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Title:
Interview with Elizabeth P. Stanfield, April 22, 2004
Date:
April 22, 2004
Description:
In this interview, notable Wilmington resident Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield shares anecdotes from her life and career, ranging from childhood summers working on her grandfather's Georgia plantation, to her memories of Wilmington during wartime, to her vital role in instating Georgia State University's interpretation and translation program. She attended New Hanover High School and WCUNC (now UNC-Greensboro) before completing her education in Georgia, where she also served as the first foreign languages specialist for the Atlanta elementary school system. Dr. Stanfield retired from her position as Professor of Spanish Literature after over twenty years of serving on the faculty of Georgia State University.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Stanfield, Elizabeth Interviewer: Hayes, Sherman Date of Interview: 4/24/2004 Series: SENC (Notables) Length 116 minutes

 

Hayes: Alright, today is April 2, 2004. We're at the home of Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield. Did I pronounce that correctly?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Thank you.

Hayes: A distinguished former resident of Wilmington who's come back in retirement, if ever a professor retires, and the doctor is tied to being a professor, right, that's not a medical doctor?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, literature, Spanish literature.

Hayes: Okay. And I want to concentrate first off about your experience in Wilmington so why don't you start a little bit about your family and some of its history and how you ended up in Wilmington and those first years.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: All right. Well, my family originally was in North Carolina and when I re- say originally, I mean back in the 1700s. Uh.. the- William Ryalls, R-y-a-l, probably double l, s and his family uh.. were here and also- that was on my mother's side, and on my father's side there were three brothers that were in the first census in 1790 that were in..

Hayes: And what was that family name?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: That was Poplin, P-o-p-l-i-n. That's what the P in my middle name uh.. my s- legal signature is Elizabeth P. Stanfield and that stands for Poplin which is a collapsed form of "the Pope's linen." (Laughs).

Hayes: Do you know that for a fact?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I know that for a fact. Uh.. at some point uh.. it- it goes back to when the Pope was in uh.. this- this- the disputed papacy was in Avignon, France and uh.. they were in charge- they were weavers at some point and so uh..

Hayes: So how were you able to get all of this information? I take it that perhaps genealogy has cropped into your..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, it has, and uh.. but also you find bits of information like that in the oddest things. Uh.. there are books in which you can look up family names that also are u- in use as common nouns, like poplin is a type of material. And so I came across (laughs) one of those one day and I immediately turned to poplin and found out. It was wonderful. Books, as you know, contain (laughs) wonderful, wonderful things, so..

Hayes: So anyway, your family has been in North Carolina a long time.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Since the 1700s.

Hayes: And what part of North Carolina did they start? Was it Wilmington or was even another part of North Carolina?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, further up the coast. And- and then the uh.. the Ryalls family, uh.. he- he was a revolutionary soldier from North Carolina, but when he came back from the war, uh.. they were giving land away, you know, to veterans in- and so he went on down to Georgia and built himself up a very large plantation and uh.. with, you know, slaves and that sort of thing. And his will today is on file at the courthouse at Montgomery uh.. Montgomery County Courthouse in Middle Georgia, as we call it, which can be seen, you know, by anyone. So- but then uh.. how I got here up- up to Wilmington, uh.. when I was in the- in the 6th grade, we uh.. we came uh.. to Wilmington like so many other people uh.. as part of the war effort. This was in 19 uh.. 19- we were here, everybody knows where they were on December the 7th. We were here on that Sunday afternoon visiting friends and actually their home was uh.. was in the area of the city that was rather close to that wonderful world's largest Christmas tree. That was- that was why my sister and I- I was in the 6th grade, she was in the- in the 3rd I think, and that's why liked to go and visit these people because we got to see that big Christmas tree.

Hayes: So you were visiting though on December..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, no, we- we were visiting these pe- these people. We lived here. In fact we lived briefly before, you know, housing became very scarce in Wilmington when everybody s- began flooding in in the '40s. And we were staying oh, at Mrs. Sony's [ph?] house which is in the historic district on Front Street. And uh.. in fact I like to think about it, that wonderful watercolor of the snowfall of 1852, the Latimer House, that beautiful, beautiful watercolor which I keep in- on display in my house during the winter months. Uh.. I- that's really my childhood memory of- of Mrs. Sony's house 'cause it was very close there to where the Latimer House was.

Hayes: Now your father came when?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: He came uh.. in- in 1941 and he was em- he was employed at Camp Davis like so many people. He was a mechanical engineer and..

Hayes: Oh, really? But he wasn't in the military?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. not at that time. Before the war was over, he was commissioned uh.. from private life. He became a major and was sent to England. Uh.. at that point..

Hayes: But at that point, he was a contractor.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: At that point- at- at that point, he was uh.. he was one of the people that was in charge of the cold uh.. building and operating the cold storage facilities that kept all the meat cold for all the troops that were going to be at Camp Davis and later on he was in charge of the one at Fort Fisher.

Hayes: Isn't that interesting.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: In fact, he weathered a hurricane at Fort Fisher which none of us will ever forget uh.. when the waves were forty feet high and he was one of the few people not evacuated from Fort Fisher. (Laughs).

Hayes: Wanted to keep those refrigerators going.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: So somebody had to sort uh.. sort of see that the meat didn't spoil.

Hayes: Now, before that, you had been moving for other work? I mean you lived in Georgia?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, yes, we lived in- in Georgia.

Hayes: And when you said he came to work for Camp Davis, would this be like a government contract or did he work directly for the army?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, since I was in the 6th grade, I don't really remember. Oh, his best friend was Colonel L.E. Limbert who was head of ordinance uh.. at- at Camp Davis.

Hayes: Interesting, 'cause there's somebody you may want to- if you don't know them and run into would be Dan Cameron. I don't know if you know Dan Cameron.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: My sister and her family maybe.

Hayes: Yeah, because he was an aide at Camp Davis when they were first building it in more the '39, '40, '41 period. That's kind of an interesting crossover. And then he went off to some other things. So anyway, you got moved here as a youngster.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We moved here and I was- since I was in the 6th grade, uh.. and since we lived on Wrightsville Avenue at the time, 407 Wrightsville Avenue, when we- when we (laughs) finally were able to, you know, find a house that was available, uh.. I went to Isaac Bear and this was the last year that Isaac Bear was in use as an elementary school and- because then they built Chestnut Street School and uh.. so we all went over there to uh.. that- oh, that was after Isaac Bear which was ancient by anyone's standards. (Laughs).

Hayes: Even then, right.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, I mean you had the wooden staircases and the floor was- was oiled, you know, (inaudible).

Hayes: At Isaac Bear?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, at Isaac Bear.

Hayes: Well, tell me about that building because you know that first building that Wilmington College was in is Isaac Bear and people always wonder what it was like.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exa- well, and see and- and my- my father, I don't say ours because my sister still lives here, uh.. he was on the first faculty of Wilmington College. (Laughs).

Hayes: You're kidding.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: In fact I just gave Beverly Tetterton [ph?] uhm.. the first annual- it was called the Fledgling by Wilmington College and uh.. his picture is there and yes, he was on the original faculty. He taught, what else, refrigeration and air conditioning. And in fact, one of his students, the one that he- he at that time considered him the most promising of his students, still has an air conditioning and refrigeration business here and I had occasion to call them to come and (laughs) see- see about my..

Hayes: Now who is that? Do you remember the name of that student or the company?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: The company- let me check my book. It's not S- is it Standard, Stanville? Uhm.. oh, I don't- it's not Scott Electric. Uh.. well and the- the- I cannot think of the name of it, but the uh.. the girl who answered the telephone is the granddaughter of the man who started the business. (Laughs).

Hayes: Isn't that great?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And when I told her, (laughs) she thought that was a (inaudible) story.

Hayes: Well, let's get to that story about your dad a little later because that's a fun story, but how about you in 6th grade? You said people were just pouring into town?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, yes, there were.

Hayes: Was it a crazy time?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It- it seemed to me like every day we would add two or three new students to the class because of people that were being transferred in. What I remember about Isaac Bear was really more- it was because that was the time when there was a library uh.. and once a week classes went to the library and Miss Lathrup, the Miss Lathrup whose sister taught Latin at the high school was in charge of the library and I loved that. We had a music period also and the music teacher's name was Miss Foskew [ph?] and I loved the library and I loved music so I- we went to music once a week. And then uhm.. there were uh.. also art classes and uh.. and that's when I really learned that, you know, I had a- a flair for art, which is kind of unusual. I s- started out as an artist at the Women's College when I went to college, uh.. but I soon learned that I- I wanted to s- I switched my major. If I- I probably still would not have a degree if I had insisted on remaining as art, because my portfolio was not the kind that was in style. (Laughs). But curiously enough, when uh.. right after I graduated, I earned quite a bit of money and amused myself highly as a commercial artist in Atlanta. Of all things, I did paper dolls. (Laughs). This was when little girls still played with paper dolls.

Hayes: And you designed those paper dolls.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I designed paper doll works. And uh..

Hayes: Interesting. That's funny because we have a very good friend, it was a student. My wife is a musician and she had a piano student many years ago and he's a designer of clothing, I mean fashion designer, New York City and all of that.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes. That was what I wanted to be.

Hayes: But for many, many years he's lived in Los Angeles and he does these costumes for dolls 'cause there's a whole other market of very rich people who buy..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Costumed dolls.

Hayes: Costumed dolls and the costumes are either unique or limited editions and he makes more money doing that than he does..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). I can believe it, yeah. (Laughs).

Hayes: So anyway, we've jumped ahead to Atlanta, but let's get back to 6th grade. And Isaac Bear, why did you think they moved you out then? What was that about? Was the building just getting old?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I- I think it was and that was uh.. probably a time in which there were new ideas in education and you had to have new buildings to go with that. Uhm.. the- for instance, there was no gym at Isaac Bear. There was a gym at Chestnut Street which we all thought was absolutely marvelous.

Hayes: Right. It makes a big difference, yeah.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And uh.. and also that was the idea of when there would- there would be playing fields surrounding schools. Uh..

Hayes: And then that was downtown on that busy- was it on Market Street there?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: That's right. Right, and right- right across from New Hanover High School and..

Hayes: Which probably was a terrible influence, all those older students there.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). We never even were aware.

Hayes: You weren't aware of that? Okay.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Probably not. But, you know, but the uh.. but I- what I do remember were the art classes, the library and the music classes, and those were the things that I just thought were absolutely wonderful.

Hayes: Now, was elementary school up through 6th grade as the norm then or 7th?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It was- it was through 6th grade and then you had 7 and 8 were uh..

Hayes: A middle school of some sort?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, actually, right, 'cause it was- the 7th and 8th grade were over at Chestnut Street and then you- you know, then you went to the high school for 9, 10, 11 and 12. And that was just the biggest wonderful transition where you got to go. I remember I did, uh.. you know, the high school uh.. all presented an operetta every year and they- they still do it. New Hanover High School did an operetta. Generally, it was a Gilbert and Sullivan. And they would have a uh.. a- a contest and in the uh.. elementary schools and- for the best poster to advertise that. And if you won the contest, you got tickets to the operetta. And so I won the contest for H.M.S. Pinafore and got a- got a ticket or- or tickets. And I thought that was fabulous, you know, to go to the high school to see that, you know. I mean, you were..

