Oral History Interview of Lucy Oliver Adams (Mrs. J. McKee Adams)
by Badgett Dillard
February 14, 1980
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Audio Visual Archives
Dillard: This is Badgett Dillard interviewing Mrs. J. McKee Adams for oral history. This is Valentine's Day, February 14, 1980.
Mrs. Adams I'm interested in knowing about how you first became acquainted with J. McKee Adams.
Adams: First became acquainted? I'd go back, way back to my girlhood in Florence, South Carolina. Well first my brother, Moseley Oliver, my oldest brother and Jim , we called him, were in Wake Forest College together. Then Jim came home down to Florence, SC where we lived and stayed at our house, and was selling Bibles--just to make a little extra money, you know, in town. That's the first I heard of him. I was just a young girl and Jim was about seven or eight years older than I was; I've forgotten now. But, anyway, they were in college together. Then it wasn't right after that that we left Florence--that was Florence, SC--but my father did move away. I just lost sight of Jim. Oh, I believe before we moved away, yes that was before we moved away, or else when we did come back to Florence again, but it was before we moved away, that this lovely young lady came to Florence as a school teacher and stayed with one of our friends. Jim met her there, fell in love with her. Her name was Claudia Acock and my father married them. Then they...Let's see, I don't remember whether he had finished Wake Forest or not before he married. I'm not sure of all that history. But anyway, he and Claudia went up North to some place--I've forgotten exactly where that is--and stayed for two or three years. Then the church he had in a little town near Florence, SC was named Ebenezer--just a very small, lovely community--but Jim had been interim pastor there at times, and so they called them there to come to this little church and be their pastor. So he came back down to that church. He stayed there for one or two years. And then, let me see. I don't remember all of that past history [laughs]; you should've told me and I'd had all this ready. But anyway, Elizabeth Newman was born while they were out at Ebenezer, this nearby place of Florence, and then they left and went to some other church away from there. I was a young girl growing up. The next thing I heard was that Claudia had died. Oh, it was out here at Louisville. That's what it was. They had come out to the seminary at Louisville and she died at the birth of her second baby. Elizabeth Newman was her first child and she died at the birth of her second baby.
Then I didn't see or hear of Jim any more until--I don't know how many years later it was but I was in my teens at that time. It had been several years, and all of us went over to one of those summer conferences at Greenville, SC at one of the colleges, a girls' college there. And as my father, my mother, an elderly lady there and I were the ones that went there in the car. And as the car drew near the college there where they were having this session, I looked up and saw Jim Adams standing in the doorway. I had not seen him for years, since I was a little girl. And now, I think I'd finished college. Yes, I had finished college. And, I went to two or three colleges before I got through. So he was standing there. And I said to my parents, "Oh, there is Jim Adams." And I jumped out of the car, just like a little girl seeing my brother for, you know, hadn't seen him in years, ran up and grabbed him and hugged him and he hugged me. Then the others came up and they were glad to see him. Then I went on into the thing and forgot Jim. I just went on and was interested in looking at things and talking about things, but we were there together for a week. He went to church every day with my parents. My parents loved him very much. So we all went together to the morning service at church. I just thought of him, you know, as old Jim Adams, a friend of the family, but it seems that he, I had grown up in the meantime and I was a young lady you know, and he got different ideas. [laughs] So then when we started to...this Mrs. Duckworth who was a neighbor of ours, one of the most prominent women in the community where we lived, just had fallen in love with Jim. She and Mother went into his classroom and I went into Mrs. A.T. Robertson's room. So I wasn't with them during that part. Well, we would get together and go to church every day. Jim sat on that end and I was up at this end beside Mrs. Duckworth, so I wasn't anywhere near him. As I said, he was just an old friend of the family that we were glad to have with us. Then that went on for a week.
Mrs. Duckworth fell in love with Jim and his teaching. She and Mother were in his class. I've forgotten what it was that he was teaching, but anyway she asked Father to invite Jim over for the weekend to preach. She had a beautiful home out there where we lived, and she wanted the people to get to know him and have him. Father was delighted, so we asked him to go home with us. And he was glad to go, you know. He went over there and I think he stayed about a week over there and brought Elizabeth Newman with him. I remember one day though, while we were in Greenville before we went, Jim had to buy Elizabeth some little slippers, some paten-leather slippers. He asked me if I would go downtown shopping with him, so he took Elizabeth Newman. I didn't think anything of it at the time, and got the slippers for her. Then we went on over to Lebanon and he preached for father that week.
And then when he got ready to go back home, I never shall forget he was sitting down on the front steps of my house. The others had gone into the house and I was sitting up in the swing there on the porch. And he looked so forlorn and so miserable, I said, "What's the matter with you?" And he says, "I'm just dreading going back there to Louisville." He says, "The loneliness of it and having to be away from all my friends and everybody." He says, "You don't know how I hate to go back." Then I said, "Oh, don't feel too bad about it. Maybe I'll come out to the training school next year and we'll have some good times together." Something like that, and he says, "Oh, no you won't. I wouldn't trust you at that training school." [laughs] So that was the first I had had any idea that he was thinking that way, along that line. I was just thinking of him as a friend of the family. So, anyway, that was that.
Now let me see what came next. I just can't remember. Oh, I know. He began writing to me, and he wrote beautiful letters. I got one or two letters every week from him. He called me "My Own Beautiful." He never once called me "sweetheart" or "honey" or anything like that. I said, "Why do you call me that? You've never told me I was beautiful in my life, so why would you write it?" He says, "Well that's the way I think about you." [laughs] So, he came on out here and started writing these lovely, lovely...[laughs] My mother carried them around in her bosom after I read them. She loved his letters better than I did. She said she never read anything so lovely as Jim's letters.
Well, now let me see if I can remember what happened next. It was the next summer before he came back. In the meantime, as I say, he was writing me all these beautiful love letters. I wasn't in love with him at all. I thought the world of him. I'd had a lot of beaus and a good time in my life ,and he was an older person, you know-- and had this child, nine years old--and I just didn't think of him in that way. And so that went on all of that winter and then the next summer. In the meantime, he was writing me all of these wonderful love letters and gradually came to the place of wanting to marry me, you know. The next summer...oh, every time the seminary would send him off on a trip he'd come around by where I lived so that he always made a point to stop at my house on the way. Then the next summer, he just begged me to marry him and come on out here with him. It took me quite a while to really fall in love with him in that way because, as I say, I'd had a lot of beaus and a lot of good times. I should've been ready to settle down because I wasn't any young girl. [laughs] I just hadn't thought in terms of getting married and things. But he finally talked me in to it. We were married the next August, just one year from the time he came and...
Dillard: That was when, what year?
Adams: I believe it was....it was in the 19....wait a minute. I'll get it somewhere, too. It was in the 1920's somewhere, I think. Late twenties or early thirties. We were married at Lebanon the next summer. And I came on out to Louisville with him. Elizabeth Newman was in the wedding, his little girl. And, it was a funny affair. We never were alone. There was always someone with us.
