Hope Ballinger begins her interview by explaining that her aunt’s graduation from Pembroke College in 1902, and her desire to become a nurse, influenced her decision to also attend Pembroke. She says that as a city girl – a female day student who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus, she missed out on many student activities, and notes that the Avon Theatre and the Wayland Drug Store were the most popular gathering spots. She fondly recalls Magel Wilder’s anatomy class as the most interesting class at Pembroke.
Ballinger explains that the accelerated trimester program that was instituted at the start of World War II affected the nursing program and resulted in her exclusion from student activities senior year. She remembers May Day, Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, Physical Education Director Bessie Rudd, and the swimming test required for graduation. She briefly mentions having been a stay-at-home mother for seventeen years before returning to her nursing career, and remembers being a member of the Glee Club in passing. She concludes Part 1 by recalling how difficult her courses were and downplaying her college degree at work.
In Part 2, Ballinger notes the sparsity of nursing schools in Rhode Island and reiterates how difficult the programs are. She goes on to discuss the nature of the annual alumni luncheons and quickly describes Dean Eva Mooar’s personality. She briefly talks about sports played and observed by students, and concludes by mentioning what her sons were doing at the time of the interview.
Recorded on May 11, 1988 at the John Hay Library, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Lee Vanicor
Suggested Chicago style citation: Ballinger, Hope. Interview. By Lee Vanicor. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. May 11, 1988.
Hope Ballinger was born on April 21, 1923 in Providence, Rhode Island. After completing her senior year at Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, she earned an A.B. in Nursing in 1944 from Pembroke College. She then graduated from the Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing, where she later worked for twenty years as a nurse specializing in oncology care. As a Presbyterian, she was a member of the Woodbury Union Church in Warwick, Rhode Island. She married Edmund Brown Jr. with whom she had two sons and two grandsons. She died on October 23, 2005, in Warwick, Rhode Island.