Interviews by Topic: Administration

In Part 1, Elizabeth begins by talking about her high-achieving family. Educated at Harvard Dental School, her father was one of only two black dentists in Providence at that time. He was additionally active in the NAACP and a variety of community programs, pushing the same expectations he had for himself onto his daughter. Elizabeth discusses the inevitability of pursuing a PhD; her lack of choice in choosing Pembroke; and being a highly visible token among her classmates.

Anonymous, class of 1920

Speaking more than sixty years after graduation, this anonymous member of the Pembroke College class of 1920 begins by recalling her childhood, growing up in Providence, and her father’s desire for his children to graduate college. She discusses her reasons for attending Pembroke and shares her earliest memories of the campus.

50th Reunion, class of 1954

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

Alice Elizabeth O'Connor, class of 1928

In Part 1 of this interview, Alice Elizabeth O'Connor begins by discussing her life growing up in East Providence and assuming guardianship of her brothers and sisters after the early deaths of her parents. She also talks about changing careers to become a social worker, the state of public welfare services, and her work for the Rhode Island Department of Children. She also discusses marriage, children, and earning a Master's degree later in life.

Anna Peña Hass, class of 1917

In the first part of the interview, Anna Peña Hass discusses early life on her family’s farm and the decision to attend Pembroke despite wanting to get married and become a nurse. Hass describes the courses she took in her two years at Pembroke and some of the formative people she met during that time. In the second part of the interview, Hass elucidates the Brown dress code and describes political events, life in Cuba, and her arrest. 

Anne Fausto-Sterling, Faculty

An assistant professor of Anthropology and the only woman in her department when she was hired in 1968, Louise Lamphere was denied tenure in 1974. The Anthropology Department claimed that her scholarship was theoretically weak. Lamphere claimed she was the victim of sex discrimination and argued that the small number of women on the Brown faculty was evidence of a larger pattern of discrimination. After unsuccessfully pursuing an internal appeals process, on May 10, 1975 Lamphere filed a lawsuit in United States District Court.

Arlene Elizabeth Gorton, Faculty - Second Interview

An assistant professor of Anthropology and the only woman in her department when she was hired in 1968, Louise Lamphere was denied tenure in 1974. The Anthropology Department claimed that her scholarship was theoretically weak. Lamphere claimed she was the victim of sex discrimination and argued that the small number of women on the Brown faculty was evidence of a larger pattern of discrimination. After unsuccessfully pursuing an internal appeals process, on May 10, 1975 Lamphere filed a lawsuit in United States District Court.

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.

Clara Elizabeth Goodale, class of 1939

Clara Elizabeth Goodale ‘39 is the niece of Nettie Goodale Murdock who was a member of Pembroke College’s first class in 1895. This interview captures the memories Murdock shared with her niece of her time at Pembroke.

Diane Eileen Scola, class of 1959

Diane Eileen Scola’s oral history is an example of autonomy and feminist conviction despite gender discrimination. She begins her interview discussing her Italian-American family background, applying to college, academics at Pembroke, and commuting to school.

Doris Madeline Hopkins, class of 1928

In Part 1 of this interview, Doris Madeline Hopkins begins by discussing her early education and family life in Rhode Island. She talks about the expectations for “nice girls” at Pembroke College in the 1920s, about the curriculum, and the classes she took. She talks about 1920s fashion, dancing and bootleg liquor, including clubs around the city where students could go to drink. Hopkins talks about reading for classes and getting books from the public library when they were unavailable elsewhere. She also mentions her friendship with Alice Elizabeth O'Connor.

Dorothy Ann Haus, class of 1964

Dorothy Ann Haus begins this interview by talking about her life before Pembroke College, growing up as a “Pollyanna” in Brattleboro, Vermont. Haus discusses many different aspects of life as a Pembroker including the rules and regulations, the gym requirement, dorm life, dating, freshman orientation, formal dinners and demitasse, and playing varsity sports. Haus recalls celebrations such as Father-Daughter Weekend, May Day, and Campus Dance.

Elizabeth Anne Gibbons, class of 1952

Elizabeth Anne Gibbons begins Part 1 of her interview by noting that she is a fourth generation rancher’s daughter with a grandmother and two great aunts who held masters degrees. She explains the difficulty she had assimilating to Pembroke College after growing up in Texas and says that Dean Nancy Duke Lewis was her best friend all through college.

