Romaine Ahlstrom, class of 1962


In Part 1 of this interview, Romaine Ahlstrom discusses the many moves her family made as child, her reasons for choosing to attend Pembroke College, the difficulties living in the sexist culture of the 1950s, her personal challenges at Pembroke, and the academic curriculum. She also talks about the social culture of the campus, specifically the relationships between men and women, the institutional inequalities between men and women, daily life at Pembroke including smoking, curfews, dress codes, and chapel, the lack of female role models in her education, different social circles, and the beginning of her career as a librarian.

In Part 2, Ahlstrom concludes the interview by discussing her life after Pembroke including her marriage and birth of her son, the journey of her career as a librarian, and her relationship with Brown after graduating.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on March 30, 1988 in Los Angeles, CA
Interviewed by Sondra Vazirani

Suggested Chicago style citation: Ahlstrom, Romaine. Interview. By Sondra Vazirani. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. March 30, 1988.


Born in New York City, Romaine Ahlstrom spent much of her childhood moving from place to place. After graduating from high school in Portland, Connecticut, she began her pursuit of an A.B. in English at Pembroke College. Upon graduating in 1962, she moved to Los Angeles and, after the birth of her son, she decided to go to library school. She spent a long career working for the Los Angeles Public Library in several different positions, including Development Manager of rare books and special collections.