Elsie and Susan 2010.png
Susan Brown Smith (URI '65) with her mother, Elsie Brindle Brown (URI '37).

Personal Biography

The fifth of seven children, Elsie Jane Brindle [Brown] (1914-2011) was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island.[1] Upon high school graduation, Elsie enrolled at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in the fall of 1933. Four years later, in 1937, Elsie graduated from the College of Human Science and Services with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. While continuing to live in Westerly throughout her four years at URI, Elsie participated in multiple activities within the university. A member of the Student Commuter Club, Home Economics Club, and committee member for both Soph Hop and Junior Prom, Elsie was also an enthusiastic and avid athlete. At URI, she played for both the co-ed field hockey and basketball teams, though the teams consisted primarily of women. She was also a member of the Women's Athletic Association, a group of female athletes that made Elsie Brindle College.jpgdecisions regarding the eligibility of women to play on URI teams as well as how the athletes were to dress. Elsie served as president of the Women's Athletic Association during her senior year at URI. During her senior year, Elsie was voted “All-Around Best Athlete” on the university’s senior ballots, the same year both her field hockey and basketball teams went undefeated.

Aside from athletics and academics at university, Elsie was a sister in the University of Rhode Island chapter of the Chi Omega Fraternity. Her senior year, she was the president of the Chi Omega chapter, which is currently still an active presence on the University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston.[2] The fraternity was founded in 1895 at the University of Arkansas and is part of the Pan Hellenic Association. More information on Chi Omega can be found on their website.

The pictures below are from Elsie's senior year in the University of Rhode Island Yearbook, The Grist 1937. The first picture is of the Women's Athletic Association. Elsie is seated in the front row, center, wearing her one of the pieces that she donated, a URI Letterman Sweater; only some athletes were eligible to wear this sweater. The other photographs show Elsie with her Field Hockey and Basketball teams and with her sorority, Chi Omega.

Elsie Brindle is seated front row, center (The Grist 1937, 197)

Elsie Brindle is standing in the back row, four in from the left (The Grist 1937, 138).

Elsie Brindle is sitting in the front row, far right (The Grist 1937, 199).

Elsie Brindle is seated front row, 4 in from the right (The Grist 1937, 244).
Once a University of Rhode Island graduate, Elsie began working as a dietician and home demonstration agent, later moving back to her home state of
Massachusetts. While in Massachusetts, Elsie worked for the Federal Farm Security Administration and met Joseph (Joe) True Brown of Deerfield, Massachusetts. On August 2, 1941, Elsie and Joseph were married and lived on the Brown family farm in Deerfield. Together, the couple had three children; Susan Smith of Villanova, Pennsylvania (URI Class of 1965), Janet Ritch of Duxbury, Massachusetts, and Nancy McKinney of Deerfield,
Elsie-Obit.jpegMassachusetts. They also became grandparents to eight grandchildren and great grandparents to seven great-grandchildren.
Elsie and Joseph were active members in their community, being members of the Deerfield Community Church and the Philbrick-James
Library. Elsie was known for entering local fairs, and she won numerous Blue Ribbons over the years for her bread, jam, and flower arrangements. Mrs. Brown was also a frequent donor to the Deerfield Historical Society.

In April 2011, Mrs. Brown and her daughter Susan B. Smith joined the TMD Wall of Fame when they received recognition at the URI Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design’s annual Spring Splash event for donating to its Historical Textile and Costume Collection and establishing an endowment fund to support the Collection’s activities at URI. The TMD Spring Splash is held yearly to showcase the accomplishments of the department's current students as well as to recognize the accomplishments of its alumni and industry partners. The event’s proceeds are used to help support and improve TMD student education. The Elsie Brown and Susan Smith Textile Conservation Scholarship is an established endowment to specifically support textile conversation within the University[6.

Donation history

  • Objects dating from 1934-1937 were donated
  • establishment of the Elsie Brown and Susan Smith Textile Conservation Scholarship

Links to Brindle Brown and Smith Donations:

Chi Omega Fraternity Hat
University of Rhode Island Cardigan
University of Rhode Island Letterman's Sweater


Mea Duke (TMD 224H S13), Amanda Lee George (TMD 224H S13), and Rachel Gyllenhammer (TMD 224H S13)

Last Updated:

June 27; Kristen Reed

Works Cited:

  1. ^ "Elsie Jane Brown," The Forum, last modified December 17, 2011, http://forumhome.org/elsie-jane-brown-p15630-212.htm?smenu=212&mad=No
  2. ^ The Grist (Kingston: The University of Rhode Island, 1937), 197-199, 244