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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Harriet Herring, February 5, 1976. Interview G-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

University won't employ both husband and wife at once

As she remembers Guion Griffis Johnson, Herring recalls some sex discrimination at the University of North Carolina during her tenure there. Those UNC professors' wives who also held doctoral degrees had trouble finding work at the university until World War II.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Harriet Herring, February 5, 1976. Interview G-0027. 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

HARRIET HERRING:
Well, she taught in the university during the war. They got so short, you see, that even though she was the wife of a professor in sociology (which was not looked upon very well, you see: they don't employ a wife and husband at the University of North Carolina very much). . . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
I was wondering about that. Did you have any feeling that married women were treated differently from single women?
HARRIET HERRING:
Well wives certainly were. Now, for instance, in the English department a friend of mine who was the most brilliant of her generation in her final examination and her work and all, she got a PhD in English and couldn't get a job at the university because her husband worked in the French department and was a full professor in the French department. And she didn't get a whack at the game until the shortage during the war. And then they brought her in and she taught for a while. Then she taught some over at the Negro college, in what is now University of North Carolina-D (Durham).
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What did you think about that policy? Did you think it was fair?
HARRIET HERRING:
Now they apparently abandoned it in the Nursing School, the School of Public Health and. . . . But there were three over there in the health stuff that had them. But it was very unusual for a husband and wife both to be teaching in the university, yes.