year term.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Overall, how much do you think the AAUW has advanced its purposes and has accomplished its purposes, has advanced the cause of women's rights?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, the American Association of University Women has a much broader purpose in a way, which encompasses the status of women and that is that its original and continuing purpose has been to advance the higher education of women and until it stopped its process of examining and passing approval on institutions for membership, it did quite a lot in making them scramble around and get at least one woman full professor and improve the facilities for physical education and much of what is going on now on a lesser degree, because it couldn't compete with HEW in enforcing its ideas. But I know that Delta State, University they skirmished around and promoted a woman or two and changed the title of a woman who was something like Counselor to Women Students and they changed it to Dean and a good many things. A great many institutions did, they wanted that accolade and it did get very difficult, very burdensome with the increase of institutions and now they accept the accreditation of the regional committees. Regional Councils on Accreditation, whatever they are called, and of course,

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that doesn't emphasize the women's aspect. Also, while I was chairman, we sent letters to any institution tht we found was barring women from classes. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What do you mean, "barring women from classes?"
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I mean, there would be a course, Philosophy 6, or something like that, open only to men students.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Oh, I see.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Take . . . it was, I think, '38, that a friend of ours in Washington was going up into the Aleutians for the Smithsonian and his wife wanted to learn whatever it is that they speak so that she could help with translating papers. She wasn't going, but she found out that Harvard had a course in that. Now, she was a graduate of one of the Five Sisters, you know, up there in New England. So, they fussed and fumed around at Harvard and finally said that she could attend if she would sit behind a curtain in an alcove. 1937.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
'37!
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. That was the kind of thing that we were yelling about.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No wonder.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Then, we did some things. You take the United Nations. There came up a question of whether there should be a status of women committee or commission in it. There was quite a set-to among the women, some took the position that the separate commission wasn't needed and I fought the battle in the AAUW that it was needed, that we had to think not only of where we were, and we weren't so far as to be so proud, that all these other countries, what it might mean. So, we got it, but there was quite

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a struggle, a conflict of opinion.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The thought being that as men advance, women will too. A social advancement matter. I know the rationale today.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I was very regretful when that committee was abolished. (The AAUW Status of Women Committee.) They are going back to it now, the branches. They also felt that the association wasn't picking up where it ought to.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The AAUW has come out for the ERA.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It has joined with so many coalitions now.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You received many White House invitations from Franklin Roosevelt's era through the Eisenhower years. Can you describe the differences in tone and atmosphere between the three different regimes?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, my invitations during the Eisenhower years were very scanty. The Roosevelts, until the war, [unknown] entertained a great deal and I can't understand all this picking about the food being poor, because I was there at least two luncheons and the food was delicious and also, Mrs. Roosevelt usually had at these huge receptions, sandwiches and little things. You don't expect a full meal when there are a thousand people at a reception. The people that lived in Washington that I talked with said that the Hoovers never had anything except ice water, although Hoover, I think, had a chef and his personal meals were quite elaborate, but in entertaining, it was ice water. That's the talk, I wasn't there. And the entertaining, as far as I could see, was enjoyable, we were all happy to be there. There was a great deal of friendliness and mixing and mingling and no differences or stiffness. You weren't at a royal party.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did it become stiffer with the Truman years and the Eisenhower years?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It became a good deal stiffer with the Eisenhowers. The Truman parties, it was right after the post-war period and they were smaller, but they were cordial. The Trumans mixed and mingled when they were there and they were friendly. I had a little unique experience. Mrs. Roosevelt's social secretary was Mrs. Helms, whose husband had been an admiral in the Navy. Well, Mrs. Helms knew the lady for whom I was named, a friend of my mother's. So, when I would go to one of these parties and she was pouring tea, I always chatted with her. I chatted with her when it wasn't at a party, but she didn't get much opportunity to run around to other people's parties. So, I knew that this friend of my mother's had died and so, I went over and spoke to Mrs. Helms and she said, "Did you know, Lucy left you something in her will?" I said, "No, I hadn't heard it." We chatted a little, so I just thought that it was kind of interesting to be told at the White House of her bequest.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Is your name Lucinda?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, Lucy. I was Lucy Robinson for a friend of my mother's who lived in Greenville, Mississippi and when she knew that my mother was going to have a baby, she asked if she would give the baby to her. She had no children and was very fond of children. My mother said no, but that if it was a girl, she would name her for her. So, she did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you leave government service because the atmosphere failed to continue to be encouraging? Why did you leave?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I left because I was thrown out. I could have raised a

