Interviews by Topic: Religion

Emerson tells of her family’s tradition of attending Brown University, which included her mother, her maternal uncles and her maternal grandfather. Like her mother, Emerson became a science teacher, teaching biology, geometry, general science, chemistry and physics. She speaks of her early life: losing her father at age 11 while living in Louisiana, then moving with her mother to Rhode Island to be close to her mother’s family.

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.

Cecile Lena Kantrowitz, class of 1930

Cecile begins the interview by explaining her Russian heritage and Jewish upbringing, her father's career as a Hebrew teacher and cantor and tracing her roots to Baal Shem Tov. She discusses her education at Classical High School; her mother’s liberated beliefs; and why she chose Pembroke. Regarding her education at Pembroke, Cecile describes her first days; joining Phi Beta Kappa; being a student of languages. She discusses founding the Debating Club and going against the grain by not doing homework and by rejecting certain dress codes.

Charlotte (Roads) 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.

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.

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.

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.

Margaret Moers Wenig, class of 1978

[1989  Interview] Margaret Wenig opens this interview by describing her family background and her reasons for choosing Brown. In Part 1, she discusses how she became interested in Judaic studies, her mother’s strong feminist influence, and her choice to study at the Hebrew Union College. In Part 2, she describes the first congregation where she served as Rabbi, her professional life, and her family.

Margaret Moers Wenig, class of 1978

[2013 Interview] Margaret Wenig begins by discussing her admission to Brown, where she was involved with the Brown University Women's Minyan. She discusses the rigor of the Religious Studies Department, the strength of its professors and their mentorship, specifically Professor Jacob Neusner, and her subsequent inspiration to go to the rabbinate at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Marjorie Whitcomb Sallie, class of 1927

Marjorie Sallie recounts her experience as a student commuting from Foxboro, 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 Carpenter (Sweet) Emerson, class of 1927

In this interview Emerson tells of her family’s tradition of attending Brown University, which included her mother, her maternal uncles and her maternal grandfather. Like her mother, Emerson became a science teacher, teaching biology, geometry, general science, chemistry and physics. She speaks of her early life: losing her father at age 11 while living in Louisiana, then moving with her mother to Rhode Island to be close to her mother’s family.

Rita Schorr-Germain, class of 1953

Rita Schorr-Germain begins this interview by recounting her childhood in Poland, the outbreak of World War II, and her and her family’s placement in Auschwitz.  She explains the trauma of this experience, as well as her determination to survive.  Rita transitions to discuss her education in Munich after she was liberated, and her later move to the United States.

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.