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Title: Oral History Interview with Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987. Interview L-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Lane, Mary Turner, interviewee
Interview conducted by Dean, Pamela
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 384 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© 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:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-11-27, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987. Interview L-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0039)
Author: Pamela Dean
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987. Interview L-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0039)
Author: Mary Turner Lane
Description: 567 Mb
Description: 133 p.
Note: Interview conducted on September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987, by Pamela Dean; recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jovita Flynn.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series L. University of North Carolina, 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.
Editorial practices
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 Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987.
Interview L-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Lane, Mary Turner, interviewee


Interview Participants

    MARY TURNER LANE, interviewee
    PAMELA DEAN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PAMELA DEAN:
This is Pamela Dean. The date is 9 September 1986. I'm going to be talking with Mary Turner Lane, recently retired associate professor in the education department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I'm going to be talking to Dr. Lane in her home in Chapel Hill.
If you would, just start off and give me your name, where you were born, names of your parents, your mother's maiden name, and we'll get the genealogy down.
MARY TURNER LANE:
All right. I am Mary Turner Willis Lane. I was born in New Bern, North Carolina. My parents were Mary Turner and Albert Willis. My name reflects one of the few things that Southern women did, consciously or unconsciously, to pass on their own maiden name. My mother's maiden name was Turner, so I was given her name, and yet was called by both names. After I married, I really dropped my maiden name, Willis, and was simply known as Mary Turner Lane. After I became a feminist, it was interesting to note that my mother had acted in a very feminist way, although she was totally unaware of it. I think this was a practice that was done in the South, as a way of maintaining names from the mother's family.
PAMELA DEAN:
It didn't have any feminist motivation?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, oh, no. Only in retrospect do I see it as feminist.
PAMELA DEAN:
It was really a traditional concept?

Page 2
MARY TURNER LANE:
It was a tradition. I had many friends who were given their mother's maiden names, and that's the way that part of the name stayed in the family.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were your parents from New Bern?
MARY TURNER LANE:
My parents had lived in New Bern probably five or six generations on both sides, so the family in many ways was very traditional, with roots that go back to the Revolutionary War, to the Civil War. I had a mother who was active in all of those organizations: the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and all other organizations that were considered "good works," the church being a very prominent one. My father was essentially the same way, in terms of a broad community commitment. So I grew up with a great sense of participation in a community, and I grew up in a time when the Christian ethic was really not what you said but what you did: your good works were supposed to show that you were—quote—a Christian—unquote. There was no talk about being a Christian; it was just that you behaved in particular kinds of ways, toward the needy and the poor. And living in a small town, you knew those people on a one-to-one basis; you knew who was poor, who was ill, who needed a bag of coal or a bag of food, or something of that kind. So I've always felt lucky in that I had parents who were always involved with the cultural and the community aspects, the social needs of a town, in a way that could be a model for one to follow.

Page 3
PAMELA DEAN:
Could you give me some further specifics? You say, bag of food, coal—were there official church organizations, or was this a very informal…
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, all church organizations in small towns in the South had, as their component, the women of the church, who fed families, and provided Christmas boxes, and did all kinds of things like that. All small towns had civic organizations, such as the Women's Club, and there were a number of men's organizations. So the towns were organized in many ways, so that groups of people could respond to needs. There were also people who came to your homes at that time, asking for food, asking for clothing, and it was not unusual, particularly toward the end of the Depression—the Depression came late in the South, or maybe we stayed in a Depression, and never knew when we were in one or out of one—but it was not unusual for men to come to our back door and ask for food, and ask for clothes. It was routine: my mother would see that they were fed, and would give them clothes. Charity was done in a very personal way, as well as in an institutionalized way.
PAMELA DEAN:
What did your father do? What was his occupation?
MARY TURNER LANE:
My father had served in the first World War, and then had been Clerk of Court in New Bern. His father was a funeral director, and my own father joined that business not too long after I was born. He had no college education; most of his friends at that time did not have a college education. He had a remarkable knowledge of Shakespeare, of many subjects, of many subjects that I never knew, somehow, as intimately as he did.

Page 4
My mother was a college graduate. Her family had sent her to Salem College, which at that time was a very fine boarding school for young women in North Carolina and in the South. She graduated from Salem in the class of 1914, with a major in music, which was also traditional for young women of that time. In the research that I've done on Salem College at the time that she was there, and even in the research I've done on Salem College when I was there, there was a strong feeling that education was appropriate for women, because—quote—when you've educated a woman, you've educated a home—unquote. So education for women was justified in the early part of this century. There was no emphasis on vocational education, except as you might become a music teacher or a teacher. There were, of course, places where you could be trained as a nurse, but if you look at the liberal arts colleges, then you could either become a teacher, or could be a musician, or teach music from those.
PAMELA DEAN:
Back to your father for a moment: did he go through high school?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
What school was that? Was it a private school?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No. New Bern High School. He and Mother would both have attended that school. Interestingly enough, when I went to school, my brother and I went to the same school in New Bern, the same elementary school, and we had the same teachers that they had, so tradition was long in that little town. And these were all spinsters, all known by their first names. And there was never any question when we went to school as to who we were, and

Page 5
what was expected of us. Because we were Mary and Albert Willis's children, and we had to behave in particular ways. And this is something that we know we've moved away from completely, today, in terms of schooling in the same place, schooling with the same teachers, people in the community who knew exactly who we were and who helped set up standards for us. That's another story; I could go a long way on that one.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you think that that sort of change is a loss?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, I think it's like all change: there are positive things about it, and there are very negative things about it. I've done a lot of research on how we acquire our values, and what some of the problems are with youngsters today, and in the past, we always saw a number of institutions as being responsible for helping individual children acquire beliefs and values. And we always said the family, the home, the school, the neighborhood, the community, the church, et cetera. Well, in that case, in that setting, it was certainly true that all of those institutions operated as tempering forces on us, and on all children, because neighbors would let you know exactly what was expected of you, as would Sunday school teachers, as would schoolteachers, as would all parts of the community. Today, children not only do not have these other influences, but in many cases, the influence of the home has been diminished too. So I think there's some values, perhaps, for the anonymity in which we grow up, but there are also some values about being known, and about having an identity, and about knowing some of those things for which that identity stands.

Page 6
PAMELA DEAN:
So, for yourself, that was not a limiting…
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, I'm sure I thought it was at the time. Oh, and that was one of the joys, I suppose, of going away to college. You were free, in some ways, of some of the restrictions of growing up in a small town. And so it's back to what I said: there are positive and negative things about it, but certainly, those are molding and shaping forces, that are very powerful influences on the socialization of children. Some good and some bad. But they do help you know who you are. Early on. They give you direction.
PAMELA DEAN:
They give you a sense of identity.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
The only one that you could then rebel against.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's right. And there is some notion that part of the confusion of children today is that they do not know what they stand for, or who they are, or what they believe. In the work that Louis Rotz has done on values, he describes this part of this characteristic of life today as really a very significant one. Even television does not help them come forth with a single sense of identity, because they may see twenty different lifestyles in a day's programming, whereas in their own home and with their own family, and with their own neighborhood, they were very sure of what one lifestyle was. But unless there's a lot of dialogue and discussion, then it is much harder, he says, to arrive at some sense of what I believe, and why I believe it, and why I want to act or behave in a particular way.

Page 7
PAMELA DEAN:
You've got no mechanisms to help you select from an incredible variety of options, with no guidelines.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, yes. I think that that's a very insightful comment on his part about what children face today, and about how television contributes more to confusion of who I am and what I am, than it may contribute to the enlightenment.
PAMELA DEAN:
Back to the biographical discussion: you mentioned that you have a brother.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
Could you tell me something about your brother?
MARY TURNER LANE:
My brother was two years younger than I. For some strange biological reason, my four best friends all had brothers two years younger than we were. I don't quite know how that came about, but it did. As I've learned more about the socialization of boys and girls, I appreciate more what those four little boys went through in school, because they had to follow four girls who were bright, and made good grades, and tried to please, and did all of those things. So these four little boys came along, and were always told, "well, you're not as good a student as your sister was." And so they had a hard time.
PAMELA DEAN:
What was your brother's name?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Albert. Named for his father. We did this again; again, this was customary; he was Albert Thomas Willis, Jr. He graduated from high school in New Bern, then went on to the Citadel, and graduated from college there, as a second lieutenant. This was in World War II, and so headed straight into military service, and served in China and Burma.

Page 8
PAMELA DEAN:
And what was his subsequent career?
MARY TURNER LANE:
He came back to New Bern, and went in business with my father, and then left that business and got a master's in political science, and taught in the high school in New Bern, with a particular focus on government and history. He's still living in New Bern. He and his wife are the last members of the family that are there.
PAMELA DEAN:
Let's go on and talk a little bit more about your high school experience. Do you remember what classes you liked, specifically, or teachers that you liked especially?
MARY TURNER LANE:
As I said earlier, girls were expected to do well in school. I'm not sure that boys were expected to do as well as girls, and that seems strange in retrospect, because, they were much more likely, it seems to me, to go away to college. So the focus in high school, for girls, was academically, that you would get good grades, but certainly, the social pressure was such that you really couldn't be too smart, intellectually or academically. So high school was seen much more in a boy-girl context. It was very important that you be socially acceptable, that you be invited to the dances, and if you grew up in the South, you grew up with lots of dances, and lots of parties, and things of that kind.
I did well in high school; I particularly liked English, always did well in that—history, French. Math was a problem, but it was for all of us who were female, it seems to me. But I always knew that I would be going away to college, and all of my friends, my girlfriends, went away to college—most of us, as I

Page 9
recall. And that was remarkable, because money was not that available. I've often thought that my father did a remarkable thing, to send me to Salem College, which was more expensive than any other school that we knew of at the time. I went away on money that had been set aside for me at the time I was born, plus a scholarship at Salem. As I recall, Salem cost $750.00 a year, and the scholarship provided $250.00 a year. So that was a significant contribution, and also, I recall that my father even borrowed money to see that I went away to college.
PAMELA DEAN:
He very seriously valued….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. And I have often thought what a remarkable thing that was. Both parents valued education, and so I've often thought it remarkable that my brother and I were given such fine college educations as we'd had.
PAMELA DEAN:
Absolutely. What schools did your friends go to, do you recall?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I had two friends who went to Greensboro, to Woman's College—that's what it was known as at the time—two or three friends, maybe more than that. One went to Flora MacDonald, which was a Presbyterian college in Red Springs, North Carolina, which no longer exists. Her family was a staunch Presbyterian family, and her mother had gone to Flora MacDonald, so she went to Flora MacDonald.
I was told by my parents that I could go anywhere I wanted to, if I went to Salem the first year. And I had very positive feelings about Salem because I had gone with my mother to Salem on a number of occasions. My mother had been the alumnae

Page 10
president, and the president of Salem had often visited in our home. The alumnae secretary had visited in our home, and had asked me to room with her youngest sister, who was going to Salem. So I went, thinking that it must be a good place, and that I would go, and then if I wanted, to change to Duke—that was the other option that I was interested in.
Most of my friends went to schools in North Carolina. One went to Greensboro College; and then one went to Catholic Junior College in Washington, DC.
PAMELA DEAN:
What year did you graduate from high school?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I graduated from high school at age sixteen—we had all of eleven grades at that time—in 1935. And then graduated from Salem College in 1939.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were there any of your teachers in elementary school or high school that were of particular inspiration to you? Obviously, your mother was a model and an inspiration to you. How about other people in the community that you would look back and say… ?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I'm one of the few people alive that can name all—give you the names of my schoolteachers for the first six years. Although I have found…
PAMELA DEAN:
It must have made an impression.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I have found that most of us that are my age, and certainly all of us that grew up together in New Bern, can tell you exactly who they were. The teachers the first and second years were wonderful, loving human beings. I think of them more than I think of high school teachers perhaps. And yet, I had a

Page 11
splendid English teacher. It's strange, I don't remember their names as clearly as I remember the names of the others.
Mother had very good friends—one had been a college classmate of hers at Salem but who was also from New Bern—who was a very positive influence in my life. She was a vivacious, strong woman who began her own business in her own home, for a while sold children's clothes, then sold antiques. She was a survivor. I learned a lot from her. At the time I grew up, my mother's friends were known to us as Aunt Bess and Uncle Haywood. They were very much a part of a kind of extended family. Even though we had our own aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers. But these couples, I suppose, were the adults that I knew better than anybody else.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, tell me about Salem.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I thought Salem was wonderful. I don't know how to describe it, except that it was so beautiful. Do you know Salem College?
PAMELA DEAN:
No, I haven't seen it.
MARY TURNER LANE:
It is an eighteenth-century village school. And the setting was just exquisite to me. The town of Winston- Salem was the first city that I had ever been in or been a part of and that was exciting to me. To be in a city, to be introduced to what we take for granted now, symphony concerts, theater, opera, the cultural attributes of Winston Salem were very exciting to me as well as the cultural aspects of Salem College. The speakers who came to campus that we got to know. The professors, both male and female, that we got to know in very warm and intimate ways

Page 12
were both dear friends and role models as I look back on that. The close friendship of girls was something that just made it a very happy experience for me. I liked everything about it.
Someone said at the end of his college that he wanted somebody to say to him, "don't go." I sort of felt the same way. But the learning was exciting too. I do think that there was something very positive about being in classrooms with all females, where you were never competing or never being concerned about asking too bright a question or probing for an answer on something. There was a good deal of intellectual freedom there because the classes were all female, or at least I thought there was. In retrospect, as we're trying to weigh the advantages of coeducational and non-coeducational schools, there has certainly been enough research to support the notion that females students behave differently when they're in all female classes than they do when they're in coeducational classes.
PAMELA DEAN:
And you saw at the time…
MARY TURNER LANE:
I felt that. I don't know that I compared it with what I had done or had not done in high school. But I did feel a true intellectual awakening in the pursuit of subject matter that I just don't believe I had experienced before. I'm not sure that I felt that the setting was that safe, because I was still concerned about grades. It was a new intellectual enquiry that I had not been caught up in before.
PAMELA DEAN:
Wonderful.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

Page 13
MARY TURNER LANE:
You asked about Salem, what I thought about Salem, what I found at Salem. I found wonderful friendships. I found teachers that were exciting. Teachers that were kind. I found a lot of stretching and growing that I felt good about and seemed to thrive on.
PAMELA DEAN:
Tell me about some of the teachers. You said that they were both male and female teachers.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. Our English teachers, as I recall, were all female. I hadn't realized that, but they were— Elizabeth Lily and Jesse Byrd, who were both unmarried at the time. Elizabeth Lily did marry later. They were fully committed to introducing us to the beauty of poetry and literature in a way that I had just never known. The French teacher was—I guess I knew less well—his classes were challenging. I felt less adequate there than I did in other classes simply because my oral use of French was very limited. That was true of most of us.
PAMELA DEAN:
You had had French in high school?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I had had two years of French in high school, and I then had two years of French in college, and was quite good at writing and reading it, but very bad, very poor at speaking it. But that was a problem with all of us.
PAMELA DEAN:
I just wondered, do you happen to know what your French teacher in high school, what sort of—was it a woman?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you know what sort of training she had had?

Page 14
MARY TURNER LANE:
No. I think she had been trained at Woman's College in Greensboro, and had probably never heard a true French—anyone from France speak. And suddenly I was with a professor who had studied in France and was speaking gibberish as far as I could tell. We had a physical education teacher, who was female, who was a great human being that had favorites among us. She was a great tease. Taught us a lot about being "good sports."
PAMELA DEAN:
What sort of things did you do for physical education?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, funny. We played field hockey. Raced up and down a field hockey court. Played basketball, tennis. There was horse-back riding. You would pay extra for that. I did not take that. But I was very active in basketball every year and in field hockey. There was swimming, tennis. I enjoyed all of that. Other teachers? I can't think—I have faces but I don't have names, really, to go with some of them.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were any of the women teachers married?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I don't think so. I don't think so. We had one couple who lived on campus in a faculty house, and she taught English. I had forgotten about her and he taught French. That was almost the only married teacher that we had. The sociology professor, with whom I took a course my senior year entitled "Marriage and the Family," was not married. We never mentioned anything in that course about the family except budget. That's about all that course was made up of.
PAMELA DEAN:
It was an economics course.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Economics and sociology. No human reproduction whatsoever.

Page 15
PAMELA DEAN:
You weren't supposed to know about that.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, and we didn't. We knew nothing about that.
PAMELA DEAN:
How about the male professors, were they married? I would suspect that they would be.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, two remarkable men who taught Bible. This was a required—one course in Old Testament and one course in New Testament. One was taught by the president of the college and the other was taught by Professor Ancome. The two men were truly scholars. The study of the Bible was quite interesting to me. A wonderful difference from my Sunday School study. So to look at the Bible in terms of history and in terms of literature was a new experience and I enjoyed that. History professors were men, and they were very good.
Somehow one of the best things that happened at Salem in my own education was something that doesn't happen with a lot of people today. The courses fell in a way that they reinforced each other. In my sophomore year, for instance, I took a course in French literature, in English literature, in European history, and I was taking an art and a music course that all tied together, and that had never happened. So that you looked at what a people were doing, and what they thought about themselves and about society, and how they were expressing themselves in art and music and literature, and it made sense. And then in my junior year, I took American literature and American history, and the same sort of thing came about.
And I've always had that commitment in my own teaching as I've helped people become elementary school teachers, in the area

Page 16
of social studies in particular. That I think that you understand the history of the people if you study the people in all of those dimensions. Now, I never knew whether Salem planned it that way or whether it was the way I selected courses. But its a way of learning that doesn't happen to our students today, because they take isolated courses, none of which reinforce the other. It's an integrated, unified way of learning that in a sense gave me a perspective on learning that I have been able to utilize. So that was the academic context in which learning took place that I think made it a better learning experience than some others had been.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, that does sound like you were very fortunate in that experience.
How about the non-academic environment?
MARY TURNER LANE:
The non-academic was significant for me. I think I'm probably a joiner, in that I like to be involved in whatever is going on. So I wrote for the newspaper; I wrote for the annual. I was in sports on the teams. We had a wonderful old tradition at Salem, which all colleges had at that time, which was a May Day Festival in the spring. I was active in that, in the planning and the operation of that. In my senior year I was chairman of May Day. So I was involved in many aspects of it—life.
PAMELA DEAN:
What was the residence situation; did they have dormitories or rooming houses?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, we all lived on campus. There were a few day students, as they were called. Young women who lived in town who came to Salem. Lovely, young women who added a very nice

Page 17
dimension to our lives in that they took us home with them, and we met young men through them. We could go to their homes—if we double-dated, we had a home to go to with a friend, so they added a great deal to our pleasure. And we became very good friends. I'm still in touch with some of those day students who were very much a part of Salem.
PAMELA DEAN:
So they were very much integrated into the social life. In some cases they aren't.
MARY TURNER LANE:
In some cases they aren't. But I think they were at Salem. The dormitories were very comfortable. When you were a senior, you could move into something that was called a senior dormitory that was set up with suites for people, two rooms and a bath. Suites are very common today, but that was just a very special treat then. The campus was very small and easy too. The food was wonderful. I'm painting a very glossy picture of it.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes. Before your senior year, how was the physical set-up of the dormitories? How many people to a room?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, they were small as you compare them with dormitories here at Carolina. Maybe there would not be more than 150 people in a dormitory. Well, there were about 100 people in the freshman class, and 53 students graduated as seniors. So for the people who were there for four years, maybe there wouldn't be more than 350 people in the college.
PAMELA DEAN:
How were the rooms set up—two people to a room?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Two people to a room.
PAMELA DEAN:
Bathrooms down the hall.

