The telegram from Chancellor House offered
Carmichael the job she kept for 26 years.
Above, from the 1947 Yackety Yack,
Carmichael and the Women’s Handbook she
made the female student’s Carolina bible.
Much of her wardrobe dated to her
formative years as a proper Southern lady
in the 1930s.
She wrote long commentaries and sub-
mitted them to national publications with
titles such as, “If the Dean of Women
Disappears, Who Will Take Care of Your
Her public speaking and writing gushed
propriety, with careful touches of sarcasm.
She asked The New York Times to publish
her piece on “Why Your Daughter Wants
Coeducation,” in which she vigorously pro-
moted the value of education
for women but also questioned
the mixed gender environment.
Carmichael ’ 21 (no relation)
would get late-night phone calls
that were meant for the dean.
She would tell the student, “Stay
out as long as you please, dear.
Be my guest.”
Carmichael loved telling the
story of what happened when
she sailed for the Philippines.
Classics Professor J.P. Harland, a
practical joker and one of her
best friends on the faculty, con-
tacted the ship’s captain and told
him that he had a virtuoso
trombonist on board but that if
confronted she would deny it.
Carmichael wrote back home
that it was a great trip “but the
captain was quite mad. He kept trying to
get me to play the trombone.”
She never married, although she said
she had been engaged twice. She wrote in
a biographical sketch for her college sorority, “I sometimes wonder if I made a mistake by not marrying. After all, you never
know which proposal will be your last.”
She sometimes repeated that when speaking to women students.
Kitty Carmichael was, on top of everything else, talked about.
“We were so young and she seemed,
just the way she dressed, carried herself, we
always thought she was 90 years old,” said
Sharon Rose Powell ’ 68. “She seemed of a
different era — it was like a look into the
past every time you were around her —
even the way she spoke, her diction was
perfect. She would tell us not to just be a
lady, but to act like a lady.”
In 1975 Carmichael told The DTH,
“Oh, I have a pretty good idea of people’s
impressions of me. I’ve heard some of those
stories, but what do you do? I just try to
do my job, that’s all.”
‘Oh, I have
a pretty good
I just try to do
my job, that’s all.’
dean of women
She devoured the world
People had impressions, but most of
them had no idea.
Dan Carmichael and Ruby Kennedy
were independently prominent in Birm-
ingham. The middle of their three children
— her sister would be a teacher and her
brother a doctor — Katherine Carmichael
wrote to her sorority, “As children we were
taught to stick with the job in front of us.
To get on with it.”
Her first teaching position was in Jeffer-
CAROLINA ALUMNI REVIEW