Estelle Adler - Oral History Memoir

Interviewed in person by Jennifer Rudolph

January 26, 2012

Scituate, MA​



RUDOLPH: This is Jennifer Rudolph, coordinator of public services and instruction at Massasoit Community College library. Today is Thursday, January 26, 2012. I am interviewing for the first time Ms. Estelle Adler. The interview is taking place at Ms. Adler’s home in Scituate, Massachusetts. This interview is being conducted by the Massasoit Community College library as part of the forty-fifth anniversary oral college history project. So I would like, Estelle, if you would tell me a little bit about where you grew up, where you went to school, let’s start that way.

ADLER:  I’m a native Bostonian. I was born and brought up in Hyde Park, which incidentally, something my father bemoaned at all times that we should stay independent, like Milton. And I went to high school at Saint Gregory’s in Dorchester, and I was sent away to school to Nazareth Junior College in Bardstown, Kentucky. And when I came home on vacation, I met someone and fell in love, so I gave up the romance of the mind for the romance of the heart. But it wasn’t just the romance of the heart. My sister was friendly with someone who was friendly with the owner of a radio station in Boston. And with the luck of the Irish, I was interviewed and hired for that job. The man [clears throat] interviewing me—the general manager—he had been an Episcopal minister. He said, “You’re very young and certainly inexperienced.” And I piped up, and I said, “Well, I’ll tell you what, Doctor; let me have the job for two weeks, and if I’m able to accomplish it, it’s mine, and if not…” Sure enough, and it was quite hilarious. What comprised the job or many parts of it? Number one [clears throat], some radios referred to you as the traffic manager, and that is the log for the day, so the announcer knows when a musical piece is on or someone’s interviewed or a commercial. And I did the log for the day, the publicity, and the listings. People’s recourse to what was on radio in back in those days—I’m talking way at the late thirties—was your local newspaper. That’s how you found out what was on radio. I was in charge of that. And I also helped create some continuity. And I had Dunn and Bradstreet and INS and AP [Associated Press], all the big news companies, and I’d be tearing off the latest bulletins and running into the studios. I guess maybe I was a little bit of a Jack of all trades. But one night it came about that I had to get all the publicity out for the newspapers, and there were [clears throat] disks from people—today they’d say, What is she talking about? But they were little disks that you inserted into a machine, and you pumped it, and it addressed all the envelopes. Well, lo and behold, I’d put them in backwards. And if it weren’t for a chief engineer in the control room who came and said, “Oh Estelle! What are you doing here?” Anyway, he cleaned me up and the unit up and put them in the right way, and I was able to accomplish the mailing for the next week’s—I mean I’ve never forgotten that. Those are some of the major mistakes that you make.

RUDOLPH:  Is it through the radio that you became involved in war bonds?

ADLER:  Oh yes. Oh yes. So at the radio station, and I must put in a plug there, you’ll still bump into people in Boston that knew the station only too well. And in the very early forties up to Pearl Harbor, there weren’t many teenagers or young adults that weren’t members of the 920 Club. We were 920 kilocycles, and the 920 Club was comprised of fifteen-minute stages of the big bands. And I’d say we were enormously popular throughout greater Boston area.


RUDOLPH: What were the call numbers of the radio station?

ADLER:  W-O-R-L. On 920 kilocycles. One of the musicians wrote the 920 Special. We were really something for a small station. We only had a daytime license. We went on at daybreak and went off at day’s end. But still in all. A small group of us got together and started our own recording company, and we made commercials. I was Pricilla Alden—for Pricilla Alden [laughing] Ice Cream Company in Brookline. And one of my dear friends Ned French, he wrote a song that people still sing in Boston once in a while: [singing] Six little tailors, six little tailors—oh, they’re so popular all over the place. As far as other women were concerned, there was Marjorie Springs, and she was our publicity director. And we had an Elizabeth Hart, who was an outstanding radio personality that did her own show. But Marjorie Springs had the opportunity to advance herself and go down with Vince Callahan, who was the director of WBZ. Vince Callahan was a Washington Post man and had switched over into radio, and he got the calling from Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau to come to Washington and set up a separate division of the United States Treasury, and that was to include all radio, press and advertising, retail—the whole works. They brought in outstanding people from all over America, and Vince Callahan accepted the job, and he took Marjorie Springs with him. She was a publicist, so you know how that works. She wasn’t down there very long. Well, you’re too young to remember how World War II worked, but you picked the most qualified person nearest to you and said, Come on, we have a job to do. It was so fast. And I’ve never gotten over being impressed with our United States government because Pearl Harbor was in December, and in February our government had out pamphlets on what to do in case of a—

