Clarice d’Almeida Pitta, class of 1933


Clarice d’Almeida Pitts begins Part 1 of her interview by describing her family including her father’s job as a surgeon and her mother’s job as a homemaker. She explains that she ended up at Pembroke College because she flunked her exams for Radcliffe College.

Pitta describes beginning college at the start of the Great Depression, having to move out of the dormitories for financial reasons, and feeling very isolated afterward. She says she aspired to attend medical school and that members of the Pembroke administration prevented her from taking humanities courses favoring science courses so she chose to concentrate in English and Latin. She elaborates on how decision making was different on that time and mentions drinking on campus despite prohibition.

In Part 2, Pitta identifies the Great Depression as the most challenging aspect of her time at Pembroke, expounding on some of her family’s financial difficulties. She remembers eloping on commencement weekend, leaving for a job in New York that never actually existed, and having changed her concentration in her junior year to languages with the notion that she could get a job internationally. She goes on to describe hitchhiking with her husband to California and writing to a journal about their experience. Speaking of her life at the time of the interview, Pitta regrets not being more involved with social justice work.

In Part 3, Pitta describes Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, and explains that financial issues demanded that everyone pay for themselves in social situations which challenged the Brown men’s ideals. She also discusses Brown and Pembroke student relations on campus and in classes, and the different expectations for male students versus female students. She concludes Part 3 by recalling a moment when she was accused of cheating.

In Part 4, Pitta is in the middle of a conversation about the double standard for men and women concerning sexual harassment claims. She concludes her interview with gratefulness for her time at Pembroke.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Recorded on January 20, 1986
Interviewed by J.F. Rauch

Suggested Chicago style citation: Pitta, Clarice d’Almeida. Interview. By J.F. Rauch. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. January 20, 1986.


Clarice d’Almeida Pitta was born on April 6, 1910 to John Carlos Pitta and Anne d’Almeida. She began studying at Pembroke College in 1929 at the onset of the Great Depression, which greatly affected her undergraduate experience. After she graduated from Brown in 1933 with degrees in Latin and English, she struggled to find employment during the difficult economic times. Pitta and her husband eventually settled in California.