So we came on out here, and the Carvers were on their sabbatical. And, Jim had gotten their home for us to live in. That old home down there on First Street. I don't know whether you remember it or not. Well, it's one of those old brick houses. Here I'd lived in the sunny south with yards and flowers and everything, and came down here to this tall, three-story brick house and the Hesters--Do you remember H.I. Hester?--They were at our wedding, by the way and I didn't know that until later. They had the third floor of that house. They already had that when we came. H.I. Hesters. So Carol and I got to be very good friends. We lived down there until January. Dr. and Mrs. Carver were on their sabbatical and Mrs. Carver got sick. She had to come home early, in January. See that was from September to January. So then we had to get out. We found another place there on First Street, an apartment, and we lived there until the Powells left on their sabbatical. Then he asked Jim if we'd like to take his house, and came on up into the Highlands. See we were downtown at that time. So we came on up and took the Powells' house for a year. Jim bought his little Ford car. That was the first car we had. We lived there and then we got tired of this moving around, you know. And Jim said, "I'm going to find a house." So that's when he found our house over on 2914 Springdale Road. No that's here. [laughs] The other one was over on Longest Avenue, and so we moved there and lived there until we came out here.
Now he died at the other house. Did you know about his death? Well, he had heart trouble, and he'd had it for quite some time. But he couldn't seem to understand that he just couldn't live a normal life. One day, just after we'd been in the mountains all summer and he'd been very quiet up there and had gotten along just beautifully. Our room was on the first floor, and came back to Louisville. And, he came walking in one day with this great big basket of tomatoes, I think it was tomatoes. Something we had to peel, anyway. And, I was just furious with him. I remember how I bawled him out. I said, "Are you ever going to learn to stop carrying heavy things, Jim? You shouldn't do it." So we sat there sort of peeved at each other, peeling those tomatoes, Saturday afternoon. Never, never put up anything on Saturday, you know. I had to put those up. But anyway, that was one of the last things we did together. But he had this bad heart, and I knew it. I have been thinking of it lately. If he had only had a room downstairs and hadn't climbed those steps so much. Once or twice I had a colored man take him up and down those steps. But he came on out to the seminary and back to his work and lectured to his class one day. His assistant told me afterwards, he said, "Mrs. Adams, he kept his hand at his heart and sat down for the first time." Jim was very active, you know and he usually had--do you remember that map he had all over the wall--one of the boys painted that for him, and he would take a long pole and go around and tell them the places. But this day, he said he sat down quietly at that desk and just talked, and said, "We might've known something was wrong." But they didn't take it too seriously. They just saw him put his hand up over his heart. I don't know whether he got downstairs or not, but he started downstairs and fell, I think. No, he did get to his office. I remember now. He got into his office and a man was waiting there to see him, an insurance man. He said Jim walked over to the window and says, "It's hot in here." Walked over to the window and threw the window up, came back and sat down at his desk and fell over dead. That was the end of it.
They called us, Ann Moseley and me. Hal Trimble came after us; he didn't tell us he'd gone but came and got me. I don't know whether it was Elizabeth or Ann Moseley with me. No, he took Ann Moseley with me. He didn't say he was dead, so we went out there thinking he'd had a heart attack. They had him on a, not a stretcher, but one of these things you sleep on, cots, had him lying on a cot, in his room, dead, and all of these professors standing around. Oh. That was one of the worst moments of my whole life. That was that. That was the end of it.
Dillard: Had you ever visited the seminary before you married Jim?
Adams: Oh, yes. I had visited it, but I knew Jim when I was going out there. I wasn't in love with him for a while, you know. Mrs. A.T. Robertson and I were very close friends, and I was with her when she learned how to drive a car. It was the most awful experience. She would be going along and shhh, she'd stop just like this with all the traffic all around her. I just thought we were going to get killed every minute. She was a darling person. I loved her dearly, but she and I were very close friends. She had picked me out for Jim a long time before.
Dillard: How did you happen to know her?
Adams: I think I met her that summer in Greenville. I think that's the first I knew of her.
Dillard: She was the daughter of John A. Broadus.
Adams: Yes. Umm-hmmm. Dr. John A. One of the most wonderful people I've ever known in my life. She was smart and yet she wasn't conscious of it. She was so sweet to my mother and father. I'll never forget how lovely she was to them. You see, Father had been to the seminary, too. He got up and to go in one of the services one day out there. But anyway, those were very happy times.
The Yates came to the seminary the same time we did. Jimmy had asked Kyle to be best man at our wedding, but he said, "I'm getting married myself and I can't be there." We both came here at the same time and Mrs. Robertson gave us a party and Mrs. Mullins gave us a party and all the ladies were just lovely to us. So I never really felt like a stranger to the seminary. Everybody was so sweet and good to me. And Mother and Father didn't come for a while and then after he gave up his pastorate down in South Carolina and visited around among his relatives for a while, he came out here. And I said, "Now you're going to stay here. You're not going back to Florence." They were delighted to stay, and they were very happy out here. Everybody was so sweet to them and just took them in as one of the family, you know.
Dillard: Your father was pastor in Florence?
Adams: Umm-hmm. Florence, South Carolina. He came from Mt. Olive, North Carolina.
Dillard: Was he at the First Baptist Church in Florence?
Adams: Yes. Umm-hmm.
Dillard: Was he? Was he where Dr. Ed Byrd was?
Adams: Yes. And Father started the second church, Immanuel. There are three there now, they tell me. There's another little mission. But Father started the Immanuel Church and I think about nine people went out there at the beginning. Then we lived over in East Lawn when we came back there the second time. We went to that little second church instead of to the first one because it was right there at us.
Dillard: Did you ever sit in any of your husband's classes?
Adams: Yes. One or two.
Dillard: Well, tell me about him as a classroom teacher.
Adams: You mean what was his style?
Dillard: What he was like, yes.
Adams: Did you know Jim? Did you ever know him? You never knew him. You would have to know him to really understand that, but, as I said, he usually walked around, you know. Took a long pole and pointed out things, places on the map. I saw a boy stand there and draw that map on that thing. Did I tell you that before? Well he took a little thing out of the National Geographic. It was a picture that Jim wanted. I saw him do it. Stand there and went up on that thing without any outline or anything, He just looked at that and he did that thing. Painted it on the wall.
Dillard: Do you recall who did it? Do you know...
Adams: I knew, but I've forgotten his name now. I'm very bad on names. I've forgotten him, but he was a precious boy. Then I remember one thing that happened. We ladies used to go swimming in the pool out there at night, and one time Jim was out of town. And some of us decided to go in swimming. Now I lived down on Longest, you see. I was the only one away from the seminary. So I came out in my car. And, we'd go early, about seven o'clock, I think, and go in swimming, and then come out. And one night as we did it, it was dark when we came out, and we saw two men sitting there in a car. Well, at first we thought they were students, you know. And we didn't think too much about it. And this girl that was with me was living in the basement of the seminary in an apartment down there at that time. And so I was going to take her over to the seminary, and as we pulled out and started away, they pulled out, too. And, I went around in front of, right where that circle is in front of the seminary, you know, and pulled up right there by the front. She said, "I'm going to run get my husband. You lock the doors." And they pulled up their car right behind mine, waiting for me to get out, I guess. But anyway, I had the door locked, both the doors locked. She ran in right quickly and got her husband, and just as he came out the two men started pulling away. And he ran up to them and jumped on the running board of the car and he says, "Well, gentlemen, what is it? Is there anything I can do for you? Do you want to see anybody?" And they said, "No, thank you. We're just looking around." And they were just following me; that's what they were doing. I had to go back home by myself; Jim was out of town. So this man says, "I'm not going to let you go home alone. I'm going to go with you." So he did. He went almost to my home till we'd realized we'd lost the men, you know. They didn't know where I was. And I said, "You get out here and walk back because I'm not going to let you go all the way to my house." So I went on home and I don't know whether... I had girls living with me after my husband died. I filled my house with roomers. That's another story. [laughs] Had a whole new life with that going on. And, so I got home alright, but that's the last time I went swimming at night. I'll tell you that.