Hayes: I'm gonna just ask to stop for a second, but we're not gonna go back and change that. We just had a slight technical adjustment. You're still comfortable, I hope.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). Oh, I'm comfortable, I'm comfortable.

Hayes: All right, good. So was your mom a stay at home mom at that time?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, she was a stay at home mom.

Hayes: Well, that's fine. I mean I just didn't know if with the war if she got pulled into the whole effort because so many people were working..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: So many did, but what she did was uh.. she and a friend, uh.. Mrs. uh.. Emma Lee Davis, Herbert Davis lived right across the street, they went up to St. Andrews Covenant Church several mornings a week and rolled bandages for the Red Cross was what they did. And all of the children in the neighborhood uhm.. under my leadership, I don't know how, I always went (laughs) I guess I- I was assertive before- before assertive had a term, uh.. I- but I was always the le- we collected scrap metal and that sort of thing and uh.. in fact uh.. that was just one of the most interesting things that we did. And- and with the money that we got for it we bought uh.. savings bond stamps. And you used to be able to- you didn't have to buy the bond at first, you had little booklets and you bought stamps. They were even a ten-cent denomination and- and you bo- and you'd just paste them into the book until you got your eighteen seventy-five which in times we would get a twenty-five dollar savings bond and that was very, very profitable.

Hayes: So through the war period I mean you really were 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, even 9th grade still in the war.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exactly.

Hayes: And it was pervasive. I mean you followed it every day.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, yes.

Hayes: And then you say your father even went on active duty?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. well, my father was commissioned right at the end of the war and uh.. what is so amusing now to us about his- he was too young for World War I and almost too old for World War II. Now, World War I on the day the armistice was declared my father was the only person in the world that was unhappy. He had just managed to get himself on as an ambulance driver and was getting ready to get on the boat to go to France when the armistice was declared. (Laughs). And so everybody else was- was, you know, celebrating in the streets and my father was mad as you know what. (Laughs).

Hayes: Well, at least he had the right attitude, but it probably saved his life.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Probably did 'cause I- I imagine the..

Hayes: Terrible carnage.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: The fatality rate among ambulance drivers was probably the norm. So he was always too old for World War II, but what happened at the end of- towards the end of the war when the- when the war was over and they began to bring the troops back, uh.. many troops had delayed uh.. and were- and because of lack of transportation were billeted in England for varying lengths of time. He was commissioned a major and sent over with another group of people that had the type of skills he had in various mechanical things and they uh.. set up technical schools in places, parts of England and uh.. the one that he was assigned to was called Wharton Tech and they actually gave classes to keep the returning GIs interested till they could get 'em on a boat and get 'em back to the United States.

Hayes: Isn't that interesting? I had never heard of that before.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And I still have his uniform, it's in the closet right in there. And the- the designation showing, you know, what units he belonged to, they were handmade because there were so few of these professors in these technical schools in England. And so uh..

Hayes: And how long did that last and how long was he gone?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: He was over there it seems to me almost two years.

Hayes: And you guys stayed right here?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We stayed right here. In fact actually, we went home- when I say home, that's south Georgia, we went home to stay with mother's parents, our grandparents uh.. in their big Victorian house in uh.. in a little bitty town called Quitman, Georgia uh.. where we had been every summer since we were born. And uh..

Hayes: Your roots were back in that area.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: That's- that's my roots and uh.. so- so that's what we did while- while he was overseas.

Hayes: So you had to step out of New Hanover for awhile or did you just do that in the summer?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We did that in the summer, yeah. And now back to our activities, uhm.. when we were collecting scrap and mother was rolling bandages, one day, in uh.. because we would store a lot of times until we could get together and- and sell it and so forth, we would store it in our basement. We had this wonderful basement which had steps, but it also had a double door which was probably at one time for putting the coal in and uhm.. so and one of our favorite things to do was to open those doors and jump into the basement. That was very daring and we liked to do that. Well, one day, uh.. when we were bringing our scrap, uh.. the things that we'd found back to the basement, uh.. I opened those doors and jumped in and in jumping in, I broke my wrist. And so- and mother's up there rolling bandages, daddy's out at Camp Davis, so my sister gets on her bicycle and goes racing up to St. Andrews to tell my mother. You know, and I'm sitting there, you know, like this (laughs) with a broken wrist until uh.. till they get back. Uh.. the- so uh.. maybe she brought some of the bandages home with her, I don't know. I don't remember who set my arm or whatever. But uh.. but I do remember..

Hayes: If your dad was at Camp Davis then were you in the position where you always would have soldiers rolling through because there were so many soldiers looking for a place to either stay or commiserate?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: In those days in Wilmington, they had public service announcements so with every- on the radio and so forth uhm.. saying if you have an extra bedroom in your house, please allow some soldier or his wife and so forth to rent this room and share your home with you. The bed- the house that we had, on one side we had four bedrooms and two baths and so we used the two ones in the rear of the house and the two that were up in the front which were almost like a separate suite. Uh.. they were for the entire war period, they were always rented. You- we had a succession of second lieutenants that were graduating from officer's training school out there and their wives would come and they loved the rooms. Mother, you know, mother uh.. shares my sister and I's penchant for decorating. She loved that. And uh.. she would always uh.. they would be allowed to fix their breakfast in our kitchen and so forth. Their wives just loved it. And we met many interesting people.

Hayes: So you had couples who actually stayed there?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, we did.

Hayes: Or they just visited? You mean there were actual families that would..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: They were always just couples. A second lieutenant and- and his wife. Usually, they were just married, they just got married and uh..

Hayes: Oh gosh, and heading overseas soon? I mean that was scary.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: That's right. As soon as they got out of officers' training school and got their commission, they were probably headed right over there. And uhm.. we had people from Schenectady, New York. At that time, I couldn't even spell Schenectady.

Hayes: I still can't.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And that was our first introduction to a Mormon couple. We had a Mormon couple that stayed there with us and, you know, good old Southern Baptists, we never even, you know, knew what Mormons were. And they came and they had been married in the temple. That was our first knowledge of there were- there were special groups within Mormons. Uh.. this couple had been married in the temple; therefore, they had all sorts of special privileges and things. And they were delightful people. And uh.. a lot of times uh.. we would play Monopoly with them in the living room, you know, on- on weekends.

Hayes: So you became their extended family of sorts.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We were their extended family.

Hayes: 'Cause you were at a good age. I mean you weren't trouble yet, right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exactly, exactly, right, right. (Laughs).

Hayes: No, I mean you weren't teenagers.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: But 6th grade with- with two ribbons on either side of your head and..

Hayes: And your sister was in 3rd you said.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And she was in the 3rd grade. And so- and in one instance, uh.. one couple even had a large Springer spaniel that uh.. that stayed with them. And he was adorable. He was adorable.

Hayes: And after the War, did any of those people ever contact you?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. yes, most of them wrote to mother and they told her, you know, how they had resumed their lives. And the Davis family across the street did the same thing. And uh.. and some of those people just remained friends really and truly uh.. throughout, you know, throughout their lives.

Hayes: That's interesting. That's great. And the money helped too. I mean it was tough times I'm sure for everybody.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Rationing was the main thing. (Laughs).

Hayes: Right. Well, tell me what that means, rationing.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, uh.. at that time you could still buy your groceries up at Davis Brothers Grocery which was on 17th. If you went straight up Wrightsville Avenue where Wrightsville Avenue uh.. ended, you looked across and there was Davis Brothers Grocery. And uh.. they still delivered groceries, if you can believe any such thing. They used to come, you know, they would bring the box, they would bring it to your back door. No one would have thought of delivering anything to your front door. That would have been absolutely uh.. totally impolite. They came to your back door. They brought the groceries in, set them on the kitchen table, that sort of thing. But things that were rationed of course were like sugar and butter. And in fact that was the first time any of us, especially those that uh.. had a country background, you know, where you had, uh.. you know, cows that could be milked and so forth. We had never heard of anything like margarine which of course was Oleo margarine as you remember.

Hayes: That's right.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And the first margarine packages, the margarine was in uh.. some sort of a plastic container, just a bag and it was totally white just like lard and you had to put this little sort of uh.. a tablet of some kind of food coloring, you put it in there and then you squished it up like this until that coloring permeated the entire bag and then you had yellow margarine which was supposed to look and act and taste and so forth like the butter that you could not, you know, now have because it was needed. Wasn't butter some s- was it grease and so forth part of the makings of explosives at that time?

Hayes: Of course, yeah.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And so that's where- that's where all the butter went.

Hayes: And soap and all of those things which were in huge demand.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exactly. E- exactly.

Hayes: Now, did you have neighbors that worked at the shipyard? I mean your dad was heading out to Camp Davis.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: To Camp Davis and- but uh.. I believe- I believe at one time uh.. one of the next door neighbors, we all knew people, uh.. friends at schools' fathers who came here uh.. for the shipyard and that sort of thing. And uh.. it's- oh, I'd- I'd forgotten this. Mother- mother at one time christened a ship at the shipyard. (Laughs).

Hayes: You're kidding.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes.

Hayes: Well, tell me about that.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). I'd- I'd totally forgotten about that.

Hayes: Also so we have it for the record, I'm sorry I didn't introduce, I'm Sherman Hayes, University Librarian, so the other voice that's coming in. But your father's name was?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Thomas William Poplin.

Hayes: Okay, and then you have a sister that's in the story and her name?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right and her name is Patricia Padgett Poplin Morrison.

Hayes: Morrison. She's now married. We'll get to her later. And your mother's name was?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Mother was Olene Padgett uh.. Poplin Lewis Kelly. Mother married twice after my father died.

Hayes: Oh, after he died. Okay.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, right. Mother buried three wonderful Baptist deacons. (Laughs). Mother lived to be ninety-six and three months and she was a beautiful, active woman until the- till she drew her last breath. I mean one breath she was with us, the next breath she was gone to glory. And uh.. so uh.. and- and she was (inaudible).

Hayes: You know, the neighbors and so forth, you know the soldiers came from everywhere, but were the workers predominantly southern that moved in or was there starting to be a mix of even workers from up north?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. there was a mix of- of even workers. Uh..

Hayes: Yeah. Okay, let me ask you the sensitive question, it was a different time, what about the blacks? I mean where were the blacks in this whole process? They weren't in your school.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, they weren't.

Hayes: They weren't in your church.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No. Uh..

Hayes: And they weren't at Camp Davis, no, not probably even..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I'm not aware of- of my father speaking of any black workers and uh.. we were not acquainted- there- there were no black second lieutenants that I'm aware of. Uh.. and mainly they were the people that, you know, took care of the small children. Uh.. at that time, you could still s- you still took your laundry and your ironing uh.. to- to their homes and uh.. and they ironed your tablecloths and that sort of thing.

