Ruth Hale (feminist) - Women's Rights Activism

Women's Rights Activism

Early in 1921 Hale took a stand with the U.S. State Department, demanding that she be issued a passport as "Ruth Hale", not as "Mrs. Heywood Broun". The government refused; no woman had been given a passport with her maiden name to that time. She was unable to cut through the red tape, and the government issued her passport reading "Ruth Hale, also known as Mrs. Heywood Broun." She refused to accept the passport, and cancelled her trip to France, as did her husband.

In May 1921 Hale was believed to be the first married woman to be issued a real estate deed in her own name, for an apartment house on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Not long afterward, she was chosen to be president of the Lucy Stone League, a group based on Lucy Stone's decision to keep her maiden name after marriage. The group also chose Rose Falls Bres to serve as their legal counsel. Mrs. Bres, soon to be named president of the National Association of Women Lawyers, had been Hale's lawyer during her battle with the State Department. Heywood Broun was among the men present, and supported his wife in her endeavors. Other Lucy Stoners were Jane Grant, wife of Harold Ross, the founder of The New Yorker, and Beatrice Kaufman, wife of playwright George S. Kaufman.

Hale and Broun bought a farm in Stamford, Connecticut, but resided in separate homes. She started to spend more time on women’s rights causes and less time on journalism.

In August 1927, Hale took a leading role in protesting the executions of anarchists and accused murderers Sacco and Vanzetti. She traveled to Boston as part of the defense committee, along with Dorothy Parker and John Dos Passos. The men were put to death over their fierce protests. The campaign had a galvanizing effect on her, leading her to fight against capital punishment.

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