Interview with Alta Mae Chandler, March 26, 1990

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

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Partial Transcript: --university very long?

Segment Synopsis: Alta Mae Chandler talks about growing up in Owingsville, Kentucky where her father was a farmer. She talks about attending a one-room school for her early education, and describes the schoolhouse and teachers.

Keywords: Bath County (Ky.); Desks; Edith Chandler; Family; Farming; Fathers; High school; Livestock; One-room schools; Parents; Playgrounds; Public schools; Sisters; Stoves; Teachers

Subjects: Education--Kentucky; Farm life.; Owingsville (Ky.); Rural schools--Kentucky

00:07:29 - High school education

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Partial Transcript: Now when it came time to go to high school was there any doubt that you and your sister would be going to high school?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about moving to town to attend high school, and talks about her teachers.

Keywords: Commuting; High schools; Students; Town

Subjects: Education--Kentucky; Teachers--Kentucky

00:11:42 - Teaching after high school

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Partial Transcript: And you said before we started taping that, uh, they asked you to teach after you graduated from high school.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler became a teacher at the high school she attended after graduating. She talks about her teaching experiences, why she did not follow the same educational path that her sister did, and why they moved to St. Louis.

Keywords: Certification; Chemistry; Eastern Kentucky State Normal School; Employment; Graduation; Jobs; Mathematics; Parents; School principals; Sisters; St. Louis (Mo.); Summers; Teaching

Subjects: Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

00:16:27 - Decision to attend the University of Kentucky and first impressions

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Partial Transcript: So after teaching high school for those years--or grade school, excuse me, why did you decide to go to college?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about why she wanted to go to college and why she chose to attend the University of Kentucky. She talks about arriving on campus, her living arrangements, and her impressions of UK and Lexington.

Keywords: Arrival; Enrollment; First impressions; Grades; House mothers; Irma Wolfe; Lexington (Ky.); Living arrangements; Living conditions; Mary Lou Ingels; Owingsville (Ky.); Patterson Hall; Registration; Roommates; Sisters; Subjects; Trains; University of Kentucky

Subjects: College choice; College environment; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Student housing

00:25:44 - Deans of Women

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Partial Transcript: Um, did you have a, uh, uh, a meeting with all the women students shortly after you got there?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about her relationship with several Deans of Women at UK, including Frances Jewell McVey.

Keywords: Chloe Gifford; Dances; Dean of Women; Influence; Josephine Simrall; Mary Frances Jewell McVey; Professor Edward Farquhar; Sarah Gibson Blanding

Subjects: College administrators; College presidents' spouses; College teachers--Social conditions; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:32:54 - Choosing a major / favorite professors

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Partial Transcript: Um, so you decided to become a, a math, uh, math major? Or a chemistry major?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about being one of the few women in her math and chemistry classes, and the connection between chemistry and home economics. She talks about some of her favorite professors at UK.

Keywords: Chemistry; Dr. Franklin Tuttle; Dr. Ralph Maxson; Favorite professors; H. H. Downing; Home economics; Home economics practice house; Latin; Mary Lou Ingels; Mathematics; Physics; Women

Subjects: College majors; College teachers--Rating of.; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:37:19 - Role of women

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Partial Transcript: So did--was it hard being the only woman in those classes?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about being one of the few women in her math and chemistry classes, and talks about how she was treated in comparison to the male students. She talks about her social life at the university and her lack of interest in dating and marriage. She talks about women's opportunities for independence and jobs.

Keywords: Age; Dating; Dean of Women; Dormitories; Education department; Foreign language; Grades; Independence; J. T. Cotton Noe; Marriage; Mothers; Names; Patterson Hall; Personality; Professions; Quiet; Role of women; Rooming houses; Sisters; Summers; Teaching; Training; Treatment; Women professors

Subjects: College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; College teachers--Social conditions; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Student housing; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:48:47 - Social life on campus

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Partial Transcript: What was, uh--tell me a little bit about social life on campus.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about some of the social activities and organizations available for students on campus. She talks about women's clothing styles during her college days. Interviewer Terry Birdwhistell reads a selection from the "class prophecy" written in the yearbook.

Keywords: "Looks"; "Pat Hall"; Book reviews; Class prophecy; Clothing styles; Dances; Football games; H. H. Downing; Hats; Horace Mann Literary Society; J. T. Cotton Noe; Mary Frances Jewell McVey; Mathematics Club; Pants; Patterson Hall; Plays; Restrictions; Role of women; Rules; Social life; Tug-of-war; Women; Women's Self Government Association; Women's Student Government; YWCA

Subjects: Clothing and dress.; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Fashion.; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:57:20 - Flu epidemic / World War I

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned the flu as being, uh, something you remember about the college.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about how the campus environment was affected by both the 1918 influenza epidemic and World War I.

Keywords: Army; Army Training Program; Atmosphere; Cars; Closed; Drivers; Shut down

Subjects: College campuses.; College environment; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Influenza Epidemic, 1918-1919; Universities and colleges--Safety measures.; World War, 1914-1918

01:01:24 - Debate over evolution / women's rights

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Partial Transcript: You were being trained as a scientist in college.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about how she reconciled her religious beliefs and her scientific approach to the theory of evolution. She talks about how women were affected by obtaining the right to vote. She talks about inequality in the workplace, particularly in regard to promotions.

Keywords: Chapel; Church; Clerical work; Dr. Frank McVey; Evolution; Inequality; Jobs; Opportunities; Promotions; Role of women; Science; St. Louis (Mo.); Teaching; William Jennings Bryan; Women's suffrage; Working

Subjects: Discrimination in employment; Religion; Sex discrimination against women; Women's rights; Women--Suffrage

01:11:30 - Effects of her college experience

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Partial Transcript: Looking back at, uh, your four years at college, uh, you got your degree.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks about how she was personally changed by her experiences at UK, which became clear when she returned home to Owingsville.

Keywords: "History on Wheels"; Ambitions; Changes; Kentucky history; Outlook; Owingsville (Ky.); Professor Martin; Regrets

Subjects: College graduates; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching; Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae.

01:15:51 - More on the role of women

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Partial Transcript: One thing I was wondering though, if you, if you had a chance to do your college life again, is there anything you'd do differently about it?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler talks more about the opportunities that were available for women when she graduated college and how progress has been made, although there is still room for change. She talks about why she did not continue on to graduate school. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Changes; Colored shirts; Confusing; Dating; Finance; Graduate school; Journalism; Marguerite McLaughlin; Mary Lou Ingels; Optimism; Parents; Pink shirts; Progress; Role of women; Television; Tuition; Women's suffrage

Subjects: College majors; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Women in higher education.; Women's rights; Women--Education (Higher); Women--Suffrage