Doris Adelaide Derby oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Atlanta, Georgia, 2011-04-26.
DD: “If you think you can do that, call, you know, contact us, and we’ll come back up. And we will arrange to have someone come and teach you how to make a certain handcraft, some particular handcraft.” So, we would look at what was already being produced, and then who do we have around that can, that has been, would be willing to go to that workshop for a period of time, depending on what it is, how long it would be that they would be needed.
So, we recruited volunteers, crafts persons from the North, to come and spend time in the co-ops. Sometimes they couldn’t really stay as long as it was going to be needed to, uh, keep that development going in quality. So, they would teach me how to do something, or it might be a short thing, or I would find out from somewhere how to do something, go somewhere. For example, the candles: I went somewhere and I was taught how to make candles. I came back and went to the co-op. I stayed here for a period of time and taught them how to make candles. Someone [1:35:00], uh, came and, uh, taught a group how to make leather goods. Well, I was taught also how. I did a little of that, and then I was in a position to go back and kind of check it. So, it was different things. We called it Education and Training for Cooperatives, ETC.
JB: Was there a favorite co-op that you had at this time?
DD: A favorite?
DD: Um, not really.
JB: Or one that kind of just tickled your fancy?
DD: Well, I really liked the leather goods. Those were nice. And I liked the black dolls. The Una Sewing Cooperative, um, we made the black rag dolls, male and female, and, uh, that was really an important move, I think, at that time, because, uh, black dolls were not readily available, and that was a big seller. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those left.
JM: [Laughs] Oh, no.
DD: I ended up giving them away to one of my relatives’ children.
JM: I should thank you here for bringing so many examples of Liberty House handcrafts to share with us before we started today.
JM: Thank you.