Eleanor Rosalie McElroy, class of 1937


In this interview, Eleanor Rosalie McElroy, class of 1937, begins by describing her family and educational background, emphasizing the liberal-minded nature of her single mother that encouraged her to attend Pembroke College and study American history. She also briefly describes a teaching fellowship that she received after graduation, in the midst of the Great Depression, and the nature of dating on campus. She generally recalls deans Margaret Shove Morriss and Eva Mooar, and physical education director Bessie Rudd. Mc Elroy also mentions taking classes with professors James Hedges, Leonard Carmichael, George Downing, and Will Taylor. She includes a brief recollection of the hurricane of 1938 and thoroughly describes her 40-year role as merchandise buyer for Gladding’s Department Stores. McElroy also articulates her positive feelings toward the Pembroke-Brown merger.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Recorded on January 24, 1986 in Providence, RI

Suggested Chicago style citation: McElroy, Eleanor Rosalie. Interview. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University.


Eleanor Rosalie McElroy was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 8, 1916. She attended Classical High School and enrolled at Pembroke College at the age of 16 where she subsequently graduated with an A.B. in history in 1937. Throughout her life she took graduate courses at Providence College, Brown University, and Johnson and Wales University. McElroy was a retail buyer for Gladding’s Department Store, Cherry and Webb Stores, and the William H. Block Department Store in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was also a school teacher at Middletown High School, Nathanael Greene Elementary School, and North Kingstown High School. McElroy was an avid world traveler and served as secretary of the alumnae association for her class. She died on September 28, 2012 at the age of 96.