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Christine Dunlap Farnham Archive: History of Women at Brown University and in Rhode Island

The Christine Dunlap Farnham Archive collects and makes visible the history of women at Pembroke College in Brown University, the post-graduate lives of Brown Alumnae, and women in Rhode Island, spanning from the 19th century to the present.


Over the years Brown and Pembroke students merged their student organizations, attended coeducational classes, and in 1969 began living in coed dormitories. On November 12, 1970 a motion adopted by the Advisory and Executive Council of the Corporation announced, “It is the sense of this meeting that it would be in the best interests of the University that appropriate steps be taken to consolidate the administrative functions at Pembroke College with corresponding functions at The College.” On July 1, 1971, the offices of the two colleges for admission, financial aid, placement, housing, and counseling were merged in the final act of making Brown a truly coeducational university. The celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of women at Brown began with an Opening Convocation address by Smith College President Jill Ker Conway on September 3, 1991, and culminated in a four-day symposium in October, at which Mary Robinson, President of Ireland, delivered the principal address.

Louise Lamphere vs Brown University



An assistant professor of Anthropology and the only woman in her department when she was hired in 1968, Louise Lamphere was denied tenure in 1974. The Anthropology Department claimed that her scholarship was theoretically weak. Lamphere claimed she was the victim of sex discrimination and argued that the small number of women on the Brown faculty was evidence of a larger pattern of discrimination. After unsuccessfully pursuing an internal appeals process, on May 10, 1975 Lamphere brought suit in U.S. District Court.

Under the leadership of a new President, Howard Swearer, the University settled the case before trial, entering in September 1977 into an historic consent decree designed "to achieve on behalf of women full representativeness with respect to faculty employment at Brown." Brown agreed to set up an Affirmative Action Monitoring Committee charged with overseeing the processes departments used to hire, tenure, and promote faculty to be sure they were fair; evaluating searches to make sure they were inclusive; and monitoring progress toward full representation of women on the faculty. The Affirmative Action Monitoring Committee was in existence from 1978 to 1992 when by mutual consent the consent decree was vacated. During this period the proportion of women on the Brown faculty significantly increased. 

Timeline of the case

Online Exhibit

Louise Lamphere papers 

Helen F. Cserr papers 

Pembroke Center Oral History Interviews

Literary Journals


Six Brown students produced this journal in 1987, which includes poetry, prose, nonfiction, book reviews, and photos.


Published in 1983 as a "journal of women's voices." Contains poetry, prose, photographs, and drawings.

Half the Sky

Published in 1977. The first volume was published by the Women of Brown United and was a literary magazine. The second volume, published by the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, consisted largely of news items.

Pembroke: A Journal of Feminist Studies

Created in 1981 as a project of the Undergraduate Committee for Feminist Studies of the Sarah Doyle Center. There were 3 issues published, containing mostly revised versions of class projects.

Oral Histories


Pembroke Center Oral History Project

Initiated by the Pembroke Center Associates in 1982, these oral histories record the experiences of the women, transgender, and gender non-binary members of Brown University and Pembroke College. Digitized interviews are available online and include transcripts, biographies, and photographs, by and about students, alums, faculty, and staff who studied and worked at Brown as early as 1907.

Since 1982, the Pembroke Center has documented the experiences of women who attended Brown University and Pembroke College by collecting interviews with alumnae of diverse backgrounds, academic and extracurricular interests, and life experiences. In 2018 the project welcomed its first two interviews with transgender students. In order to promote gender inclusivity in the collection the project's name was changed from Brown Women Speak to the Pembroke Center Oral History Project in 2019.  

The website was created in 2012 to make these unique first-hand stories accessible to students, researchers, alumni/ae, and other users interested in learning about the rich history of women, transgender, and gender non-binary people at Brown University. The site features a growing collection of digitized interviews and transcripts, as well as supplementary materials that include biographical sketches and yearbook photographs. We invite you to explore the oral histories, photos, and related materials.

The digitization of these interviews has been sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates, a group of alumnae and friends that supports the activities of the Pembroke Center and their governing body, the Pembroke Center Associates Council.

The Pembroke Center Oral History Collection containing administrative records, audiotapes of interviews, transcripts, and related material, is also available for research.



A growing number of interviews of alumnae who graduated after the Pembroke-Brown merger discuss gender inequality on campus, birth control, student protests, academics, and extra curricular activities. 8 interviews discuss the Louise Lamphere vs Brown University sex discrimination lawsuit. Particularly interesting interviews include those of Maggie M. Wenig, class of 1978, and Helen FitzGerald Cserrprofessor of biomedical sciences at Brown University and one of four plaintiffs in Louise Lamphere vs Brown University.


A growing number of interviews of alumnae from the 1980s address the Women's Movement, gender inequality, sexual assault and rape on campus, student protests, and extracurricular activities. Particularly interesting interviews include those of the class of 1986 at their 25th reunion, and Hannelore Banks Rodriguez, class of 1987.


A growing number of interviews of alumnae from the 1990s discuss racial, gender, and economic inequality, sexual assault and rape on campus, academics, and extracurricular activities. Particularly interesting interviews include those of Johanna Fernandez, class of 1993, and Tejal Ashwin Desai, class of 1994.


For more information, contact Amanda Knox, Assistant Archivist, at 401-863-6268 or

Student Publications

Brown Daily Herald

Student Newspaper published 1891-present. Availability:

John Hay Library Reading Room

Online (select years):

Online (2004-present):

Liber Brunensis

Brown University yearbook, 1870-present. Available in the John Hay Library Reading Room. Digital copies of some yearbooks are available online in the Brown Digital Repository.

