Interviews by Topic: Providence

In this interview, Ruth May Bugbee ’23, remembers her father encouraging her to attend Pembroke College after high school. She recalls segregation of men and women on campus, the Maypole dance, formal gatherings in Sayles Hall, and Dean Anne Crosby Emery Allinson. She mentions her first job as a psychiatric social worker at Howard State Hospital in Cranston, Rhode Island, and details her twenty-year career at the Rhode Island Birth Control League (later Rhode Island Maternal Health Association, then Planned Parenthood) in Providence, Rhode Island.

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.

Anita L. Schell, class of 1979

In this interview, Anita L. Schell begins by discussing her family and the support she had from her parents to attend college. She then talks about her initial attraction to Brown University and her fond memories of the choir, which she participated in for all four years, and her group trip to India. Schell then discusses dormitory life and her various experiences at Brown both inside and outside the classroom, highlighting her involvement with St. Stephen’s Church, and religion on campus.

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. 

Beatrice Elizabeth Coleman, class of 1925

In this interview, Beatrice Elizabeth Coleman discusses her career as a teacher in normal schools in North Carolina and Pennsylvania; the African American communities in Providence and at Brown and Pembroke in the early twentieth century; and her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. At the time of the interview she was 102 years old.

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. 

Bella Skolnick, class of 1933

Bella Skolnik’s interview provides a passionate story of activism in health, education, and welfare. She begins by reflecting on her thoughtful and supportive family and her childhood and moves on to tell vivid stories of her freshman year at Pembroke College, including her college friendships, house mother, dating, dormitories, "gracious living," and seeing the world through rose colored glasses. She considers the stock market crash in October 1929and the way it formed her and her peers’ college careers.

Beverly Irene Nanes, class of 1963

Beverly Irene Nanes begins Part 1 of her interview by sharing some general family background, her reasons for attending Pembroke College, and her first impressions of the campus. She explains that she had no preconceptions about what she wanted to do after graduation and that her economics concentration was enlightening.

Charlotte Lowney, class of 1957

In this interview, Charlotte Lowney, looking back on a 40-year career with Pembroke College and Brown University, details her upward trajectory through the ranks of the institution’s administration, beginning with her position as the secretary to Brown President Henry Merrit Wriston. In 1962, she became the director of career placement at Brown, during both an exciting and tumultuous period on the Pembroke-Brown campus.

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 Burdick, class of 1965

Cynthia Burdick grew up on a farm in Wilmington, Delaware and attended Westover boarding school in Connecticut. After graduation, she went to Bryn Mawr College for a year and half, during which she fell in love and got married. She then transferred to Pembroke College to be closer to her husband, who was working at a law firm in Providence, Rhode Island.

Deborah J. Greenberg, class of 1979

Deborah J. Greenberg begins her interview by sharing some family background information including her childhood in Chicago, her mother’s position as a therapist, and the world travels that were funded by her father’s position as a professor at the University of Illinois.

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.

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.

Dorothy Myrtle Kay, class of 1945

In this interview, Dorothy Myrtle Kay begins Part 1 by describing how she started her first job at her parents’ business while she was an undergraduate student at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She then recalls transferring to Pembroke College and the difficulty of working and taking courses in the new trimester program that was instituted because of World War II. Kay remembers taking courses with professors William Hastings, George Anderson, and Randy Stewart, and explains that she never went to the Brown University campus.

Eleanor Mary Addison, class of 1938

In this interview, Eleanor Mary Addison begins by considering the difficulties of being a commuter student, not being able to build a community on campus, and the financial strain of living in a dormitory. She recalls participating in choir, correcting math papers, and tutoring, all for money, in order to continue studying at Pembroke College through the Great Depression, and she explains that this was not unusual at the time.

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.

Esther Amelia Dick, class of 1934

Esther Amelia Dick begins this interview by speaking of her childhood in Reading, PA and struggling with Meniere's Syndrome. So recalls her reasons for attneing Pembroke College and discusses campus rules, requirements, clothing standards, alcohol and smoking restrictions, and access to the Brown campus. She gives her opinions of several professors and talks about being deeply affected by the Great Depression and, as a result, cooking all her meals in the science labs.

Galia Siegel, class of 1989

In Part 1 of her interview, Galia Siegel speaks about her work with Project Birth – an advocacy, service, and educational program for pregnant and parenting teens in South Providence, and founding its corollary, Peer Sister, which matched women in Project Birth with women at Brown who would tutor them.

In Part 2, Siegel discusses her belief that the general atmosphere at Brown turned her into an activist. She then speaks of her family life, cultural expectations, and going off to college.

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.

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

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.

Isabel Ross Abbott, class of 1922

Isabel Ross Abbot begins this interview by describing her parents’ lives in Nova Scotia before she was born. In Part 1, she discusses the family’s move to Providence, Rhode Island and her childhood there, including attending elementary school and happy memories of Christmas and sledding down the hills of Providence.

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.

Lois Black, class of 1953

In Part 1 of this interview, Lois Black begins by explaining what it felt like to attend Pembroke College with a working class background. She describes her first experiences of Pembroke, including living in East House, and the differences between private and public high school students. Black goes on to disucss 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 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.

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 May Bugbee, class of 1923

In this interview, Ruth May Bugbee, remembers her father encouraging her to attend Pembroke College after high school. She recalls segregation of men and women on campus, the Maypole dance, formal gatherings in Sayles Hall, and Dean Anne Crosby Emery Allinson. She mentions her first job as a psychiatric social worker at Howard State Hospital in Cranston, Rhode Island, and details her twenty-year career at the Rhode Island Birth Control League (later Rhode Island Maternal Health Association, then Planned Parenthood) in Providence, Rhode Island.

Socialist Feminist Caucus at the 40th Anniversary of Sojourner House, class of 1970s

This interview with Brown University alumnae Tracy E. Fitzpatrick (1976), Catherine J. Lewis (1976), Linda M. Kramer (1977), and Christina Crosby (Ph.D., 1982), chronicles their experiences in the Socialist Feminst Caucus and the founding of Sojourner House, a domestic violence agency based in Providence, at its 40th anniversary celebration.