Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
Photo Gallery

Part:         Session:         Page of 512

around about the clubs. And I will say I am quite sure that the fact that one member of my family who had preceded me at Princeton had suffered from this very acutely and solely because of the fact that he was Jewish, certainly had influenced me personally, there's no doubt about that. It influenced me; whether consciously or unconsciously, I'm certain of the fact that this experience had taken place and I was very, very well aware of it and it made me particularly angry about the clubs. But I should stress that I was a member of one of the so-called quite good clubs, not one of the--you know, they're ranked in a hierarchy as rigid as the Indian caste system--and I would say that the one I was a member of was a good middle club, not one of the so-called poor ones but certainly not one of the ultra-social ones either. So, it wouldn't be true to say that I was unaffected by personal experience; but it wasn't the experience that occurred to me as an individual, but to a close member of my family.


Did you get any pressure from the University administration to just soften the campaign?


No, I don't recall any pressure of that sort whatsoever. No. Only vehement arguments, when I went over to my club to eat, from some of my fellow clubmates. I'm not sure that we actually advocated complete abolition of the system, but we certainly went awfully close to it during that period. All this occurred, that is, the most active part of it-- my year in charge of this was during the 12 months from mid-1933 to mid-1934; our board, you see, took over in the middle of the year. That's the way they did it then, and we lasted until the middle of the winter of 1934, a few months before graduation.

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help