Dillard: Did you ever tour with your husband?
Adams: Once. Yes. I just went one time. Elizabeth went with him one time. He went, I think I counted the other day, fourteen or fifteen times. And he took parties with him, you know.
Adams: Yes. Students and then other people--ministers and their wives got interested. He has had as many as fourteen or fifteen people go with him at a time.
Dillard: You didn't want to go more than once, or...?
Adams: Well, I couldn't. I had so many responsibilities there at home and the children were young, and Mother and Father living with me and all. So, it never worked out but I went this one time and, as I say, Elizabeth went once with him. And the rest of the time, he just took parties. Bonnie Howard--Did you know her? Didn't you know her? She's the one that teaches there in our church. She went. Oh, there were a lot of people at the seminary. He had, sometimes twenty-seven people would go with him.
Dillard: To come back briefly to his classroom style. I have heard that he was a very emotional person, that he really would get totally lost in his teaching, and that he relived the experiences as he talked.
Adams: Yes he did. He, I don't know, he'd lived in this atmosphere for so long. You see, he wrote his book--you've seen his book, haven't you?
Adams: You've seen it?
Adams: I thought I had one of them here. This is a little syllabus that he wrote--The Gospels and the Acts and some lecture series on things that he gave. But, he just lived what he was talking about. It was so real. And as you said, he would get up out of his chair and walk around and pointed to the board a great deal. The people...I've had people to come from all over places to hear Jim lecture. And Elizabeth Fuller told me, she said, "I'll never forget how thrilled I was when I heard your husband lecture in that room." It wasn't stiff like just stand there reading out of a book and doing all that. It was just so natural to him, and he'd been over there and...about fourteen or fifteen times, I think. So, you'd have to know my husband to really know how he put himself into what he did.
Dillard: Did he love to preach, too?
Dillard:Did he do a lot of preaching?
Adams: Yes, he did. We had a church here once--Immanuel Church, Baptist Church. It was just starting out, it was a new church, just a year or two old, and he started out with that. That was when Jimmy was a baby. And, there was his assistant--what was that boy's name? I'm getting very bad on names.--Anyway, he and his wife lived with us, and they had a baby. So, we had quite a time over there, but they were lovely people. But our church was Fourth Avenue. We had been members over there. That's where we knew the Robertsons, and Dr. and Mrs. Frazier was such good friends of mine. I remember I had them all over to dinner one night, and I had this set of china. And I only had six of everything--six plates, six knives and forks, six of this, that, and the other. [laughs] When the little girl brought the dessert in--I had the Robertsons, and I had, I remember I had one of the heads of the department in the church over there and there were about eight of us at the table, and I only had six of everything. So I filled any other plate at the two ends with Jimmy and me with extra things. Well she started at one of the people and came around to the end. When she got there she just said, "Mrs. Adams, that's all." [laughs] There were two of the guests without any dessert. Funny things like that happened. And then we went into the living room and every light in the house went out. We didn't have any basement there, and we didn't have any way of putting the lights back in. So we had some candles. I didn't have things like that on the wall, but I had some candles I could put around. Dr. Frazier--you never knew him did you? He was the pastor of Fourth Avenue Church, and a charming man. He was a northern man, from Canada. His sister lived here with him. He was married, but then he had one little boy. But his sister lived here with him. She and I were very dear friends. She was a lot older than I was. We used to have a Bible class going once a week and she was one of them who taught that Bible class. You never knew Mrs. John D. Roach? She was quite a character and she worshipped Jim. She made me a set of mats with a hundred pieces in them, a hundred pieces that she crocheted from great big centerpieces and platter places and all around--twelve of everything. And, it wasn't for me; she did it for Jim because she worshipped Jim. We had some lovely friends. Older ones as well as the younger ones. We really thoroughly enjoyed it.
Dillard: Was entertaining a big part of the life of faculty wives in those days, or did you just happen to enjoy entertaining?
Adams: Well we did it. I don't know. It was just sort of natural. We didn't have any set time. We didn't have a club or anything at that time like we do now--Faculty Club. No, just as we felt like doing it. The different ones with it. And Mrs. Mullins would always have asked me, at first, to assist her. She gave parties more than she did meals. So she had meals...I remember she had us all over there one day, and she had a rocking chair [laughs] just sitting at the dining room table. And one of the guests had the rocking chair and she was way down here. But, Mrs. Mullins was quiet because she stayed in bed most of the time. She was a semi-invalid. I don't think she was really sick. [laughs] I think she just...He was away a great deal. He went all over the world. I wouldn't take anything in this world for knowing him, especially. She was a sweet lovely person, but he just towered above anybody. And he and my father were in the seminary here together. Dr. Robertson and Father and--oh who was the other man, there were two others--not Dr. Carver. Yes, I believe Dr. Carver was in with them, and then there was one other one. There were four of them here in the seminary together. And so, we were very close. We had the Davises, the Powells and the Davises and our family just were very close.
I remember when Jim died. We were just back from the mountains, as I said. I had all my curtains and shades being cleaned--one at the laundry and the other one at the cleaners. And Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Davis came over there and saw the situation, and they didn't say a word to me. They found out where the things were, and they went and got all these things and put up the curtains, fresh curtains, at the windows and the things and all. We were just like a family, you know. It was really a wonderful...It isn't that way now. People aren't nearly so close as they used to be.
Dillard: Was it partly the smallness of the faculty?
Adams: Yes, yes. I think so. Umm-hmm. And we were older then; most of them were older. Margaret Yates and I were the two youngest ones. And yet Margaret and I were not nearly as close as Mrs. Davis and I, Mrs. Powell and I, and Mrs. Sampey and I. She lived right around the corner from me. I was devoted...she was the second Mrs. Sampey. Now, I knew the first Mrs. Sampey, too. She was ill with tuberculosis when I came as a bride. Do you remember where the Sampeys lived and where I lived?
Dillard: 1313 Willow
Adams: Yes. And I lived on Longest, and it was right around the corner, you know. So, the first Mrs. Sampey was living when I first married. She was an invalid in bed, and I wrote that down somewhere. I was writing that down the other day. Dr. Sampey invited us over to dinner--my family, Elizabeth and Jim and me. She, as I said, she was upstairs. Well, he let us go up and speak to her. And that was the only time I ever saw her. She didn't live very long after that. But he had a maid and I'll never forget how gracefully he presided over that meal. He sat at the end of it and the conversation just flowed so naturally. Then he took us into his library and showed us some very interesting books and things that he had. We really enjoyed it.
