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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 >>

Regulations on social life at Salem College

One of the people who helped keep the college running smoothly was the dean of women. Lane describes what she did and how she regulated the college's social life.

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

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 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.