Elizabeth Branch Jackson, class of 1945

In Part 1 of this interview, Elizabeth Branch Jackson begins by talking about her high-achieving family. Educated at Harvard Dental School, her father was one of only two Black dentists in Providence at that time. He was also active in the NAACP and a variety of community programs, pushing the same expectations he had for himself onto his daughter. Jackson discusses the inevitability of pursuing a Ph.D., her lack of choice in choosing Pembroke, and being a highly visible token among her classmates.

Elizabeth Hortense Leduc, class of 1948

In this interview, Elizabeth Hortense Leduc recounts her educational background from undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Vermont, to obtaining her master’s degree from Wellesley College, getting her Ph.D. at Brown University, and completing a fellowship at Brown through the National Institute of Health. She frequently mentions the assistance she received during her Ph.D. program from J. Walter Wilson. She mentions her position as an anatomy professor at Harvard Medical School and the struggle for scientists to receive tenured positions.

Elizabeth Susan Weatherhead, class of 1942

Elizabeth Susan Weatherhead begins her interview with a brief family background, noting that her father attended a boy’s school in Barbados while her mother attended a girl’s school in Canada. She explains that having grown up in Barrington, Rhode Island, she was familiar with Pembroke College and was given the same opportunities as her five brothers.

Enid Wilson, class of 1943

In this interview, Enid Wilson begins by describing her family background, her father’s professorships at Massachusetts School of Technology and Harvard University, and her childhood in Brookline, Massachusetts. She explains why she chose to attend Pembroke College and shares pieces of her interview process with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss. She recalls the buildings that were on the Pembroke campus, noting that women almost never went to the Brown campus, and mentions the women’s dress code.

Ethel Colvin Nichols, class of 1934

Ethel Colvin Nichols begins her interview discussing her plans for the future and speaking of her wish to return to the workforce despite discrimination based on ageism. Also in Part 1, she reflects on classes at Pembroke College, her relationship with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, training to become a dean herself, as well as her ideas about education.

Ethel Mary Humphrey, class of 1929

In Part 1 of her interview, Ethel Mary Humphrey discusses the circumstances that led her to attend Pembroke College. She talks about academics and student relationships with the deans, her involvement in the Press Club and drama productions, and coeducation. She also recalls attitudes surrounding the name change to Pembroke College, and social interactions between men and women, including drinking during Prohibition.

Ferelene Bailey, class of 1974

Ferelene "Nan" Bailey begins by discussing her childhood, the benefits of living overseas during her childhood, her experience applying to Brown University, and her expectations of her experience. She spends a significant amount of time discussing the various and bountiful activist groups she participated in, and more broadly, social turmoil during the seventies surrounding issues such as the Vietnam War and birth control.

Grace Amelia McAuslan, class of 1928

In this interview, Grace Amelia McAuslan begins by explaining why she decided to attend Pembroke College and what her first impressions were. She notes some of the courses she took as a sociology concentrator and momentarily remembers participating in the Pembroke orchestra. She shares brief memories of Dean Margaret Shove Morriss and Dean Anne Crosby Emery Allinson.

Hannelore Banks Rodriguez, class of 1987

In this interview, Hannelore Banks Rodriguez details her path to and through a career in higher education. She begins by sharing some of her parent’s backgrounds including their immigration from the Philippines to Fargo, North Dakota, her father’s pursuit of a Ph.D., and her mother’s desire for a medical technician degree. She also explains some of the difficulties she encountered in her early education as a Filipino student growing up in her hometown of in West Philadelphia.

Harva Zelda Fisher, class of 1936

In this interview, Harva Zelda Fisher explains her reasons for attending Pembroke College, particularly citing geographic proximity to her home and small student population. She recalls Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, Physical Education Director Bessie Rudd, and Professor George Downing, but says one of her favorite professors was Israel Kapstein. She gives a brief educational and personal background of her parents and moves on to vaguely remembering some Pembroke traditions and more clearly remembering Sophomore Masque.

Helen FitzGerald Cserr, Faculty

This interview was conducted with Ruth Cserr on behalf of her mother Helen FitzGerald Cserr who was a professor of biomedical sciences at Brown University and who was one of four plaintiffs in the Louise Lamphere vs Brown University sex discrimination lawsuit.

