|Type||Private liberal arts college|
|Active||1891Brown University, which became co-educational)–1971 (fully incorporated into|
Pembroke College in Brown University was the coordinate women's college for Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1891 and merged into Brown in 1971.
The founding of the Women's College Adjunct to Brown University in October 1891, later renamed the Women's College in Connection with Brown University, provided an organizational structure to allow women to attend that institution; Brown College remained as the men's college. The system resembled those at Columbia University (Columbia College for men, Barnard College for women) and Harvard University (Harvard College for men, Radcliffe College for women).
Brown's single-sex status had first been challenged in April 1874, when the university received an application from a woman. The Advisory and Executive Committee decided that admitting women at the time was not a good proposal, but they continued to revisit the matter annually until 1888. Subsequent discussions led to the creation of the Women's College on October 1, 1891.
The first women students were: Maude Bonner, Clara Comstock, Nettie Goodale Murdoch, Elizabeth Peckham, Anne T. Weeden, and Mary Emma Woolley. Their classes were held at a grammar school that had once been associated with Brown. After the boys went home at two o’clock, the women arrived to learn from their professors in a classroom on the second floor. The school had no lights, so the women worked until the daylight was too dim to read by. One of the major advocates for admitting women to Brown University, Sarah Doyle, raised $75,000 to build the first permanent building for Brown's new female students; named Pembroke Hall, this structure would be renamed Pembroke College in 1928.
Official recognition of the college as a body of the university came in 1896. The college received its own faculty in 1903. By 1910, 40% of students were from outside Rhode Island.
|1892–1900||Louis Franklin Snow|
|1900–1905||Anne Crosby Emery|
|1905–1923||Lida Shaw King|
|1923–1950||Margaret Shove Morriss|
|1950–1961||Nancy Duke Lewis|
In 1928, the Women's College was renamed "Pembroke College in Brown University" in honor of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge in England. Roger Williams, one of the founders of Rhode Island, was an alumnus of Cambridge's Pembroke. Due to this, one of the buildings on Brown's campus had been named "Pembroke Hall." This was the building on the Brown campus where most "Pembrokers," as Women's College students were already known, attended classes. The Women's College had also already been using the coat of arms of Cambridge's Pembroke for formal decoration on programs and pins.
In 1931 Pembroke College began a nursing program with the Rhode Island Hospital Training School for Nurses to train women to teach in nursing school.
The "coordinate" status of Pembroke College was valued because it allowed women to take courses with Brown students yet still experience the characteristics of single-sex education. This included a separate student government, separate newspaper and separate social clubs.
In 1969, students from Pembroke and Brown began living in shared dormitories. Since women students had been attending classes and participating in extracurricular activities at Brown for some time, the Advisory and Executive Council proposed a merger between the colleges. On July 1, 1971, the merger became official, with all undergraduate students being admitted to and attending the same college.
In 1981, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women was established at Brown, billing itself as a "center for interdisciplinary research on gender and society." Its mission also includes the preservation of the history of women at Brown. Affiliated with the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, it is home to the university's Gender Studies program and publishes the academic journal differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. The Pembroke Center has also sponsored the digitization of the Pembroke College newspaper "The Pembroke Record" which can be accessed on line.
Although Brown became a fully coeducational institution with the merger, the history of women at Brown was still evolving. On September 3, 1991, Jill Ker Conway, the president of the all-female Smith College, delivered the opening convocation address to the student body in celebration of Brown's 100 years of women on campus. A four-day symposium was also held in October of that year in order to discuss women's issues, with President of Ireland Mary Robinson delivering the keynote address.
At the time of the merger, only 25% of the undergraduate students were women. By the 2005-2006 academic year, 51% of students at Brown University were female.
See also: List of Brown University people
The first graduates were Mary Emma Woolley and Anne Tillinghast Weeden in 1894. In early graduation programs, the names of the female graduates were listed in a special section below those of men. This list is in alphabetical order, by surname.
Charlotta Bass, nee Spears, was born on February 14, 1874 in Little Compton, Rhode Island. She attended Brown University, Columbia University and UCLA. At 36 years of age, she moved to Los Angeles and Joined the Eagle later to become the California Eagle.
Charlotta Amanda Spears is believed to have been born in Sumter, S.C., around 1880 ... Bass enrolled at Pembroke, the women's college that is now a part of Brown University, and got a job selling subscriptions for a local Black newspaper.