Interviews by Topic: City Girls

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.

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.

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.

Anna Rena Hass, class of 1917

In the first part of the interview, Anna Rena 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. 

Arlene Burnice Rome, class of 1943

In this interview, Arlene Burnice Rome discusses being a City Girl and the difficulties that posed for her. She remembers the inability to form deep relationships and the detached experience she had at Pembroke because she lived off campus. She laments passing the French proficiency test because she was eager to learn more about the language and fondly recalls librarian Dorothy Spofford who excused her from a required library course. Additionally, she reminisces about director of physical education, Bessie Rudd, and the challenging gym requirements.

Beatrice Wattman Miller, class of 1935

Beatrice "Bea" Wattman was the daughter of a jeweler who immigrated from Moldavia in 1895  at age 18, and a mother who came from Austria as a young child. Raised in Providence along with two younger brothers, she attended Hope High School, where her classes in the "Classical" curriculum track were taught by several Brown alumnae. This interview touches on many subjects relating to her family, education, and work. 

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.

Caroline Flanders, class of 1926

In this interview, Caroline Flanders recalls telling her parents that "every girl should go to college." Flanders reflects on her arrival at Pembroke College, taking many sociology classes on Brown’s campus, and working as a babysitter to help pay tuition. She reflects on the newfound freedom and the individualistic attitude of the “Roaring Twenties.” She mentions the Charleston, Prohibition and drinking hot liquor from a flask.

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.

Charlotte Ferguson, class of 1924

In this interview, Ferguson tells why she chose to attend Pembroke College over Wellesley College; how following a woman she admired, she wanted to become a Boston insurance agent; and that she never felt she needed to be liberated. She discusses the remnants of Victorianism; marching for suffrage before age ten, and always having had a female doctor. She recalls the rules and regulations of Pembroke; mandatory chapel and the speeches given by Deans Allinson and Morriss; and the Brown/Pembroke merger which she opposed.

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.

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 Allen Hill, class of 1930

In this interview, Dorothy Allen Hill starts by discussing her aunt, Mary Hill, who graduated from Pembroke College in 1904, and her father’s early insistence that she attend Pembroke. She recalls mandatory chapel and physical education, making friends, and smoking cigarettes on campus. She also remembers mentorship by senior class members, teas, and working part-time at a local department store.

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.

Elaine Barbara Frank, class of 1939

In this interview, Elaine Frank ’39, the daughter of a Providence-born father and Lithuanian-born mother, describes herself as a “City Girl” and discusses her decision to attend Pembroke College as a transfer student from LaSalle Junior College. She details her involvement in various dramatic societies at Hope High School, Pembroke, and throughout Rhode Island. Frank also recalls her Pembroke gym teacher, Bessie Rudd, and Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, as well as coeducational and single-sex classes on both the Pembroke and Brown campuses.

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.

Eleanor Rosalie McElroy, class of 1937

In this interview, Eleanor Rosalie McElroy, class of 1937, begins by describing her family and educational background, emphasizing the liberal-minded nature of her single mother that encouraged her to attend Pembroke College and study American history. She also briefly describes a teaching fellowship that she received after graduation, in the midst of the Great Depression, and the nature of dating on campus. She generally recalls deans Margaret Shove Morriss and Eva Mooar, and physical education director Bessie Rudd.

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 J. Pretzer, class of 1944

At the start of this interview, Elizabeth J. Pretzer describes what it was like to attend Pembroke College while living at home with her family in Providence. She explains her decision to major in Geology and remembers some of the geology field trips she took as an undergraduate. Later, she discusses earning her Ph.D., balancing her work life with the demands of three children, and moving to Texas to research the Midland Texas Basin. Towards the end of her interview, she transitions back to discussing Pembroke and contrasts her wartime college experience with Brown University today.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hilary Berger Ross, class of 1963

Hilary Berger Ross begins Part 1 of her 1988 interview by discussing her search for community at Pembroke College, and speaks about her experience as a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus. She remembers Pembroke rules and studying women in Shakespeare. She explains that the birth of her first child galvanized her to feminism and specifically women’s health issues. For her, childbirth should be entirely in the hands of the woman who gives birth and her loved one.

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.

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.

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.

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). 

Jeanette 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 Pebroke 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.

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.

Lillian S. Berberian, class of 1957

This interview concentrates on Lillian S. Berberian's family life and her experiences as a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke College but did not live on campus, and she reminisces about life-long friendships with other city girls. She explains that her parents expected her to live at home while she attended Pembroke, and she describes her days on campus  as “an outsider.” 

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.

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.

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.

Mary Manley, class of 1933

In this interview, Mary Manley discusses her family’s decision for her to attend Pembroke College despite entering at the beginning of the Great Depression. She mentions life as a City Girl and the assumed superiority of the girls who lived in the dorms and specifically recalls required courses and her decision to major in history. She reminisces about participating in the Elizabethans and being able to attend parties at her boyfriend’s fraternity as well as the dynamics of dating at the time. Manley generally remarks on the Sophomore Masque and crowning the May Queen.

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.  

Rochelle Miller, class of 1964

In this interview, Rochelle “Shelley” Miller begins with her decision to attend Pembroke College and the strong support she got from her family to do so. She bemoans feeling disconnected from campus life and girls who lived in dorms because she was a “townie,” or commuter student; however she fondly recalls spending time in West House and the short time she spent living in a dorm. She remembers an immense lack of female faculty members but also having strong role models in the few who were there.

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.

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 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.

Sarah Gertrude Mazick, class of 1928

In this interview, Sarah Gretrude Mazick describes working in Providence as a teenager and her desire to attend medical school against the wishes of her mother. She shares her memories of World War I, including learning to knit, Armistice Day celebrations, and the influenza epidemic of 1918. Mazick also discusses the lack of financial aid for female students, effects of the Great Depression, and her pre-med coursework at Brown University.

Sophie Pearl Schaffer, class of 1941

In this interview, Sophie Pearl Schaffer begins with a description of Pembroke Hall including the history of its development and the support of President Elisha Andrews, the layout during the late 1930s, and the administrators who worked there. She provides similar descriptions of East House, East Hall, Alumnae Hall, and the John Hay Library. She recalls the characters of deans Margaret Shove Morriss and Eva Mooar, Physical Education Director Bessie Rudd, and generally mentions Dean Anne Crosby Emery Allinson.

Theresa Elizabeth Gagnon, class of 1939 - First Interview

Theresa Elizabeth Gagnon begins Part 1 of this interview by discussing her early experiences at Pembroke, including freshman orientation week and the embarrasing experience of taking posture photographs. She also talks about the academic curriculum at Pembroke, her passion for languages, and the strict physical education requirement. 

In Part 2, she talks about the interactions between men and women, dress codes and rules on campus, dorm girls vs. city girls, her passion for teaching, and the positive female influences found in college.

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.