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SAM: ...start by asking you about growing up in Boise, what was it like when youwere growing up there?
TS: Not different of most towns of fifteen, twenty thousand. It, they didn'thave very much in the way of nightlife or anything of that sort. Natatorium was the big treat. That was, they claimed was the biggest heated indoor pool in the country, I think they were wrong. I think -- Busch Garderns in San Francisco were bigger. But to go swimming, you usually went to one of the irrigation canals. And where, oh, I'd say a quarter of mile from where the railroad station was built, out on the bench, and it's surrounded for miles on every side with people we could go swimming without anything on. And in the three of four summers that we did that, I never knew any one to come even close to the point where we had a tressel over the canal. This was the Ridenbaugh canal. Anywho went swimming in the New York canal was taking a chance on dying, it's so big and powerful and swift that it was not safe for swimming. Dut this Ridenbaugh canal was a very fine swimming spot. We didn't have enough snow for much winter sports. Once in a while there would be enough that everybody would go out to the hills and do some coasting, no skiing then. Not much skating. One little pond out under the bench that's probably a half a mile from the main Boise College buildings are. Boise University, I should say. And.or another pond, larger, at the Plantation. It's called the Plantation now. It was Pearce Park, then. And that would freeze over and good skating. But most of the time, there wasn't much to do in the winter and really you pretty much had to make your own entertainment.
Streetcars, of course, are one of thethings that I miss. We, the streetcar line right in front of my family's house. And a friend lived a half a mile away also on the streetcar line, and when we wanted a streetcar ride and didn't want to spend the money, the car had to slow down as it went around the corner and slow enough that we could jump on the back of the car, whatever they called it there and then when we wanted to get off, it was going full speed, so all you'd do would be to jerk the trolley pull down off the trolley by the rope that hung down. Everything would go black in iside the car, the car would stop. The motorman would came steaming out. But by that time, we were out of sight. And that was how we got our ridefon the streetcar when we didn't want to pay for ' It wasn't, too adventurous life there but it was satisfactory. One of my regrets is that time, I never knew Boise River to be clear because the dredge just up bast Idaho City was still operating. That was on Moore's Creek and it muddied Moore's Creek. And Moore's Creek then ran into the river and, no clear water in Boise jfiver. It's always seemed one nice feature when I come back now, that you find that the river is clear. But that was, never used to be the case. The roads were not what they are now. 4 twenty two miles from Boise and you had to be oretty alert on some of the roads that you took there. Idaho City, get there in two hours you were doing pretty well although some daredevils would cut down the time substatially. You shouldn't try to go too fast on the kind of roads that they had then.
SAM: Are there there many different kinds of people that you were coming in contactwith while you were growing up there?;
TS: There were lots of Chinese. Lots of Chinese. There'd - Chinese come fromthe gold rush days at Idaho City. And a lot of them come down and settled in Boise. They did vegetable gardening. Some of them were cooks. And some of them ran launderies. we never bought vegetables at a grocery then. You had a Chinese vegetable man who came around three times a week. And everybody went out to his wagon and saw what he had to offer. They ran many launderies. Then some of them were cooks. That sort of thing. But there were lots and lots of Chinese and some very, very beautiful vegetable gardens raised,in what is now*the metropolitan area of Moscow, out where I should have said Boise, out where Garden City is located. There were Chinese vegetable gardens all over in that area. And then as now, there were a good many Basques there. You could see the, if you walked down Idaho Street, yeah, it was Idaho, not Bannock, three or four blocks from Eighth Street which was then the main north/south street in town, why you'd find one of these great big structures that they played, whatever that game is. And there was always some of them in there. Great big concrete structures, walls standing up there. I can remember the fairs pretty well at that time. Everybody in town went to the fairs. They had a train out from this railroad station which was then out in town, not out on the Bench. People clinging on all sides of that train. The fairgrounds, what was then the fairgrounds, was now built up. I don't just what they have there. But it was fairly close in.
SAM: What kind of fairs were they?
TS: Well, the called it a Estate fair, but it really wasn't. It was just theAda county and oh, Canyon and Gem, the coastline areas. There wasn't much of anything that you could call a state* except a state university, because you couldn't from southern Idaho to northern Idaho by road. The only way to go was by train and you crossed a state border five times between Boise and Moscow. You go into Oregon and back into Idaho and then into Oregon and then into Washington. And finally, back into Idaho again. Between Pullman and Moscow. And so there wasn't state fair. . There couldn't be. I don't know whether there is now or not. But the, there'd be things going on in town. And one of the big events was the fire run in which the horse-drat/n fire equipment would start out at the single fire station in town on Sixth Street, I believe and Idaho, and it would make it's run on Sixth to Main one block, away. And then they'd cone tearing down Main Street. People cheering and the steamer puffing out That was one of the, really, thrills, was when the fire department made it's run. I can recall when they got the first fire trucks there.
And there was a big argumsnt whether they should go foron(P station with mechanical equipment, it could take the place of the main station. Then later on they had one othsr^station.^ne hook and ladder there and they had a fire run from the main station out to the Natatorium to see who'd get there the fastest, the car or the horse. That ended the argument. The, let's see, what else, I hope you're turning that thing off when I'm pausing for words.
SAM: Oh, it doesn't matter, we can edit it out. I'm thinkging about the Natatorium,which I have heard of. Was it used for other than swimming? Was it a real public gathering place? Sixteen feet deep at one end and two or three - at the other.
TS: Well, the main feature was the pool, was really a very nice indoor pool.Beautiful rock structure. They could, forty feet dive off of, forty feet, or you could dive from the arches. A few daring people did, sixty feet. At one end of the building they did have lounge rooms and a player piano in there. And if you wanted to, you could go in there and dance or something like that. In^tirne that I remember, there was not much done there except the swimming. But that was really a real joy. I used to think that it would be heaven if I could have an allowance of twenty five Cents a day, then I could go in swimming five days a week, or seven days a wee, as often as I could get out there. It was on one end of the streetcar line at the end of Warm Springs Avenue. And that was the dream of my life. I had one friend who's family had enough money, he had enough allowance, he could go in swimming as often as he wanted to. I don't think he did it very often, but manys the time I've walked in the three miles out there to be able to go in swimming . I only had twenty five cents, I didn't have the five cent car fare one way or the other.
SAM: Was the Natatorium used by all sijrata of Boise society or did one group specificalytake advantage of it?
TS: Well, I wasn't conscience different levels of society,to give muchthought to it, but I would say, there wasn't any limitation there, that you might find any kind of people that liked to swim. It wasn't any class organization or anything like that it was available to the whole town. I would guess that everybody used it. From the people didn't have any more than twenty five cents to those who could have built their own pools in this day and age. Some of my memories of Boise turn back to the hills around there, because I was very enthusiastic about .going hiking in the hills. And I believe I was a charter member of what I believe was the first Boy Scout troop in the atato of Idaho. And we used to get out and hike. Go up to the line of the timber, maybe up to the top of the ridge and back. It'd eighteen, twenty miles. And as I think of the Boy Scouts today, I wonder why they always have to be hauled in trucks everywhere they go. But we went on foot unless, well, we had one camp at Idaho City where we all went on foot. They hauled the supplies by wagon or car. And then they had one at Payette Lakes, where we went by train. They had to put a car on the railroad train that ran up there, at that particular time. But in general when we went, we did our camping, our hiking mostly by walking on foot, carrying our pack$ and doing our own cooking. See, when they had an organized camp, that was a little different, but that was only a small part of the activity. We really ranged those hills.
SAM: I understand that even now you can find wild game pretty close to town. Iimagine back then there must have been wildlife right in the lap of the town.
TS: It may have been there, of course, the hills are barren til you get eightor nine miles out of the city limit. And I didn't see much of it. I think there probably were some coyotes, they might have been along the river more than up in those hills. I didn't see much except rabbits. Saw an occasional jackrabbit there. And once in a while a grouse. But I didn't see much in the line of anything larger than that.
SAM: What about the fact that Boise was the capital of the state, was it verynoticeable?
TS: Most of the people went on pretty much undisturbed. But the people thatwere specially interested in public affairs were very acutely aware of by when the legislature was in session. I remember that more up n I reached, oh, eighteen or twenty years of age and it happened about then my father was mayor of Boise for four years. And we were hearing plenty about what the legislature was up to then. But I can't remember much of it when I was in grade school or high school. He was not in any kind of public position. Things went on pretty much their normal way in the town itself. Course^state payroll helped the town. The Capitol building was really something that we were all proud of. One of the things that I remember about the Capitol building and that ia boulevard that runs south, that south, of the Capitol building is the railroad, the railroad station at one end of that, the Capitol at the other and one thing I tbke some pride in is that it was my father that suggested to the Union Pacific railroad that they the design for the station. And he was mayor at the time that the main lino came in. Boise'd on a branch line, until then. And he was the one that suggested they should spot the spire of the station with the idea that there could be a'view from the station end to the Capitol building. And a view from the Capitol, to the station. And of course, that's the Capitol Boulevard now. I've had once or twice had some one cpmment on that and say,"I wonder who thought that up?" And Idfadmit I would take pride in the fact that it was my father that had that idea.
