Interviews by Decade: 1940s

Interviews from women who attended Brown in the 1940s describe student life during World War II, and include several stories about balancing coursework with paid employment.

Image: War Activities, 1940s. World War II introduced new courses and apprenticeships to the women of Pembroke College. Students also experienced accelerated curricula, war bond drives, and the merged publication of the Brown and Pembroke newspapers as the Brown Herald-Record. Image source: University Archives Photograph Collection

Hope Ballinger, class of 1944

Hope Ballinger begins her interview by explaining that her aunt’s graduation from Pembroke College in 1902, and her desire to become a nurse, influenced her decision to also attend Pembroke. She says that as a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, she missed out on many student activities, and notes that the Avon Theatre and the Wayland Drug Store were the most popular gathering spots. She fondly recalls Magel Wilder’s anatomy class as the most interesting class at Pembroke.

Judith Weiss, class of 1944

In this interview, Judith Weiss, undergraduate class of 1944, discusses her decision to attend Pembroke College and describes her roles as assistant editor on the Pembroke Record and Brun Mael, and her participation at the Brown News Bureau. She also mentions her involvement in the National Youth Organization, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, and her positions at the Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, and the Newark Daily Newsletter.

Marcella F. Fagan, class of 1944

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.

Beverly Adele Moss, class of 1945

In this 2018 interview, Beverly Adele Moss, Pembroke College class of 1945, discusses her family upbringing, time at Pembroke College during World War II, and subsequent career. A trailblazing woman for her time, Moss discusses her experience serving on planning and preservation commissions in New York City, and thusly how Pembroke was an influential grounding.

Dorothy Myrtle Kay, class of 1945

In this interview, Dorothy Myrtle Kay begins Part 1 by describing how she started her first job at her parents’ business while she was an undergraduate student at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She then recalls transferring to Pembroke College and the difficulty of working and taking courses in the new trimester program that was instituted because of World War II. Kay remembers taking courses with professors William Hastings, George Anderson, and Randy Stewart, and explains that she never went to the Brown University campus.

Hilda Antoinette Calabro, class of 1945

In this interview, Hilda Antoinette Calabro begins by sharing some family background and explaining her reasons for attending Pembroke College. She recalls being supported by her family and having the freedom to choose what she wanted to do with her college education. She describes the difficult of being a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, particularly during World War II.

Jean McKaye Tanner, class of 1945

In this interview, Jean McKaye Tanner discusses life on campus during World War II. Tanner was engaged to be married while at Pembroke and she recalls her urgency to marry her fiancé, Knight Edwards, because of time constraints put upon them by the war effort. Knight Edwards, who was in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) – a program that required summer courses for male students to graduate and enlist in the military faster. In the interview, Tanner also discusses her own participation in the Women’s Auxiliary Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). 

Alice Mary Clark, class of 1946

Alice Mary Clark begins her interview by briefly describing her childhood on Charlesfield Street in Providence, Rhode Island. There is some trouble with the recording and Clark picks up with an anecdote of a post-graduation opportunity in the speech department with Sock and Buskin director, Janice Vanderwater. She explains her love of speech and elocution, and briefly mentions one year of studies at Columbia University and Salve Regina.

Gloria E. Del Papa, class of 1946

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.

Judith Vivienne Korey, class of 1946

Judith Vivienne Korey begins Part 1 of her interview by describing her family background, her and her father’s negative attitude toward her mother’s advertising job, and Providence during her early years. She goes on to explain her reasons for deciding to attend Pembroke College and the career aspirations she went in with. Korey remembers receiving mixed messages about women’s roles in society but says she did not feel obligated to get married.

Syndicate content Subscribe via RSS feed