Interviews by Topic: Pembroke College Traditions

In part 1 of this interview, Alison discusses her childhood, her decision to attend Pembroke, and the Pembroke experience. In part 2 she discusses hazing at Pembroke, her summers while at college, working in New York City, her original interest in the State Department, and her time in Ghana. In part 3, Alison talks about her time in the Belgian Congo. In part 4, she discusses her deployment to British Guyana, gender discrimination, and her decision to volunteer for Vietnam. In part 5, she talks about her opposition to some of the tactics used in Vietnam.

Emerson tells of her family’s tradition of attending Brown University, which included her mother, her maternal uncles and her maternal grandfather. Like her mother, Emerson became a science teacher, teaching biology, geometry, general science, chemistry and physics. She speaks of her early life: losing her father at age 11 while living in Louisiana, then moving with her mother to Rhode Island to be close to her mother’s family.

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.

Alison Palmer, class of 1953

In part 1 of this interview, Alison Palmer discusses her childhood, her decision to attend Pembroke College, and the Pembroke experience.

In part 2 she discusses hazing at Pembroke, her summers while at college, working in New York City, her original interest in the State Department, and her time in Ghana.

In part 3, Palmer talks about her time in the Belgian Congo.

In part 4, she discusses her deployment to British Guyana, gender discrimination, and her decision to volunteer for Vietnam.

Alita Dorothy Bosworth, class of 1914

In Part 1 of this interview, classmates Alita Dorothy Bosworth and Rowena Albro Sherman discuss how they came to attend Brown University; restrictions and expectations of behavior; and traditions of the Women's College, including school songs, class colors, sophomore masque and the class mascot. They then discuss fraternities and their abolition by Dean King; the cafeteria on the women's campus; physical education instructors Miss Bates and Miss Payne; their impressions of Dean King, and their social life with men and other class members.

Ann Martha Chmielewski, class of 1959

The daughter of Alice Elizabeth O'Connor '28, Chmielewski begins her interview by relating childhood memories of accompanying her mother to Pembroke College reunions. She then describes her social and academic life as as a student herself, a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, who later lived on campus.

Beverly Anne Calderwood, class of 1952

Beverly Anne Calderwood begins this interview by explaining her parents’ self-made careers—her father’s opening of an iron foundry and her mother’s self-education. Calderwood describes her two-year experience as a Pembroke College city girl– a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, Pembroke’s regulations and “gracious living” practices, and organizing a dormitory for commuting students.

Carol R. Dannenberg, class of 1966

In this interview, Carol R. Dannenberg begins by explaining her decision to attend Pembroke College. She discusses dating life, and student/professor relationships, as well as her involvement with student government, tension over curfews, the lack of role models on campus, and being involved in the Peace Corps during summer break.

Charlene Marion Ingraham, class of 1959

In Part 1 of this interview, Charlene Marion Ingraham begins by sharing some family background information, noting that her parents were high school graduates and that she was expected to go to college. She remembers choosing to attend Pembroke College because of its excellent reputation, being a commuter student, and often gathering in West House.

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.

Constance Andrews, class of 1948

Constance Andrews begins her interview by describing her father’s Harvard Law education and her mother’s boarding school education. She explains that her father and brother both graduated from Brown University, and that her mother would keep her and her brother out of school to watch commencement in May. She remarks that it was assumed that she would be accepted to Pembroke College.

Cynthia Lee Jenner, class of 1961

In Part 1 of this interview, Cynthia Lee Jenner begins by describing her family background. She talks about the contemporary stigma against a middle class wife with a career and the effect of this on her mother and herself. From this context, she attended an all-girls boarding school and Pembroke College, both of which sought (though failed) to prepare her for “gracious living.” She goes on to discuss deciding to attend Pembroke, her tour guide, living at 87 Prospect Street (now Machado House), and her advanced discussion-based coursework.

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.

Edna Frances Graham, class of 1950

In Part 1 of this interview, Edna Frances graham discusses her family background and then elaborated on preparing for Pembroke at Classical High School, attending classes with "mature" veterans who had just returned from WWII, her dating experiences, and traveling with the Glee Club. She speaks briefly about her work as a teacher and what she would change in hindsight. She says the worst experience in college was the death of her father, while the best thing about college was the social life and attending dances.

