The Crisis of Separation: Letters from an American Housewife During the Post-War Era
Shearer, Katherine M.
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In the autumn of 1962 Mary Shearer was temporarily separated from her husband when her family relocated from Bethesda, Maryland, to Farragut, Iowa. This study evaluates the impact of this separation on Mary and her family. It illustrates the personal growth and development of Mary Shearer and her position as a transitional figure in women’s history during the post-war years. The separation serves as the framework for this study and post-war emphasis on family, ideas about waged work by women, and the influence of feminism are evaluated. Mary’s actions are also analyzed in the broader context of the social evolution of the 1960s. This study includes analysis of personal letters, documents, and articles in a local newspaper, the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel, Shenandoah, Iowa. It spans two months and incorporates primary documents and secondary sources on subjects including separation, women and family, issues in the 1960s, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.