In this interview, Dorothy Myrtle Kay begins Part 1 by describing how she started her first job at her parents’ business while she was an undergraduate student at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She then recalls transferring to Pembroke College and the difficulty of working and taking courses in the new trimester program that was instituted because of World War II. Kay remembers taking courses with professors William Hastings, George Anderson, and Randy Stewart, and explains that she never went to the Brown University campus.
Kay returns to memories of her early education in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and remembers deciding against becoming a teacher in favor of being a merchandise buyer. She recalls wanting to attend the University of Michigan and then ending up at Pembroke. Kay describes the effects that World War II had on the Pembroke campus and on everyday life. Part 1 ends with her recollection of maintaining a store with her husband in 1949.
In Part 2, Kay ends her discussion of the shop she owned and returns to describing life after soldiers returned from the war, and the curriculum requirements at Pembroke. She questions the benefits of the Pembroke-Brown merger and the difficulties women faced in coeducational classes. She also details her various roles in the merchandise field. She ends Part 2 by contemplating whether marriage affected how to she saw herself.
In part 3, Kay continues the conversation about her marriage, sharing stories about the earlier years of her marriage and considering the seriousness of having children. She concludes the interview by reflecting on how World War II, and her education at Pembroke, affected her life.
Recorded on May 9, 1988 in Pawtucket, RI
Interviewed by Leigh E. Hercher
Suggested Chicago style citation: Kay, Dorothy Myrtle. Interview. By Leigh E. Hercher. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. May 9, 1988.
Dorothy Myrtle Kay was born in 1921 in Warwick, Rhode Island. She graduated from the Jeremiah E. Burke High School for Girls and attended Simmons College for one year before entering Pembroke College in 1942. Dorothy owned and operated two children’s clothing stores in Providence. She served as the Vice President and President of the class of 1945, and received the Brown Alumni Service Award in 2007. She passed away on February, 5, 2012, at age 89.