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ruckus and forced them to give me a commensurate position. I was general counsel of the War Claims Commission and the general counsel is always an appointment at the pleasure of the employing agency, the head of the department, or in this case, the commission. And Eisenhower, the Republican administration, sat there until 1953 when we all knew that they were reaching around for jobs. Now, under the law and a continuous and uniform series of decisions of the Supreme Court, the President has no right to dismiss members of an independent agency who are appointed for a fixed term and this commission was appointed to serve until the termination of the act, which would have been about 1955 or '56. But we knew that the Admr. wanted jobs. So, the chairman of the commission died pretty young, in his early 40's from what I call premature senility, that is, arteriosclerosis, which is unusual, but he did and died very suddenly. That left one vacancy which Eisenhower could legitimately fill and a letter was sent over to the other two members that he would appoint someone to take their place and would they please vacate. Well, they fluttered a little, but you have to be kind of gentlemanly, you know. [unknown] One of them was Mrs. Georgia Lust. (Of New Mexico, former member of Congress.) So, they moved out, but they instituted suit in the Court of Claims and I gave them an opinion that this was illegal, firing them, but I said that as a general counsel, I can't represent you and as this was basically a personal suit [unknown] they would have to get other counsel. They eventually won the suit, but by the time they won, the legal term was over and Eisenhower had reorganized the commission and put it into the State Department as the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission and made it a permanent agency. All this talk of abolishing it, all he did was take a temporary agency and make it permanent. Well, when this new commission

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took over, they wanted my resignation. Well, we fought, but by that time I was figuring time on retirement. So, I shifted to a consultant status for about three months, but it was too small an agency and I knew that they didn't have money to take somebody extra and they couldn't absorb somebody who had been at the top and it would be very unpleasant for everybody concerned. So, I moved on off after I got three or four months that I figured were vital to make up the number of years.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you thought about practicing law in Washington, didn't you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, naturally. That would come to your mind. And this cousin of mine who had retired from the State Department, was building up a business and he is still doing it. James is now about 85, he was developing a sort of a consulting business and so, he invited me to come in with him, which I did. His clients were his clients and while they were polite to me, when he was gone, they let me do what needed to be done, but quite obviously they were not my clients. So, when the Commission on Government Security was organized [unknown] Senator Stennis was made vice-chairman and Dr. Susan Riley the past president of the AAUW, was made a member, I saw a chance. Well, I went over to Stennis' office and asked him if he would see to my being put on the staff, [unknown] which was done. That way, I got a little over two years, which pushed me well over the twenty year mark and also got me to the age of 62, where I could take early retirement. That's not highly noble.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Well, you had quite a few contributing years there for women and people.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was all right.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How was it to resume law practice in Cleveland after the long absence?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, we really didn't resume it. I rather wanted to, but

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Joe had been in the army doing legislative work and his work had not involved as much law as my activities had and he felt very much out of familiarity with decisions and was very tired. So, he didn't take to the idea of practicing. We did a little business and my brother had me in to help on some trials and cases.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you hang out a shingle?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. But we were qualified to practice. We paid and still pay the Mississippi license and all that, so we can if we want to. Then in the two years that my brother was ill and died, we took over his law business and paid his hospital bills and so on. But as to active practice . . . then, too, I wanted to travel and we wanted to come up here for three or four months and you can't be free that way. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you ever come to Monteagle during those years in Washington and if so, how often?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I came every summer for about three or four days to see my mother and as long as Dr. Crockett was active, to have my dental work done, because he was familiar with my teeth and he was a very fine dentist. Sometimes I scarcely left this porch. She (my mother) would lie in the porch and I would stay out here.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That hammock right there?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Not that hammock, but a hammock.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you become involved at all in Mississippi Democratic politics when you returned?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, when we got back, all of this bitterness and fighting over the civil rights. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Hadn't quite started, had it?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It had started because the Citizen's Councils had been organized and we soon saw that anything we did would be suspect and it just wouldn't get anywhere and we were tired. I am not particularly proud of it and we just didn't do much. Coming up here, we missed the primary dates and so on. Now, we had some anonymous phone calls and all. People know what you are thinking and in a crisis like that, they not only want you to stand with them, but they want you to think with them and so they knew that we weren't thinking with them. As a matter of fact, we weren't standing with them, but we weren't going out marching with the civil rights people either. You can't do more than one crusade in a lifetime.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
That's true.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Now, you can have your principles and I had always said it was a mistake, I had said it in the `20s, not to gradually encourage the educated Negroes to vote and I said it to a number of people, that if you did that, you would never be confronted with a bloc vote. But nobody paid any attention to me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you feel any reprisals for people knowing how you thought?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, we had, you know, some dirty phone calls and we got some anonymous letters and had some eggs thrown at the house and a few things like that, which are very unpleasant, but we never made any todo. In fact, most of it we never mentioned to anybody. Most of that has died down now.
I want to put in now a little more about the YWCA, because you really seem to want to know what made me tick. As I mentioned, I went to the YWCA in December, 1918 as a research clerk. I found that. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But on a professional basis?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, which was anomalous. I found that I had to bone up and

