Ethel Colvin Nichols, class of 1934


Ethel Colvin Nichols begins her interview discussing her plans for the future and speaking of her wish to return to the workforce despite discrimination based on ageism. Also in Part 1, she reflects on classes at Pembroke College, her relationship with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, training to become a dean herself, as well as her ideas about education.

In Part 2 of her interview, Nichols discusses her time teaching in Turkey, touching on the experience of living abroad during World War II. She considers how she balanced her career and family life, and reads a passage from her Ph.D. dissertation reviewing the definition of feminism. Ethel ends her interview discussing her values in life, urging the love of all people, high mindedness, open mindedness, and the spirit of adventure.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on September 10, 1985 in Princeton, NJ
Interviewed by Joan Wallach Scott

Suggested Chicago style citation: Nichols, Ethel Colvin. Interview. By Joan Wallach Scott. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. September 10, 1985.


Ethel Colvin Nichols was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, in 1913, and was the first person in her family to graduate from high school. She received her A.B. in Biology from Pembroke College in 1934, returning to earn an A.M. in English and Education in 1938. Nichold also received a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in English Education, Counseling, and Guidance. She held several teaching positions throughout her career, including a position at the American College for Girls at Istanbul in Turkey from 1940-45. Nichols was Dean of Freshmen and Director of Admissions at Middlebury College and taught at Roberts College, where she had returned to work at the archives at the time of the interview. She had one son with her husband Thomas.