Hayes: But you were fairly close in on Wrightsville to town, right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes.

Hayes: So you were not very far from black communities. I mean was that a normal place to go or visit or drive through?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, not at all.

Hayes: No? Okay, that's fine. I'm just curious because in New Hanover when you finally get there was a segregated school at that point.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes. Yes, it was. Yes, everything was. In fact, the- the contact that I had goes with uh.. with the black community would have been on my grandfather's uh.. plantation in south Georgia uh.. because we lived in an antebellum home first. It had been built in 1852 uh.. by..

Hayes: Wow. Survived the Civil War?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh yes, right, because it was far- it was too far off of the path. When Sherman went from Atlanta to Savannah, it was too far off the path.

Hayes: And I just want to put for the record that I'm not related to that Sherman. My name is Sherman, but I'm not related to that Sherman.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). But that's not it. And uh.. on my grandfather's plantation, and this was a problem during the war because uhm.. all the workers left, uh.. he had uhm.. he had sharecroppers, black and white. Uh.. there was a white family that were probably uh.. middle-aged. We- of course, being children, we thought they were elderly. Uh.. and- but then- and then there was another family that had sons that went off to the war just like my mother's younger brothers did, and then uh.. there were- there were at least three black families that- that lived on the place and they were sharecroppers.

Hayes: And they all left too?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And uhm.. the uh.. the uh.. the young men in those families uh.. did also. And so during the war in the summers when- when we went- we left Wilmington to go to south Georgia, uh.. it was difficult to find someone to help bring in the tobacco crops and the- and the cotton crops.

Hayes: That's interesting. And mechanization hadn't come along far enough that you could..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, it was still- in fact everything was manual except for the uh.. you know, the- well, th- they still plowed with a mule and, you know, and a- and a metal plow.

Hayes: Yeah. People forget how recent that is.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. And there was no su- no one in s- in South Georgia at that time had ever seen a cotton-picking machine.

Hayes: That's right.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It- it might have been invented by then, but the- there were none there. And this was a huge plantation, you know, left over from- from the antebellum days, thirty-three hundred acres.

Hayes: Wow. That is large.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. but a lot of it was not, you know, not arable land.

Hayes: Did that stay in your family, that plantation?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. my- my grandfather at one- at one point uh.. he uh.. he gave up cotton and tobacco and went into cattle and timber and moved out of the antebellum into a Victorian uh.. huge Victorian house downtown. So uh.. this is when I began to realize what architecture was and I mean because I had the privilege of living in uh.. this beautiful Doric columned house that was all built by hand, put together with pegs, designed by an architect and uh.. had survived the war. And then I went from that beautiful antebellum structure to a uh.. a Victorian structure which was, you know, the picture of what every Victorian (laughs) architectural doodad was.

Hayes: Two-story, three-story with an outside deck?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes. Yeah, sunroom, solarium is what they call it, solarium, tiled solarium.

Hayes: What color was it?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, it was white. Most of them were pink or white. And the one out in the country, of course the dining room and the kitchen were separate connected only to the big house by miles of verandahs so that if the kitchen caught on fire, it wouldn't burn the rest of the structure down, constructed out of hard pine.

Hayes: And what was the city that the Victorian one was in?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Quitman which was named after a revolutionary general, Quitman, Q-u-i-t-m-a-n.

Hayes: I don't know that one.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It's twelve miles off the Florida line. That's as far down in South Georgia as you can get.

Hayes: Boy, that is South Georgia.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Near Valdosta, near Valdosta.

Hayes: And how many people in that little town when you went in the summer?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, probably five or six thousand maybe.

Hayes: Right. And Wilmington by that point when you were in 6th, 7th and 8th grade during the war had gotten huge, right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, yes.

Hayes: So was this a treat, the summers to go back to the country?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). Right, where- where they grew- where you grew your own watermelons and you would cut one open and if it wasn't any good, you'd scoop out the heart and throw the rest to the hogs, you know, get it over 'cause it didn't cost you a thing. (Laughs). Not- not five dollars like it is today when you have to go and buy one, yeah. So..

Hayes: So were those great times to go back to the plantation, I mean into the country and so forth?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, yes. Uh.. I consider that to be one of the formative, you know, uh.. components of- of my life. Uh.. because the original buildings are still there. For instance, the smokehouse which was a huge structure, the smokehouse was still there would you cured meat and where uh.. you- you put the setting hens in a certain area.

Hayes: So in a sense, you..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It was a community.

Hayes: But you were also almost a Civil War era as far as how it felt.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, exactly.

Hayes: You had electricity of course.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exactly. Oh, the..

Hayes: Running water inside or not?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, there was- there was a well at the end of the- of the back verandah.

Hayes: And what about the restrooms?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And uh.. oh, the restroom was the outhouse. This one was a very large one at the bottom of the garden.

Hayes: I mean other than electricity, you were living in the Civil War era as far as..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We didn't- we didn't have electricity. We- we had..

Hayes: You didn't? What?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We had- we had the uh.. kerosene lamps. We had kerosene lamps.

Hayes: Really? Gosh.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And uh.. and then Sears came out with a marvelous invention called the Aladdin Lamp which gave off a marvelous amount of light. There was a fireplace in every room in the house and there was one room in that plantation which was called the fire room because even i- on the fourth of July when it would be a hundred and five there was still a fire in that because that's the one where- where the irons- we ironed with the- with the heavy irons and they were kept hot on the- on the hearth there. So uh..

Hayes: Interesting. So I find that fascinating that you really experienced almost from an 1850 to 2004 spectrum of life.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I am a living anachronism. (Laughs).

Hayes: Well no, I mean you didn't see it that way, but as you look back on it, you really were..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Everything was ______. You know, uh.. there was- there was the kitchen garden uh.. and there was a huge pecan grove, you know, we had- we had pecans.

Hayes: Yeah, South Georgia, really big, yeah.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We made our own sugar cane. My grandfather raised sugar and we made our own syrup. And you had to- someone had- one of the family members, one of the uncles knew how to cook the syrup, you know, cook it down ______.

Hayes: And then since your dad went over, what did he go over, in '45 or '46?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I think it was '45.

Hayes: And then for two years you definitely went all summer long.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes.

Hayes: And then by that point you were late high school?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Um hmm, right.

Hayes: And you probably were welcome help is what I would guess in some ways too. Did you work a lot when you were there?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, we worked. In fact uhm.. granddaddy paid my sister and I just like he paid the rest of the hands. That's what they called them, hands that worked _______. And uhm.. we uhm.. we handed tobacco uh.. and..

Hayes: What does that mean?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. handing tobacco is the- the tobacco is brought in from the fields on a sled. Uh.. a sled is- is just like it says. It's a thing on runners pulled by a mule and it's loaded up with tobacco. And uh.. the man stands up front, you know, with the mule, and all the rest of the sled is full of stacks, very orderly stacks of these huge leaves of tobacco.

Hayes: They're green at this point?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exactly. They- they pull the sled up to this trestle table in front. They stack the leaves on the trestle table. Behind the trestle table at each end is a stringer who has a tobacco stick.

Hayes: The stringer is a person?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: The stringer is a person.

Hayes: Okay.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And he has- and there is a tobacco stick on a uh.. sawhorse up at uh.. at this height and there is a huge ball of twine at one end of the tobacco stick. All right, all the little handers, which were my sister and I and whatever other children, you know, were on the plantation at the time, we were all standing there in front of this stack. Sometimes the tobacco was as high as our head when we first started. And we would select, depending on the size of the leaf, anywhere from two to three to four leaves of tobacco. We would hand it out. The- the uh.. stringer would start at one end of the pole, she would grab the hand of tobacco from this person on this side and put a knot around it and that would uh.. make it adhere to the- to the stick. She would grab one from the other hand, this way, she went this way, this way all the way down to the end of the stick. When you got through, you had a s- a stick that could be held on each end and it was full of leaves of tobacco hanging.

Hayes: Hanging down.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. That is taken away, it's put on a wagon, and when the wagon is full, it's taken off to the tobacco barn.

Hayes: To dry?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: To be cured.

Hayes: Cured, with smoke?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: In those uh.. in those days you had to sit up with the tobacco barn. You had to fire the tobacco barn. You had a fireplace in it just like in your house. The tobacco barn had to be fired out and somebody- some male member of the family had to sit up with the tobacco barn, they took turns every night and they stoked the fire all during the night to keep the temperature at a certain- to- to cure tobacco. Now it's done I understand with uh.. your kerosene and butane gas, that type of thing.

Hayes: Right. Now were they smoking the tobacco or they were just trying to keep the heat up so that it would dry?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: They actually cured it, cured the tobacco, and then when it came out, it was golden and it was packed again and sent off to the- to the warehouse when- whenever the warehouse opened.

Hayes: Interesting. And you were a hander?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, I was a hander.

Hayes: And that's what they called you, a hander?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: That's right, right. That's what they called you.

Hayes: Interesting. And the lady who was wrapping it was called a stringer?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: The stringer, right.

Hayes: And what were other terms that they would use? What about the guys who were in the field, pickers?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yeah, the- they picked it, right.

Hayes: They were pickers.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: That's right.

Hayes: And then there was a mule driver.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. Uh.. they- they were actually, you know, stripping the uh.. tobacco leaves on. So and of course when you touch a tobacco leaf, you get this gooey black nicotine stuff all over your hands.

Hayes: Really? That's interesting.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. And so after you- when it was time- the plantation bell rang at exactly twelve o'clock every day and you went off to- to lunch. And so when that bell rang, your hands were totally black. It looked like tar. Well, it was tar.

Hayes: It was tar, yeah.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. The only thing that is going to get that off, well there were various formulas. My favorite formula was you rubbed your hands in the sand because there were a lot of white sandy areas in- in that, you rubbed your hands in the sand, then you got a ripe tomato, you rubbed that on there. The acid in the tomato would cut right through that tar and then you rubbed it in the sand again and then you could wash. If you simply washed your hands, none of that was going to come off.

Hayes: But you didn't use like turpentine?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, no. I wouldn't go putting that on my hands.

Hayes: In the Midwest, we would use like turpentine or something like that.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. Well, I imagine some of them did, but we used uh.. we used ripe tomatoes and- and sand to get that off.

Hayes: That is great.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And then everybody went home for lunch. You know, all the uh.. the black sharecroppers went to their cabins, the white sharecroppers went to theirs which were in very distinct locations I- I imagine, and we went to the big house, you know? Uh.. grandmother had been up cooking since five or six o'clock in the morning, picking vegetables. She probably had string beans, fresh corn, always potatoes, gallons of iced tea, cornbread, biscuits, uh.. bacon.

