Interview with Abby L. Marlatt, January 18, 1999

Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Abby Marlatt, former director of the University of Kentucky School of Home Economics, was born December 5, 1916 in Manhattan, Kansas. Her father was the owner and manager of a foundry and machine shop. Her mother had been an elementary school teacher and an instructor at Kansas State University. She explains that she is from an abolitionist background. Her grandfather migrated to Kansas with the express purpose of trying to make Kansas a free state. Marlatt graduated from high school in 1934. She attended Kansas State University and majored in home economics. After graduation, Marlatt toured Europe with her aunt and then began graduate school at the University of California at Berkley. She received a certificate in institutional dietetics in January of 1939. She taught for two years at Kansas State University, and then went back to Berkley in the summer of 1946 to finish writing her dissertation. In the early 1950s, Marlatt received a tenured position at the University of Kentucky. Marlatt talks about her work in Civil Rights. She recalls a college summer project she attended in New York City through the YWCA. She states that while she attended graduate school she became involved with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the American Service Committee. In 1945, when she accepted a position at Kansas State University, she made contact with the YWCA and became a member of their advisory board. She recalls the non-violent direct action that she was involved with in order to help desegregate a local restaurant. At UK, Marlatt was on the advisory board for the student YWCA, and she recalls that William Reichert, a young political science professor approached her about establishing a chapter of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) on campus. She remembers sit-ins that they held and stand-ins at local movie theaters. Marlatt talks about the "handbill incident" through which she and others distributed a handbill advocating civil disobedience against the U.S. government and its involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1963, Marlatt was demoted. She addresses accusations that she was a communist. Marlatt also talks about her companion Ms. Norma Perry.

Interview Accession

1999oh024_af593

Interviewee Name

Abby L. Marlatt

Interviewer Name

Fon L. Gordon

Interview Date

1999-01-18

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Marlatt, Abby L. Interview by Fon L. Gordon. 18 Jan. 1999. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Marlatt, A.L. (1999, January 18). Interview by F. L. Gordon. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Marlatt, Abby L., interview by Fon L. Gordon. January 18, 1999, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7k3j393171