Page 18
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, you had a lavatory in your room, but your showers and all other facilities were down the hall. One dining room. All of us could be seated at one time.
PAMELA DEAN:
For the whole college?
MARY TURNER LANE:
For the whole college. You were seated at tables of either ten or twelve. Moravian blessing was said at lunch and at dinner. Members of the faculty would eat at a faculty table. A senior would be seated at each table to be in charge, to serve the plates. Everything was served by them. The food was on the table and then the seniors served the plates and passed those.
PAMELA DEAN:
There was nobody who waited on tables or that kind of arrangement?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, I think that all of the maintenance and kitchen staff and the dining room staff were all hired help. Students did not work in the dining room. The way that students could earn money, I believe, was in an office or at the desk in dormitories, because there was no coming and going in dormitories from people on the outside. Somebody was always on the telephone desk and students were paid so much per hour that would be applied to their tuition.
PAMELA DEAN:
Let me go back for a moment to the staff; I'm just curious: was most of the staff black?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
How about the dormitories, did you have to keep your rooms clean yourself or was there someone who did that?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, they were cleaned weekly. And the staff for that was black.

Page 19
PAMELA DEAN:
Were these people that you got to know at all or were they…?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. You had favorites and they had favorites. Yes, and they had been there for years.
PAMELA DEAN:
I was just this afternoon looking through Educate A Woman, about Greensboro, and there were photographs in there of some of the black staff who had been there for years. It indicated that they had a very proprietary attitude toward the student. These were their, sort of their students.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, I think that that would be true.
PAMELA DEAN:
I don't think that there is ever that sort of feeling these days. I mean there is the sort of janitorial staff, and so seldom do you even notice them, really.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's an interesting question on your part, because I think we thought of these people as very much a part of Salem. And I think they saw themselves as very much a part of Salem. Now that may be a white Southern women speaking, and that might not have been the case at all.
PAMELA DEAN:
I'd really like to find someone who worked at one of the smaller colleges. It might be different here, I'm not sure, but a number of years ago my master's thesis was on the relationship between the summer people and the natives who worked for them, on the coast of Maine, on the big summer estates. I interviewed people on both sides of it, and it was very interesting to try and see both sides of the situation.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, in the pattern of the times, we knew all the women only my their first names. And I think that we had a good

Page 20
relationship. Maybe the time was such that if they even—if they had felt different, and I'm sure they did, there would have been no way for them to express those feelings.
PAMELA DEAN:
You knew them only in the context of the university, and didn't know if they had families.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, only as we might talk about it, and I don't remember those details. But I'm sure if I went back through my pictures taken at Salem, I'm sure that I would have the same thing that you're speaking of. That there would be pictures where we had taken of them.
PAMELA DEAN:
Let's see, a senior would set at each table. Back to the dining…
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, a senior who served, and who really didn't guide the discussion at the table, but who was sort of in charge.
It was as if there was always a certain level of decorum that had to be maintained. And of course, we had a Dean of Women who was responsible for your social well-being, so to speak, who would check on you if you did not attend chapel. We had chapel, I think it was five mornings a week, and maybe it was cut back. But it was chapel—I think we called it chapel—but it was not just a religious service. It was not held in the chapel. It was held in an auditorium. I think there's another word for it, and suddenly I can't think of what it is. We went to chapel at nine o'clock, and we marched in. The seniors marched in in their caps and gowns all senior year, which was a very nice tradition. And they marched in, and we had taken our seats. I'm sure they marched in

Page 21
singing a hymn. And the chapel was used for announcements and sometimes—I don't really remember any sermons or preachings of any kind. But we had to have done something in chapel. You can see what a wonderful impression it made on us. But you had to go.
PAMELA DEAN:
You did this every morning before you began the day.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, you could go to breakfast, and then it seems to me that chapel was either at 8:30 or 9:00. It didn't last very long but classes were scheduled around it, you see. And the Dean of Women had to check on whether or not you were skipping chapel and occasionally would check on how your room was kept, important things like that. And she would have to work with those students who came in late, because we were on a very strict regimen of checking in and checking out for dates, or just for going into town for a movie. You always had to sign in and sign out.
PAMELA DEAN:
You had to say where you were going, with whom you were going?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. So the Dean of Women was the one that sort of supervised what was sort of your social life and personal concerns that you might have, or personal needs. She was a single woman, Miss Grace Lawrence, who was thought of very warmly. She was kind and there were—I guess there were always ways to get around what one is expected to do. But anyway…
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Some. I think I really was a very good girl, a very good child. Sometimes I've regretted being so good. I think I was very good.

Page 22
PAMELA DEAN:
No major pranks.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No major pranks, no, no.
PAMELA DEAN:
No breaking the rules.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, no. I think the worst thing we ever did was to bring some new drink called Apple Ale—I don't even know what it was. In our senior year, we brought that in in a hat box. Well, today nobody even has a hat box. But that's about the worst thing we did.
PAMELA DEAN:
Sneak it in in your briefcase.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's right. Today it would be a briefcase. I don't even think it was as strong as beer. I don't know what it was. That's just one of our jokes that we talk about when we get together.
PAMELA DEAN:
How about parties in your room or that sort of thing…
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, we had that. That involved food and keeping lights on later than you were supposed to. The traditional things that you might start off talking about, an assignment and the teacher, then your social life, then your love life or lack of it. All of those things that young women have talked about forever, I suppose. But fun to us.
I'm sure every generation looks back on its own youth and senses a kind of innocence. But I do believe that that certainly characterized life before World War II. There was an innocence as far as many things were concerned. And we were all girls who had gone to summer camps and could have that kind of fun—the group, the buddy, the good friend. That was fun.

Page 23
PAMELA DEAN:
Were there girls that were really outsiders that didn't fit into the groups? Were there many of those?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. You wouldn't have that many young women together without having a number of groups within a group. The class was still big enough so that—the original groupings occurred in terms of roommates, pairs. And then people who were paired next door to each other. A lot of the groupings came about informally in that way. Some of them came about in terms of the region of the state from which they had come, the group that had come from Tennessee. Not a lot of choosing, originally, because most students were put with roommates that they did not know. Most roommate pairs worked out rather successfully. So on a hall where you might have sixty girls or fifty girls, you would have a number of groups that would evolve. Then, by the time you were seniors, you were paired off sort of four to a group and then four people across the hall, so that would be another natural setting.
PAMELA DEAN:
By that time, did you chose your roommates?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. You were choosing your roommates from then on. My roommate was chosen for me, and she and I are still good friends, still see each other, visit each other two or three times a year, which I think is rather remarkable. So that grouping worked, that selection worked well.
PAMELA DEAN:
Would you say that the student body was generally very homogeneous in social background, general background, and experience?

Page 24
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. In terms of those who were outside the group, which was your question early on, there were one or two girls who simply had—one dropped out her freshman year and another dropped out her sophomore year. Those were students who had either intense personal problems, or they were so different in their personality that they just did not make the adjustment. There were others that—you always have pairs and you always have people who—I don't know how to answer that question that well.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were there general gradations, the socialites, the grinds?
MARY TURNER LANE:
To a degree. I don't think it was as great as I hear students talk about it today. I've heard so many people classified in those categories, but I don't think I was that conscious of it. Oh, you always have the two or three girls who would date all the time. They were the most beautiful; they were the most popular. I was not one of those.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

Page 25
PAMELA DEAN:
So, generally, what you seem to have been saying is that either you don't remember those sorts of people, or those you do, didn't stay long.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, and don't think that I'm describing that accurately, but I don't really know how to go back and describe it. You then asked something about did we fall into these categories of the grinds and the beautiful or the popular. That's kind of hard to answer. I guess because that certainly by our senior year, we had this wonderful arrangement of four people living in a suite. So you never had any sense that anybody was left out because there were always four people who had come together for some reason or other. They might all be music majors, or they might all be home ec majors. That might be some way that they had come together. I don't really know how we paired off at the end or by our senior year. But I think because we did have this sort of dormitory grouping, then there was some sense that everybody was in a group of some kind. One might be a more studious group, and one might be the party group or the more popular group. Maybe that's a way to think of it.
PAMELA DEAN:
But for you, at least, it was a very pleasant experience all the way through.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
I'm describing it that way without really talking about those times when I know that I was lonely and afraid and in pain and experiencing all of those times that we experience when we're first separated from home and when we're trying to find our way. This was also a time, as I'm afraid it

Page 26
still is today, that women still had to be validated by the male. And that is simply a rite of passage. So no matter how happy or how good I felt about classes and about friends at the college, it still was very important that you have a date on a weekend. That you come to Carolina at least in the fall and the spring for games or for dances or something of this kind. That was just essential.
PAMELA DEAN:
And who did you date, people, boys in town?
MARY TURNER LANE:
By my senior year I had gotten to know a number of young men in town. I dated a number of young men in town. My roommate at that time was dating a man in town and became engaged her senior year. So somehow we had shifted from the boys at Carolina—remember Wake Forest wasn't there then. Davidson was there. We mostly dated boys at Carolina, or they would come to Salem.
PAMELA DEAN:
Would these be boys you had known from high school?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
Brothers of your college friends?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Or they might be friends of friends. The blind date worked then as it has always worked, I suppose. So they were mostly boys that we knew in some context. So, yes, Salem was happy but I was still struggling to be or to become or to know that I was somebody. And I felt that I had a sense of identity there. I think that that's the beauty of a small college. You can find something in which you can be successful. In fact, you can find lots of things in which you can be successful. And

Page 27
maybe that was why I didn't want to leave it. The outside world might not offer as much.
PAMELA DEAN:
Different challenges. But you did.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
They said that after four years you have to leave it. You had to graduate, and you had to major in something. As I look back on it, most of my friends did exactly what I did and majored in elementary education. A number of my friends were in music, and so they either graduated in voice or graduated in piano. Salem had a strong music program, and they went on to choral work or concert work. Several people majored in home economics. That was a strong major at Salem. Some of them went into work in that field. I can't remember exactly what they did. But the rest of us majored—well, when I say major, Salem didn't have a major in education. You majored in a discipline. I majored in English and then took the courses necessary for a primary teacher's certificate.
In your senior year, you took those courses as well as did practice teaching in local classrooms. That was a very good year. I enjoyed that, and I liked to work with children. I had excellent teachers. I was successful in that. So I felt good about being a teacher. I was going to be a teacher as all of my friends were until we married. That was all you were going to do. You could work until you married. And then after you married it was full-time wife. So a friend and I both got jobs in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she was to be the music teacher, and I was to teach the second grade.

Page 28
So she and I went to Fayetteville, and we got a room in a lovely, private home. Many teachers did that at that time. We were served our breakfast and dinner. There were two other teachers who lived there. We had no car. Neither one of us owned a car. Of course, nobody did. The teachers that lived at the home got us to school. We worked it out some way. So I became a teacher.
PAMELA DEAN:
And how did you like teaching second grade?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I liked it. I had a wonderful old teacher across the hall who told me everything that Salem had not told me. I liked it.
PAMELA DEAN:
Practice as opposed to theory.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I liked it. I thought it was wonderful. The children were responsive. So the teaching part was fine. I earned, I think, $99.00 a month for the first nine months. That's the salary we got. On that salary we paid our room and board, which I think was $30.00 a month. I bought a $1,000 insurance policy and a fur coat in the first year. I don't think I've ever had so much money. And my darling father sent me $10.00 occasionally as just extra. So we lived well. We did well—when I say we, I'm speaking of my friend, Edie McClain Barton. And we had a wonderful social life because Fort Bragg was there. Young men were just beginning to be drafted, and everybody we had known in college began showing up in Fayetteville. So we really did have a very good time. We were successful teachers and our social life was very satisfactory. I taught there for two years. Then my father had gone with the

Page 29
National Guard. He was commander of the 113th Field Artillery. The Guard had been called out and was to be stationed in Columbia, South Carolina. So he and mother had gone there. After a year or two, she went back to New Bern, and I joined her in New Bern for a year. Taught school there, also.
PAMELA DEAN:
What year did you teach then?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Third grade.
And during that year I met Tom Lane.
END OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1986 INTERVIEW


Page 30
START OF SEPTEMBER 16, 1986 INTERVIEW
PAMELA DEAN:
As I said, we were going to talk about the general culture that you grew up in that helped shape your concept of yourself, especially as a woman.
MARY TURNER LANE:
In thinking back on those forces that were important in my life. I thought particularly of war and wars, and I thought particularly of the movies. In terms of the war or wars, I guess its important to recognize, or it is for me, that I was born in 1918 in a war, and I married in 1942 in a war. And by strange situation which I think was certainly part of the South, even the Civil War was a significant part of my life. It's hard to believe, but in New Bern, North Carolina in the 1920s and the 1930s, children were still very much involved in memorializing the Civil War and in honoring the Civil War dead. One of the strongest memories I have as a child is that of marching with other little girls on Confederate Memorial Day, which was May 10. We were dressed in white dresses, carrying red roses. We marched to the cemetery, dropped these roses on the Confederate Monument, and sang this marvelous song, which I can almost sing today, and covered them over with beautiful flowers. Now, that went on all the way through high school. In fact if I tried to put it in a chronology, I would say it went on until World War II. And so much of it was done by women. These were the strong women in the social and cultural life of the town who organized the United Daughters of the Confederacy, organized the Children of the Confederacy. They saw to it that we were brought up knowing that poem, "The Sword of Lee," singing the songs that were supposed to

Page 31
be part of the war, and being very conscious of the great sacrifices made by the men of the South. Then the first World War, at the time when I was born, I had a unique situation in the town of New Bern because my father was overseas serving in France. I was, according to the newspaper, the first war baby born in New Bern. In a very small town where everybody knew everybody else, my mother said that was a very important event. People came to the hospital to see this little baby whose father was in France. When the nurse pushed the carriage out later on, there was much to-do about this little baby who was born then. So my father came back from France when I was six months old. When he returned, he organized or began with other men to organize the National Guard. So I grew up seeing parades on Armistice Day, which was November 11, of seeing men in uniform, not particularly hearing stories of World War I. That was not really part of my background. The men didn't tell stories of the war, but we were constantly honoring the dead, seeing men and little boys in uniforms. All of the little brothers in the different families had little soldier uniforms that they wore. And then in 1941 came Pearl Harbor. Two years before that we had had the draft, and I was married in 1942 to a man in uniform and in a sense was faced with another war. So somehow or other the glory, the sense of duty as it related to war, was a strong thread in the messages that I received from the community, from friends and family. I never had really tied that all together until now, but I think it was important.

