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Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Grace Aycock grew up in Greene County, North Carolina, during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1936, Aycock entered Duke University, where she studied for one year before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she completed her degree. Following her graduation in 1939, Aycock worked briefly for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. Within a few months, she accepted a position at the National Youth Administration (NYA). While working for the NYA, Aycock met her husband, William B. Aycock, whom she married right after the United States entered World War II. Following the war, the Aycocks moved to Chapel Hill, where William completed law school. After he finished law school, he worked as a professor at UNC for several years. Aycock describes briefly what their family life was like during those years, focusing on the social gatherings they had with friends—a group that included William and Ida Friday—and her own volunteer work within the community. During the 1950s, the Aycocks spent some time at the University of Virginia, where William served as visiting faculty. In 1957, the Aycocks returned to Chapel Hill when William was offered the chancellorship at UNC. Aycock describes her support for her husband's decision to accept the position, and she describes in detail what it was like to be the wife of the chancellor during the late 1950s and early 1960s. She focuses on her duties as the chancellor's wife, describing her speaking engagements and her other social obligations. In addition, Aycock briefly discusses her family's experiences following her husband's decision to resign as chancellor. For the remainder of the interview she discusses her husband's decision to return to teaching, her pursuit of a master's degree in social work, and her battle with multiple sclerosis.
  • Education, friendships, and dating at UNC-G and UNC-CH
  • Socializing with other young couples and families
  • Support of husband's career
  • Duties of the wife of the chancellor
  • Speaking engagements as the chancellor's wife
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  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.