In Part 1 of this interview, Marcella F. Fagan 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 on food and gas, a social life that included few men, the Pratt & Whitney aircraft company’s attempts to recruit student workers, and the activities of the Sewing Club. Fagan relates stories about dating practices at Brown, juggling her studies with paid work, the four-year physical education requirement under professor Bessie Rudd, and posture pictures.
Part 2 of the interview focuses on the 1940s. Fagan describes Pembroke traditions and other aspects of student life, women’s desires for husbands rather than careers, and the importance of community service. She recalls several experiences that made her aware of issues like homosexuality and ethnic and religious divisions, and laments Pembroke’s merger with the Men’s College.
In Part 3, Fagan describes biology class, “senior sisters,” and going to the movies. She compares what she calls “an easier way of life” to the challenges of life in 1988, which include an increased pressure to succeed and the demands made on families with working mothers.
John Hay Library, Brown University