Page 32
PAMELA DEAN:
You said something that was very significant when you were talking about the Daughters of the Confederacy, and the women were the ones who organized and perpetuated this awareness of sacrifices the men had made for the South, and parades, and glorification of the war, and memorials to the war dead. What does this say to a young girl about the reciprocal responsibilities of women in war?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, it was very clear that the role of women was really to support the male. To take care of the home front, to mind the children, to bear the children even while the man is away fighting the war. Now that we have gone back to look at the role of woman, we have learned so much about what women truly did in war, in running plantations, in serving in so many ways. But truly, the woman served the man in war. The woman had no discussion, or no role in a discussion as to whether or not men would go off to war. They were to support the decisions and to take up whatever the situation was.
PAMELA DEAN:
It seems to be that the chief public message was that women were simply to admire men and honor them for what they did. That was a prime component of what….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that truly is what we were doing. We were honoring men all of those years.
PAMELA DEAN:
That was an important public function for women.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, it was, it was. It was done in the community, and it was done in the home as well. So even as I married I knew that this man that I married would shortly go overseas. As it turned out, we were together maybe six weeks. He was sent

Page 33
overseas for two years, during which time I wrote a letter every day of my life. That's exactly what all of my friends were doing. I had friends whose husbands were gone three years. At the same time, I had a job and was doing the community things such as knitting for the Red Cross. I was a plane spotter once a week, which seems strange now, except that the town was located near the largest Marine airbase on the east coast so it was reasonable. We were also thirty miles from the coast, and there had been a number of submarines, German submarines, that had been attacked, as well as a number of American ships that were attacked on the coast, not by planes but by other submarines. But for there to be that was reasonable. The concept of war certainly was one that was significant in my life.
The other influence, it seems to be, is that of the movies. I don't really remember my first movies. I have no sense of that. There are people who can say, oh, I saw this picture and I saw that picture. What I do remember about the movies is that they were a family event. One night a week, the whole family went to the movies. On Saturday afternoons; this is all sort of pre-high school, this was when I was in elementary grades. On Saturday afternoons, all of the children went to the movies to see two western shows, two comedies, newsreels, all for ten cents. Then when I got in high school, you went to the movies on Sunday nights with dates. So that was the pattern. As a child I remember lots of comedies that we saw, and I remember some of the sort of frightening, scary movies. But in high school, I remember the romantic stories, the love stories which were so

Page 34
beautiful and so tender, so truly romantic. There was a lot of boy-pursues-girl. Never girl-pursues-boy. Much working out of relationships, but nine out of ten movies ended in marriage which was happy.
PAMELA DEAN:
And that's the end.
MARY TURNER LANE:
The movie ended right there.
PAMELA DEAN:
I wonder if any of them ever started there.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Maybe a few started with a family and young children, and there were problems with the children and there were many things to work out. But the clear image is a very romantic image of a beautiful girl, a handsome, attractive young man who had a very happy romance or courtship. Some problem maybe with parents or something of that kind but it worked out, and you saw the beautiful bride and the handsome groom and that was it. Life would be happy. Everything sort of had a happy ending. What we saw of war pictures seems to me was very limited. I do remember the film, All Quiet on the Western Front with Lou Aires, it seems to me. Oh, how long ago that was, I don't know. I remember it with—I seem to remember something with Gary Cooper—I don't know whether he did a later version or not. We never really saw the horror of war. If anybody died in the movies, it was with a little trickle of blood that came from the mouth. I remember seeing Robert Taylor dying in some war, I don't know what war it was. We saw lots of Civil War pictures and other wars, European wars. But the death came not in a grisly or ghastly or obscene way—the way that we have come to view it with M.A.S.H.—but just a trickle of blood from the mouth and the closing of the eyes and

Page 35
the head went back. And that was that. Always with the last message sent out to the loved ones. But somehow or other the idea of war and the honoring of the dead and movies and the honoring of living happily ever after, those two things were part of the romanticism, it seems to me, that I grew up with and that my friends grew up with. And that somehow or other were unrelated to the reality of life as I had come to know it. And probably made it as difficult for me to be a woman, facing the reality in life, as almost anything else.
Now I think I'm out of sequence. But that's what I wanted to catch up on.
PAMELA DEAN:
I think that's very appropriate, because it seems to me that at the beginning of the Second World War you met your husband to be, he's in uniform; you are living the fantasy.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, yes. True. True.
PAMELA DEAN:
You are living the romance you had seen in the movies. You had a nice ready-made scenario to place yourself in. Things were going just as they should. You had gone to school. You had worked for a few years.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Now it was time to marry.
PAMELA DEAN:
It's perfect.
MARY TURNER LANE:
And the new movie was — World War II.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes. Yes. Well, let's talk a little bit about just the…
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, I think I said earlier that I had been living in Fayetteville at the time, after my graduation from college. It was at that time that President Roosevelt had started the draft. Many young men that I knew came through Fort Bragg to be

Page 36
drafted or to go through officers' training school or something of that kind. So there were many young men there in uniform that we knew. So there was that sort of heady excitement of preparing for war, but not really knowing what war was. There is an excitement that's generated by pulling men together, putting them in uniform, marching them up and down streets and on parade grounds.
PAMELA DEAN:
And it still fitted into the romance that had surrounded it in the past and hadn't gotten to the grisly part because not too many had yet been shipped over and killed.
MARY TURNER LANE:
So in the fall of 1941 I went back to New Bern to my home, and my mother was there then. My father was still in Columbia, South Carolina. His battalion had been called out in 1940, I suppose it was. He was officer in charge of the 113th Field Artillery. He was a Lieutenant Colonel at that time. So in the fall of 1941 I was teaching school in New Bern. I had gotten a job there and then Pearl Harbor came in December of 1941.
We knew no one at Pearl Harbor but my best friend's husband was on Wake Island, and he was killed on Wake Island. They brought us the news at a big party that we were having at my house. And that really was the beginning of the reality of war for us in New Bern, because this was a young man who had gone through high school with all of us. We were very close to him. So that was really the beginning of the war. Pearl Harbor was December 9 and the bombing of Wake Island came two or three days after that, and then I guess it was a week or more before the

Page 37
news came to us. New Bern was filled at that time with young men in the Marine Corps, because the all of the Marine Air Corps on the Eastern Seaboard was collected in New Bern at a very small training camp.
Then again in 1941, before Pearl Harbor, the Navy had sent construction officers into New Bern to begin building of the Cherry Point Marine Air Base, which would become the largest Marine air base. They sent seven naval officers, and Tom Lane happened to be one of them. We met, and I was very busy dating a number of people that year, but Tom asked me to marry him and so we were married in August of 1942.
PAMELA DEAN:
When did you meet him?
MARY TURNER LANE:
In August of 1941.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

Page 38
MARY TURNER LANE:
I guess our married life during the war was like that of all my friends, all of the Army wives, the Navy wives, the Marine wives. We were together about six weeks, I think. We had two weeks on this coast, four weeks on the west coast. Then he went to Alaska and on to the Aleutian Islands. My role, or the way I handled my life at that time, was to write a letter every day, do the volunteer work of plane spotter, a knitter for the Red Cross, and to work—first in the New Bern Recreation Department, arranging recreation for service men, and then in the public health department.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you weren't teaching at this time.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No. As I look back on it, it's interesting that the superintendent would not hire me because I could not guarantee that I would complete a year. When I said that I would leave if my husband came back from overseas, then I was not a good risk.
PAMELA DEAN:
You couldn't predict what you would do because you were—it would depend entirely on what the Navy did with your husband.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, absolutely. So better not to hire the person. After the war, Tom got out of the Navy. I guess in 1945. Got a very good job with the Civil Aeronautics Administration and was assigned to the state of Pennsylvania, living in Harrisburg. After a year with that organization, he was made chief engineer for the state of Virginia. But for the first year we were living in Harrisburg or living in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, in a new residential development filled with couples that were exactly

Page 39
like we were. Straight out of military service, all with there first jobs, their first babies, these were their first homes. So it was wonderful. It was, as you said, the fulfillment of the dream. The war was over, and I often said that I could suddenly let my breath out and relax and believe that all was wonderful ahead. Toward the end of that time Tom, was sent to Virginia to take over that state, which was really a wonderful situation for him at age 31 to be in charge of all civil construction for an entire state.
PAMELA DEAN:
Excuse me. When would this have been?
MARY TURNER LANE:
This would have been in the summer of 1946. I forgot to say the baby was born.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes, I was going to….
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, that would be the summer of 1948. I forgot to say that Mary Ellen Lane was born.
PAMELA DEAN:
A very important point.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. December 9, 1946. Interestingly enough, I was back home with my mother again. We could not find housing in Pennsylvania. So the only transportation between cities then was by train. And we had lived in a hotel for two months and we really couldn't have a baby in a hotel. So the doctor sent me home by train from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, and here I was back with my mother and father to have this wonderful baby girl. So it was while I was gone that Tom bought the house in this neighborhood that proved to be so wonderful.
So then it was in 1948, in the fall of that year, that he had been sent to

Page 40
Virginia. It was in the first week that he was there that he had a automobile accident and was killed instantly.
PAMELA DEAN:
Had you moved down there by then?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No. He was traveling the state to assess what his work would be, and then we would find a place and go. My phone rang and the voice said, "Is this Mrs. Lane," and I said, "Yes," and he said, "I hate to tell you, Mrs. Lane but your husband is dead." So that's what happened. In retrospect, I know that it took a year to believe it. It was about as shattering a blow and delivered in as shattering a way that I could ever imagine. So family and friends moved in and took care of me. I was twenty-nine and my child was twenty-two months old. So we simply went home to my mother and father, back to New Bern, and how fortunate we were to be able to go back.
There was really nothing else I could do. There was no reason to stay in Pennsylvania. Our friends there were only friends of a year or year and a half, and I needed to be cared for, and the child needed to be cared for, because death is like a wound, a terrible wound, a searing, gaping wound. Someone needs to bandage that wound and keep that wound as protected as possible. So I was very fortunate to go home where there were people who would love us, and comfort us, and carry us really until I could emerge and begin to think about what we would do.
At the time I really didn't know what grief was. I didn't know what grieving was. I knew it was all right to cry. I knew it was all right to pray and do a number of things, but at that time we didn't know it was all right to be angry. And it's only

Page 41
in retrospect, as we've learned so much about grief and written so much, that I realize that I was so angry. I was angry at this man for dying. I was angry that he had gone away, and I had no dream. Everything was gone.
PAMELA DEAN:
All the promises were broken.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Gone. Then I realized it was not just the man I was angry at, it was society. It was all the movies. It was all of the myths and the notions about what a woman could do with her life or was supposed to do, and what life was supposed to be. So I really had to do a great deal of healing.
One of the most amazing things to me was I felt that I had absolutely no sense of identity. Suddenly I was back at home, and I was Mary and Albert Willis's daughter. I was Mary Ellen's mother. I was somebody else's granddaughter. I was somebody's sister. I didn't really have any sense of I was somebody. Now that was curious to me because I had always had a sense of who I was growing up. I had had a sense of identity in college. I was a leader. I was a good student. I was all those things. But as a widow I was no one. I was nobody. There was nothing. So that loss of identity was a startling thing to me. It took me a while to figure out that that's really that it was. But that's what it was.
PAMELA DEAN:
Because the role that you were supposed to be playing had been taken away.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. And if you're not a wife what can you be? So after the anger and the grief and the horror, there began to be

Page 42
some searching inside me that there should be more in life than to be Mary and Albert Willis's daughter and Mary Ellen's mother.
So at the end of three years, three very comfortable years in a way, because I was living in a lovely home—Mother and Daddy were wonderful to me. My father took over the father's role so beautifully. He came in at 5:00 every afternoon and went back to the nursery and played with her. So all of that was good. All I knew to think of doing in terms of work was to renew a teacher's certificate.
My mother had good friends in Chapel Hill who used to visit us every summer at the beach. And she began saying to me why don't you come to Chapel Hill? Why don't you come to Chapel Hill? There are bound to be some nice men there that you can marry. Well, that wasn't all bad. I didn't know what else to do. That seemed entirely appropriate that I should marry again. Also it seemed very appropriate that I should have more children. To have only one child did not seem right. I'm not sure what the forces were that mitigated that, but an only child was not a good thing to have. So this child must have brothers and sisters, and I must, in order to fulfill myself, have more children. Well, anyway, I came to Chapel Hill, moved into a very wonderful, small neighborhood again, again with people coming back from service, back into jobs in academia. And did not marry in my years at Chapel Hill, but began a interesting progression of study and jobs that led me into a career. I really think I backed into a career. I knew nothing about career planning. The word career was not even part of my vocabulary.
PAMELA DEAN:
Women had jobs, not careers.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
Women absolutely had jobs. I had a little bit of financial assistance from social security and from a pension that came because of the federal security agency. So I was very fortunate in that respect. But I began taking courses at Carolina, and over a two-year period, I had the courses necessary for a master's in education.
PAMELA DEAN:
Going well beyond simply renewing a teaching certificate.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh yes. I got interested in the work. I didn't start with education courses. I started with English and drama courses. Something that would be intellectually stimulating after having been in New Bern for three years. I really, I guess, wanted to see if my mind could still function on some ideas. So I had that degree.
Then I was asked by a professor at the university to stay on in an experimental reading program that we had started. And I found that very interesting for a year or two. Then I was asked by my major professor in elementary education to become an instructor in the teacher education program. So I sort of backed into those two jobs. So I began the sort of the full-time work when my daughter was in the third grade, I believe it was.
And I was frightened to death. I was frightened because I was leaving this child. I wasn't going to be home every afternoon. For so many years, that was my abiding sense of guilt. It was the afternoons. My mother had been home every afternoon or a wonderful cook or housekeeper had always been there, mostly mother. Our home had always been open to friends

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that I could bring home, my brother could bring home. We had a wonderful downstairs room that was called the nursery for years. But that's where toys were. So suddenly I was going to take a full-time job, and I wouldn't be home in the afternoons. I found that the greatest source of guilt was just the afternoons. It wasn't so bad in the mornings because she was going to school. But to come home in the afternoons—for her to have to come home in the afternoon—I found that difficult. I was also very much afraid of entering an academic institution as a teacher. That had never entered my head.
PAMELA DEAN:
You had done well as a student.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, absolutely. And had had female professors at Salem College. I had not had any female professors at Carolina. But it was the idea that I could become or was being forced or was being asked to become more than a classroom teacher of ten-year-olds. That was forbidding.
PAMELA DEAN:
And you were being asked to do it in an institution where there weren't a lot of women as students or teachers at that time.
MARY TURNER LANE:
There certainly—well, the few women professors that were at that time—I guess would be in education. There weren't—and the students, the female students, were all clustered in education. Because that's when students were really coming here as junior transfers. And they were still the young women who were going to teach until they married. They were transferring from—they were coming from Salem, and they were coming from St. Mary's, Peace, and Converse, and Meredith.

Page 45
PAMELA DEAN:
Now this would be the late fifties. No, mid-fifties if your daughter's in third grade.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. Born in 1946, and so we're talking about 1953, when she would be in about the third grade.
PAMELA DEAN:
Let's talk a little bit about your experience as a graduate student working on your on master's, about the kind of classwork you did, the other students, and teachers.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I did not find that too difficult or too threatening. I was older to some degree but in education you did not seek a master's unless you were older.
PAMELA DEAN:
So mostly people who had been out and taught for a while and were coming back.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Most of them were men, as I recall. I don't remember many women.
PAMELA DEAN:
These would be men who would be wanting to perhaps move up into administration.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, who wanted to be principals of their elementary schools. So I did not find the course work as threatening as I found suddenly trading positions with professors and becoming a professor. So that was very frightening.
PAMELA DEAN:
So, if you were going to be teaching mostly undergraduates, you would be teaching mostly women, you did have something of a model in your teachers at Salem.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that was all right, but that was at Salem. To be at Carolina, at the University of North Carolina, somehow that was intimidating for me. That was very intimidating for me. It was a great hurdle somehow for me to overcome. I don't think

Page 46
they had even invented tranquilizers at that time, but I think if they had, I would have been a good customer for them. Just a great sense of anxiety. Am I worthy of this, can I do this. It was difficult, very, very difficult.
PAMELA DEAN:
That feeling that you had put something over on your professors, that they thought you could. That somehow you had fooled them. That they hadn't really seen the real you.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, it was moving into a new role. A role that I had never been conditioned for. That moved it, I suppose, into a kind of career without really putting a label on it. But it was a shifting of roles, or a shifting of career vision perhaps, that I really found very frightening.
PAMELA DEAN:
Perhaps it was in part an admission that perhaps you were not going to marry, that you were going to have a career, that your life was not going to go along those traditional lines.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That could very well be it.
PAMELA DEAN:
A closing of doors as well as an opening.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that's true. I certainly saw it as an opening with an access to the university in a variety of ways. So there's a basic social interaction quality in me that sort of has always pushed me out toward people. So that to be able to be in a different social setting was all right. I didn't mind the apprehension connected with that. That was all right. I was accustomed to meeting different people, but it was the work part of it that I found difficult.
But after four years, the dean that had asked me to take the job, asked me what I intended to do with my life. Now this was a

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man who was truly very helpful. This was the Dean of the School of Education, Dean Arnold Perry. He was the one who had hired me, who had said, "you have qualities found in your liberal arts education at Salem that are appropriate for teacher education." He was the one that had read my master's comprehensive, so he knew what I had done academically. I had taken a course with him, and the school of education was so small that it was easy to know the people and for them to know you. So his comment really was an interesting one, that with your liberal arts background from Salem plus your master's in education from here, you have a strong background to offer a broader perspective to teachers.
PAMELA DEAN:
Let me ask you, for your master's, did you have to do some sort of thesis?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, we didn't do a thesis. We wrote a comprehensive exam, which was a sort of six-hour exam. We had term papers in every course, and he would have read those, the ones that I had done for him.
PAMELA DEAN:
I just wondered if there was some reason in your project that you had focused on.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No. So he was the one who said if you really want to stay in a university setting you really have to have a doctorate, and then went to say that there were scholarships available. He told me about the Danforth Foundation fellowship. If you were at a certain point in a doctoral program, that was open to you. I applied. He wrote a recommending letter. To my great surprise I got it. I read the letter which came to my home, folded the

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letter up, put it in the envelope, and put it in the drawer because I wasn't sure it was real. Two days later I took it out, and it still said the same thing.
It was a very good scholarship. It was for twelve months tuition at your academic institution—wherever you were going to get the doctorate—and then a stipend for twelve months. I had been accepted at Duke University so I could continue living—I was not enough of a risk-taker to move to New York and go to Columbia or to go to some other place. But I could go to Duke. So I had twelve months work there. Then two years back here working. I had twelve months of academic study there.
Two years back in Chapel Hill with my regular job at Carolina, taking courses at night and in the summer at Duke. Finally, I realized as I was leaving a class with four or five of the men graduate students at Duke, who were taking the courses with me, that every one of them was going to begin work on his dissertation that summer and not work the following year, because everyone had a wife who was working. And here I was with no wife, working, with no time to do a dissertation.
PAMELA DEAN:
Supporting a child.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No time to do a dissertation. I was a single parent and single wage-earner, and how in the world I could ever do a dissertation, I don't know.
PAMELA DEAN:
Please, tell me how you did it.
MARY TURNER LANE:
My mother-in-law looked at me one day and said to me, "There's something wrong, Mary. Your face smiles, but your eyes don't." I thought that was very observant and very perceptive.

