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 Anderson, class of 1959

The daughter of Alice O'Connor Chmielewski '28, Ann begins her own 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" 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 (Rome) Ten Eyck, class of 1943

In this interview, Arlene (Rome) Ten Eyck ’43, 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 begins the interview telling of her both her parents’ self-made careers—her father’s opening of an iron foundry and her mother’s self-education. A first-generation college student and only child, Beverly became valedictorian of her high school and then attended Pembroke. She describes her two-year experience as a City Girl, Pembroke’s regulations and “gracious living” practices, and organizing a dormitory for commuting students. Initially intending on majoring in math, she recounts her mid-college switch to English literature and the following satisfaction with her bold decision.

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 (Underhill) Ingraham, class of 1959

“If you graduate from Pembroke, you can do anything you want to do.” These were the words of Dean Lewis that Charlene Ingraham warmly recalls during her interview. This is demonstrated as Ingraham expands on her career after Pembroke, becoming a teacher and active alumna of Brown University. Throughout the interview, Ingraham focuses on the cultural aspects of being a Pembroke student: being a "city girl;" staying overnight in West House, lectures at Chapel, hair and clothing fads of the late 50s, posture pictures, and the relationship between Brown and Pembroke students.

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 Hurley Andrews, class of 1948

Constance begins the interview by discussing her life growing up in Providence and her family’s involvement with Brown, which she believes made her actual admission a mere formality. She then talks about her experience with WWII and its impact on the college climate, the trimester system as a product of the Navy presence on campus, extracurricular activities, fraternities, and influential speakers who came to Brown. Finally Constance tells us about working after college, raising children, the Brown/Pembroke merger, and graduate school. 

Diane Scola, class of 1959

Diane 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. In track 2, Diane focuses on gender expectations in academia and the professional world, and the lack of women role models at Pembroke. She considers the expectation for women to get married, have children, and stay at home in suburbia, blaming society for placing limits on women.

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 in 1904 and her father’s early insistence that she attend Pembroke.

Edna Frances (Anness) Graham, class of 1950

In Part 1, Edna discusses her family background; 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 Mc Elroy, class of 1937

In this interview, Eleanor Mc Elroy, 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 Jackson, class of 1945

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.

Elizabeth Pretzer Rall, class of 1944

At the start of this interview, Elizabeth Pretzer Rall 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 today.

Ethel Colvin Nichols, class of 1934

Ethel Nichols Thomas begins her interview discussing her plans for the future, speaking of her wish to return to the workforce despite discrimination based on ageism. Also in Part 1, she reflects on classes at Pembroke, her relationship with Dean Morriss, and training to become a dean herself, as well as her ideas about education. In Part 2 of her interview, Ethel discusses her time teaching in Turkey, touching on the experience of living abroad during World War II.

Gloria Elizabeth DelPapa, class of 1946

In Part 1, Gloria 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.  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.  The people who influenced her include Dean Morriss and Dean Lewis, English Professors Kapstein and Hunt, and Miss Rudd, the gym teacher. 

Grace Amelia McAuslan, class of 1928

In this interview, Grace Amelia McAuslan discusses her family life, Pembroke College dress codes, student government, the Brown-Pembroke merger, Pembroke traditions, and the lack of discussion surrounding politics or the Women’s Movement during her time at Pembroke.

Helena "Pat" Hogan Shea, 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 (Ross) Salk, class of 1963

Hilary (Ross) Salk’s oral history is a story of feminism and community. She begins her 1988 interview discussing her search for community at Pembroke, and speaks about her experience as a “City Girl,” Pembroke rules, and studying women in Shakespeare. For Hilary, 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

Calabro begins the interview by telling why she chose to attend Pembroke; her experience as a "city girl;" World War II's effects on campus; respect and appreciation for Dean Morriss; co-ed foreign language classes; and modern dance classes. She speaks about the significance of May Day; dating between Brown and Pembroke students; her astronomy professor, teas, Chapel lectures, and BrownBrokers. She says that being at a women's college gave her the sense of being important as a woman.

Hope (Brown) Ballinger, class of 1944

In Part 1 of this interview, Hope Ballinger Brown discusses her upbringing and how she came to attend Pembroke to study nursing; popular social spots, including the Avon Theatre; her volunteer experience; interactions between Brown and Pembroke students; the abbreviated academic year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; the Copacabana Fire in Boston; the expectation of women to marry soon after college; her admiration of Dean Morriss and Bessie Rudd; her opinions on the Pembroke-Brown merger; and her experiences with classes and student groups.