When the second Mrs. Sampey came, she was younger, and she loved flowers and I loved flowers. So she and Mrs. Carver and I were all flower friends. I remember one Christmas Dr. Carver came up to my house with a shoebox in his hand--like this--and he had this glowering look on his face. He says, "I didn't want to bring this, but my wife made me." [laughs] And I had no idea what it was. Well, I didn't open it. I just thanked him and took it in the house, thinking it was some little Christmas gift. [laughs] When I finally opened the box, it was a box of manure. [laughs] Mrs. Carver had sent me for my flowers. [laughs] We had a lot of things like that to happen. But it was a congenial bunch. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the faculty with all those people. As I said, so much larger now, and they don't get as close to each other as we did.
Dillard: Did wives become involved in the concerns of the husbands? For example, not too long after you came here, Dr. Mullins died and the seminary had to choose a new president. How much discussion went on at home about the next president?
Adams: the next President? I'm trying to think. I can't quite go back to that situation. Dr. Mullins.
Dillard: Do you remember when Dr. Mullins died?
Adams:As I say now, I want to tell you this just for you. Don't write this down, and don't tell anyone, not even your wife. I want to tell you what kind of person Harold Tribble was. Ummm. One of the professors told me this later--They started a movement there of wanting to get Jim out of--you see he was Dr. Mullins' assistant--and they wanted to get him out of that position. So they started talking about a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. And, then they talked to Dr. Mullins about it. Well, Dr. Mullins didn't know what was going on among two or three of those jealous professors of Jim and his closeness to Dr. Mullins. He was young, you know; he wasn't an older man. He was young. And, I don't know. It was just jealousy was all it was. That was all, and Harold Tribble was one of the main ones. He was one of the young ones. He was Dr. Sampey's assistant. So anyway, Dr. Mullins came to Jim and he said, "Jim" He said, "There seems to be getting up interest here about Palestine." And he says, "We're going to need somebody." He didn't know anything; he just knew they wanted somebody to go, and suggested Jim. He said, "Would you be interested in going over there and seeing about the geography over there and the archeology and all of that part of it?" He said, "We've got to send somebody, and I didn't know whether you'd be interested or not." Jim said, "Let me think about it a while." And he came over and talked to me about it. Of course I was willing for him to do whatever he wanted to do. So he went back and he said, "Why, yes Dr. Mullins. I think I would." He said, "Alright. I'm going to give you a year off and let you go over there and see what the situation is and possibilities and if there's any future in our work over there in the geography and the archeology." So he did. I didn't go with him the first year. He went over and spent the whole year over there. And then when he came back, I don't know how it started about him taking these parties, whether he wanted to go back and keep in touch, but anyway. Then it came up about this archeology, you know, and Jim was interested. It was a new subject. Nobody else knew anything about it. And it sort of challenged him, you know. And so he told him, "I'd be very interested in working on a department of archeology. I think I see great possibilities in it." And so, he made up the trips and he began taking parties with him. Oh, he took as many as twenty people at a time. But he was the first one to start it--those trips to Palestine. And then afterwards, the other professors got interested and the other professors took people with them. They worked at it for a long time. He got so much information for his books. And then I was just reading where the critics said that his Biblical Backgrounds--they sold more copies of that book than any book I think they had ever sold, and it was reprinted. It would still be going on now if this professor at the seminary--he has just ruined my husband's department, Badgett. Don't repeat that to anybody. But what I mean is, he knew nothing about it. They put a man there--well, of course Jim didn't know when he went in either. He had to learn.--But, instead of getting somebody who'd been in the field, you know, and go on with his work, he's just been, to me, he's been sort of fumbling and feeling his way along. I don't feel it rates anywhere where it did when he was living. Now I may be mistaken, but because it may have...But that little book he got out--Did you see his book? I showed it to Duke McCall and he'd never seen it. Well, it beats anything you ever saw in your life. He took my husband's great big--you know Jim's book, don't you?
Adams: Two of them. He wrote two.
Dillard: What were the titles? Biblical Backgrounds ?
Adams: Biblical Backgrounds and Ancient Records in the Bible, isn't it?
Dillard: Oh. Right, right.
Adams: But anyway, he took those great big books and he wrote a little book about this thin, and I showed it to Duke McCall the last time he was here. Every other page was a picture in that little book about that thick. Now you can imagine what he wrote--nothing, everybody said, that knew Jim's book. What he should've done was, if he wanted to--there's been one discovery since then. Some big place had been discovered over there and he was basing it all on that. That's all he knew. He should've added that on to Jim's book back here. That's what everybody who knew Jim's work said. While he may be a good teacher, I'm not saying he's not, but he's had to start at the bottom and come up. Now Kyle Yates and all the people who hooted at the idea when Jim took up archaeology, you know, his son is teaching archaeology out west. Sort of makes you....
Dillard: You were telling about the faculty having some kind of jealousy of your husband. They deliberately moved him out of theology?
Adams: No, he gave him his choice. He could either stay in theology, or he could develop this new thing. Well, Jim got interested in it. He saw the possibilities, and they told me that that book of his that sold more copies than any book. I have a letter here that says that from the printers.
Dillard: When Dr. Mullins died, was Sampey the logical choice for the presidency? Or was there much discussion of that?
Adams: I don't, I really don't know.
Dillard: Dr. Sampey was sixty-four years old.
Adams: Yes, he was. He did it temporarily at first. He took it over, as I think I remember. And then, he didn't keep it too long. Do you know how long he kept it?
Dillard: About fourteen years.
Adams: Did he keep it that long?
Adams: Well. Then, I've forgotten.
Dillard: Until he was seventy-eight.
Adams: Uh-huh. So he didn't go back into any other subject. He died in that...well, I'd forgotten that.
Dillard: Dr. Sampey retired as president at 78.
Adams: Yeah, that's right.
Dillard: What about the faculty wives? You indicated there was not a faculty wives' organization when you came. Do you know when that got started?
Adams: Faculty wives. Now wait a minute. Let me think.
Dillard:I wondered if that came with Mrs. Fuller, or...
Adams: No. Long before Mrs. Fuller. Umm. Mrs. Gardner. Do you remember Mrs. Gardner?
Dillard:Mrs. Charles Gardner.
Adams: Mrs. Charles Gardner was here and when I came into the faculty. See, we moved into the Gardner's house. My home over there on Longest was Dr. Gardner's house. They were retiring, and what was her name? Do you remember her name?
Dillard: No, I don't.
Adams: Well, she was a charming person, very smart, very talented, and she used to give readings in our faculty groups. Now, your question, give me your question again before I go on with this.
Dillard: I was interested in knowing when the faculty wives' club/organization began.
Adams: Well. I think Mrs. Robertson was the one to start that. I'm just trying to think when it was.
Dillard: Let's move on to something else that you want to be sure you talk about. That's the flood. Tell me about what happened.
Adams: Oh my. Let me see now. What was the first thing about that. I was living over on Longest Avenue, I think. I have to stop and think--flood.
Dillard: Yes, you were. That was 1937.
