Katharine Parker Freeman Memoir Inventory (#4988-z)
Manuscripts Department, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Descriptive Summary Including Abstract
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Katharine Parker Freeman (6 December 1888-September 1983), a native of Goldsboro, N.C., was the youngest child of Thomas Bradley Parker (1851-1934) and Penelope Ann Alderman Parker (1851-1933). Her father farmed near Goldsboro, then moved to Hillsborough, N.C. (sometimes Hillsboro), when Katharine was about six years old, and was secretary-treasurer of the Farmer's Alliance. Katharine attended Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., beginning with a year of preparatory work when she was 15 and earning a B.A. in 1910. Her parents moved to Raleigh about 1905, when her father became director of Farmers' Institutes.
After she received her B.A. from Meredith, Katharine went, at her father's suggestion, to Simmons College in Boston to study home economics. When she had completed her B.A. at Simmons, she taught for one year at Winthrop College in Rock Hill, S.C., then went to Puerto Rico as assistant in home economics at the College of Agriculture in Mayaguez. She taught in Puerto Rico for a year and then returned to Raleigh to start a home economics department at Meredith College.
During her first year of teaching at Meredith, Katharine Parker met and married L. E. M. (Lemuel Elmer MacMillan) Freeman (4 June 1879-21 January 1979), a widower who taught religion at Meredith. Lem had received a B.A. from Furman; M.A. from Harvard; B.D. from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Newton, Mass.; and Th.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He taught religion at Meredith for about 38 years and was chair of the Department of Religion for much of that time. He also was pastor of several country and small town churches near Raleigh. He farmed about 15 acres at his home on Old Fayetteville Road, two miles south of the State Capitol building. After he retired from Meredith, Lem taught for about ten years at Shaw University in Raleigh.
After her marriage, Katharine resigned from the faculty at Meredith. She raised five children: L. E. M. Freeman, Jr., her husband's son from his earlier marriage; John Alderman Freeman (1917- ); Thomas Parker Freeman (1919- ); Charles Maddry Freeman (1921- ); and David Franklin Freeman (1925- ). As of 1975, Lt. Col. L. E. M. Freeman, Jr., had retired from army and entered the real estate business in Tampa, Fla.; Dr. John Alderman Freeman was chair of Department of Biology at Winthrop College, Rock Hill, S.C.; Dr. Thomas Parker Freeman was a dentist in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Dr. Charles Maddry Freeman, a sociologist, directed the leadership training program of the national 4-H organization; and Dr. David Franklin Freeman was a psychiatrist in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Katharine and L. E. M. Freeman were active in promoting racial integration from the early 1940s through the 1960s. In about 1943, they started an interracial group, which met in their home and had Christmas dinners and summer picnics together. They also joined the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen. They were active members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church for more than 60 years.Back to Top
The memoir of Katharine Parker Freeman was written mostly in 1975, with some additions in the early 1980s. In it, Freeman recounted memories of her family; education; religious life; teaching career, including planning a home economics department at Meredith College; and daily life, chiefly in Raleigh, N.C., but also in Hillsborough, N.C., Boston, and Puerto Rico. In addition to family life, recurring themes include churches, ministers, Freeman's religious questioning, her study of music, and playing piano and organ for various churches and Sunday schools. She also discussed race relations and the interracial group that met at the Freeman's house and joined in other social occasions, ca. 1943-1960, and the Freemans' participation in activities sponsored by the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen. In addition to Freeman's children, people important in the memoir are her father Thomas Bradley Parker, L. E. M. Freeman, Delia Dixon-Carroll, Charles Maddry, McNeill Poteat, and Robert Seymour. Also included are photocopies of pictures of Katharine Parker Freeman and members of her family.
Memoir and Related Items, 1975-1983.
About 50 items.
Memoir of Katharine Parker Freeman, written mostly in 1975, with some additions in the early 1980s, in which Freeman recounted her memories of her family, education, religion, and daily life, chiefly in Raleigh, N.C., but also in Hillsborough, N.C., Boston, and in Puerto Rico. In addition to family life, the recurring themes of the memoir include churches, ministers, Freeman's religious questioning, her study of music, and playing piano and organ for various churches and Sunday Schools. Among the people who figure importantly in the memoir are Thomas Bradley Parker, L. E. M. Freeman, Delia Dixon-Carroll, Charles Maddry, McNeill Poteat, and Robert E. Seymour.
In the memoir, Freeman described her parents and siblings, the schools she attended, the churches she attended, friends, and daily activities of her childhood. She described her classes and social life at Meredith College in Raleigh and at Simmons College in Boston. She devoted several pages to people and places in Puerto Rico, 1912-1914. She reported her work in planning the home economics programs at Meredith and her courtship by L. E. M. Freeman.
For the period after her marriage, Freeman's account centers on stories about her children, especially their education and illnesses. She also described the houses in which her family lived and some of the tenants who rented rooms from them. Besides renting rooms, the Freemans also accepted homeless people who had no place to go or nobody to help them. Freeman remembered 24, including one who stayed only one night and one who stayed three years. According to Freeman, "Aside from Lem's teaching and the personal side of our home, the two most important contributions we have made with our lives are our interracial work, and our open house policy." The Freemans' interracial work included starting an interracial group that met in their home in the early 1940s. The group continued to meet until 1960. The Freemans also joined the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen (F.S.C.) and spent two summers at the F.S.C. camp near Swannanoa in the mountains of North Carolina.
Also included in the volume are a copy of Freeman's birth certificate; her notes for her part in a television program broadcast on 28 March 1968; a few letters responding to her memoir; sketches of people who had influenced her life, including "Aunt" Fannie Mayo, a Dr. Thompson, Delia Dixon-Carroll, O. P. Gifford, McNeill Poteat, and Robert E. Seymour; the tribute to Katharine Freeman given by Robert E. Seymour at her memorial service; and the program from her memorial service.
Also included are photocopies of pictures of Katharine Parker Freeman and members of her family.Folder 1-2
Memoir and related itemsFolder 3
Photocopies of pictures
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