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I went back to the dean and he told me about another scholarship, the Southern Funds Dissertation Fellowship. If you had your topic, it had been accepted, the first chapter written, then you would be subject to that. So I got that and had another year off. Of course, each of these years with stipends—when I say a stipend I mean something like $200 a month or something so small you could just get by on them. I got by because I still had this pension. I had the social security, the child support from that. So I could manage.
PAMELA DEAN:
Just cover from month to month and not much else?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh no, you didn't put aside much in savings, and I was living in rented housing, always.
PAMELA DEAN:
And hoping there's no major crisis, and everybody stays healthy, and the car doesn't die.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I always lived where there were little girls next door. That was one of the ways I overcame the guilt of not being home in the afternoon. I always lived where I had wonderful friends next door who were the parents of these little girls. And these women really created an extended—well, the women and the men, the couples in all of these houses—became our extended families. Mary Ellen was as free to go to their homes in the afternoons as their children were to come to my home any time I was there. So that was really how I managed. If I had not had good friends who were full time wives and mothers, I couldn't have done it. They were the key, in addition to my own family who were always supportive, who could always step in. Mary Ellen could go to them, or they could come to me. But it was those

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couples. It was those non-working women that made it possible for me to study, to go to school, to work full-time.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were there any other women that you knew at this time who were in a position similar to yours?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No. That's another facet that has been very difficult. There were no women; it's strange. I did not know any young widows. I did not know any widows who were my age who were single parents or who were working. I was very much alone in that sense.
PAMELA DEAN:
That must have been very difficult.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I didn't realize how difficult until I began to think about retiring. As I was working through with a counselor, we picked up on this. She said, "This is strange." You've never had a woman in exactly your position, even when I retired. I wasn't working that out with other women who were retiring at that time. Because the women I knew at the university are fifteen to twenty years younger than I. They're not ready for retirement. So there's so few women, and there certainly were none in New Bern when I went back as a widow. There were none in Chapel Hill when I was working this out. So it was a strange set of circumstances.
PAMELA DEAN:
I would think that there would have been other women, war widows.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that's interesting. So many of them, even my friend whose husband was killed at Pearl Harbor, married again.
PAMELA DEAN:
They tell me that people do that.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

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PAMELA DEAN:
This is Pamela Dean. The date is May 21, 1987. This is the third in a series of interviews with Mary Turner Lane. All right, let's go ahead with this then.
Starting in the late '60s, we were beginning to get, as we were saying, into that leading edge of the sexual revolution and women's liberation, a lot of changes. Or mid-sixties.
Mid-sixties, yes. Let's go for that. A lot of changes going on in the University, the University's attitude toward enrollment in relationship to women, and you were right in the middle of it all.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, there were changes. I'm not really sure in my mind exactly how the specific committees and the specific changes came about. I guess there was something that was abroad in the country, beginning in the early sixties, that we would call the sexual revolution—the freeing up of women, I suppose, to experience the same sexual pleasures that men were free to experience.
My notion is that on this campus, maybe several things were happening at one time. One would be that there was a move in society that men and women begin to operate under the same social constraints or the same social laws and have the same opportunities for sexual freedom. Secondly, the University was opening up admission to women, beginning in 1961. We still weren't accepting women on an equal basis with men but in 1961 the Faculty Council did say that women could come to the University as freshman in all programs. Prior to that it had

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been just in nursing and just in art. I believe the art program was passed in '61 but in '62 the University said that women could come in all programs.
There were beginning to be many more women on campus, although the majority of our students would still be your junior transfers—women that would come in from other colleges and from junior colleges. So who began requesting [Laughter] that men and women have the same social limitations on this campus, I'm not sure. But I was very familiar with the Dean of Women, Dean Katherine Carmichael. She and I had talked a number of times about women's education, about the kinds of opportunities that were here for women. So that, I suppose, she recommended that I be on a committee that was appointed by the Chancellor in 1967 to study self-limiting hours for women.
Now, I've always had to explain what that term is [Laughter] because so few people understood or know today what we mean by self-limiting hours. The easiest way to explain it is to say that until this committee came into being, all women at the University operated under a very rigid code of social requirements. Number one, they all lived in dormitories on campus. Number two, they all had to sign in and sign out if they were going out for a date or if they were going for an overnight or for a weekend. So that the University was acting very much in loco parentis. The University was much more interested in knowing where girls were at all times than where boys were. So in the dormitories they signed out. And in the dormitories they had to be in at certain hours. You had closing hours,

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that's a better term. You had closing hours during the week at a certain time, maybe 11 o'clock or 12, and then Saturday and Sunday, your closing hours would be very different, maybe an hour later [Laughter] .
PAMELA DEAN:
Right. As I recall older women could be a little bit later. They was some staggering of hours.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, you're right. If you were a senior, then perhaps you had an extra hour.
PAMELA DEAN:
11 o'clock for seniors; 10 o'clock for….
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's right. And for certain special weekends when there were big dances or big parties, then perhaps the hours would be later. But there were hours. And if you came in after that time, then you had done something wrong and you had to be reported to Honor Court. I'm not sure exactly how the penalties were arranged but it was an infraction of the laws. So a committee was sit up. That committee worked from 1967 to 1969. Professor Lillian Layman chaired that committee. I was a member of it, and it really was a fascinating study. As I recall, there were both male and female students on the committee. There were faculty members, and there were members of the administration. There was a tendency under Chancellor Sitterson's reign, if you can call it that [Laughter] ….
PAMELA DEAN:
Administration.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Administration, that there always be some faculty, some administrators, and some students. He did a very good job in seeing that all the groups were represented. As I recall, the first thing we did was to establish a questionnaire that would go

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out to parents of female students who were here at this school to find out what their feelings were about self-limiting hours, about closing hours, about a number of issues that had to do with the rules that pertained to the women. Needless to say, everything that we did was written up extensively in the News and Observer and other state papers because while we may have thought that it was time to examine rules of this campus, there were many communities in the state that felt that this was not an appropriate thing to consider. The general response, as I recall, from parents was a supportive one. I cannot think that we would have gone ahead with the action that we took if there had not been some sense of support by the university public. So after pursuing this for a two-year period of time, hearing a number of people who wanted to speak on the topic, making a real effort to examine all of the restrictions that did exist, we recommended to Chancellor Sitterson that a system of self-limiting hours for women be established. Now I do not have the details of that.
We were always constrained by the single premise that the dormitories must be secure. So whatever we worked with, we had to figure out a system whereby dormitories would be locked at certain hours. There was still, on the part of women students, a feeling that they did not want the dormitory doors unlocked all of the time. The dormitories for men may be unlocked all the time but the women students did not want that to happen. So that even though they were free to have self-limiting hours, they could decide when they would come in, they still wanted a system

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whereby dormitories would be locked at certain times and there would be a way that they would have access to their rooms.
PAMELA DEAN:
I recall reading something about some disturbances or men breaking into the dormitories being part of this controversy and private guards being hired.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, yes. There were guards that were hired. I'm not sure they were private. I think the University simply stepped up its security system. I think that would be the case. But my recollection is that all of the students still were concerned that the dormitories be essentially safe from intruders. A system was worked out either with keys or with a night watchman that would allow the women to come in. So that this was, I suppose, this was truly a big change on the campus. I think there was another factor that worked toward our trying to come to grips with the fact that laws or rules for men students and women students were totally different, and there should be some level of equity brought to them. Plus the fact that people began to realize that women were being punished by honor courts for infractions of rules that did not even apply to men. There were even situations in which a woman student might be expelled for an infraction of a rule, and the male student would never be punished in any way. So the injustice of the system was such that many people recognized that it was time that we rethink it, and that we try to establish something that would be more equitable and that would reflect the fact that the University was moving away from the in loco parentis.
[interruption]

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Now, I'm saying that while there was a general feeling that social rules should be more fair, the changes that we recommended didn't rest well with many people.
Dean Katherine Carmichael, for instance, had been a very protective person of women students. She felt strongly that women should be protected. This did not mean for a minute that she did not recognize their independence, their intelligence, their integrity, and their ability to do a number of things. She was a strong supporter of women. I want to make that very clear. But she made a wonderful statement when we came out with this recommendation. I don't have the exact statement—I'll find it somewhere. But it was in the sense that, despite the changes in this new self-limiting hour concept, she hoped that the University would always recognize women as the fragile flowers they truly were. Now that drew a good bit of laughter but she believed that.
PAMELA DEAN:
This is 1968.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's in 1968, but she believed that very strongly. She had real fears that bad things would happen to women.
I thought that the whole process was really an interesting one from a Chancellor's perspective. I think that Chancellor Sitterson handled changes in social rules in a very sophisticated way. He did not make the pronouncement or recommend the changes. He established committees to study problems. Then the committees made the recommendation for the changes. The committees represented the total University community, and then it was very easy for him to act on the committee's recommendations. Now this was not a phenomenon that was unique

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to him. This was happening on many campuses across the United States. Campuses were making changes on the basis of committee government, so to speak. It was a viable way to confront problems and changes. So Chancellor Sitterson simply accepted the report of the committee and recommended that it be implemented. So this is how many committees or many social issues and social problems were handled at that time. There were several others that were handled and resolved or, in some cases, defused, simply because. you had committees working on the assignment. That we were always able to say to students, "We're studying that. We're working on that."
In the case of the next committee, which was the committee to study the visitation privilege, that followed right on the heels of the self-limiting hours, if you want me to go ahead and talk about that now. That committee worked from 1968 to 1970. Perhaps some of the same people worked on the two committees, I'm not sure. I know that I worked on both of them. And again this committee title is a funny one for anybody to understand. The visitation privilege sounds somewhat divine perhaps [Laughter] but what it really was was a request by boys and girls that they be allowed to go to each other's dormitory rooms at certain times of the day. The rules that applied to women at that time, I believe, were that they could not go into an apartment in town with a young man unless a married couple was available or was also visiting there.
PAMELA DEAN:
It, at least, had to be four of them. There had to be another couple, at least.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
At least another couple, four was somehow a magic number and that would protect….
PAMELA DEAN:
And Dean Carmichael was quite firm on that, repeatedly.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, and that was a law. That was a rule. So this committee really was to see if changes could not be made in that—but particularly to see if changes could not be made so that boys could go into the girls' dormitory rooms and girls could go into the boys' dormitory rooms.
PAMELA DEAN:
As things stood at that time, there were certain public visiting rooms which were open during most hours.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that's right. Girls' dormitory rooms, for instance, had parlors. [Laughter] I don't know what the rooms were called in the boys' dormitories, rec rooms, I suppose. But yes, that's where they could meet, and they could talk.
PAMELA DEAN:
But even that was not unlimited. That was still during….
MARY TURNER LANE:
That would still be within certain hours, I suppose. I'm not sure.
PAMELA DEAN:
The hours that the womens' dormitories were open. After closing hours, I'm sure that that could not be done.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that's right.
So in this committee—I remember, we were meeting one night, oh, several days before the Duke-Carolina game—we had been told, the committee had been told, that there would be a sit-in, or a sleep-in. That's what it was going to be. It was going to be a sleep-in, or a sit-in, whatever, after the game. And we were urged to hurry with our

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recommendations so that we could take care of everything. Well, we had just begun working, and there was no way that we could get our recommendations out in that time. We were meeting on the second floor of Lenoir Hall. That was the dining area at that time. And we suddenly were aware that there was chanting going on outside the dining room. You have to remember that this was the time of marches and protests, and students felt very free to make placards and march on anything. So we went to the windows, and there must have been 500 or 600 students, outside our window, chanting something. We had a hard time figuring out what they were chanting, and we finally discovered they were saying, "The arb is closed," meaning the arboretum. [Laughter] So that was their message to us. That the arboretum is cold, and that's the only place that we have to go right now to visit. So Dean Cansler, as I recall, was chair of the committee, and he talked to the students. They said, "We want something by this weekend." That was a good example of our being able to say, "We're working on this. Give us time. We understand what you're saying. So, please, stay with the rules a little bit longer, and then we'll see what will come out of that."
PAMELA DEAN:
But you were able to indicate that the University was taking their cause seriously.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. And again, you see, we had students on our committee who went to the window, as well, and said, "Now, just ease up. We know what you want. We understand it, and we're working on it. So give us a little bit more time."

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PAMELA DEAN:
Who chose the students, do you know? What was the selection process?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I don't know whether Dean Cansler as part of the Student Affairs Office—I don't know where the recommendations for all of these committees came from.
PAMELA DEAN:
I'll see if I can find that. I would think that the credibility of the student representatives of these committees would be crucial.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that was very important. One of the great benefits to me was getting to know the students from across campus, both the young men and the young women that I met throughout these four or five years of committee work. We learned a great deal about each other. We learned to respect each other. Frankly, the one to one knowledge or experience made us all much more aware of the sincerity, and the intensity, and the reality of the students' feelings.
I would also say that, at this time, a number of student-faculty retreats were established. I remember going, oh, for at least four years in the fall with different students that had been selected. By whom, I'm not sure. But again there would be people from the administration, people from faculty, and people from different student groups who would be there. And we talked about problems. This was the time that many students were also going to a communications center up in Maine—I can't remember what that was—and they were learning confrontational techniques. This was the time when they were rebelling against

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authority, and they decided everybody had to be on a first name basis. Remember that?
PAMELA DEAN:
Absolutely, absolutely.
MARY TURNER LANE:
So when we went to these retreats, we were all on a first name basis, and most of us operated pretty much under the student—the way they wanted them run.
PAMELA DEAN:
That's very interesting.
MARY TURNER LANE:
But anyway, there was a lot of very positive interaction. As a follow up to our being marched on—and that was really a unique experience—we turned around from the window to go back to our meeting, and we realized that ten students had slipped into our meeting room [Laughter] and were sitting there waiting with their own questions. They asked if they could stay, and as it happened, we said, "Yes." So they stayed and heard what we were doing. But after two years of that deliberation—and believe me, we did deliberate—we listened to a variety of people and we examined the pros and cons. Needless to say the recommendations by the students ranged from complete openness of all dormitory rooms….
PAMELA DEAN:
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's right, to no openness. There were people who wanted the privacy of their rooms. In all of our deliberations that really was something that we had to take into consideration. That there were young women who wanted to be in a room with women and did not want someone else's boyfriend being entertained, and the same is true of young men. So we tried to make recommendations concerning that. I'm not sure we did it so

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well. I'm not sure how well we handled it. I think that still remains a problem from what I've heard from students over the last twenty years—that that still is a problem. But we did make the recommendations, that within given time frames, there should be some opportunity for students to visit. One of the great questions that we spent weeks on was the "open door" policy.
PAMELA DEAN:
Ah, yes.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Shall the door be open? If so, how far—the width of a brick, the width of a rolled up newspaper, or the width of a magazine? I've forgotten what we recommended. But as I look back on my list of what I've done over the years and realize all the time that I spent considering these, what were to students, major problems, and think, "What did we spend all that time on?" Then, I have to recall issues like "open doors" and things of that kind that really did take a great deal of time.
PAMELA DEAN:
How often did a committee like that meet?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, these were major, major committees. I tried once to add up the time that I spent just on these two committees, and I don't think I would be exaggerating to say that I could have spent 300 hours on each committee. They ran two years, you see. We had frequent hearings so that all constituent groups could be heard. We read a great deal of material. We drafted proposals and redrafted proposals. So they were lengthy, lengthy meetings. Was it all worth it? I don't know. All of us could have written a book in the time that we spent on this. I will have to say that these were faculty activities that were not

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truly rewarded. So as far as what I did, in terms of how it was equated, as service or how much it was needed….
PAMELA DEAN:
That's always one of the problems in the academic profession—what's rewarded and what isn't, what's demanded of you.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I think the remarkable thing, and the reason that I felt so positive about what we had done, was the students never actively protested or cut classes or marched on the University or took over the Chancellor's office or took over South Building. And we really resolved the problems, I think, with a residue of good will and faith. So I think that was positive. But those, I suppose, would be the two significant changes pertaining to women's social life on this campus that came about.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes, a really major change in the degree of responsibility that the University was taking over the control of women's lives.
MARY TURNER LANE:
True. They were moving strictly away from the in loco parentis and were putting men and women, making them responsible for their own lives. One incident that always amused me was that…. All of this was reported in the News and Observer, a paper that is read in eastern North Carolina. My mother was living there at the time, and she was somewhere, and a New Bernian came up to her and said, "What's going on in the University? It's just falling apart at Carolina." All my mother could say was, "I don't know but my daughter is on a committee doing every bit of it." [Laughter] "So," she said, "I know it's going to be all right." So she had faith in my actions

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although many people in the state felt that, really, Carolina was just doing terrible things. Letters were written. But we made the changes, and there they were.
PAMELA DEAN:
I'd like to ask you generally, if this process, this four or five year process, of sitting on these committees, dealing with these things, changed your own feelings about what the University should be doing and how much? Was this an enlightening process for you?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Very much. That's why, I think, I cherished it as much as I did, and why I made the statement about what a wonderful opportunity it was to meet the young men and women who served on these committees.
Although my daughter was the same age as the group who were here at that time, one cannot always talk with one's daughter's peers and particularly with one's daughter's dates. So probably the most enlightening part of it for me was to have the discussions with the young men. While I had heard many young women speak about this, I simply had not heard the young men talk about it in the same way. So yes, it was enlightening to me. My daughter notes very carefully that the recommended changes came about after she graduated. [Laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
That was my second question. Did your daughter live at home?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No.
PAMELA DEAN:
Oh, she lived in a dorm.
MARY TURNER LANE:
She transferred here in 1967, I guess it was, as did all of her high school friends—all of whom had gone away, most

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of them, to girls' colleges for their first two years and then came back for their last two years and who graduated here. So I knew many of the young women and learned from them, too. I listened to them; listened to her. But she felt that I lingered too long on the decision and waited until she left.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you talk to her during this process about what she thought the rules ought to be and how she felt about the changes?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes. She felt that they were long overdue. The unfairness quality was a very strong one for her. Also, she knew some of the young women who had been penalized by the penalties that had been placed on them by Women's Honor Court and had not been placed on men. So she felt that it was unfair. She felt that in a university setting, a women should be able to handle her own life with more freedom than this university had given women.
PAMELA DEAN:
And this was despite her earlier experience at a women's college, right? She went to St. Mary's?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, and she had had many restrictions there. Although so many of the girls that went away to the girls' colleges, would come back home for weekends. So at home they lived under their own home constraints, whatever they might be. But they really still weren't living in a dormitory. But while she was here, she lived the whole time on campus or in a sorority house, not at home.
PAMELA DEAN:
Would you say that when these issues were first brought up that you were sympathetic to removing all of them, or did your