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study on economics and industrial society and the history of the labor movement and what not. So, Miss Florence Simms was the head of that department. She wasn't there when I was employed and she stayed out in the field a good deal and she blew in around the 1st of January or something and saw me and asked who I was and what I was doing. Then she was off again and then she came back. Now, she was a remarkable person and fascinating to me. She was resourceful. The YWCA, like the Salvation Army and all of the organization that were in this council of agencies to do war work, they had money left over because the Armistice had come and they weren't doing things in France. So, they were told that they could use the money that they had on hand from this last drive, but they couldn't use it for regular routine YWCA work. So, she, with the Women's Trade Union League . . . wasn't it?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes. WTUL.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, they cooked up to have what they called the First International Conference of Working Women in Washington, D.C. and they were going to get women from the labor movement of all the allied countries and any others that they could scrape up. To help make that a go, not only was Miss Simms getting some of this money to fund it, but she also was going to call into Washington all of her staff, the field staff and the industrial secretaries in Cleveland and Baltimore and here, there, and wherever they were. That would make the meeting look bigger and then after, immediately following, she would have this conference of her staff in Washington.
[END OF TAPE 7, SIDE B]

[TAPE 8, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 8, SIDE A]

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
This is Constance Myers with Lucy Somerville Howorth on June 23, 1975.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
. . . working women. So, she sent three of us on her staff in New York to go to Washington to help with the preliminaries and I was put on that, which gave me quite a nice vacation.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were so young. You were just a college graduate.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was good that she had sent for us, because these trade union people were good scrappers and all that, but you know, limited education, limited experience. One of them, I remember, was so excited to see a folder, a filing folder, she had always clutched the papers in her hand or a paper bag or something, just little things like that. So, one of our problems was how to seat these delegates. So, we naively decided that alphabetical was the easy way and we got all the standards up and the conference met and we had these speeches and we could feel something rising. After the welcome speeches, they went to fighting; boy, it was something, over the fact that the seating arrangements were all wrong. The British all wanted to be on the front seat and the French wanted to be on the front seat and some of them didn't want to sit next to the others. So finally, some of the people with experience got in there and told them that they had better sit wherever they could and get to working together. Miss Margaret Bonfield, one of the first women in Parliament and the British Cabinet was there, there were some Scandinavian people there, at least one of them who went into the Parliament of Norway and there were some fascinating people.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were they truly representative working women, though?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. Everyone of them from the other countries, not

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this one. And you know, I have never seen such passion as displayed by these people. They had all been in jail, they had all been beaten up by the police, but the way that they could flame . . . you could feel the tension.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was that an eyeopener for you?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it would have been for anybody if they had had any eyes. Because we didn't have anything like that, or if we did, I didn't know anything about it.
There might have been some of these miners' wives or something that. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Emma Goldman, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. . . .
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, I knew Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. I couldn't stand her. She had no manners. She was a lawyer, you know. Well, anyhow, it went on and came off and I enjoyed it. I spoke a little French so I was assigned to the ones that couldn't speak English or wouldn't speak it. It was quite an experience and fifteen or twenty years later, I began to meet some of these women in different organizations, trips to Europe and what not. Well, then came the conference of the staff the next week. We were at the old Powhatan Hotel that became the Roger Smith and is now plowed up for some government building and those conferences were what alienated me, really, from the YWCA.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Why?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Because they would go on all right with the program and then they would get to self-analysis, worrying about whether they were doing the right job and all that sort of stuff. Well, I thought people that [unknown] weren't in the right place ought to know it and get out and if they were in it, they should put their minds on what they were doing. So, I was pretty well tired out by Friday night and Saturday morning, they

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had some session, but I looked at the program and there wasn't anything for Saturday afternoon and nothing for Saturday night. Sunday, there wasn't anything until we were to go out on the edge of Washington to a picnic. So, I was rooming with a nice little young thing about my age, I guess, from Oklahoma. So, I said . . . I can't think of her name, her last name was White, but I can't remember her first name . . . I said, "Let's do some cooperation with the YMCA tonight." She was dubious, you know, she hadn't come there to have fun, but I persuaded her. I said, "I have a cousin here, James Somerville." The same one that you have run into and I said, "James is in town and he can always scout up somebody and we can have a date and we'll go to dinner and we'll go to the vaudeville and we'll have a nice evening." So, I phoned James and he was pleased and said, "Yes." Some old friend had just come in and they were wondering what to do that night. Well, we had a nice time. We got in at 11:30 or 12:00, something like that, you know, and slept late the next morning and went to catch the inter-urban to get out to wherever the picnic was to be and there wasn't anybody there at the station where we had been told to meet. I said, "What's the matter?" Well, we went on out there and we asked the people in charge where the YWCA lunch was to be and so they pointed it out and so we knew that we were right. Then people began coming in. Well, they huddled in little groups and I told this friend, "You be careful, don't say anything." Well, she was very quiet and that was all right, but she didn't like to have to do it and was afraid of something. So, I went ahead and got my plate and was looking for a place to sit down. There was one of these long picnic tables with a bench and Miss Simms was sitting at it and along across from her were the higher ups. So, she called out to me, she had already started kind of calling me "Little One." She said, "Little

