Interview with Martha Elizabeth "Beth" Clark, March 6, 1990
Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project
Interview SummaryBeth Clark, wife of University of Kentucky professor emeritus Thomas D. Clark, describes her experiences with UK and the Lexington, Kentucky community. Clark states that she grew up in South Carolina and recalls that she rushed through school as quickly as she could. She left high school before the eleventh grade and was accepted into the Greenville Women's College (now part of Furman University). She was inspired to attend Simmons College's Library School since that is where the librarian at her college went to school. Clark remembers that she applied to the first position that became available which happened to be at Duke University. She received the position, and worked for Duke for five years between 1928 and 1933. She began as a member of the cataloging department but eventually became Assistant Librarian of the Women's College. Clark met her future husband Thomas D. Clark while they were both at Duke. She states that, "He was always in the library." The Clarks came to the University of Kentucky in 1933, and Mrs. Clark states that their life changed after they came to UK because they had so little money. She recalls her first impressions of the McVeys and explains that she was in awe of both of them. She remembers luncheons with Frances McVey and dinners at Maxwell Place. Clark states that France McVey was not beautiful, but her personality was so warm and generous that you did not even notice her physical appearance. Clark also remembers a definitive line between the southerners and mid-westerners in Lexington at that time. Mrs. Clark states that she was more comfortable with the southerners, being one herself, and talks about her involvement in a "speakeasy club" for women. Mrs. Clark describes her husband's personality and explains that she never felt that he was the right person to fulfill the role of the president of a college or university. She also states that Thomas Clark needs a lot of freedom, but feels that she has been a good asset as a wife since she is good at taking charge of things. Clark mentions the role of a faculty wife and women in general while she and Mr. Clark were raising their family. She mentions friends of the McVeys like Sarah Blanding, and talks about parties at Judge Wilson's home.
Interview LC SubjectClark, Martha Elizabeth Clark, Martha Elizabeth--Interviews University of Kentucky University of Kentucky--History Marriage. Universities and colleges--Faculty. College teachers' spouses College campuses. College environment College presidents' spouses Educated women Education, Higher--Kentucky Universities and colleges--Employees Universities and colleges. Women in higher education. Women--Education (Higher)
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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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Clark, Martha Elizabeth Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 06 Mar. 1990. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Clark, M.E. (1990, March 06). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Clark, Martha Elizabeth, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. March 06, 1990, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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