Adams: It just started raining, you know. And it kept on raining. And it kept on--it went on for I don't remember how long, but I know it was a week, solidly, just pouring. Jim Adams. Oh, they had to move everything from downtown. Do you know they went in a boat from the gate to the cemetery--you know where that is and then that hill that goes down? They had boats on that street bringing people up from the lower part of Louisville to the Highlands. And they were just pouring up here. Our seminary--They were just filling up our seminary with people. Just there to stay until they got somewhere to go. Of course we in the faculty had to open our homes to them, too. I'm just trying to think. Oh, Jim. I was telling about Jim. What Jim did. Put on a rain coat. I think he had overshoes, he certainly didn't have any boots at that time, and went out there and stood in the middle of the street at Highland Baptist Church and directed traffic in all of that downpour rain all day long. No umbrella, nothing. Just his rain coat and a hat on his head. And the ladies were serving food. They were bringing people to our church, and all of the churches were doing this. Carrying them over there and the ladies were taking food and serving the people food that they'd brought up from down in the other parts. We brought them out to the seminary. We had the seminary full; I had my home full of children. I don't know how many children. All of that was going on. I had my house full of food, and I filled everything with water that I could find around there. And then they announced there would be no more water. There was only enough for the hospitals and the sick places and all and all. Well I was glad very thankful I'd filled several big bottles there to have the water. I had plenty of food. But, I don't know what happened to the furnace. They turned off the heat or something in the homes, and just had it in the hospital. All we had was one little fire in the living room, a wood fire. Well, I had, as I said, I had these little orphans there. I'd brought these orphans to my house to take over. And Jim gone all day long. Nobody there but me to attend to things. And I don't know what made me decide. I think it was my mother and my sister calling over the telephone and begging me to leave and come to Charlotte. Anyway, I decided to go and take my children: Elizabeth Newman and Jimmy was a baby then; Anne Moseley wasn't born. And Sarah Gall, my niece was living with me. And so I just left Elizabeth there to look after her daddy. Oh, I know what happened. They had announced to us that we could get no more coal. That meant that big three story house of mine was going to be without any heat except one little--I didn't have gas then--we had had one little fireplace that I could put wood, but I didn't have any wood you see. I just had to take boards and things that I could find around there. Well, I just knew that I couldn't keep that house full of children there with no fire in it. We didn't have a gas stove or anything at that time. So I just made up my mind I was going to Charlotte to take--did I say Jimmy was born? I don't remember whether Jimmy was born or not. Ann Moseley...Yeah. Jimmy was born because Ann Moseley was older; she was in her teens. I mean Elizabeth. And so she said, "Mother, I'm not going. I'm going to stay here and look after Daddy." I said, "Oh. Alright. If you want to take that..., but remember no water, Elizabeth." I had filled up the bottles in the house, but that wouldn't last long, you know. And so I did. I took Jimmy. Two times I've made the news. This was one of them when I got to Charlotte. Here were about six reporters greeting me, in my sister's home waiting for me there. "Give us the news. What's going on out in Louisville? So and so and so and so." Telephone rang for one solid month. My throat was so sore I couldn't even speak. People just called and called and called. They put it in the newspaper that I was there from the flood.
Dillard: the refugee from the flood
Adams: Yeah. On the front page. I had a great big picture. They came out there and took my picture and all of that. It was bedlam, so I just got up and left and went to Charlotte. Of course I had to contend with a lot once I got there, but it wasn't as bad as the people here in Louisville. So, now let me see. What else was I talking about besides that? That's about all I remember about that. I stayed there until...When I got back out here, Jim had nearly had pneumonia, staying out there in that rain like he did and Elizabeth was pretty furious with me for leaving. Well I said, "Elizabeth, if it hadn't been for the water, I wouldn't have left. But how could I keep a whole bunch of children in this home and the house going with no water." So I thought it was just better just to leave what I had there for them to have. I didn't regret it. I thought I did the right thing. But my poor relatives were just frantic knowing that I was out here in all of this and they didn't know what was going on. So they were very glad to get me at Charlotte. And I made the front page news then and the other time was--I thought the other day. What was the other time? I've made the front page news twice. [laughs] Now I can't remember the second time, what it was. I had it here somewhere.
Dillard: You commented earlier about the exciting experience of having taken in boarders after your husband died. Were these seminary students or...?
Adams: Let me think back. I had all kinds of people. I have had seminary students there, but I didn't concentrate on that. Oh--I forgot to tell you. When Jim died, I started teaching piano. See, I was a piano teacher before I married him. So Dr.--who was the pastor at that time? Dr. Mullins?--anyway, they gave me a classroom out there that they weren't using on the first floor of the seminary to teach. I couldn't teach the piano itself, but I was doing the theory and the board work and all. Then Mrs. Carver said I could use her piano over there. That didn't work out very well, and they needed the room over there anyway. So then I went over to Mrs. Carver's and started teaching, and who was the girl that sang out there?--lived right over there by Mrs. Carver on that street. He was an assistant and she had a...
Dillard: It sounds like you were the beginning of the music school. [laughs]
Adams: Yes, I was. It was really the beginning. I'd never thought about it until I started doing all this. So I just had more pupils than I could bother with, and so I went back to my own home then. And the pupils came to my home. And you know I meet boys now quite often, "Mrs. Adams, do you know you taught me voice and piano?" Well, Doris, for a while she taught--she didn't take it up until about a year or two after I started piano--then she started teaching voice over at her house.
Adams: Um. She's the one I was trying to think of a while ago.
Dillard: Oh, it's not a seminary person.
Adams: Yes, she was. Her husband was a professor. She had a lovely voice. She sang. Doris. .. Names just leave me. I can't think of it. But anyway, she carried on voice and I did the piano. I not only taught them, but I had other pupils coming to me at the time. I had as many as fifteen to twenty pupils at one time.
Dillard: Many of them seminary people?
Dillard:Well, now Prof. Johnson also taught music, didn't he?
Adams: That came later. Now there was a couple there, and I can't remember their names--a man and his wife. After Doris started the voice and I started the piano, this couple moved there. He had a lovely voice, and he began teaching voice. I don't think she taught piano. She did something else. I've forgotten what. I can't even remember their names. They lived where Marguerite lives now, over in that house.
Dillard: the Winters?
Adams: The seminary had...maybe it was the Winters. I believe it was. Yes, I think it was--if it was that far back.
Dillard: Let me ask about a few people that you've come across over the years, and I'd be interested in your perception of them. Mrs. Dobbins.
Adams: Mrs. Dobbins. You know Dr. Dobbins was the strong one in that family. She was a sort of vine that hung on to him. When you first knew her, you didn't have much impression of her. She was sort of timid and she sort of stuttered when she would get excited. She'd u-u-u-u, sort of do like that when she'd go to talking. But after you knew her, she and I loved flowers and Mrs. Carver. We all exchanged flowers among us. There was a little lady up there selling flowers, and so she and I got to be very close. After you knew her, you learned to love her. You knew about her oldest boy, didn't you?
Dillard: He's the one who took his life?
Adams: Yeah. That, of course, just nearly killed her. I was very close to Mrs. Dobbins, and I was in her home a great deal. I think I taught, yes, I did teach her oldest son piano. Now who was the other one at that time? Mrs. Dobbins was one of them.
Dillard: Mrs. Weatherspoon.
