Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lowell Phillips, December 15, 1988

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Childhood and gender roles

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Phillips, this is our third interview. Um, I wanted to ask you this time about the lives that men and women live, just how separate and distinct they were.

Segment Synopsis: Phillips talks about his recollections of the social life of men and women in mining towns during his childhood. He talks about epidemics in the area such as influenza in 1917, and infantile paralysis. He talks about his memories of the relationship between his parents. He recalls his marriage and his own family life in the early years in Jenkins and Paintsville, Kentucky.

Keywords: Coal mining; Eastern Star; Freemasons; Gender roles; Infantile paralysis; Jenkins (Ky.); Masonic lodge; Medicine; Paintsville (Ky.); Polio; Red Cross; Scarlet fever; Van Lear (Ky.)

Subjects: Coal--Kentucky; Company towns; Epidemics; Influenza Epidemic, 1918-1919

GPS: Van Lear (Ky)
Map Coordinates: 37.771, -82.758
00:05:01 - Family gatherings / social life in a company town

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Partial Transcript: Did uh, your mo, mother and dad--he uh, he wou--he died in '41 you said too. Hmm. But did your, uh, people like you--did her people like you and did your people like him?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips recalls the date of his father's death in 1941. He discusses the good relationship he enjoyed with his in-laws, and visiting on holiday occasions with his extended family. He talks about working in the role of supervisor in a coal mine while living in a company town and how this role affected his relationship to his neighbors and his wife.

Keywords: Christmas; Education; Gossip; Management; Parents; Poverty; Schools; Supervisors; Thanksgiving

Subjects: Coal mining; Company towns

00:11:50 - Wife's character

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Partial Transcript: Did, uh, she learn that you think from her mother? Was her mother like that too?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips talks about his wife's charitable character and how she learned it from her mother. He says he received help from neighbors and two nurses in caring for his wife's health needs. He says his wife did not like to discuss politics. He says the most recent election was a "disgrace to our country." He says his wife would discuss the Bible but not religion and had an open minded attitude toward others.

Keywords: Charity; Church; Neighbors; Nurses

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Religion; Medical care

00:16:19 - Morality and gender

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Partial Transcript: Do you think that women are more, uh, moral or more, uh, religious like that or more--better Christian people or something than men?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips says he thinks men and women have the same level of religion and morality. He talks about the living conditions and social environment in Van Lear when he moved there. He talks about some people in his community who made moonshine, and incidents of spousal abuse during the 1920s and 1930s. He says these elements in the community declined with increased education and the introduction of religion.

Keywords: Child abuse; Christianity; Coal mining; Company towns; Fighting; Gender roles; Moonshine; Spousal abuse; Van Lear (Ky)

Subjects: Gender, sexuality & culture; Morality and society; Religion

00:21:45 - Divorce and troubled marriages

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever hear of anybody getting a divorce, or anybody in such a bad marriage that you thought there should be a divorce?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips talks about his recollections of troubled marriages and divorces. He says he recalls some who were able to reconcile their marriages.

Keywords: Child custody; Spousal abuse; War

Subjects: Divorce.

00:25:41 - Roadhouse culture

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Partial Transcript: When you were talking in our first interview about going to the roadhouses, going to the roadhouses, and you said there were women there that were uh, oh, how, not the marrying--not into marrying yet--

Segment Synopsis: Phillips reminisces about the social activity of visiting roadhouses and nightclubs every night during his young adulthood. He talks about the late arrival of automobiles in Van Lear in 1935.

Keywords: Beer; Dancing; Entertainment; Letcher County (Ky.); Liquor; Nightclubs; Paintsville (Ky.); Premarital sex; Roadhouses; Van Lear (Ky.)

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Automobiles.