SAM: To me it's one of the beautiful points about Boise's architecture.
TS: of the architecture, I've always been sorry that the tore down theold city hall, at Eighth and Idaho Street. It attracted an awful lot of admiration for it's fine Gothic architecture from people that would come to town and know about those things. I think they've got another drugstore there now, or something like that. But it was a shame to see that go. And I've been glad there's been a movement in recent years to preserve some of the architectural spots in Boise, The old buildings, the old Idanha Hotel which I guess they have managed to save from anyone tearing it down. And some of the fine old style buildings scattered around in the town. I was pleased to see that some interest taken in;.keeping them from tearing down all of those,
SAM: When you were a kid, did any, were any of those buildings a particularfavorite of yours?
TS: I can't remember that there were any of them that I, that especially appealedto me except for one which, where it happened, an uncle of mine lived. And I loved to go to his home. But all along Warm Springs Avenue, where were any number of fine old Victorian-style buildings. And that was the really fashionable street in Boise at that time. Where the wealthier people lived. And some cf those were very fine. I imagine my uncle's place, he, oh, he was solvent alright, I wouldn't say he's one of the wealthiest people in town, but when they had years ago, this little "Intermountain Observer", this newspaper, now defunct, was published in Boise, that and they took an interest in Boise's old buildings and architecture, the building on the front ;of the issue, they delivered to that was the home of this uncle of mine where I used to love to go. Have dinner with him, play with his children and all that.
SAM: What kind of building was that?
TS: Oh, just a great big rambling Uictorian style building. I think two or threestories tall and a veranda all around one side. And they had a room for the maid and a room for the cook and a room for the family of seven so, it was pretty good sized spot. That was out Second and Main Street.
SAM: How did your father become the mayor of Boise?
TS: was a rather strange story. He never thought of running for office.He and a good many others wanted a change in!the way the city was run. Some of the businessmen in town began getting together rather frequently. To talk about getting someone to run for mayor. And he was kind of hurt when he learned a couple of meetings, that ha wasn't notified about. Then when he was notified one, when he got down there it turned out that he had been*as the that they wanted to have run for mayor. He was a good speaker, but he'd never even thought about running for public office until He ran two terms and then bowed out. Sinoe that has come into the conversation and I don't want it to monopolized the conversation, I've had to correct a good many people on one point, Sherman Street in Boise was not named for my father. It was named, I suspect for the general but Sherman Street was there long before my father became mayor of Boise.
SAM: What did your father do for a living befofc he became mayor.
TS: He'd been in the lumber business and then, he'd been in the lumber businesslater he was in the real estate business. And that after that he moved to California and finished his life there,
SAM: Do you know what was wrong with Boise government that made them want tochange?
TS: No I don't, really. It came as a surpise to me when he was running, I wasat the university at the time and just wrote up that he was going to run for mayor. And the next thing I knew, he'd been elected mayor. But I don't remember just what they felt was the matter with the administrations that they'd been having. I do know, do remember that there was one group of people that everyone seemed to think that they had run the show and they'd run it a little bit too long. But what was the matter or what they were discontented with, I don't remember about that.
SAM: But he wasn't a particularly political man.
TS: No, He'd never been involved in politics before that and he never was afterward.He never had any connection} with either of the two parties, the Boise mayor's position, City administration, had no connection with either Democratic or Republican parties. And so he never tried to exploit it by running for any other office. He ran for mayor two terms and stopped and that was it.
SAM: When Steunenburg was assasinated by Bill Haywood's men, the national newspapers of the time referred to Boise as "Murder Town" do your recall any of that?
TS: I was too young for that. That was what, 19 and 6 or something like that?No I was too young and the family still lived in Nebraska then. didn't move out til 1909. I had relatives here and actually, some of them were good friends of Steunenburg. But I don't, that was a thing in the past before we, before I was to listen to conversation about it, if there had been any.
SAM: And there wasn't much of the legacy that you heard later?
TS: Well, we had William Edgar Borah as a legacy. I have a few memories of Borahtoo. That one of them, my grandfather and this uncle had been well acquainted with Borah. They had both gone into Idaho in the 1880's. And they knew Borah. And I can recall when my grandfather's home was nearing completion. The plaster was drying and they built fires in the fireplaces. And my family went over to look around at this new house he was building. And as we were looking around, Borah came past on foot. And saw my grand father through the window, course, no curtains, and came up and sat down on the seahorse and talked there for a half an hour or so. Then I can also remember that my first wife's family, they had been in Idaho really a long time. And my first wife's grandfather had come in the 60's in the gold rush. First Pierce and then in Boise. He actually been in the California gold rush. But that, he and my first wife's mother had been friends from the time they were very, very young people. And I can recall sitting on the porch in their home when I was grown up and teaching school in Payette. Borah's house was just three or four blocksj^out on Bannock Street and he always walked to his office, which was only half a mile or so. And I can recall he used to stop in sometimeslbo talktto my mother-in-law. She'd be out on the front porch and he'd stop and it was Will and Heddie then. He was Will to her. She was Heddie. And they would sit there and talk for fifteen, twenty minutes and then he'd go on down to his office. But that was just that that he had that his old friends, it was just as if he was not a distinguished man. I remember one other thing about Borah that very feu people that I've encountered do remember, this isn't really about Borah. But when Will Rodgers wrote his series of articles Letters a Self-Made diplomat to his President", which were published in the Saturday Post, he followed them with a second series,"Letters of a Self-Made Diplomat to Senator Borah." And he started the first one of those by saying that he had already written to the President, and he decided in this second series of letters, he would write this to the man who's opinion really counted. That can be verified if you care to look^at the Saturday Evening Post^ I couldn't make up one like that.
SS: I'm sure you're right.
TS: But people aroundl here, they don't realize how much weight Borah carriedor think that we local people overestimate it. One evidence to how much weight he carried in the country as a whole.
SAM: Do you feel that Borah was the most influential man on the question offoreign policy in the Senate?
TS: He was certainly one of the most influential because he occupied the positionof the chairman of the foreign relations committee. And that had an immense influence on anything that was done and because he was in that position, he probably qot more publicity that anyone else in the Senate, in his opinions. They listened more carefully to what wituld Buy. He was of course, pretty much an individualist and didn't always go along with the majority opinion. And so^that he could suing things his way, but, when anything happens in foreign policy or a debate about that, why, the person that occupies that position is the whose opinions are listened to. It's comparable to Fulbright, to the situation of Fulbright later on. Fulbright didn't sway foreign policy but certainly people listened with respect to the man that headed the committee the Senate that had much to do with ratifying treaties and that sort of thing.
SAM: What would you say about how much his home folks understood the views thathe had. Do you think that he as an individualist struck a responsive chord?
TS: I think it was his personality and the fact that people took him so seriouslyin the East that they felt that he must be good because everybody else seemed to think so. He, of course,ijthe Republican powers in Idaho did not always like what Borah was up to. And the, when some comments to the effect that what he said and his attitudes didn't reflect them Republicans Borah said, wait til the elections and see if the marjority of the Republicans vote to send me back to Washington. And his attitude was that he would do what he thought .should be done and if the majority didn't agree, why, then they could vote against him when he ran for re-election.
SAM: You speak of his having the common touch, yet when you read his speechesthey're so grand you don't think of a common person having given them. He sounded like a political philosopher, almost.
TS: Style of political speeches is a little different now than it was then,but even now, some people probably if you see them in their hometown among their friends would seem like other people. Nevertheless, they're pretty flamboyant when they get up there in front of a political crowd. They can't say,"This country," they must say,"This great and glorious country, where we all have the privilege to live." I can't think of many of them except maybe Truman in his day taught, that you'd think I was the same kind of a person if you listened to his speech, that you would think if you heard what he had to say a less public occasion.
SAM: When you decided to go to school in Moscow, was this something that mostcollege-bound Boise people did in those days?
TS: I can't remember thinking much of going any else. A very few peoplethen went to the College of Idaho which of course was a private, church operated school. And, but this seemed to be the natural place to. It was the state's university and at that time, aside from the College of Idaho, much smaller and, as I say, a church school, at that time it was a church school. Unless you were going clear out of the state, there didn't seem to be much, in the state of Idaho, this was the natural place to come and I had lots and lots of friends who had come here and didn't really think very seriously of anyone else when I started. Later on I transfered to Stanford, which was certainly, almost anyone would have done if he could have done it. That's saying nothing against the university here but, Stanford seemed to be something high watered,
(End of side A)
SAM: if they were college bound, would they be much more likely to stayin Idaho than go out of state?
TS: More of them stayed in Idaho than going elsewhere. Some one go to, Iknow I had one friend who went to Whitman, I can think of one or two that went to the University of Washington, one went to Reed and a few to the College of Idaho. But I'd say the great bulk of them would come to the University of Idaho. Of course, no tuition here and cost less. And,well there didn't seem to be any particular reason not to.Seemed the obvious decision unless you had a reason to change. The one that went to Whitman got a scholarship. And I don't remember why this one went to the University of Washington, but it just seemed the natural place to come.
