Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lydia Roberts Fischer, October 16, 1989

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:55 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Well Miss Fischer, I appreciate you taking time today to talk with me about your experiences at UK.

Segment Synopsis: This interview with Lydia Robert Fischer took place on October 16, 1989. Her parents owned a furniture store, Robert Furniture Company, in Lexington and she had one sister. She went to Harrison School and skipped several grades.

Keywords: Early life; Marriage; Parents; School life; Schools

Subjects: Childhood; Education--Kentucky; Families.

00:03:48 - Early childhood and adolescent education

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Partial Transcript: Did your parents, uh, want you to, to, uh, skip grades for any particular reason?

Segment Synopsis: Fischer attended Morton Junior High and Lexington Senior High and graduated in January, 1925. She finished high school in mid-year. After graduating at age 15, she went right on to the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: 1925; Adolescence; Fifteen; January; Lexington Senior High School; Morton Junior High School; Schools

Subjects: Childhood; Education--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:07:30 - Family background

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Partial Transcript: You were going to tell me about your, your sisters and brother--

Segment Synopsis: Fischer's parents’ shop was bought by the Leap Brothers and they left her father’s name on the shop. Fischer had an older sister, Frances Roberts, who graduated from Transylvania University. Her mother received her education in Charleston, Missouri where she became a schoolteacher and taught from the age of 16 until she was married. Once married, her mother did not work outside of the home.

Keywords: Company; Family; Fathers; Furniture; Leap brothers; Marriage; Mothers; Robert Furniture Company; Schools; Shops; Sisters; Spring Street; Stores; Teachers; Wooden doors

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Families.; Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:10:18 - Beginning school at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What about the attitude toward or role of education in your home growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Fischer says that she didn't have goals when she graduated high school. She knew she was going to college and wanted to have a good time. Lots of her friends went to college. Fischer wanted to go to the University of Kentucky because it was different. Her sister majored in chemistry and got her master's degree. Fischer was a mathematics major, which was non-traditional for women. At the time, there were 2,000 students at UK.

Keywords: Chemistry majors; College majors; Friends; Mathematics majors; Sisters

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Education, Higher--Kentucky; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:13:35 - Experience at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Having grown up in Lexington, what were your impressions of the University of Kentucky in, uh, nineteen, uh, twenty-five, twenty-six?

Segment Synopsis: Fischer thought UK was large after growing up in Lexington and coming from a smaller high school. She could drive to school, liked going to games, and lived at home. She didn’t have the desire to live in the Patterson Hall dormitory because it wasn’t necessary if you lived in town.

Keywords: Dormitories; Dorms; Driving; Games; High schools; Home; Lexington (Ky.); Patterson Hall; Size; UK; University towns

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Education, Higher--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:15:23 - Transitioning to the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever consider going someplace else to school?

Segment Synopsis: Fischer says that all of her friends went to the University of Kentucky. She got her driver's license in February of her first year and was allowed to have her car on campus. She became adjusted to college life.

Keywords: Cars; Drivers licenses; Friends; Influences; UK

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Education, Higher--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:17:40 - Overview of University of Kentucky academics

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Partial Transcript: What was the, uh, academic program like when you went to UK?

Segment Synopsis: Fischer thinks freshmen were put into certain classes, but she doesn’t really remember how classes were chosen or which classes she took. She majored in mathematics because she liked the challenge of it. She minored in English and journalism.

Keywords: Classes; College majors; College minors; English Department; English minors; Journalism minors; Mathematics majors

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:20:20 - Professors at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Uh, well, uh, Dean Boyd, Dean Paul Boyd, who was Dean of Arts and Sciences was also head of the math department...

Segment Synopsis: Fischer recalls that Paul Boyd was head of the math department and the Dean of Arts and Sciences. Fischer was assigned a teacher that she did not like and tried to talk to Dean Paul Boyd to get it changed, but he did not help her. Fischer took a hereditary course from Dr. Funkhouser, who now has a building named after him.

Keywords: Classes; Courses; Dr. Paul Boyd; Dr. W. D. Funkhouser; Elizabeth LeStourgeon; Graduate courses; Professors

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College teachers.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:28:10 - Classes and involvement at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: You couldn't, you couldn't joke with Miss LeStourgeon.

Segment Synopsis: Fischer recalls that there were not many women professors at the University of Kentucky. Fischer was academically successful in college. She does not remember the proportion of men and women in classes.

Keywords: 3.8 GPA; Carnegie Library; Classes; Elizabeth LeStourgeon; Female teachers; French; Good students; Hayrides; Languages; Lecture classes; Lectures; Library; Pence Hall; Spindletop; White Hall; Women teachers; YMCA; YWCA

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College teachers.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:36:12 - Social life at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Tell me, if you would, a little bit more about social life.

Segment Synopsis: Fischer was a Kappa Delta sorority member and she enjoyed being in a sorority. Rush was similar to how it is now. She has not kept up with her sorority recently.

Keywords: Alumni meetings; Ball games; Fun; Kappa Delta; Kentucky River; Parties; Rivers; Rush; Sarah Blanding; Social life; Sororities; Sorority; Sorority houses

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Greek letter societies.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:40:24 - Dr. and Mrs. McVey

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Partial Transcript: What were the students like?

Segment Synopsis: Fischer says that students at UK were mainly from Kentucky, with a few from other states and other countries. Dr. McVey used to have tea for everyone, but normally it was predominantly women. Dr. McVey was the president of the University of Kentucky and Fischer says he looked out for all his students.

Keywords: Dr. Frank McVey; Frances Jewell McVey; International students; Social life; Tea; University presidents

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College presidents; College presidents' spouses; College presidents--Dwellings; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:48:19 - University of Kentucky administration

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Partial Transcript: What were your impressions of the student newspaper?

Segment Synopsis: Fischer worked on the student newspaper. She was a very good student and always followed the rules. She was well-liked by Dean Sarah Blanding. Dean Blanding’s assistant Dean Sarah Bennett Holmes was more intimidating and didn’t take foolishness from anyone.

Keywords: College deans; Controversy; Journalism; Kentucky Kernel newspaper; Radios; Sarah Bennett Holmes; Sarah Blanding; Student newspapers

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College teachers.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)