California State University, Long Beach
 

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dc.contributor.author Campbell, Freda (b. 2/13/1912 - d. 9/27/2003 )
dc.contributor.author Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer
dc.date.accessioned 2021-05-01T06:41:30Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-01T06:41:30Z
dc.date.issued 2021-04-30
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/218959
dc.description SUBJECT BIO - Freda Campbell went to work at Lockheed in 1942 and remained there for the next thirty-five years, until her retirement. The fifth of eight children born on a farm in VanWert, Iowa, Campbell aspired to be a school teacher. After graduating from high school, she began teaching in a country school, and subsequently attended Iowa State University for one summer session. Bumped from the first job by a superintendent who hired a member of his own family, Campbell went to Des Moines after an unhappy experience in another school. There, she began working as a domestic. She moved to California in 1934 and worked in various domestic and waitressing jobs until she went to work at Lockheed in 1942. She abandoned her aspirations to teach, although she did return to college, earning a BA in the 1950s. Instead she worked her way up from electrical bench assembly work to a salary position in the 1950s. Campbell was quite occupied with a variety of volunteer activities, including the presidency of the local Audubon Society, but was always accommodating and generous with her time. Her home, nestled in the foothills of Glendale, overlooked a large, lovely yard and reflected her interest in nature and environmental issues. TOPICS - family background and history; siblings; parents; gender roles; reading interests; mother's expectations for her children; farm life; community events; childhood; Civil War; suffrage and temperance movements; schoeducation; mother's expectations for children; reading interests; farm life; household chores; gender roles; childhood; siblings; religion; and family life;family's automobiles; grammar school; Armistice Day; parents; discipline; career expectations; parent's expectations for her; menstruation; high school; YWCA Girl Reserves; friends and social activities; communityhigh school life; dating; family life and relationships; mother's illness and death; household chores; college; teaching positions; teaching salary; living expenses; marriage expectations; domestic work in Des Moisocial activities in Des Moines; career expectations; education and college; employers; move to California; domestic work; wages; social life and activities in California; religion; waitressing wages; living arrangdomestic work; wages; living arrangements; patriotism; social life; decision to go to work at Lockheed; family life and relationships; en_US
dc.description.abstract INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This is the first of five lengthy interviews conducted with Freda Campbell in the living room of her modest home in the foothills of Glendale. Short and trim looking, Campbell was always warm and friendly, though had a business-like air about her. A history buff, Campbell was quite conscious of the problem of historical accuracy and understood why apparent trivia and details were important. 9/15/1980 en_US
dc.description.tableofcontents *** File: rrrfcampbell1.mp3 Audio Segments and Topics: (0:00-4:01)... Campbell details her family history dating back to her maternal great grandparents who she believes were one of the original Dutch families to settle in Pennsylvania in the early 1880s. She only knew that her paternal great grandparents originally settled in Ohio. Her paternal grandfather joined the Union Army when he was sixteen and fought during the Civil War. Both sides of her family eventually settled in Iowa where she was born. (4:01-4:36)... Campbell was the fifth of six children. As the first girl in the family, she was expected to help her mother with household chores rather than work in the farm with her older brothers. (4:36-6:26)... Campbell's parents were raised on farms in Warren County, Iowa. Their families were well acquainted and a few of her parent's cousins were already married to each other before they began dating. Campbell's mother was a schoolteacher in Warren County and continued to work after she married and had her first child. Because of her education, she always encouraged her children to get an education. (6:26-9:43)... Campbell's father was born in 1874 and her mother in 1877. Her mother received a high-school education and went to Normal school to prepare for a career in teaching. Her father only to the fourth grade, but he had remarkable grammatical and mathematical skills. Her parents subscribed to several newspapers and magazines, including Youth's Companion so that their children had something educational to read. The farm where her parents lived for the first two years of their marriage was across the road from the one-room schoolhouse where her mother taught which enabled her mother to go home at recess and at noon to nurse her baby. (9:43-11:43)... Campbell's parents lived on her grandparent's farm for the first two years of their marriage. The farm was located across the road from the schoolhouse where her mother taught school. Campbell does not believe that her mother received any negative feedback for continuing to teach after she married and had a child. Her parents moved to a 366-acre farm when she was two years old. (11:43-14:59)... Campbell often visited her paternal grandparents when she was a child. Her grandfather was reluctant to talk about his experiences in the army during the