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One, come over here and sit down." So, naturally, I did. I climbed over the bench and sat down. I had hardly sat down when she said, "Do you think that we are going to have a revolution?" I thought, "What a silly question." I began to feel uneasy even more and so I said, "Well, no. I don't think so." "Well," she said, "Why not?" I thought, "My heavens." I said, "There aren't enough hungry people." She said, "That's a sensible answer." She called to some other people and said, "Listen to Lucy. She is the only sensible person that I have seen today."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were on the spot.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
So, pretty soon somebody came along and looked over there and wondered why I was sitting there and I told her, I said, "Miss Simms, I can see you anytime in New York and these people from the field can't so I think that I ought to let somebody else sit here." I got up and began looking to see what in the world was up. Well, I saw the field worker from Missouri and Mississippi and so on and she was the one who had persuaded my mother to collect that money. So, she felt I was her protege and she was a good sensible person, she wasn't any flighty thing. I went over to her and said, "What in the world is going on?" She said, "Weren't you at the meeting last night?" "Meeting? Nobody told me about any meeting." "Well," she said, "we had a special meeting and you should have been told. Herbert Shenton spoke." Shenton was a professor of international law at Columbia and I had studied under him and I liked him all right, but I didn't think that he was the world's wonder. She said, "Herbert Shenton spoke and he got us all stirred up, saying that the country is on the verge of revolution and it's going to start in West

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Virginia with the miners and spread all over the country and that the YWCA because of its friendliness to industrial groups might be in a position to be, if not a mediator, at least to help out and rescue and do what could be done to make conditions better. We had a meeting. Where were you this morning?" I said that I didn't know of any meeting and I was sleeping and she said, "Well, we had a meeting this morning to discuss how we could plan and what we should do." I said, "Well, I never heard of anything so silly." She said, "I'm beginning to think so, too." I said, "Maybe he just wanted to see how hysterical he could make a bunch of women."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He had them convinced, didn't he?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. So, I have remembered that all my life, how fortuitous things are, that if I had not played hookey, so to speak, and been at that meeting, I don't think he could have convinced me, you see, because I had already measured his mind, but I would at least have kept my mouth shut. So then, Miss Simms said, "I want to see you when we get back to New York." So, I went on back and she sent for me. She had a stack of books and papers on her desk and she said, "I want you to do my reading for me. I want you to analyze what you read." [Recorder is turned off and then back on.] Well, Miss Simms said that she wanted me to read all these things and wanted me to give her a digest of what I thought was important and to help with her speeches and that I was the only person that seemed to be able to keep my head around the place and that she needed that kind of help, which she did. Well, of course, it delighted me. I read very rapidly and I loved reading anything and everything and the opportunity to work a little on speeches, it was just wonderful. Then, it meant that she took me to meet people. She took me to some meetings where

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the people rather resented me, and I don't blame them, but she would say that she needed me there, I knew what she was doing and needed this information. She is the one that introduced me to Mary Dewson, to Frances Perkins. Now, Frances Perkins, it never registered with her that I had met her, but that was the kind of person that she was. She was a very able person and a very brilliant person and all, but she was an introvert, and that was a handicap to her. But anyhow, I knew I had met her and [unknown] Mrs. Raymond Robins who was heading the Women's Trade Union League, Margaret Dreier, all those women in the forefront of the social movement of that period. She asked me if I liked to travel and of course, I did. I went up to Syracuse with her when she debated with the president of the New York Association of Manufacturers and I took notes and handed her facts for the discussion. All of that was just clover for me and yet, it was a wonderful training. I went to St. Louis, I went to Pittsburgh and I went down into New Jersey and she sent me up to Martha's Vineyard to teach an economics class at a conference. That's one reason I have no [unknown] respect for experts, because you see, I was one. I had gotten to be an expert. She just worked on me and helped develop me. She took me to dinner with Mrs. Sheppard. there were six of us at Helen Gould Sheppard's. Two or three years ago, Helen Gould Sheppard's daughter-in-law wrote a book about life with the Goulds and she described the dinners that Mrs. Sheppard had and it was exactly like I had experienced.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Formal or informal?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, very formal. We were to dress in evening dress and we got there and the butler opened the door and first you had to sign the guest register and then you went into a cloak room and the maid there took

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your coat and you went up and were announced when you went into the parlor and then the dinner was served with all elegance and silver and china and the footmen, I supposed she called them that, I don't know, anyway, they and a couple of maids also. The food was nothing pretentious, but very good. It was excellently prepared.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was there an opportunity for good conversation in this sort of environment?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
This was the amusing sort of thing to me. You see, I was accustomed to free-for-all and people were all intelligent. She would have her secretary, and she did it, this book says, before each such dinner, make out a program of conversation and I don't care if you were in the middle of a story, she would say, "Let's talk about this." Then she would move on to the next item on the program. Of course, she had invited Miss Simms there to discuss the YWCA and its trend, she thought, to the left, which was disturbing Mrs. Sheppard very much. She had made the YWCA one of her favorite charities and she was really a kind, good person but she was much upset with the trend toward what was then the social creed of the churches. You've run across it, I'm sure.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The social gospel?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, the social gospel. Then they had this . . . there seems to me that there were about ten principles, one that favored the eight hour day and they favored this, that and the other. Well, the movement was cooking up in the YWCA for it to adopt the social creed at its next convention, which was coming up in the spring of 1920 in Cleveland, Ohio, this social creed of the churches. Also, it was to adopt a new membership basis which rather relaxed the orthodox evangelical position and both of those trends disturbed Mrs.

