Pembroke College in Brown University
Founding and early history
The founding of the Women's College in Brown University in October 1891 provided an organizational structure to allow women to attend that institution. Men, meanwhile, continued to attend the male-only Brown College. The system resembled those at Columbia University (Columbia College for men, Barnard College for women) and Harvard University (Harvard College for men, Radcliffe College for women).
Brown's single-sex status had first been challenged in April 1874, when the university received an application from a female. The Advisory and Executive Committee decided that admitting women at the time was not a good proposal, but they continued to revisit the matter annually until 1888. Subsequent discussions led to the creation of the Women's College October 1, 1891. The first women students were: Maude Bonner, Clara Comstock, Nettie Goodale Murdoch, Elizabeth Peckham, Anne T. Weeden and Mary Emma Woolley. Their classes were held at a grammar school that had once been associated with Brown. After the boys went home at two o’clock, the women arrived to learn from their professors in a classroom on the second floor. The school had no lights, so the women worked until the daylight was too dim to read by. Official recognition of the college as a body of the university came in 1896. The college received its own faculty in 1903. By 1910, 40% of students were from outside Rhode Island.
Deans of Pembroke College
1892-1900 Louis Franklin Snow
1900-1905 Anne Crosby Emery
1905-1923 Lida Shaw Kind
1923-1950 Margaret Shove Morriss
1950-1961 Nancy Duke Lewis
1961-1971 Rosemary Pierrel
Later history and coeducation
In 1928, the Women's College was renamed "Pembroke College in Brown University" in honor of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge in England. Roger Williams, one of the founders of Rhode Island, was an alumnus of Cambridge's Pembroke. Due to this, one of the buildings on Brown's campus had been named "Pembroke Hall." This was the building on the Brown campus where most "Pembrokers," as Women's College students were already known, attended classes. The Women's College had also already been using the coat of arms of Cambridge's Pembroke for formal decoration on programs and pins.
The "coordinate" status of Pembroke College was valued because it allowed women to take courses with Brown students yet still maintain the advantage[clarification needed] of a single-sex education. This included a separate student government, separate newspaper and separate social clubs.
In 1969, students from Pembroke and Brown began living in shared dormitories. Since women students had been attending classes and participating in extracurricular activities at Brown for some time, the Advisory and Executive Council proposed a merger between the colleges. On July 1, 1971, the merger became official, with all undergraduate students being admitted to and attending the same college.
In 1981, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women was established at Brown, billing itself as a "center for interdisciplinary research on gender and society." Its mission also includes the preservation of the history of women at Brown. Affiliated with the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, it is home to the university's Gender Studies program and publishes the academic journal differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. The Pembroke Center has also sponsored the digitization of the Pembroke College newspaper "The Pembroke Record" which can be accessed on line.
Although Brown became a fully coeducational institution with the merger, the history of women at Brown was still evolving. On September 3, 1991, Jill Ker Conway, the president of the all-female Smith College, delivered the opening convocation address to the student body in celebration of Brown's 100 years of women on campus. A four-day symposium was also held in October of that year in order to discuss women's issues, with President of Ireland Mary Robinson delivering the keynote address.
At the time of the merger, only 25% of the undergraduate students were women. By the 2005-2006 academic year, 51% of students at Brown University were female.
The first graduates were Mary Emma Woolley and Anne Tillinghast Weeden in 1894. In early graduation programs, the names of the female graduates were listed in a special section below those of men. See also the List of Brown University people.
- Elinor B. Bachrach (A.B. 1965) Senior Fiscal Advisor, United States Agency for International Development (AID)
- Haiganush R. Bedrosian (A.B. 1965) Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Family Court.
- Dana Buchman, fashion designer, activist
- Susan Cheever (A.B. 1965) author and columnist
- Kitty Chen (A.B. 1966) actress Law & Order, author
- Lyn Crost, reporter on Japanese-American role in World War II and internment camps
- Alice Drummond (A.B. 1950) - actress Awakenings (1990), Nobody's Fool (1994), Doubt (2008).
- Katherine G. Farley (A.B. 1971) - Chairwoman, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City
- Kathryn S. Fuller (A.B. 1967) Chairman of the Board of The Ford Foundation
- Lillian Moller Gilbreth (Ph.D. 1915) - one of the first working female engineers and is arguably the first true industrial/organizational psychologist. Mother of twelve children as described by the book Cheaper by the Dozen.
- Robin Green, Emmy Award winning writer/producer, The Sopranos, Northern Exposure
- Penelope Hartland-Thunberg, economist, member of the United States Tariff Commission
- Constance Hunting, poet, founder of Puckerbrush Press
- Ruth Hussey, Oscar-nominated actor who appeared in The Philadelphia Story
- Judith Jacobson, co-founder of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, professor at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health
- Helen Johns, swimmer who won a gold medal in the 1932 Olympics
- Lois Lowry, Newbery Medal-winning author, The Giver
- Linda Mason, producer and Vice President, CBS News; winner of 13 Emmy Awards
- Emily Arnold McCully, Caldecott Award winning children's author, Mirette on the High Wire
- Albina Osipowich, swimmer who won two gold medals in the 1928 Olympics
- Maureen Paley, established the first East End gallery in London, represents the work of important contemporary artists, distinguished women and members of minority groups.
- Jane Pincus, author, Our Bodies, Ourselves
- Vicki Robin (A.B. 1967) author, Your Money or Your Life
- Marilynne Robinson (A.B. 1966) Pulitzer Prize-winning author
- Susan Salms-Moss (A.B. 1967) soprano and translator
- Martha Sharp, philanthropist who helped hundreds of Jews escape the Holocaust
- Leah Sprague (A.B. 1966) Newburyport Massachusetts District Court Judge
- Anna Canada Swain, first woman member of the Brown University Board of Trustees
- Gwyneth Walker (A.B. 1968) composer, undergraduate director of The Chattertocks of Brown University
- Betsy West, Vice President of CBS News; former producer at ABC; winner of 18 Emmy Awards
- JoBeth Williams (A.B. 1970) actor, director and producer, nominated for Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy awards
- Mary Emma Woolley, women's suffrage activist and past president of Mount Holyoke
- Janet Yellen (A.B. 1967) President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Trefethen Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
- "Brown University: At a Glance." The College Board. 2006.
- "Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women." July 24, 2001. National Council for Research on Women.
- "Pembroke Center: About Us." Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.
- Mitchell, Martha. "Pembroke College." Encyclopedia Brunoniana. 1993. Providence, RI: Brown University Library.
- Mitchell, Martha. "Seal." Encyclopedia Brunoniana. 1993. Providence, RI: Brown University Library.
- Kaufman, Polly Welts "The Search for Equity: Women at Brown University, 1891-1991" Brown University Press, Providence, RI 1991.
- Pembroke Club of Providence, "This was Pembroke," Providence R.I., August 2002.
- Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women
- Pembroke College - Encyclopedia Brunoniana
-  O Pioneers! Brown Alumni Magazine November/December 2008.