Maryellen Brown

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Oral Histories from the New England Fisheries


The oral histories are an in depth look at how the fishing industry affects individual fishermen as well as their  families. The oral histories also allow us to gain inside perspective  on how management regulations affect the social and cultural aspects of people in the fishery.

Date of Interview

Azure Dee Westwood

Principal Investigator

Maryellen Brown, often referred to as Mary, is a resident of West Kingston, Rhode Island, living at 35 Erica Court. She is forty-nine years old and moved to Rhode Island from Connecticut when she was fourteen. Maryellen is married to a fisherman and has been involved in the fishing community since she was fifteen. She has been married for twenty-five years and has lived in her current residence for eleven years. Maryellen is also a mother to three children. In addition to her role as a wife and mother, Maryellen works at Mont Senior Clark School, a small Catholic school, where she has been employed for eleven years. Her work at the school provides health insurance for her family, a benefit not provided by her husband's fishing occupation.

Scope and Content Note:
This interview with Maryellen Brown, conducted by Azure Westwood on December 15, 2008, provides an in-depth look into the life of a fisherman's wife and the impacts of the fishing industry on family life. Maryellen discusses her background, her marriage, and her involvement in the fishing community. She also talks about her job at a small Catholic school, which she took up due to the uncertainties in the fishing industry. Maryellen provides insight into the financial contributions of her and her husband to their family, revealing that fishing contributes more financially, but her job provides essential health benefits. She also discusses the potential shift in her husband's career from fishing to lobstering and the uncertainties surrounding this change. The interview concludes with Maryellen expressing her thoughts on the need for regulatory bodies to work together with individuals in the fishing industry and provide more support to the community. She suggests that such support could alleviate some of the strain on families like hers, who are deeply involved in the industry.

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Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.