Rachel Latta Franck

Interviewee:  Rachel Latta Franck
Date of birth/age at interview:  1892/92
Interviewer:  Rita Durrant
Interview date:  August 15, 1984
Interview location:  Franck home on Sugan Road, Solebury, PA
Time span discussed:  1920s to 1984

Summary: Rachel’s very good memory touches on her family’s world travels, her husband’s writing, her own World War II career with the OSS, becoming a practicing Quaker, and the effect of Pearl Harbor on the Quaker community. She recounts stories about arriving and settling in New Hope, local people, and the area before World War II when “it was quiet.” The final part of the interview touches on many of the artists and their families that she and her husband knew as friends.

Time markers:
00:00:00 – Four Paxson men arrive in Solebury in 1681 two months before William Penn; Paxson history
00:02:09 – lived in house 50 years; moved to Solebury in 1932
00:02:50 – lived with her father William J. Latta in Chestnut Hill for one school term; moved to New Hope area
00:04:13 – husband Harry was travel writer, met in France during World War I; he was censor of letters sent to the USA; post-war European walking experience
00:06:00 – married on day Germans signed the peace; his publishers
00:07:36 – World War II experiences, Harry in Air Force to write history of Eighth Air Force; book not published at that time
00:09:00 – her book published in1939, her life before Harry edited out, illustrated by Charles Child
00:11:10 – Hawaii trip; took two children, left two with her sister, left one in Solebury with Edith Price
00:11:32 – Edith Price story; she was one of the old timers; Michener family
00:12:30 – attended Solebury Friends Meeting because of the Price family
00:13:30 – Solebury Friends Meeting builder also built one room of her house; Aaron Paxson first caretaker of Meeting House
00:14:37 – OSS and her World War II work; OSS used Harry’s photographs for eventual pilot navigation tools; she spent two winters working for OSS gathering pictures
00:19:30 – her 5 children during the war; husband and sons in service
00:21:13 – Quakers pacifism and World War II; Monthly Meeting just after Pearl Harbor
00:23:54 – Emma Tinsman, Head of the Meeting, had two sons in war; Rachel became Quaker because of Emma
00:24:27 – before and after 1940 in New Hope; housing development in area; taxes and trying to keep her family home
00:34:00 – Solebury had six orchards; the Johnson family (now Burgess Lea) orchard
00:36:40 – Solebury Friends Meeting divided into Hicksites and Orthodox; Hicksites met in house corner North Sugan and School roads; Dorothy Hartman
00:38:56 – health issues, robberies at her home
00:46:30 – Harry’s travels, West Indian trip after marriage
00:47:15 – births of children in various countries and their names
00:54:00 – living in Vietnam; college degree at 83 with credit for her book, travel, and Chinese and French languages; other schooling
01:00:15 – she typed Harry’s books; he did not want help writing
01:02:12 – artists friends:  Daniel Garber, his wife May best friend, daughter Tanis, William Lathrop  knocked on the door and introduced himself
01:04:08 – Edward Redfield’s house on the river, lovely stone barn, his studio; he sold six paintings for $16,000 each at an exhibition
01:07:57 – Ruth Follinsbee, interviewed for oral history by Mary Barry; oral histories compared to newspaper interviews
01:09:01 – Emily Leith-Ross interview; Tony Leith-Ross story
01:10:10 – interview wanders until end and is often vague; Ranulph Bye and others discussed
01:15:58 – her health, former athletic life style
01:20:59 – her house and furnishings

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