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Sheppard. She invited Miss Simms to bring a certain number of people with her. So, here I trotted along.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Were you programmed to say anything?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I was programmed to keep my mouth shut. [laughter] Which I did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I've never heard of "programmed conversation."
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was a dinner and Mr. Sheppard was in full dress and after the dinner, we went to another parlor and instead of [unknown] being served, they served Postum, because coffee didn't agree with Mr. Sheppard. Mr. Sheppard played the organ and Olive Van Horn was there and the next day, she did a very funny imitation of his playing and they had a great big house organ, I mean an organ for a residence but at that period, it was a very large one and would have done for many concert halls. Across from where he sat at the organ was a big painting. I've forgotten the artist that did it, but it was of St. Cecelia and you know, it did move you. It was quite an experience and Miss Si-ms saw to it that I had a great deal of that kind of thing.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And Florence Simms influenced your life, the direction of your career?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. She's the one that shifted me politically, decidedly to the left and gave me this basic interest in industrial and social welfare. That was utterly foreign to the average rural Mississippian.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
To what degree was the YWCA a feminist organization?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was always a very strong one. Now, here is a point for young women. When I was in New York, I began looking around. The

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young men were getting ahead and the young women, except in the YWCA which was solely women, were staying where they started. I wondered about that. I didn't intend to stay where I started. I didn't put it that way, but that was in my mind. I decided that one thing was that young men, when the job was over, they went out with some other young men, went to the show and had a date or something. They dedicated their evenings if they weren't going to school, which many were with extension courses, they dedicated their so-called leisure time to widening their acquaintances and to learning more about life; and the girls, the women, they went back to their room or their apartment and washed their clothes. Oh, I despised that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But women didn't have the freedom of movement in the evening.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, they did in New York then. We weren't scared of[unknown]anything. I would go with a friend to the theatre, get on the subway and get off at 72nd Street and walk to 76th Street and never bat an eye. It wasn't like now. So, I did like the men. I joined the Civic Club. It seems to me that that was started as an answer to the City Club, which would not admit women. So, some of the free spirits among the men and women organized the Civic Club. I joined it and went to the meetings and met these smart people.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Became active in Democratic Ward politics.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I joined the Ward Club and went to that. You didn't find me sitting up there at 151 West 76th washing my clothes at night. I figured that as long as I could earn more than the washer woman, I would pay her to do my clothes and I would be out doing something better. Time

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and again, I see women putting all their minds on what dress to wear and sewing the buttons on and all that stuff instead of putting their minds on other things. You get ahead with acquaintances. Somebody knowing about you.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Is getting ahead with acquaintances just as important politically and to personal advancement as knowing how to perform a job?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Sure. Frances Perkins with all of her brilliance, you know, at the end when she was about to leave Washington, do you know what she said?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
She said, "I have learned that in public office, you have to put in 50% doing a good job and 50% selling the public that you do." She didn't have that idea at all, you see, and 90% of her troubles . . . well, I'll reduce that 90% because I guess that 60% was because she was a woman and the men, especially the men in labor movement, considered it their job.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was scared to call herself a feminist, was she not?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, she always said that she wasn't and that just irritated me, too. I don't have any patience with denying it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
People are scared away from that term generally.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They still do. It is always a pain in the neck to me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Margaret Hickey used it at that meeting, the Women's Organization to Mobilize.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Margaret Hickey is a remarkable person and I'm very fond of her personally and otherwise. She works in a way kind of like me, she'll make a feint and then pull back. But she finally faced up to the

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fact that she is a feminist.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She used the word in 1950. She didn't shy away from it.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No. I had a letter from her about three or four months ago and I found the card, Joe found it, a postcard that she had sent me in the '40s when she and her husband had been on a trip and had driven through Monteagle and she sent me a Monteagle card. So, I am either going to send it back to her or send her a copy. I have bedeviled her about putting her papers at Radcliffe, but I think that she wants money for them. That's what I told Dr. King. She sent me a list of people whose papers they wanted.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Some institutions pay.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, as far as I know, Radcliffe may pay, too.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Duke pays.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I wrote her (Dr. King) that I thought the problem with quite a number on the list was that they would want either pay or an evaluation that they could take off their income tax. But you see, all this commotion over the Nixon papers and the changes in the law about taking off for income tax purposes has made it quite difficult. Well, I've gotten off my chest what I wanted to say. No one else has gone into my YWCA affiliation and it gave a completely left-angle turn to my thinking.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And Florence Simms was the personal agent for that.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. She was a remarkable person. She was Irish through and through, had a wonderful sense of humor and was a large, handsome woman. She would make a speech and you would be willing to get out and march, but then when you would read that speech, you couldn't

