Teresa Elizabeth Gagnon, class of 1939 (interview 1 of 2)


Teresa Elizabeth Gagnon begins Part 1 of this interview by discussing her early experiences at Pembroke, including freshman orientation week and the embarrassing experience of taking posture photographs. She also talks about the academic curriculum at Pembroke, her passion for languages, and the strict physical education requirement.

In Part 2, she talks about the interactions between men and women, dress codes and rules on campus, dorm girls vs. city girls, her passion for teaching, and the positive female influences found in college.

In Part 3, Gagnon discusses Pembroke traditions like Ivy Day and May Day, life in Germany with husband and family, and her teaching career abroad.

In part 4, she continues to talk about teaching in Germany.

In Part 5, she remembers teaching elementary school and getting her Masters in the US upon her return from Europe.

In Part 6, Gagnon shares her opinion on the state of children’s education at the time of the interview and then discusses her involvement as an alumna. She concludes the interview by speaking of her children and grandchildren.

See also: An additional interview with Teresa Elizabeth Gagnon, class of 1939 (interview 2 of 2) and the Brown Alumni Magazine article When the Stars Come Out

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6


Recorded on November 29, 1988
Interviewed by Karen Lamoree

Suggested Chicago style citation: Gagnon, Teresa Elizabeth. Interview. By Karen Lamoree. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. November 29, 1988.


Teresa Elizabeth Gagnon was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to a French father and an Italian mother. She graduated from Pembroke College in 1939, and returned to Brown to pursue a Master’s in 1958, which she earned in 1962. Between her degrees, Gagnon spent many years teaching elementary school in Germany, while her husband was stationed there with the army. After her return to the United States, she devoted the rest of her career to teaching at Primrose Hill School in Barrington, Rhode Island.