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

Speaking more than sixty years after graduation, this anonymous member of the Pembroke College class of 1920 begins by recalling her childhood, growing up in Providence, and her father’s desire for his children to graduate college. She discusses her reasons for attending Pembroke and shares her earliest memories of the campus.

25th Reunion, class of 1983

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1983 showcases the undergraduate experiences of Judith Lynn Wells, Carmen Maria Garcia, Gwenn Ellen Masterman, Kay Lynne Levinson, Norah Gaughan, and Joan Marie Heminway, at their 25th reunion.

25th Reunion, class of 1984

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1984 captures the experiences of Jean Eastman, Kristen Duckett, Amy Hayes Davidsen, Marcia May Brown, Patti Schallman, Maria Denise Mileno, Surrenthia Renee Parker, Barbara Reid Norris, Karla Elrod, Pamela Arya, and Joy Brownstein, at their 25th reunion.

25th Reunion, class of 1986

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1986 highlights the undergraduate experiences of Lisa M. Caputo, Linda M. Sanches, Marcy A. Sandler, Judith Anne Williams, Pamela B. Weiler, Janet L. Kroll, and Christa M. Champion, during their 25th reunion in May 2011.

25th Reunion, class of 1987

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1987 encapsulates the undergraduate experiences of Carol M. Snow, Kim S. Reuben, Mary Lou Jepsen, Valerie T. Tutson, Trinita E. Brown, Baishali Rinku Sen, Stephanie L. Grace, Rebecca M. Zeigler, and Pamela D. Gerrol, at their 25th reunion.

25th Reunion, class of 1988

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1988 summarizes the undergraduate experiences of Christine Arbor, Claire Cavanah, Martha Gardner, Kasia Welin, and Diana Wells, at their 25th reunion.

25th Reunion, class of 1989

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1989 summarizes the undergraduate experiences of Angela Thomas, Karen Brown, Marlena Schoenberg, Karen Jason, Brunilda Amarilis Lugo Pagan, Suzanne Ort, Carolyn Ou, Stephanie H. Sanchez, Karen Lisa Schiff, and Kimberly Weisul, at their 25th reunion.

25th Reunion, class of 1991

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1991 captures the undergraduate experiences of Sharon Louise Besser, Christina Anne Valeo, Pamela Bass, Prudence Carter and Triane Chang, at their 25th reunion.

The interviewees begin by introducing themselves, sharing their majors, and briefly describing what attracted them to Brown. They laud the university’s focus on undergraduate experiences and education and share some of their most influential professors including Martha Joukowsky, Anani Dzidzienyo, and Arlene Gorton.

50th Reunion, class of 1954

This interview captures the undergraduate experiences of Helena Patricia Hogan, Pearl Schwartz, Margery Gould Sharp, Diane Joslyn Lake, Barbara Anton, Joan Wright Bliss, Barbara Reuben Levin, Marilyn Jane Carlson, Patricia Crabtree, Jettabee Edman, Diana Coates Gill, Kay Elizabeth Hellstrom, Felice Sara Rinder, and Sidney Okashige, members of the Pembroke College class of 1954, at their 50th Reunion.

50th Reunion, class of 1956

This interview with members of the Pembroke College class of 1956, highlights the under graduate experiences of Gretchen Gross, Jane Elton Hamlett, Jennifer Davis Morgan, Marjorie Jane Jenckes, Geneva Carol Whitney, Margaret Ann Devoe, and Barbara Ann Perrino, at their 50th reunion.

50th Reunion, class of 1964

This interview with members of the Pembroke College class of 1964 highlights the undergraduate experiences of Linda Sue Mason, Ann Newhouse Welsh, Susan Frances Sinykin, Susan Margaret Bloch, Berit Christina Spant, Susan Rosenfeld, Ingrid Ellen Winther, Mara Gailitis, and Rhoda Pearlman Nagin, at their 50th reunion.

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.

Cecile Lena Kantrowitz, class of 1930

Cecile Lena Kantrowitz Israel begins this 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 to attend Pembroke College. Regarding her education at Pembroke, Israel describes her first days, joining Phi Beta Kappa, and being a student of languages.

Charlotte Nell Cook, class of 1964

In Part 1 of this interview, Charlotte Nell Cook discusses her upbringing, her decision to attend Pembroke College 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 Rosemary Pierrel.

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 Lee Jenner, class of 1961

In Part 1 of this interview, Cynthia Lee Jenner 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 College, both of which sought (though failed) to prepare her for “gracious living.” She goes on to discuss deciding to attend Pembroke, her tour guide, living at 87 Prospect Street (now Machado House), and her advanced discussion-based coursework.

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.

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 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.

Edna Frances Graham, class of 1950

In Part 1 of this interview, Edna Frances graham discusses her family background and then elaborated on 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 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.

Ethel Mary Humphrey, class of 1929

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

Gloria E. Del Papa, class of 1946

In Part 1 of this interview, Gloria E. Del Papa 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 College.  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.

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.

Gwyneth V. 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 College. 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.

Harva Zelda Fisher, class of 1936

In this interview, Harva Zelda Fisher explains her reasons for attending Pembroke College, particularly citing geographic proximity to her home and small student population. She recalls Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, Physical Education Director Bessie Rudd, and Professor George Downing, but says one of her favorite professors was Israel Kapstein. She gives a brief educational and personal background of her parents and moves on to vaguely remembering some Pembroke traditions and more clearly remembering Sophomore Masque.

