Photo by Ida Crie, c. 1890. From the Ida Crie Collection at the Rockland Historical Society. Used by permission.
Between the Waves is a collective biography of women who had professional jobs in the mid-twentieth century. The feminist movement was quiescent and society expected women to find fulfillment at home. The women in the book pushed back, believing they would find fulfillment in a “man’s” job – as doctor, lawyer, artist, social worker, intelligence officer and physicist.
In spirit, they were like these women at the beach. They were willing to pull up their skirts and wade in, even when the water was cold.
Kathleen interviewed her subjects, all born before 1935, when they were in their eighties and nineties. They talked about early experiences and influences: parents, family friends, teachers, even institutions like settlement houses. Some had professors who encouraged them; others were told no woman belonged in the field. Some spouses gave invaluable support; others none at all. Many found strong mentors in the workplace. Whatever the individual circumstances, their lives followed paths that were unorthodox and, seen collectively, they illuminate a slice of history that has been overlooked until now.
Kathleen has been wading in the same waters all her life. The daughter of a stay-at-home mother and a lawyer father, she went to law school as the feminist movement surged into a second wave. How women build fulfilling lives is a question she has been thinking about since she was a girl. Her book manuscript is in process.