Elizabeth Lee Young, class of 1924


Speaking more than sixty years after graduation, Elizabeth Lee Young begins her interview by noting her parent’s educational and career backgrounds as well as her own marriage history and family connection to Brown University.

In part 1, Young explains that having attended Classical High School in Providence, Rhode Island, it was assumed that she would attend college. She says that one of the most valuable aspects of Pembroke College, then known as the Women’s College in Brown University, was that graduates received a degree from Brown despite attending Pembroke, unlike schools such as Radcliffe College. She goes on to describe being a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus – and spending time in the dormitories with her friends.

Young identifies her favorite professors as Albert Mead, Frederick Poole Gorham, Walter Wilson, John Greene, Benjamin Clough, and George Benedict. She remembers her classes being strictly women. She says the worst experience she had was with the Pembroke-Brown merger, noting that she felt excluded from the decision making and that the school lost some dignity when it lost its coordinate status. Young concludes Part 1 by briefly mentioning her extracurricular activities, the Sophomore Masque, and the Elizabethans, and in more detail describes the parietal rules instituted for women.

Part 2 begins in the middle of a conversation about prohibition and Pembroke students’ fear of bathtub gin. Young goes on to recollect Deans Margaret Shove Morriss and Anne Crosby Emery Allinson, in addition to compulsory chapel. Young discusses some of the jobs she had after graduation including finding foster homes for children and serving as secretary of the Alumnae Association. Through the rest of Part 2, she elaborates on the many tasks she had at the Alumnae Association.

In part 3, Young explains having to dress up on certain nights on campus for semi-formal dinners and she generally recalls the duties of housemothers. She says her favorite part about her experience was the professors and she concludes her interview by singing one of the many songs she wrote for the class.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Recorded on December 1, 1986
Interviewed by Betsy V. Quinn

Suggested Chicago style citation: Young, Elizabeth Lee. Interview. By Betsy V. Quinn. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. December 1, 1986.


Elizabeth “Betty” Lee Young was born on November 1, 1902 to Herrick Young, Brown University class of 1887, and Suzy Howell. After attending Classical High School in Providence, Young went on to Pembroke College at Brown University, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1924 with a major in English and a minor in Biology. She was class President her senior year and later became active in the Alumnae Association, helping to establish the Alumnae Fund. Young was also the mother of two Brown alumni, Betsy Jeffers ’54 and John Jeffers ’56.