Golden Girls Oral History Project

Reminiscing on the steps of Orr Chapel are Judges Mary Libby Bickerstaff Payne, '54 & Lenore Loving Prather, '53.In 2005, when our campus opened the Southern Women’s Institute, now the Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy, a major part of its mission was preserving the history of our university through an alumnae oral history project.

Student interns learned appropriate interviewing and transcription techniques and began recording and preserving the memories of alumnae. In the process, current students forged a stronger link between themselves and women who attended the W at least fifty years ago. 

This project was built on a previously laid foundation. The Center was very fortunate that the MUW Alumni Association had already begun interviewing and recording the memories of women such as Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope, Class of 1926, Emily Eugenia Summer, Class of 1945, and Mary Elizabeth "Libby" Bickerstaff Payne, Class of 1954. 

Our student interns continued the original project and conducted their first major set of interviews at the Class of 1956’s "Golden Girl" weekend in April, 2006. 

To date interviewers have collected and transcribed over sixty interviews, twenty of which were edited and published in Golden Days: Reminiscences of Alumnae, Mississippi State College for Women, 1926-1957 (UP of MS 2008). 

Student Interns are collecting material for future volumes, and Golden Girl interviewing is ongoing. At Homecoming of 2013, student interviewers were happy to record the memories of thirteen members of the Class of 1963. 

If you are an alumna of the W and are interested in being interviewed, please contact Dr. Bridget Smith Pieschel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the Center Office at 662-329-7166. 

Biographical forms, permission forms and a list of interview questions may be downloaded from the links below:



Golden Days: Reminiscences of Alumae, Mississippi State College for Women

Table of Contents: Interviews

Golden Days coverMary Ellen Weathersby Pope, Class of 1926
Elizabeth Spann Smith Gwin, Class of 1930
Juanita McCown Hight, Class of 1934
Hyacinth McCormick Hayman, Class of 1935
Katherine Lipscomb Worrell, Class of 1936
Carmen Pearson Ronken, Class of 1937
Emily Eugenia Summer, Class of 1945
Mary Glynn Williams Lancaster, Class of 1947
Frances Mildred Bethea Dent, class of 1950
Joan Crawford Meadows McLemore, Class of 1951
Lenore Loving Prather, Class of 1953
Mary Elizabeth Bickerstaff Payne, Class of 1954
Sylvia Camille Duck Clark, Class of 1956
Mary Elizabeth Barrett Francis, Class of 1956
Janet Carol Davis Gray, Class of 1957
Beverly Stuart Koch Jones, Class of 1957
Donette Dunaway Lee, class of 1957
Nell Ann Pickett, Class of 1957
Barbara McMillin Webb, Class of 1957