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.

Ingrid Ellen Winther, class of 1964

In this interview, Ingrid Ellen Winther begins by discussing her childhood and early education. She reflects on her memories of the first day at Pembroke College, her active social life, and her academics, pausing to note the lack of female role models at Pembroke. She felt that women were being educated to be good mothers and good wives, and while women felt that they could work and get a decent job, they were ultimately going to be married and be homemakers.

Jane E. Walsh, class of 1947

Jane E. Walsh begins Part 1 of her interview by summarizing her background including her mother’s career as Director of Standards and Planning for the Department of Employment Security in Rhode Island, and her father’s real estate business. She explains that she always knew she would go to college and Pembroke College’s close geographic proximity made it a good fit. Walsh talks about being a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, and the camaraderie commuter students developed.

Janice Vanderwater, Faculty

In this interview, Janice Vanderwater discusses her college education at Barnard College and her path to becoming the first female faculty member of the English department at Brown University, then the director of dramatics. She worked at Brown from 1940 until 1966 and she details how the campus, and her position as a faculty member, was transformed by World War II, including the development of coed classes and trimesters, the increase of Army students, and the decrease of male faculty that allowed for her promotions in the department.

Javette D. Pinkney, class of 1980

In this interview, Javette D. Pinkney begins by explaining the academic initiative and activist spirit that brought her to Brown. She fondly remembers a “feeling of community,” and campus dating, in spite of instances of racism. She describes her involvement in a number of campus activities and social groups and recalls spearheading the College Venture Program - a pilot program financed by the Braitmayer Foundation to help students who needed or wanted to drop out of college temporarily.

Jeannette Dora Black, class of 1930

In this interview, Jeannette Dora Black discusses her family, her education at Providence's Classical High School, and her reasons for attending Pembroke College. She remembers her requirements and classes at Pembroke, her feelings about coeducation, the Pembroke administration, and Dean Margaret Shove Morriss. Black recalls working at the John Hay Library and the effects of the stock market crash of 1929 and World War II on Pembroke.

Johanna Fernández - First Interview, class of 1993

In this interview, Johanna Fernández highlights her undergraduate experience as an activist at Brown University. She spends the first fifty minutes discussing her parents’ backgrounds as immigrants from the Dominican Republic and the effect that had on her childhood growing up in the Bronx, New York.

Joyce Wetherald, class of 1947

In Part 1 of this interview, Joyce Wetherald begins by discussing the experiences she had as a Pembroke student that made her want to become an active alumna, especially the gratitude she felt at having had the opportunity to go to college with the Rhode Island Regional Scholarship. She discusses the experience of being at Pembroke during World War II, speaking on the minimizing effect the war had on both gender barriers and academic concerns. Wetherald also explains the function of the Brown Corporation and its committees.

Joyce Loretta Richardson, class of 1963

Joyce Loretta Richardson begins her interview by discussing the experiences and people that led her to apply to and attend Pembroke College. She cites experiences such as going to boarding school, having a high achieving family, rejection from Radcliffe, and her fear of swimming. She contrasts her experience at boarding school with her arrival to Pembroke, discussing the stereotypical “Penny Pembrokers,” encountering racism for the first time, and being shocked into silence. She explains the extent to which gender and racial issues were not identified and the suppression she felt.

Karen Newman, Faculty

An assistant professor of Anthropology and the only woman in her department when she was hired in 1968, Louise Lamphere was denied tenure in 1974. The Anthropology Department claimed that her scholarship was theoretically weak. Lamphere claimed she was the victim of sex discrimination and argued that the small number of women on the Brown faculty was evidence of a larger pattern of discrimination. After unsuccessfully pursuing an internal appeals process, on May 10, 1975 Lamphere filed a lawsuit in United States District Court.

Karen E. McLaurin, class of 1973 - Second Interview

In her second interview recorded during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Karen E. McLaurin, class of 1973, briefly recounts highlights of her time at Brown University. To begin, McLaurin mentions growing up in Roxbury and then Rockland, Massachusetts, attending public school through the seventh grade, and attending Notre Dame Academy. She notes her volunteerism with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Congress of Racial Equality CORE, and the Black Panther Party of Boston. 

Karen T. Romer, Staff

In this interview, Karen T. Romer, a Brown University administrator of 29 years, describes life for women on campus between 1972 and 2001, as well as her own experiences in postwar Europe in two separate years before college during the 1950s.

