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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.