Doris Madeline Hopkins was born in Foster, Rhode Island to a family whose ancestors were known to have come to America on the Mayflower. For much of her early life Hopkins lived on a farm with her five brothers and their parents before moving to the city and attending Classical High School. Since much of Pembroke’s rigor was emulated at Classical, Hopkins was not taken aback by the college course load as many of her peers were. After graduating from Pembroke College with a history degree in 1928, she accepted a teaching job in Warwick to stay close to her fiancé. Upon having two daughters, Hopkins got increasingly involved with the Girl Scouts and eventually held several national leadership positions before becoming a staff member at Pembroke Alumnae Association.