Katharine Curtis Pierce, class of 1962

On the occasion of her 50th Reunion, Katharine Curtis Pierce looks back on the highlights of her time at Pembroke College. She begins by explaining her expectations for Pembroke and the “finishing school for Episcopal girls” that she found in its stead. Pierce talks about dorm life, her dissatisfaction with that atmosphere, her time pursuing social work, as well as her work resettling refugees in Vietnam at the National Council of Churches.

Louise Lamphere, Faculty

An assistant professor of Anthropology and the only woman in her department when she was hired in 1968, Louise Lamphere was denied tenure in 1974. The Anthropology Department claimed that her scholarship was theoretically weak. Lamphere claimed she was the victim of sex discrimination and argued that the small number of women on the Brown faculty was evidence of a larger pattern of discrimination. After unsuccessfully pursuing an internal appeals process, on May 10, 1975 Lamphere filed a lawsuit in United States District Court.

Margaret Mary Porter, class of 1939

Margaret "Peg" Mary Porter begins Part 1 of her 1988 interview discussing her family background and her motivation for both going to college and choosing Pembroke College. She reflects on what is was like to attend college during the Depression years, Franklin Delano Roosevelt becoming President of the United States, and the beginnings of WWII. She considers her freshman year, required courses, and her classes, telling vivid stories of professors. Porter speaks on the then archaic social and academic rules for Pembroke students, and her extracurricular activities on campus.

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.

Marjorie Phillips Wood, class of 1911

Marjorie Phillips Wood entered Pembroke College in 1907. In Part 1 of this interview, she remembers being disciplined as a freshman for the fun she had with her friends; Lida Shaw King, Dean of the Women's College; expectations for dress and behavior at Pembroke; the language courses she took at Pembroke and at Brown; becoming a librarian at Harvard; basketball, bowling, dances, sororities, and other extracurricular activities; and being a tomboy. 

Marjorie Whitcomb Sallie, class of 1927

In Part 1 of this interview, Marjorie Whitcomb Sallie explains why she decided to attend Pembroke College. She says that Dean Margaret Shove Morriss was the most influential faculty member on campus and she shares some memories of their interactions. Sallie goes on to describe how she decided to concentrate in biology and also details the commute she had to make from Foxboro, Massachusetts to Providence.

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie, class of 1926 - Second Interview

In the first part of her 1987 interview, Martha Alice Ingham Dickie discusses her family background, her life at Brown, and her social work during her time at Northwestern. Also in tracks 1 and 2, Dickie reflects on meeting her husband, Waitstill Sharp, and starting a family and ministry together while taking classes at Radcliffe at Harvard.

Mary Bernadette Banigan, class of 1931

Mary Bernadette Banigan begins her interview by discussing her family background, her experience at Classical High School, and her reasons for attending Pembroke College. Throughout Part 1, she describes her favorite professors, and postgraduate options for an English major at Pembroke. She ends the section by explaining her time at Chapel and her extracurricular interests, particularly her intense involvement with Varsity Debating.

Meryl Smith, class of 1966

In this interview, Meryl Smith remembers life as an Orthodox Jewish Pembroker. She recounts how, even before she attended Pembroke, her mother would welcome to dinner any Pembroke or Brown students who were trying to keep kosher. She fondly remembers the friendships formed around playing bridge and smoking cigarettes, and participating in Question Club, Answer Club, and acting as Class Marshal.

Miriam Dale Pichey, class of 1972

Miriam Dale Pichey’s interview is an energetic insight into the politics of student life at Brown University in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She describes both the campus atmosphere of gendered social rules and struggling for equal representation after the Pembroke-Brown merger, and the broader political environment of student activism during the Vietnam War and Civil Rights movement. She begins her interview discussing her family background and reasons for coming to the East coast to attend Brown.

Penelope Claire Hartland, class of 1940

Penelope Claire Hartland begins this interview by focusing on her education. She describes her academic achievements at Pembroke College, as well as the significance of being the only Pembroke student to concentrate in economics. She details her educational and social experiences at both Pembroke and Radcliffe, where she received her Ph.D. The interview then transitions to Hartland's career, which began with a teaching appointment in Brown's Department of Economics. She describes her interview with Brown University President Henry Wriston.