SAM: Was there only the one high school in Boise when you were there?
TS: Only the one high school, es, that's right.
SAM: Do you remember much about your years in high school?
TS: I think they come back without much effort, but I can't remember anythingreally dramatic. We had, of course, the usual dances. We had the class plays, we gave GilbertSullivan productions on at least one occasion, well, two. I was only in one of them, in the chorus, not in any main part. We gave "The Mikado". The next year they gave "The Pirates of Penzance". And we had our normal excitement about athletics, but I'd say, I have a hard time to think anything startling about it. Well, the big bright spot was few friends and I, mostly one exceptional person ran off with the school elections one year. And I remember that so much because it was one of the best known character^in Idaho that, he became one of the best known later that engineered the whole thing, and got himself elected senior president and I believe student body president, I'm not sure. If, the people in Boise, if they'd been there many years ago - remember Bill Carpenter, He was nationally known. He was, he'd started out at the university in school work, he weighed a hundred and ninety, he lost ninety pounds in three months from arthritis, went into the hospital flat on his back and by the time he'd been there a while he could move his arms a little bit, he could move his fingers, he could wiggle his toes and turn his head a." little bit and that was all the motion he had left. And flat on his back in the hospital, he'd built a magazine subscription service that made him independent. He built his own home withAspecial facilities that he needed. He had his own telephone switchboard, this even in the hospital. He could turn his fan on and off. He could turn the telephone on and off and the speaker was mounted where he could talk into it. And there, flat on his back in the hospital, he built this magazine subscription service. that got him national attention, he was written up in the American Magazine for example, and he won the election for the most popular man in Idaho. And everybody knew Bill Carpenter. And Bill Carpenter was the one that engineered this election. He had been on his own since he'd been fourteen. Earned his own living going through high school, going through the university. Started out in sbhool work and I think almost that knew him would say that he was a really remarkable person. Bust, everything he touched seemed to go. Nothing could stop him.
SAM: Do you remember how the election was engineered?
TS: It was about the simplest tactic that anyone would laugh at it now. Butall we did was - get together and decide- we'd vote for ill and we split the other people's ticket by nominating the people who would draw on the same crowd and we stripped the other places all to pieces, then all of us voted for Bill. And he was elected. It quite a shock because we hadn't made ourselves felt before. It wasn't anything very intricate, but it was entirely unexpected. We were organized and nobody else was.
SAM: D0 you remember being interested in school work in high school?
TS: Bust normally, I always devoted enough time to it to get the grades thatI didn't have to apologize about. 'But I was interested in other things too Debate especially. I wasn't any athlete, but I took a normal interest in what the teams were doing, so I didn't go in for study and nothing else. I just tried to make a record that I wouldn't feel apologetic about.
SAM: It seems debate had more function in high school then than it does now.
TS: I think that probably you're right on that. I don't seem to read in thepapers much about debate in the high schools now. And, what I know would read in the papers, and I can't recall, when my daughter was in high school, they had a debate team but people were interested in debate in those days. Not as much as they were in football. But they were interested in debate and we'd get a good crowds out to hear debates. I say good crowds, I mean a high school debate team could usually depend on a hundred and fifty, two hundred people turning out to listen. And I don't suppose I knou, I haven't heard of any debate team in Moscow High School in recent years.
SAM: Do yor remember what issusues were debated?
TS: Oh, one of them was whether we, once we debated on ths/.Adamiand AR lawsfor railroads and once we debated on whether the United States should adopt compulsory military service patterned after the Swiss. Off hand those are the only two I think of at the moment. Oh, once we debated on whether the United. States should recognize the Koranza ? in Mexico. They were good, respectable questions. This is irrelevant to the Boise operation, but it does apply to the university. A friend of mine at university Phil Buck who later became a Rhodes scholar and had a career in academic work at Stanford at I belicve^in University of Pennsylvania, he was one of the debaters here in the university when I was on the debate team. And he told me, and he was elected president of the union in Cambridge or Oxford when he was in England. - first time an American had ever had that honor. And he told me that he managed a, it just happened by accident they were debating some issue and when they him as an American, well, what do you think about this issue? And he said, oh he thought the whole thing resulted from the envy of the Commonwealth of Great Britian for the uncommon wealth of the United States. He said that seemed to settle the argument and his side won. And elected him president of the society.
SAM: That certainly sounds like an American answer.
TS: Well, it was a battle of wits, of course, in those English debating societies.And they would value an answer like that more than they would any other kind of an answer.
SAM: In those days college seemed like a much more unusual decision to make thannow. What motivated you and people in general to choose to go to college?
TS: I don't know what motivated other people especially, except that some oftheir friends had gone they'd go. But with me it never even occured to me that I wouldn't go, because my father and mother had both gone to university in Nebraska and both had degrees from there. And I never, it never even entered my mind that when I got to be college age that I wouldn't go to college. That was just something that you did. And I do think that a much larger percentage are coming now. And at the risk of entering a controversy, I think that may be one reason^Deople are so much worried about the quality of English as saying something must be destroying the quality of English these entering college students can speak or write. I think that we are having people now come from homes where the children didn't go to college before and I don't want to sound snobbish, but certainly in those days, the people that went to college were.: likely to come from/fhomes that had a little bit more money and the homes where the parents were more likfely to use the language in a literate manner and correct the children if they didn't. And that I venture to say.that the quality of English was never too good^then. But I think that might be one reason that seems to be getting worse iS^you might say it's almost the exception not to get some school beyond high school now. don't have figures, but I know a much larger percentage arc coming. And that could account for it, some of these people who's English is weakest wouldn't have been in college then.
Of course, I also know this from having taught English from 1924 to 1966that there never was a time when people's English wasn't atrocious. It always was awful, and I have my own opinion as to the reasons, and that is that it was pretty hard for a student in a small Idaho town or in a great many cases from a larger town, that think that his ability to use English, either in writing or speech, was important. He had never lived in an environment where that was one of the things that people took into consideration when they judged him. And he simply had never tried to apply what he was taught. He didn't think it mattered much. If he could, I don't mean to knock athletics, but if he could score enough baskets or touchdowns, he could massacre the English language, and he still was the hero. And until people get into an environment where they aire in part judged by their English, they aren't going to try to use the English that they are capable of using and they are not going to try to profit from the instruction that they receive, I felt when I taught upper division students in the professional curricula here that half of the job was to persuade the students that they were going to be judged in part on their language after they got out and on the job. If I could make them, they were smart enough, they could Jearn, if somebody could make them realize that it was important.
SAM: I wonder whether this phenomenon would apply to academics more generallyor whether it would be rash to generalize at all from what you're saying about English. I mean, it seems as though the question of cultural background, academic background itself may be part of the issue, because in the same way you don't need English from a small town in the eyes of a lot of kids, maybe, you know, they didn't really need the classics, or acquaintance with philosophers, or, you know what I'm saying.
TS: No, I'm sure you're right on that, but the English was in.a peculiarposition. They had, they were willing, if they were taught mathematics, why they were willing to try to learn what they could about math. If it was history, they, if .they learned the correct date from the history book, they didn't have any reason not to remember that correct date. That is, we learned that Magna Carta, the date of Magna Carta is 1215. Well, if a student gets 1215 associated with Magna Carta, he doesn't hear himself possibly exposed to 1220, 1016, 816, uh, 1616, and so at any rate, there is nothing operating to tear down what you are trying to do in a class. Whereas in English, the instructor, provided he belongs there,*some do and some don't, the instructor may use correct English, but he is exposed to bad English as soon as he gets out of the English class. His friends are using it, often his parents are using it, his boss is using it if he works in some store downtown, and that the work the English teacher tries to do in class is being constantly torn down by exposure bad English. Everywhere else except in that class, and except in what he reads, and of course if he reads it's a good deal of what he might read would be respectable English,
SAM: But if the conversational use of English is quite different and I thinkyou're perfectly right, a whole lot of what happens when you are dealing with other people socially is you're quite affected by them probably much more than you effect them, in habits, manners.
TS: Well the younger people^tend to use the language the way they learned itfrom their parents and hear it out on the street and everywhere, and of course as the written language, they are pretty much likely to write the way they talk. Unless they do more reading than usual. I think really the only hope is to get them to do enough reading that they get some kind of respectable patterns from that.
SAM: Well, I like^to ask you something which is just marginally related tothis, but is has to do with the effects of parents on kids, too. We're quite interested in, as people that are now older, when they were growing up, how they were brought up by their parents, how they were influenced by their parents. And I'm curious about whether you would consider your parents to have been quite disciplining, highly disciplining of you and very strict with you, or whether you feel they were lenient with you, or how kids were treated, youngsters were treated by their parents growing up.