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views on the limitations become more liberal as you worked through the process?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I was sympathetic to the problem. I don't know whether I have ever shown you the wonderful little editorial that I found in my research on the history of women here. When Spencer Dormitory was to be built—1923, I believe it was—the editors of The Daily Tar Heel put out an extra saying women weren't wanted here [Laughter] . The president of the student body stated that one of the reasons they, his two reasons for not wanting women were: 1) Carolina needed all of its money for the boys; and 2) if women came, then restrictions would be placed on the boys for their social life. As it turned out, no restrictions had ever been placed on the boys. They'd all been placed on the girls. So in my own sense of fairness and justice, I did believe that the time had long since come to evaluate the rules and regulations and make them more equitable for female students. So yes, I was very open in that sense. I still had the notion of the parent, which was that there must be some levels of protection. I think I'd want levels of protection for sons or daughters. So there was a little mixed feeling there. But no, I learned a great deal but I went into it with a feeling that there must be more fairness and with a very open mind to listening to students, which I believe I did and learned a great deal.
PAMELA DEAN:
You said earlier that you had talked to Katherine Carmichael quite a bit and worked with her on a number of cases. I do recall coming across a letter where you were one of the

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particular people that she was suggesting be on one of these committees. You were one of her primary choices.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
Now, she, as you said, was very protective of women. I'm assuming, at the very least, that when she came on the job in 1946 that her views were to some degree justified. That it was necessary for there to be rules for women in order for it to be acceptable to the community. I mean, by the late sixties there was still resistance, in the broader community in the University and in the state as a whole, to loosening these rules. But for women to be accepted at the University and permitted to continue to come and for their presence to grow, it was necessary to have protective rules and limitations. But clearly she maintained those views past the point where it was acceptable to much of the rest of the University community. What can you tell me about her as a person, and how she was to work with?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I think if you look at the context in which she came, I think you can understand her perspective. I think you said the date at which she came was 1946. You have to remember then that women really were a very small group on this campus, and they were juniors and seniors, that's all. So that we're talking about a woman who had been reared, I think, in a very traditional way, as a Southern lady. Coming to a campus as Dean of Women to work with, what really could have been no more than four or five hundred students, if that many.
PAMELA DEAN:
That's about it. In '49 there were 552, so just about that.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
So I think that while she had a very traditional view of women—in wanting them to be ladies, to appear ladylike, to maintain themselves in ways that would do justice [Laughter] both to their own names and the name of Carolina—at the same time she had a very modern view of helping women become all that they could be. Now, I think that you really had to know Katherine over a period of time and see her work with students one on one to see both sides of her. I think that the public facade was much more the traditional women, talking about the necessity to act in loco parentis, talking about the way in which young women should comport themselves. That was the public facade. But the private facade, the private image, that I saw in small groups, that I saw when she was working with an individual student, in the reports that she would make to me about what she was trying to do with this student or that student, I got a very strong sense of her determination to help this student be successful in academic work, to graduate, to think about careers, to think about work. So there really was that dichotomy in Katherine that made for a very interesting person, one that would sometimes be very easy to caricature. You had to know the private side in order to really be more tolerant and accepting of this public facade where she would say, "Woman is a fragile flower." That was so easy for students to laugh at. But I think she really felt that. She was tough. If you challenged her on that, in terms of what she was, then she was no fragile flower. But I'm not sure that anybody ever challenged her on that, and I'm not sure that she saw that.

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PAMELA DEAN:
That's interesting.
MARY TURNER LANE:
But that's my feeling about her.
PAMELA DEAN:
But at the same time, she really was very supportive of women as intellectually capable, women as potentially professional.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, no question, no question.
PAMELA DEAN:
These Carolina coeds were not just being trained to be good wives and mothers, but that they….
MARY TURNER LANE:
But that they had an intellectual capacity that they must develop.
PAMELA DEAN:
Can you give me any specific examples?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, I really can't. But in retrospect, I'm wondering now, if this great protective cloak that she wanted to put over women when they were here as students, was to enable them to stay in college and graduate. Because the social rules were so strict that if you misbehaved, you'd be out, or you'd be on probation, or you would be in trouble. So I wonder if that was at the base of this. I don't know. You have to think of how strict the rules were.
PAMELA DEAN:
I've been told a story of her grabbing women on campus who were wearing shorts and hauling them back to the dorm and making them change. [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
I think those may be apocryphal. I don't know.
PAMELA DEAN:
It sounds like that would be the sort of thing that she might do to—I mean there was a dress code in effect and she was….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Was there a written dress code, or was it unwritten?

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PAMELA DEAN:
Well, in the handbook….
MARY TURNER LANE:
I think there was a written code, I think you're right, in the handbook.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, in the handbook it says that skirts and dresses are prescribed, and shorts and slacks are proscribed.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's right. That's right. Well, she might do that because not only were sexual mores changing in this time but how one dressed was changing dramatically. So I don't know whether she would do that, but she just might. [Laughter] She would do it, I can see her doing it, but with some sense of levity rather than with a primness and a sternness because she could always draw on humor, and she could laugh at herself. She could. If she did that, she would say, "Now, my dear, you may think I am the most provincial person in the world but it's here in the dress code and we must talk about this." Yes, I think she could do that. And if it were in the code, you see, she did believe in following the rules and in helping students follow the rules. I can't think of particular incidents that I could describe to you. I know that I have talked with two or three students, or I did talk with two or three students at that time, who had been angry with her in public about the way she handled an issue but who had come out of private conversations with her saying, "Dean Carmichael did that just right," or "Now, I understand." So I don't know any more than….
PAMELA DEAN:
So she was a person who did better on one to one than in public?

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MARY TURNER LANE:
I think so. That was my general impression. Some of the reasons that I know that she was anxious for women to be successful and to grow in their own wisdom was that, number one, she started the listing of courses about women. They established a very informal group called the Women's Forum. Oh, and that would have been in the early seventies, I guess. It was made up of some junior faculty who were teaching courses on women in poetry or women in history or something of that kind, two or three students who were active in AWS, who were in the Panhellenic Council or who were interested in womens' issues, and one or two other faculty. I know that I was not teaching a course on that but I was often invited to those meetings. So she did that.
The second thing she did was to always see that a few women faculty got to meet [Laughter] —I laugh as I describe this because this does tell you about the times—members, not of the State Legislature but of the Sir Walter Cabinet, who were wives of state legislators. Every year that they came to campus—they would be invited by the Chancellor, or the Chancellor's wife, or the University Women's Club—she would invite, or for several years, she invited me and one or two other faculty, to meet with a small group at dinner. So that they could ask questions about women students or issues pertaining to women. And I thought that was an interesting way to set up a dialogue about….
PAMELA DEAN:
Networking.
MARY TURNER LANE:
… yes, about women. It was a way for us to get to know them, and it was a way for them to learn more about what was

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going on on the campuses pertaining to women. So those two things, I think, illustrate the ways in which she tried to promote more dialogue on womens' issues. She had something that was called a Carolina Women's Council. I notice in my notes that I was an advisor to that on several issues. Then she would call me in on certain things and we would talk one to one. So she often sought other opinions and advice from other people. It was not easy to be a Dean of Women when the world was crumbling around you.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

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PAMELA DEAN:
[This is Pamela Dean. The date is October 1, 1987. This is the fourth in a series of interviews with Mary Turner Lane.]
MARY TURNER LANE:
If we go back to the beginning of the Women's Forum, I probably have less information there than some of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, because that, I believe, is where the Forum began. There were women faculty who were teaching courses in literature, in history. There were some women faculty and women doctoral candidates in the College of Arts and Sciences who because of the nature of their own research were creating courses that focused more on women than courses had in the past. I have, for instance, a list that we used when we began to consider whether or not we would have a Women's Studies Program. This list was published in 1974, and it was compiled through the efforts of the Women's Forum. And we find a course in comparative literature with a focus on modern women writers, an English course in contemporary literature with women as subjects and authors, a course in women in American history which was being offered by Professor Peter Filene, a course in sociology. Then there were other courses that were being offered in the spring. The College of Arts and Sciences had certain course numbers in each department which allowed a professor to essentially offer, create his or her own course and offer that without it going through all of the regulations of getting a regular course accepted. So it was really in that context, I guess, over a period of a few years, that women

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faculty and graduate assistants began offering those courses. The Women's Forum, I believe, was first organized by Dean Katherine Carmichael. I began a part of it because my work was more with women students, and that was my primary contact with Dean Carmichael.
PAMELA DEAN:
That were no specific courses in the School of Education that focused on… ?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, so I really was not involved in the courses. And I believe that the first offerings or the first pulling together of course lists would have begun in about '73 and '74 because I find two different lists here. What the Forum did—well, it was a very small nucleus of women and students, undergraduates, as I recall. I don't recall graduate students except as they were teaching courses. But there were a few women students who wanted to know more about themselves, who were beginning to know that something like Women's' Studies existed in the world. So the Forum provided a way to pull these courses together and distribute lists of them. As far as it doing anything else in a political way, I don't recall that it did, other than to make these people aware of each other and to begin to talk about what we needed. It was probably out of that group of people that you began to have the talk about, "Should we have a Women's Studies Program?"
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you remember anybody specifically being a moving force in beginning to suggest that a Women's Studies Program should be considered?

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MARY TURNER LANE:
No, I really don't because there again the discussion, I believe, emanated from women in history and women in English. I'm not sure when the first group of women historians organized themselves as part of the American Historical Association. I think that was early in the seventies, or mid-seventies. So that women faculty because of their connection with the American Historical Association, I believe, came in contact with many other women who were beginning to offer courses. So I think that the interaction of a few young women, such as Joan Scott in history and Margaret O'Connor in English—I believe they would be the ones that began to talk about needing a program here or needing something called Women's Studies that would provide them with more freedom in offering courses and also in rationalizing or verifying their own research, validating their own research. Because they were interested in women as a research topic. If you have a Women's Studies Program, certainly research in that field is more acceptable to the broader University.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do I remember rightly, you were on the faculty committee that first explored the possibility?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I can't remember whether we have identified how we got to the committee.
PAMELA DEAN:
No, I don't think so.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Have we picked up on that?
PAMELA DEAN:
No, how did that come about? This was a committee, an ad hoc committee, of the….
MARY TURNER LANE:
… appointed by the chair of the Faculty Council. It grew out of a recommendation, probably in 1974, because I see

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that the report of the faculty is dated in 1975, that's when we actually made the report. I was on the Faculty Council at that time. So request was made, I believe by Professor Joan Scott, that the Faculty Council consider the offering of a degree, or a major, I believe it was a degree, in Women's Studies on this campus. That was passed, that recommendation was passed by the Faculty Council. The chair of the Faculty Council then appointed a committee—I'm not sure whether it was the chair or the Chancellor. Hold on.
PAMELA DEAN:
That's something that's in the records.
MARY TURNER LANE:
It is. The committee was appointed by the Chancellor in November, 1974. So the Faculty Council recommendation would have come out of the Faculty Council in the spring of 1974.
PAMELA DEAN:
As I recall, my notes here indicate, that it was the Committee on the Status of Minorities in March of '74, recommended that a committee explore the possibility of a Women's Studies Program. That it came initially out of the Committee on the Status on Minorities. Now, who in that committee….
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's interesting. I don't recall that but the report that the committee submitted in 1975 begins with a statement dated November 15, 1974 saying that Chancellor Taylor appointed this committee in April, 1974 after the adoption of the following resolution by the Faculty Council at its March 22, 1974 meeting. Quote, "That a committee be appointed by the Chancellor in consultation with the Chairman of Faculty and the Dean of Arts and Sciences to investigate the desirability of establishing an interdisciplinary curriculum in Women's Studies, and if such a

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curriculum is found desirable, to devise the mechanism for its establishment. This committee to report back to the Council in the fall. That must mean 1975.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, as I recall, part of the initial discussion was that it was supposed to report back in the fall and everybody said, "Well, that's all well and good, but it can't be done by then." And in fact, it did take another year before….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, it did.
The committee then was appointed by the Chancellor.
PAMELA DEAN:
And you were a member of that committee.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I was a member of that committee. The appointments were essentially all from the College of Arts and Sciences. They were from philosophy, psychology, history, economics, political science, romance languages, mathematics, another from history.
PAMELA DEAN:
So your appointment was essentially, was in part a recognition of your long involvement in women's issues.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I had served, yes, I had been involved in women's issues, and I had served as a general college advisor, also. And then I see here there was also someone from the department of music. It was quite a large committee. Chaired by Professor Simpson of sociology.
PAMELA DEAN:
What was the tone of that committee? Were most of the people that were appointed already committed? I mean you were, Peter Filene was.
MARY TURNER LANE:
There were two undergraduate students on it, I think we should say that, actually three. The tone of that committee [Laughter] , well, as I go down the list, it's a little bit like

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going down the list of senators today and knowing who would vote for Bork and who would not vote for Bork [Laughter] . In all fairness, I would say that the men on the committee probably had never heard of Women's Studies.
PAMELA DEAN:
With the exception, probably, of Peter Filene.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, except, I'm sorry, Peter Filene from the Department of History. So that, for many of them, the whole notion of the Women's Movement having an academic branch—well, both factors, the Women's Movement itself would be an area about which they were not particularly familiar, and this evolving academic branch of the Women's Movement would be something else with which they were not familiar. So as we began to work, it was easy to know [Laughter] who was already committed and who would need a good bit of understanding and review and education. So it was really in that context that we did a very thorough study of the status of women's studies at that time in the United States with a great deal of emphasis going to the topic, What do we mean by it? How do you define it? As well as the philosophical and academic rationale for beginning to think about it. We gathered printed material. We brought in professors from other universities who were already involved in this and who could speak to it. And the committee proved to be very good listeners.
PAMELA DEAN:
Other than perhaps a general skepticism on the part of some members of the committee, were there any specific arguments posed against Women's Studies?

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MARY TURNER LANE:
I think there was a very strong bias as to, is this really necessary? It was very difficult at that time—we're talking about thirteen to fourteen years ago—so much of what we've come to accept now certainly was not acceptable then. Those of us who were speaking in support of Women's Studies had to do it both passionately but intellectually as well. The men were scholars in their own fields. They had been part—as I look at the ones who were on this committee with the exception of one, the younger professor who was already in history—the other men had been part of this very traditional male university for the bulk of their academic careers.
PAMELA DEAN:
Generally, they had not had women in their faculties.
MARY TURNER LANE:
As I look at the faculties that are represented here, for instance, the department of mathematics. There surely was no woman in that department. The department of sociology, almost no women in that department. The department of philosophy, there'd been no women there. The department of psychology, yes, there had been one or two. The department of economics, that was a woman but she was the only woman in the department of economics.
PAMELA DEAN:
I don't recall who that was.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Dell Johanson.
PAMELA DEAN:
Was she someone who had been involved….
MARY TURNER LANE:
A tenure dispute. Economics separated out from the school of business, and she had a very difficult time and finally resigned. I don't know whether she went to another university. But I think that's an important point to note—that, yes, these men had had no contact with women as faculty in their

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departments. And I don't have the faculty figures for 1974 but I think they would show very few women, less than, well, I don't venture a guess.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, we can get that somewhere.
MARY TURNER LANE:
We did have women as instructors, then as now. Of course, now we don't have instructors. We simply give people a one year appointment. But we had a large cadre of women instructors. Most of them were women whose husbands were on the faculty. So of course, no job was open to them. You could not have couples teaching at this University except in rare occasions. So it would be important to note that the Women's Movement as far as the movement of professional women into careers had not really hit home with most of the men.
PAMELA DEAN:
Look down that list and tell me from what you know, were most of the women junior faculty?
MARY TURNER LANE:
All, all. I would doubt that there was a full professor, a woman who was a full professor in the University at that time. We were all very junior. You had junior and very junior. And the men, just a cursory glance tells me they were all full professors. They were not only senior, but very senior.
PAMELA DEAN:
I would suspect, again, Peter Filene would be the exception. He must not have been here all that long at that point.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, I don't think so. He was the only one who was different. But yes, I would quickly say that all of the men were senior faculty, were full professors. And all of us were assistants and associates. So that made for a good bit of

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tension and difficulty. The image of the Women's Movement at that time, also, was a very flamboyant one.
PAMELA DEAN:
Bra burners.
MARY TURNER LANE:
The bra burners, the marchers, the screamers, the placard carriers.
PAMELA DEAN:
Not professional.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, no, absolutely.
PAMELA DEAN:
Not collegial.
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, that's another dimension that, I think, created some problems. So it was an unusual and, in many ways, a difficult group of men. We had to convince these men in rational and reasonable ways, even though I used the word passionate a few moments ago. We felt passionate about this. We were very strong in our commitment to it, but our approach had to be a rational and reasonable one.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you recall any specific incidents, any specific case where you felt resistance on the part of older men that was overcome?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I remember Robert Mann from the department of mathematics who had a very hard time even thinking about this. He did ask to read literature from sociology, in particular. And I remember the chair, who was Richard Simpson from sociology, recommended Durkeim's book on anomie, and I could not help but wonder what that would do to inform or provide any kind of new information. But it was very difficult to tell the chair that there might have been other literature. [Laughter] I think some of us began to bring in some other literature that did not

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necessarily focus on Women's Studies but had more to do with how people learn, had to do with the nature of how we are socialized. There's a great body of literature in sociology and psychology that has to do with how we become male and female. But we had a very difficult time introducing that area of literature to these faculty members. I will say that all members were very committed in the time they spent on the committee. They did the reading, and they came, and they attended to the speakers who came.
PAMELA DEAN:
Who did the work gathering this information together, contacting other programs….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, we divided it up into really three areas here. Margaret O'Connor chaired the group on consultation. This was the group established to talk with interested groups, with student leaders, and other people who were concerned with Women's Studies. That was essentially on this campus. We had an open meeting at which all members of the University community were invited to offer suggestions and to ask questions. I remember some of the open meetings because several of the men about whom I just made some comments, simply said very frankly to us, in an aside, "Well, you'll just have to answer the questions because I don't know how to answer them." But the meetings were helpful because you had opened up a range of questions from students, from other faculty. I won't say that there five hundred students besieging us with questions about it. But there was enough response, I think, for the sessions to at least lead to some opening up of discussion, of being able to think in other

