Elizabeth J. Pretzer, class of 1944


At the start of this interview, Elizabeth J. Pretzer describes what it was like to attend Pembroke College while living at home with her family in Providence. She explains her decision to major in Geology and remembers some of the geology field trips she took as an undergraduate. Later, she discusses earning her Ph.D., balancing her work life with the demands of three children, and moving to Texas to research the Midland Texas Basin. Towards the end of her interview, she transitions back to discussing Pembroke and contrasts her wartime college experience with Brown University today. She concludes by stressing the importance of following one’s passion, as well as the influence of having academic parents.


Recorded on August 7, 2013 in Centennial, CO
Interviewed by Claudia Schechter

Suggested Chicago style citation: Pretzer, Elizabeth J.. Interview. By Claudia Schechter. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. August 7, 2013.


Elizabeth J. Pretzer was born in Cleveland, Ohio on April 10, 1922. Her family was highly educated, with both her mother and father possessing graduate degrees. Pretzer’s family moved to Providence, Rhode Island where she attended Hope High School, and later, Pembroke College. She majored in Geology and minored in Social Work, graduating a year early due to Pembroke’s accelerated wartime curriculum. Pretzer earned her Master’s in Geology from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from University of Illinois. She and her husband, Raymond Wallace Rall, raised three children and co-published geological studies of the Midland Texas Basin.