keeping your name

jcoleman at jcoleman at
Tue Apr 9 18:36:45 EST 1996

In article <4k61pb$a76 at>, erosenbe at (Elizabeth Rosenberg) writes:
>Hi all,
>Just *had* to add my voice to the fray.  What is clear from the posts thus 
>far is that what one chooses to be called is decided by all based on 
>personal and emotional bases.  It is worth mentioning that getting married 
>is probably the first time any of us considers what our name will be to be 
>a choice.
>In my case, I "took" my husband's name--gladly.  My father did nothing but 
>throw obstacles in my path throughout my college education, while my 
>boyfriend/fiance (back then) bent over backwards to help me through, 
>including eliminating some of the obstacles thrown up by my father.  When 
>it came time for the degree, I *did not* want my father's name on it. Yes, 
>my mother and brother who were generally supportive also shared my 
>father's name, but make no mistake:  according to him, and anyone who 
>would listen to him, it was HIS name.  I could have had my name legally 
>changed to something all my own, but I specifically wanted my husband to 
>be acknowledged for all of his support.  He continues to support my career 
>in the extreme, and I would want "our" name to remain my name for this 
>reason (as well as others) should we get divorced.
>My mother kept my father's name after her divorce, because she felt that 
>after 25 years, that particular name was her identity.  My mother-in-law 
>divorced, remarried (taking husband's name both times), was widowed, and 
>keeps her second husband's name for mostly sentimental reasons.
>It is my feeling that as women we are very fortunate.  Our "choice" of 
>surname gives us the ability to choose our "tribe" so to speak, and to 
>honor those who honor us.  I really like all of the creative "solutions" 
>that have appeared in this group before.  Things like combining surnames, 
>combing surnames for children, etc. really reinforce the idea that name is 
>identity *and* affiliation with others.  I feel each person's solution 
>must ultimately allow her complete comfort in each of these areas.
>Sorry this is so long.  Told you it's an emotional topic.
>Beth Rosenberg                    erosenbe at
>Cross Cancer Institute            
>University of Alberta		 "The sheep and the wolf are not
>                                 agreed upon the definition of liberty" 
>				                  -Carl Sandburg

I totally second this husband has been supportive over the total
of my college and graduate school career..even before we were married..we went
through a ton of garbage with other people (fmaily and total strangers) over
our interracial status...and when we got married we let our families know the
night before and took a couple of my labmates with us and got married...we knew
that our strongest supporters were us *laugh* and we got married just before we
came here to NYC (a tough town) for my graduate school...we wanted to provide a
united front to all may be HIS name but it's rapidly become our
name...and I'll be glad to put our name on MY diploma :-) 
Interestingly, my husband's mom recently got remarried...and decided to keep
her original married name which she had kept after her separation and I think sometimes married names really become your name in a
sense...I'll though I think if I were to get divorced, I don't think I'd keep
my married name...perhaps I'd hypenate it in some way (haven't thought about
this too much :-) ) ....I think however name is a more important issue to women
scientists than some other women because we have professional name recognition
as an important career want people to be able to find all your
papers....I think stage in career when you get married is a big factor in
choosing a name when you are a woman scientist...I think I might have kept or
hypenated my name had we been married say during my PostDOc or as a faculty
member...however we married what is now considered fairly young..and I didn't
have anything to publish fact I still don't *laugh* so no problem.


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