Helen Elizabeth Butts, class of 1928


In this interview, Helen Elizabeth Butts starts by discussing life at Pembroke College, the academic arena, Silver Bay (a Christian summer conference), higher-level science classes, post-graduate life, and the career/family dichotomy. She goes on to talk about her experience with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, marriage ideals, and transition to computer usage. Butts finishes the interview by sharing her opinions on graduate school, housewives, and feminism.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on May 10, 1992
Interviewed by Mary Renda

Suggested Chicago style citation: Butts, Helen Elizabeth. Interview. By Mary Renda. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. May 10, 1992.


Helen Elizabeth Butts graduated from Pembroke College in 1928 and received her A.M. from Pembroke in 1929. She taught at Smith College for 2 years before deciding to obtain a Ph.D. Helen went to Duke to pursue further graduate studies where she met her husband. After marrying, Butts taught zoology at Wellesley for 5 years before leaving to have children. Eventually Butts, her husband, and their four children, moved to Texas where she worked part-time doing botanical research. She resumed a full-time position when her children were in high school.