Eleanor Francis Sarle, class of 1928

In this interview, conducted sixty years after her graduation, Eleanor Francis Sarle, class of 1928, explains that there was never any question that she would become a school teacher and receive her education at Brown University – known then as the Women’s College at Brown University – because her father, three uncles, and cousins had all graduated from Brown. She also explains that after taking courses in education and biology she found her niche in sociology.

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.

Elsie B. Anderson, class of 1947

In this interview, Elsie B. Anderson discusses her parents’ Swedish origins, their sixth grade-level educations, and their paths to learning English. She goes on to recall having three career options – nurse, teacher, or secretary – and choosing to become a nurse.

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.

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.

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.

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 Elizabeth Butts, class of 1928

In this interview, Helen Elizabeth Butts starts by discussing life at Pembroke College, the academic arena, Silver Bay (a Christian summer conference), higher-level science classes, post-graduate life, and the career/family dichotomy. She goes on to talk about her experience with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, marriage ideals, and transition to computer usage. Butts finishes the interview by sharing her opinions on graduate school, housewives, and feminism.

Helen Julia Thayer, class of 1922

Helen Julia Thayer grew up in North Smithfield, Rhode Island.  She remembers Pembroke as a place of "gracious living," including maids to clean the dorm rooms.  The main pastime was dancing in the living room of Miller Hall to Jazz records.  Rebellious activities included smoking in one's closet, sleeping out on the fire escapes, and sneaking out to the drug store after hours for treats.  Prominent visitors to the Brown campus were figures of importance in World War I, and Helen's interest in music lead her to attend performances as often as she could in downtown Provide

Helena Patricia Hogan, class of 1930

Helena Patricia Hogan was born in Ireland and was a student in 1928 when the Women’s College in Brown University became known as Pembroke College. She worked her way through school as a commuting student, or “city girl,” who came to campus every day on the trolley. In her interview, Hogan describes buildings on the Pembroke campus; her choice to major in Psychology; physical education; people she knew at Pembroke, and elements of her family history.

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.

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.

Katherine Perkins, class of 1932

In this interview, Katherine Perkins talks about her family and her upbringing in East Providence and how she came to attend Pembroke College.  She discusses her travel as a day student to campus, the courses she took, extracurricular activities, the one Black woman in her class, and the Great Depression. Perkins describes her first career as a social worker and her later work as a French teacher at East Providence High School. At the end of the interview she discusses her activities in retirement, including the Brown Street Series and the Pembroke Club.

Katherine May Hazard, class of 1933

In Part 1 of this interview, Katherine May Hazard begins by discussing daily life at Pembroke College. For her, this meant commuting to campus and becoming used to the regimented life at Pembroke. She explains some of the requirements, what it was like to date mathematicians, and her involvement on campus. Outside of class, there were a variety of activities and, oftentimes, formal dances. She remembers Dean Margaret Shove Morris telling them that Pembrokers were not preparing for a specific career, but for life.

Kristie E. Miller, class of 1966

Kristie E. Miller, an award-winning biographer, begins her interview discussing the controversy surrounding her decision to attend college. Her mother, a supporter of Joseph McCarthy, always discouraged her academic interest and wanted her to go to a politically conservative school, while her father wanted her to go to a prestigious university. In Part 1, Miller reflects on the rules and regulations at Pembroke, as well as the relationship between Brown students and Pembroke students.

Lillian Dorothy Beals, class of 1918

In this dual interview, classmates Rose Presel and Lillian Dorothy Beals speak extensively about their classes at Pembroke, and the different professors they had. They discuss social life at the college especially the four dances held each year and the Pembroke traditions of Sophomore Masque, May Day, and Ivy Day. In part one, they describe the dynamic between Pembroke and Brown; that as underclassmen they were not allowed to walk across the Brown campus at any time.