RUDOLPH:  An attack? [talking at same time]

ADLER: Alarm. All the things the citizens needed to know. So stop and think of that—December to January to February—it just shows you how fast they can galvanize the government into action when they need to. So with radio, press, and advertising. Do you really want me to go on at length?

RUDOLPH:  I think the interesting part to me when I read some of your bio was the work you did with the war bonds when they called you down to Washington.

ADLER:  Right, so Marjorie, who’s established in Washington, was fast-moving, and they needed somebody with my expertise. So I went down and was interviewed and got the word and went down in October, I think it was. I don’t remember now. And I was given a variety of assignments. One of them was to monitor the mailing list for all the radio stations in the country. I don’t know how much people can remember about war bond campaigns, but like every campaign, there were brochures, advertising, radio announcements—you name it; they covered the waterfront. So we had a radio brochure that went out to all the stations, and I was sent to Chicago to the printer to edit that, and I also monitored and updated the national mailing list for all of those. And then it even moved on from there where I was assigned to a lot of outstanding dignitaries that were appearing on radio for war bonds. For instance, Mrs. Roosevelt was doing a program; but incorporated into the program, she was willing to plug in the sale of the United States war bonds. So I would take the copy from headquarters and go to the radio station and give them to Harriet Elliot, who was her secretary, and Mrs. Roosevelt was—I’d like to be as smart. [both laughing]

RUDOLPH:   Did you get to meet her?

ADLER:  Well, you know, in a fast-moving – those things – in war time everybody was [unintelligible] [clapping sound]. Things were fast. I worked on contacting five generals’ wives for a roundtable on generals’ wives: Mrs. Patton and Mrs. Mark Clark, Mrs. Eisenhower; somebody else in there I can’t remember. One of the funniest ones was being sent up to New York with copy someone wanted—secretary of the treasury—Secretary Morgenthau—he was the most interesting, dignified gentleman. I happened to be in his presence quite a few times—in his inner sanctum—in his inner projection room. Actually, we chose the music that the armed forces radio stations would play overseas, then it turned out that the one in charge of the armed forces radio stations in Europe was a colleague of mine from WORL. [laughing]


RUDOLPH:  A small world, really. How did you happen to get into the Red Cross?

ADLER:  Well, so many people from home, Boston, were coming down on the bright young men who were getting special assignments to the [Army] War College, and I don’t know whether a lot of people will remember—a lot of people will, but there was a General McNair in charge of the War College. General McNair is the one that went over to visit his son in France, and they went out on recognizance, and they were both killed tragically. And I kept saying goodbye. And I’d also made social contact with writers from the Office of War Information, and I was getting—not inside, secret documents or anything like that—but on the “in” of what was really going on in the war. Oh, my curiosity was piqued to the max. So I started looking around for a way to get over there and see what it was all about. I think I had a very favorable response from marine corps, but none of them would I leave the country. It would all be either in California or Europe—until the Red Cross came along. And they kind of hired me on the spot, and it was quite a decision to give up the radio press and advertising. But everything was forward—take in as much as you possibly [can] because it’s awfully hard to describe war years. They went so fast that you’d hear of an opportunity and you’d say, Ooh, I’d like to do that. But I don’t think I’m really particularly—I don’t know whether I should say that or not—but I think I’m more a private industry person as opposed to government. I think public relations and advertising and publicists feel a little hemmed in by the regulations of government, whereas in the open market of where you’re doing your work, the sky’s the limit. Do you understand where I’m—?

