Why Must a Woman’s Name Change with Her Marriage? (1924)

Why Must a Woman’s Name Change with Her Marriage? (1924)

“It Shouldn’t!” Exclaims One Boston Woman, Who Uses Her Husband’s Name Only When She Pleases—But Another Says There Are Good and Sufficient Reasons

“The matter is closed and will not be reopened,” officially replied the Assistant Secretary of the Interior last week when some Washington women protested to him that although they are married they want to keep their unmarried names. Officially it may be settled; women department workers may be obliged to sign their married names in order to get their pay checks; but the larger question of whether a woman should take a new name when she takes a husband will not be settled as long as the little band of Lucy Stoners keep up the agitation for married women with maiden names. They are an advance guard, as determined pioneers as the first suffrage workers.

In today’s Globe, Katharine Morey of Brookline, who is sometimes known as Mrs. Herbert Pinkham, tells why she thinks it absurd to expect a woman to give up the name she has been known by all her single life.

Katharine Morey

Katharine A. Morey

This appeared in The Boston Globe on September 21, 1924.  The portion supporting women keeping their names after marriage was written by Katherine A. Morey (also known, sometimes, at Mrs. Herbert Pinkham). 

Morey: No woman who has seriously decided to keep her own name will be more than mildly interested In the semiofficial news that married women employees of a certain Government department a t Washington must sign their “married names” to the payroll. There is no law In the land compelling a woman to take her husband’s name. and-as far as I have been able to discover there are no legal obstacle’ to retaining the so called maiden name in all circumstances.

That any department at Washington, or any number of departments, actually hoped to impede the movement toward name independence would be strange news. Such tactics would be several years behind the times. The idea is already firmly established and the practice of it is growing every day. I doubt very much if all the conservative talent in Washington could withhold the pay envelope of a woman who, accustomed to use her own name. refused to sign her husband’s name on a payroll. (more…)

A Woman Living Here Has Registered to Vote

This sign from 1920 was designed to be placed in the window of a home so that all who passed would know that the woman within had exercised her right under the 19th amendment and registered to vote. It also served as a reminder to other women to do the same.

I have cleaned it up and made a nicely printable version that will fit on a standard (US) Letter size page.

Download the PDF

Sign, “A Woman Living Here Has Registered to Vote,” ca 1920.

 

 

Heroines in the Farm Front in 1944 (A USDA Radio Script)

Heroines in the Farm Front in 1944 (A USDA Radio Script)

Wednesday, November 22, 1944

Harvest is nearly over now, and cans of fruit, vegetables, and meat are lined up on pantry shelves — and grocery shelves — like soldiers in a regiment. This has been a busy year for farmers, and for farm women, in food production. Just as some women have gone to work in war plants, joined the armed services, and taken over men’s jobs in cities, so others have gone to work on farms to help produce food. Quietly and without fanfare, they have taken their place beside husbands, sons, and brothers in the fields and farm yards; and some have run farms alone.

Today we hear about some women in Farm Security borrower families, who have helped fill our pantry shelves and grocery shelves. They represent thousands of others throughout the country who have worked in similar ways to hasten victory.

First we might mention Mrs. Monnie Strother of Independence County, Arkansas, who was just 34 when her husband died two years ago and left her with 7 small children. Mrs. Strother knew nothing about farming, yet realized that she couldn’t keep her family together unless she made a living for them at home. She talked over things with the two oldest children – 15-year-old Nellie Mae and 13-year-old Robert – and with her FSA county supervisor. Result was that she was able to put her 120-acre place in full production last year and this year. She and the childrt planted, cultivated, and harvested crops, and now they not only feed themselves but sell fresh vegetables, dairy products, poultry, eggs, and pork on the war food market.

Near Farmington, Missouri, Mrs. Roy Berghaus is “head man” of a highly successful 125-acre dairy farm. Her “handy men” and field hands are her four small daughters ranging in age from 3 to 9 years. When Mrs. Berghaus’ husband joined the Navy Seabees in 1942, she took over the farm to keep it operating while he was away. She “bought a lady’s model tractor and other light farming equipment, and was soon handling them like a professional. She now sells milk, cream, and butter and also fat hogs – to add to city folks’ meat supplies.

