Interviews by Topic: Gender Expectations

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.

50th Reunion, class of 1956

Geneva, Margaret, Barbara, Jane, Gretchen, Margie, and Jenifer begin their interview by reminiscing about their reasons for choosing Pembroke, citing the coordinate education system as an important part of their decision to attend Brown. They remember their dormitories, sledding down College Hill in snowstorms on trays they stole from the Ratty, and the food at the dining hall.

Alice Mary Clark Donahue, class of 1946

Part 1 begins with Alice Clark Donahue's recollections of her first impressions of Pembroke College, her involvement as a speech teacher, and being an assistant to Sock and Buskin. She then mentions her vast volunteer experience and discusses the implications of marriage and children on women's career opportunities. She elaborates on her volunteer work after graduation and her positions with the Junior Women's Club and the Junior Assembly of Rhode Island.

Alison Palmer, class of 1953

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.

Ancelin (Vogt, Lynch) Wolfe, class of 1968

In this interview, Ancelin (Vogt, Lynch) Wolfe, class of 1968, discusses her parents’ backgrounds as intellectuals and graduates of Harvard University and Radcliffe College. She notes that Radcliffe was her first-choice school but after being denied there it was a scholarship to Pembroke College that influenced her decision to attend. She explains the lack of support she felt from Pembroke administrators when her mother died during her sophomore year, and the general inequality she witnessed between services and activities offered to female versus male students.

Anna Rena Hass, class of 1917

In the first part of the interview, Anna discusses early life on her family’s farm and the decision to attend Pembroke despite wanting to get married and become a nurse. Anna 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, Anna elucidates the Brown dress code and describes political events, life in Cuba, and her arrest. 

Beverly Irene Nanes, class of 1963

Beverly begins this interview with a discussion of her college selection process, gender expectations, roommates, distribution courses, curfew, Honor Council, and Convocation Committee. She goes on to discuss influential professors, married life, and the jobs she held in Boston. 

C. Elizabeth (Kenyon) Goodale, class of 1939

In the first part of this interview, Elizabeth (Kenyon) Goodale discusses her Aunt Nettie’s experience as a member of Pembroke’s first entering class in 1895. Elizabeth goes on to discuss her time at Brown living with her Aunt Nettie and Uncle John on Keene Street. She became the first woman alumna trustee of the Corporation in 1965, and both she and her aunt were Presidents of the Alumnae Association. She discusses Bessie Rudd and the “bubbler” installed in the athletic field behind Meehan Auditorium in her honor.

Carol Ann Markovitz, class of 1962

Carol initiates the interview describing her involvement at Pembroke outside the classroom, at Brown Youth Guidance—an outreach organization—at the Pendleton-Bradley Hospital, and at the Pembroke biweekly newspaper, the Pembroke Record. She then tells of her dissatisfaction with the social life on campus, her very close group of friends and their importance to her, the norms of dating, and her decision to study abroad junior year at the Sorbonne, as one of only three girls to go abroad.

Carol Rita Dannenberg, class of 1966

Carol Dannenberg Frenier states that she was the one in her family who had big aspirations. She discusses her decision to attend Pembroke; dating life; student/professor relationships; her involvement with student government; the tension over curfews and Dean Pierrel; the lack of role models on campus; being involved in the Peace Corps during summer break; working in DC after graduation, meeting her husband; working as a teacher in Brookline; getting her graduate degree and opening an advertising agency in Boston with her husband.

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 Pembroke over Wellesley; 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.

Charlotte Nell Cook, class of 1964

In Part 1 of this interview, Charlotte Cook Morse discusses her upbringing, how she came to Pembroke with the help of scholarship aid, and her general academic experience during her college years. She then recalls an anecdote about dating, describes the dynamics between male and female students, and touches on the near-total lack of black and other minority students. She thoroughly discusses the strict parietal laws that came about during the office of Dean Pierrel. In Part 2, she finishes the section on parietal laws and discusses birth control.

Constance Worthington, class of 1968

Connie begins by talking about her family’s involvement in Brown University, and her eventual decision to transfer to Brown. She then discusses her challenging time at Brown being a student, single mother, and a widow, and what it was like raising a son later diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Connie continues on talking about her involvement the Josiah Carberry Book Fund and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. She also mentions her female role models at Brown during both her time as a student and professional in Providence.

Cynthia Lee Jenner, class of 1961

In Part I, Cynthia 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, both of which sought (though failed) to prepare her for “gracious living.” She goes on to discuss deciding on Pembroke; her tour guide; living at 87 Prospect Street (now Machado House); and her advanced, discussion-based coursework.

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

Doris Hopkins Stapleton begins Part 1 by discussing her early education and family life in Rhode Island. Doris talks about the expectations for “nice girls” at Brown in the 1920s, and about the curriculum at Brown, 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. Doris talks about reading for classes and getting books from the public library when they were unavailable elsewhere. She mentions her friendship with Alice Chmielewski.

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.