Jane (Walsh) Folcarelli, class of 1947

Jane (Walsh) Folcarelli was born in Providence, Rhode Island and lived at home while she attended Pembroke.  She discusses being a City Girl, the impact of World War II on the academic calendar and campus life, male/female relations, Pembroke traditions, the Under the Elms speaker, Chapel speakers, campus social life, the Merger, her work in Washington, D.C. and as a librarian after graduation, the importance of her Brown degree, her volunteer work, and her support of her husband's work as executive director of the Rhode Island state employee union and Lieutenant Governor.

Jean McKaye Tanner, class of 1945

In this interview, Jean (Tanner) Edwards ’45, discusses life on campus during World War II. Edwards 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, Edwards also discusses her own participation in the Women’s Auxiliary Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). 

Jeanette Dora Black, class of 1930

In this interview, Jeanette Black discusses her family; her education at Providence's Classical High School; reasons for attending college and for choosing Pembroke; her requirements and classes; her feelings about coeducation and the Pembroke administration, including Dean Morriss; 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

Joyce Wetherald Fairchild’s interview demystifies the work and operations of the Brown Corporation, where she served as a trustee, committee member, and as an emerita. Joyce begins her interview 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.

Justine Tyrrell, class of 1943

In Part 1, Justine discusses her family’s connections to the Brown community and how it affected her decision to attend; the campus-wide reactions and attitudes towards the events of World War II; her correspondences with soldiers abroad; her work with the Noyes Foundation; and her career in journalism including how she got her job at the New York Amsterdam News. In Part 2 of the interview, Justine goes on to explain her relationship with Malcolm X; discusses racism in the South; and briefly reviews what her life has been like since she has retired.

Lillian Shoushan Berberian Klanian, class of 1957

This interview concentrates on Lillian's family life and her experiences as a commuter student. 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.” She reminisces about life-long friendships with other city girls (they had celebrated their 30th reunion together shortly before this interview).

Marcella Frances Fagan Hance, class of 1944

In Part 1 of this interview with Marcella Fagan Hance, she 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. Marcella 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 (Roffee) Milroy, class of 1943

In this interview, Marjorie (Roffee) Milroy ’43, 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 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; her relationships with them; 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 Eaton, class of 1933

In this interview, Mary Manley Eaton ’33, 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. Eaton generally remarks on the Sophomore Masque and crowning the May Queen.

Polly Adams Welts Kaufman, class of 1951

Polly Welts Kaufman begins this interview by recounting her family life  in Haverhill, Massachusetts before and after World War II. In Part 1, she also talks about the dating scene among freshmen at Pembroke; her work as a waitress; the participation of city girls in work and extracurricular activities; and her role as editor of the Pembroke Record.  

Rochelle "Shelley" Miller, class of 1964

In this interview, Rochelle “Shelley” Miller Bleeker, class of 1964, 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 Roitman, class of 1931

In this interview, Rose Miller Roitman discusses the reasons she attended college; her graduate studies and career in bacteriology; Deans Morriss and Mooar; Magel Wilder, her sole female professor at Brown; 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 Hartmann, class of 1943

Ruth Bains Hartmann discusses growing up in Providence, her family, and her educational background.  She proceeds to describe the academic atmosphere of Pembroke College; extracurricular activities, including Sock and Buskin and the Pembroke Dramatic Society; and Pembroke’s institutional individuality, which influenced her to oppose the 1971 merger of Brown and Pembroke.  Upon her wartime graduation, Ruth moved to Washington to work in the Office of Strategic Services, which recruited English majors to work on cracking codes.

Ruth Lilian Wade Cerjanec, class of 1933

This interview begins with biographical and family information about Ruth, whose mother was a supporter of female suffrage and determined that her daughter should attend Pembroke College. In Part 1, Ruth also describes her experience at as a "city girl" from Central Falls and the attitudes of her classmates.

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) Blistein ’41 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.

Susan Weatherhead, class of 1942

Susan Weatherhead grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island, in the same house she lived in at the time of this interview (1988).  She commuted to campus from Barrington, sharing a car with her brothers who attended Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design.  She describes freshman Scut week, physical education requirements, Chapel meetings, Dean Morriss, the reasons why women didn't attend Pembroke for a full four years, the effects of World War II on campus life, and her work life.

Teresa Elizabeth Gagnon Mellone, class of 1939

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

Virginia Belle Macmillan Trescott, class of 1938

This interview begins with descriptions of Virginia's 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; life as a commuter student; attending college during the Depression; interactions with Brown faculty members; and student activities, including formal dances, Ivy Day and Scut Week.