Philip Leis, Faculty

An assistant professor of Anthropology and the only woman in her department when she was hired in 1968, Louise Lamphere was denied tenure in 1974. The Anthropology Department claimed that her scholarship was theoretically weak. Lamphere claimed she was the victim of sex discrimination and argued that the small number of women on the Brown faculty was evidence of a larger pattern of discrimination. After unsuccessfully pursuing an internal appeals process, on May 10, 1975 Lamphere filed a lawsuit in United States District Court.

Polly Adams Welts, class of 1951

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.  

Rose Beatrice Miller, class of 1931

In this interview, Rose Beatrice Miller discusses the reasons she attended Pembroke College, her graduate studies, and career in bacteriology. She recalls Deans Margaret Shove Morriss and Eva Mooar, and biology professor Magel Wilder, her sole female professor at Pembroke. Mikker also shared memories of sex and dating, attending Pembroke as a "city girl," life during the Depression, and her work with Planned Parenthood.

Rosemary Pierrel, class of 1953

In this interview, Dr. Rosemary Pierrel Sorrentino describes her leadership as Dean of Pembroke from 1961 through 1972. Dr. Sorrentino, or Dean Pierrel as she was known to Pembrokers, reviews the rapidly changing societal norms, her perceptions of the demands upon Pembroke and upon her role as Dean, and the failure of leadership that led to the abrupt end of Pembroke College as an administrative unit within Brown University. She is quite candid about her opinions and her colleagues. She notes that shared values began to erode after 1966-67.

Ruth Elizabeth Cooke, class of 1914

In Part 1, Ruth Elizabeth Cooke speaks about being the youngest of six children, her close relationship with her oldest brother, gathering garnets at Diamond Hill with her father, her love of nature and her natural ability to interpret color. After graduating from Classical High School in 1910, she attended Pembroke where she studied the Classics. Cooke speaks of Professor Manatt and Dean King. She remember playing center on the basketball team.

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.

Susan Cowell, class of 1969

In this interview, Susan Cowell explains her reasons for choosing to attend Pembroke College, her expectations for campus culture, her roommate's struggles with class differences, and the social life of Pembroke. She also discusses her own her peers' efforts to protest the Girls School culture, including stealing the chimes, and a march to the Dean's house.

Susan A. Semonoff, class of 1968

In this interview, Susan A. Semonoff begins by talking about her family, her choice to attend Pembroke College, and the challenge of the academics once she arrived. She discusses her various classes and the tumultuous atmosphere at Brown/Pembroke in the sixties (The Vietnam War, the changing attitude towards women, and what inspired her to become president of the Student Government Association). Semonoff also discusses at length the social life on campus.

Susan Beth Adler, class of 1958

In this interview, Susan Beth Adler, Pembroke College class of 1958, recalls her decades of professional and volunteer service to Rhode Island and Brown University.

Adler begins by describing her family’s long history within the Brown community, her mother being in the Pembroke class of 1925 and her father in the Brown class of 1918. She recalls living in Miller Hall and participating in Sock and Buskin – a coeducational theatre group. She briefly touches upon dating and relationships in college during the 1950s before turning to her life after Pembroke.

Susan E. Graber, class of 1971

Susan E. Graber begins Part 1 her interview by sharing some family background information such as her mother’s college education and the expectation that her children would also attend college. She explains why she chose to attend Pembroke College and recalls some difficulties she faced as a woman pursuing science. Graber remembers her ambivalence about pursuing graduate school and the overall assumption that Pembroke graduates would go on to a career or graduate work.

Susan Elizabeth Geary, class of 1967

Susan Elizabeth Geary begins her interview by discussing her early education in Scituate, Rhode Island and her matriculation to Pembroke College where she was a commuting student. She goes on to discuss in detail the varying elements of her time at Pembroke, specifically focusing on her academic performance and experiences, dorm life, social life, and social codes. She then outlines her career path, which included earning a Ph.D. in American civilization from Brown and working in University Development. 

Virginia Belle Macmillan, class of 1938

Virginia Belle Macmillan begins Part 1 of her interview by describing her childhood and family in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She recalls her years at Pembroke College, in particular her role on the Pembroke Record staff, and as President of the Student Government Association. She also discusses life as a commuter student, attending college during the Depression, and interactions with Brown faculty members.