Civil War except for brief accounts of his march to the sea with General William Tecumseh Sherman. Campbell recalls accompanying her parents and grandparents to Old Soldiers' Day fairs in Warren County. Her maternal grandparents died before she was born. She believes that they traveled to Iowa with other Dutch families in the 1840s or 1850s. Her grandfather was lame and ineligible to join the army during the Civil War. He kept busy during the war taking care of his own family as well as the other women and children in the community whose husbands and fathers were away at war. (14:59-15:46)... Cambell's grandparents eventually sold their and moved into town where they owned a small piece of property, which her mother and uncle inherited. (15:46-17:37)... Campbell's parents married around 1897 when her mother was twenty years old and they had their first child one year later. Her mother began teaching when she was eighteen or nineteen years old. She had a reputation in town for being a good, strict teacher and Campbell believes that's why the school board asked her to stay on. Campbell clarifies dates and timelines in response to a question about her mother's activities, the details of which are discussed in the next segment. (17:37-21:05)... This segment details Campbell's response to an earlier question. She recounts the story her mother told her about her grandfather. He came home drunk one evening and the next day the saloon burned down. Campbell's mother always wondered if her own mother and the women in the community had something to do with it. Campbell's mother supported women's rights, but was not involved in the movement because she was too busy raising her children. She voted the first opportunity she could after women were granted suffrage rights. (21:05-24:22)... After Campbell's parents left her grandparent's farm, they moved around a lot. and her mother quit teaching school. Campbell was born in Clark County, Iowa but her parents eventually settled in Eddyville to be near a better high school. Campbell believes that during this period a law was passed granting children free high school education. Many children did not attend school in Warren County because the schools were too far from people's farms. (24:22-26:08)... Campbell was two years old when her parents moved to Eddyville, and she has no recollection of her life in Clark County. She details the birth order of her siblings. (26:08-28:14)... Her parents purchased a large farm in Eddyville. She was not expected to work on the farm, but was responsible for taking care of their vegetable garden and cleaning the cream separator. Because she was short, she did not have to wash dishes until much later. Her mother was insistent that her children get a good education and paid the tuition to send the children to a graded school rather than a one-room school. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell2.mp3 (0:00-1:50)... It was very important to Campbell's mother that her children get a good education and she made sure that there were always reading materials in their home. She was usually too busy to read to her children, but Campbell learned how to read quite easily when she started school. She remembers reading bedtime stories from Wallace's Farmer. (1:50-4:45)... Campbell describes her family's farm in Eddyville. The home burned down a couple of years after they moved in and a new home was built in 1918. Their electricity was provided by a generator; they also had a furnace and indoor plumbing. They built an outhouse to use in case the toilet did not work. Her mother contributed to the family income by raising and selling chickens. (4:45-8:24)... The household and farming responsibilities in Campbell's family were divided along gender lines. Although most of her responsibilities were indoor chores, she also worked in the vegetable garden, brought in firewood and fed the chickens. Like all of the farming families in the area, her family raised crops and livestock both, including chickens, cows, horses, hogs and briefly, sheep. Her father owned a stud horse and she jokes about getting her sex education on the farm. (8:24-10:17)... Campbell describes her family's farmhouse. Their home had six bedrooms, but she and her sister shared a room and her four brothers shared two of the other bedrooms. All of the children had their own bed. During the winter, however, Campbell and her sister shared a bed to keep warm. (10:17-17:45)... The closest farm to Campbell was about a quarter of a mile away and although she occasionally played with the children who lived there, most of her time she played at home with her siblings. Her brother was good at fashioning toys and devising games for them to play. Although Campbell's mother insisted that she act "ladylike," she did not restrict her physical activities outside the house. However, Campbell was not allowed to carry anything that was too heavy. She always wore dresses when she was young. (17:45-21:20)... At dinner time, the family conversations revolved around the children's schooldays. Her parents also discussed articles that they read in the newspaper or talked about the price of livestock. Campbell's mother did not allow dirty jokes to be told at the dinner table and also forbade any swearing around the house. (21:20-23:15)... Her parents did not own a radio when she was growing up, but they played records on their Edison gramophone. It was mainly the children who listened to the gramophone since their parents were too busy, but when the family listened to music together they played patriotic tunes. (23:15-24:22)... Campbell describe her family life and the activities they enjoyed together, noting that family life in the country was far different than family life in the city. (24:22-25:58)... Although Campbell's parents were religious, they rarely went to church because of the demands of farm life. She and her siblings went to Sunday school every week. Either her father or her older brother drove them to church. Her mother did not drive a car because she did not have time to learn and it was an oddity for women to drive in the 1920s. