Esther Amelia Dick, class of 1934

Esther Amelia Dick, class of 1934

Esther Amelia Dick grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania, where she went to an all-girls high school. She graduated from Brown University in 1934 with a degree in botany. She worked at Brown from the time of her graduation until her retirement in 1975.  During her career as a botanist she published numerous papers and a book on fungi in collaboration with her husband, Walter Henry Snell, who was a professor at Brown.

Esther Amelia Dick begins this interview by speaking of her childhood in Reading, PA and struggling with Meniere's Syndrome. She recalls her reasons for attending Pembroke College and discusses campus rules, requirements, clothing standards, alcohol and smoking restrictions, and access to the Brown campus. She gives her opinions of several professors and talks about being deeply affected by the Great Depression and, as a result, cooking all her meals in the science labs.

Dick speaks of being discriminated against as a woman by the University as a student and later as a woman doing research in the sciences. She mentions a potential discrimination lawsuit when she was threatened with being fired at age 60. She discusses going to live theater in downtown Providence, and hearing Amelia Earhart speak at Pembroke Chapel, as well as hearing Pablo Casal play at Brown.


Part 1

Part 2
Recorded on Nov 26, 1982

Providence, RI

Interviewed by Dick Chase