Alumnae Oral Histories

Initiated by the Pembroke Center Associates in 1982, these oral histories record the experiences of the women of Brown University and Pembroke College. This website features digitized interviews, transcripts, biographies, photographs, and other primary documents by and about women who attended Brown as early as 1907.   More Information... 

Marjorie Phillips Wood Burroughs, Brun Mael 1911

Marjorie Burroughs entered Pembroke College in 1907. In Part 1 of this interview, she remembers being disciplined as a freshman for the fun she had with her friends; Lida Shaw King, Dean of the...Read More

Gladys begins by describing her family and how she came to Brown in 1909, the first member to attend college. She considers herself lucky to have lived in the mansion on Benefit Street, where she...Read More

Isabel Ross Abbott, Brun Mael, 1922

Isabel begins this interview by discussing her parents’ lives in Nova Scotia before she was born. Also in Part 1, she discusses the family’s move to Providence, Rhode Island and her childhood there,...Read More

Elizabeth begins the interview by discussing her family and the history of careers in education within her family. In Part 1, she talks about her courses at Brown; her disapproval of the...Read More

Beatrice Elizabeth Coleman, Brun Mael 1925

In this interview, Beatrice Coleman discusses her career as a teacher in normal schools in North Carolina and Pennsylvania; the African American communities in Providence and at Brown and Pembroke in...Read More

Marjorie Whitcomb Sallie, Brun Mael, 1927

Marjorie recounts her experience as a student commuting from Foxboro, Massachusetts.  She describes  about her rigorous co-ed science courses,  her desire to become a doctor, and the...Read More

Alice begins by discussing her life growing up in East Providence and assuming guardianship of her brothers and sisters after the early deaths of her parents. In Part 1, she also talks about...Read More

Rose begins this interview by stating that she is going to need a long time to tell her history. She describes her family,  from Waterbury, Connecticut, and the high value they placed on...Read More

In this interview, Rose discusses the reasons she attended college; her graduate studies and career in bacteriology; Deans Morriss and Mooar; Magel Wilder, her sole female professor at Brown; sex and...Read More

In this interview, Katherine talks about her family and her upbringing in East Providence, and how she came to attend Pembroke College.  She discusses her travel as a day student to campus,...Read More

This interview begins with biographical and family information about Ruth, whose mother was a supporter of female suffrage and determined that her daughter should attend Pembroke College. In Part 1...Read More

Clarice begins the interview by discussing her family background and the circumstances that led her to attend Pembroke College. In Part 1, she also addresses the effects of Great Depression on...Read More

Beatrice "Bea" Wattman was the daughter of a jeweler who immigrated from Moldavia in 1895  at age 18, and a mother who came from Austria as a young child. Raised in Providence along with two...Read More

Harva Zelda Fisher, Brun Mael, 1936

Zelda begins the interview describing her decision to enter Pembroke; her opposition to the merger; classes “on the men’s campus” as a “carpetbagger”; and Dean Margaret S. Morriss and other favorite...Read More

Virginia's interview begins with descriptions of her childhood and family in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She recalls her years at Pembroke College, in particular: her role on the Pembroke Record staff...Read More

Teresa begins this interview by discussing her early experiences at Pembroke, including freshman orientation week and the embarrasing experience of taking posture photographs. In Part 1, she...Read More

In Part 1 of this interview Marcella recounts her acceptance to Pembroke College in 1940 and her experience as a “day hop” or “city girl.” She describes the effects of World War II, including rations...Read More

Dorothy begins this interview by describing her early life in Boston; how she came to be a student at Pembroke after beginning her college education at Simmons College; working in the children's...Read More

Polly Adams Welts, Brun Mael, 1951

Polly begins this interview by recounting her family life  in Haverhill, Massachusetts before and after World War II. In Part 1, she also talks about the dating scene among freshmen at Pembroke...Read More

In Part 1 of the interview, Elizabeth talks about her family and her upbringing in rural Texas and how she came to attend Pembroke College. She also discusses her close relationship with Nancy Duke...Read More

Lillian S. Berberian, Brun Mael, 1957

Lillian's interview concentrates on her family and her experiences as a commuter student. She explains that her parents expected her to live at home while she attended Pembroke, and she describes her...Read More

The daughter of Alice O'Connor Chmielewski '28, Ann begins her own interview by relating childhood memories of accompanying her mother to Pembroke College reunions. She then describes her social and...Read More

In Part 1, Romaine discusses the many moves her family made as child; her reasons for choosing Pembroke; the difficulties living in the sexist culture of the 1950s; her personal challenges at...Read More

Elissa L. Beron, Brun Mael, 1966

In Part 1 of this interview, Elissa discusses her enthusiasm for college life, having entered Pembroke after her junior year of high school. She describes the social expectations of the time and how...Read More

Susan Virginia Cowell, Brun Mael. 1969

Susan discusses her reasons for choosing Pembroke; her expectations for campus culture; her roommate's struggles with class differences; the social life of Pembroke; her own her peers' efforts to...Read More

Linda J. Peters, Liber Brunensis 1982

Linda begins this interview by talking about her family background in Chicago, Illinois; her reasons for choosing Brown; the experience of bi-racial students at Brown; and the Women's Movement on...Read More

In Part 1 of this interview, Martha discusses the women's march and speakout held in the spring of 1985. She describes the fraternity activities and campus conditions that prompted female students to...Read More