Margaret Mary Porter, class of 1939


Margaret “Peg” Mary Porter begins Part 1 of her 1988 interview discussing her family background and her motivation for both going to college and choosing Pembroke College. She reflects on what is was like to attend college during the Depression years, Franklin Delano Roosevelt becoming President of the United States, and the beginnings of WWII. She considers her freshman year, required courses, and her classes, telling vivid stories of professors. Porter speaks on the then archaic social and academic rules for Pembroke students, and her extracurricular activities on campus.

In Part 2, Margaret speaks on her life after college, including her teaching career, marriage, and children. She considers her class’s views on the Pembroke-Brown Merger, and how the merger affected the alumni clubs. Porter ends by reflecting on the values of her class of 1939.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on March 23, 1988 in Pembroke Center, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Julia J. Hyun

Suggested Chicago style citation: Porter, Margaret Mary. Interview. By Julia J. Hyun. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. March 23, 1988.


Margaret “Peg” Mary Porter was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1918. Her mother was a housewife, and her father was a janitor during the Great Depression. She attended Classical High School and obtained a scholarship to Pembroke College. She majored in Literature at Pembroke, and during her time there was the Chairman of the Sophomore Masque, Class President, President of the Question Club, and worked on the school newspaper, The Pembroke Record.

After her graduation in 1939, Porter began teaching in the Providence School system. She also taught typing, at night school, and was a home teacher for children who were too sick to attend school. In 1944, she married a WWII pilot and together they had six children. When Porter’s youngest child began kindergarten, she resumed teaching at Gorton Junior High School, where she taught until her retirement in 1986. Upon her retirement, Porter maintained involvement in teaching, working on a literacy program, volunteering for Meals on Wheels, and holding positions among her Pembroke Alumnae class.