TS: In my family they were pretty lenient. Some of my friends whose parentswere more straight-laced than mine had to be pretty careful not to have it known if they decided they wanted to learn how to dance, it was like that. But my family was pretty lenient and I can't remember there was ever much in the way of discipline. I carf-^rernember many occasions when there needed to be very much in the way of discipline. We were willing, we had as much freedom as we needed and didn't try to kick over the traces very much. Once in a while, might drive the car down "S* hill, that possibly it wasn't advisable to drive down, but in general, the rules in my family strict weren't sjji enough that I had much of an issue there. And so far as I can remember, why the rules in my friends families, maybe one acception whose parents were, his mother at least, was awfully strict. Didn't want him to dance or play cards. I can't remember that there was much of a problem there, in many cases. In none of the group that I ran around with in high school was drinking a problem. The state was dry. And there wasn't the exposure that there may have been otherwise. But, and nobody ever heard of a drug problem in those days. There was some drinking in high school then, but not anything like what I hear is the case now. I can't say it from personal knowledge. Things that come pretty close to it.
SAM: How about spending money and the expectations your parents may or may nothave had about your earning your own way.
I didn't, except for newpaper briefly, I didn't, wasn't, I would have beenglad to work after school or summers but there were more boys than there were jobs. And I worked a year after I get out of high school before I came to university. Started out in the shipping room of a candy company. Good, hard, physical labor. And then got a chance to do newspaper work. Mostly proofreading. Some reporting. But I expected to earn part of my way through university, but S certainly had some help from my parents. Some did it one way, some did it the other. I suppose I might have found some kind of work while I was attending university. The family was not especially anxious to have me do it. They wanted me to be able to use my time for the purpose I came here. And, but there were some who were earning their way through university at least. I can only remember one that did an awful lot of work in high school, and that was this man, Carpenter. that I mentioned, who'd been on his own since he was fourteen years old. And he was a glutton for work. He'd take a contract to work for Morrison Knudsen, which was then by no means as large as it is now. He'd figure they thought out what two people could do in the summer and then he'd ao it himself. He earned his way all thrcugh university got a summer job and earned enough to go through university in the winter.
SAM: Why was he on his own?
TS: I never could, I never quite S 'out what did go on between him andhis parents. They had, I believe they had ranch land out there somewhere south of Boise. But he never did tell exactly why. Maybe^he that kind of a drive that he couldn't stay put. He lived in a, way out in the desert somewhere and he wanted to go where he couldAqin a bigger high school. I know a little about his parents, not much. And they were good people. They had, an uncle of mine knew them better than I did. But they were good people. They had some financial reverses, but it was, there was nothing with his family that Anew of and I think I'd know if there were. But he just had that unbelievable drive and ambition that apparently he just had so, much sense of independence that by the time he was fourteen he was going to be his own boss and answerable to nobody but himself. That doesn't mean he wanted to do anything but, I can't remember hi$ doing anything that my parents wouldn't let me do.
SAM: When you talk of, like your mother-in-law knowing Borah and one familyknowing others so well, it makes Boise sound like a smaller town. Was that a notable feature of life in Boise in those days?
TS: I would guess so. At least in the people that I would know about, whythey all seemed to know a good deal about each other. Of course, there again,ftl think over fifteen thousand and not over twenty thousand. I'd guess about eightheen thousand. And there were even then, I don't mean it in snobbish way, there were different levels of contact, but seems to me it was natural that you knew about the friends of your family. And my family's contacts were mostly in the business and professional people in town. And they all seemed to know each other, know something about each other, at any rate, pretty well. And maybe a litte bit more/|in my family's case because this uncle, actually, this great-uncle that I've mentioned, and my grandfather had been here since the 1880's. And there were a great many people that were the descendents of those that came in 1880and '90s and so forth. And as more people came, why, you got acquainted with them. And I'm sure that the people that were not in business, that sort of thing, or in professional work or educational work, I don't whether know they knew each other as well as the people^my family was acquainted with or not. Bust wouldn't have any way of knowing,
SAM: Was it your idea tip work for a while before going go college?was a good idea and thought I should earn at least part And that, so I figured it was a good thing, I wouldn't
TS: Well, I thought it of the way myself.have said that I did it entirely for the educational value but paritally that and partially financial. I wanted to have a little bit of money that'd I'd earned myself to start out with. And I worked summers after that first year and so I didnH need as much help as I would have needed if I'd just sat down and waited for my family to put me through college, 3ut they were going to see to it that I got through college, one way or the other io question about that. If hadn't have earned some of it, why they would have found it somewhere. Because it never entered my mind and I don't think it even entered my brother's that college wasn't in the picture.
SAM: I'm sure your parents' college background had a lot to do with it too,They knew what college taught and probably instilled the interest in you,
TS: I'm sure that was iphe case. And they had apparently,Kwonderful experiencein college and I cin remember. stories there were things that when they were happened in college.that I could never remember the time that I wasn't hearing those stories. And so the notion that I wouldn't go to college, why I think I would have jumped in the Boise River if I thought I couldn't get to go to college.
SAM: Tell me the experience you had with President Lindly when he came to Boisewhen you were in hing school.
TS: I was writing high school news for the 'Idaho Statesman' at the time. AndLindly was going to deliver the graduation address for my graduating high school class. And I of course, was there at the ceremoniees, had to be there and the newspaper suggested thay maybe I cuuid get of Lindley something in advance about what his speech was going to be. And I got in touch with him at the tell , I was still in high school, of course. He was staying at the and told him what the situation was and, I don't remember Know if it was the full address or part, but he wrote out, by longhand long substa^ial amounts of the talk he was going to give that night so that I was able to write my story before the commencement ceremonies the way newspaper stories are written before speeches. And not have to do anything except go down to the newspaper and say nothing expected, unexpected happened, you can go ahead and write it the way^I have written it. And I was, ever since then that a person of his stature was willing to take that much trouble to help a schoolkid handle a story for a daily newspaper. It was just something that I, it made the impression then that has remained with me all this time.
SAM: When you came to Moscow for university, what did you think of the town andthe school?
TS: The town seemed very primitive compared to Boise. And the school, of course,the university was smaller than Boise high school. There were less than a thousand students here, and a little bit over a thousand in Boise high school. But, certainly from the academic side, I had respect as certainly was pitched at a higher level than high school work, I don't me to run it down from that point of view because they had I think, a good faculty in some cases, some people, some distinction on their faculty. But the town itself seemed pretty crude in comparison. Mostly wooden sidewalks, for example, all around the campus area. And some of themyjthey got rid of. class had torn up and made a bonfire out of them the preceeding year and class was busily trying to pay for the sidewalk it tore up. They never did lay another wood sidewalk there, that was right beside the campus. And the living accomodations seemed pretty crude. But, as I said, that was the first year they had a dormitory for men on the campus. And the fraternity houses were very, very crowded. If you were fortunate enough an invitation to stay at fraternity til you got yourself settled and then til they decided whether they wanted you to enter or not, but sleeping accomoda tions and that sort of thing, they were pretty rough. And the buildings themselves weren't anything to brag about.
SAM: What happened to you when you arrived.
TS: Oh, friends met me at the train. Everybody came in by train then. And theytook me to the Beta house, I spent the first couple nights at the Beta house. Then I spent a night or so at the Phi Delt house. Then I went to Lindly hall, stayed there — a while and then i was asked would I join Phi Delt and moved into the Phi Delt house.
(End of side B)
TS: ...I can remember oneperson in the whole Phi Delt house which, they startedto build another house and they hadn't gotten more than the foundation. Some sort of financial complication came up and, I think the builder ran into trouble. And so the old house was getting pretty bad. It was heated by stoves. You can imagine forty people in a frame house heated by stoves. How they ever managed to get by without burn down, I don't know. And, I remember one freshman standing there on one occasion H Sweeping; the carpet which was worn just stood there sweeping that one spat,ftthe dust continued to fly. Finally, somebody said, get out of there. The house is getting too dusty. But he just stood there sweeping one spot of the carpet.
SAM: Wood stoves?
TS: I should have said coal or wood,
SAM: Were they distributed all around the house?
TS: Yes, I wouldn't say every room had a stove a dozen stoves.There was a cookstove in the kitchen, and that heated the dining room. Another stove, heat the living room. Two or three stoves upatairs to heat the bedrooms. to remember that house. I don't recall, I think they had one common dormitory and I know when:.they moved into their new house, they had one attic room, unfinished, that everybody slept up there. When they moved into the new house, one of the most amusing episodes I remember from the university occured. We were very proud of that house. And we moved block down by just picking things up and carrying them. We had new furniture in the living room and all that but things that we were going to move, we just carried th'em down. Didn't bother with trucks. But we decided the house had to be christened. And on girl from across the street in the Kappa house had been a devoted friend of the house ever since anyone remember. She was a senior, Lucy Davis. Married Mike Thomas of Boise. And I think they probably still a good friend. He was of course in our house. And we decided wo wanted a girl to christen the house and so Lucy was the one that we asked. There was no champagne around and if anyone had any bootleg, he wasn't spilling it. The best we could do was a bottle of 'near beer'. Lucy stood up there between the door, the front door and the window with a stretch of brick at least four feet wide, standing close enough so she could give a swing, just a little bit of a throw and when she said, I christen this house, or whatever she did say, she closed her eyes, swung the bottle, went off the nail, went through the window. That was a christening to be remembered. So, she was so ombarrased, she had some^unusually nice gift to give the house,.she was afraid they'd think she diet because she broke the window. But that was one of the joyful moments was when Lucy Davis threw the bottle of near beer through the window,
SAM: Are you going to have to go at a particular time?Poor
TS: Oh, I ought to pull out by thirty.