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ways. So there were four or five people who worked to organize that group. Another group worked around the topic of a UNC-CH interdisciplinary curriculum and Duncan McCray from political science chaired that group with Peter Filene and Catherine Maley. They were to look at other interdisciplinary curricula on this campus to see how they were put together, what people said about them, and how a Women's Studies curriculum might fit into something like that. Then the third study group was one on women's studies elsewhere. Dell Johanson chaired that group, and Earl ([unknown]), and Ann Woodward, and I were on that group. We looked up, we simply wrote to as many universities as we could and got copies of their programs and recommendations from them and models, etc.
PAMELA DEAN:
How many other programs, do you recall roughly, at this time?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Not many, not many. That was very interesting. We had very few models to go by. And we'd included these models of Women's Studies Programs. We came up with a way to categorize them from all of the different universities that sent us programs. We found one group that had no program. We called that Model 1. Model 2 simply referred to isolated courses relating to women's studies. Then Model 3 would include those universities that had Women's Studies programs and even within that context there might be no major or they might have a minor or a concentration or a major or a degree. But there were very, very few that had anything that was a real major or that was a degree. We did find one or two places that had a graduate

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degree, no undergraduate degree but a graduate degree. So these models or these descriptions of programs did a great deal, I think, to support our request that there be something on this campus. They also did a great deal to support the notion that, yes, Women's Studies is interdisciplinary. And that in whatever direction we moved, it would be appropriate to stay within the interdisciplinary context.
PAMELA DEAN:
Its interdisciplinary nature is one of the basic arguments for bringing together different perspectives, different approaches to this question and cross-fertilizing.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, well, I think it's a true liberal arts approach because I think interdisciplinary programs truly reflect the best of a strong liberal arts program. As I look through the material, it's interesting how many places at that time—for instance, the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro had programs that they called them as such but they offered something called a certificate rather than a major. The University of Pennsylvania had something that was called an interdisciplinary program in Women's Studies, and it had two areas of concentration. One was Preparation for Women in Medicine and Preparation for Women in Public Life. Then the University of Washington at Seattle had a Women's Studies major with certain courses in women's studies and others in relevant departments. So while the programs were very few, there were certain strands in them that were very helpful to us, we thought.
PAMELA DEAN:
Gave you something to draw from in developing, deciding what you wanted to recommend.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, so then what we really did, I suppose, was to take the strands that emerged from the knowledge about Women's Studies Programs elsewhere and merge them with the strands or the core that came out of the subcommittee on interdisciplinary curriculum because that was what was already fixed on our campus.
PAMELA DEAN:
It gave you a kind of a framework you had to fit in.
MARY TURNER LANE:
This notion of a core requirement and what a major might be and then what electives might be. We had maybe four programs at that time in the general college or in the College of Arts and Sciences that were interdisciplinary in nature. And we did have—it's interesting that I don't see that in this report—we also had—no, I take that back, there were at least eight programs that were interdisciplinary at that time—but we also had a B.A. or a B.S. in interdisciplinary studies that simply was not labeled. That was different from African Studies, Afro-American Studies or American Studies. That degree in interdisciplinary studies was one that a student and a faculty member created. They devised it around a central theme. You remember, you don't remember, but at that time so many young people were interested in different aspects of the environment.
PAMELA DEAN:
Right, ecology, things of that nature, yeah.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, so that I would say that the thrust of that new degree in interdisciplinary studies was to accommodate students who wanted to study different aspects of ecology. They wanted to bring together courses in plant life and marine life and water purity with courses in city and regional planning. So that

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program did exist where the individual could really tailor a course.
PAMELA DEAN:
So, you took all this, put it together, and after a year of fairly extensive meetings, came up with a recommendation for a Women's Studies curriculum under the….
MARY TURNER LANE:
It was really, I never understood that there's so many ways to call programs. If you have a curriculum, it is one thing. A program is something else [Laughter] . So that's what we came up with, with something called a program, a Women's Studies Program. And it's even listed separately. So we came up with a series of recommendations. Are we near the end of the tape?
PAMELA DEAN:
No, we're still doing all right on this one. [interruption]
PAMELA DEAN:
So the recommendation was made.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Now wait a minute, this was dated May 6, 1975, was when this was presented. But then there is a heading at top that says September, 1975.
May is when we finished the report. September is when it went to the Faculty Council.
PAMELA DEAN:
And it was accepted. The recommendation was accepted.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
A committee was established to search for a director?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, but the recommendation that the Faculty Council accepted was the set of recommendations that came out of the report, essentially, which as you go back and look at it, it very loose and not very….
PAMELA DEAN:
To develop a program [Laughter] .

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MARY TURNER LANE:
To develop a program. There are no strong guidelines in there except that there be three core courses on the model of the existing American Studies Program which would be interdisciplinary in nature. So, yes, the report was adopted. As I recall, Dean Gaskin, who was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was then asked to appoint a search committee for the director. The understanding that came from both Dean Gaskin and Chancellor Taylor was that the director should come from existing faculty. Well, existing faculty of women, at that time, would be a very small faculty of women. Ninety percent of whom would be junior faculty.
PAMELA DEAN:
Let me back up just a little bit. Why, what was the rationale for selecting within existing faculty, do you think?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I don't know. Maybe it had to do with money, I'm not sure.
PAMELA DEAN:
Might it represent a tentativeness of commitment?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I think it could. I still think that the men who were making the administrative decisions on this knew so little about this and found it to be such a new idea, on this two hundred year old, men's campus, that, yes, they were tentative about it. I'm sure that the idea was that we'll start small. There's no great pressure, and there really wasn't any great pressure. We didn't have students marching on this. Faculty women were at such junior ranks that they could not assert themselves too strongly on this. So, yes, I think there was a notion that we'll start small and if they can pull it off, fine, and if they can't, we haven't invested too heavily in it.

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PAMELA DEAN:
On the reverse of that, I think there's a question. There was no great pressure for this? Why did it go through? I don't recall in the records of the meetings that I found in the archives, or in the Daily Tar Heel, any really overt opposition to this.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I think that the great battles had been won for blacks on this campus. The great battles in civil rights had been for blacks. And now here were women who were asking, really, for what blacks had already asked for and gotten. And that was what we were calling at that time, compensatory education. That was the term that we used in my building, the School of Education. That was the great area of research and writing and program development, focused primarily on children. Children who went through their whole public school life without ever learning anything about their black heritage, their black history, and whatever. We presented, part of our presentation of a Women's Studies Program was as compensatory education. I used that term because it was part of what I was accustomed to.
PAMELA DEAN:
And that is a concept that you find in those reports, the recommendation keeps coming up. There was so little known in this area.
MARY TURNER LANE:
There was no way for men to deny the fact that women graduated from college without knowing anything more about women's place in western civilization or society in general than they'd come into college with. The literature had been proving greatly that they weren't learning this in high school. So here we had college graduates who would go out knowing nothing either

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about the contribution of women or the development of self or the socialization of gender. We were also beginning to talk about role models. We began to talk about this with the blacks. We said black children have no role models that would enhance their being and becoming. So we could say exactly the same thing about women. So I think that part of the liberal heritage of this University was awakened when women began to say….
PAMELA DEAN:
Me too.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Me too. That's exactly what we were saying. That it would be less than appropriate for this great University to limit the offerings or to deny the fullest education possible to the student body that was now in place. We still were not having increasing numbers of women but that was an appropriate time. I'm looking for the one aspect of the rationale that we finally adopted because I think that emphasizes that point very clearly there.
PAMELA DEAN:
I think that comes through, particularly in that section that Joan Scott wrote.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that was the appendix. This was the rationale for our recommendation, rationale for recommending a Women's Studies Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. And the first statement was, "There has been neglect, bias, and omission in the fields of study and traditional disciplines which should include the study of women." And we certainly were able to support that, and there was no question about that. The second strong statement that we made was, "A goal basic to any liberal arts curriculum should be the development of the full capacity of the individual student."

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And it was easy to say that the traditional liberal arts program is incomplete. And we elaborated on that. We also made the point that because the systematic, scholarly study of women had not been fostered, then there really was no accurate presentation of women. And what there was, was often filled with inaccuracies and gross exaggerations. And then we were able to turn to what was going on in society. There was a general concern about the need for social change in society where women should and would be playing new and more significant roles. So I think that this appeal, really, to fairness had something to do with it. In our getting the foot in the door.
PAMELA DEAN:
Right, that explains why you were able to get it passed at all.
MARY TURNER LANE:
To get the foot in the door. Now that's being fair. Now what happens to you after you get the foot in the door is something else. [Laughter] Everything's equal, or so the assumption was on the part of the administration.
PAMELA DEAN:
Despite accepting that this was fair, that there was no real way that they could refuse to do this—they being the greater, male dominated university community in general—they nonetheless, did not go into this on a large scale, wholehearted way, as you say. It was somewhat tentative. It was we'll start small….
MARY TURNER LANE:
… and see what happens.
PAMELA DEAN:
And see what happens.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
So I think that's why it was accepted. I also think nobody was very threatened by the way we did it. And nobody was very threatened by what we were asking for in terms of money.
PAMELA DEAN:
What kind of a budget were you asking for?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, we didn't have a budget. We learned that once the College of Arts and Sciences pulled somebody from a department in the College of Arts and Science to, oh, take parttime administrative jobs. I think there's a certain kind of trade-off or pay-off. I'm not sure that there's money changed. Let me see if I can say this so it makes sense. All of the departments in the College of Arts and Sciences get their faculty allotments, I suppose, out of the College of Arts and Sciences's budget. When you begin to pull somebody from the School of Education as I was pulled, then it turned out that the College of Arts and Sciences had to put money into the School of Education.
PAMELA DEAN:
They had to compensate them for the lost of half of your time.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Whereas, I believe that if they had pulled somebody from the department of history….
PAMELA DEAN:
It all would have still been the same pot.
MARY TURNER LANE:
It could have been worked out in an easy way. So in a sense, there was no budget to begin with.
PAMELA DEAN:
You shared an office with an existing….
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, let's talk about the office.
PAMELA DEAN:
I think the office is a nice metaphor for the degree of support.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, let's talk about how and why I took the job in the first place. [Laughter] Because they did have a search committee. I do not remember who was being interviewed. I was having a very busy year at that time, and as I recall, my mother was ill and I was spending a great deal of time there. So I remember being interviewed. I suppose I was very surprised to be considered because I was not in the College of Arts and Sciences. The reality of an education professor on a university campus is that they simply are not perceived in the same intellectual capacity or category as faculty in History, English, or whatever.
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

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MARY TURNER LANE:
So I was delighted to go to the interview after having spent a year on the recommendation that there be a program. I certainly was interested in knowing what the three committee members were seeking. So I simply went along.
PAMELA DEAN:
You didn't go out and seek this position. They came to you.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh no, no, no. No, I didn't. As far as I was concerned, when I finished this assignment, I assumed that that was the end of that, and it would certainly be a College of Arts and Sciences project.
PAMELA DEAN:
But as you pointed out earlier, the potential pool was not extensive.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh no, I knew that. That the number from which they might draw would be very limited but I assumed that it would be from the faculty who were already teaching courses in Women's Studies. So the interview was fun. I had no great investment in it except to say that, very frankly, what I'd just said to you about I realized that most faculty believed that a professor of education is limited just to the knowledge of education. But my doctoral minor was in the social sciences, so I had had extensive work in sociology, history, political science, some psychology. And then my undergraduate major had been in English. And these were areas about which they might not know. So I left the interview, had fun, enjoyed it, and frankly, never thought about it again. That was the end of it as far as I was concerned. So I was truly quite surprised to get the call from Joan Scott

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asking me if I would take the position. There was a great deal to think about. While I had tenure and had been promoted, I had not been promoted to full professor. I had been too over committed to student activities, to a variety of things, to really….
PAMELA DEAN:
You put a great deal of time in on those committees during the sixties.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I did. I had done an enormous amount of work on committees, probably because it appealed to me, and I thought it was important. And I also thought that was what one was supposed to do. But I had to make a very serious decision, that if I go for this Women's Studies position, it will be an enormous full-time commitment. And I probably will not get to the research and writing that I would need to do for the other promotion. So I had to make a very clear decision as to whether I wanted to do this or not. I was very excited at the prospect because it was new. It was challenging. It was challenging to think that I might be able to bring about change for women on this men's campus. That was the greatest challenge of all to think…. That was both frightening and overwhelming but it held the possibility of great rewards, I thought. So I meditated greatly on it and decided I would do it. I've never been much of a risk taker but I thought, this is the time. So I did it. I guess that decision was made in the spring. And the arrangement was that I would be half-time in that position and half-time in the School of Education which unfortunately meant still carrying a load of nine hours a semester.

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PAMELA DEAN:
That's half-time? [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
That was half-time. So that was an extremely difficult, it became a very difficult task to balance. But anyway, I said I would do it. I taught my regular summer school assignment. I thought about this, but I did not approach the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences until registration had ended. And then I went to him and said, "I've come to find out what my office assignment is?" And the answer was, "Oh, I just thought you'd stay right on where you are, in the School of Education." I said, "No, that seemed totally inappropriate because the position was in the College of Arts and Sciences. So the office would certainly have to be in the College of Arts and Sciences." Well, he'd have to think about that. [Laughter] So, as I recall, I may have gone over each day for about two weeks or a week and a half. Meantime students were asking and faculty were asking, "Well, where's the office?" I said, "Well, nobody's thought about an office in South Building for me." So both the students and the faculty said, "We're ready. We'll make phone calls. We'll write letters. We'll put the pressure on." I said, "No, I've come into this with my own style which is to be, in a sense, non-threatening," because everybody with whom I worked within the power structure was male. And I think whoever was the first director on this campus had to be aware of that and had to approach them in a way that was in one way assertive but was not threatening and in a way that was designed to get something done rather than bring about a confrontation. That was my style, and I felt that that's what I had to do.

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PAMELA DEAN:
That was the approach you wanted to take.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That was my approach.
PAMELA DEAN:
Beginning with this question of the office.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, yes, and so by the middle of the second week, Dean Gaskin said I have two places to show you. So we went out and looked, and I choose an office in Hamilton Hall on the sociology floor. All of my typing was to be done in Dean Gaskin's office in South Building if I had any typing.
PAMELA DEAN:
If, yes. [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
So that was a very strange arrangement, but we started that way.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had a whole office to yourself, a real office?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, well, someone else came in in the afternoon and used it. I was sharing the office but that part of it worked out all right.
It was absolutely essential that I be in that part of the campus because the first year was spent simply getting to know chairs of the departments. I telephoned them, asked if I might come and talk to them about Women's Studies, introduce myself, and try to explain what we meant by Women's Studies, what our hopes were, and what our goals were. The whole first year had to be a year in which we could create an identity and let people know that we were on campus. We weren't completely successful, believe me, because it was a very difficult task. We had to come up with stationary, some kind of logo that could be identified as Women's Studies. When we began to write people and have programs, we had to have a kind of visibility. So the first year was really spent with a great deal of one on one

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contact on my part with students but primarily with faculty. With people in the library, we began to talk about what our holdings were in these different areas of Women's Studies and what we might do. And I began then to make the contacts that would enable us, eventually, to begin to co-sponsor speakers and programs with other departments. As I look through the six years of reports on the Women's Studies Program, I think that was one of the strongest things that we did. We eventually arrived at the point where I felt every issue was a women's issue. So we co-sponsored programs with the Peace, War, and Defense curriculum and with ten or fifteen different academic departments on campus. So that was a way of gaining visibility, a way of getting to be known on campus. Also the first year we were fortunate in that Joan Scott had helped a young woman in St. Anthony's fraternity, which was the only coeducational fraternity on this campus at the time, write a grant proposal for money for a conference to be used by a Women's Studies Program if we got one. So we began with a bank account, I believe, of either three or five thousand dollars that we could use for a program plan. So this was planned in a interdisciplinary way. In the spring of that first year, we were able to present a major lecture series on, not on Women's Studies and not on women, but on the family. That was another way approach who we were and what we were about and to elicit cooperation. The beauty of that program or that lecture series was that we brought in a woman who was a specialist in women's history, a woman who was a psychiatrist, a man who was a specialist in child growth and development, and Margaret Meade

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who was addressing the status of women throughout history as well as women today. So we capped off that first year with a lecture by Margaret Meade.
PAMELA DEAN:
That's pretty impressive. That ought to give you a little bit visibility and credibility.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That was a high moment for many reasons but that night in April, I guess it was, there were three women on the platform at Memorial Hall to present a program, and I don't believe that had ever happened before. It may have but usually the Chancellor is up to introduce somebody and usually the speaker is male. But that night I was able to stand up and say, "We're here tonight to welcome a new program to the University of North Carolina, the Women's Studies Program." And we had great cheers, and then "to welcome a very special guest, Margaret Meade." She ended her remarks with a wonderful description of what Women's Studies was all about and why it should be on a university campus. She had made those same remarks at the news conference that morning in the airport at Durham. I had chaired that press conference, and we had, oh, twenty-five people there, I suppose. And so riding back in the car with her that morning, I said, "Professor Meade, please, in your remarks tonight, say what you said about Women's Studies again, because it was so perfect." So that night after she gave her lecture and walked back to her seat, she turned to me said, "Was that what you wanted?" I thought how wonderful to be asked by Margaret Meade, to be asked if that was what I wanted. [Laughter]

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PAMELA DEAN:
Oh yes, yes, that must have been a very satisfying evening.
MARY TURNER LANE:
It was very exciting. I was the director. Joan Scott introduced Professor Meade, and then there was Margaret Meade. I felt that we were off to a good start with a kind of visibility that only that three thousand dollars could have given us. But that was good. In that first year we did the usual things of assessing what the courses were. We began to see to it, through the kinds of materials that we sent out, we began to develop our own brochure. I had a very good friend, a colleague who was a graphics artist, so he took on all production and designed the materials. So we looked good on paper. And I think that's important—that what goes out from an office and what represents a program is done with style and a level of class that I think is essential. So that was sort of the first year. We were focusing on being known, and I guess the other thing we did that year was to begin the research on a major three-screen production on women in the university.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes, I wanted to ask about that.
MARY TURNER LANE:
This same colleague, Professor Wildman, teaches this process in a graduate course every spring. The graduate students design and produce the three-screen show, for a minimum amount of money. I think we had to get together three or four hundred dollars to buy the slides and different things. It proved to be a wonderfully consciousness raising experience for the graduate students who had to read all the literature that we could get to them. It also meant that all the faculty who were interested in

