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.