Ethel Mary Humphrey, class of 1929


In Part 1 of her interview, Ethel Mary Humphrey discusses the circumstances that led her to attend Pembroke College. She talks about academics and student relationships with the deans, her involvement in the Press Club and drama productions, and coeducation. She also recalls attitudes surrounding the name change to Pembroke College, and social interactions between men and women, including drinking during Prohibition.

In Part 2, Humphrey talks about her smoking habits in the 1920s, students who wished to get married, and the one Black student she remembers. She also discusses the effects of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration, her marriage and family life, and the greater benefits of her education.

Note: the final six minutes of this interview have been damaged and are virtually inaudible.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on April 29, 1982 in Ethel Mary Humphrey’s home in Providence, RI
Interviewed by Oona Patchin

Suggested Chicago style citation: Humphrey, Ethel Mary. Interview. By Oona Patchin. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. April 29, 1982.


Ethel Mary Humphrey was born in Providence, RI on November 25, 1907 to John and Isabelle (Donahue) Humphrey. She attended Classical High School and Pembroke College, graduating in 1929, Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. She later received an A.M. in English from Brown University. In 1933, she married George K. Anderson, a professor of English at Brown, and was president of the Ladies of the Faculty. She was also active in the First Unitarian Church of Providence, the League of Women Voters, Children’s Friend, and several other organizations. Following her husband’s death in 1980, Humphrey moved to Concord, MA, where she resided until 2004. She died on April 26, 2004 at age 96.