Hayes: Whoa! Now how have you stayed so thin starting out that way?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). Well, at that time too, at that time uh.. you know, all the- all the- m- mother's brothers, she had five of 'em and my grandfather, they just drank, you know, these huge glasses of iced tea. Well, of course, mother wanted us to be drinking milk so it was only after we drank our glass of milk then we could have this itty-bitty glass of iced tea. And we would always look at what the boys and my grandfather had, you know, and my sister and I thought if we ever got old enough so that we could have all the iced tea we wanted (laughs). And of course the iced tea then, you had a big slab of ice in an icebox, not a refrigerator, which was delivered probably once a week, you know, when the ice man came round and you had your ice pick and you went and opened the door, you know, and got the ice out. You know, it was- that was- okay, so you went home at twelve o'clock to eat lunch. Then, this is just like it was, it still is in the Hispanic world, everybody took a siesta. You did not go back- you didn't have thirty minutes for lunch, you didn't have an hour for lunch.

Hayes: Oh, really?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: My grandfather would get up from the dinner table and nobody dared leave till he got up, and he would go and get his paper and read that for awhile, then he would find the coolest place in the house, all those verandahs he would walk around and find out where the breeze was, and he would take a nap right there wherever the breeze was. And uh.. and until he- till he waked up from his nap, when he did that, he rang the plantation bell and everybody went back to work. It might be three o'clock in the afternoon because it was gonna be light till nine o'clock that night, right?

Hayes: Yeah. And then did you work late too?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: So- so then- then we worked until- till he decided that- that we'd worked enough- enough for that- for that day.

Hayes: That's interesting.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It was- it was the plantation system exactly as it had been before Sherman came through like that.

Hayes: Yeah, right. Only he had to pay or gave land and tenet.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Everybody got paid off at twelve o'clock in cash on Saturday.

Hayes: Oh, is that right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And every- and everybody took off for town right? My grandfather had account books and he would- he would sit there at a certain place in the shade tree under the- this tremendous oak tree that covered the whole backyard. He would sit there and everybody would come up whenever they got up and got dressed and everything on Saturday morning. They would- they would come up and he would open his account books and he would pay 'em off in cash and they would all take off to town.

Hayes: And spend it quickly.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And spend it all. I'm not kidding. By the time Thursday morning came around, when I would get up on Thursday morning and- and go back to the kitchen, there would be somebody standing at- at the edge of the fence of the backyard which was a huge, huge area because it encompassed the uhm.. the chicken yard and the uh.. smokehouse and all that sort of thing, and the- this fence, when you opened the fence, you went into what was called the lot yard. This was where the stables and uh.. where the animals, you know, were kept. There was just a huge uh.. barns, corn- corncribs and all that sort of thing. Okay, somebody was up there to get a bucket of syrup that- that we kept in the butler's pantry. There was a huge butler's pantry in that house and that's where we put all of the things we canned during the summer and including the syrup that was made so the- they called it a bucket of syrup. It was a big tin can. Get a bucket of syrup and uh.. maybe some- some bacon or something because they had already uh.. maybe some flour 'cause they had already expended whatever it was that they had brought home in their toe sacks, you know, from the grocery store on Saturday afternoon. And my grandmother would walk out there and find out what they wanted. Now, the reason why they didn't open the gate and come in was because there was a white English bulldog that would take your leg off, you know, if you- if you came in. There was a collie dog that was very nice and there was a uh.. a birddog that was very nice, but that black English bulldog would take your leg off. The only one he answered to was my grandfather. (Laughs).

Hayes: Oh, that is great. Now, how long did that life keep going? I mean I know after the war people didn't come back as much. I mean how long could he keep that going?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It- oh, that was when- after the war when everybody got back and society sort of re uh.. sisted itself, uh.. that's when he switched from cotton and tobacco to cattle and timber and moved into town.

Hayes: And sold off the large landholdings?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, this had been- actually, he was simply in charge of that plantation. He never owned it. It could not be sold. It was like those English plantations that are entailed, those English estates.

Hayes: Really? He didn't own it?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No. He- he held it and worked it and so forth for a huge company over in Valdosta. He was the only man that ever made money off that plantation, since Sherman came through. And they were- they were really fond of him. And uh.. so..

Hayes: So he quit doing that and then how did he make money then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: 'Cause he did- he did so well you see that that's when he bought his timberland and went- and went into cattle, all right, because he did so well on that plantation.

Hayes: And then he didn't need the labor, he didn't need as much labor.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No. This was go- this was the Bray [ph?] Company and they were, like many other companies in South Georgia, into uh.. turpentine, naval stores, timber and that sort of thing and they had so many different places that they would disposition and this was one that had always been an albatross around the company's neck, so to speak. And so when my grandfather came back from Florida after the real estate boom and the bust down there in- in '29 uh.. and stock market crash, when he came back to Georgia, uh.. he impressed uh.. Dr. Giddings who was in charge of all this- these extensive holdings for the Bray Company uh.. and he s- asked him if he would be willing to try to see what he could do. He says, "Nobody else has been able to do anything with this plantation uh.. Padgett. Just see what you can do over there and do." And so Padgett went over there and, you know, made a big success of it. My- my grandfather was successful at everything he did. He went into politics. He was uh.. county commissioner, he uh.. you uh.. you know, we- he got all the roads paved for friends and like that sort of thing. He was uh.. a good friend of Marvin Griffin who was the Governor uh.. in Georgia at one time. And so uh..

Hayes: That's great. But he understood that after the war it was better to not be in that big business because the labor wasn't there.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes. E- exactly. So you go into something like uh.. cattle that uh.. at certain stages they sort of take care of themselves. And uh.. and he went- he even went from White-Fer- White-Faced Hereford cattle to black Angus. You know, he went from- from in other words White-Faced Hereford would be sort of your low- the lowest caste if you're a cattleman, uh.. certainly in Georgia, and then all- then up to uh.. the black Angus. And he loved to go out and look at his- his black Angus cow grazing in the crimson clover fields. That is a beautiful picture. When he got to be in his eighties, my mother would uh.. drive him out there, you know, in the cool of the afternoon and so he could look at his cattle, you know, feeding in- in the red clover.

Hayes: Listen, you have to love the fact that the land is so much a part of their life.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, yeah.

Hayes: And it seems like you picked up some of that too even just those summers going back and forth. And you called yourself a country girl. Do you consider yourself?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, I do. I do consider myself a country girl. And- oh, and he used to uh.. he used to ride over that plantation uh.. you know, on horseback, that- that huge plantation. And uh.. the horse that he was on, uh.. you learn to trust your horse. Uh.. at one point, I recall that he told me that- that the horse, named Flash, refused to go forward and he kept urging and the horse would not- and had he gone forward, my f- grandfather dismounted and got around to look, he would have stepped into a well because there were old- there were ha- had been so many slave cabins on that plantation and each one of 'em had a well and so you never knew and they were covered over, but then of course the covering, you know, would rot and it would get covered over with- with vegetation. And he said, "Flash had sense enough not to step ahead and I was urging him more," and uh.. he would have stepped into a- into a well. And..

Hayes: That's interesting. Back to Wilmington for a few more minutes. You're ready to go into 9th grade and it's New Hanover High School, exciting possibilities. By this time, you've kind of adopted Wilmington as your home of sorts.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes.

Hayes: I mean at first it must have been difficult.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It was, but- but we- we did- we did love it. And uh.. since I graduated from high school here and, you know, and went on to the Women's College, yes, North Carolina was definitely my home. And..

Hayes: And what was high school like at that time? I mean teachers that you remember?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh yes, yes. Uh..

Hayes: 'Cause if you went onto college, that was really not the norm for women at that time that I would think, so somebody must have influenced you.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, you know, someone asked me about that and I said I never remember a time, in other words, I didn't know that I couldn't go to college. I had known from the time I began to learn how to read which was at four years old that uh.. that that was my obligation. I- I didn't know that I could not go. Uh.. it was just- that was just- in other words, my education was not completed until I had gone.

Hayes: But your dad was college-educated, was he not, or not?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Actually, uh.. no, he really wasn't. He- that- he was- he was educated in the days when there were academies and uh.. in Tennessee particularly. And as my mother said, no one in south Georgia would have ever learned how to read if it hadn't been for teachers from Tennessee. (Laughs). And uh.. his- his parents were both teachers and his sister began teaching Latin when she was sixteen. And uh..

Hayes: And how about your mom? What was her schooling level?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. mother graduated from what is now part of the University system at Douglas, Georgia and it was called Douglas Agricultural and Mathematical College, Douglas A&M when she was there. It is now uh.. South Georgia College, part of the university system of Georgia and mother was the oldest alumna. Uh.. I took her back there for a reunion and all the buildings that are on campus now are named after people that were there. Well, mother's best friends, one of her old beaus has a building named after him, a man who was head of it, or whatever they call, the uh.. head of the college at that time uh.. has a building named after him. And mother- mother all her life did needlework, beautiful needlework and at this reunion I filled the entire art gallery of South Georgia College with examples of mother's needlework: Quilts, rugs, uh.. pillows, wall hangings and so forth. And uh.. I fe- I got all the old pictures out of her, you know, uh.. s- snapshot album of the way girls used to dress. They had uniforms in those days and..

Hayes: Was it a girls' school or a mixed school?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, it was a mixed school.

Hayes: It was coed.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, it was coed and- but the girls wore white shirts with- with the tie, you know, like the sailors used to wear and l- long navy blue skirts and thick navy blue stockings. And uh.. most of 'em wore their hair all punched out on the side, you know? Uh.. so- but anyway, she got to go back and it was just a revelation. So that's- mother graduated. And I still- I still had her ca- class ring. I still have it.

Hayes: So was this a college or was this a high school academy?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, it was both, really and truly. Um-hmm. Uh.. it wa- but it was- it was Douglas A&M.

Hayes: But it seems like what it says to me is that your family really valued education if they assumed you were gonna go to school. It wasn't like a surprise.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes. They cer- they certainly did, right. My- my father's father, my paternal grandfather had put all his brothers who were all doctors, medical doctors, he had put them all through school right after the war between the states and uh.. and he, you know, he was a teacher rather than going on to do the medical degree, you know, like the rest of them did. But uh.. and they were the ones that uhm.. I was gonna say they taught me how to read uh.. when I was four years old. I was reciting things like uh.. Rudyard Kipling's "The Bal"- (laughs) "Ballad of the East and West." You know, at that time, as I remember. I knew all that "Gunga Din." (Laughs). And I can still- I can still recite reams of poetry I mean from every- every genre and every, you know? (Laughs).

Hayes: So tell me a little bit about New Hanover then. It was a leading high school in the State.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, now I was gonna say, this one- it was. And my favorite teacher along with a lot of other people, it was almost like a cult, was Miss Virginia Walsh [ph?] who astoundingly to me was not only able to teach creative writing and sophomore English and things like that, but she could teach mathematics. And since mathematics was things like algebra so we- were a complete mystery to me. And people still don't know how I got through, you know..

