Mary Frances Alexander McDorney Interview, October 8, 1985


Mary Frances McDorney


Gladys Peterson



Download Audio Interview (68.9 MB)

Download Transcript of Mary McDorney Interview (11.5 MB)


Mary McDorney describes growing up on her family’s homestead in Eastern Montana. She talks about attending Montana State Normal College in Dillon, Montana, to earn her teaching certificate and then teaching in rural Montana schools from 1926 to 1935. McDorney discusses how during the Great Depression female teachers who married while under contract lost their jobs. McDorney describes the poverty and poor conditions that many of the farmers in Eastern Montana suffered during the Depression. She also talks about the negative effects of the Depression on Missoula, Montana residents. McDorney reminisces about the concerts and plays that she and her family attended in Missoula, and how budgeting and rationing during World War Two wasn’t much of a hardship after the Depression. She concludes by discussing the prejudice against married women in the workforce between the 1930s and 1950s, and the positive and negative aspects of being a teacher.


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Document Type

Oral History


Great Depression (1929-1939); Homesteaders, Montana; Teachers, women, Montana; Education, Montana; Young Women’s Christian Association [YWCA]; Civilian Conservation Corps [CCC]

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Depression Years in Montana Oral History Project, OH 131, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 131-035

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (24 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:55:04 minutes

Local Filename

OH_133_035.mp3; OH_133_035.pdf

Mary Frances Alexander McDorney Interview, October 8, 1985