Jean Paton interviewed by E. Wayne Carp in Harrison AR, 1998

In June 1998, I spent a week interviewing Jean in her home in Harrison, AR.  I had just published my book, Family Matters: Secrecy and Openness in the History of Adoption, and thought I knew something about the adoption reform movement.  But after talking with Jean, I realized that I would have to rethink and rewrite much of that history because I had missed how important she had been to its creation and growth.  During that week, we hit it off and had quite a meeting of the minds.  At age 90, Jean’s mind was sharp as a tack and her memory was excellent.  She had a great sense of humor but also was extremely serious when it came to issues that mattered to her.  She got angry at hearing the name of Bill Pierce and teared up when talking about her mother.  I felt honored that she chose me to write her biography, and fortunate that she left me with the historian’s gold mine of her papers. As you can see, I am still at it.

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About E. Wayne Carp

I am the Benson Family Chair in History and Professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. To read more about me, please visit my website, https://sites.google.com/a/plu.edu/e-wayne-carp/.

Posted on November 17, 2009, in Photos and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Laura Watkins

    I’m so glad you mention Jean’s great sense of humor. That’s how I remember her, ironic and witty and sharp as a tack. She was warm and gracious most of the time but if someone violated her principles, watch out! Her passing was a tremendous loss, but I feel her spirit with us as strong as ever. She sure told ‘em, didn’t she? The beautiful little bastard gave Satan hell, then rode off into the sunset with a twinkle in her eye.

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