Adams: Mrs. Weatherspoon and Dr. Weatherspoon, we loved dearly. He was pastor over at Highland at one time, you know, interim pastor. She and I were very close. She lived in Raleigh, North Carolina. She knew Jim's family and his people, and she was very devoted to him, both of them were. He was in college with Jim at Wake Forest. We were very close. All of our faculty were very close to each other and devoted.
Dillard: You mentioned earlier being close to the Powells.
Adams: Yes, and Davises. Now the Powells and Davises and I, we three lived right there close to each other. Of course Mrs. Sampey lived over there, too. But being the president's wife, she was very much in demand and busy and all. And while we loved them--we had luncheons together and things, but Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Powell and I were just...As I said, when Jim died, over they came and just took over. Whereas Margaret Yates and I never were very close. She lived out farther out there and I always felt there was a little jealousy between us. Not on my part; I never felt jealous of her. But she had some jealousy of, I think, the fact that Jim was so close to Dr. Mullins, you know, and his assistant and all. There was a little--her husband was a little jealous of Jim. I always felt that. We never had any trouble, but I wasn't nearly as close to her as I was to these others.
Dillard: Her husband didn't have quite the reputation of your husband as a teacher. That may have contributed to it.
Adams: Yes, that may have. And then you see, Jim took so many parties abroad. People just idolized my husband, in churches and everywhere. Oh, he just never--Any Sunday that he wanted to preach, he had a chance. Do you know how Jim died? Did I tell you?
Adams: Just fell over on his desk.
Adams: It was a terrific shock, but really it was better than a long illness.
Dillard: What year did he die?
Adams: Forty-five. Didn't I say forty-five?
Adams: I think it was.
Dillard: So you were here through two presidential changes. The coming of Dr. Sampey as president and the coming of Dr. Fuller.
Adams: Did you know Dr. Fuller was best man in our wedding? Did I tell you that?
Dillard: No. Dr. Fuller was?
Adams: Yes, Dr. Fuller.
Dillard: No, I didn't.
Adams: Yep. He called me "bride" as long as he lived. [laughs]
Dillard: I didn't know that.
Dillard: So you have been very close to Dr. Fuller.
Adams: Fuller and Jim were just like this. They were devoted to each other. Oh yes. I wouldn't go to the seminary for a year after Jim died. I just couldn't go. Finally Dr. Fuller came over to me. They were having a big to-do in the women's building over there in the dining room. He said, "Lucy, you're going to this dinner tonight, and I'm going to take you." I just couldn't bear to go back there. It just killed me. So, he said, "Now you get dressed because I'm coming to take you tonight." [laughs] Well, he did. He came and got me. Then he made me lead the procession into the dining room which nearly killed me. His wife taking second place back here with somebody else. He said, "Now you've broken the ice. Now you're coming back to the seminary and to all of the things." He said, "We miss you and we need you and you're coming." We were very close, the Fullers and us.
Dillard: You have observed four presidents' wives across the years. Mrs. Mullins, Mrs. Sampey, Mrs. Fuller, now Mrs. McCall. Are there styles all different?
Adams: Oh yeah. No two you could compare. All lovely, fine women. Mrs. Robertson towered mentally, I'd say. Mrs. Davis, well she was a professor's wife not a president. But Elizabeth Fuller, of course she's younger and they didn't expect as much of her. She, like Marguerite had to learn and come along, you know. Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Davis and those, they were all in group to themselves and this group's over here, and I loved them all. But in different ways. They've all been just perfectly wonderful to me and would do anything in the world for me.
Dillard: I suppose, in a way, Mrs. Sampey had the most difficult time coming in as...
Adams: Mrs. Sampey?
Dillard: Yes, the second Mrs. Sampey as a young, new person.
Adams: Yes, I would say so. Umm-hmm.
Dillard: But handled it very well.
Adams: She certainly did. She's a wonderful person, but she's rather timid, you know.
Dillard: I never met her.
Adams: You never met her?
Adams:Oh, you missed something. I was at her home down there once, coming back from my daughter's up this way and stopped by her home. She took me out to her cemetery, and I know where she's buried. Did you go to her funeral?
Adams: Well, she showed me a private cemetery they had back there, the family and all. I'm sure that's where they buried her. I know it was right near her home, at her home. She had a dinner for us. Let's see. I'd been down to Anne Moseley's. Modey had to doctor this baby, and we had this baby with us. He was the sweetest baby you ever saw in your life. Now he's six feet tall [laughs]. That Sammy's a great big tall boy. Oh, we have so many memories. You know memories are wonderful things to have. You can just look back and enjoy them as long as you live. Sad and happy. But I wouldn't have missed any. This is my Sammy right here. That's when he was younger. He is an older boy now.
Now I wanted to show you this before we forget it. It's nearly gone, but I tried to save it for you. Look at this date up there.
Dillard: 1930--the new building
Adams: I'm sorry that's torn. There may be a better one here, but I haven't found it yet. I've got a lot of things put away if I can just find them. Now you see, these were the professors that were here at that time.
Dillard: Were you here when Dr. Powell resigned from the faculty?
Dillard: Wasn't there some problem about that?
Adams: Yes. There's something. I'm trying to think, too. I forget those things. I've forgotten what it was now. If I ever think, I'll tell you.
Dillard: And Dr. Tribble left, also.
Adams: Ooh. I wanted to tell you this, so I told you about how he courted Mrs. Mullins?
Adams: Well, he just--he couldn't do enough for her. He was running over there all the time. Now Jim loved Mrs. Mullins and Jim would do anything for her. You see, Jim was his assistant first. But he never, never played up to people, you know. But that Harold Tribble was just taking Mrs. Mullins to ride, taking her to the woman's clubs, doing this and that and the other. And you know what she left him when she died? Ten thousand dollars.
Dillard: To Harold Tribble?
Adams: Yes, and that's what he's built his new home with there in North Carolina. And do you know what she left my husband, or left me? She left my husband her husband's desk, no, bookcase. Did you ever go in Jim's office there?
Adams: Well it was a peculiar thing. I don't know. I suppose the boys have taken it since then, but anyway it was on a thing. And he had it turned around. And there were four sides to it like this. And there were about three or about four shelves, and that thing turned all around. It was in Dr. Mullins' study. Well, she left that to Jim and left Harold Tribble ten-thousand dollars. And you know why? Because he camped on her doorstep and courted her every minute, and my husband had none of that in him, none.
Dillard: When did Mrs. Mullins die?
Adams: Don't ask me dates.
Dillard: Was it a long time after her husband's death?
Adams: Oh, yeah.
Dillard: They had no children.
Adams: No. Well, she did have--her husband and Mrs. Mullins and one little child I know of. Now I don't believe there were two. It was a little boy, I remember. She may have had two, but I don't believe. They're on our lot there where Jim is buried. And there's a place--Dr. Fuller's buried on that lot. And, I've been wanting to call that man up and tell him, "Please save a place for Elizabeth and for me." And I'd like a place for Jimmy because Modey's going to be buried down at Bob's. I hate to think of her in a cemetery way down there, but I would like to have Jimmy if we can get him on there. That lot's nearly full.
Dillard: Well can you think of anything else you'd like to share with me, Mrs. Adams, out of the memories of seminary? What about the move from downtown Louisville out to the country? You were here when the seminary was downtown, when you came. Do I remember correctly?