RUDOLPH:  Yes, I do.

ADLER:  Where I am with that? So overseas—I had no training. I bought my uniforms and off we went. We went to New York and we were at the Saint George hotel in New York, and from there we went on the Mauretania, which was the fastest ship on the high seas. And [clears throat] halfway across, interesting enough, we were playing bridge all the time—guess who my partner was? [laughing] Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau’s son Robert, who is currently, unless he is deceased now, the attorney general for the state of New York. I think he was a much better player than I was. Anyway, we got to Liverpool and from Liverpool, we went down through the Straits of Gibraltar into Africa, and the word went out that there were 125 Red Cross girls just arrived in Africa. So someone who was very clever in special services said, Ha ha! So they threw a big, big dance, and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Aletti hotel—it’s in Algiers—gorgeous—gorgeous. And we had a dance with 125 Red Cross girls. And as younger woman, I was crazy about Polish dancing, and I had a partner—I was from Hyde Park; he was from Dedham—and I looked over and I saw him coming towards me. So I bowed my head, and we’re dancing around and all of a sudden, I look up, right up into his face. He said, “Oh my gosh! Estelle, what are you doing here?” From there I went to the Island of Corsica. You want to know about Red Cross?


RUDOLPH:  Well, I’d like to just know what your job was in the Red Cross.

ADLER:  Okay, in Red Cross, I assisted Jack Roston in two different clubs in Corsica, and then I was in Naples for a period of time as a program director. That’s setting up all the entertainment—the chess games, the dances, the whatever. And then I got a call to go to Florence, and I managed a 3200-seat theater. It was a combination movie house and legitimate theater, and there were fascinating things that went on in there. Good movies, good shows. I had Tyrone Powers’ wife Annabelle in Blyth Spirit. I had Katharine Cornell And Brian Aherne in the Barretts of Wimpole Street. And then they sent me the two outstanding ball players—Stan Musial From St. Louis and Lippy [Leo] DeRochea—you must have heard of Lippy DeRochea?


ADLER:  [in later years] I found him just about the time he died—I had finally had time to… Anyway, the soldiers loved those two men. They were probably in the theater for a couple of weeks, plus the fact that they decided to create their own theater—their own theater group. And because there were hardly any English-speaking girls, I got the lead in the —which is where I thought I was headed when I went into radio—I thought I was going to be some kind of a big star. I was a big star, alright.

RUDOLPH:  What were you doing before you came to Massasoit? All of these activities—what were you doing?

ADLER:  Okay, then at the end of the war, I married, and I became a homemaker and mother. I married a British officer, so I lived in England for quite a while. And when we came home here and settled in, I think I worked on almost all the community campaigns—Red Cross, Red Feather, that sort of thing. I probably was chairperson. I know I was. Um, what happened now…[pause]

RUDOLPH:  So you were here in Scituate?

ADLER:  I was right here.

RUDOLPH:  You were right here in Scituate?

ADLER:  Right here in this house.

RUDOLPH:  Reading your bio, I thought, you have done so much in your lifetime. Up until that very point, you had done so much that anybody would think that is a full career. And I can see from your talking that a lot of what you did in the radio station when you were down in Washington, when you were in the Red Cross, that these were things that Massasoit would want. So my next question was how did this prepare you for a career at Massasoit? I can see that but what do you think?

ADLER:  It’s obvious. I was dealing with the public. I was doing public relations. I was representing the government. I was a morale builder for soldiers.

RUDOLPH:  All things that a new community college would be looking for.

ADLER:  Yeah.

RUDOLPH:  And how did you come to Massasoit? How did you learn about it?

