Ruth Lilian Wade Cerjanec, class of 1933

Ruth Lilian Wade Cerjanec, class of 1933

Ruth Lilian Wade Cerjanec was born in Central Falls, RI on April 22, 1913 to John T. and Susanna McDowell Wade. She graduated from Brown Phi Beta Kappa and earned a Master's degree in Library Science from Simmons College. During World War II, she was head librarian at the U.S. Naval Air Facilities under the Quonset Command. An extremely active alumna, she was granted the Brown Bear award in 1980. Ruth was the wife of Earl F. Cerjanec '43 and mother of Nicholas Wade Cerjanec '71 and Derek McDowell Cerjanec '73. She died November 3, 1989.

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, Ruth also describes her experience at as a "city girl" from Central Falls and the attitudes of her classmates. She discusses the limited job opportunities for women during the Great Depression, taking courses at the Rhode Island College of Education, and her own career path, which included jobs teaching English and Americanization classes, teaching public school in Central Falls, and eventually working as head librarian at Quonset Naval Air Base. Part 1 also includes stories about Ruth's activities with the French Club, the relationships between freshmen and upperclassmen, and the attitudes that Brown men held about Pembrokers.       

In Part 2, Ruth discusses the benefits of attending a coordinate college and remembers aspects of her academic and social life at Pembroke, including her public speaking class with Miss Jinks, mandatory physical education, the dress code, and her position as class secretary. She describes the atmosphere at Pembroke during the Depression and how hard economic times altered the expectations of marriage for both male and female students.  

Part 2
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Part 1
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Recorded on Nov 18, 1982

Maddock Alumni Center, Brown University

Interviewed by Jennifer S. Smith