Interviews by Topic: Student Activities

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.

Anonymous, class of 1920

The narrator of this interview describes the Brown University campus; student activities; relations between male and female students and the women's and men's colleges; and Dean Lida Shaw King.

50th Reunion, class of 1954

Jettabee, Diana, Felice, Pearl, Diane, Patricia, Marilyn, Margery, Joan, Kay, and Barbara begin their interview by discussing their admissions process and reasons for choosing Pembroke. They speak on the coordinate status and atmosphere of Pembroke before moving on to discuss dormitories. They swap stories, reminiscing about pranks they would play and “enclaves” full of friends. The eleven women then move on to talk about dating and the social lives of Brown and Pembroke students.

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.

Alita Dorothy Bosworth, class of 1914

In Part 1 of this interview, Alita Bosworth Cameron and Rowena Sherman Allen 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.

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.

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 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 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. 

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.

Deborah Greenberg, class of 1979

In this interview Debbie discusses her early life growing up, the lack of gender discrimination at Brown, acting in New York, raising children, working on Wall Street, pursuing voiceover work, and staying in touch with the Brown community after graduating.  

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 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.

Eleanor Mary Addison, class of 1938

Eleanor Addison describes her time as a "day hop" at Pembroke College during the Great Depression. She comments on the makeup of the student body; relations between male and female students; dress; athletics; lectures she attended; and other student activities. Her interview also includes her impressions of the Providence community and recollections about Brown’s program in Applied Mathematics, which brought scholars from Germany during World War II.

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.

Ethel Mary Humphrey Anderson, class of 1929

In Part 1 of her interview, Ethel Humphrey Anderson discusses the circumstances that led her to attend Brown University; academics and student relationships with the deans; her involvement in the Press Club and drama productions; coeducation; attitudes surrounding the name change to Pembroke College; and social interactions between men and women, including drinking during Prohibition.

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 Hoff Peterson, class of 1923

Helen Hoff Peterson begins her interview by discussing her childhood education in New Jersey and her family background.  She explains that a high school superintendent convinced her to apply to Pembroke, making her the first person in her town to attend college.  She discusses her experiences in various academic departments and her extracurricular involvement, which centered around the Christian Association. After an unhappy stint teaching, she went on to work for the Young Women’s Christian Association.

Isabel Ross Abbott, class of 1922

Isabel Ross Abbot begins with her parents’ lives in Nova Scotia before she was born. In Part 1, she also 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.

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.

Javette Damorra Pinkney, class of 1980

In this interview, Javette Pinkney Laremont begins by explaining the academic initiative and activist spirit that brought her to Brown. There, she fondly remembers a “feeling of community” and campus dating, in spite of instances of racism. She describes her involvement in a number of campus activities and social groups; spearheading the College Venture Program; why her Brown experience was unique; her work at the Black Heritage Society; the shared black experience and moral obligation to teach men to respect women.

Joan Caryll Hoost McMaster, class of 1960

In this interview recorded the week of her 55th reunion, Joan McMaster describes her experiences at Pembroke College and her work as an advocate for women's causes. She shares stories about Freshman Week and her participation in the PDQs (Pembroke Double Quartet); teaching fourth grade in Greensboro, North Carolina after graduation; the Brown Alumnae Club of Kent County, RI; and several different efforts share memories of Pembroke College with younger students.

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.

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.

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.

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 Dorothy Beals, class of 1918

In this dual interview, Presel and Beals speak extensively about their classes at Pembroke, and the different professors they had.  They discuss social life at the college especially the four dances held each year and the Pembroke traditions of Sophomore Masque, May Day, and Ivy Day.   In section one, they describe the dynamic between Pembroke and Brown; that as underclassmen they were not allowed to walk across the Brown campus at any time.

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.

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.

Margot Landman, class of 1978

In Part 1 of this interview, Margot discusses her family background and their influence in her choice of college and major; her nerve-wracking first day at Brown; her best and worst memories as an undergraduate; the Chinese and Asian history departments at Brown; her extracurricular activities, including work at the Rape Crisis Center the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center and Hillel activities; and the social events she attended.

Marjorie Phillips Wood Burroughs, class of 1911

Marjorie Burroughs entered Pembroke College in 1907. In Part 1 of this interview, she remembers being disciplined as a freshman for the fun she had with her friends; Lida Shaw King, Dean of the Women's College; expectations for dress and behavior at Pembroke; the language courses she took at Pembroke and at Brown; becoming a librarian at Harvard; basketball, bowling, dances, sororities, and other extracurricular activities; and being a tomboy. 

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.

Meera Viswanathan, class of

Meera Viswanathan, former professor of Comparative Literature at Brown, discusses her experience as a South Asian immigrant as a young child in Los Angeles and how that experience informed her developing identity.  Assimilation started with Meera teaching herself English by watching television, a temporary rejection of the Tamil language, and an embrace of the American culture of her peers.  In college at Stamford, she embraced Tamil and Indian culture once again, and discovered that her identity was no more completely Indian than it was completely American.  She and her inte

Meryl (Smith) Raskin, class of 1966

In this interview, Meryl (Smith) Raskin ’66, remembers life as an Orthodox Jewish Pembroker. She recounts how, even before she attended Pembroke, her mother would welcome to dinner any Pembroke or Brown students who were trying to keep kosher. She fondly remembers the friendships formed around playing bridge and smoking cigarettes, and participating in Question Club, Answer Club, and acting as Class Marshal.

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.

Rose Presel, class of 1918

In this dual interview, Presel and Beals speak extensively about their classes at Pembroke, and the different professors they had.  They discuss social life at the college especially the four dances held each year and the Pembroke traditions Sophomore Masque, May Day, and Ivy Day.   In section one, they describe the dynamic between Pembroke and Brown; that as underclassmen they were not allowed to walk across the Brown campus at any 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.

Rowena Albro Sherman, class of 1914

In Part 1 of this interview, Alita Bosworth Cameron and Rowena Sherman Allen 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.

Stavroula "Starr" Balomenos, class of 1953

Stavroula begins the interview describing her childhood in Portland, which consisted of “home, school, and church.” She tells of her father’s strong belief in the value of a good education—something he didn’t have the opportunity to receive—instilling the message with all his children that “education was the doorway to a good life.” He refused to give his daughters a dowry but rather chose to pay for their educations.

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.

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.

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.