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make any sense out of it. It was the delivery and I puzzled over it because the speeches up to that moment which I had seen were like speeches of my mother that made sense in the writing, the written form as well as the delivery. Now, Mrs. Pennypacker, I've told you that she was a wonderful orator. Well, her speeches didn't make any sense when you read them. There in Jackson, people kept after me to get a copy of her speech and finally she gave it to me and it made no sense. It was notes and directions to tell a certain anecdote.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How did you learn how to give speeches? Was this just a gift or a logical mind and means of presentation? A bit of self-confidence?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It was all of that. I never had any lessons outside of the Franklin Literary Society debating and discussion groups whereby the members of the society, not a faculty member, criticized each other. I never took any lessons in speech as time moved on because I had observed that most speech teachers change a person and I thought I had something that worked. The thing that you will remember is Mrs. Roosevelt, how her voice would skyrocket off into the high blue sky beyond.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She needed help?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
There was a speech instructor in New York, Elizabeth von Hess and she wrote Mrs. Roosevelt and asked for the privilege of giving her some lessons and Mrs. Roosevelt agreed and Mrs. Von Hess came to Washington and she pulled Mrs. Roosevelt's voice down an octave and she taught her how to control it so that it wouldn't go off on that falsetto. So, that made me think that Mrs. Von Hess was good and so Sue White, I don't know how she got me, but anyhow, Mrs. Von Hess asked Sue if there was a group in Washington that would like to take some lessons from her,

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that when she came down to the White House she could stay a few hours longer or something. So, this class was organized and Sue was in it and I was in it and about twelve of us. Mrs. Von Hess stated at the outside that she did not believe in changing voices, that if one was southerner, go ahead and talk that way but be sure that you modified it enough so that you would be understood elsewhere. She was wonderful. She gave me a great deal of help.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was this one session?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh no, it went on for several months. She came down once a week and she had a lot of what I considered bunkum mixed up with it, but she knew how to teach; she monitored Lowell Thomas. You've heard him on the radio and if you noticed over the years, he is old now, but up until very recently, there was no change in his voice, his diction, his enunciation and so on, which doesn't happen often. They change. They slip or make a turn one way or the other, but Lowell Thomas, his broadcast stayed the same and she monitored them steadily and would call him afterwards and tell him about them.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
May I ask you a question or two further about Mississippi politics?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Or would you rather not?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't mind. I'm not running for office now.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The civil rights movement didn't really affect you and Mr. Howorth personally in a significant way at all, did it? Of course, you weren't in law practice.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No, we weren't in law practice.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about the anti-war movement? Was there such a thing in Mississippi? Peace rallies, peace marches, things like that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Not in Jackson. What about at Delta State University?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Not at Delta State. Now, Millsaps College, it tinkered along a little more, trying to be a little more free-wheeling. I wish that Phi Beta Kappa would put in a chapter at Millsaps. You know, there is not an institution in Mississippi that has a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and that is a shame.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You are a member, are you not?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Could you not do something about that?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I did way back some years ago, but I haven't lately. I think somebody should and I think that Millsaps could well be, in fact, it is better than a number of nondescript places where they have a chapter. They voted in the '40s that they wouldn't put in any chapter in any segregated institution, but that is all gone. They ought to forget it. Anyhow, Millsaps College had a few little demonstrations and protests and I don't know but what Jackson State College, which is a predominately black institution, a state institution, it's now a university and I think that it had two or three, but Delta State didn't have any and I don't think that they had any at the University of Mississippi or anywhere else. In Mississippi, you see, they've all believed in fighting for their country. And for the blacks, the military, most of them have understood it to be an opportunity to get three square meals a day and to get some money. . . .
[END OF TAPE 8, SIDE A]

[TAPE 8, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 8, SIDE B]

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
Has integration taken place for all practical purposes in Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I don't use integration as the word for Mississippi, I use the word "desegregation." Now, if you go into practically any public restaurant in Mississippi, you will very likely find [unknown] black customers and you find no commotion about it. The ones that wouldn't agree to it have closed up and the others know that is the price of operating. That's your law. And the white people, they've stopped choking and becoming upset because they want to eat there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And the schools and colleges?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They are all integrated. I am using the word. Desegregated on paper and in actual fact. Now this year, when Dr. Dennis invited me to his public affairs or current events class, I'm not sure which he called it, to take over the class for a day, he did and he always does tell me some of the people in the class and he said, "There are three very fine blacks. I have learned a great deal from them." I noticed that their questions were quite sensible and clear and they were very attentive and seemed interested and appeared to enjoy it. We desegregated the library system about, I believe, 1960. Very soon. I was up here when it was done and they did it without any commotion. They alerted the sheriff's office, the courthouse is just a block down the street, but said that they didn't want them to show any awareness and from then on, it has been no problem. One of the ladies in town . . . I went to the Woman's Club, I'm a member of it and I went there with this architect's drawing of an extension to the library and explained that we were going