ADLER:  Okay. I had my last daughter in 1959. And 1960, I think it was, I was in the harbor shopping, and I bumped into a gentleman by the name of Tom Stotler, and he was the newly appointed head of [the Department of] Continuing Education at a newly appointed Massasoit Community College to be located eventually in Brockton. And we walked away from each other, and he turned around and called me, he said, “Oh my gosh, Estelle,” he said, “you know how to write press releases and set up special functions,” and I said, “Yeah, yeah.” and he said, “Boy, do we need you at this new community college.” And I said, “Well, strangely enough, my husband—musician husband—is ill with diabetes and not working, and I need a job.” He said, “Great.” I don’t know if I mixed up the end. I think I was already working for the local newspaper. Yeah. I was already working for the local newspaper. The Scituate Mirror, which of course—what did that do for me when I made the transition to Massasoit? Well, weekly newspapers, they came out in all the towns in Plymouth County, and Plymouth County is the feed-bed for the service area that Massasoit serves, so it just—

RUDOLPH: Match made in Heaven—


ADLER:  It was golden.

RUDOLPH:  It was golden, it was golden.

ADLER:  It was golden, and adding to it, I was in charge of the brochures and in charge of local advertising, and I double checked my advertising by way of people coming into enroll, and they’d have the ad with them, so that I was able to roughly estimate where the placement of that ad—what did it pay us back, how many students do we get. And of course you only know all those things if you’ve been steeped in the public relations field, and you pick up all that information. You know, little bits at a time, I’m sure it applies to your career.

RUDOLPH: That’s true.

ADLER:  So then, Dr. Musselman called Jack Keating in the second year for summer school.

RUDOLPH:  Now what year was this?

ADLER:  Wait a minute. First year for the summer school. [laughing]

RUDOLPH:  So what year was this, Estelle?

ADLER:  [laughing] Sixty-eight.

RUDOLPH:  Sixty-eight, okay.

ADLER:  How could it be that, or did I mention sixty?

RUDOLPH:  You said you saw Mr. Stotler in nineteen-sixty—

ADLER:  Then it would have to be the early sixties, not sixty itself.

RUDOLPH:  The college was started in sixty-six.

ADLER:  Sixty six? Well, the first graduating class was sixty-eight because I remember Ken Anania from that.

RUDOLPH:  Right.

ADLER:  My first position was assisting Sam Burchill in Summer I. And he had done the brochure because Sam, being the artist that he was. And Summer II was John Chase. And between you and I and the lamp post, I said, I know I’m nuts, but look at these characters that I’ve ended up with—but marvelously talented.

RUDOLPH:  A lot of fun, those early years at Massasoit.

ADLER:  They were loads of fun, but they were marvelously talented. John Chase holds a distinguished reputation at Emerson. And Sam Burchill is an unbelievable artist. And they did an awful lot for the school, a tremendous amount—the special events and so forth. So those were the first two. And then I had Jack Keating, and Musselman dangling the bonus if we increase the population for summer school, and Keating said, "Well, Dr. Musselman, sounds pretty darn good to me, but—there’s a but”—and Dr. Musselman said, “What is it?” He said, “You’ve got to let me rehire Estelle ADLER:   to promote Summer II.” And then from there on in, something happened and I went on the state payroll as a staff assistant.

RUDOLPH:  And you were staff assistant to –

ADLER:  Before that, they didn’t know who the hell I was.

RUDOLPH:  So you were a publicist for Massasoit trying to get students to come, using your newspaper contacts.

ADLER:  [talking at same time] Yeah. I wasn’t totally divorced from day school. Dr. Musselman had me as part of his fund raising—what’s the name of that section of the college?

RUDOLPH:  The foundation?

ADLER:  The foundation. And I remember going with Tony Fusco’s wife. And I did some work on that, but it’s very vague. Now where are we at so you can help me?


RUDOLPH:  Did you hold any other positions at Massasoit or was this basically where you stayed at the time you were there?

ADLER:  Yeah. I worked for Ralph Sarro. First Tom Stotler. Tom Stotler didn’t last very long; it was political or whatever it was. And Ralph Sarro for quite a while, then Phil Pergola, and then sometime working for Phil Pergola is when I went on—it was with…I know him only too well—he came eighty. And you know the political scene; we won’t go into all of that. We hired Ed Lyons, who had been married to the daughter of the publisher of the Brockton Enterprise. So I got bumped. And [laugh] I became Outreach Director and still on [the Department of] Continuing Ed [Education]. And then of course the Continuing Ed finally faded off into the state payroll.

