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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eulalie Salley, September 15, 1973. Interview G-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Her mother's influence

Salley attributes her dedication to her career and to women's issues to her mother's influence.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eulalie Salley, September 15, 1973. Interview G-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

EULALIE SALLEY:
My mother was always interested in building houses and she loved to draw plans of houses. She always dreamed of building a house and she'd draw these plans. I've built houses for her.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You were in partnership with your mother!
EULALIE SALLEY:
Yes. She was just as interested as I was. I had her support.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She was Mrs. Chafee?
EULALIE SALLEY:
She was Mrs. Chafee.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was her maiden name?
EULALIE SALLEY:
Her name was Eulalie Gamble. That's her picture there.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Yes, with the red hair.
EULALIE SALLEY:
Yes.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
She's stunning.
EULALIE SALLEY:
Yes. She was supposed to be a beauty.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Was she from Aiken?
EULALIE SALLEY:
No, she was from Georgia, Augusta, Georgia. She had a brilliant mind. She was a wonderful musician.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Seems that there were ample opportunities for women who developed themselves even though they had not the opportunity to go out into the world of employment.
EULALIE SALLEY:
She had always felt that women were downtrodden.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Then you heard some of this kind of thing at home?
EULALIE SALLEY:
Uh huh.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Before you sallied forth?
EULALIE SALLEY:
Yes. She believed that women were downtrodden.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What did your father think about the situation?
EULALIE SALLEY:
My father died when I was a very small child. I really never knew him.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you have big brothers?
EULALIE SALLEY:
No, I didn't have a brother.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
An uncle?
EULALIE SALLEY:
Yes, but they were not close to me.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
You didn't have a strong male figure?
EULALIE SALLEY:
No, I didn't.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I didn't either. My father died when I was about eleven.
EULALIE SALLEY:
Nobody in the family
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But your mother believed that women were downtrodden.
EULALIE SALLEY:
My mother was the main thing in my life.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Tell about her influence.
EULALIE SALLEY:
She was a fine musician and a beautifully educated woman.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Where?
EULALIE SALLEY:
She was educated in Baltimore. Her father was a graduate of Heidelberg University and he believed in education. It was right after the Civil War, he lost everything except his land, but she was sent to Baltimore to this college.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Goucher College?
EULALIE SALLEY:
No, it was called Petapsco Institute. I doubt if you've ever heard of it.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
No.
EULALIE SALLEY:
She was the first honor graduate there. She was a finished musician. They wanted her to go on the concert stage but my grandfather wouldn't hear of that. My grandmother was a French woman and she spoke beautiful French. Her family always spoke French at home.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
It's a matter of some interest to know what lies in the background of a woman who becomes active for women's rights.
EULALIE SALLEY:
They were people of culture.