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.

Speaking 61 years after graduating from Pembroke College, Mary Jane Mikuriya, class of 1956, shares an exceptionally rich account of her experience as an American student and woman of Japanese and Czechoslovakian descent in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

Alice Mary Clark, class of 1946

Alice Mary Clark begins her interview by briefly describing her childhood on Charlesfield Street in Providence, Rhode Island. There is some trouble with the recording and Clark picks up with an anecdote of a post-graduation opportunity in the speech department with Sock and Buskin director, Janice Vanderwater. She explains her love of speech and elocution, and briefly mentions one year of studies at Columbia University and Salve Regina.

Arlene Burnice Rome, class of 1943

In this interview, Arlene Burnice Rome 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 to attend Pembroke College over Wellesley College; 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Elizabeth J. Pretzer, class of 1944

At the start of this interview, Elizabeth J. Pretzer 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 University today.

Elizabeth Susan Weatherhead, class of 1942

Elizabeth Susan Weatherhead begins her interview with a brief family background, noting that her father attended a boy’s school in Barbados while her mother attended a girl’s school in Canada. She explains that having grown up in Barrington, Rhode Island, she was familiar with Pembroke College and was given the same opportunities as her five brothers.

Elsie B. Anderson, class of 1947

In this interview, Elsie B. Anderson discusses her parents’ Swedish origins, their sixth grade-level educations, and their paths to learning English. She goes on to recall having three career options – nurse, teacher, or secretary – and choosing to become a nurse.

Enid Wilson, class of 1943

In this interview, Enid Wilson begins by describing her family background, her father’s professorships at Massachusetts School of Technology and Harvard University, and her childhood in Brookline, Massachusetts. She explains why she chose to attend Pembroke College and shares pieces of her interview process with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss. She recalls the buildings that were on the Pembroke campus, noting that women almost never went to the Brown campus, and mentions the women’s dress code.

Ethel Colvin Nichols, class of 1934

Ethel Colvin Nichols begins her interview discussing her plans for the future and speaking of her wish to return to the workforce despite discrimination based on ageism. Also in Part 1, she reflects on classes at Pembroke College, her relationship with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, training to become a dean herself, as well as her ideas about education.

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.

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.

Hope Ballinger, class of 1944

Hope Ballinger begins her interview by explaining that her aunt’s graduation from Pembroke College in 1902, and her desire to become a nurse, influenced her decision to also attend Pembroke. She says that as a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, she missed out on many student activities, and notes that the Avon Theatre and the Wayland Drug Store were the most popular gathering spots. She fondly recalls Magel Wilder’s anatomy class as the most interesting class at Pembroke.

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.

Janice Vanderwater, class of Faculty

In this interview, Janice Vanderwater 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 Ellen Miller tells the story of her life in this interview, which was recorded on three occasions in 2014 and 2015.

Jean McKaye Tanner, class of 1945

In this interview, Jean McKaye Tanner discusses life on campus during World War II. Tanner was engaged to be married while at Pembroke and she recalls her urgency to marry her fiancé, Knight Edwards, because of time constraints put upon them by the war effort. Knight Edwards, who was in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) – a program that required summer courses for male students to graduate and enlist in the military faster. In the interview, Tanner also discusses her own participation in the Women’s Auxiliary Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). 

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.

Judith Vivienne Korey, class of 1946

Judith Vivienne Korey begins Part 1 of her interview by describing her family background, her and her father’s negative attitude toward her mother’s advertising job, and Providence during her early years. She goes on to explain her reasons for deciding to attend Pembroke College and the career aspirations she went in with. Korey remembers receiving mixed messages about women’s roles in society but says she did not feel obligated to get married.

Judith Weiss, class of 1944

In this interview, Judith Weiss, 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, speaking fifty five years after her graduation, Justine Tyrrell begins her interview by noting that she is one of seventeen family members to graduate from Brown University. She states that she always knew she would attend Pembroke College and recalls asking Dean Margaret Shove Morriss for a scholarship. She briefly discusses the difficult transition from Pawtucket High School to Pembroke and mentions that her first job after graduation was at Army Security Agency as a crypt analyst.

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.

Marjorie Marianne Roffee, class of 1943

In this interview, Marjorie Marianne Roffee 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 Alice Ingham Dickie, class of 1926 - First Interview

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie 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, Dickie and her husband traveled to Czechoslovakia to help the refugees.

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie, class of 1926 - Second Interview

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

Mary Jane Mikuriya, class of 1956

Speaking 61 years after graduating from Pembroke College, Mary Jane Mikuriya, class of 1956, shares an exceptionally rich account of her experience as an American student and woman of Japanese and Austro-Hungarian descent in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

Rita R. Schorr, class of 1953

Rita R. Schorr 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.  Schorr transitions to discuss her education in Munich after she was liberated, and her later move to the United States. She describes the gratitude she feels toward the Pembrokers who fundraised on her behalf, as well as the support she received from friends, professors, and members of the Brown University and Providence Jewish community.

Ruth Ellen Bains, class of 1943

Ruth Ellen Bains begins Part 1 of her interview by highlighting her family background and her early education in the Lincoln, Rhode Island, public school system. She explains that she only had two colleges to choose from and decided to attend Pembroke College. She briefly describes living in a dormitory and her first impressions of the campus, before detailing the beneficial and copasetic coeducational structure necessitated by World War II.

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.

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.