Additional Materials

For more information on university records, contact Jennifer Betts, University Archivist and Assistant Director for the John Hay Library Special Collections, at 401-863-6414 or

For more information on alumnae papers, contact Mary Murphy, Nancy L. Buc ’65 Pembroke Center Archivist, at 401-863-6268 or

For more information on oral histories, contact Amanda Knox, Assistant Archivist, at 401-863-6268 or 

Highlighted Collections

Selected individuals and organizations whose collections contain material about women at Brown following the 1971 merger:

100 Years of Women at Brown
Material dating from 1984-1992, including correspondence, minutes, photocopies of exhibited material, photographs, flyers, exhibit labels, grant proposals, and reports.

Pembroke Center Oral History Collection

The Pembroke Center Oral History Collection captures the experiences of women faculty and students at Pembroke College and Brown University from 1911 to the present. Collection contains administrative records, audiotapes of interviews, transcripts, and related material. To listen to interviews and read transcripts online see

Ann duCille

Papers of Ann duCille, Professor of English, Emerita at Wesleyan University and Inaugural Distinguished Professor in Residence for the Black Feminist Theory Project at the Pembroke Center, Brown University. DuCille is a scholar of African-American literature, cultural studies, and Black feminist theory. Papers including personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts, dissertation proposals, awards and honors, and conference material.

Anne Fausto-Sterling (papers)

This collection consists of the professional papers of Anne Fausto-Sterling, Brown University Professor Emerita of Biology and Gender Studies and scholar of the biology of gender development and gender differences. The collection documents Fausto-Sterling’s academic career, research, and writings, and includes correspondence, teaching materials, lab notebooks and slides, subject files, and print materials dating from 1961-2018. See also, her Brown Women Speak oral history.

Anne Fausto-Sterling (university records)

The papers document Brown University's establishment of an affirmative action program for faculty hiring and promotion under the conditions laid out in the consent decree. Although the consent decree was concerned primarily with sex discrimination, issues of minority recruitment and hiring are also covered in the records. This collection also provides information about the early work of the Committee on Women Faculty (1971-1977), the status of women faculty on campus, early courses in women's studies, and women and minorities in science at Brown. See also, her Brown Women Speak oral history.

Barbara Herrnstein Smith

Papers of Barbara Herrnstein Smith, feminist literary critic, theorist and Braxton Craven Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and English at Duke University. The collection includes correspondence, biographical materials, administrative and career development materials, course materials and drafts.

Catherine Gund
Catherine Gund, class of 1988, is an Emmy Award-nominated producer, director, writer and organizer. Her media work--which focuses on arts and culture, sexuality and gender, reproductive health and rights, and other social justice issues--has screened around the world in festivals, on PBS and cable television, at community-based organizations, universities, and museums. Her papers contain materials from her Semiotics courses at Brown and from her work as a filmmaker and writer with an interest in AIDS as both a medical and
a cultural phenomenon. 

Coppélia Kahn

Papers of Coppélia Kahn, Professor Emerita of English at Brown University and scholar of Shakespeare, Early Modern English literature, and feminist literary theory. Papers consist of administrative files and course materials including syllabi, lecture notes, and readings.

Malana Krongelb Zine Collection

The Malana Krongelb zine collection consists of administrative files and zines that focus on social justice and marginalized identities, dating from 1974 to 2018. Areas of strength include zines by and about people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other queer peoples, disabled people, interpersonal violence, sex and relationships, sex work, the prison industrial complex, self-care, feminism, and punk.

Louise Lamphere

Papers of the renowned anthropologist and feminist scholar, Louise Lamphere, including biographical information, professional files, correspondence, drafts of publications, teaching and research material, and files related to academic conferences. See also, her Brown Women Speak oral history.

Jacqueline Mattfeld
Mattfeld was hired as Associate Provost and Dean of Academic Affairs just prior to the Pembroke-Brown merger. The University Archives holds several speeches she delivered in 1971 and 1972 focusing on women and education, a collection of files from Black student groups, and task force reports from 1968-1972.

Karen Newman

This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Karen Newman, scholar of Shakespeare, the Renaissance, and early modern culture,and Professor of Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and English at Brown University. Materials date from 1971 to 2016, and documents Newman's academic career and writings through correspondence, writing drafts, syllabi and lecture notes, and administrative files. See also, her Brown Women Speak oral history.

Pembroke Center Records

This collection contains the records of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University, an interdisciplinary research center that fosters critical scholarship on questions of gender and difference, broadly defined, in national and transnational contexts. The collection includes administrative files, correspondence, conference materials, subject files, printed materials, and photographs, relating to the creation and operation of the Pembroke Center, from 1961 to 2017.

Miriam (Mimi) Dale Pichey 
Miriam Dale Pichey, originally from California, entered Pembroke College in 1968 and graduated in 1971. She quickly became involved in the radical political activities of the period. Of special importance to her when she donated these papers was her involvement in the abortion rights and women's liberation movements. Her papers date from 1966-1972. See also, her Brown Women Speak oral history.

Elizabeth Weed

The Elizabeth Weed papers were donated to the Pembroke Archives by Elizabeth Weed, a professor at Brown University and Director of the Pembroke Center from 2000-2010. The papers include essays, lectures, and articles from various professors and visiting academics, as well as student files and correspondence. See also, her Brown Women Speak oral history.

Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender 
This collection contains the records of the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender at Brown University. Materials include staff logs; administrative and event files for student groups including the Greenlight Network, Third World Women's Affairs, the Women's Escort Service, and the Women's Political Task Force; subject files regarding abortion, LGBTQ sexual health, and South African Divestiture; student papers; and print material such as handbooks, journals, and newsletters. Materials date from 1970 to 1992. Additional archival material is held at the Sarah Doyle Center.