Dorothy Ann Haus, class of 1964

Dorothy Haus Testa begins this extensive interview by talking about her life before Pembroke, growing up as a “Pollyanna” in Brattleboro, VT. Haus discusses many different aspects of life as a Pembroker—the rules and regulations; the gym requirement; dorm life; dating; freshman orientation; formal dinners and demitasse; dress codes; penalties for missing curfew; playing varsity sports; posture pictures; father-daughter weekends; May Day; Campus Dance; and the Pembroke/Brown merger.

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.

Edna Ruth MacDonald, class of 1919

In a joint interview, Edna MacDonald and Ruth Peterson, ‘19, speak on the academic atmosphere at Brown and the heavy constraints placed on women’s conduct and careers in the early 1900s. They begin by discussing their decisions to attend Pembroke, describing the expectation of college education their families had for them. Edna imagines that perhaps their mothers regretted getting married early and not going to college, and wanted something different for them.

Eleanor (Sarle) Briggs, class of 1928

In this interview, conducted sixty years after her graduation, Eleanor (Sarle) Briggs, 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.

Esther Amelia (Snell) Dick, class of 1934

Dick begins this interview by speaking of her childhood in Reading, PA; coming to Pembroke and struggling early on with Meniere’s syndrome.  She discusses campus rules & requirements; clothing standards; restrictions with alcohol and smoking; and access to the Brown campus.  She gives her opinions of several professors and discusses being deeply affected by the Great Depression which included cooking all her meals in the science labs. She speaks of being discriminated against as a woman by the University as a student and later as a woman doing research in the sciences.

Ferelene Nanette "Nan" Bailey, class of 1974

Nan Bailey begins by discussing her childhood and the benefits of living overseas during her childhood, her experience applying to Brown University and her expectations. The interview spends a large amount of time discussing the various and bountiful activist groups Bailey participated in, and more broadly, the social turmoil during the seventies (Vietnam War, birth control, etc.). Towards the end, she tells of her experiences after graduation, and how she was able to take her enthusiasm for the groups she was involved in on campus and carry them out into her career.

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


Grace discusses her family life, dress codes, Pembroke 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.


Gwyneth Van Anden Walker, class of 1968

This interview comes from a career forum for music students held at the Orwig Music Building with Gwyneth Walker in Providence, Rhode Island on December 5, 1997. Walker speaks primarily of her life in Vermont, her successful career as a composer, and the challenges of the art form, but does reflect occasionally on her impactful time spent at Pembroke and Brown. She notes that she initially entered Pembroke with the intention of studying physics and following in her physicist father’s footsteps, but then quickly changed to pursue her love of music.

Helen Elizabeth Butts, class of 1928

In this interview Helen starts by discussing life at Pembroke, 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 Morriss, marriage ideals, and transition to computer usage. Helen finishes the interview by revealing her opinions on graduate school, housewives, and feminism.

Ingrid Winther Scobie, class of 1964

Ingrid Winther Scobie’s interview expresses the nuanced frustration women experience as a result of gender expectations that limit them and suppress their full potential. She begins her interview by discussing her childhood and early education. She reflects on her memories of the first day at Brown, her active social life, and her academics, pausing to note the lack of female role models at Pembroke.

Janice Vanderwater Brown, class of Faculty

In this interview, Janice Vanderwater Brown 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.

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 Loretta Richardson, class of 1963

Joyce begins her interview by discussing the experiences and people that led her to apply and attend Pembroke, 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.

Katharine Pierce, class of 1962

On the occasion of her 50th Reunion, Katharine Pierce looks back on the highlights of her time at Pembroke. 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.

Katherine Virginia (Niles) Faulkner, class of 1936

Katherine describes her early life in North Carolina; coming from a rural town with little emphasis on education; her initial hardship adjusting to life at Pembroke; her involvement in the Pembroke Christian Association (PCA); the Peace Movement between the two World Wars; fraternities; dorm life; and graduation. She discusses the death of her first husband; the decision to go back to work; and supporting her family. She outlines her career working for universities, museums, and corporations.

Kristie Miller, class of 1966

Kristie 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, Kristie reflects on the rules and regulations at Pembroke, as well as the relationship between Brown students and Pembroke students.

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).

Lois Mae Black, class of 1953

In Part 1 of this interview, Lois Black describes coming to Pembroke College from a working class Massachusetts town; her first experiences of Pembroke; living in East House; and the differences between private and public high school students. She then discusses racism at Pembroke; the exclusion of women from the Brown Marching Band and Brown Sailing Association; and her participation in student movements for desegregation and reformation of gracious living regulations.

 

Lucile Kay Wawzonek, class of 1972

In part 1 of her interview, Lucile Wawzonek Thompson 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.

Margaret Mary "Peg" Porter, class of 1939

Margaret "Peg" Porter Dolan begins her 1988 interview discussing her family background and her motivation for both going to college and choosing Brown. She reflects on what is was like to attend college during the Depression years, and while President Roosevelt came to office and the beginnings of WWII were forming in Europe. She considers her freshman year, required courses, and her classes, telling vivid stories of professors. Margaret speaks on the then archaic social and academic rules for Pembroke students, and her extracurricular activities on campus.

