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Interview on experiences in World War II

Creator: Smith, Elizabeth

Date: March 15, 1978

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 216824

Biographical sketch: Elizabeth Smith is a lifelong resident of Emporia, attended Emporia schools and graduated from the College of Emporia (C of E)in 1911. She chose C of E because it was a four year liberal arts school and had an excellent curriculum. After graduation she taught English, Latin, and history in a small town near St. Joseph, Missouri for three years and then got a position at Emporia High School. A couple of years later the superintendent suggested she take a library course and take charge of the library, which she did. Then she got married, and at that particular time, married women weren't permitted to teach in the public schools as the jobs had to be saved for the men. Living near C of E, she started to take more library work and during the Depression she was offered a position at the college. It was about half the money she had been making when she was teaching high school but she said, "The extra money came in handy." At that time students could sign up for a job in the field somewhere and get credit towards their tuition, but when Franklin Roosevelt was elected President and put in the National Youth Administration, the attitude of the students seemed to change. She said that nobody wanted to do volunteer work and had the attitude of "What will you pay me if I do that?" Mrs. Smith talked about the different presidents at the college over the years she was there and how the campus changed when students from the Eastern states started enrolling. Many of them were students that couldn't get into the Ivy League schools because their grades were too low. The campus was no longer Protestants, but Jewish and Catholic as well, so there was no longer the groups of "like-thinking people." Because the Federal government didn't give money to private institutions like C of E, their financial problems continued to mount, and in December of 1973 she heard on the radio that C of E was going to close. She served as Director of the Library for 32 years and said, "I thoroughly enjoyed the people, the faculty, the students and, of course, the books."

Summary: Smart was interviewed about her life at the College of Emporia.

Space Required/Quantity: Audio

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II


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