In Crook County, Wyoming, tiro elderly sisters contribute “beef to the Nation’s meat store by raising purebred cattle on a 700-acre ranch. The women are Mrs. Naomi Dungey, 65-year-old widow, and her sister, Miss Catherine Bennett, aged 60. The sisters were born in England and lived on a farm where their father raised purebred cattle and hogs. Besides beef cattle, the women sell dairy products from 17 head of dairy cows and fatten hogs for market. They did such a fine job of food production this year, in fact, that they were awarded a $100 prize for outstanding agricultural achievement.

Two other sisters – only in their early 20’s – who are receiving praise for farm work this year are Ella and Leona Bryant of Delta County, Michigan. When Mr. Bryant died, and the girls’ two brothers joined the armed services, they took over a 35-acre farm and have been making it produce for market ever since. Although they hire no help, they milk 18 cows a day, feed several dozen hogs, raise poultry, cultivate a large garden, and handle 50 head of livestock for their landlord.

Another “man-less” farm that has turned out tons of food this year is that of Mrs. Dulcinea Curtis in Sandoval County, New Mexico. This year, Mrs. Curtis, mother of two small daughters, used a tractor to grow her own alfalfa, chili, corn, and truck crops. She even pruned and irrigated her own fruit trees and, in addition, hauled much of her produce to market.

While not running a farm alone, a couple of Florida women say they are “leading double lives” these days as they work beside their husbands on the farm. Mrs. John Archibald of Sumter County keeps house, and also works outside branding cattle, “riding the woods” for cows twice a week, feeding fattening hogs, and often marketing livestock. Mrs. Charles Blaha of Hernando County takes her soldier son’s place on their large poultry farm, and also runs a small highway restaurant part time for war workers.

For sheer courage and perseverance, Mrs. Nancy Fields of Mayes County, Oklahoma deserves recognition for accomplishment in the face of difficulty. Mrs. Fields is a widow with 5 children, and has known crop failure, sickness, and death in the past two years. At Christmas in 1942, her husband was killed in an automobile accident. She was left with an invalid daughter confined to a wheel chair, a son about to be drafted, and a farm with a mortgage on it. Fortunately her son was deferred awhile to put in crops. But unfortunately later, floods wiped out the crops and garden and almost destroyed the home. The crops were replanted, only to be ruined by drought. Still, livestock and poultry were left, so Mrs. Fields put several tons of pork, beef, poultry, and dairy products on the market. This year, instead of giving up, she hiked her production goals and planned to raise more livestock and more field crops. And when her eldest son, and a younger boy just turned 13, went to the army this summer she only redoubled her efforts and worked all the harder with the other children at home.

Throughout the country, farm women have helped produce the food we eat, and ship abroad to our armed forces and our Allies. They are doing their part on farms, just as other women are doing their part in the war industry, the military services, and elsewhere.

What Happened to Daisy Bates?

What Happened to Daisy Bates?

School desegregation is a fact in Little Rock and – because of Little Rock – in many other Southern cities, but Daisy Bates, who played a key role in making it all possible, is forgotten by the public.

—Thomas Fuller

(Negro Digest/May 1962) She was the unlikeliest of heroes. There she was, young and comely, as trim and chic as a model in a magazine advertisement. At the most prosaic, it was easy to picture her as a youthful matron, dainty and decorative, waiting in her well-appointed home for the man who adored her to come in from his labors.

When the Little Rock crisis reached fever pitch in the fall of 1957 and people across the world were wondering about the woman called Daisy Bates, writers were turning out reams of copy in an effort to describe her. In her native Arkansas, of course, she was pictured as a fire-breathing, Red-lining witch and called every vile name printable and a few names which, in a truly civilized society, are not printable at all.

But other writers were more objective. Seeking to satisfy the curiosity about the woman who had turned the nation upside down, a United Press correspondent described Daisy Bates as “a businesslike woman of 35” and went on in a kind of awe to list the measurements Of her slim figure. “She wears her black hair in a casual bob, sometimes covering part of her forehead,” he wrote, adding: “Newsmen find little trouble talking to her.”

For readers of the Minneapolis Tribune, the famed Negro journalist Carl T. Rowan was more to the point: “Actually, she is a typical Negro housewife—different from the average American woman, perhaps, primarily in that she prefers poker to bridge and has become expert with a rifle.”

