Synopses & Reviews
Anonymous in Their Own Names
recounts the lives of three women who, while working as their husbands' uncredited professional partners, had a profound and enduring impact on the media in the first half of the twentieth century. With her husband, Edward L. Bernays, Doris E. Fleischman helped found and form the field of public relations. Ruth Hale helped her husband, Heywood Broun, become one of the most popular and influential newspaper columnists of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1925 Jane Grant and her husband, Harold Ross, started the New Yorker
Yet these women's achievements have been invisible to countless authors who have written about their husbands. This invisibility is especially ironic given that all three were feminists who kept their birth names when they married as a sign of their equality with their husbands, then battled the government and societal norms to retain their names. Hale and Grant so believed in this cause that in 1921 they founded the Lucy Stone League to help other women keep their names, and Grant and Fleischman revived the league in 1950. This was the same year Grant and her second husband, William Harris, founded White Flower Farm, pioneering at that time and today one of the country's most celebrated commercial nurseries.
Despite strikingly different personalities, the three women were friends and lived in overlapping, immensely stimulating New York City circles. Susan Henry explores their pivotal roles in their husbands' extraordinary success and much more, including their problematic marriages and their strategies for overcoming barriers that thwarted many of their contemporaries.
"Henry... is at her best showing how these conflicted feminists balanced a multitude of professional and personal tasks."
In the end, it tells the truth that most know but rarely acknowledge: women were there, these three especially.
Susan Henry is to be roundly applauded for bringing to light the lives and accomplishments of these little-known women.
--Washington Independent Book Review
"In Anonymous in Their Own Names
, Susan Henry has told with sensitivity and verve the story of three modern women of achievement whose lives have been overlooked in the rush to celebrate their famous husbands. Through excavating the unknown lives of Doris E. Fleischman, Ruth Hale, and Jane Grant (married to journalism greats Edward L. Bernays, Heywood Broun, and Harold Ross), Henry has illuminated the history of professional women, feminism, and family relationships in the twentieth century. She has also reminded us of the deep roots of male preferment in our culture. Henry's book is a major contribution to the study of gender and biography which all readers will enjoy."
--Lois Banner, author of Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox and Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Their Circle, and Professor of History and Gender Studies, University of Southern California
A collective biography of three New York City women who pushed boundaries, changed media, and advanced the cause of equality
About the Author
Susan Henry is Professor Emeritus of Journalism at California State University, Northridge, and a former editor of Journalism History.