Hayes: The doctoral program.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Or through anything. You know, AB, MA with no math courses. Well listen, I took things like zoology and uh.. Greek, anything that they could substitute for, you know, for your math unit. So uh.. but Miss Walsh was one of those charismatic teachers, although she probably would have loathed that word, (laughs) but she could inspire you to do things that you had no idea that you were capable of doing like writing poetry. One day, she came into class and announced that we were going to be writing poetry this week. And I was- I was sitting next to a football player, (laughs) you know, a linebacker and the captain of the thing, you know, another captain of ROTC unit over here and I thought, "Yes, ma'am, they're gonna be writing poetry?" But they did. They rose to the occasion. They wrote poetry. And her formula was that if you- if you had writer's block and you could not write a poem, you would go down and sit and look at the Cape Fear River for at least an hour till you could sit on one of those benches down there and just gaze at the river and let your mind just be blank and just let the thoughts come into it that were inspired by the motion and the light and the sounds of the river. And she was absolutely positive that you would be able to go home and write a poem and bring it and read it in class the next day.

Hayes: Oh, isn't that interesting?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And- and everybody did. You always rose up to the- this level that you never knew was in you because Ms. Walsh [ph?] believed that you could do it and you didn't want to disappoint her. I mean we learned how to write précis. None of us could spell précis and we certainly didn't know what it was, you know, and she would bring magazines in and give us out and say, "Now you write one from this article," and so forth and we learned to write things like précis. And we wrote poetry and we memorized poetry, things like "Lincoln, The Man of the People," uh.. also Emily Dickinson. Uh.. she thought, you know, that you could instant- you could read a stanza of Emily Dickinson and it would be committed to memory. You know, she was quite sure that you would have no problem (laughs) memorizing that.

Hayes: Okay, I'm gonna just take a break for a minute.

(break in tape)

Hayes: Okay, it's still April 22nd with Sherman Hayes, Dr. Elizabeth..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). It's still Professor Elizabeth Stanfield.

Hayes: It's still Professor Stanfield and we're still at her wonderful house here in Wilmington on tape number 2. So we were talking about some of the teachers at New Hanover and besides the English teacher, who were some others?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Okay, I would like to mention uhm.. Miss Hattie Sue Smith and uh.. that's where I learned about "Silas Mariner" (laughs) in- in her class, and uhm.. Miss Formy-Duval. She was senior English. And I will never forget how wonderful we thought it was uh.. the year that I was in her senior English class was the year that Queen Elizabeth II, who was Princess Elizabeth at the time, married and her wedding of course was a big uh.. it would be a big television event now, but uh.. Miss Formy-Duval brought radio into the classroom and we listened to the ceremony from Westminster, you know, uh.. Abbey and uh.. and then I was so taken with the music that was played uh.. at that- she had all the traditional settings uh.. since her family is- was Scottish on her mother's side, uh.. she had all the traditional airs of to which you sing the 23rd Psalm played. And so when I married in Atlanta in 1956 at Peachtree Christian Church which is one of the finest examples of a gothic cathedral in the south and uh.. I was at the time the lead soprano in the antiphonal choir there and so uh.. as a wedding gift the organist, you know, gave me my music. And uh.. he was so thrilled that I did not want the traditional things played. I didn't want to hear "dum, dum-da-dum." And so he played the coronation music of Edward the VII as- and nobody knew when to turn around and look at the bride, but he also played all those wonderful traditional Scottish airs, you know, uh.. to which you sing the 23rd Psalm uh.. during uh.. you know, the ceremony and so forth. So but uh.. it got the idea for that in Miss Formy-Duval's English class uh.. listening to the marriage of- of Philip and uh.. and Princess Elizabeth. Uh.. and then the library at New Hanover, uh.. it covered the entire as I recall uh.. third floor I believe was where it was at that time and it was only- of course I knew it was wonderful when I was there, but it was only after I became a student at the Women's College that I realized what an advantage uh.. New Hanover High School had been because uh.. our graduating class at that time, this was uh.. 1948, graduating class had over four hundred students in it.

Hayes: Big.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And uh.. we- we were friends of uh.. new girls at the Women's College that might have had twelve, twenty-five, you know, fifty people in that graduating class from small schools all over uh.. the state and people that had no knowledge of how to use the college library because they didn't have- they didn't have a big library at their high school. And ours was one, you know, like uh.. there- there were probably uh.. little colleges that didn't have as good a library as we had at New Hanover.

Hayes: That's interesting.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And we all learned how to use it. And of course now you go online, but then you had to learn how to, you know, oh, work your way through the card catalogue.

Hayes: But it was still the same technique.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exactly.

Hayes: So you learned the research method in high school which gave you an advantage.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Exactly. And we learned- we learned all about the Dewey Decimal System. Of course, when I went to the university, I had to learn Library of Congress, but uh..

Hayes: Right. Well, tell me about languages though. You're a professor in Spanish, right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). In Spanish, right.

Hayes: Did you start that at New Hanover?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, uh.. yes. I took- I took two years of- of Latin and two years of Spanish.

Hayes: And who was your Spanish teacher?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: You know, I do not remember anything about the two Spanish teachers that I had.

Hayes: Because I'm wondering if it's Mrs..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Because Ms. Lathrop, you see, taught the Latin classes.

Hayes: I wondered if it's Mrs. Bellamy now. I don't know.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, no, she came- she came after I was graduated. Uh..

Hayes: Yeah. 'Cause she ended up out at UNCW. I mean eventually, and we've done an interview with her and I know she was in languages then.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: But sh- the- the person that we had 'cause remember this was right after World War II when things were still kind of unsettled and uh.. s- she was a first year teacher and I'm not sure that she even, you know, she- she- the ink was hardly dry on her college diploma when she walked in.

Hayes: But you took two years of Latin?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I took two years of Latin and two years of Spanish.

Hayes: And at that point, did you love it or not love it?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I was good at it and so it uh.. it uh..

Hayes: Yeah, because you spoke so glowingly about English, obviously that was a passion.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. right, and also art because uh.. I wanted to mention Miss Lawson.

Hayes: Oh, tell me about Miss Lawson because let me tell you a little story.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: All right, tell me a little story about Miss Lawson.

Hayes: Well, we didn't know much about Miss Lawson and I've collected quite a bit of art for the library and I want you to come in and see it sometime.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I'd love to.

Hayes: But the one book we had was done in the 1970s by Hewitt and Claude Howell was sponsoring it and mentioned Miss Lawson always as on the board and a supporter. And then about a year ago, someone brought in some paintings and told us that she was the first teacher to even introduce art into New Hanover system and so forth and we have one of her paintings, but I know very little about her. I mean she's almost kind of been lost is what I'm saying.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, then we certainly need to see if we can resurrect her. Uhm.. I had art the 7th period which was just wonderful because if you were engrossed in a project, uh.. you didn't have to get up and leave when the bell rang and that sort of thing, so I was always thrilled that it was the last period in the day that I had art. And uh.. I remember Miss Lawson to me was the kind of person that really inspired me. Uh.. she had a very uh.. systematic, organized approach, uh.. when she always had a project she had- that she wanted you to do. She would, you know, she would tell the class the project and then she would let you go and work on it. But her thoughts on it were always well organized. And in her class I learned to do uh.. illumination like the medieval Monks did. I- I produced uh.. a veritable illuminated manuscript with the gold ink and the silver ink and the black gothic text. In fact- and I was so fond of that that I- I did another one for myself afterwards which I have framed and it's still in my carriage house and on which people remark on it. It was a verse uhm.. of Emily Dickinson's that I decided- because she would uh.. she was very strict about the way she thought about things. In other words, if you were going to spend the time to do something in black gothic text and it was your obligation in her art class to learn how to letter several different types of alphabets, and- but if you were going to take the trouble to do black gothic text, then you needed to be lettering something that was worthwhile. And uh.. then I'll never forget one boy in the class had picked a sort of tongue in cheek quotation and uh.. the whole class thought it was just, you know, charming uh.. and witty and that sort of thing and particularly the way he had projected uh.. the way he was going to illustrate it. She would not hear to it. It was not worthy of being in black gothic (laughs) text. And she said, "Well, why don't you choose something else?" (Laughs). So..

Hayes: So this was really a fine arts class, it wasn't just like a lecture on history.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. no.

Hayes: Did you ever take the art history too?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, I didn't take the art history. I wanted to be, you know, in among the- the uh.. the ink pots and so forth. And uh.. I actually uh.. learned- in other words, I learned who in town uh.. sold, you know, India ink and how you managed India ink and gold and silver ink and the different types of lettering pens and so forth. And that was the first time I bought a lettering book which showed you the alphabets and you learned to- to do them by looking at them. I learned spacing, uh..

Hayes: Did you do also traditional painting and watercolor?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, we did- we did watercolor and we learned the different types of- like we learned uh.. naturalized design, geometric design, abstract design. Uh.. she was very uh.. orderly and uh.. in teaching us she wanted us to have- she didn't want us to just be creative really, she wanted us to know why we were doing what we were doing.

Hayes: There was a discipline to it.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, there was, there was. And I remember one- but she also, as you said, she did her own painting and stuff well and one day she asked me uh.. if I had any roses growing in the yard at my house and I said, "Yes, there's one bush right now that's blooming that has a very deep red rose on it." And she said, "Cut one of those and bring it with you to class tomorrow," so I did and she stuck it in my hair and she painted a portrait of me with that deep red rose in my hair.

Hayes: Isn't that great?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: So uh.. but she would- I never saw it. I never saw it. She was very, seems to me, protective of her own work. I'm not sure with whom she shared it.

Hayes: Well, it was interesting because what happened is several years ago there was a lot of it around and some of it was just being thrown away because at this point they didn't know who she was or didn't care.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh.

Hayes: And this person donated one. We have a picture she did of her own brother. But I don't even have any sense of if there's family. I don't know that she ever married.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I don't- I don't believe she did. And I remember she was one of the first people to think of redoing one of the smaller historic houses. And uh..

Hayes: She was on the board at St. John's later on in the '50s and '60s, but I haven't been able to track what happened to her because we would like to put her picture up in a series we have on the web, but you need the permission of the family or an estate and we don't know what ever happened to- so anyway, interesting..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: But she taught me, and it was- I realized that I could do lettering. I was quite competent at lettering. And uh.. one of the things that she inaugurated at New Hanover was right outside the- the big series of double doors that went into the auditorium there was an easel there every day of the school year that had a beautifully lettered motto, something that, you know, your teachers would want you to read, absorb, remember, and that sort of thing. And the students in her classes, it was considered to be a- just a real uh.. privilege if she asked you to letter one of those or if she chose something that you had lettered as a class project to be framed and put there on that.

Hayes: Nice.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And uh.. there was an alphabet in my lettering book that I was dying to try, uh.. most unusual, and so I lettered "Honesty is the best policy" in that and that was the first one of mine that she put up there. And oh, I made an excuse to walk by that auditorium (laughs) I don't know how many times a day and see that. And uh.. so and so that- that was there for years. That was one of the things that I know that she did, uh.. that she inaugurated at- at New Hanover was..

