Polly Adams Welts, class of 1951

Polly Adams Welts, class of 1951

Polly Adams Welts graduated from Pembroke College in 1951 with an A.B. in American Civilization. She was editor of the school newspaper, The Pembroke Record and, after graduating, of the Pembroke Alumna. Welts received an M.A. in American History from the University of Washington in 1953,  and a Ph.D. in education from Boston University in 1978. At the time of this interview, Welts was a visiting associate professor of history at the University of Southern Maine.

Polly Adams Welts begins this interview by recounting her family life  in Haverhill, Massachusetts before and after World War II. In Part 1, she also talks about dating among freshmen at Pembroke College, her work as a waitress, the participation of city girls – female day students who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus in work and extracurricular activities, and her role as editor of the school newspaper, The Pembroke Record.  

In Part 2, Welts discusses conforming to fashion norms, limited professional opportunities for married women, her cultural education at Pembroke, and she remembers Dean Nancy Duke Lewis. Wlets elaborates on her work as editor of the Pembroke Alumna magazine, her call for Pembroke to improve equality and diversity among administration, faculty and students, her role in the establishment of the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives, her career establishing libraries for the Boston school system, and her work as a historian and author.

Part 1

Part 2
Recorded on Feb 9, 1988

John Hay Library, Brown University

Interviewed by Louise M. Newman