RUDOLPH:  Oh yes, they merged the day school and the night school.

ADLER:  They merged. By that time, I think I had a title of Outreach Coordinator, and that embraced all kinds of interesting things. I had a ball as far as myself was concerned. I wasn’t thrilled with some of the people I had to work around, but when you’re in public relations, you’re in radio and TV—you’re an artist at getting around difficult situations and still accomplishing your point, and education was no different.

RUDOLPH:  Mm-hm. It’s the same everywhere.

ADLER:  Same everywhere.

RUDOLPH:  What was the college community like, particularly the students. What would you say the students were like when you first came as opposed to when you finished?

ADLER:  I really didn’t have enough personal contact with them to make an assessment of that.

RUDOLPH:  Alright. We’ll go on—

ADLER:  I did eventually join—well Mike Pevzner asked me to please come on board for the opening show for the theater, which I did. And he felt I would bring some balance and probably a stronger commitment to making rehearsals on time on so forth, and I will say, I had the part that Tallulah Bankhead had in Skin of Our Teeth. Cameo part—it couldn’t have been better.

RUDOLPH:  I can picture you doing that.

ADLER:  [laughing] It couldn’t have been better. I’ve never been back. Oh yes I was, once. I came over for Radio Classics [Live]. And that was—this is an aside: the fact that I wasn’t part of that team I could never understand, and Laura Yellen kept saying to me, “Well, you know Bob is like that.” I felt like saying, Yeah, I’m the only professional radio person on the college campus.

RUDOLPH:  You could have done a lot to help out.

ADLER:  Well, that’s alright. He’s done well. Dedicated to what he’s doing.

RUDOLPH:  You were here during the early years of Massasoit. What kinds of changes did you see during your time there? When you first came, it was a small, struggling little school.

ADLER:  Oh sure. Sure. And I would say, of course I’m on the Continuing Ed side now, [cough] but unless you had someone keeping statistics, how do you know how powerful an influence all that I did on Continuing Ed had on acquainting the Plymouth County with the existence of Massasoit? You know, they went hand in glove. I took it upon myself to introduce myself to the head librarian and all the libraries in our service area. And then I would bring her the first supply of catalogs for that semester and point out something new. Yeah, yeah…


RUDOLPH:  Good place to disseminate information about a small college, our local libraries.

ADLER:  There was one other program that I loved, and these were because the hierarchy, they didn’t really know—well she’s some kind of crackpot who works downstairs. [laughing] A bunch of students one day were coming up the stairs. I can’t remember what I was doing, and they said to Ralph Sarro something about, What does that woman want? What’s her name? He said, “Never mind what her name is, just do what she’s telling you to do.” [laughing] I must have had quite a reputation. But so many things, I don’t know whether you’re interested in this, but I know what they did for the college. We had a Winnebago and Peter Principe was in charge of it, and Peter was one of those people that is sanctioned up from on high. Essentially the word was on some people, they really didn’t have to work if they didn’t feel like it because of whatever the situation was I think. And I went to the head of PR [public relations] for Shaws, and we had the Winnebago on site in all the parking lots for Shaws week after week while a new semester was starting and passing out brochures. I mean, no one at the school—these all came out of my head, my head, and then Doctor um—

RUDOLPH:  Ayers?

ADLER:  Ayers. He would have taken, from where I’m viewing, he would have taken the college a country mile, really. He read something that I was doing and he called me here at home. Oh, I guess I got some appointments with an association called—it’s the secretary’s group for personnel directors of greater Brockton businesses.

RUDOLPH:  Yes, there is a group.

ADLER:  So I was asked to be a speaker and I took a film that I made it with Tony. That was a success. And after that, we got into business and industry, and I was the first one to do business and industry.

RUDOLPH:  Which is of course where we’re heading right now. It’s a community college, we want to work with the community. So you were out there.