Hayes: Now what year did you graduate from high school then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: '48.

Hayes: Tell me a little bit of how the town changed there in that '45, '46, '47, '48. I mean you're near-adult at this point. Shipyards closed all of a sudden, people moved away. Did you really see differences? Was it that fast or did it not feel changing that fast?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I'm just trying to think. Uhm.. it- well it did and of course a lot of people were- were pleased to think that, you know, Wilmington was going to again be the way it was. I think it was almost like a, "Whew, it's over, you know, and we survived it." Uh.. but uhm.. quite a few people even from other parts of the state all of a sudden realized what was here and uh.. and they wanted to co- if they- if they left, they were- they were planning to come back. You know, this- this became uh.. much more of a vacation spot. It was really- among the three cities that I consider to be seminal in the development of uh.. you know, of this nation would be, you know, uh.. Charleston, Savannah, and Wilmington. The one that's least known I find in, you know, in other parts of the country is Wilmington. Everybody knows about the architecture in- in Charleston and in Savannah. And then of course Savannah was put on the map by that "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (laughs). If they'd never heard of Savannah before, they did after that one. But uh.. I found- I found in Atlanta when- when I was there for forty-four years at least, uh.. no one- no one knew a thing about Wilmington. No one was planning, you know, on their vacation to go to Wilmington. I was always the only one. And when I would say, "Well, I'm going to Wilmington this weekend," and- and I knew they were thinking Delaware.

Hayes: They were thinking Delaware, yeah.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: They were thinking Delaware. And- and I would look- I'd say, "No, North Carolina," without anybody s- saying anything. And- and I would tell them, "If you like the architecture in those other two coastal towns, then you will love it in Wilmington." And uh..

Hayes: But it went back to being after the war a sleepy town for a long time.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, yes it did.

Hayes: I mean and like you said, people were glad that..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And then of course when the coastline left, everybody- it was just like, "Well, that's it for Wilmington."

Hayes: And your mom stayed here. You went on to college, but your mom stayed.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And my- and my mom stayed here, but then when- my senior year at the Women's College, uhm.. dad w- was a big international uhm.. contractor and he was a resident mechanical engineer uh.. for them, and uh.. and s- and he was transferred to Atlanta and that's how we went to Atlanta. And my sister uh.. stayed and- and married a Wilmington boy. I mean he- his family- and he was born here and uh.. his family had always- has always been here. And so- and then the three of us, you know, moved to Atlanta.

Hayes: Moved to Atlanta.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Um-hmm. And I went into the uh.. to the school system.

Hayes: And you went to what is now UNC Greensboro. You called it?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, yeah, the Women's College. It was- it was WCUNC, Women's College of University of North Carolina. At that time, there were only three parts of the university system. There was Chapel Hill which was the university, I mean nobody ever thought of anything else, and there was State and there was the Women's College. And actually, at that time, when you think about all the uh.. the women's lib and assertiveness and all this sort of thing, you could not at that time go to Chapel Hill if you were a women until you were a junior.

Hayes: Really?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: You could not. You had to do your first two years at the Women's College and then you transferred over to Chapel Hill. You could not start out-

Hayes: But the Women's College was also four-year though, right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh yes, oh yes. It was four years.

Hayes: So how many students were there when you went to the Women's College then? Was it a small college?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: No, it was pretty large I would say. I don't know how many people were there. Uh.. there were- I was trying to count the dorms.

Hayes: Several thousand then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, oh yes. Yes, right. And uh.. I think at the time I was there it was when they built uh.. that- that's when the library went from being one of the small Carnegie libraries which I adored, I knew- I knew every nook and cranny. I worked in the library the whole time I- that I was at the college. And uh.. and that's when they built the big library which has now been enlarged, you know, several times. But that's when uh.. that new library opened uh.. during the time that- that I was there.

Hayes: What degree did you take?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I got an AB and I had uh.. you asked how I got switched to Atlanta. I started out as an art major and then I realized I'll never graduate, you know, uh.. 'cause they don't like my stuff. And so I switched to English literature and uh.. but I took a lot of the creative writing programs. Peter Taylor was my uh.. first creative writing teacher there. And uh.. you know, New Yorker published everything he ever wrote and then of course his long-awaited novels began to come out, even after I had left the Women's College. And uh.. he came to the campus at uh.. Georgia State uh.. during the- during the '80s I think and everybody in the English department there, they just thought, you know, the fact that I had been his student and so forth, I mean it was like, you know, "May I touch you?" And he actually remembered me. And uh.. 'cause I made a point to go up and- and speak to him and uh.. I said uh.. and I said uh.. "Now, do you remember that you told me that I had a mind like a Victorian attic?" (Laughs). And he laughed and he said- he said, "I do now that you mention it." (Laughs).

Hayes: Meaning you could get a lot in it? Is that what he meant?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, it was just- just full of all sorts of, you know, unusual little things and uh.. no rhyme nor reason for them to be there. And- (laughs) but I could always, you know, knit 'em together and put 'em in a short story. (Laughs). But uh.. but, you know, as a freshman, I started taking, you know, languages and since- they had placement tests then and uh.. unfortunately, I thought at the time, I placed in the intermediate category for Spanish. And I walked into my first Spanish class there and they were giving book reports in Spanish and I thought I'd faint, you know? And- but I struggled and so forth and realized okay, you've got to do this; you might as well do it. And uhm.. so my advisor just kept signing me up for more Spanish courses. So I realized that when I was a junior, "I've got as many courses in Spanish literature as I do in English literature." And uh.. and then I had a teaching certificate on top of that. My parents would not allow me to graduate without fulfilling all the requirements for a class A North Carolina teacher's certificate.

Hayes: Oh, they wanted you to be able to work.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: They said, "At some point, you will need this." Okay. When I went to- when I told somebody that I was going to Atlanta and that I was going to ask for a teaching position, they said, "Well, you'll never get it. You'll have to go teach in some little town outside Atlanta. Atlanta has the pick of whatever teachers they want." When I walked in with that class A North Carolina, it was like they said, "What school do you wish to teach at?"

Hayes: Oh, is that right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. I mean they were in awe of the- you know, Georgia has not always had, (laughs) shall we say, they've made a lot of improvements. They've come a long way.

Hayes: And what year is this that you went to Atlanta then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: This was 1952, fall- late fall of '52.

Hayes: Yes, I would say North Carolina was ahead.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I even got a position in November, you know?

Hayes: And did they want you high school English, high school language?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Actually, I was the first foreign language specialist in the elementary school hired by the city of Atlanta because they looked at my credentials; they saw that I had as many hours in Spanish as I did in English. That was right after Sputnik had been launched and everybody was crazy for languages, you know, you had to be learning languages. And there were no curriculums, there were no study materials, there was nothing to help you. I had to create all my own stuff. But the superintendent said, "You have two schools. You're going to be our foreign language specialist." So I was.

Hayes: And you introduced the first foreign language at the elementary school.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Elementary. I taught kindergarten through the 7th grade at two schools.

Hayes: And how long did that last that they had that emphasis, for several years?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh yes, yes.

Hayes: Because I bet you the parents loved that.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, they did love it. They- they did love it. And the teachers did too because (laughs) the- the thirty minutes or forty-five minutes that I was in the classroom, they could leave. You know, that was- that was the way. But uh.. and..

Hayes: So you started out in the public schools. How long did you do that then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I did that for uh.. long enough to get tenure, five years.

Hayes: But then you had the desire to go back?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Then- then I- then I married Bill Stanfield. I decided I was never going to teach again. Bill was with Delta Airlines and- which of course was Atlanta's, you know, biggest thing. And uh.. I even pulled out all my money out of teachers' retirement if you can believe it. And see the Atlanta system at that time uh.. you could- you could uh.. do your teachers' retirement thing and you could also get Social Security at the same time. And a lot of people didn't, but I was smart enough to do that. And so uh.. and- and you could- you could do that in the Atlanta city schools. Some systems you- you can't, but in the Atlanta city schools you could. And so I pulled all that up, I was never going back. By the time my sons were in the 3rd grade and so forth, I was bored out of my gourd.

Hayes: This would be six, seven years later you mean, eight years later?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh huh, yeah. It would be in the- we're now into the almost probably '60 or something. And uh.. I- I had a cousin that had just gotten a master's degree in journalism at Columbia who was working on the Atlanta Journal. In fact, she almost didn't get the job because she had more education in journalism than the woman who was heading up the women's pages, if you recall them, you know, and uh.. didn't want to hire her because she had a master's degree from the living end of journalism, you know, Columbia School of Journalism. But somebody told her to hire my cousin so she did. Okay, so one day I was reading in the paper an article that she had written and it was about fellowships that the Rocky Fellow Foundation was going to- had given a million dollars to the American Association of University Women and they were offering fellowships for married women who already had their bachelor's degrees and had always wanted to be college professors. I thought, "This is tailored for me." So I called cousin Margaret up and I said, "Margaret, I can't believe that. This is just like I made- if I made it up myself, I couldn't have made it up." And you know how families are. She said, "Well, you can apply for it, but you'll never get it." So, you know, family- family can be that way. And so it was so delicious when I was awarded uh.. I was one of two in the southeast that were awarded and I got that paid for, everything at Emery University.

Hayes: Oh, at Emery. Okay, I wondered where it was..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: At Emery, right- right there in town, even paid for babysitters. They even extended mine over the- the summer and so that I could write, you know, my..

Hayes: So how long did that take, two solid years, or you went full-time?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. yes, I went full-time and I was the only graduate student there that didn't have to be a teaching assistant. They would not allow you to. You were on this fellowship. You were relieved of anything. They just wanted you to go to your classes and write your..

Hayes: And what program? What was the exact program you decided to take then, Spanish literature?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, uh.. Spanish literature. Because you see, by that time, I had been working in it.

Hayes: And your Spanish was fluent?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, it was uh.. because I had gone to an N.D.E.A. institute. I had gone to a private one when those- when they stuck me in as the foreign language consultant, that very first summer uh.. a professor at what was then the Women's College uh.. in Georgia, it's now- I don't know what the name of it is now, but it's at Milledgeville. But it had been there a long time just like ours. He had a nine-weeks program in which you were stuck out in the country in the home ec country home, the home ec program's country home. You had no contact, you had no signals. You were receiving no signals even in Spanish. You could not make any phone calls or write any letters, have visitors unless they spoke Spanish. You signed an oath we used to say in blood, you know? At the end of that nine weeks, I could not speak English, but boy, I could speak Spanish. I mean you just- they just wrote down all the..

Hayes: That was the only time you were in Milledgeville then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Only time I was in Milledgeville, yeah. And then..

Hayes: Just as a sidebar, Milledgeville now has a different name and it's the leading small liberal arts university and our new chancellor was the chancellor there. Yeah, so Rosemary DePaolo was the chancellor..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. Several people asked me if I knew her and that also..

Hayes: But she would have been much later than you were.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, and also was- wasn't she at what is now Clayton State which is outside of Atlanta?

