Zelda Fisher Gourse, class of 1936

Zelda Fisher Gourse, class of 1936

Harva Zelda Fisher Gourse, known by "Zelda," was born in Providence to Harry and Ida (Zurier) Fisher.  Zelda's father was a Russian émigré with a grammar school education who became a real estate developer in Providence; her mother was an emigrant but schooled in the Providence schools. After studying Economics at Brown, Zelda received her Master's in Library Science From URI in 1966.  She was the coordinator of library services at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Mass., until her retirement in 1978.

Zelda Fisher Gourse starts by 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 professors.  She and her interviewer discuss travel in Israel and Ms. Gourse’s daughter, author Leslie Gourse.  Zelda returns to campus life, describing the various annual student events; her older sister’s decision to return to college; her role in sophomore masque; her election (“why not a Jewish girl?”) as student body President; and other campus life and leadership clubs.  She then describes jobs she turned down, her marriage, and her term as Director of Library Services for Bristol Community College.  She describes her gifts of her husband’s books to various universities and her Israeli stamps to the John Hay Library. She ends the interview with an account of the Elizabethan club and the Erasmians (Brown).

Note: The interviewer indicates that the tape failed to capture the final 10 minutes of the interview.

Part 1
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Recorded on May 13, 1988

Providence, RI

Interviewed by Sasha Oster