Dillard: And then in 1926, it moved out to the present location. Was there much discussion of that?
Adams: I don't remember too much about that. I remember the building, and I remember they took a picture--I've got a picture here of all of us--and then when they built that new building down there, too, they took a picture of all of us and that. But I remember how happy we were to move from downtown. Oh that was a terrible place when it went down there. I remember one thing. You know Broadway? What's the main street? the name of that street?
Dillard: Fourth and Broadway
Adams: Fourth and Broadway. Well , on Fifth, right on the corner of Fifth there on Broadway, the old seminary used to be there. And I've been in that building when I first came and this little Mrs. Roach. You didn't know her but she was quite a character. I've got a lot of her stuff here. She was a brilliant little woman. She worshipped my husband. She was the one I told you made me a hundred mats when I got married. She did it for Jim. So Mrs. Roach, she taught a Bible class. Did you ever know Mrs. Dara Cross? She went to Highland Baptist Church.
Dillard: Oh, yes. Mrs. Dara Cross.
Adams: She took Mrs. Roach's class after she died. Mrs. Roach had this inter-denominational class, and they met way down at that First Christian Church for a long time. Then they met up at the Highlands there where the library is and different places. They were having this meeting at this auditorium I was telling you about at Fifth and Broadway where they were meeting. Right in the middle of it--some man was giving a lecture or something--and right in the middle of it, Mrs. Roach wore a--you remember how, no, you never saw this because nobody ever did it but her--she had this long chain with a watch on it. She'd wrap it around her neck and would have it. Well, you know how men would have those little things, fog things. She had that right up here around her neck and then this other watch and she stuck the watch in her belt. Well, we were all sitting there and everyone was so tired and hungry and the man kept on talking and talking. So just as natural and not realizing what she did at all, took that watch and she started, "rrrrrrrrrr" [winding sound]. [laughs]You could hear it all over the building.
Dillard: Winding the watch.
Adams: Winding the watch. "rrrrrrrr" And she was completely unaware that everybody was just in hysterics. We were all so tired and so hungry, worn out anyway. It was the funniest thing. I never will forget it. [laughs] But she was quite a character. She was smart as she could be, and she taught all kinds of denominations there together. But she came over to my house every week and she worshipped Jim Adams. She loved me, but she didn't love me like she loved him. She was sort of like a little grandmother to us. She lived way out in Beechmont in an apartment out there. It caught on fire one day when I was there. She lived up on the second story. There were two apartments. There were two over on that side and two on this, joined together. You know, just one building? She was upstairs here on the second story of this one. It was Christmas or right after it. It wasn't Christmas day, but it was right at Christmas time. I saw this bright light, and I looked out the window, went to her window and looked out. It was coming from the apartment next door. This bright light. And then I realized that it was a fire. What had happened was the Christmas tree had caught the curtains on fire, and a fire had started in that apartment. Well here I was with this little old lady and I was scared to frighten her too much. She might die on me or faint or do something. I said quietly to her, "Mrs. Roach, get your things ready and get ready to go outdoors. The apartment next door is on fire and we're going to have to get out of this building." In the meantime, I went and called to get Jim. I was there alone, you know. I couldn't take her furniture out or do all that. It was a second story house. So I just was thinking about getting her out. So I made her put on her fur coat and put her rocking chair outdoors in December, and put her out there. Then these boys started coming. People began to see the fire, you know. I took those Boy Scouts--I'll always be indebted to those Boy Scouts--came running up there to help. I stood there and had them take her stuff outdoors. Well, finally the fire department got there and put the fire out. But, oh, it was dangerous because there was just one wall between us and that thing. It was already beginning to come into her apartment. That was one of the scary times.
Dillard: Let me ask a little bit more about faculty wives. Even in the thirty years I've been here, I've seen a transition from the time when it was very unusual to see a faculty wife employed to the time when many faculty wives have jobs. Did any faculty wives work outside the home when you came?
Adams: Well, now the only thing, as I told you--I taught piano and Doris taught voice. Things like that. But I don't think any girls ever clerked or did any kind of...taught school, I don't know about teaching school. I don't think I remember anybody teaching school. No, I don't think so. You see, it wasn't too large. It started with ten. Ten professors. How many have they got now?
Dillard: About sixty-five
Adams: Somebody told me one-hundred.
Dillard: Well, some are part-time. About sixty-five full-time.
Adams: Umm-hmm. Well that's where it's gone from ten. I remember there were ten when I came.
Dillard: Do you see any change in attitude of the wives toward the institution? Or feelings of commitment to the institution?
Adams: I don't know that you could compare it. We were so small; we were like a family. We're not like that now. We meet and get together.
Dillard: I sometimes think that now all of us have very diverse interests and different directions, and I wonder if the difference is that when you came the interest focused on the seminary.
Adams: That's right. And we were like a big family. Like when I got into trouble. Everybody came to me and just took over, you know. That was true of everybody, anybody in trouble or needed you. You see Mrs. Dobbins. You know that boy hanging himself. Were you here then?
Adams: Oh, that was awful. Oh, that was awful. And then the second one followed suit soon after it. I don't know how she lived through it. But Mrs. Dobbins wasn't a normal woman. I never did feel that her children were. While her oldest boy was a very attractive boy and musical and sweet, but he was rather effeminate and wasn't a strong character.
Dillard: Well, Austin has certainly turned into a fine man.
Adams: Who? Oh, Austin. Yes, now he's like his father. But you know when we first had Dr. Dobbins here. I want to show you something. When we first came and Dr. Dobbins would get up to speak, here's the way he would go. He was the laughingstock of the whole seminary. I don't know whether I can do it in these shoes or not, but I think I can. He'd get up in his sweet little way and his feet would get to moving. Just like...[laughs] He kept his feet moving all the time. And everybody would laugh. [laughs] We just got the biggest kick out of Dr. Dobbins. We just loved him. Mrs. Dobbins and I were very close flower friends, as I said. But he came out to be a very big person before he died.
Dillard: I interviewed him a couple of years ago, and he acknowledged that he got off to a very slow start. He really felt at the end of his first year that he had been a real failure.
Adams: Yes. He was like a, not a school boy but, I reckon a college boy or somebody just starting out and not sure of himself. And he would just smile and grin when he was talking and keep those feet moving all the time. All the time he was talking his feet were moving. So he was quite a laughingstock at first, but he outgrew it alright. Mrs. Dobbins was a very peculiar person. She just leaned on her husband and she worshipped him, which was alright. She wasn't a strong character. She was a sort of a weak person. We loved flowers and we talked about flowers and we grew flowers and did all that.
Dillard: Did you know Prof. Johnson's first wife?
Adams: Elizabeth Johnson?
Dillard: No, his wife before that.
Adams: I'm trying to think. Who was she?
Dillard: She was the singer. She didn't live here very much.
Adams: Didn't she die? She got buried on my lot.
Dillard: Yes, yes. That's right.
Adams:Well, I knew her but not well. She didn't live very long. Did she?
Dillard: No I don't think so.
Adams: I don't think so either. No, I wasn't close to her. Of course I went to things at the seminary with her.
Dillard: We spoke of Mrs. Carver. She was a very creative person, wasn't she?
