Title: Oral History Interview with Guion Griffis Johnson, August 19, 1974. Interview G-0029-1.
Interviewer: Hall, Jacquelyn
Interviewee: Johnson, Guion Griffis
Abstract: Guion Griffis Johnson was among the first generation of female professional historians and a pioneer of social history. Her book Ante-bellum North Carolina provides a comprehensive study of how people maintained and sometimes traversed social divisions in this state. In this interview, she discusses the work she did for Dr. Howard Odum of the University of North Carolina sociology department from 1923 until 1934. She lists the community activities she participated in during and after this period. While her husband, Guy Johnson, taught for the Institute for Research in Social Science, she copyedited issues of the Social Forces journal, conducted research on St. Helena's Island and antebellum North Carolina, and worked toward a Ph.D. in sociology. When the workload became too cumbersome and tedious, she transferred to the history department to finish her Ph.D. She lost her job with the Institute in 1930 when the University cut costs by laying off married female academics. The interview ends with her description of how she continued to work without receiving wages before going back to Baylor College as a professor.