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell3.mp3 (0:00-1:17)... Campbell's parents purchased their first car when she was about four or five years old. Her brothers also owned cars and liked to do their own repairs. When she worked at Lockheed, Campbell recognized some of the manufacturer's names of the parts her brothers used to repair their vehicles. (1:17-5:23)... Campbell started grammar school when she was six years old. There were two grades to a classroom with approximately twenty-two students in each room. She learned to read in kindergarten. She was in primary school during WWI and recalls that on Armistice Day all of the children marched in parades around town. After eighth grade, she went to high school, which was located on the same campus as the grammar school. (5:23-8:05)... Campbell describes her school years, especially her friends. Most of the friends she played with lived in the country. It was difficult to establish close ties with her classmates who lived in town because they went home for lunch while the country kids packed their lunch and ate together at school. (8:05-13:07)... Campbell admired her grade school teachers and decided that she wanted to become a teacher when she grew up. As a former teacher, her mother insisted that her children pay attention to their teachers and behave while they were at school. This leads to a discussion about her parents' disciplining methods. (13:07-14:14)... Campbell's parents expected her to go to college and pursue a teaching career. Her mother was adamant that she not marry too young because she thought it would interfere with her daughter's educational and career aspirations. Campbell recalls that the only available jobs for women in her community were in the field of teaching. There were a couple of women employed in clerical positions at the bank, but Campbell thought that teaching was the ultimate career choice at the time. (14:14-16:39)... When Campbell started to menstruate, her mother provided gave her a hand towel to use as protection until they could get to town and purchase sanitary napkins. Campbell did not discuss menstruation with her girlfriends until she was much older. She mentions that some of the girls in high school "had" to get married, referring to out-of-wedlock pregnancies. (16:39-20:56)... Campbell graduated high school at the top of her class. She was not athletically inclined and did not participate in sporting activities with the other girls at school nor did she date. Some of her girlfriends dated because the boys had cars and could take them places. Campbell, however, was not dependent on boys for transportation because she was allowed to tag along to social events with her older brother. She was involved in the Girl Reserves, a YWCA organization, whose purpose was to raise money to send delegates to the YWCA conference. (20:56-24:56)... In high school, Campbell mainly socialized with her high-school classmates who lived in the country. She had one girlfriend who lived in town, but they did not spend too much time together after school. The country kids spent more with each other at school because they ate lunch together while town kids went home for lunch. There was little socialization after school because country kids had to go home to do their chores. During the winter months, boys and girls gathered in classrooms to avoid the cold weather. Campbell describes a game called "Black Man" that they played together. (24:56-28:00)... The town of Eddyville was a White Anglo community, with a few Black coal miners who lived on the outskirts of town. She never saw them in town and Black children did not attend her school. She recalls when she was on a train with her parents and saw a Black woman. She said: "Mama, that woman's so black, she looks like a nigger." Campbell learned this word from her older brothers. Her mother used the term Negro to refer to Blacks. Her mother was not prejudiced and did not raise Campbell with racial prejudices. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell4.mp3 (0:00-3:07)... When she was in high school, Campbell's only social interaction with boys occurred in a group setting at basketball games or class parties. Campbell's mother was not particularly fond of the movies, so Campbell did not go that often. After her mother died, however, Campbell's father frequently took them to see Will Rogers's films. She also tagged along with her older brother when he went to the movies with a date. (3:07-8:53)... When her mother had terminal uterine cancer, it was Campbell's responsibility to write relatives about her mother's condition. Her mother came home from the hospital three weeks before she died and the doctor authorized Campbell to administer her mother's opium medication. Campbell and her younger sister were responsible for the cooking and cleaning duties when their mother got sick. The additional chores did not interrupt Campbell's education or after-school activities. (8:53-11:59)... Campbell went to Normal school for one year to prepare for a teaching career. After she graduated, she taught in a one-room school for a year until the school superintendent replaced her with his sister. Teaching positions were