Interview with Mabel Pullen


  • Identifier1986 OH 136
  • Date10/4/1986
  • InterviewerEllis, William E.
  • IntervieweePullen, Mabel
  • DescriptionThis is an unrehearsed taped interview with Mabel C. Pullen, graduate of Eastern Kentucky State Normal School (1918) and accomplished businesswoman and educator. Mrs. Pullen discusses her education at Eastern and her career as a teacher as well as her dairy business and the effects of the Great Depression on Kentucky agri-business.
  • LocationMurray, KY
  • Duration1:42:51
  • Time Summary00:00 - 01:00 Introduction.
    01:00 - 05:00 Mabel Cree Garrett Pullen, born October 26, 1899 in Lewis County. Parents are William Frederick Garrett and Ida Purcell Garrett. Education in a one-room school in Lewis Co. Attended high school in Ohio and at Eastern.
    05:00 - 07:20 Ida Garrett's education and teaching career in a one-room school.
    07:20 - 09:50 Working at Eastern: waiting tables in cafeteria and office work. G.D. Smith (science instructor) hired her to help in his nursery business.
    09:50 - 11:20 Discussion on grading practices and differences. Graduation from Eastern in 1918. Role of World War I on her graduating class.
    11:20 - 14:30 Discussion on Charles A. Keith (History professor and dorm director). Trouble in finding a teaching job due to her young age.
    14:30 - 23:20 William Garrett's search for a new farm and purchase of worthless land in Oklahoma. Family's visit to Oklahoma. Mrs. Pullen remembers getting lost in the train station in St. Louis (1904), returning to Lewis Co.
    27:30 - 31:00 Continued discussion on Oklahoma and her father's property. Ida Garrett begins her teaching career.
    31:00 - 34:30 Continued discussion on Ida Garrett's career. Mrs. Pullen remembers early life on the farm.
    34:30 - 42:10 Student life at Eastern: set curriculum, afternoon walks, the harsh winter of 1916-17, and Mayday celebrations. Remembering the faculty, whom Mrs. Pullen states were comparable in quality to the faculty at better-known schools.
    42:10 - 47:10 After graduation Mrs. Pullen returns to farm work. First teaching job at Shelbyville. Married Stanley Pullen who was the County Extension Agent.
    47:10 - 49:00 Flu epidemic of 1919. Many children in her class died of flu (5 out of 24 total).
    49:00 - 54:40 Recollecting Marie Roberts (former Dean of Women). Discussion on cafeteria food and dormitory life.
    54:40 - 62:00 Remembering buildings on campus, daily chapel, the Talisman (student newspaper), and the Model School. Living in Sullivan Hall dormitory. Discussion on former Eastern presidents Sullivan and Donovan.
    62:00 - 62:40 Introduction to Side III
    62:40 - 67:30 Career at Murray College and teaching at Farmington (13 years).
    67:30 - 72:00 Making the decision to teach. Requirements for accreditation and Eastern's hiring policy. Courses she taught at Eastern. Poor traveling conditions in Kentucky in the 1930s.
    72:00 - 81:10 Stanley Pullen's death and debts. His business dealings (and losses) in his dairy.
    81:10 - 82:30 Teaching at Murray College and discussion on Dr. Richmond (former Murray president).
    82:30 - 93:00 Remembering her first washing machine (bought on credit). Effects of the Depression. Stanley's milk business and the auction of his property. Mrs. Pullen's efforts to repay husband's debts.
    93:00 - 101:00 Repaying husband's debts. Working for the Navy at Packard factory in Detroit during World War II.
  • Restrictionsnone
  • RightsContact Special Collections and Archives, Crabbe Library, Eastern Kentucky University for reproductions, rights and permission to publish.


“Interview with Mabel Pullen,” William H. Berge Oral History Center, accessed May 28, 2024,