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to do this and enlarge the fine arts room and add some more space and this, that and the other. It was a matter of community interest, you know and the club had helped with buying some shelving for the library and it had been one of the club's projects over the years. So, we had gotten some public money from the government and I explained where the money was coming from, so much from the city and so much from the library commission of the state and so much from the federal library appropriation. So, afterwards, this lady who was a widow of a minister and who has quite a following in the community, came up to me and said, "Getting this money means that we will have to admit the Negroes to the library." I said, "Mrs. B., the library has been desegregated for five years." "Oh," she said, "I didn't know." She just happened to not have been there when any of the black people came in.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then in recent years, you have given your time and energy to local projects?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, these things, as I have tried to make clear all through my life, have been more or less accidental. When I went to Cleveland in '58, the federal government had passed one of the first of its library encouragement legislations and the state library commission had become very active, they had quite an enterprising director of the state library commission; she wanted to take advantage of this act and to get libraries organized all over the state. So, she was quite fine and the AAUW was interested and they set up a committee under the Chamber of Commerce and asked different organizations to send somebody as a representative to this committee and the AAUW asked me to represent it. Therefore, I was on this committee which was making the motion to get the town board, we

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had a little bitty library there that didn't amount to a hill of beans, to agree to give some support and the board of supervisors would make it a county system. So, I was in this Chamber of Commerce committee when we got the city board and the county board and Mrs. Currier came up and she had the wit and employed Le Point. She and her husband had had three crop failures, he husband is a planter, a farmer, and they needed some job for one of them and somebody told Mrs. Currier and she was wondering whether this would be a good appointment and this board said, "Jump at her quick and get her." So, you see, Le Point wasn't a trained librarian. When they began all that, then came the matter of selecting the city library commission and I was appointed and I wasn't anxious for it because I knew that any kind of public office has its headaches and I was tired. But I took it on the condition that I wouldn't be chairman. They said, "Oh no, this man is very much interested and he wants to be chairman." So, I took it and six months later, this man moved to Yazoo City and I was chairman. But by that time, you know, I had gotten interested and I had gotten interested in La Point. I had known her when she was a little girl but I hadn't seen her in many years. She has a genius for administration. She does a balancing act. She has the Cleveland commission, she has the Shaw, the Marigold, the Shelby, the Rosedale, the Gennison commissions and the library boards. She has the county board of supervisors and has to get most of the money out of them and she has the libraries, the city boards in most of those places and the library boards in all of them and she has the county libraries. Of course, those first years, I did show her how to do a lot of it, but then she took over.

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CONSTANCE MYERS:
How many opportunities are there for women in Mississippi?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
What do you mean?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Jobs, state government jobs, are they open pretty much?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, I don't know what the figures are, but. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Your general impression is that they are pretty open?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They hold a good many elective offices, it's not 50/50.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about appointive?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
They don't get the break in appointive that they should have in my judgement, but they get some.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you have a commission on the status of women?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I haven't paid much attention to it, but they have one, but somebody told me that the chairman hasn't any sense about getting any money out of the government and it hasn't known what to do. They haven't asked me and I haven't had anything to do with it. I was on the Kennedy commission, I wasn't on the commission itself, but the commission functioned through subcommissions and Margaret Hickey was chairman of the subcommission on federal employment and she appointed me as one of that subcommission.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So, you have had experience on such commissions. Well, certainly you did with the AAUW?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
My whole life has been in and out of that kind of thing, but with my being up here and not taking part in any primaries and being the age I am, I never expected the governor or anybody else to appoint me Some people said that they wished I had been put on it and I said, "No, it is up to somebody else to do that kind of thing."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What's the status of the Equal Rights Amendment there? Is there a good lobby for it?

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
There is a good lobby for it, but it is a very discouraging situation in that there are five women in the legislature and they oppose it, thinking . . . I don't know what they are thinking. I am so disgusted with them. There is one in the Senate that I have had until recently quite a lot of respect for and I still do as far as her general accomplishment, but I have been rather disgusted with her on the feminist angle. Now, we have a woman that I think . . . I don't know whether she is ready to talk or not. She is running for lieutenant governor this year, but she has been elected to three or four state offices.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What is her name?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Evelyn Gandy. She was a Bilbo product.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was she?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
And it would be good if she would talk, because she would give another side.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Why do you think that the Equal Rights Amendment is necessary?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I gave your husband a little talk on that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
He told me that you had and I want you to say it.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it is necessary because the Supreme Court of the United States held in several cases that women were not persons within the [unknown] of the Fourteenth Amendment. Now, the Supreme Court early held that corporations were persons within the means of all acts of the legislature. Then later in particular, they held that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to corporations, so they have equal protection of the law, but not the women. The Supreme Court, with one decision, could knock out all of that and say that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to women.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you think that it is unlikely that that decision will . . .