Adams: Yes. I was just looking. I had a poem here that Mrs. Carver wrote.
Dillard: She wrote a book of poetry.
Adams: She wrote a poem to me.
Adams: Let me see if I can find that. "Lucy's Garden" I think it is. I saw it this morning. Where do I put things? [laughs] Look at that.
Dillard: Is that you?
Adams: [laughs]Uh-huh. This is another one without...yes I am in this. You can find me in there and see if you see me. Now I had that thing this morning. Was it Mrs. Carver we were talking about?
Adams: Here it is. You read it.
Dillard: Well, why don't you read it to me?
Adams: Did you look at this?
Dillard: Why don't you read me the poem?
Dillard: That's written, dedicated to you, by Mrs. W.O. Carver?
Lucy's garden is such heaps and loads of fun.
With everything from Jimson weeds to Baby's breath; it's overrun.
Her plans are marvels of perfection,
But the greatest marvel is how marvelously they miscarry in the realities.
[laughs] She doesn't seem to be rhyming anything.
She'd have a clump of pansies just here somewhere about.
But big petunias overrun and block the pansies out.
Here a regal lily is to have a very special place.
A lively morning glory springs unasked and hides its lovely face.
Rhizomes of handsome iris are sadly split asunder
By unremembered jonquils pushing out and up from under.
Her thumb is green.
She pinches tops from this thing and another.
And sticks them out.
They root and grow without aid or bother.
She transplants candles gay feather in full bloom three feet tall.
It blooms right on, not knowing it has been disturbed with all.
Her dahlias stand as stately kings and lovely queens supreme.
In them she finds fulfillment of her fondest hope and dreams.
Her generosity with every casual neighbor and old friend is our delight
And her gay garden's chiefest aim and end.
We do enjoy dear Lucy's garden oh so very, very much.
And thank her most sincerely for every plant of such and such.
[laughs] Oh that's typical of Mrs. Carver. She's a dear, though. I used to take her to all the meetings. I went over and helped her get dressed, and took her to all the meetings. I lover her very much.
Dillard: Well, we're about to come to the end of your tape. Would you like to a parting word for future seminary faculty wives? What would you to the seminary wives of today and tomorrow if you just wanted to tell them something about how best to be supportive of their husbands and their work?
Adams: Well, I think the first thing I'd say--Be your natural self. Then, to me the faculty has always been a family. If you get that feeling that the faculty is your family. If you are in trouble--I told you how those women came to me when I needed them. Well, that's true today. It's larger, yes, and we're not as close as we were then, but I think any one of us would...For instance, if I need to go to anything, I don't have a car anymore, these ladies--any of them--are just delighted to...They've told me over and over, "Call on us."
Dillard: Or the men.
Adams: [laughs] Yes, the men would do it, too. And so, I've felt all my life like it's a family. I think if ladies get that feeling, you know, and be yourself and natural and out-going to people, you just fit in. Marguerite McCall has made a wonderful president's wife, I think. She was very simple. You see, she grew up before she became the president's wife. Was her husband on the staff?
Dillard: No. They came from Nashville. He was the head of the executive committee.
Adams: They went right into the presidency from there?
Adams: Well, thought that I couldn't think of them as a professor here. But Marguerite, now she's had to feel her way and she was young. But Marguerite has poise and dignity and self-assurance and she's had a good education. I don't think it's gone to her head at all. She's been very level-headed and outgoing and she would do anything in the world for you. If I get sick, she comes right over with a hot dish of some kind for me. She'd do anything for me that I'd ask of her. That's just the way she is. I think we've been very fortunate with our faculty, and it's a matter of your fitting in with them. If you don't stand in awe and pull out and be afraid of them. Now we have had some ladies who have done that. Mrs. Dobbins was a little bit that way. She wasn't quite sure of herself, and she was timid until she knew you. After she knew you, she was alright. Mrs. Carver, on the other hand, and some of the older ones--I used to go by and pick up Mrs. Carver and take her to faculty meetings all the time--we were just like sisters, all of us. I'm glad I grew up in a small one because it bound us together, and I've had that feeling ever since. Now I don't know a lot of these girls on the faculty today because I can't get out. I get ready to go to something and bad weather comes, and I haven't been out since Christmas. Can you imagine me staying in the house since Christmas? Well, that's true. But, I keep busy.
Dillard: Let me ask this because you just handed me this on the Tennyson Club, and I don't know...Is the Tennyson Club, your husband apparently was a member of it, it's not in business now, is it?
Adams: No, no. We had a lot of clubs going at that time: Browning Club, Tennyson Club, and there were three of them right there together, but I've forgotten the third one.
Dillard: Was it primarily seminary, or?
Adams: Seminary, all seminary. Yes. They were faculty. It was all faculty. Let me tell you something funny about one of these. I hadn't met Mrs. Robertson. I had heard so much about her and stood in awe of her. I was a girl practically at that time and Mrs. Robertson was the president's daughter. My father went to school to her father. I've got one of his cards here--one of Dr. John A. Broadus' calling cards. I found it the other day. I've got all kinds of things in my scrapbooks. See, these are my scrapbooks and I fill one with one thing and another with another. I've got all kinds of things here. Now what was I talking about?
Dillard: You were talking about the Tennyson Club and Mrs. Robertson.
Adams: Oh, the Tennyson and how much fun. Well I'd heard of Mrs. Robertson and I sort of stood in awe of her. I knew her husband was one of the big professors out at the seminary. Jim was young at that time, and I was too. I was sitting down on some steps in a hall. We were having this thing in some public place I can't remember what it was or where it was. I just remember those steps and saw a lady sitting there. [laughs] I came walking up and sat down. I knew she was one of our crowd. During the conversation, I said, "You know. There's a lady coming here tonight and I'm just petrified at having to talk to her. I have no idea in the world what to say to her or how to approach her." And she said, "Why, Lucy, just be natural. Just be yourself." Mrs. Adams--I think she called me then. She said, "There's not anybody you have to stand in awe of." And in just a few minutes someone came up and spoke to her as Mrs. Robertson. [laughs] And she was the one I was talking about. She didn't know it, you know. I didn't call her name. But I thought, "Oh, my Lord. I have been sitting here by Mrs. Robertson."
Dillard: At least you were acting natural. [laughs] Thank you Mrs. Adams. I think we will probably call this the end of the interview. So we're now at the conclusion of...
Adams: Now have I showed you everything I wanted to show you? I think I have.
Dillard: The fascinating thing about showing me things is that when we listen to the tape, we won't know what we were looking at.
Adams: There is Shaking Hands with Abraham. You know Abraham was one of my husband's favorites. There's Mrs. Broadus' card. You see I have her card.
Dillard: By the way, I heard the other day that Dr. Mullins was affectionately known as Pope. Did you know that?
Adams: Pope? Never heard it in my life. You mean among the students?
Dillard: Among faculty.
Adams: Oh, no. Among the faculty? I never heard it. It may be because we were so close to the Mullins. Nobody told me.
Dillard: Well is there anything else you'd like to say?
Adams: I don't believe so. I think we've about covered it.
Dillard: Well, this has been a good experience.
Adams: Now, you did look at all these men here, didn't you?
[end of tape]