ADLER:  Oh yeah. It was just—I try not to digress because the people that got in my way or the people they wanted to give a good job to, if my plum is one that they could fit into, that’s what would happen. And that’s what happened with business and industry. And there was a time I would love to have known where Al Asiaf had the college, but here’s where I had it when I started it—English and I don’t know what else with those huge Blue Cross Blue Shield establishments? There was one in Rockland and there was one down by the—in Plymouth where the Registry of Motor Vehicles—down in that area. We taught at Electro Signal in Rockland, and there was one other company in Rockland right along that new thing that runs in from Rockland to Queen Anne’s corner, there’s a couple of hotels.

RUDOLPH:  Yes, there are, yes.

ADLER:  And for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the—

RUDOLPH:  The hotels?

ADLER:  Where we were teaching, Electro Signal [Labs], I can see him clearly, it was Ed Lamay. So it was more than likely—I went out to the [Department of] Business Ed [Education] and made a contract with them for teaching at their plant. Now, all the details and the children n of the students paying for their courses, I don’t know. But Colin Moran was temporarily head of Continuing Education at that time. But I do know there was Electro Signal and there was Blue Cross Blue Shield. I know I was down at the Plymouth nuclear plant and Dave Hirschy with me. Some of it’s vague, you know? I was on the original setup of all the satellite campuses.   


RUDOLPH:  Those original campuses before they built—

ADLER:  Yes, Silver Lake. The ones they’re doing now. So many people are in Plymouth. We had Bridgewater, we had Marshfield High School, we had Scituate High School, and then they had prisons at that time. It was quite an interesting time. And surely Massasoit was doing its job well. That would be my opinion of support like you people—the faculty themselves. They’re all very dependable people. That you never had to check to see—they’re teachers, and they took their teaching seriously, that’s who they were.

RUDOLPH:  Now you were there during several different presidents—

ADLER:  Yes.

RUDOLPH:  President Musselman, President Ayers –

ADLER:  Ayers—

RUDOLPH:  President Burke.

ADLER:  Jennifer, Ayers is the one. Ayers, Dean Sarro, Jack Keating, and the current head of faculty.

RUDOLPH:  Barbara Finkelstein?

ADLER:  Barbara. Although Barbara’s not terribly outspoken. But she doesn’t let her true feelings be known like some of us, some of us do. But I would say, and of course, I mean I did an art show with Sam Burchill. Doctor—doctor—Irishman.

RUDOLPH:  Burke.

ADLER:  Burke came on board, and his healing cry was, We want everyone in Plymouth County to know they have a community college here in Brockton. That was the theme song. I got a hold of Sam, and we put on an art show that was really—it was wonderful.

RUDOLPH:  And where did you do that?

ADLER:  Right in the student lounge.

RUDOLPH:  In the student lounge?

ADLER:  From junior high and high.

RUDOLPH:  Oh, you brought in student art?

ADLER:  But by that time, you understand, I’m not doing the publicity. And I don’t know whether I was considered the enemy or what [laughing], but I delivered scrapbooks that were, that size—my arms are wrecked—that size, big.

RUDOLPH:  So very large scrapbooks.

ADLER:  I delivered those to Ed when he first came from my tenure from—

RUDOLPH:  Where you collected clippings for—

ADLER:  Yeah. I don’t know whatever happened—I don’t really know what happened.

RUDOLPH:  We have scrapbooks. I wonder if they are the same in the library our archives.

ADLER:  I heard that they gave them to you people.

RUDOLPH:  Yes, so you might need to come over and visit them once in a while.

ADLER:   Yeah. So of course a lot of that was all Continuing Ed, but then when I became a staff assistant under Ayers, I guess he was annoyed that they hadn’t given me a decent rating in wherever I belonged. So then therefore from then on I was on his payroll I would imagine.

RUDOLPH:  So you worked with him directly?

ADLER:  He called me here at home. And he said, “I see a couple things in your report, Estelle.” I said, “Yes, Dr. Ayers.” He said, “They are marvelous ideas.” He said, “I want you to go for them.” And—aside—it was my impression that back in those days when he first knew all that he had there for how much prejudice was there against him because he was black? I don’t know. I’m not a good person on stuff like that. But no matter how good Dr. Ayers’s management might have been and was, there were those who were out there to damage it.

