Ava Helen Pauling
Partner, Activist, Visionary
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Oregon State University Press
Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication
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Writing the life of Ava Helen Miller Pauling has been a peculiarly local and unexpectedly personal project. Every day I walk past the building where Ava Helen and Linus Pauling first met. Every day I look out over the quadrangle through which they strolled or hurried to get to their classes. ...
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Ava Helen Pauling is that elusive figure in historical memory, the wife of a celebrity. Only her last name is still recognized. Yet by the end of her life she had an address book that embraced the world and she could dash off a letter to any number of political leaders, academics, peace activists, writers, and artists, and expect the favor of a reply. ...
1. The HIM Book
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Many twentieth-century women were brought up to expect or hope for this joyous culmination, as they were taught to merge their identities with those of their husbands: their childhoods just a prelude to “happily ever after.” In previous centuries, married women had sacrificed their legal identities along with their fathers’ names. ...
2. Becoming Mrs. Pauling
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Linus tempted fate on the way to his wedding in June 1923. Ava Helen was oblivious until he arrived, miraculously safe and sound, just before the ceremony. Hurrying to reach Nettie’s home in Salem a few days before the ceremony planned for June 17, Linus decided to drive through the night. ...
3. "Let's make a rigid rule that I go no place without you"
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On a March morning in 1945, Peter dashed into the house and called his parents to come look at the garage. During the night vandals had done a thorough job. “Amricans [sic] die, but we love Japs. Japs working here!” they painted on the garage, along with a rising sun flag. “Jap” was painted on the mailbox. ...
4. "A Team of Paulings"
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Linus’s night on the cliff at Salmon Cove proved a stutter but not an interruption of the Paulings’ accelerating peace work from the late 1950s into the early 1960s. Typically, Ava Helen did not pause, at least in writing, over her scare that night and Linus’s post-traumatic reactions. ...
5. "The Second X Chromosome"
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“A modern feminist,” Ava Helen called herself in 1963, in an interview with The Advertiser. She was well launched on two projects: promoting Women Strike for Peace, the new organization that had already made its mark in Washington, D.C., and articulating a platform for women’s improved status. ...
6. The Prime of Life
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On September 23, 1964, the day the Paulings returned to their new home in Santa Barbara, a terrible brush fire forced them to evacuate. “There were twelve of us working,” she wrote to a friend, “and in two hours we had completely emptied the house—completely is not quite right as we left behind our beds, desks and other large pieces of furniture. ...
Afterword: "A very strong sense of what is right and of what is not right"
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The family had already planned the memorial service. Actually, as Linus, Jr., confirmed at the service, Ava Helen had planned it. Peter Christiansen, minister at the Unitarian Church in Los Angeles for seven years, and then at Walnut Creek, conducted the service at the Palo Alto Unitarian Church. ...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013