scarce during the Depression and his sister needed a job. Campbell found another teaching position outside Eddyville, where she taught for a year. She felt intimidated by many of the children who were bigger than her. She believes the superintendent wanted a man in the position and she was released. She was unsuccessful at finding another teaching position because of the depressed job market. (11:59-16:18)... After Campbell's first year of teaching, her father exchanged his farm for a smaller farm located outside Eddyville in order to ease his financial burdens. It was located quite a distance from the school where she was teaching and she decided to board with a family in town. Her decision to board with a wealthy family instead of the family that had always boarded the schoolteachers was not well received in the community. Campbell's starting salary at both schools was $80/month, much better than the usual starting salary of $65/month. Her living expenses amounted to less than $5/week. She kept her wages and was not expected to give anything to her family. (16:18-17:36)... When Campbell moved from Eddyville to teach at another school, she had little social life because she did not know anyone in town. She was not interested in dating anyone in Eddyville because she did not want to be a "farmer's wife." Her parents never pressured her to get married because they wanted her priority to be college. (17:36-19:31)... When Campbell lost her second teaching position, she moved to Des Moines where some of her high-school girlfriends were living and working as domestic servants. She got a job as a domestic because she felt she would be better off on her own than working for the government in a WPA job. On Thursdays, she went to the YWCA with her girlfriends. Many of the women she socialized with were former schoolteachers and working as domestics. When her employer's sister came to Iowa from California for a family visit, her daughter became very fond of Campbell. A year later, this family offered to pay Campbell's fare to California so that she could go to work for them. Campbell felt that she could not pass up the offer. (19:31-22:33)... Campbell discusses the job market in Iowa during the Depression. Many of the WPA jobs involved heavy work such as road construction. When she arrived in Des Moines, a friend referred her to a family and Campbell was hired as a live-in domestic, earning $5/week with room and board. She had saved some money from her teaching job and was able to save more while working as a domestic. Many of the families in Des Moines could afford to hire domestic servants during the Depression because wages were so low, averaging $2-$10/week. Campbell's employer worked as an advertising manager for Meredith Publishing Company. (22:33-24:52)... Campbell's workday as a domestic ended after she finished washing the dinner dishes. She got Thursdays and every other Sunday off. Her employers were good to her and she enjoyed their home because they had a wide variety of magazines that she had never read before, such as Better Homes & Gardens, Time , and Vogue. (24:52-26:22)... Campbell spent her days off at the YWCA socializing with girlfriends and going to the movies. She eventually quit working for the advertising family and got a job with Jewish family. The man owned several movie theaters in Des Moines and she had a movie pass which enabled her to see movies whenever she was off. She occasionally went to the movies by herself after work. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell5.mp3 (0:00-2:30)... Although Campbell went to the movies with her girlfriends, she usually went by herself because she had a movie pass and her friends did not. In Des Moines is also where she began to socialize with men outside a group setting. She met men at YWCA mixers or at church events. She initially lived with a cousin of her mother's until she started working as a domestic. She recalls her time in Des Moines fondly, noting that there was always something to do and she was young. (2:30-4:34)... Before she was offered an opportunity to move to California, Campbell's future plans were to save money so that she could return to Iowa State University, which she attended during the summers while she was teaching. Her goal was to pursue a home economics degree. In the meantime, she enrolled in a typing course at the YWCA in Des Moines. Even after she moved to California, she planned to work for a couple of years and then return to Iowa State University. She continued to take college credits in California, but when home economic courses were not available in the evenings, she switched her major to history. (4:34-7:14)... Campbell worked for at least two families in Des Moines. The first family treated her like an equal. She left this employer when the woman decided to downgrade to a weekly maid service. While still working for this woman, Campbell became acquainted with her employer's sister who visited Iowa from California. In 1934, Campbell left Iowa after accepting a job offer from this woman whose husband owned an insurance agency in Pasadena. She was paid $5/week to provide childcare for the family. When the baby turned a year old, Campbell went to work for another family making $7/week. (7:14-9:15)... When she moved to California, Campbell did not know anyone besides her employers. They introduced her to another domestic with whom she became close friends. On Sunday evenings, Campbell went to a Fellowship Forum organized by a woman from the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. She met a lot of people at these functions and began dating more seriously. When Campbell's sister graduated