RUDOLPH:  It’s a difficult thing to be a president.

ADLER:  Difficult, of course. I don’t know that much about it. But my personal relationship with him was he recognized the value of public relations, and he recognized individually the projects that I had brought up and put in print, so it was up to his desk that he approved on them—not of Estelle, but of the idea.

RUDOLPH:  The work you had done.

ADLER:  Mm-hm.

RUDOLPH:  That’s important—the work. A person wants to be recognized for that.

ADLER:  We had an all-over-campus fitness day—was wonderful. Julie in  Physical Ed [Department of Physical Education], what a marvelous person to work with. Marvelous—was a big success. And theater of course. Theater was always my—Laura Yellen, our own staff, and I guess after I left, they did Gilbert and Sullivan.

RUDOLPH:  They did quite a few plays.

ADLER:  I’m sure, I’m sure.


RUDOLPH:  Now that kind of leads into my next question, which has to do with what part the college plays in the community. You’ve done a lot of discussion about getting the community to come to the college, and I wonder how you see Massasoit in Plymouth County, in our community? What do you think?

ADLER:  See I’m gone so long now.

RUDOLPH:  What part do you think it played when you were there?

ADLER:  Hmmm. [long pause] I think little by little by little as a tree grows, that the communities became aware that there was a more economical pattern or program of higher education available to them. And I think our student body increased because of that.

RUDOLPH:  I think so too.

ADLER:  And of course we all know that it’s all—well there are many components—but certainly attraction is one of the biggest, and I would think the work I did with the library, the different libraries, and I think each individual program, whoever was running the nursing program, there were always outstanding women. And the electro engineering. And they all did their own thing, and how much they reached out to the different high schools and so forth. I’m not privy to that—I wasn’t a high-paid executive that it would be part of what I would research for my own benefit, you know?

RUDOLPH:  Mm-hm. I think working in Continuing Ed as you did—

ADLER:  I was a freelance. You couldn’t catch me ‘cause I could run faster. [both laughing]

RUDOLPH:  The night school was particularly good for our communities. It gave an opportunity for people to work during the day and take classes at night and get better jobs—get better themselves.

ADLER:  They loved it. And my daughter transferred to state college. She didn’t like, what do they call it now out there in uh the western part of the state? North Adams? It’s got a new name and it used to be—

RUDOLPH:  Oh, yes, North Adams.

ADLER:  My daughter was a work study with you people. She’s not a prune; she’s a beautiful young lady, but she didn’t like the lifestyle—boyfriends in the room, drinking, and stuff. She came home and commuted to Bridgewater. That was her preference. But also on advertising, I kind of grabbed hold of a few things that were a little different. I remember I had ads in the Christian Science Monitor at one time, and they paid off. When I say they paid off—if I paid a couple of hundred for it and we got two students…

RUDOLPH:  That paid off.

ADLER:  But I used to tabulate as best I could what results an odd type of ad would pay off. When Jerry Reese came on board, I revamped all the program brochures for the college. So you never knew where I was going to pop up.

RUDOLPH:  [laughing] Now, what do you see as some of the college’s biggest accomplishments do you think?

ADLER:  That’s hard. That’s hard. You must have somebody in your list that you’re going to interview—

RUDOLPH:  That I can ask about big accomplishments?

ADLER:  Yeah. I should think the medical. I should think your nurse education would have an overview. I as understand it, a lot of people kept reports of their department, and when they inquired as to who would like to have them, something went awry. They probably threw them away because nobody wanted them.

RUDOLPH:  And those would be reports to have.

ADLER:  Yeah, I would think Marie Forest would be a never ending-source of supply on the picture of physical education. I know that she’s passed now, but Lorraine [Simon] would have been. Who was the other girl? Simon? Is Simon still over in the developmental—do you know the program I’m talking about?