Hayes: I'm not sure she wasn't at your Georgia Southern.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Okay. Uh..

Hayes: Or wait, is there one in Augusta?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: But Georgia Southern.

Hayes: No, is there a school in Augusta?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, right, there's a school in Augusta. I- I know a Professor Warren at the School of Augusta.

Hayes: She was in Augusta. She was in Georgia for awhile. But anyway, I just.. it's funny, because it changed too. It's now quite prestigious in the sense that it's undergraduate liberal arts, kind of selective, from what you call it, a girls' university.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, to a Women's College.

Hayes: Women's College.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And also the uh.. you know, Milledgeville at one time was the capital of Georgia.

Hayes: Oh, I didn't know that.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: And it was laid out. It's a federal city laid out just like the city of Washington is a federal city. And uh.. the governor's mansion there for a time was the home of the president of the Women's College there. And it is one of the finest examples of architecture that- that we have. The man who built that didn't call himself an architect, he was just, you know, a builder of fine houses. And he felt that his mission to build the governor's home was just as important as the ones who had built the White House and that's the way he considered it. And the reason why I know this is that I wrote for ten years for "Southern Homes Magazine" and I wrote about every antebellum structure, you know, in Georgia and this is one of those that I wrote about. There is an oval office in there which is much more beautiful architecturally than the one in the White House. It's constructed just like uh.. like the sides of a ship, the- the way, you know, the old sailing ships used to be with the- with the bent wood and stuff, you know, and the- the way it's going. It is really and truly an oval office. And..

Hayes: Tell me about when you got done you had a master's degree.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Okay.

Hayes: But what now?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, so then I marched myself down to Georgia State University and (laughs) asked them for a job and they gave it to me. They put me on as part-time of course at first, but a quarter later, you know, I was placed on the tenure track.

Hayes: With a master's degree?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Um hmm. This was in 1968 and it was then Georgia State Uni- Georgia State College of Business Administration and the business school was the big deal and that's what- they- they got all the money from the state legislature and the humanities part was just a sort of sidebar.

Hayes: More service then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, exactly.

Hayes: So everybody was a business major pretty much?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Pretty much.

Hayes: But they had to take English and Spanish.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh yes, they had to take English, psychology.

Hayes: Well, what were you teaching though at that point?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, I was teaching uhm.. Elementary Spanish 101, 102, 201, 202.

Hayes: But not getting to do your real literature?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. no, not at that time. Uh.. I was just uh.. but- and then of course it- it just got bigger and bigger and by the time I left of course it's a- what a f- see I went there in 1968, I left in 19- in the s- after summer school in 1995 and by that time, it is a full-blown research university with twenty-six thousand students and uh.. for which the Olympic Village uh.. was their first dormitories and then they took over uh.. a huge hotel that was behind uhm.. the uh.. the ballpark there, you know, that was the second dormitory. Now all of Edgewood Avenue is lined with housing for graduate students and that sort of thing.

Hayes: So you kind of grew up with that institution.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I- I really did and I went there when uh.. Noah Langdale who was the- who was the longest-sitting president of any college or university in the United States when I was there and then uh.. after that uh.. we had several others that I've forgotten how many deans and chairmen (laughs) served.

Hayes: Where did the doctorate come in though? While you were there, you went back and..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I went back to uh.. to University of Georgia then and we moved to Gwinnett County like half the people in Atlanta all of a sudden decided to move, you know, twenty-five miles north of Atlanta. And uh.. we were unwise enough to do it during the time that uh.. that summer that gasoline went sky-high and there were lines all over the country, you know? And I was driving to Athens uh.. several days uh.. a week. I had eight o'clock classes in Athens and then I would drive back from Athens which is sixty miles from Atlanta and teach my classes at Georgia State. (Clock chimes). Bill was driving to the airport and Delta Airlines and all their facilities were on the other side of Atlanta. We were both putting, oh I don't know, two hundred miles a day on our cars wi- with gas prices like they were, you know? And uh.. and our oldest son then uh.. went to Georgia Tech and that's where he started out and uh.. and then our youngest son went..

Hayes: Now what are their names?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, uh.. Dr. Charles Freeman Stanfield and he lives in Winterville with his wife and daughter and uh.. William Thomas Stanfield III and he still lives in Duluth uh.. which is still in Gwinnett County and still, you know, uh.. growing like Marin County, California, you know, that sort of thing. And he graduated from- he went to Clayton State and got an associate's degree and uh.. 'cause I told him, I said, "If you're gonna spend two years down there, I want you to come home with a piece of paper 'cause, you know, you'll have to transfer and I don't want you to just say, "I went to Clayton State for two years."" I said, "Get your associate's degree before you leave there." So he did and then he came down to Georgia State. And I told him, I said, "Don't turn up in one of my (laughs) Spanish classes." I said, "You have trouble with languages." I said, "I don't want to look down and start calling the roll and see you." (Laughs).

Hayes: That's funny.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: So he started out in Rus- well, he- the French teacher in high school had told him never to (laughs) come back to her French class so he didn't want- he didn't take French. And uh.. so I told him to try Russian. We were one of the few places, Georgia State taught Russian. We had- we had a Russian professor from Russia. I mean he had- he had been a soldier in the Russian army at one time and uh.. so and he- he hardly spoke English. (Laughs).

Hayes: But his Russian was good, right?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: His Russian was really good. (Laughs). So- so but anyway, uhm.. William said uh.. he couldn't take that Russian class and so he's sitting there looking at- at the things that didn't spell anything and there would be a girl sitting beside you that knew exactly what it meant, you know, (laughs) he couldn't take that. He wound up taking Latin. He took- he took Latin. And uh.. so he graduated from- from Georgia State with a degree in history. And uh..

Hayes: Now, how long did the PhD odyssey take part-time? That must have been awhile. Was that three and four and five years?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. yes, forever.

Hayes: And what was your dissertation topic?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. I actually never got around to writing that. (Laughs).

Hayes: Well, they gave you the degree.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). No, they really didn't. Uhm.. my master's thesis at Emery- well, first of all, we- we need to go back to- to the Women's College. I did- I did honors in English. And uh.. I didn't do a research paper, I did uh.. original research. I have probably read every short story w- that has a ghost in it that was ever written in the English language because this is what it- it was about, manifestations, ghostly manifestations in 19th century literature. And I had it all divided up into nice categories, you know? Uhm.. it was over a hundred pages, that honors paper was. That would have stood for any- at any university for a master's thesis. Well, I did my master's thesis at Emery with Carlos Rojas, who was uh.. not only a scholar, but uh.. was a- a novelist and his novels were always- they were philosophical, but they managed to sell very well, you know, in- in Spain and then some of them were- were tr- or they've never been translated. Anyway, he was uh.. and he was an authority on uh.. the poetry of Antonio Machado uh.. although he also uh.. was an authority on uh.. Lorca, Garcia Lorca, which everybody seems to know Garcia Lorca and they don't know as much about Antonio Machado, although Machado is considered to be, you know, nowadays a much better poet. Uh.. it's like you- you like to read Lorca when you're eighteen, but you get over it. (Laughs). But uhm.. so I did the uhm.. I- I did the uhm.. thesis on him and it was, oh goodness, I don't remember, it was almost two hundred pages. It would (laughs) have stood for a doctoral dissertation in any place in the United States. That was the kind of uh.. papers that he- he demanded then. And so uh.. so when uh.. so when I went to the University of Georgia, they were s- they were s- they were modeled after University of Kentucky which has always been, you know, a- a big Mecca for- for languages. And so uh.. in the middle of that program, in the middle of working on that, I uh.. I was in a head-on collision. The entire feminine element of the modern language department at Georgia State University was in one car on their way to a Christmas party at the president's house. And we were- it was a Friday morning uh.. during exams just before Christmas, you know, uh.. the quarter. At- at Georgia State, if you were- I- I should have mentioned this. Georgia State w- was created for college-aged people in Atlanta who were working. You could take classes from seven o'clock in the morning, the last classes got out at ten o'clock at night. No matter how many jobs you had, and most of my students had two and a half jobs, you know, uh.. you could go to school at Georgia State. And uh.. so- and we were on the quarter system and so our quarter system ended so that you could work the entire holiday season, you know, from- from- we- the last classes were on the- the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and then you would come back and do your exams, you know, a few- when you came- right after Thanksgiving and then we didn't start classes again till January the 4th or something like that would be registration. So you could- you could handle a very nice holiday job. So we were on this way to this holiday party when we were in a head-on collision and most of us didn't get back into the classroom for two quarters later.

Hayes: It was that bad?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It was that bad. I was the least hurt, you might say, uhm.. although I had- this leg was broken and I had some fingers broken and a gash here. Uh.. something happened to my spinal column because I was paralyzed for a couple of days. That was what was really scary. But everybody else, the one next to me had been bending over to pick up a book in the floorboard at the- at the moment of impact, so it just popped her neck, as you might imagine. And uh.. but she and I were conscious. Uh.. the two in front were not. One of 'em went through the windshield, came back, you know? The other- the driver, who was my friend from France, who has gone back to France since then, she had very strange uh.. the steering wheel, you know, did something horrible to her esophagus and so forth and- but..

Hayes: Oh, my goodness. But you all survived?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: We all survived, although they did not think at one point that- that the- my best friend, uh.. Dr. Bonario [ph?], the one that taught William Latin was going to. When I looked in the front seat, her face, I did not recognize it. It looked like something on display in the uh.. butcher shop. And uhm.. they had to totally reconstruct her face which they did and she looks exactly like she did before. But she was- she was so bad off that she was in one of those round beds, you know, that they had just invented at Emery. The- the bed itself is round and it can- they can put it at any angle, all three hundred and sixty degrees. She was in that for weeks. And the lady that was beside me was the one that had her neck broken and didn't even know it and she was ge- we- we had to find her glasses and one of her earrings (laughs) right after we were hit. She didn't know her neck was broken. I guess it was a good thing. And uh.. she was the oldest. She was almost ready for retirement when that happened. And we didn't think perhaps that she was fine, but she did, she did and lived many years after that. But anyway, this interrupted everything for everybody and after- after that, uh.. I- I went back to teaching with, you know, a walker. In fact one of the class said, "Can we get a discount _________?" He said, "Can we get a discount since we only have (laughs) sort of three-quarters of professor?" (Laughs).

Hayes: Oh, gosh. Can we get a discount?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, that was really, really fun. Uh.. but uhm.. 'cause- 'cause that- that ca- that cast stayed on my leg, uh.. well it went all the way up to here for oh, I- si- six months at least, you know? And uh.. one afternoon M- Mildred, the one- the older professor that- whose office was right next to mine, she called me up from this rehab place that she was staying. She was so down, you know? And I was still in my hospital bed, you know, until that I thought, "I need to find something to say to her." And then it was like a- an epiphany. I said, "Mildred," I said, "You know what? You're going to make the day for your- for your rehab therapist." She said, "What are you talking about, Elizabeth?" (Laughs). I said, "You're at Budd Terrace." Budd Terrace was a famous uh.. sort of assisted living nursing home type of thing, I said, "Mildred, had you ever thought about the fact that everybody else that she sees out there all day long day in and day out, they are not gonna get any better?" But I said, "You are gonna get better." I said, "You're the bright spot in this therapist's day. She's going to be able to help you and y- and you're gonna get out of there and go home." I said, "You are the shining light in her day. (Laughs). Now- now go and do it." (Laughs).