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women's studies began to work together to design the outline of the ideas. What we had to do was to come up with the ideas to be represented. Then the graduate students rendered the ideas in a variety of ways. So we ended the following year, I believe it was, with this production. But there was almost a semester of research on it before we actually got into the production of it. And it was presented that second year. We used it in a variety of ways. We used it in the Women's Studies 50 class. We used it at orientation with students. We had a number of programs with it. The Panhellenic Council sponsored it with us. We took it into a number of dormitories. So it was an unusual way to begin to think about Women's Studies. Because we had it that second year, we also organized a state conference on Women in Higher Education, and invited representatives from all of the public and private universities and colleges to send anybody who taught a course that related to women to this conference. That proved to be a very successful thing. That was our way of saying, "We're in this business now."
PAMELA DEAN:
And making yourself a resource, not only to Chapel Hill, but to the state as well.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, these faculty members who came were also invited, we sent them our lecture series information, calendars, the following year. And at different times we spoke on their campuses. So that was a form of outreach that was important. We saw to it that, I saw to it that Chancellor Taylor and President Friday received copies of the conference, and a number of the people who attended wrote to the Chancellor to indicate that this

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had been a very productive thing—one of the first times they had been invited to a conference on campus. Well, let's stop a minute and see how we need to organize this. [interruption]
One of the major tasks in that second year was to organize an interdisciplinary course or introductory course, that's really what it was, which we called Women's Studies 50. Joan Scott, as professor of history, was the mover in that course description and in organizing and outlining that course. She taught it the first year. And the way that we evolved the focus of that course was to decide that the introductory [course] would look at women through a number of perspectives, different perspectives, as represented in six or eight of the major disciplines. So that after introducing students who came to the course as to why we had something called "women" and why it was valuable to study women, we would begin to ask professors from other disciplines, really, to try to bring a distillation of the view of women that had evolved from their discipline. The course was organized so that we had a major lecture once a week and then discussion groups twice a week. Our first lecture was often in religion, and the professor who looked at women through the perspective of religion was able to offer not only the image of woman as she had emerged in Christian religion but in a variety of ancient religions and other religions today. We drew from religion, law, history, psychology, literature, art, I'm not sure we got music in. But as the course was offered we would vary the disciplines, perhaps. We began eventually drawing people from maternal and

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child health. We had about eight lectures, followed by questions, followed by discussion. The lectures were always supposed to be, the lectures had assignments, reading assignments, to go with them. Assignments were supposed to come before the lecture and then assignments that were supposed to come after. And then at the end of the course we tried, the professor, Joan Scott and the graduate students and whoever was working with it, to pull together ideas about, knowledge about, feelings about the status of women—how it had evolved, become what it was, what are the myths, what myths had been discounted in the study of it. One of the interesting by-products of that course—and the course was made up of, we preferred that they be juniors and seniors, but we found out that there were sophomores, juniors, and seniors, graduate students could take the course and get credit in a different way. We had from the beginning a few young men who took the course, and what happened to many of the students, male and female, was that one professor or one discipline would pique the curiosity and the interest of the students. And the students would take more courses in religion or in art or in literature that might focus on a deeper study of women and different aspects of women. So that was a by-product that came about that I'm not sure we had not planned for, but it was a very positive one. Evaluations were always done very carefully. They were read very carefully. They indicated that a number of young women were feeling very good about learning more about themselves and how women had come to be depicted the way they had been. They felt that they had grown in their own

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strength and knowledge, and it was very positive. Fifteen percent, plus or minus, still felt very threatened by the knowledge and by the ideas that were coming out about women. They were still threatened by any discussion of lesbianism. They were very threatened by discussion and approaches to marriage that were other than the traditional marriage with the man as the worker and the woman as the person in the home. And thirdly, they were still very threatened by the concept of "career." If there is anything that I learned in working with young women over a fifteen year period, that women are comfortable with the idea of jobs. They had moved toward that but they are very uncomfortable with the idea of career. Now, I didn't discover that on my own. There's a lot of research on that and there has been for a number of years. But those would be the three areas that women, that students would still not feel good about.
PAMELA DEAN:
Even those who had taken that initial step to take a Women's Studies course still found that challenging some of those basic assumptions made them uncomfortable.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that's what we were doing. And they were not comfortable with that. Many, not many but two or three young women revealed that they came into the course with great reservations. And they really didn't think that women had been perceived in such negative ways until the lawyer said it was so. [Laughter] We used a brilliant woman lawyer, Marisa Schoonmaker who established her own North Carolina Laws Affecting Women—I don't know what you would call it. It's an organization. And she came each semester to speak, really, on that topic—on

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"What is the image of women in law?" And she took them from the notion of property, women as property and women with no rights, she took them through history in a very interesting way. And then began to cite cases that had to do with divorce and property, and widowhood and property, and single women and property. And I cannot think of anything that was more revealing to young women than the status of North Carolina law at that time. She did a masterful job in presenting it. Young women believe that if it's the law, then it's the truth. So when she cited North Carolina law, then that in a sense made it possible for them to believe what all these other people had said. [Laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, it's much more visible and overt. It's very concrete embodiments of what is otherwise rather subtle attitudes that you may not be able to pin down so clearly.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's right. That was very interesting to me that they could then believe the other things that they had doubts about—but if that's the way it is in law.
PAMELA DEAN:
Very interesting.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, in any course, you don't expect every student to be moved by exactly the same thing. But a lot of attention went into that course, and a lot of personal interaction took place with the graduate assistants and the professor that taught it and with me, as well.
PAMELA DEAN:
The graduate assistants had a very active part in this.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Very strong role in this.
PAMELA DEAN:
Much stronger than is the case in most courses.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
And they, once we began to identify them, they began to be involved in the planning of the course, as well. The course structure that we put together, and I do have some copies of that, the structure and the format stayed essentially the same but it varied and was modified dependent upon response from students and a number of things.
PAMELA DEAN:
Availability of faculty to come in and teach and do lectures.
MARY TURNER LANE:
The course also became a way to involve other women faculty and men, as well, who were interested in some aspects of women's history or perspectives on women. So we added professors. We began to invite, once we put together a calendar of when the lectures would be presented, we sent this to faculty in other universities. We invited faculty on campus to come to these lectures. It was a way of cross-fertilization, really, among faculty and students. So it served some very good purposes, it seemed to me, and continued to be modified. We were never able to offer it more than in just the spring semester. The enrollment moved, in the six years that I was with it, from about thirty or thirty-five the first year to eighty or ninety which is almost too large for a class like that.
PAMELA DEAN:
One that relies so heavily on discussions. It begins to get….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, yes. We took care of that, I think, by adding a third graduate student so that we could cut down on the class size by adding more graduate students. But I had hoped that that course could be offered every semester. It really

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should be because it's at the heart of a Women's Studies Program. It's at the heart of a core in women's studies, it seems to me. But we were never able to "person" it with enough staff to offer it more than that.
PAMELA DEAN:
You did have at least one T.A., Emily Seelbinder who worked….
MARY TURNER LANE:
That was another thing we did. We did have graduate assistants who stayed with it over a period of time. They found it to be a very valuable experience in their own growth, an introduction to other disciplines. It was a splendid way for them who may have a focus in literature, to begin hearing lectures in sociology and anthropology and women's health and things of this kind. So the second year we developed the course and taught it and developed the multi-media show on women in the university and had the outreach to the other universities. We also got approved that second year, the cross-listings of courses. That was an important thing for us to be able to do. That, I think, also added credence—that we had ten departments, you see. Not ten departments, but we had six or eight departments who would cross list a course as Women's Studies and English.
PAMELA DEAN:
What did you have to go through to bring that about? Was that a really…?
MARY TURNER LANE:
It was just a matter of form and course description and synchronization in that I had to write something with the Women's Studies number, and somebody in another department had to write the course description. It was just part of the paperwork.

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PAMELA DEAN:
I would assume that that was something that really depended on the kind of contacts you'd been able to establish.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh yes, oh yes. I had to initiate it.
PAMELA DEAN:
… had established with the department chairs.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, absolutely, because approval had to come from the department. The faculty member who was teaching the course could not offer. We also had to find out or we had to have some assurance or the department had to have some assurance that there was a market for the class and that that faculty person would be there more than the one year. So, yes, that took a lot of individual contact. I'm not as much a telephone person as I am a face to face person, and so that was important to do. Are we out of time?
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, we could stop here and pick up another time if you want to because….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Let's do that. I'm weary.
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]

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PAMELA DEAN:
This is Pamela Dean. The date is October 28, 1987, and I'm talking with Mary Turner Lane in her home. So let's continue with this discussion of how you publicized the Women's Program, made its existence and purpose known to the community.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, in a sense, we had so many audiences that we had to approach. We had to get it out to students, and that was done through doing things jointly, sponsoring programs jointly, with the Campus Y and the sorority groups, with the different departments in terms of some of the speakers that they would bring out, with posters. In many ways we reached out to the students. I believe I mentioned last time that over the first three or four years of Women's Studies, many women wanted to organize themselves. These were particularly graduate students, women in law, women in medicine, women in the School of Social Work, and all of them turned to my office or turned to me to talk about doing this and think about ways of doing that. So I helped many student groups organize themselves as women as well as I met with the existing groups, the Association for Women Faculty, etc. We used much in the way of flyers and posters, particularly at registration time, pre-registration. We tried a couple of evening seminars, giving overviews of courses that would be offered for women. And we had five or six professors that would come and talk about courses.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you get much turnout at those? Did you get many students to come?

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MARY TURNER LANE:
Never [Laughter] , never.
PAMELA DEAN:
I was just reading something in the Tar Heel today about a session on undergraduate teaching where only six students showed up and two of them were from the news media. [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, yes, I've done that many times, it seems to me. That was very discouraging, was to find students that really would come in and seek an opportunity. I remember taking the multi-media show on Women's Studies to Kerr Dormitory one evening. We had a difficult time scheduling it because it was perfectly clear from the young women with whom I talked that the students would only come one night and that would be for thirty minutes. So I met their request, and maybe we had a total of twenty students show up out of five hundred. So really to get to the students was very difficult. Then one of the other groups had to be the faculty and the administration on this campus. I went in individual ways to the chairs of the department. I became automatically a member of the, it's something called the Conference of Chairs. This is something in the College of Arts and Sciences. It's a group that meets once a month, I believe, under the leadership of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Because the Women's Studies Program is in Arts and Sciences that meant that I became a member of that group. So that gave me some contact, and I was asked to speak about the new program there.
PAMELA DEAN:
What kind of response did you get? These people were mostly men?

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MARY TURNER LANE:
I think of the, oh, forty, thirty-five to forty people who would show up for the brown bag lunches that we had, the brown bag meetings that we had once a month, thirty-five or forty would be male, and there were maybe three females. [interruption]
This really was not very productive because I found that I would interact with the people that I knew—the men who were chairs of departments, although I tried to introduce myself and make myself known to other department chairs. I'm not sure that I was very successful in that.
PAMELA DEAN:
What kind of response did they have to the whole idea?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, not boundless enthusiasm, acceptance, maybe, of the idea. "Oh yes, I heard about Women's Studies," something like that.
PAMELA DEAN:
No seeking you out, "Now tell me what that means."
MARY TURNER LANE:
Almost nothing in the way of questions. Very courteous, "How are things going?" comment that you might make about everything. But not a great deal of involvement unless it might be a department that might have some interest, true interest, in what we were doing, such as the English Department, the History Department.
PAMELA DEAN:
Some people within the department who were raising this and who had been active in encouraging and supporting it?
MARY TURNER LANE:
My contacts with South Building were fairly limited. So I managed to reach out, I think, in terms of publicizing and making goals known through the media in some rather unexpected ways. One of the things that happened when the office first

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opened was a number of female reporters from newspapers across the state would telephone my office and ask me either for information about or opinions about certain events affecting women that would be happening either in the state or in North Carolina. Several of them even came to Chapel Hill, at my invitation, and we met and had lunch because they wanted to know more about Women's Studies, whether they were going to use it for their articles they were writing or not. They simply said, "This was something I didn't have an opportunity to study when I was in college. I'd like to know more about what it is." So I shared the program and the goals. As I left a reporter from the News and Observer one day, I said, "Anytime you want to do a feature study on Women's Studies, I'll be glad to give you all the time you need to talk about it." Well, within three weeks she called and asked if I would be the "Tar Heel of the Week." Well, if you don't know the News and Observer, you don't know that this is a major half page feature that comes out in the Sunday newspaper, and it's always highlighted the Saturday before. It was quite a coup, I thought, to be able to capture that half of one whole page in the News and Observer. It was also quite rare that they had a woman to write about as the "Tar Heel of the Week." So I think that the young woman, the young reporter, had been as aggressive in seeking that opportunity as I had been in saying, "Let's write about Women's Studies." So in that article I was able, I think, to explain what the program was about, to look at young women in the context of the current times and to look at women in general, and to also present myself as a rational,

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thinking human being. The image of the feminist, and that was a word I almost dared not use because it was so threatening to most people, the image of the feminist at that time was the image of Bella Abuzg and Betty Freidan with a little bit of Gloria Steinam thrown in, but mostly Bella and Betty, both of whom are wonderful human beings. I had opportunities to spend lots of time with them later on. But that was the image that the male had of what a feminist was, an aggressive, hard talking individual, who was so fixed in ideas that nothing would ever change her. So that as I presented myself in my own very traditional way, then I think that somehow I was less threatening, and that notion of I'm a product of the South, I'm a product of the culture of the South, and I'm concerned about the status of women and the economic future for young women in the state and in the South. That article, I think, was a very positive contribution to the image of Women's Studies and was followed three weeks later by a request from President Friday of the General Administration for me to be his guest on "North Carolina People," which is a thirty minute television show that comes on on Sunday evenings and has been coming on for ten years. That was a very popular program, and I was delighted to have the opportunity. I was confronted with a dilemma though. Bill Friday is a long term friend of mine. I've known Ida and Bill since I've been in Chapel Hill. He was an excellent manager and leader of general administration but he had not a single woman on his staff. So part of my task, I felt, was almost to make sure that I could educate him as to what the Women's Movement was all about and why women should

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learn about themselves and why women should be represented in all positions. So I was concerned about how to work within the context of a friendship but, at the same time, help him to understand the basic philosophy and rationale of the Women's Movement and of Women's Studies. Well, the interview was very easy and very pleasant to do, and it was very exciting for me to think that I might be speaking to parents and young people across the state about a program that was sound and valid and appropriate to the education of young women. When Bill asked me the question, very seriously—and I should say he is a splendid interviewer, he's never threatening, he puts you at ease and does everything possible to pull out what you want to say and what you're interested in—when he asked me the question, "Mary Turner, why do women want to work?" I suddenly realized that was my opportunity, and I responded by saying, "Bill, I think women want to work for the same reasons that you and I want to work. Look at the wonderful attributes of the jobs that we have. All of the things we enjoy in terms of money, rewards, power, interaction with people," on and on. So I didn't know how well I did that until a professor in journalism told me some time later that she used that film to represent how an interviewee can control the interview. I was grateful, or it was interesting at least, that she thought that was pretty much what I was doing. So those two pieces of publicity, I think, were very significant. I think they said to people in South Building, the public is interested in this, and this can be treated in an academic way that is appropriate. I think that the television program

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certainly indicated that President Friday was interested enough to spend some time on that. Not long after that I was asked to speak to the Faculty Council. The council was doing a series of short presentations on new programs, and that gave me twenty minutes to describe what was happening. I saw to it that many female colleagues attended that day. So at least there was interest on the part of faculty women in that. This resulted in a write-up in the University Gazette and in the Alumni News. So those were very simple ways, perhaps, but I think they were effective. I volunteered to go to alumni meetings across the state. I learned that most of those meetings invited Dean Smith and the football coach. It really wasn't until Doris Betts came along as chairman of the faculty that alumni groups began inviting academic representatives, it seemed to me. So I volunteered to go because I spoke with Rollie Tillman, I believe, who was arranging those meetings—he was in hospital development—that I would be happy to do that. I never received an invitation to go. But that would certainly have been a way to do it.
PAMELA DEAN:
It doesn't sound like some people had yet got the message, which I believe both you and Joan Scott reiterated, that if you want alumnae who support the University, if you want women graduates to support the University, then you have got to make it clear to them that the University offers them something specific as women.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Absolutely.
PAMELA DEAN:
Football coaches are not going to do it.