Daisy Bell in front of Central High School in Little Rock
Daisy Bell in front of Central High School in Little Rock

Inherent in Rowan’s description is the suggestion that, had the wanton finger of Fate pointed at many another Negro woman, the results would have been pretty much the same. There is nothing in this suggestion to detract from the extraordinary achievement of Daisy Lee Bates. Rather, there is something in it of commendation for all the millions of Negro women who have borne with uncommon fortitude the burden of their culture’s cruelty and of their men’s helpless despair.

If Daisy Bates is typical of her kind, then she proved a splendid example. Never once in her long and barbarous ordeal was there a public moment of faltering or re- treat. If there had not been private ones, then she would have been more than human, and Daisy Bates is very human indeed.

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The Five Years of LBJ (as seen from 1968)

The Five Years of LBJ (as seen from 1968)

This LIFE Magazine Editorial appeared fifty years ago in the December 13, 1968 issue.

We shall be hearing more from Lyndon Johnson, not only in his last days as President, but thereafter as a lecturer and author, perhaps as senator again, certainly as a leading citizen. We may even come to think more highly of his administration than is now common. When he first took office during the national shock of President Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson said his primary aim was to unify the American people, and for quite a while he did. Toward the end, after the country’s deep divisions and his own unpopularity forced him to renounce a second term last March, he said he would rest his case with the historians. What are they likely to say?

Not even the journalists agree on that. Arthur Krock, dean emeritus of the Washington press corps, thinks the Johnson Presidency was an unmitigated disaster, while L.B.J.’s fellow Texan William S. White all but canonizes him. Even those who have worked for Johnson seem unsure; his achievements have plenty of admirers, but the man himself has few fervent fans. His has been the most puzzling administration of this century. His enormous political skill, energy and intelligence-and his unabashed delight in the use of power-have put him in the tradition of our most activist Presidents. His first full year in office, 1964, made him look like a potentially great President. In that year’s election, with a big assist from Goldwater, he scored the greatest popular margin ever (61.1%). Yet by 1966 he had sunk lower in the Gallup poll than any other President but Truman (for one spell). By 1967 Richard Rovere of The New Yorker could reckon that “what may well be a majority of the American people are persuaded that the President is a dishonest and dishonorable man. This comes close to being a national disaster.”

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The Case for Supporting Marriage Brokers (1905)

The Case for Supporting Marriage Brokers (1905)

WHY HIS HELP IS INVOKED IN GREAT CITIES

The matrimonial achievements of Dr. Witzhoff (see note below), the gentleman with the brilliant black eyes and the 120 wives, have brought down a storm of denunciations on the head of the marriage broke. This functionary, so we are told, is frequently the arch-bigamist’s advance agent in his adventures in the matrimonial field, and, according to the generous estimate of one New York feminine social reformer, is directly responsible for 50,000 ruined lives in America.

Though marriage broking as it is at present carried on both in the United States and in England, says a writer in the London Chronicle, may sometimes be open to grave evils and abuses, the very fact of his existence and the enormous number of his clients is a tacit recognition that the marriage broker fulfills a real social want.

The necessity for the marriage broker and bureau is, of course, by no means the same everywhere. In the country, where there is still a social life, a continual round of garden and tennis parties in the summer and dances and at homes in the winter provide excellent facilities for making acquaintances. But the young provincial man or woman whose lot is cast in London, the City of Deadly Solitude – and there are tens of thousands of them – has no such opportunity for making friends.

Living in the loneliness of lodgings without friends at hand, except for the casual business acquaintances who may or may not be congenial associates, the solitary exile is completely cut off from the companionship of women of his own social position These lonely ones – and they form the great marriageable mass of the community – want opportunities for cultivating each other’s acquaintance.

But there is no kind-hearted matchmaker at hand to watch over the destinies of would-be lovers, to pave the way to those friendly meetings which are the beginning of wet closer relations, and so the young man of limited income, making his way in London without friends, too often wrecks his career at the very outset by an unsuitable marriage

True, there is the church, with its centuries of accumulated experience, which still leads its children to the altar. The churches and especially those offshoots of church life, the Sunday-school, the social institute, and even the mutual improvement association, are by no means to be despised as matrimonial agencies, and, having no money-making ends to serve, the churches have no inducement to force on undesirable unions. But the young provincial during his first years of emancipation from home restraint too often keeps outside the churches.

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