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July 18: A Name of One’s Own

July 17, 2013

doris-e-fleischman-una-de-las-activistasDoris Fleischman Bernays, the first married American woman to secure a passport using her “maiden” name (in 1925), was born in New York on this date in 1891. As a reporter for the New York Tribune, she was also the first woman to report on a boxing match, and also interviewed such notables as Jane Addams and Teddy Roosevelt. A college athlete and musician, Fleischman was a member of the Lucy Stone League, whose motto said, “A wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should hers. My name is my identity and must not be lost.” (Stone was the first known American woman to carry her birth name throughout her life, despite her marriage in 1855.) Her husband was Edward Bernays (no wonder she wanted to keep using her own name), the master propagandist and manipulator of public opinion, with whom she promoted tobacco and imperialism.

“Mrs. stands to the right of me, and Miss stands to the left. Me is a ghost somewhere in this middle.” —Doris Fleischman