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Someday, I think that it will come. It may not come until the Equal Rights Amendment is adopted. Then, again, if it is not adopted for quite awhile, it may come, but I rather agree with your husband that the present Court won't do it. Now, I also explained to him just very roughly what you are familiar with, the evolution of law as it applies to women. That at one time, they weren't any better than dogs and cats and they were a kind of chattel and the man had to be the conscience. He was held if the woman killed somebody; and he was indicated for murder. Of course, that wasn't the word used, but he was held responsible and the gradual emergence of women as persons and the courts in this country are still filled with [unknown] with terrible ideas about the position of women. If you read the decisions, they just make you nearly go crazy.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But there are a good many sex discrimination cases now being decided in favor of the complainant and that is encouraging.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes, thanks to these statutes and of course, thanks some to the educational process where you are getting a different breed. I think that all of that should be compulsory; with retirement of judges at least at sixty-five. They get hardening of the arteries and they just sit there with some sort of an old idea dredged up from 1890 or something.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
A good deal of sentiment is invested in those ideas, too.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Oh, yes. The reason for the American Association of University Women, for example, being so slow to come into the fold of the Equal Rights Amendment was this idea of protective legislation. Now, I explained to him that I was educated in the YWCA in that position, but I always said that when the time comes that public opinion recognizes that men need to be protected by the law as well as women, then the special protection doctrine

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goes out, but it is that "ward of the state" idea.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What do you think about the Women's Equity Action League and the National Organization for Women?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I haven't paid too much attention. The National Organization for Women has a chapter or whatever in Mississippi and it has struck me that on the whole it has followed a fairly sound policy. Now, the other one, I had literature from it and some press for joining but I haven't joined and I haven't paid too much attention to it. Now, I want to say this. You mentioned this discouragement in '49, which was part of the transition from Mrs. Roosevelt in the White House and it looked for awhile like we were just losing out and then after the war, I don't know whether you remember or not, these young men came back and naturally, they had ideas that after all, the only thing . . . in fact, several told me that when they came back the only things worth having in this life [unknown] that you could have were a family and home, which is a desirable aspiration. They wanted large families, that was their goal and so that was all right. But the women, as I saw them around college campuses and all that, they would traipse along, they didn't have much money and they wore these unattractive clothes and they looked bedraggled and they didn't hang on to the hand of a man that was pacing off and he looked bedraggled and it just looked like . . . you know, they had for awhile "slave chains" that they sold for them to wear on their ankles and all this tommyrot, but all of this was indicative of a mood and that was almost sickening. Well, we got together up in Washington, got some committees working and we got to Mrs. Truman and people don't know it, but she wielded a good deal more power than is thought. Truman was very cooperative once the fact came to his attention. We got some good appointments and we began

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making some progress and then in the recent years, the younger women have seemed to shake loose some of this attitude of subservience and when the so-called Women's Liberation Movement came out, I was of course, delighted although they took the right to vote for granted, they didn't seem to know or care how much had gone into winning it. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Sometimes I deplore that they don't realize the effort and labor and the blood, sweat and tears that went into winning it. I deplore that.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I do, too and the casual way that they see it. Anyway, the women's liberation movement has done a great deal to reverse that and personally, I like to see headway made. Now, I think that some of it could have been skipped, but then maybe that is needed, too.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Every constructive movement has its crazies, I think.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
It does.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What do you consider the most significant achievement of your life?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
I never have thought about that. You know, that type of question is very difficult to answer. If you want the high moment of my life, it was when I knew that I knew how to read. I was, I don't know, five years old, I think.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It prepared you for [unknown] significant achievement, that's true.
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, that was a thrill, that I could read. Before that, I had had to sit there and listen to people read to me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But in your career, you must have accomplished something that you thought was signally important. Of course, there are a number of things, but certainly something, one or two, that must stand out.

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, I'll tell you, when the women were bucked off the Board of Appeals and a ruling, which I was sure that Roosevelt never had seen, that only veterans could serve on the board and that is a vicious principle of government, but it was the middle of the war and decency compelled me not to do anything about it and I was transferred up to the Solicitor's office with commensurate salary, a fairly good position as things went. So, I accepted it and Mrs. Carol Stewart they slipped it over when she was out in California, but she raised cane out there and they finally took her into the Los Angeles veteran's administration office and she stayed there until she retired and it developed that Mrs. Brown had film-flammed her age, so she was eligible for retirement. So, all right, but I said, "Some day, you are going to have some women back. Well, Mary Agnew Brown was a great friend. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Colonel Brown?
LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Yes. And a woman of extraordinary mental power and staying power and everything. So, when she came out of the Women's Army Corps, I told her, "Now, we've got to get back on the board and you are the one to do it." So, she went down and registered as a Democrat in D. C. She lived in the District and she registered as a Democrat. I took her over and introduced her to India Edwards and we began our plan. So, she was put on the board after a good deal of knocked heads. So, I felt vindicated then, you see and. . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, and it stands out in your mind. Of course, you have done a great deal of work for the status of women, but this has blended all through your life instead of one highlight, hasn't it? Well, thank you, Judge Howorth, for such a wonderful interview, eight hours long, with of course, many additional hours of conversation.

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LUCY SOMERVILLE HOWORTH:
Well, it has been a great pleasure to meet you and to get acquainted with you now and I am going to remember you.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Thank you, and I know that scholarship will be grateful for the time that you have given.
END OF INTERVIEW