Interviews by Decade: 1950s

Interviews from alumnae of the 1950s include recollections of Nancy Duke Lewis, who served as Dean from 1950-1960; academic and extracurricular activities; and social life and dating at Brown.

Image: Elizabeth Mushinsky, President of Metcalf Hall, and Ann Richards, President of Miller Hall, 1957. Miller Hall was built in 1910 as the first on-campus women's dormitory. Metcalf was built directly across from Miller in 1919, and in 1947, both dorms were joined to Andrews Hall. For more about this history of student housing at Brown, see the Encyclopedia Brunoniana and oral histories tagged with the subject Dormitories. Image source: Brun Mael.

Ruth Elizabeth Burt, class of 1953

In this interview, Ruth Elizabeth Burt, Pembroke College class of 1953, discusses majoring in Psychology at Pembroke, conducting research for the Education Testing Service, and serving on Brown University’s Corporation.

Burt begins her interview by describing how she decided to attend Pembroke and how Professor Harold Schlosberg encouraged her to pursue the psychology concentration. She notes some of the research she did regarding assessments of talents and reminisces about meeting her husband in Dr. Smiley’s astronomy class.

Stavroula James Balomenos, class of 1953

In this interview, Stavroula James Balomenos begins by describing her childhood in Portland, Maine, which consisted of “home, school, and church.” She tells of her father’s strong belief in the value of a good education—something he didn’t have the opportunity to receive—instilling the message with all his children that “education was the doorway to a good life.” He refused to give his daughters a dowry but rather chose to pay for their educations.

50th Reunion, class of 1954

This interview captures the undergraduate experiences of Pearl Schwartz, Margery Gould Sharp, Diane Joslyn Lake, Joan Wright Bliss, Barbara Reuben Levin, Marilyn Jane Carlson, Patricia Crabtree, Jettabee Edman, Diana Coates Gill, Kay Elizabeth Hellstrom, and Felice Sara Rinder, members of the Pembroke College class of 1954, at their 50th Reunion.

Marjorie Alice Jones, class of 1954

Marjorie Alice Jones speaks as a member of the silent generation and considers the busy, active life she’s lead despite the fact that nobody expected anything from the women of her generation. She begins Part 1 of her interview by discussing her family background and reasons for attending Pembroke College. She describes her experience as a transfer student and speaks on professors and academics, considering the closed attitude towards women in academia.

Northrop/Forman Family, 1954, 1981, 2013

Conducted in 2013, this interview records three generations of Brown University graduates who share their individual and collective experiences at Brown from the 1950s to 2013. Interviewees include Diane Lake, class of 1954, her daughter Melanie Northrop, class of 1981, and granddaughter Sarah Forman, class of 2013.

Mary Hill Swope, class of 1955

Mary Hill Swope begins her interview discussing her childhood and family background, especially her family’s emphasis on education. She explains her decision to transfer to Pembroke College from the Women’s College at the University of North Carolina for her junior and senior year of college, making her decision largely due to Brown’s art program. Swope also speaks on her mother’s expectation that she would marry, while she preferred to pursue academic and professional interests.

Sylvia Rosen, class of 1955

In Part 1 of this interview, Sylvia Rosen reflects on her freshman year at Pembroke College, the dormitories, dating, and meeting her husband.

In Part 2, she expands on the “thrilling” academic atmosphere at Pembroke, as well as her experience as one of the few Jewish students on campus.

50th Reunion, class of 1956

This interview with members of the Pembroke College class of 1956, highlights the under graduate experiences of Gretchen Gross, Jane Elton Hamlett, Jennifer Davis Morgan, Marjorie Jane Jenckes, Geneva Carol Whitney, Margaret Ann Devoe, and Barbara Ann Perrino, at their 50th reunion.

Mary Jane Mikuriya, class of 1956

Speaking 61 years after graduating from Pembroke College, Mary Jane Mikuriya, class of 1956, shares an exceptionally rich account of her experience as an American student and woman of Japanese and Austro-Hungarian descent in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

Charlotte Lowney, class of 1957

In this interview, Charlotte Lowney, looking back on a 40-year career with Pembroke College and Brown University, details her upward trajectory through the ranks of the institution’s administration, beginning with her position as the secretary to Brown President Henry Merrit Wriston. In 1962, she became the director of career placement at Brown, during both an exciting and tumultuous period on the Pembroke-Brown campus.

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