SAM: What time have you got?
TS: About ten minutes of four. you think you'd freshen your mind more bysome other occassion, but that's alright, I can stick around for another...
SAM: No, that's alright, let's keep going. And we'll get together again later.How were the eating accomodations; did you eat there?
TS: Yes, each house had its own kitchen, had a , its own cook. And people inthe house got jobs waiting on the tables for their board and room. But we wereftfortunate in hav|ing an unusually good cook, Lawrence Huff who later had resturants later in Moscow. Attorney. But he was in law school and was earning his way,*expenses by cooking. And he was a good cook. And course, he's the father of the magistrate Huff in Lewiston now. But Lawrence was our cook and we treasured Lawrence. And his wife was just as, I think she's still alius in Moscow* Everybody just thought that firs Huff was wonderful. And if anybody was homesick or anything, why prs. Huff was always there to cheer him up. I think she did a wonderful job there.
SAM: What was the Phi Delt initiation like?
TS: Well, it wasn't too bad. And by the time initiation came along, or HellWeek, as we called it, the actual initiation itself was a pei?€ectly serious occassion but Rey called initiation or Hell Week, it wasn't too bad. It was consisted-of "doing" ridiculous things like going out, oh finding a certain gravestone in a churchyard, and maybe it was there and maybe it wasn't going down, counting the cracks in a certain stretch of sidewalk or that kind of silly thing. And, actually, active members were glad when it was over because they worked about as hard as the pledges did. But it wasn't too rough..Now I can talk about our house. I don't know some of the others bragged that it was rougher in theirs than it was in ours and whether that was true or not, I don't know, I suspect one or two it might have been, but I just honestly don't know.
SAM: But being rough was part of the game?
TS: That was part of the game. You expected it. You didn't get worried too muchabout it. And the hardest thing was that you didn't get as much sleep as you needed. They did keep you awake at all hours. They could run in shifts and catch sleep in the meantime. But it wasn't too bad experience. I can't remember...
SAM: How important was it in the fraternities as far as friendship go? Did youlive with the people that you tended to be closest with at the university?
TS: I think in general that was the case. That your closest friends were thepeople that you knew in the fraternity. It wasn't especially so with mine. I had a great many^close friends in the fraternity, but I got involved in some activities on the outside that I had, in at least one other house, I had many close friends as I did in my own. And then it happened that I wont Phi Delt and most of the Boise people were going Beta then. Or Kappa Sig. And so I had an awful lot of close friends in the Beta house. And just by chance, in the Sigma Nu house. But, I think as a general rule, you found that the closest friendship people made were in their own fraternities. Although after graduation they seemed to break down a good deal. I know my closest friend in the Phi Delt house, his closest friend in Boise now is a Beta. The fact in different fraternities doesn't mean a thing. I haven't found, as I've met people from other fraternities, later on, that it didn't make much difference too much. Course, you didn't like everybody in the house. Some you liked, some you did not. But you usually could find some, well you were exposed to them. You were with them all the time. You walked to class with them. You ate meals with them. And it just, simply the proximity meant that if there were people you found congenial in yournhouse, you were pretty likely to find your best friends among those,
SAM: But the ones you didn't like, you had to still live with them. If calledfor an amount of accomodation.
TS: Yes, to some extent. Of course, you didn't have to see too much of the onesyou didn't like. People that liked each other got together, and the others most of the time, ignored each other. There was sometimes where, you can't get forty young men.together without having some of them grate on the others. And sometimes, course there's hostility but nothing, for the most part, the people you didn't like, you just avoided. You just didn't run around with them. You'd find somebody else to walk to school with, somebody else to double date with. And so, there weren't too many of those occassions.
SAM: Were there particular occassions where the fraternity did things as a grouplike special occassions?
TS: Give two or three dances during the year and almost every fraternity wouldhave a picnic in the spring. That sort of thing they would do together. Those were very nice occassions. But, and they'd go on seranades. This was a musical campus when I came, walk around the campus on a spring night, you'd hear music coming from just about every house, I think the Betas had a seventeen piece band. And that was one thing, when I met President Kelley, was only here for a couple of years, but I happened to meet him in Boise when I was teaching in Payette, He remarked how i much music there was going on on this campus. Everywhere you go, they're singing, they're playing some kind of instrument, something of that sort. And there were seranades pretty frequently. Every time a couple would get engaged, why the house, they would go out and seranade the girl. Seranade her house that very nice custom, I thought it was very nice, I mean the music in general, it added a great deal of color and pleasure to life,
SAM: Can you tell me what the detail of the seranade was? Would they stay outside?
TS: Stay outside and seranade. The would all come to the window andlisten and applaud after each song. Sometimes they'd try to carry a piano along, but there were all these people that could play some instruments. And so there was always accompianment.
SAM: Carrying a piano along?
TS: I don't think that happened very often. I think they, somebody on lone ortwo occassions a trubk,^something like that and drove that along with the piano, but in general, there were people that played instruments. Oh, you could get a sax and a banjo, oh almost anywhere you go. Two or three saxes. Maybe a coronet or a trombone or something like that. So that it wasn't just singing, they had instruments along.
SAM: What other kind of mixing between the sexes was there?in the gymnasium
TS: Almost every week there was an all-university dance* Some organization wouldput it on. Maybe th it'd be the Ed. Club. Maybe it'd be the Forestry's Club. Maybe it would be the ROTC. And practically every week during the whole season there'd be a dance, an all college dance at the gymnasium. And I'd say those aside from the fraternity dances, which were of course, limited in their scope and serviced only a few people, but those were the main fearures. And on Sunday, there wasn't anything to do except go for a walk down the railroad tracks. We were so delighted when finally they opened Sunday movie in Moscow. Oh, we were in heaven^ there was a movie to go to on Sunday. But when I first came there were no movies on Sunday They had some kind of evangelistic campaign a few years earlier, closes the movies.
SAM: Was there a lot of dating?
TS: Very much so. Except that there were, I don't^what the prportion is now,but then, and for many years afterward, there were three or four times as many boys as there were girls. And so, by no moans could all the boys have dates. But most of the girl would have a date whenever they wanted it. So that's you'd see on Sunday afternoon if the weather was decent, you'd see couples walking down the railroad track. It doesn't sound very exciting. As a matter of fact, the people like myself from Boise thought that was a funny way to have to entertain yourself. And it strikes me now that it was afunny way. But still, I guess, the entertainment consisted of being with a gal. But, and then you could, there were a couple places in town where you could come down, and have a sandwichuand a cup of coffee or cocoa something like that end up the afternoon. Or, course on Saturday night, if there wasn't a dance, you could go to a movie. But usually there was a dance on Saturday. On Friday, why there was a movie. And that was prettyavuch the story.
SAM: Was there any house to house visiting that wasn't chaperoned?
TS: You couldn'.t, you were not supposed to go except in the living room in thefirst floor the house. And the sleeping accomodations in the girls houses were always on the upper floors. And the girls didn't come to the men's houses without there being a chaperone. That was a pretty, solid. rigidly observed custom. But there'd be plenty of, the men were in the sorority houses or the girls dorm. They only had one when I first came, and I don't believe they opened, I don't remember opening another til after I had gone. But they could mingle in the houses there. They didn't have to go out. Not much in the evening They closed them up pretty much oh, I think seven thirty, eight o'clock was about as late as people could stay in the evening, except on the weekends. That was a different story.
SAM: Did the deans rogulatev.hours. ,.because of the propriety of the times?Was there watchdogging going on?
TS: Well, I don't think anyone put fprth any effort except for Dean French,the Dean of Women. And she layed down the rules and you were supposed to observe them. And most of the time, most of the people did. Except some thatftuere entirely realistic and she looked in the other direction. There was supposed to be a rule that a freshman girl couldn't go steady with one boy. Well, I would venture to say that 90% of the freshman girls were going steady with one boy. But in regards to what hours the houses were open, that sort of thing, they were pretty strict. Course^maybe somebody might sneak in after hours through a window or something. But in general, I think that most of the rules were pretty well' followed. There was some of course, she was accused of making some rules that were perfectly ridiculous that she didn't make, such as att n that sat on a boy's lap, she had to have a pillow. Nobody ever made any rule like that. And she never made one. Nobody else, but somebody just thought that sounded funny and said that her new rule and then somebody took him seriously and you could find people that thought that was the rule. There was no such rule ever made. Dean French, some people almost worshipped her and although I wasn't one of the people that made a saint out of her, she was a good person for the university in that she would go around to the houses and tell them a litte something about table manners. And the houses made a point of having her come and some probably clone nothing except eat with a knife, and if they used even that "the first hint that they ever got tb£S£ there being any better way to do it, or might save them from being stared at later on was from Dean French's lectures on manners. And every house on the campus, at least the men's houses, I don't know about the girls, they would, as a matter of course, they'd get Dean French to come in and - the table manners, as a result, people ate fast, but nevertheless, it was a good deal more civilized dining arrangements than it could have been without her help. Some didn't need it, some did.