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MARY TURNER LANE:
That would have been my message had we gone to these groups.
PAMELA DEAN:
Right.
MARY TURNER LANE:
And that was a topic on which I spoke at many gatherings. But it would be students and faculty, and that was a message that I did not always get across.
PAMELA DEAN:
I suppose to Rollie Tillman, anyway, at that point. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt. [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
I guess those were the major ways, certainly as we began to bring some of the people to campus. But I even think that the people that we brought were scholars in Women's Studies. Their presentations and our association with them gave us credibility in the academic community. The conference that we had, I believe I mentioned last time. We did this the first or second year that we were in existence, inviting people across the state. We did not do that again but we maintained contact with many of those people. So those were the major ways that I tried to make the contacts and get the information out to student groups, to faculty, to the administration, and to the public in general.
PAMELA DEAN:
I wanted to ask a kind of general question, a couple of general questions. What were your chief sources of support? What elements within the University community did you feel were most supportive, individuals or aspects of the University in a more general sense?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, at the same time I was working to promote Women's Studies, I was also working with about three or four

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other faculty women on our concerns for women faculty and women students on this campus. It was in the period toward the end of the '70s that the ten junior faculty women who had been brought in in 1972 it was or '73, on a one time affirmative action set of monies. Ten women were hired and by the end of the '70s when they began coming up, let's see in '77, '78, as they began coming up for promotion and tenure, we began encountering the notion, the fact, that not a single one was going to make it. And not a single one did. One did because she contested, and the judgment was overturned. That case went to the Board of Trustees. But I had four or five faculty women, or we had each other I should say, as a core group of support. We came together every other week. This is the group that I mentioned that showed up in the Carolina Inn once, and they were sure we were going to take over the University.
PAMELA DEAN:
[Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
So in the context of concern about faculty women, I could share with them about Women's Studies. So that was really a major support group. And it's almost hard to extricate Women's Studies and the status of women….
PAMELA DEAN:
Certainly.
MARY TURNER LANE:
… from our concerns over those two or three years that we were meeting together. These were very difficult years as far as these particular women who were being denied tenure were concerned. I remember that we would come together and discuss, what we really tried to do was to bring together all of the information we had about what was going on on campus. And as

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we did that, then there were many days that we would say, well, we thought that we had taken one step forward but instead we had taken two steps back. We deliberately decided then that we must seek out men who would support women's concerns. We could name on one hand faculty members that we felt would stand up and speak and give statements of support and raise questions and say to this University or these groups, "Hey, wait a minute. Let's think about this before we do that." Now, that was a very discouraging realization.
PAMELA DEAN:
Would you like to give those, that handful of men credit on this tape and name some of them?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, I really don't want to because they were not always that consistent. We did really spend a session trying to think of men that could help us, and that was quite an humbling experience. It did something for us in that it made us even angrier, and it roused us to go out and try to seek further support. So I had the contingent of women who were always supportive of Women's' Studies. I had a board, a Women's' Studies Board, and this group was interesting and interested, and that group would be supportive.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were there any men on the board?
MARY TURNER LANE:
We had, yes, there were always men on the board. I saw to it that there were always men on the board. They never took their assignments very seriously and did not come with any regularity, and that was very disappointing. They wanted to offer courses and they did, and the people took the courses. But the men really did not see that the committee, it was another

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committee assignment. And they did not attend. I certainly failed in that respect, in eliciting from them the kind of support that we should have gotten. So I'm not coming up with very many people, am I? Or very many sources of support. Sam Williamson, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was very supportive. He helped change my time commitment so that as the last two and three years came into being, I had more time to be involved in this and taught less in the School of Education. My load had been so heavy that…. He did recognize that. He did come up with monies, and he was, I felt, very supportive in many ways.
PAMELA DEAN:
A very valuable person to have on your side, rather essential in fact.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, absolutely essential. And when it came time to have a search for a new director, then he wanted it to be a national search. In fact, he asked me to stay on an extra year after my five year assignment so that they would have time to do a full national search. So then there were individual faculty women, Gillian Cell, Beverly Long, Joan Scott, as long as she was here. She was a great loss because she had clout wherever she went and whatever problems she tackled. Madeline Levine in Slavic Languages. That was essentially our core group. Joan and Gillian and Madeline and I and then Katherine Mayly from Romance Languages, who was also an assistant in the Graduate School at that time. So the five of us had a good sense of what was going on in the College of Arts and Sciences. We also knew when new faculty appointments were coming up and we worked very hard to

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submit names of women. We tried to keep running lists of women whose names could be submitted for faculty appointments. So the support was small in many ways in terms of numbers of people but I felt that it was intense and strong in the people who were there.
PAMELA DEAN:
What, the reverse of that, what were the sources of opposition, both individual, if there were, and institutional?
MARY TURNER LANE:
The sources of opposition?
PAMELA DEAN:
And the nature of opposition.
MARY TURNER LANE:
The nature of opposition. I don't know that students opposed it but students were so threatened, women students, were so threatened by the notion of a nontraditional approach to women.
PAMELA DEAN:
And this was the time of the peak of the Women's Movement?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
You must have at least had some core of activists, students, feminist students, that were interested and involved.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, we did, we did.
PAMELA DEAN:
But the vast majority were….
MARY TURNER LANE:
The vast majority. And when I say that you would have, I don't even know how to come up with numbers, but the group of women that were most supportive of Women's' Studies, or seemed to be, were students who were identified as gay, as lesbians. I do not know that for a fact. I did not know who was walking into my office but I was told by a number of students, a number of traditional North Carolina students, that they did not

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want a part of anything where lesbians were actively involved. They couldn't see the program in terms of its academic orientation. They were afraid of change. I think that this is the single most inhibiting factor in the introduction of the women's' Studies Program. Students were afraid of change. Faculty, men were afraid of change because I was talking about a role for women, and I represented a role for women that was totally different from that of their wives or for that matter, from what they had reared their daughters to be. For instance, I remember Chancellor Fordham….
PAMELA DEAN:
Let me just switch this over.
MARY TURNER LANE:
All right.
[END OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[TAPE 5, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE B]

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PAMELA DEAN:
Chancellor Fordham?
MARY TURNER LANE:
I remember Chancellor Fordham saying in some context when he was asked about his daughters, and his answer was, "Yes, they all graduated from Carolina. They're all married, thank goodness, and they're all married to doctors."
PAMELA DEAN:
What more could you ask? [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
And that summed up better than any way I could explain.
PAMELA DEAN:
That was success. What more could any father wish for his children?
MARY TURNER LANE:
That was the norm that was desired by most of the faculty males for both their wives and their daughters. And that was the norm that was desired by females who were here. So although opposition is….
PAMELA DEAN:
Perhaps resistance is the….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Resistance is the better word. I felt that that was the most difficult task I faced, was to know how to introduce young women to the concept of change.
PAMELA DEAN:
Which should be part of the whole University experience.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's what the University is all about.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes. [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
No matter who we brought in who had been out of college for ten years who would come back and say, "You better learn a different way of life. You better learn to support yourself." I wish somebody had taught me what I think you're

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having an opportunity to learn now. The young women were still very much afraid. So that resistance on the part of the students, I think, was a significant. I don't know how we might have gone about that, how I might have gone about that different. My daughter told me once "Mother, you just have to court the sorority girls. You have to make yourself available to talk about the things you're concerned about." But that was not very successful.
PAMELA DEAN:
That also seems to assume that sorority girls were still the campus leaders as far as women were concerned.
MARY TURNER LANE:
They were the campus leaders. They were setting the norms, and they probably best represented the traditional….
PAMELA DEAN:
Because by that time, sorority girls were not the majority of undergraduate women. At one point, they had been, but by the seventies, they no longer were. But they were still the trend-setters, the models?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, they were. So that kind of resistance on the part of women students was a very powerful one, a very strong one. I guess the other thing that is difficult is you never know how to measure what people have learned and have they have changed. There is simply no way to know how contact with some of the individuals that we brought on campus would have made a difference, or did make a difference.
PAMELA DEAN:
Particularly when you're talking about something as subtle, ingrained as gender.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that's true.

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PAMELA DEAN:
Which is both an individual thing, but much more broadly a societal pattern. It's not something that changes in the course of one person's tenure in office. [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
True. I think some of the courses that were most successful were, perhaps, courses in which the focus was on gender, rather than just on women, and the focus was on, say in the Psychology course, how males and the whole socialization process, whether that be in Psychology or Anthropology.
There was also—I'm trying to think when this sort of growing conservative Christian movement came along. I think that began here at the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties, where you had an enormous swell of students involved in Christian Athletes. What is that group called on campus?
PAMELA DEAN:
I can't remember.
MARY TURNER LANE:
It's an undergraduate group, and I'm astounded at the number who are involved in that. There's an Inter-Varsity group. There's the Campus Crusade group, and those groups adhere very closely to traditional norms. In fact, I was invited to give one of the last lectures, you know, the program that the senior class has in the spring, and they ask about five different professors to make last remarks. I spoke very much in the sense of awareness of gender, awareness of male and female, whether you're going on into marriage or going on into work or whatever. And a young woman, who I learned later on was very active in one of these religious groups, chastised me for what I had said—that what I had said was appropriate in my own class but not for a group like that. And I said my concern was that you hear it at

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least once before you graduate since you are a senior. But that strong religious campus movement was beginning then. The Bible Church began then. Although that was an off-campus organization, many students were caught up in it. So while the women's movement was there, this other conservative movement really was beginning. Phyllis Schlafly was very—oh, the other thing, you see, was we were debating ERA in North Carolina.
PAMELA DEAN:
Right, repeatedly. [Laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, we were. That was on the agenda of the state legislature. That polarized people dramatically. The students brought in Phyllis Schlafly and Betty Freidan for a debate. I begged them not to because that meant that Phyllis Schlafly would then be in the state at the time that the state legislature was in session. And I think some very conservative students did that deliberately. She was already invited by the time I got to them. So that was the, that resistance, I think, was the resistance to change, I believe in retrospect, was greater than opposition on the part of faculty or departments or anything else.
PAMELA DEAN:
That's interesting.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I believe that now. I haven't analyzed it exactly. But I see that as the greatest force at work.
PAMELA DEAN:
Does that suggest that the faculty and administration are essentially more liberal than the student body at this University?
MARY TURNER LANE:
No, because I think I have to say at the same time that the administration and the faculty may have been saying the right things, but they really weren't acting in ways consistent

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with their liberal statements. Nothing changed in South Building to show that women were capable of sitting in seats of power there. And so much of what I was working with in the sense of change was not reflected in the Chancellor's Administrative Council, for instance, which was all male. It was not reflected in President Friday's administrative board or the people he hired to run the University. They were all male except for one woman statistician who was on leave from a Catholic college who worked for about four years. To my knowledge she was the only female who was ever in a position of power there. Department chairs across campus were all male except four to five that might be female. So while the University, I think, supports liberal enterprises, it does not truly put its money where its mouth is, or it does not really recognize that the life of the University must reflect the values that the University says it holds. So for me to say to students, to women, "There's a new world open for women. You are capable. You are able. All of our research indicates that you can be as able to run a company, to be a governor, to be a legislator, to be a faculty member as males are." What I had to show them on this campus….
PAMELA DEAN:
Didn't bear that out?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Didn't bear that out. So that, I was always conscious that what we were saying to them really was not strong and vivid in the presence that they saw.
PAMELA DEAN:
And taking them from their resistance to inspiring them to go out and fight for it was probably a little bit more than

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you could do having them for four years and getting your hands on them once in a while in that time.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I believe so.
PAMELA DEAN:
You can only move people so far so fast.
MARY TURNER LANE:
We had great difficulty with student groups who were planning the Carolina Union Programs. Oh, vast sums of money from students went into the Carolina Union Programs and oh, every other year they have a different set of programs. One spring it's a Fine Arts Festival and the following years it's a symposium of some kind. They will easily spend $60,000 on those programs each year if not more. And that's student money. And they did get to the point where they would send me a list of people they had thought of as speakers. And these would be lists of all men. I would send them back, spend much time researching women who could speak on every topic, and then get back the same list of speakers. I would call women students in and say, "This is your money. Let's do something about this. I'll help you." And they would say, "Oh, but John's already made up his mind, and it's so hard to change his mind." So those were difficult things to confront. The women students did not realize or they weren't aware or it didn't matter. Maybe that was it. It didn't matter that all of the people who came in from the outside were going to be male speakers.
PAMELA DEAN:
It must have been very frustrating.
MARY TURNER LANE:
It was frustrating. [Laughter] Terribly frustrating. But it was a mission, I felt.
PAMELA DEAN:
[Laughter]

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MARY TURNER LANE:
You have to feel that this was a mission that had to do with the status of women and the lives of women. I went out into the world from college so unprepared for life that when I moved into this job, I guess it did become a kind of mission for me—that I do whatever in my power to enable students to be more aware of the realities of life, particularly the economic realities of life. And maybe it was that mission that kept me fired up and kept me going somehow or other. Of course the work was fascinating. The people were fascinating.
PAMELA DEAN:
So there were rewards.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
PAMELA DEAN:
If you didn't achieve all of your goals, nonetheless, the process….
MARY TURNER LANE:
And ultimately, we achieved a great deal. I believe that when I left, the program had its own academic integrity. We had not overturned the University but had become a very respectable part of the University. In the last year that I was here, I spent a large amount of time working with Duke in helping to create the Duke-UNC Research Center which, although housed on the campus of Duke because the $250,000 Ford grant was actually achieved, acquired by Professor [William] Chafe of that faculty with the stipulation that it would be on that campus. At the same time, that was a singular experience or program for us to have. So that was left in place. So the fact that the program had existed, it had survived, it had grown, and it had become accepted, not just tolerated, but accepted, and had branched out in some ways that were appropriate and strong, I think were

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significant achievements. I also think that we had brought women faculty together in a way and had supported their research in a way that's very helpful. We started the Program of Women's Research Seminars. I think that's still going on. It's supported now, I think, by the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences but initially, we brought it, we started it with afternoon seminars where women could present papers or research on which they were working. And as they presented the research, people from other disciplines could respond to it and ask questions about it. That proved to be very helpful. We also invited people from across campus and across the community to come in. So I think the support of women's research in gender issues was certainly something that we began and that was strengthened, they grew during that time.
PAMELA DEAN:
I'd like, I had a young woman from the Daily Tar Heel come talk to me earlier.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I sent her to you.
PAMELA DEAN:
Ah ha, you're the one.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I sent her to you.
PAMELA DEAN:
I was wondering where she came from.
MARY TURNER LANE:
I told her I'd be out of town. She wanted an interview last week, and I said, "I'm sorry I'll be out of town."
PAMELA DEAN:
[Laughter] She asked me how was the status and role of women in the University changed. And I'd like to ask you that question, bringing it up to the present, after, you know, the….

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MARY TURNER LANE:
Now, by women you have to mean women students and women faculty.
PAMELA DEAN:
Absolutely, the whole thing, over the course of the number of years that you have been affiliated with the University and your awareness of the history of women at UNC. What do you see? Do you see significant change and of what nature?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh dear, as far as women students are concerned, I do not believe that the knowledge about gender and women is part of their study at the high school level. I do not think that it has permeated the history books, the political science books, or any of the courses that they teach. I think that high school students do have a notion that they will work now, that women will work. They're aware of that, of the great increase of women in the work force. I think that's very clear, but in the last, one of the last programs I had or that I worked on in the University in trying to assess women students' understanding of work, we discovered to our great dismay that they were comfortable with the word "work" or "job," but totally uncomfortable with the word "career." Men, I believe, still have the same notion of lifetime work or career if you call it that. Women students, I believe, still have the same traditional notion of work, or jobs, and they think of it in terms of from job to job, or I'll have a job until I marry—the same thing I grew up with. And to me, that notion should have changed.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did they even believe, understand, that they're going to work even while they're married, but nonetheless, it's going to be a job?

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MARY TURNER LANE:
It will be a job, and it will be a job that I would have to assume will be a lesser job because they also say, or they did in that little study, that they would stop work when they had children. Now the reality of life will impinge upon that statement, and they'll find out they can't do that. So, I guess my, the status of women students is that I'm not sure that we have helped them understand the economic realities of their lives as women. You can cite divorce statistics to them; you can cite child support statistics to them; you can cite cost of rearing children, and yet they still do not see themselves as fully responsible for their own lives, whether single or married. And that is, that's the most dismaying part of it. The good part is, I think they have begun to think along nontraditional lines in terms of work. They're doing many more different things. They believe that fields are open for them in many different ways. They also believe that there is no discrimination out there, and if they do their job and do well, then they will do well. So those are the pluses and minuses of where I think women students are.
Now as far as the status of the faculty, we did a review of the status of women faculty three years ago in which we reviewed all of the recommendations over a ten-year period that had been made by other committees on the status of women. We reviewed all of the statistics that told us how many women were in associate professor, assistant professor, how many women were chairs of departments, how many women were in administrative offices. Almost nothing had changed over a ten-year period. Now, that was

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dismaying. What is happening is that the figure of 16.3% or 16.7% of the women in the tenure track positions, that figure has held, maybe in a ten-year period of time, it's come from 14% to 16.7%, and right now, it may be up to about 18%, but that's not much change. Year before last, thirty women faculty were brought in as new faculty members, but 26 had left, or did leave, or whatever the number was. So the attrition rate, for whatever reason or reasons, does not support a growing number, does not support growth. Now, what we tried to do in the Committee on the Status of Women two years ago when we did a detailed study of women health affairs, was to look at all of the sources of concern. Then we met with five deans in Health Affairs and shared that and got a very positive response from those deans who said, "Women are our best students. We must do whatever's necessary to make them come into the graduate programs of medicine, dentistry, public health, whatever." That was a red letter day to sit in that auditorium and hear that statement being made—that women in medicine were the best students, and we had to do something to keep them. We had reports from women who work in secretarial or administrative positions about their concerns, the ways in which they were still being treated, and it was a very serious study. We had a very serious response to it. What the University does not connect is hiring and retention. There are all of those things that have to do with treatment of women, that have to do with daycare, that have to do with all of those issues that are not just women's issues, but parents' issues.

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PAMELA DEAN:
Then the reality is that women are still, even professional women, the primary parents.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
Even in a couple.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Well, clearly women are the ones who are going to give birth to these babies.
PAMELA DEAN:
Right, but as far as parenting, raising, being responsible on a day-to-day basis….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, that's right. So my observation is that the University exerts great effort to hire.
PAMELA DEAN:
Give them credit for that.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, absolutely. And they have done some improvement on the way searches are held. They do careful checking as to whether or not women were interviewed and brought in. And I know how it usually is, or I've heard stories of how you can write paper reports that do not really reflect what actually happened. But certainly the process is much more carefully monitored in hiring than it has ever been, and that is great. But until somebody is concerned about what happens after these women get here, then they're still going to have a hard time. I don't see women getting any kind of executive training here. I don't see women moving into any of those low-level, or very few women—I shouldn't say any because there are but they're different—associate and assistant deans, minor administrative offices where they could begin to get some kind of administrative experience. Now they can't do that if they are junior faculty having to write and publish. But we won't have a cadre of women to move into

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deanships and into administrative positions unless somebody puts them into these positions. So while I think that the verbal up-front, loud-to-the-public statement of "We are equal opportunity employees, and we believe in this, this, and this,"— this University has not been as aggressive in promoting and pushing women forward as it has in pushing blacks forward. One of our requests when the new Chancellor, when Chancellor Fordham came in, and this little core of women who met together on so many issues, set up a wish list. It wasn't a wish list. It was six things he could do very easily. Our first request was that there be a women Vice Chancellor, and we were told that was not necessary. He had immediately appointed a black Vice Chancellor when he came in so that perhaps we didn't get to him soon enough. But until the University can say, "You don't have to ask us how we treat women. Look at our administrative structure and that will tell you." I have interviewed so many women who sought me out, who came here when they were being interviewed for jobs, or I made myself available.
END OF INTERVIEW