from high school, she moved to California and went to work as a domestic. She didn't like the work and decided to take courses at Pasadena City College. Eventually, she got a job with the NYA. (9:15-13:07)... In 1936, Campbell left domestic work and took a job as a waitress in Glendale making minimum wage and gratuities. She moved into an apartment with another woman who worked at the restaurant until it went bankrupt. When Campbell's engagement did not work out, she returned to Pasadena and moved into an apartment with her sister. They both supported themselves as waitresses. Campbell saved enough money to purchase a car which, she notes, made her pretty independent from then on. (13:07-14:31)... Campbell talks about her ideas on marriage and notes that after she broke off her engagement she was not anxious to get married. She worked the morning shift at a restaurant and spent the afternoons taking courses at Pasadena City College. Her main goal during this period was to finish college. (14:31-16:49)... After her sister married and moved out of their apartment, Campbell moved into the YWCA for a short time. She met three girls there and they decided to rent an apartment together. When the arrangement did not work out, Campbell and one of her roommates decided to move out and rent an apartment on their own. (16:49-18:22)... Up to WWII, Campbell's social life continued to revolve around the Fellowship group in Pasadena. By the time the war ended, the group stopped meeting because people's lives were going in different directions. Campbell recalls that the women in the group were employed in various jobs, including government work and domestic service. Some of the women were students at Pasadena City College. (18:22-21:55)... Campbell describes purchasing her first car, a Chevrolet Coupe. A used car salesman she was dating at the time helped her find a car and also gave her some driving lessons. She broke up with him a short time after she purchased the car because he was divorced. After she got her driver's license, she mapped out her route to work so that she would only have to make one left-hand turn. She wanted a car because it signified independence. (21:55-23:06)... Campbell became more religious after she moved to California and started attending Sunday evening Fellowship meetings. Her religious values led to her decision to terminate a relationship with a divorced man. Although she thought she would get married one day, she was not "working towards it like some women." She dated regularly, but her immediate plans were to finish college. (23:06-29:20)... She enjoyed working as a waitress. However, she knew that it would not be a permanent career. She outlines her work history as a waitress. She left this type of work and returned to domestic service just before the war began. She talks about the families she worked for and describes her job responsibilities. End of tape. *** File: rrrfcampbell6.mp3 (0:00-3:56)... When Campbell returned to domestic service in the early 1940s, she was making $80/month, including room and board. At the home in San Marino where she worked she had a private bedroom, and also use of her employer's vehicles. Her own car was in a garage across the street from her employer's home. Although domestic servants were not as bad off as people thought, once the war started, Campbell decided to leave domestic service for a job at Lockheed. (3:56-6:21)... Campbell describes her domestic service job with the San Marino family. She was usually finished with work by 6:30 p.m., which gave her plenty of time to get ready and go out for the evening. (6:21-7:33)... When Campbell was waitressing, male customers frequently asked her out on dates. If she did not want to accept a man's offer, she turned him down with a lighthearted response. On the other hand, waitress work gave her an opportunity to meet a lot of men and she dated a few customers. (7:33-10:20)... Up to the war years, Campbell's social life revolved around Fellowship meetings. She decided to apply for work at Lockheed because a few friends from the Fellowship group already worked there. She saved a lot of money while working as a domestic because her only living expenses were clothing and personal items. When she listed her salary history on her Lockheed application, the personnel representative was dumbfounded by her decision to go to work in defense. Campbell told him that she "wanted to get in on the war effort and all that." (10:20-11:40)... After she moved to California, Campbell stayed in contact with her family in Iowa. Her nearest relative was her sister who moved to Monrovia after she married. Campbell and her sister periodically went back to Iowa to visit their relatives. End of tape. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights This repository item may be used for classroom presentations, unpublished papers, and other educational, research, or scholarly use. Other uses, especially publication in any form, such as in dissertations, theses, articles, or web pages are not permitted without the express written permission of the individual collection's copyright holder(s). Please contact the CSULB Library Administration should you require permission to publish or distribute any content from this collection or if you need additional information or assistance in using these materials: https://www.csulb.edu/university-library/form/questionssuggestions-the-digital-repository-group en_US
dc.subject Rosie the Riveter Revisited en_US
dc.subject Women's History en_US
dc.title Campbell, Freda (audio interview #1 of 5) en_US
dc.type Recording, oral en_US


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