SAM: Is this because of the diverse backgrounds, that there were a lot of kidsfrom rural areas?
TS: I think that must have been. I don't know what else could have, I know tome it came as a shock and I almost insulted that anyone would assume that I needed to be taught table manners. That my family wasn't capable of teaching me table manners. But I, by the time I'd been around a while and seen a few of the things I saw, I realized^some had table manners - no one could take exception to and some didn't. And once she'd given that lecture, that didn't towed the line, arqf people were after them for that. I always thought it was rather nice that you had to put on a coat and tie for dinner at the house on the campus. They., were not going to have people, once a day a person would look respectably dressed. And so far as I know every house on the campus, of course, they couldn't make rules like that stick at the dormitory and they people there had a right to do as they pleased and the house, why your association is voluntary. If you don't like the rule, you don't have to stay. And, I seem to talkctoo much about fraternities, but they'were very much in the pictures in those days and I arn^ a rabid admirer of the fraternity system. And I think they had too much infO.uence to be wholesome at that time. And certainly I don't feel that nobody is entitled to respect unless he joined a house. They were so much a part of things that its rather hard to get away from them. As I said, until the year, 1920, when I first entered, there had been no dormitory for men on the campus. And the people from out of town were largely accomodated in fraternity houses. And by the time I left the university and I think for several years afterward, from the time the fraternities had really gotten rolling on the campus, nobody ever earned a letter in athletics except fraternity men. There was not one letter earned in athletics except by fraternity members. That doesn't mean the coaches discriminated against them, it just means that the fraternities asked them to join and they joined. And I think it was a wonderful thing when the time came . stranglehold was loosened. And when they elected somebody that did not belong to a fraternity to be president of the student body. And when the time came of course when the, I don't.know how many people who ean*s letters as athletes^- fraternities, I'm guessing its the exception rather than the rule. But at that time that was...
SAM: Let me ask you what may be a difficult question. What did the differencetend to be between those that were in dormitories and thos in fraternities?
TS: Well, I'd say the percentages of people who in some way were rather crudein their attitudes was perhaps a^larger in the dormitory during the time I stayed there than in the fraternity. But there were plenty of both kinds in both places. The, in the dormitory, I roomed with the son of the Latah County Sheriff, his family was on par with the aveicage family in the fraternity and I don't know why he didn't join fraternity. I don't know whether he wanted to or whether he didn't. But it there extremes in both places, but maybe a little bit larger percentage of the people uh with more sohisticated backgrounds were in fraternities than in the dormitory and vice versa. But there were both kinds of people, or every kind of people in both places. It was, both of them ran a whole spectrum. I couldn't think of there being any great differences^ I venture to say people take off their fraternity pins and go into some other school wheat, fncw who had been in fraternities and who had not, it'd be hard to tell the difference.
SAM: What do you think at the time, was the drawback of the fraternity system?
TS: It tended to make people a littlexmore cliquish then I think they wouldhave been otherwise some people, it restricted the number of friends they made. And the very fact that it was' invitational. It, and there were some people that were not asked to join.And there may have been asked to join didn't want to. But the, that meant that some people, and I could name names, but I'm not going to, who felt ashamed, embarrased to go home because they hadn't been asked to join a fraternity. I know of one young man was so chagrirrbd that he wasn't asked to join a fraternity that he pulled out of university and went home. And the number, and with the girls it was even harder, it was even harder. That they felt that, they felt actually a sense of shame if they were not asked to join a sorority. I shouldn't say all of them, but a greet many of them did. And I saw that happen. And I didn't like it, either with the men or with the girls. And certainly I'm not anti-fraternity, I belonged to one so I can say, so, no ones going to say sour grapes". And fafher belonged to a fraternity and my mother belonged to a sorority, but as I say I think they did a great deal of good, but they also did some harm. And some people were and the reasons for their not wanting somebody pledged were pretty su, erficial reasons Bust one person take a grudge against you. And I'm sorry to say that some times, religious affiliations played a role in it, and they should not have. That was bad,
SAM: Did individual fraternities tend to be particular sects or was it moreexclusionary of certain sects?
TS: I can think of one of the sororities^,which it was pretty much, that is, hada disproportionate percentage of members of one church. That didn't mean that that was the only one or even v*ra« ** in the majority, but that if you felt a gal that church was coming to the university, the odds that she would go into that sorority were greater. And the, course this happens with some of these religious tensions that I've known of a case in my own fraternity,*vsomebody said, I don't want him in here because he belongs to such-and-such achurch. And Isaid you shouldn't hold it ^9^ anyone, you shouldn't try to keep anyone out because he belongs to one or another church. And he said, well, I wouldn't except that every person that belongs to that church that comes up here, the other members of the church try to drag him. He said, I wouldn't say keep him out if they did it, if, doesn't matter what he is if he belongs to their church, they want him to join, I'm trying to keep some of them out because theyire trying to get all of them' in, And where the truth lay, I don't know. Maybe a little bit on both sides. have been. . I do think that some people certain churchs might . more inclined to favor somebody that belonged to their oun church. And I think that sometimes there were people who tried to, that turned against them because they belonged to a certain church,whibh came first is as easy to answer as 'which came first, the chicken or the egg.
SAM: I don't want to pursue this too much further, but I am curious aboutthe question of minority groups, how they fared? Were there people of those groups at the university?
TS: There were a few Bewish people, I don't remember any blacks. I'm not sure,I can't offhand remember any Indians, but there might have been one or two a year or so, within, I don't remember any when I came, there might have been some before I left. Of course, and this I very much disliked, the fraternities had this racial discrimination very shortly at that time. H I don't know just how much its been changed, but certainly, its not the way it used to be.a you could not pledge a black. It had to be a white, anglo-saxon, not Protestant, but, at least white, anglo-saxon. And the fraternities here on the campus were very sorry that they couldn't pledge one or two of the Bewish boys, that were on the campus. And they would ask them invto meals and be as friendly as they knew how. But it was against the regulations to pledge them." certainly oid not like that and the chapter house here, there might have been some people, but they weren't talking about it that were prejudiced They were anti- Semetic. But I dor.know that the two or three boys that I remembert on the campus.they were asked into the houses and so forth. And they...
SAM: They were accepted and liked?
TS: They were well accepted and well liked. I can remember one of them askedme what about the Bewish situation in Boise. there many Beus down there? And how are they accepted. And I well, they own the two biggest stores in town, they have a lot of, they have what might be a controlling interest certainly alarge interest, in'the largest hotel in town and they are some of the most highly respected doctors in town. And some of the highly respected lawyers in townf* All Bewish. And of course, Idaho elected the first Bewish govenor of any state in the union, Govenor Moses Alexander. So, Isaid, you don't need to worry about the acceptance of the Bewish people in Boise. They have alarger percentage of the wealth and their share of the influence and they're well regarded and well liked in Boise. Of course in any town you'll findfPeople who are fanatics on any subject. But certainly Iwas able to reassure him on that point.
(End of side C)
SAM: I'm sure standards have changed quite abit. What were some of thingsfreshmen were subjected to on campus, Iread that they had to wear green beanies.
TS: If I remember right it was either until Thanksgiving or Christmas vacationthey weren't supposed to sit on the"I" bench.
SAM: The "I" bench?
TS: Yeah, the "I" bench. That's the concrete bench up in front of the AdministrationAnd, Ican't remember much. No one was supposed to have dates at athletics contests, but that was not just the freshmen, that was just not allowed. But Ithink the most of what went on was done in the hdses rather than on the campus in general. Course, they had they're class fight each year. That was pretty much toned down to try to toss the freshmen in the water tank. The sophomores would print an edict each yearfltelling the freshmen fresnmen would disobey it. And then they'd have thir formal. flghts, as they oalled it had tug o- war and wrestling matches and that kind of thing. And one night in the year when they'd try to toss people into the water tan!;. And that was, I don't think it was anything bad, I can't remember that I was much repressed as a freshman.
SAM: Didn't you tell me that the Hume fight was the method of institutionalizingthis so it wouldn't get out of hand?
