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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eulalie Salley, September 15, 1973. Interview G-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Salley's growing notoriety as a successful businesswoman

Salley reflects on the reception her business received as she gained increasing notoriety as a successful businesswoman.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eulalie Salley, September 15, 1973. Interview G-0054. 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

CONSTANCE MYERS:
Back to your real estate business. I'm wondering if you incurred any antagonism in the town by being a bold woman going into business?
EULALIE SALLEY:
Oh, my, yes. All the other agents fought me. One man said, "You've taken bread out of my children's mouth." I said, "If youbetter man than that, I'm sorry for your children. Better get busy and do a little better."
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Tell some more incidents of discrimination, of antagonism.
EULALIE SALLEY:
Every man in town turned against me and a lot of my family were against me. They just thought that I had disgraced the family. They thought it was outrageous, that only bad women, prostitutes, were suffragists.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But as far as your being in business was concerned--this is what I'm thinking about right now--were you discriminated against in a social way, in a business way?
EULALIE SALLEY:
As far as social, it didn't make any difference because I had a certain standing anyway. My family had been here always. I didn't care anything about that.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you have any trouble, for instance, with banks, other business concerns besides real estate?
EULALIE SALLEY:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
They dealt with you on an equitable basis?
EULALIE SALLEY:
Yes. Mr. Dibble, who was the president of the bank here, the largest bank . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Which bank is that?
EULALIE SALLEY:
The Bank of Western Carolina it was called then. It's no longer in existence. He was president of it. He was a very progressive old fellow. He was a nice man. He helped me a great deal and he'd lend money. There was no discrimination against me in the banks in a business way but the real estate men hated me like a rattle snake. I knew it was just jealousy but I thought I had a right to compete with them.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Did you [unclear] quite as well in a profit-making sense?
EULALIE SALLEY:
I did better than most of them.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you think that the fact that you were a woman gave you a curiosity value when people were looking for real estate?
EULALIE SALLEY:
Yes, I was like the ring-tailed tiger in the circus. I was a curiosity Whoever heard of a woman real estate agent? Whoever heard of a woman who had the brass to get up in public and speak? That's outrageous to get up before the public and speak. I said, well, why not? Why am I disgraced because I'm married?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
How about your reception to your being the first business woman in Aiken on a state level? Were there other enterprising women in the state?
EULALIE SALLEY:
There were. I was not the first one. Susan Frost of . . .
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Of Charleston.
EULALIE SALLEY:
. . . was the first woman in Charleston. She was an unattractive spinster from Charleston and she was not of a very good disposition. She was a very smart woman and she could meet any of them on equal terms.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Could you?
EULALIE SALLEY:
I think so. I tried anyway.