RUDOLPH:  No, she isn’t. Yes, I do. Latch [Latch Academic Support Program]

ADLER:  Latch. Oh I did some original work with Dr. Maxwell, and I think what she presented—the different development programs that Massasoit offered were just wonderful.

RUDOLPH:  I think they still are—


RUDOLPH:  SLAM. They all had these strange acronyms.

ADLER:  Yeah. [talking at same time] One was started by a young lady by the name of Marion Zach? And when she retired and left, it went to Naomi Louison.

RUDOLPH:  And what does SLAM stand for, do you remember?

ADLER:  Special Learning at Massasoit is close.

RUDOLPH:  And there’s CHOICES. I remember CHOICES.

ADLER:  I don’t know much about CHOICES. Oh, I did the first under Dr. Ayers. Ken Anania and I did the first research and in-depth of alumni. [talking at the same time]. And they’ve done it I don’t know how many times since.

RUDOLPH:  I’ll have to check into that.

ADLER:  It was done in the eighties and as a result, the Marie Forrest would be good on that and course, I think there’s another girl that’s very active on alumni, but they had several social events—dances.

RUDOLPH:  To bring alumni back?

ADLER:  Because Rose went. They were in the eighties, and all I know was Ken and I were assigned that during Dr. Ayers’ tenure. Ken Anania is a great source of information.

RUDOLPH:  He is. He’s on my list.

ADLER:  Yes, wonderful.

RUDOLPH:  What do you see as some of the college’s disappointments?

ADLER:  Oh. Hmm. I’d have a hard time with that.

RUDOLPH:  I think you’re an optimistic person and you don’t see disappointments.

ADLER:  Yeah, no, I don’t. Well, we had such a start on theater under the tutelage of both John Chase and Mike Pevzner. The economy impacted that strongly. It got so more and more students had to work. So fewer and fewer students were able to stay after school and rehearse, so then that paved the course which Mike Pevzner took, and he did a fabulous job on building an audience for Buckley Performing Arts Center. Then it died—I was gone. And I understand it’s on its way back.

RUDOLPH:  Well, hopefully, yes.

ADLER:  Well, they had to revamp and come up with—an answer to it was the fact that students weren’t staying after three o’clock.

RUDOLPH:  So they had a company of different kinds of people from the community—

ADLER:  Yeah. I’ve always found Ed Krasnow and Tim—Tim isn’t in the TV studios anymore—

RUDOLPH:  Tim Trask.

ADLER:  —in the classroom. I found them to be fine men to work with. And Michael Pevzner interviewed me for the Red Cross and lack of things to use, they kept using that for the greater public in Brockton, so I became [laughing] quite well known.

RUDOLPH:  So you were on constantly—on the radio—was this the radio or the cable?

ADLER:  Oh I heard! I don’t live in Brockton. That’s what I heard.

RUDOLPH:  A star—you were a star as you wanted to be.

ADLER:  There you go—that’s what “Estelle” means. I was sent up with Cliff Williams. It was still Continuing Education, and I went up to Blue Hills with him, and then a very nice girl, Margaret somebody. I resigned and—

RUDOLPH:  You’re talking about when we got the Canton campus?

ADLER:  Yeah.

RUDOLPH:  Yes. Now are there any other questions that you can think of that I should have asked you or any other comments you would like to make?


RUDOLPH:  About your time at Massasoit that we should know?

ADLER:  I think what you’re trying to achieve is to put the best possible picture of Massasoit in print for this forty-fifth.

RUDOLPH:  Well, the true portrait—we want a true portrait, yes.

ADLER:  Yep. Too bad it’s not the fiftieth, huh? What did they do, the thirtieth and then did they do the thirty-fifth? Have they done these by five years?

RUDOLPH:  No. Well, this is our first oral history project, but I don’t know about the anniversaries. I don’t recall that there have been any really big celebrations.

RUDOLPH:  Well, Estelle, I’d like to thank you very much—

ADLER:  Has that been helpful to you?

RUDOLPH:  It has been very helpful. I have enjoyed listening to your stories.

Estelle Adler - Oral History Memoir
Estelle Adler - Audio