In Part 1 of this interview, Gloria E. Del Papa begins by describing her relationship to her father, an immigrant cement business owner, her role as a “typical Italian daughter,” and how her father insisted she go to Pembroke College. When discussing her life at Pembroke, she speaks about her academic record, the discovery of her passion for English after an initial focus on biology, her dedication to her studies and the many student activities in which she was involved. The people who influenced her include Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, Dean Nancy Duke Lewis, English Professors Israel James Kapstein, and Bessie Rudd, the gym teacher.
In Part 2, Del Papa shares her experience attending school during wartime and how it was not a “normal” or desirable experience. She discusses a Japanese student whose parents were in an internment camp, the pressure “V-12” men had to pass their classes in order to remain in the Navy's college officer training program. While the men were away at war, women started to have all their classes on the Brown campus and were able to go to the Blue Room without a date. She mentions the Honor Code and cheating, and elaborates on what it meant to be a woman in the 1940s. Building on that, Del Papa discusses posture pictures – a practice that included taking photos of nude students ostensibly as part of a eugenics project assessing social hierarchy. She also remembers going to the Pembroke Library and the influence of the librarian, as well as taking Biology class with Walter Wilson.