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Excerpt from 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) See Entire Interview >>

Structure of curricula at Salem College

While most of the female teachers did not wed, all of her male professors were married. She also talks about how the classes were structured and designed to reinforce each other.

Citing this Excerpt

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) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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.
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 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.