Interview with Virginia K. Conroy, March 20, 1990
Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project
Interview SummaryVirginia K. Conroy was from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. She remembers her parents, Agnes King and Joseph Morgan Conroy, and talks about a first cousin, Kitty Conroy. She says the King women traditionally went to Cardome Academy in White Sulphur, Kentucky, which was later moved to Georgetown, Kentucky, but Conroy graduated from Mt. Sterling High School. Conroy decided to go to the University of Kentucky in the fall of 1924, where she majored in journalism and minored in French. She became homesick and almost quit, but her father told her to go back and "try it again." Conroy describes her living accommodations with various family members and with the Kappa Delta sorority and discusses her daily life and activities on campus. She mentions various instructors, including Dr. Sarah Blanding, and Dr. Margaret McLaughlin, and notes there were few women professors at that time. She then pledged the journalism sorority, Theta Sigma Phi, in her sophomore year. Conroy worked for U.K.'s Kentuckiana newspaper (later renamed the Kentucky Kernel). Conroy states that jobs were scarce in the late 1920s during the Great Depression for men as well as women, so after college, she completed a correspondence course in speed writing at home and took a secretarial position at the Lafayette Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, from 1928-1932. From 1932-1940, she was secretary to the President of Morehead College, William H. Vaughn. In 1940, her mother died and she came back to work at the Lafayette Hotel as assistant manager from 1941 until 1960. In July, 1961, she went to work at the U.K. Medical Center as a secretary to Dr. Wellington B. Stewart, the Chairman of the Pathology Department, until she retired in 1971. She discusses the social changes regarding women in terms of sexual morals as well as educational opportunities, emphasizes that women were "hidebound" by the regulations in place at the time, but sees the problems associated with these differences today. Conroy says she never married. Women also were more likely to live at home with family rather than alone. She thinks that women back then had good, close, friendships, and she doesn't see as much of that today.
Interview LC SubjectConroy, Virginia K., (Virginia King) Conroy, Virginia K., (Virginia King)--Interviews University of Kentucky University of Kentucky--History Mt. Sterling (Ky.) College students Greek letter societies College students--Conduct of life College teachers College students--Social networks College environment Women in education Universities and colleges--Faculty. Universities and colleges--Administration. College students--Social conditions Discrimination in higher education Women in higher education. Women--Education (Higher) Sexism in higher education Sex discrimination in higher education. University of Kentucky. School of Journalism Depressions--1929 College student newspapers and periodicals
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Conroy, Virginia K. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 20 Mar. 1990. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Conroy, V.K. (1990, March 20). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Conroy, Virginia K., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. March 20, 1990, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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