Charlotte Nell Cook, class of 1964


In Part 1 of this interview, Charlotte Nell Cook discusses her upbringing, her decision to attend Pembroke College with the help of scholarship aid, and her general academic experience during her college years. She then recalls an anecdote about dating, describes the dynamics between male and female students, and touches on the near-total lack of Black and other minority students. She thoroughly discusses the strict parietal laws that came about during the office of Dean Rosemary Pierrel.

In Part 2, Cook completed her discussion on parietal laws and discusses birth control. She then describes her graduate studies, career, and marriage, highlighting her position as a woman within the dynamics of these institutions.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on November 10, 1985
Interviewed by Dorcey Baker

Suggested Chicago style citation: Cook, Charlotte Nell. Interview. By Dorcey Baker. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. November 10, 1985.


Charlotte Nell Cook was born in Washington, D.C., on October 26, 1942, and raised in Loudon County, Virginia. She earned her A.B. in from Pembroke College in 1964, and her M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1970) from Stanford University. A scholar of medieval literature, she taught in the English department at Yale from 1969 until 1976, when she became a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She was twice the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and retired in 2011.