Polly Adams Welts, class of 1951


Polly Adams Welts begins this interview by recounting her family life in Haverhill, Massachusetts before and after World War II. In Part 1, she also talks about dating among freshmen at Pembroke College, her work as a waitress, the participation of city girls – female day students who attended Pembroke but did not live on campus – in work and extracurricular activities, and her role as editor of the school newspaper, The Pembroke Record.

In Part 2, Welts discusses conforming to fashion norms, limited professional opportunities for married women, her cultural education at Pembroke, and she remembers Dean Nancy Duke Lewis. Wlets elaborates on her work as editor of the Pembroke Alumna magazine, her call for Pembroke to improve equality and diversity among administration, faculty and students, her role in the establishment of the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives, her career establishing libraries for the Boston school system, and her work as a historian and author.

Part 1

Part 2

Transcript (coming soon)

Recorded on February 9, 1988 in the John Hay Library, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Louise M. Newman

Suggested Chicago style citation: Welts, Polly Adams. Interview. By Louise M. Newman. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. February 9, 1988.


Polly Adams Welts graduated from Pembroke College in 1951 with an A.B. in American Civilization. She was editor of the school newspaper, The Pembroke Record and, after graduating, of the Pembroke Alumna. Welts received an M.A. in American History from the University of Washington in 1953, and a Ph.D. in education from Boston University in 1978. At the time of this interview, Welts was a visiting associate professor of history at the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of National Parks and the Woman’s Voice and Women Teachers on the Frontier, and editor of The Search for Equity: Women at Brown University, 1891-1991, which was published on the 100th anniversary of the women’s education at Brown.