TS: Yeah. It'was. Sometimes those things did get out of hand a little bit. Iwas not here, but a year after I left, the juniors would prevent the seniors from going out on their„senior sneak. And by force to keep them trom going. And on this one occassion it got violent enough, that somebody pulled a girl off the back end of a truck and fractured her skull. That was the end of that. There was no more senior sneaks from then on. They just cancelled They said that if its going to be anything like this, we won't have them anymore, and I believe that was the last occassion when there was a senior sneak. Some of the amusing things that come back with, a person could keep this up indefinetely. There was an occassion where, this was after I was out of the university but not out very long. A wave of fraternity house thefts. That started I think it was University of Oregon, then it was University of Washington, they just seemed to be getting closer to Idaho and everybody was on the gufard here. They'd go into fraternity house at night, and of course, those were never locked. Anybody could go in or out any time and if you saw a stranger come in, you didn't think anything about it, because he was somebody's friend who was probably going up to sleep with him. And these people had just been going in and picking up anything they found lying around loose in the fraternity houses. And Idaho figured they were pretty much next and the fraternity began to guard. They had somebody staying up all night. And this one occassion, at the Beta house, these people that were guarding way late, two or three o'clock in the morning, door came to open and^stranger came in, they were up and jumping at him. They had clubs and all that, surrounded him, and he said, what goes on, what's the matter here? Said, why, you don't going to pull, maybe you think you can get waway with things like that in Washington and Oregon, but you can't do that to Idaho. Wba t do you mean? Why we know you've come in here to rob the joint. Oh, for Lord sake he said, isn't this the Phi Delt house? And then he said, is so-and-so here? He'll vouch for me. He somehow picked up one name which wasn't very hard to do, all you had to do was pick up a newspaper and find the name, and, he asked me to come and sleep here. What the hell do you mean, this isn't the Phi Delt house, this is the house. Oh he said, but I thought it was on this street. Well he said, this is certainly one on me, I'm coming into the wrong house, every thinks I'm a burglar. And they all had a good laugh together. He says, well, thanks boys glad you didn't club me before you asked a few questions. Walked out, walked across the street, got to the front door of the Phi Delt house and ducked around the corner and kept on running He talked them out of it.* They finally caught up with him at the University of Montana. Well something funny happened all the time, you get that many people together. Something funny's going on all the time.
SAM: It seemed that college life seemed like a world of its own in'.those days.It; was probably on campus in those days than it is now.
TS: Well . df course is a fine can make something lively.
SAM: But its the anecdotes.
TS: I was glad that he did bring in some of the color of the place not justlimit it to the statistics. I think you should be able.to find the information that you want but, by no means do you have a picture of the university if you don't get some of the things that made it colorful. I was glad that he managed to create, to. recreate for us the character of Fat Stephens. You may have run across him, you will. and Fat Stephens
SS: Ann he had a story of you in He ran into you buying candy bars.
TS: I told jgfifethat episode. Out that was characteristic of Stepens. He washard formed. . oh, you'd think he was the toughest charactbr in the world. But actually, he was so soft-hearted and he loved kids. That was just characteristic. Some of the kids would stump' farm,.,live on stump farms. Around here, he says they don't get much. I usually take them a little something along every time I go out. Fat was really very much of an individualist. Everybody knew Fat;' Stephens. Everybody knew Fat. Practical joker, I'll tell you one of the stunts that he pulled if you'll turn your machine off.
SAM: That bad, huh?
TS: Well, its not bad no, but it sounds, in this day everybody's too sensiteveabout race. (For the story, see insert)
TS: There's nothing mean about it. Nothing mean.
SAM: No. That's a good story too.
TS: X thought it was awfully funny but you want to be a little careful aboutJewish peddler. You know, people are awfully sensitive about these things these days. There's nothing terrible except that man, the speed with which he that sack look for those shoes. And the big pained smile on his face when he realized he'd been had. I only know of one case where anybody got the better of Fat at that, and I don't think that's in. book, but when a friend of mine who was, did I tell you about my friend missing his baccalaureate sermon?
TS: A very close friend of mine who was one of th£se politician^character andhe was president of the senior class, but he'd been out late the night before and he missed his baccalaureate sermon. And several other seniors did. In fact, he dropped out a while and wasn't going to graduate that year. He rounded up some of the juniors,and-they got all the seniors that hadn't to that sermon. They had the occasion in the auditorium at that time. And after the baccalaureate sermon, why here would come out the academic
TS: There was a Bewish character that come around and buy old coats from thehouses. And he had^and ne'd come in, well Fat,he talked with everyone and kidded with everyone and he took this old Bew as..Mr.. Stephens and they argued and Fat would sell him a little something and they'd argue some more and Fat would sell him something else. Finally, I hope I can remember this right, they, finally, Fat had sold him what looked like a pretty good pair of shoes. And the guy got his sack all tied up and then the whole attitude changed. The Bew began to say,"Well, Mr. Stephens,"he said,r think you're a pretty sharp bargainer but you really don't know value,"he says. "You should have gotten more out of those things. I'd a given you more if you'd been very sharp at bargaining." He said,"I would have given you lots more than I did." And Fat kind of crestfallen and for a minute and then all of a sudden a gleamhis eye and he began to laugh. And the Bew couldn't quite figure that. And Fat,"Oh, that's what you think, just wait." And the Bew said,"What do you mean?" "Oh, that's alright, you must wait.'Bust wait," he says,"you'll find out. You think you've been laughing at me." He said,"You just wait, y find out." And the Bew said, ''Well what do you mean? Bust tell me Mr. Stephens." He says,"You didn't notice those shoes are both for the left foot." I never saw anybody so fast. That guy just plunked his :« down, he tore the thing open, he things this way and that, brought out this pair of shoes, one was right foot and one was left. But that was just Fat's, Fat stood there, he laughed until I thought he'd have apoplexy. He said,"Bust seeing you throwing those things around was worth more than any old pair of shoes.
processional leaded, and the head of the ROTC always in the lead and thenthe regents and the president, all the faculty in academic gowns and then the seniors. And that time, that circle up in front of the Administration Building was a fountain. And Fat rounded up all the seniors that hadn't been at their baccalaureate serman and dragged them out one way or another, and its kind of a shivery morning even in Bune, you get it that way, and standing kind of huddled around. He brought them up, he had a couple of the juniors, a few others to help him out, the help that he needed, but he was the ringleader. Took them up there and told them that they were going to get thrown in the fountain when the academic procession appeared after the baccalaureate sermon. That was kind of humiliating for the president of the senior class. Oh, there were only a half a dozen juniors to see 5$ they could do it. Here comes the procession, and Stephens, he had*a fog horn and Stephens said,"Alright," he said,"you people that couldn't get up for your own baccalaureate sermon, stand up there,* he says,"and now you're going into the fountain." This charachter, Lynn Rogers in Boise, president of the senior class, he'd been kind of in the background. Usually hejtry to talk himself out of it. But in the background very quiet for and he stood up there, and for the first time not huddled or anything like that, he sneaked in somehow and put on Stephens best suit.
TS: Put on Stephen's best suit. He'd kind of held aroundhim here. Stephen's just stand back,, Rogers," and Lynn dived into the fountain. Stephens was beaten and I think that's the only time I know he was absolutely baffled. The laugh was on him and there wasn't a thing he could do about it. I tell you who was very much like Fat Stephens enough so I used to get startled.You remember Hoss? Fat Stephens was just like Hoss. Hard on the surface, soft inside, even their voices sounded alike. Fat was fatter than Hoss was Hoss wasn't any skinny. But, in fact, if you liked character, Hoss,__ and found how hard he could be but how warm he was, how understanding, that was Fat Stephens.
SAM: Well, Fat was quite a football player wasn't I
TS: He was a good football player. Although you'd think he'd be, they calledhim Fat, but he was hard. Punch him and you'd bruise your fist, Later he became an extension specialist?
TS: Yes, he became an extension specialist and, he was in the College of Agricultureand that's houf still connected with the university and be out on the stump farms and so forth,
SAM: And did he stay for quite a while,
TS: Stayed until he died. Stayed until he died. Fat was a good football player.His brother Ray, he. and Fat and Ray Stephens both played football at the same time, Ray came down to be our coach in Payette when I was principal there. He, Ray once made a remark that's surprising, it was enlightening in regards to football. He played four years in high school, and he played in university and then he' had two or three years of professional football. He was with the New York Giants, as I remember And then he came to Payette to coach. And he was running the kids through their paces sometime they weren't working hard enough to suit him, or he yells out,"What do you think you're here for, to have a good time?" And the best football player on the squad according to Ray, straightened up, he was the quarterback, straightened up. said,"That's why I'm out here. Can you think of any good reason to be out here except that?" Ray told., me about it. And he said, "I just didn't know what to say," He said," I had forgotten that^sometimes play that game for fun," He says,"We were pretty much a high pressure operation in high school when I was there," and he says,"four years in university and three years in professional football," he says," it's been seven or eight years before it even entered my mind that you play football for fun," He says,"I just didn't know what to say that kid, especially since he's the best player on the squad,"
SAM: Would you say that football when"you were here, was a very serious business?At the school, was it really for work and not fun?
