Interviews by Topic: World War II

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.

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.

Arlene (Rome) Ten Eyck, class of 1943

In this interview, Arlene (Rome) Ten Eyck ’43, discusses being a City Girl and the difficulties that posed for her. She remembers the inability to form deep relationships and the detached experience she had at Pembroke because she lived off campus. She laments passing the French proficiency test because she was eager to learn more about the language and fondly recalls librarian Dorothy Spofford who excused her from a required library course. Additionally, she reminisces about director of physical education, Bessie Rudd, and the challenging gym requirements.

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.

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. 

Dorothy Myrtle Kay Fishbein, class of 1945

Dorothy begins this interview by describing her early life in Boston; how she came to be a student at Pembroke after beginning her college education at Simmons College; working in the children's goods store run by her family while attending Pembroke as a day student; her courses and professors; and the effects of World War II on campus and American culture more generally. 

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.

Elizabeth Pretzer Rall, class of 1944

At the start of this interview, Elizabeth Pretzer Rall describes what it was like to attend Pembroke College while living at home with her family in Providence. She explains her decision to major in Geology and remembers some of the geology field trips she took as an undergraduate. Later, she discusses earning her Ph.D., balancing her work life with the demands of three children, and moving to Texas to research the Midland Texas Basin. Towards the end of her interview, she transitions back to discussing Pembroke and contrasts her wartime college experience with Brown today.

Enid Wilson, class of 1943

Enid Wilson describes her family, her time as a student at Pembroke College, the impact of World War II on Brown's curriculum, and her work as a librarian in this interview, which was conducted nearly 70 years after she graduated from Brown University with an AB in English.

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. 

Hilda Antoinette Calabro, class of 1945

Calabro begins the interview by telling why she chose to attend Pembroke; her experience as a "city girl;" World War II's effects on campus; respect and appreciation for Dean Morriss; co-ed foreign language classes; and modern dance classes. She speaks about the significance of May Day; dating between Brown and Pembroke students; her astronomy professor, teas, Chapel lectures, and BrownBrokers. She says that being at a women's college gave her the sense of being important as a woman.

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.

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.

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.

Jean Ellen Miller, class of 1949

Jean Miller tells the story of her life in this interview, which was recorded on three occasions in 2014 and 2015. In Part 1, she describes being a young child raised during the Depression in the home of her Scottish grandparents, following the death of her mother. Jean discusses how she received a scholarship to Pembroke College before she had even applied to attend the school and she relates several elements of her life as a student, including the summers that she spent working in New Hampshire.

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.

Judith Vivienne Korey, class of 1946

Judith begins the interview by talking about her early life and family. She then talks about her time at Pembroke and the kinds of courses she took. She discusses the effects of World War II on her college experience and how women were expected to help in the war efforts. Judith goes on to tell us about her extracurricular involvements at Pembroke and the kinds of jobs she took after graduating. Finally Judith discusses the friendships she made during college and how Pembroke often felt like one, big family. 

Judith Weiss Cohen, class of 1944

In this interview, Judith Weiss Cohen, undergraduate class of 1944, discusses her decision to attend Pembroke College and describes her roles as assistant editor on the Pembroke Record and Brun Mael, and her participation at the Brown News Bureau. She also mentions her involvement in the National Youth Organization, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, and her positions at the Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, and the Newark Daily Newsletter.

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.

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.

Marjorie (Roffee) Milroy, class of 1943

In this interview, Marjorie (Roffee) Milroy ’43, explains that while she grew up in Providence, she desired to pursue journalism at Syracuse University in New York, which she did for two years, until she spent her junior year at Pembroke College where she finished out her college education. Approximately one third of the interview is spent discussing her time at Syracuse including living away from home, course requirements, and social life. Then she remembers Pembroke and Brown during World War II, mentioning the inception of the NROTC and Brown Town.

Martha Sharp Cogan, class of 1926

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie Sharp Cogan begins her 1985 interview discussing both her religious and academic backgrounds, elaborating on her interests in social work and international politics. These religious and intellectual values converged in 1939, when Czechoslovakia was being threatened by the Nazis and the Unitarian Churches there had been occupied. As part of the American Relief for Czechoslovakia program, Martha and her husband traveled to Czechoslovakia to help the refugees.

Martha Sharp Cogan, class of 1926

In the first part of her 1987 interview, Martha Dickie Sharp Cogan discusses her family background, her life at Brown, and her social work during her time at Northwestern. Also in tracks 1 and 2, Martha reflects on meeting her husband, Waitstill Sharp, and starting a family and ministry together while taking classes at Radcliffe at Harvard.

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.

Ruth Ellen Bains Hartmann, class of 1943

Ruth Bains Hartmann discusses growing up in Providence, her family, and her educational background.  She proceeds to describe the academic atmosphere of Pembroke College; extracurricular activities, including Sock and Buskin and the Pembroke Dramatic Society; and Pembroke’s institutional individuality, which influenced her to oppose the 1971 merger of Brown and Pembroke.  Upon her wartime graduation, Ruth moved to Washington to work in the Office of Strategic Services, which recruited English majors to work on cracking codes.

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.