Hayes: And she bought it?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: She bought it.

Hayes: There you go.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: She bought it. And- 'cause she was talking about how painful it was, you know?

Hayes: Yeah, I'm sure.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. she said she was actually screaming at some points, you know, it was so painful what the therapist was trying to get her to do. But she did. She got- she walked again just like she always had, you know? And uh.. and as I said, lived for many years after, but I thought- I've always thought that was ________.

Hayes: So they gave you the PhD out of sympathy? Is that where we're heading here? I mean what happened with the PhD?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Oh, oh okay. No. (Laughs). So that totally- but particularly during the time when- when I was paralyzed, I did a lot of thinking about priorities and so forth. And I uh.. all of a sudden, all this stuff just- because they could not promise me that I was going to regain all that and I said, "Well, get out of the room and I'm gonna work on it." (Laughs). And uh.. and so it did come back in about forty-eight hours. Uh.. I- I was not paralyzed. And so uh.. but after that, I just could not- I- I could not just go back and- and do that anymore. I- that- it didn't really seem to be very important to me. Uhm.. Bill was getting- Bill had already been at Delta Airlines for twenty-eight and a half years. He retired, you see? I- I was in that wreck right before Christmas of '79. Bill retired in '80. And so I just uh.. and he bought his- he bought his farm up in Tennessee and uh.. wanted to raise blueberries. That had been what he'd always wanted to do. And there was a two-hundred-year-old log house up there and so- and I wanted to redo that and I did. I want to show you where it is. This..

Hayes: We just took an interlude where we were looking at a picture of a log cabin that you had..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It's- it's incorrectly called a log cabin. It was a huge log house. That's one wing of it. There are two other parts of it. And so a friend of mine who had been a former colleague at Georgia State in- in Spanish began to- she became the editor of "Southern Homes Magazine" and she wanted me to write for the magazine. And I told her, I said, "Jane, I don't know anything about architecture." She said, "You can learn architecture. What I want is somebody that can write." So she said, "You can learn architectural terms." And so I began to write about antebellum structures and uh.. and then went on to write for- for other- other magazines in Atlanta too. There was one called K-n-o-w, Know Atlanta and I did all- all sections of the city, you know, for that. But uh.. but I- I enjoyed that. So it just totally rearranged it then between, you know, going with Bill who was now retired, uh.. Bill being fifteen years older uh.. than- than I am, and- and he retired and he went up there to raise blueberries and so- and I went up there to make the- the log house became just almost like a house museum. Uh.. everybody in the county felt like they could come and s- see this house. They all had a story to tell about it. There was always some family connection. And one Sunday afternoon when we were trying to get back to Atlanta because I had- had an eight o'clock class uh.. on Monday morning, there was an elderly gentleman there who was somewhat of a historian, he was absolutely incensed that we were closing "the museum" (laughs) at three o'clock on Sunday afternoon.

Hayes: It was your house.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Simply because we wanted to leave and go back to Atlanta. (Laughs). And one day I was in the pink room which was the farthest away of the- of the three wings of the house and you know how when somebody's staring at your back you can feel it? And all of a sudden I whirled around and somebody was taking pictures. They thought it was a public museum. They just came in with their little dog following 'em and were taking pictures all over the house. I thought when they saw my husband taking his nap on the couch (laughs) they should have realized it probably was not a public (laughs) museum.

Hayes: So you never finished the doctorate then?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: So I- I did not. I di- I passed my uh.. my comprehensive exams in French literature, uh.. did everything and then uhm..

Hayes: A.B.D.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yeah, yeah.

Hayes: The old famous A.B.D.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right.

Hayes: But it didn't matter at Georgia State. I mean you were a distinguished professor there.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I- I was already- I had already had tenure and everybody uh.. you know, all the deans put up with me. For instance, the dean said, "How can you teach Spanish here and- and write and this sort of thing and you're- you know, and you're doing things like these magazine articles?" And I said- he said, "I don't understand it." And I smiled and I said, "Well, Dean, just don't try to understand it, just enjoy it." (Laughs). And I handed him a copy of the magazine. And so..

Hayes: So what were you teaching at this point besides basic Spanish? If you had been there a long time, were you starting to get..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, I taught- no. Okay, at this time, it- when Georgia State became this- this big university and so forth, and uh.. see at the same time, Atlanta was becoming what, an international city. All of a sudden we have all these people speaking all these languages. And we have, you know, conference centers and all that sort of thing. And uh.. so Georgia State inaugurated a program in interpretation and translation and that's when I hit my stride and found out, you know, what I really wanted to do. Uh.. I taught- I taught commercial Spanish for one thing which uh.. now at the Women's College we had to give them credit. They had been a pioneering institution. I had a course in commercial Spanish in- at the Women's College and this must have been one of the few in the country. And uh.. I still had my textbook for- when- when I began to teach it at- at Georgia State and no one could believe that, you know, at the Women's College in the '50s that I had uh.. had that. So I became interested in uh.. there were only at that time five centers in the world where you could turn yourself into what, a simultaneous interpreter like they use at the U.N. You could do it at the Sorbonne in Paris which is where ev- most everybody did, you could do it at the Language School in Monterey, California which was where the army trained all their- or the armed forces trained all their people, and uh.. you could do it at Georgetown University in Washington, and you could to it uhm.. at London- in London uh.. University I think, and then you- you could do it at Georgia State University. We had..

Hayes: You helped set that program up?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, right. And I- but I taught the translation part. I- I never did of the uh.. simultaneous translation. I did consecutive. But what I was interested in and I began to teach was literary translation and this was what fascinated me since I had spent all my life in English literature and Spanish literature and so forth and so I became fascinated with literary translation. And I even helped form a group in Atlanta of which I was president, the uh.. Atlanta Translators Association, which became affiliated with the national organization later on and we gave qualifying exams and so forth to uh.. to qualify so that people- because people in Atlanta were paying people for translation and for interpretation that didn't have any credentials and so I was part of a group of professors from several colleges who began to provide people with cred- credentials so that when you paid somebody you can be assured of what you were- what you were getting. And so I even uh.. I started the- the commercial Spanish course there and- and taught that, or business Spanish as we- as we called it, and then I also taught undergraduate translation and very few universities in the country have undergraduate translation courses. And I did uh.. I tried to show them all the different types. We did uh.. we did commercial sloganing, you know, motto type things, uh.. advertising, uh.. that was always a very favorite unit, but we also did literary uh.. translation. So- and I even went to the Modern Language Association and conducted one of their discussion groups on uh.. the topic was undergraduate translation, uh.. it is possible, or how is it possible? And uh.. it was very- very well uh.. received. So that was uhm.. those were the things that I did.

Hayes: So a long ways from New Hanover High School Latin and Spanish I would say.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: (Laughs). Right.

Hayes: A good ways.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: But- but all of which stood me in good stead and- and having had uh.. the commercial course at the Women's College. And- and I think I may have mentioned to you this before, but we haven't said it to whoever's gonna be viewing this, uh.. I consider the education that I got at the Women's College as being what made me, you know, the college professor, whatever success I had and to the extent that my students, you know, felt that they were learning in my classes and that my chairman and my dean had confidence in me. I felt really that I didn't get any of that in graduate school. No, I got it all at the Women's College in Greensboro. Uh.. we- you know, the girls that went there, we said many times that that was the best uh.. education that could be obtained uh.. for the money at the time. And actually in athletics and everything else, the Women's College competed with the Seven Sisters which were all private institutions. Uh.. for instance, their physical education program was one of the earliest ones in the country for women, the only other ones being at those private girls schools in- in the east.

Hayes: Now I'm gonna try to bring us to a close 'cause we're just about out of time, but you retired.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, I retired.

Hayes: In what did you say?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: 1995.

Hayes: 1995. Well, what brought you back to Wilmington? I mean here you are coming full circle of sorts, not to Southern Georgia, but back to Wilmington. What made you decide..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, my o- my only sibling and sister, you know, had remained in Wilmington when my parents and I moved to uh.. Atlanta and uh.. she married uh.. Benjamin Robert Morrison, Jr., and has always lived on the other side of Park Avenue from where I live there. She lives at 2905, I live at 2910. And uh.. and my mother uh.. married uh.. her third time was a marriage here and she was a true widow (laughs) every time and uh.. so she was here and she was in her nineties and she had always wanted to have her other daughter, you know, back with her. And then of course- but the major thing, of course, was- was the loss of my husband of forty-four years in a vehicular homicide in- on Ponce de Leon, the main street in Atlanta, Ponce de Leon and Peachtree being the two main streets, he was killed on his way to pick up a friend to go to his farm in Tennessee to see about his blueberries. And so after that, uh.. I just decided, "I want to come back here where my sister and my mother are and where I have friends from the 6th grade that are here."

Hayes: Is that right? You really still have..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: I still have many of my circle of friends. You know, I have lunch with 'em and all sorts of things.

Hayes: That is great. So they stayed or came back themselves?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Uh.. most of them uh.. you know, stayed and some of them did come back uh.. just like- just like I did, you know, but some of 'em stayed also. And uh.. so..

Hayes: That is great. Well, I'm glad that you came back 'cause it's a fascinating story.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Well, I- I am very happy here. (Laughs).

Hayes: And I really want to thank you for the interview. I think it's always amazing that people go on to do fascinating things from so many different backgrounds. And Wilmington in World War II was an interesting place.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It was indeed.

Hayes: And you had a very interesting career and I'm sure more coming because you said you're getting remarried in..?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: In June.

Hayes: But he has to come here?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: He is- he is coming here. We're going to live in this beautiful house. Uh..

Hayes: He has to become a Wilmingtonian?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: He has to become- right. And there are other Duke fanatics that he can find here. But he is the original Duke fanatic.

Hayes: Did he go to Duke?

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Yes, he graduated from Duke.

Hayes: Well, he needs to come out and have him come and see me because so many of our faculty..

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Are Duke?

Hayes: Went to Duke. It's such a big school and prestigious school.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right. And his- his father was one of the charter members, founding members of Sigma Chi there and he was Sigma Chi at- at Duke and as I say, we have matching Phi Beta Kappa keys. (Laughs). So- but what I always put it over him, it's Alpha of North Carolina. See my key is alpha of North Carolina and Duke's chapter is Beta. (Laughs).

Hayes: We've got to keep the priorities straight.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: Right, right. We have to get that.. (laughs).

Hayes: Thank you again.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanfield: It's been delightful. Thank you.

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