Lorraine Estelle Adler, class of 1945

In this interview, Lorraine Estelle Adler, Brown University class of 1945, discusses her experience as a student during the war years and also touches upon the events of September 11, 2001, and the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Lucile K. Wawzonek, class of 1972

In Part 1 of this interview, Lucile K. Wawzonek discusses changing attitudes towards formal gender divisions on campus during the Pembroke-Brown merger. She begins by reflecting on the regulations at Brown in the late 1960s, including the male caller system and curfews. She speaks on the housing lottery and the advent of coed dorms, which she feels led to a looser social structure, especially in terms of dating.

Marguerite Appleton, class of 1914

In this interview, Marguerite Appleton discusses her father, John Howard Appleton, a Brown chemistry professor; her reasons for choosing Brown; the abolition of the sorority system by Dean Lida Shaw King and the role of the Student Government Association in it.  Her sisters’ sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta; athletics including bowling; traditions such as Sophomore Masque, Ivy Day, and Commencement; other social activities, including dances and Komian plays; Her life after college includes teaching at the Lincoln School and Wheaton College; returning to Brown for a Ph.D.

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 Marianne Roffee, class of 1943

In this interview, Marjorie Marianne Roffee explains that while she grew up in Providence, she desired to pursue journalism at Syracuse University in New York, which she did for two years, until she spent her junior year at Pembroke College where she finished out her college education. Approximately one third of the interview is spent discussing her time at Syracuse including living away from home, course requirements, and social life. Then she remembers Pembroke and Brown during World War II, mentioning the inception of the NROTC and Brown Town.

Mary Carpenter Emerson, class of 1927

In this interview, Mary Carpenter Emerson tells of her family’s tradition of attending Brown University, which included her mother, her maternal uncles and her maternal grandfather. Like her mother, Emerson became a science teacher, teaching biology, geometry, general science, chemistry and physics. She speaks of her early life: losing her father at age 11 while living in Louisiana, then moving with her mother to Rhode Island to be close to her mother’s family.

Miriam "Mimi" 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, the founding of Women of Brown United, and the broader political environment of student activism during the Vietnam War and Civil Rights movement.

Penelope A. Baskerville, class of 1968

Penelope “Penny” A. Baskerville begins Part 1 of this interview by recounting her family life and early education in New Jersey. She discusses the experience of being a racial minority at Pembroke (Baskerville was one of six Black women in her class) as well as the general novelty of the college social experience, stressing the strength of the friendships she developed. Baskerville recounts her extracurricular involvement, the founding of the Afro-American Society, and the unique nature of college in the 1960s.

Rose Presel, class of 1918

In this dual interview, classmates Rose Presel and Lillian Dorothy Beals speak extensively about their classes at Pembroke, and the different professors they had.  They discuss social life at the college especially the four dances held each year and the Pembroke traditions Sophomore Masque, May Day, and Ivy Day. In part one, they describe the dynamic between Pembroke and Brown; that as underclassmen they were not allowed to walk across the Brown campus at any time.

Rowena Albro Sherman, class of 1914

In Part 1 of this interview, classmates Alita Dorothy Bosworth and Rowena Albro Sherman discuss how they came to attend Brown University; restrictions and expectations of behavior; and traditions of the Women's College, including school songs, class colors, sophomore masque and the class mascot. They then discuss fraternities and their abolition by Dean King; the cafeteria on the women's campus; physical education instructors Miss Bates and Miss Payne; their impressions of Dean King, and their social life with men and other class members.

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 Ellen Bains, class of 1943

Ruth Ellen Bains begins Part 1 of her interview by highlighting her family background and her early education in the Lincoln, Rhode Island, public school system. She explains that she only had two colleges to choose from and decided to attend Pembroke College. She briefly describes living in a dormitory and her first impressions of the campus, before detailing the beneficial and copasetic coeducational structure necessitated by World War II.

Ruth Lilian Wade, class of 1933

In this interview, Ruth Lilian Wade begins by sharing her biographical and family background. She talks about her mother who was a supporter of female suffrage and determined that her daughter should attend Pembroke College. In Part 1, Wade also describes her experience at as a "city girl" from Central Falls and the attitudes of her classmates. She discusses the limited job opportunities for women during the Great Depression and taking courses at the Rhode Island College of Education.

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.