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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Strom Thurmond, July 20, 1978. Interview A-0334. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Postponing marriage for his family and for his political career

Thurmond delayed getting married to focus on caring for his family members and building a base for his political career. He chose to marry after he became governor of South Carolina.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Strom Thurmond, July 20, 1978. Interview A-0334. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JAMES G. BANKS:
You married rather late.
STROM THURMOND:
Yeah.
JAMES G. BANKS:
Why.
STROM THURMOND:
Well, my father died in 1934 and my mother lived on and didn't die until 1958. After he died my sister was there teaching school.
JAMES G. BANKS:
This is your older sister?
STROM THURMOND:
No, the younger sister, Mary Tompkins. She married Mr. Tompkins and they lived on in the house, the home house, and my mother lived there with them. Later she moved over into town. But at any rate, I guess, having a mother and a sister to kind of look after that part of that;meals and such as that. And then, I could go and come. And another thing, I wouldn't be tied down, because I felt sooner or later I'd go into politics. I started making contacts when I was teaching school, I felt sooner or later I'd end up in statewide politics. So I could make more contacts;if I'd had a wife it'd hold you back. Have to come home every night, or you'd have to be in by a certain time, take your wife out. And whereas I felt being unfettered that I could make my own schedule wouldn't inconvenience anybody. But then after I got to be governor why;in other words I had gotten there then so it was feasible.
JAMES G. BANKS:
You'd arrived, right.
STROM THURMOND:
(chuckle) And so I felt I could take time to get married.
JAMES G. BANKS:
Did you almost;this is maybe asking too much;but did you say, well, it's time to get married. Almost like that?
STROM THURMOND:
Yeah. I'd sort of like to get married and have a family. But I didn't have any children by my first wife.