Helen Anderson Hoff, class of 1923

Helen Anderson Hoff 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 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.

Jane E. Walsh, class of 1947

Jane E. Walsh begins Part 1 of her interview by summarizing her background including her mother’s career as Director of Standards and Planning for the Department of Employment Security in Rhode Island, and her father’s real estate business. She explains that she always knew she would go to college and Pembroke College’s close geographic proximity made it a good fit. Walsh talks about being a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, and the camaraderie commuter students developed.

Javette D. Pinkney, class of 1980

In this interview, Javette D. Pinkney begins by explaining the academic initiative and activist spirit that brought her to Brown. 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 and recalls spearheading the College Venture Program - a pilot program financed by the Braitmayer Foundation to help students who needed or wanted to drop out of college temporarily.

Joan Caryll Hoost, class of 1960

In Part 1 of this interview recorded the week of her 55th reunion, Joan Caryll Hoost 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 Pembroke Double Quartet, teaching fourth grade in Greensboro, North Carolina after graduation, and the Brown Alumnae Club of Kent County, RI.

Joyce Wetherald, class of 1947

In Part 1 of this interview, Joyce Wetherald begins 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. Wetherald also explains the function of the Brown Corporation and its committees.

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.

Katherine Virginia Faulkner, class of 1936

In this interview, speaking nearly fifty years after graduation from Pembroke College, Katherine Virginia Faulkner begins Part 1 of her interview by describing the intellectual difficulty she encountered in her transition from public schools in Henderson, North Carolina. She explains choosing to attend Pembroke for the different culture it fostered compared to that in North Carolina, as well as how she decided to concentrate in psychology.

Kristie E. Miller, class of 1966

Kristie E. 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, Miller 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, classmates Rose Presel and Lillian Dorothy 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 part 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.

Maggie M. Wenig, class of 1978 - First Interview

In Part 1 of this interview, Maggie M. Wenig begins by sharing some family information including her parents’ careers as lawyers and her own high school education in Westport, Connecticut. Wenig explains that she knew she wanted to pursue Judaic Studies, despite her family’s lack of religiosity, and decided that Brown University was the best place to do that.

Marcella F. Fagan, class of 1944

In Part 1 of this interview, Marcella F. Fagan 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. Fagan 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 Porter, class of 1939

Margaret "Peg" Mary Porter begins Part 1 of her 1988 interview discussing her family background and her motivation for both going to college and choosing Pembroke College. She reflects on what is was like to attend college during the Depression years, Franklin Delano Roosevelt becoming President of the United States, and the beginnings of WWII. She considers her freshman year, required courses, and her classes, telling vivid stories of professors. Porter 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 Landman discusses her family background and their influence in her choice of college and major. She goes on to describe her nerve-wracking first day at Brown and her best and worst memories as an undergraduate. She shares memories of 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. She also mentions social events she attended.

Marjorie Phillips Wood, class of 1911

Marjorie Phillips Wood 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 Bernadette 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, 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 Faculty

In this interview, Meera Viswanathan, then-Professor of comparative literature at Brown University, discusses emigrating from India to Los Angeles in 1961. She describes the language barrier she experienced and her process of assimilating to American life through using the English language. She explains being unable to identify with classmates in elementary school or holidays such as Christmas or Halloween, and regrets losing much of her native language.

Meryl Smith, class of 1966

In this interview, Meryl Smith 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.

Northrop/Forman Family, class of 1954, 1983, 2013

Conducted in 2013, this interview records three generations of Brown University graduates who share their individual and collective experiences at Brown from the 1950s to 2013. Interviews include Diane Lake, class of 1954, her daughter Melanie Northrop, class of 1983, and granddaughter Sarah Forman, class of 2013.

Penelope A. Baskerville, class of 1968

Penelope “Penny” A. Baskerville begins Part 1 of this interview by recounting her family life and early education in New Jersey. She discusses the experience of being a racial minority at Pembroke (Baskerville 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. Baskerville 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, classmates Rose Presel and Lillian Dorothy 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 part 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

In this interview, 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, 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 Estella Sittler, class of 1933

In this interview, conducted over fifty years after her graduation, Ruth Estella Sittler begins by describing her childhood in Uniontown, Pennsylvania and the difficulty of her parents’ divorce in 1929. Sittler explains that her older brother graduated from Brown University in 1930 and that she was determined to follow in his footsteps. In 1929, she did just that, matriculating into Pembroke College the same year her family moved to 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.

Stavroula James Balomenos, class of 1953

In this interview, Stavroula James Balomenos begins by describing her childhood in Portland, Maine, 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.

Virginia Belle Macmillan, class of 1938

Virginia Belle Macmillan begins Part 1 of her interview by describing her 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. She also discusses life as a commuter student, attending college during the Depression, and interactions with Brown faculty members.

Women's Escort Service, class of 1989

This interview documents the history of the Women’s Escort Service – a volunteer organization developed out of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center of Brown University for students interested in escorting women seeking abortions into the Women’s Medical Center of Rhode Island. The interview was recorded in two parts; the first conducted in 1988 and second conducted in 1989 with members of the Women’s Escort Service.