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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Duties of the wife of the chancellor

Aycock describes some of her duties as the wife of the chancellor of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Primarily, Aycock focuses on her household duties, here, describing her obligations to entertain. In addition, Aycock briefly addresses the kind of help she had with things like cooking and cleaning.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. 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

GRACE AYCOCK:
We did entertain. I interjected the things I just said to make you understand that I already felt very much a part of that neighborhood when the official entertaining began.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you knew you had some good backup and some help.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the first entertaining we did that spring was three teas a week apart for the University women to see the new Chancellor's house.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So that would have included faculty wives?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, all the members of the University Woman's Club.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That was the first real plunge in the water as an official hostess for the University. I can remember events, Grace, where we came and there were students. You had student leaders?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We did, and it was a joy to get to know some of the students at any rate. We had student leaders. We had some members of athletic teams. I can remember once having the senior football players. There were receptions for students as well as dinners.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
In addition to that kind of entertaining, you also entertained out-of-town guests, and you had house guests. You had some of these visitors staying in your home.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the first groups I think of were alumni groups. Several schools had organizations themselves, in addition to the General Alumniߞthe medical alumni, the pharmacy alumni, the Law School. When they came to Chapel Hill for a meeting, then the spouses would usually come to our house for a coffee or a tea, reception.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What kind of domestic help did you have in this period?
GRACE AYCOCK:
We had a cook/maid. We had a University janitor, who ran the vacuum cleaner once a week. We had someone come from the grounds department who pulled weeds and mowed the grass. Mr. Walter Dunsmore was the head of the grounds department at that time. Giles Horney was head of buildings, I guess you would say. I did a lot of work with Giles when we were furnishing the house before we ever moved. I always worked closely with Giles. I got along fine with Giles.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So with that help, you would mount these dinners and teas and receptions?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, the Carolina Inn usually furnished the refreshments when we had a reception, coffee, or tea, so that was a big help. Occasionally, they prepared some food when we had dinners. We always did some of the cooking and often did all of it. I did some cooking.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Who was your cook during this period?
GRACE AYCOCK:
The first person I had was named Mamie Davis. The second person was Mary Farrington. They were very good.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I can remember, Grace, among the out-of-town guests who may have stayed at your home were Nathan Pusey, the President of Harvard, and his wife. Were they house guests when they came?
GRACE AYCOCK:
They were, and Mrs. Pusey's luggage did not arrive.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So what happened?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Fortunately, she and I were about the same size, so that she could wear my dress. She did not seem at all put off by the fact that her luggage did not arrive.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
He came to speak at the millionth volume, I think.
GRACE AYCOCK:
At the library. We did not have very many overnight house guests. They stayed at the Carolina Inn in the Chancellor's suite for the most part.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I see, and they would come to you for dinner or a reception or something.