TS: Well I think they enjoyed it more than maybe they do now. They were prettyserious about it. They got a great deal of satisfaction out of it. And you^. find that, not all, but a pretty good percentage of the.football players were Idaho students and something, I mean, they'd come, they lived in the state of Idaho before they became football players here. And that gave them a certain/isatisfaction. They were going to be living in the state, most of them were, where the team won, they'd be remember as having been on that winning team. But I don't think it was, they got-— benefit? but it wasn't professional to the extent that it is now. Some of them didn't get anymore than a chance ;Aearn their room and board, that sort of thing. But they did have some fine sucess back there for two or three years.
SAM: A job that would earn them their room and board?
TS: Waiting on a table somewhere. The athletes just about had a monopolyon any job waiting table. And they'd get that kind of a job. That'd be a room, board at least, I should...
SAM: This would be university funded?
TS: Well, it might be atAsorority houses or at the fraternity why theyhad some football players, why they gave them the job of waiting on the table.
SAM: That was a kind of reward?
TS: The only time that there was resentment was when they put dome of thefootball players waiting on the table in Lindley Hall, the first year it was opened and they were all fraternity men. And there was nobody working for the hall that had any of those jobs. And the hall got pretty resentful. And they felt, they were the ones paying the board there,Athey should be the ones, they should have those jobs. And some of them said if you don't find anybody from the hall getting a job in a fraternity, uhy should the fraternity people get not a p of them, but all the jobs over here? And they were right. And I don't remember how fast, but that situation still was rememdied. But they, oh I think they thought it should be fun to play football, but they were, they tried to win. They tried hard.
SAM: What about the big attraction of football. I've read of the various actiivtiesthat went along with football, the pajama paradew This was all around the sporting event of football.
TS: Yeah, they'd have Homecoming game and they'd have a bonfire and a parade.
SAM: What was the pajama parade?
TS: Oh, everybody was supposed to, the girls put on pajamas and parade through houses.And then they'd all join in a parade around town afterward. The bonfires, of course they'd scrounge all over the country for something to burn. Usually getting an outhouse to put*on top. They didn't care where they got it. And that was followed by fireworks'1. They decided they'd scavanged all they could in the way of wood and doing so much damage that they replaced that with the fireworks I don't know what they're doing now. I haven't paid much attention, in the last few years.
SAM: Was the rivalry with WSU the high point of the football gams?
TS: Yes, if we could beet Washington State, that would have been a wonderful,wonderful thing to do,
SAM: But U of I usually couldn't beat them.
TS: No, until this crew that included Fat and Ray Stephens and Skip StyversSid Dusty Kline, that bunch came along. And they could go for Washington State alright. We had, the best year was the one in which we had, University of Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington State. And went down to play Stanford, we were unbeaten and untieable, I mean, unscored upon. We were not beaten, not tie not scored on. And that was the; year that Stanford went to the Rose Bowl and barely lost to the famous four Horsemen cf the Apocalypse". And we gave Stanford a game, I say we, I was in Standford at the time. But I spent the night with the Idaho football team before. And for the first half, why we gave that Stanford team all that it could handle. They simply, they had some, they had so many the first eleven men Idaho was as good as Stanford was. And they had Ernie Nevers who was, do you know that name?
SAM: Nevers, is that...
TS: That's(unintelligible) Ernie overs said that - Warner, Pop Warner, saidthat except for Bim Thorpe, Ernie Nevers was the finest football player two hundred that he ever coached. And he scored, oh, he hundred fifty^yards against Notre Dame and so they had Ernie Nevers on that Stanford team and Stanford went for the Rose Bowl, beat California, beat USC and so it was no weak Stanford team that we -were playing. They had Bob Pitsky was on that team too. Quite an athlete. Eccentric character, I can't remember which it was, Ernie Nevers in an article in the Saturday Evening Post said that the hardest he was ever tackled was in that game against Idaho. And I can't remember^ ; he said it was Bob Pitsky or Fat Stephens. But one of the two broke a rib for Ernie Nevers. And they wouldn't, for the first eleven men they wore good, but then after that, a whole new line. Stanford ran in a whole new line about the time Idaho began to get tired. Why that was just too much. There only eleven of them. They didn't have very many high-powered substitutes. I remember Fat Stephens going to the locker room afterwards,Ablanket pulled over his head. You could just see his shoulders shaking. He was crying. That was a, oh, I suppose now they play better football, but that day, that was a very'.fine football team they had that fall. I don't remember Babe Brown was still, oh, he must have been. He was a powerful character. He'd been a heavy weight wrestler except that no would wrestle him in the last year or so he was here. Babe, he mellowed a great dieal later on but it was a painful experience to go up against Babe Broun. And the other teams, they simply would cancel. They'd forfeit the match. Don't think he could get a single match in his last two years. He'd work, he'd been trained by professionals in Boise, and he'd go up against a good professional, give him a good run for his money.
SAM: What kind of weight?
TS: Heavyweight. He was a heavyweight. Babe Brown was a high school kid andone of these carnival wrestlers, you know? That would come around. Well, Babe went out three different nights and the first night, the man didn't throw him, the second night, the man didn't throw him, this was in Boise, Babe was » Boise, high school and the third night, boy it got in the papers and the third night, Babe really exerted himself. He'd just gone out and stalled around the first two nights, the third night, why after they'd been going a few minutes, you know this man supposed to throw you ^in a certain r— or forfeit, they had a real croud out there then. Babe got the man so he hit his shoulders about this far from the mat in the first three or four minutes, just held him thereAtil the time expired. And one other, Boise was a wrestling center in those days. They had the light heavy weight champion of the world there for some time,Ed Santell. They had a former wrestler who had been a welterweight that ran the boxing and wrestling shows there. And that's where Babe learned to wrestle. And he wrestled against top notch professionals one time, they had wrestling in Ontario the Fourth of Buly, they wanted to, they had a local man that they thought was awfully good, awfully good. And they wanted to match him up against Santell. And they wanted to do that at the fairtime when they had harvest workers, they get a bigger crowd then any other time. But mean while, they wanted to have a Fourth of Buly wrestling match and they called this Nick Collins, the promoter and said, don't you have somebody you could send over there to match our man for the ourth of Buly? We'd like wrestling match then. And they said, course they're looking forward to their match with Santell in the fall. They kind of intimated that they "dn't want someone that was ooing to give them too bad a time. And Nick said, well I've got a high school kid over here heavyweight, he's pretty good. He'll give him a run for the money. Sent over Babe Brown, Babe without any difficulty threw the other man. And he absolutely wrecker! the match with Santell for the fair, because you couldn't exactly someone against the lightheavywweight champion of the world who has been thrown by, a high school boy. Babe, oh. Babe, his Babe's told, me he told me about it he said,"They gave me plain hell when I got back to the Boise, they said, why didn't you let him stay?" And Babe said,"Well w didn't you tell me to lot iiim stay?" They said,"Well we were trying to get it set so we could clean up on the betting, when Santell went over there. Babe said,®Uell, if you'd told me about it, I'd been willing to let the guy look good." This high school kid,"I was willing to let him look good.'
SAM: Whatever happened to happened to Babe.
TS: He's dead now.
SAM: After college what did he do?
TS: He coached for a while. He coached in Lewiston. And then he was, he cameback and was an assistant, he was on the football coaching staff. And Babe got, that thing isn't turned on now is it?
TS: Okay.a Might put in a couple things I don't want to. Babe was on the staffhere. And during the war ho coached basketball and was acting director of athletics. And then the first year after the war, he coached the Idaho basketball team to the only time its won a northern division championship since the early 1920s. And then he went back to coaching football and didn't have any suceos. e had a hundred twenty five people turning out for football She first game in three weeks. And was lot out as football coach after one year. And he'd bcen,Al didn't like him in high school and I didn't like him in university and I came to admire him without reservation from what I saw him, when I was radio manager and he was director of athletics. And I came to like him without reservation. And he not only, he contributed a great deal of valuef. There was one day here in the spring I think, in 1945 that we had two hundred fifteen or two hundred twenty male students in the university and we had four different sports going on on the campus in the same day. We had baseball, track, and tennis, and golf. And that was because Babe just kept things going. He'd get people out, get them stimulatedjso forth. And really contributed an immense amount. He went from here to the College of Idaho and I believe was coach and I believe was director of athletics and worked there until he died.
(End of side D)
0:00 - Life in Boise (play, swimming, skating, riding streetcars); Boise River; Chinese vegetable gardens
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14:00 - His father placed train depot facing the capitol building; Boise city hall torn down; family home on Warm Springs
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30:00 - Boiseans attending Moscow university; stories of Bill carpenter; English skills not as developed by many
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Segment Synopsis: Boiseans going to the University. Bill Carpenter's remarkable ability to prosper despite his physical paralysis. High school debating. An Idaho Rhodes Scholar's winning point in an England debate. Going to college was a foregone conclusion for him. Fewer people went, which may be why English skills were higher. It was difficult to persuade students to work on using English properly because of the social influences outside of the classroom.
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60:00 - Old and new Phi Delta houses; cook at fraternity; Hell Week activities; serenading, dances on campus
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80:00 - Importance of fraternities at University of Idaho; religious sects; discrimination against Jews
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