Margery Chittenden Leonard, class of 1929

Margery Chittenden Leonard’s 1982 interview reflects her tireless passion for the Equal Rights Amendment. While she discusses her classes at Brown and her dormitories, the majority of Margery’s oral history is dedicated to discussing the fierce discrimination women faced because of their gender, and the necessity of the Equal Rights Amendment as the only way to reverse all of the gender discrimination encoded in the law.

Marjorie Alice Jones, class of 1954

Marjorie Alice Jones Stenberg 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 her interview by discussing her family background and reasons for attending Pembroke. She describes her experience as a transfer student and speaks on professors and academics, considering the closed attitude towards women in academia.

Marjorie Whitcomb Sallie, class of 1927

Marjorie Sallie recounts her experience as a student commuting from Foxborough, Massachusetts.  She describes  about her rigorous co-ed science courses,  her desire to become a doctor, and the guidance of Dean Morriss.

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 Hill Swope, class of 1955

Mary Swope begins her interview discussing her childhood and family background, especially her family’s emphasis on education. She explains her decision to transfer to Pembroke from the Women’s College at the University of North Carolina for her junior and senior year of college, making her decision largely due to Brown’s art program. Mary also speaks on her mother’s expectation that she would marry, while she preferred to pursue academic and professional interests. An art major, Mary reflects on her courses and teachers at Brown and RISD.

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.

Miriam Dale "Mimi" Pichey, class of 1972

Miriam Dale Pichey’s interview is an energetic insight into the politics of student life at Brown 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 "Penny" Anne Baskerville, class of 1968

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

Penelope Claire Hartland-Thunberg, class of 1940

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

Phyllis Kollmer Santry, class of 1966

In this interview, Phyllis Kollmer Santry ’66, discusses the general course requirements for obtaining a degree from Pembroke College in Brown University as well as some of her favorite courses, including Ancient History, Classical History, and Economics. She mentions her musical contributions to the Chattertocks and the social dynamics of coeducational courses. Additionally, Santry details the different rules for men and women living on campus and how an infraction involving a visit to a fraternity house resulted in her and her boyfriend being expelled for one semester.

Rita Angela Campbell, class of 1975

In Part 1 of this interview, Rita Campbell discusses her upbringing, how she came to attend Brown, and the racial dynamics she experienced as an African American student in overwhelmingly white educational environments. She then speaks about negative perceptions of interracial dating and about her academic pursuits at Brown.

Romaine Ahlstrom, class of 1962

In Part 1, Romaine Ahlstrom discusses the many moves her family made as child; her reasons for choosing  to attend Pembroke College; the difficulties living in the sexist culture of the 1950s; her personal challenges at Pembroke; and the curriculum of Brown/Pembroke at the time.

Rosemary Pierrel, class of 1953

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.

Roswell Johnson, M.D., class of

In this interview, Roswell Johnson, MD, discusses his time at Brown University as the director of health services in the 1960s and the controversy surrounding his willingness to prescribe birth control to Pembroke students in 1965.

Ruth Dorothea Peterson, class of 1919

In a joint interview, Edna MacDonald and Ruth Peterson, ‘19, speak on the academic atmosphere at Brown and the heavy constraints placed on women’s conduct and careers in the early 1900s. They begin by discussing their decisions to attend Pembroke, describing the expectation of college education their families had for them. Edna imagines that perhaps their mothers regretted getting married early and not going to college, and wanted something different for them.

Sarah Elizabeth Minchin, class of 1913

In this interview, Sarah discusses the proliferation of theatre at Brown and in the greater Providence community. She tells us of the Talma Theatre, The Players Theatre, Henry Ames Barker, and elocution among other theatre-related endeavors.

Susan Graber, class of 1971

In this interview Susan Graber Slusky discusses her family and the role it played in shaping her academic life. She talks about the reasons she chose Pembroke College and the challenges of being a woman in physics.

Susan A. Semonoff, class of 1968

Susan begins by talking about her family, her choice to attend Pembroke, 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). Susan also discusses at length the social life on campus.

Susan Elizabeth Geary, class of 1967

Susan Geary begins her interview by discussing her early education in Scituate, Rhode Island and her matriculation to Pembroke, where she was a commuting student. She goes on to discuss in detail the varying elements of her time at Brown, 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. 

Sylvia Rosen, class of 1955

Sylvia Rosen Baumgarten says of her decision to attend college: “My generation of women was relatively mindless; we did what we were told.” This opening sets the stage for much of Sylvia’s interview, and her struggle against these gender expectations before the women’s movement. In Part 1, Sylvia reflects on her freshman year at Pembroke, the dormitories, dating, and meeting her husband. In Part 2 she expands on the “thrilling” academic atmosphere at Brown, as well as her experience as one of the few Jewish students at Brown.

Zelda Fisher Gourse, class of 1936

Zelda Fisher Gourse starts by describing her decision to enter Pembroke,  Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, and her favorite professors.  She and the interviewer discuss travel in Israel and Ms. Gourse’s daughter, author Leslie Gourse; annual student events like Sophomore Masque and Junior Prom; her older sister’s decision to return to college; being elected SGA President (“why not a Jewish girl?”); and other campus activities.  Gourse then describes her marriage and her career as a librarian at Bristol Community College.