The Liberation of Winifred Bryan Horner
131 pages

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131 pages

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This inspiring tale of grit and determination sprinkled with humor, wit, and a taste of irony is the story of Winifred Bryan Horner's journey from a life of domesticity on the family farm after World War II to becoming an Endowed Professor. Her compelling story is one of a woman's fight for equal rights and her ultimate success at a time when women were openly deemed "less than" men in the professional world.
Winifred, a professional writer and consummate storyteller known to friends and family as Win, always assumed she would write her own memoir. But after retiring from teaching, she found that she could never find the time or inspiration to sit down and record the pivotal stories of her remarkable 92 years of life. Colleague and mentee Elaine J. Lawless devised a plan to interview Win about her life and allow her to tell stories with the intention that Win would edit the transcriptions into her memoir. Over four months, Elaine visited Win on Wednesdays to interview her about her life. Sadly, just one week after the conclusion of the final interview, Win unexpectedly passed away, before Elaine could give her the final transcripts. With the support of Win's family, Elaine set out to finish this book on Win's behalf.
Win's story is one that will inspire and resonate with women as they continue to work toward equality in the world.

Preface: Meeting Win
Introduction: Writing Win's Life
1. Barefoot Girl Running with the Boys
2. Loving School and Being Popular
3. Funny War Bride
4. Washing Diapers in Cistern Water on a Missouri Farm
5. Win's Ticket Off the Farm
6. A Room of Her Own in Michigan
7. Battling the Old Boys' Club
8. A Win for Texas
9. Epilogue: Reflections on a Life
Appendix: Winifred Bryan Horner, Vitae and Bibliography



Publié par
Date de parution 05 mars 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253032362
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Writer, Teacher, and Women s Rights Advocate

As told to
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2017 by Elaine J. Lawless
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-03234-8 (cloth)
ISBN 978-0-253-03235-5 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-253-03236-2 (ebook)
1 2 3 4 5 22 21 20 19 18 17
For Win, And for all who loved her- We recognize her absence as her presence among us .
Win Horner on her ninetieth birthday, surrounded by three of her grandchildren: Alexandria Horner, Leela Grace, and Ellie Grace, August 2012. Photograph by Ron Gurul . Courtesy of the Win Horner family .
Ninety Years
Little sister, only girl
Grew up strong to face this world
With the fire in your eyes
Would it come as a surprise
All the lives that you would change
In your ninety years?
Ninety years of a life on fire
Blazing trails, walking on a wire
Ninety years lived with love
Fighting hard to rise above
You ve showed us how to really live
For ninety years
From Missouri to Michigan
Edinburgh and back again
And every spring in a Texas town
We saw your students gather round
And all the walls you ve broken down
In your ninety years
River days and city nights
All in bed in the morning light
From Washington to London town
You ve taken us this world around
All the stories written down
In your ninety years
Written by Winifred Bryan Horner s granddaughters Leela and Ellie Grace and sung with great love in her honor, in celebration of her ninetieth birthday on August 31, 2012. Also sung at A Celebration of Win s Life, March 29, 2014. Leela and Ellie Grace, 2013. Used with permission.
Preface: Writing Win s Life
Introduction: Meeting Win
1. Barefoot Girl Running with the Boys
2. Loving School and Being Popular
3. Funny War Bride
4. Washing Diapers in Cistern Water on a Missouri Farm
5. Win s Ticket off the Farm
6. A Room of Her Own in Michigan
7. Battling the Old Boys Club
8. A Win for Texas
Epilogue: Reflections on a Life
Appendix: Winifred Bryan Horner, Vita and Bibliography
Writing Win s Life
F or months, I have been spending my days sifting through the stacks of Win Horner s folders and boxes. They moved into my study immediately after her death in early February 2014, and they continue to dominate the small space in my home. I feel her presence here. The room has become a kind of makeshift altar dedicated to her life, a littered space with stacks of her papers, photographs, articles she wrote, articles written about her, her obituary (which she wrote herself), scraps of notes scattered on every surface, including the floor. Mostly I know what is in each stack, and am sometimes reminded by the color of a binder or a folder. There are leaning towers of old newspaper articles, carbon copies of letters, stories about the farm, all weathered to a dull, brittle brown. I have to be careful or they will crumble if I handle them, or, horrors, the date might fall off. Folders hold her many files, notes, and calendars-along with tucked-in photos of her children, grandchildren, her husband Dave, his dogs, and the farm. Win documented her life in all its complexity, all its messiness. Some days I just sit on the floor surrounded by this material proof of Win s life and wonder at the task before me. I sneeze when I open the folders; my fingers are black from the carbons of the many, many pages she typed on her old manual typewriter; I try to sort through everything and make some sense of a life well-lived and thoroughly documented.
This book is not a memoir in the conventional sense of that term. Win Horner did not write this book. Rather, Win agreed to orally relate her life story and stories to me for me to record. When we first began our work together specifically for this book in October 2013, she made an outline she wanted to follow. She told me she wanted to include these aspects of her life: her childhood in St. Louis and at Water Oaks (their summer cabin on the Meramec River in southern Missouri), her schooling at Mary Institute and Washington University, her marriage, her life with Dave when he was in the military during World War II, her time as a teacher at the University of Missouri, her time at Michigan getting her PhD, her time at Texas Christian University as an endowed chair, and, finally, her retirement and her return to Columbia to live with Dave again.
Somehow, when we began, and even when I had all the transcriptions in front of me to study and think about, I still thought perhaps this would be a kind of proxy memoir-that is, I would relate to the reader Win s life story as she told it to me. Certainly, our conversations did follow a kind of chronological path from her childhood through the various segments of her life to her final return home. But this initial assessment of what I had in my hands about Win Horner s life was but the bare skeleton of what I would discover as I trolled through the boxes, read the brittle papers, studied her dissertation, read her articles and stories, listened to her voice, and watched her beloved face and gestures on video. Three years it has taken me to formulate some of the salient features of Win Horner s life and her art-the art of writing.
Win Horner believed in writing the way some people believe in religion. She did not love writing as some people love God, nor did she see writing as an icon of adoration. Win believed in the power of words and the power of writing the way some people believe in the power of religion. In fact, Win was not above quoting scripture to make her argument for the power of language- In the beginning was the Word -which should remind us that those uttered words were transformed into things and beings. She was happiest, most content, when she was working, which for Win meant when she was writing, transforming words into stories-artful depictions of life.
Combing through all of the folders, files, and boxes that litter my study, I have come to understand Win better now than I ever did when she was living. Perhaps the most important fact I have uncovered is that there wasn t a period in Win s life after the age of ten or twelve when she was not consistently writing. She did not just want to be a writer; she was a writer. The subject matter of her writing was her life and all the people who shared her life with her. Although her husband and children knew she had written a great deal, there are surprises in her boxes-stories they had never read, a humorous novel of her time following Dave in the military, an essay on suicide, another on the value and challenges of a strong marriage.
Remarkably, even as a child, Win thought of herself as a writer. Tucked away in her many treasured boxes, I found her early diaries written at Water Oaks when she was twelve. Her mother had given her some new stenographer s notebooks and invited Win to begin writing down her thoughts during the long summer months. Apparently she also had an earlier diary, which she mentions in her book Life Writing : I remember receiving a small diary when I was eight years old. The most fascinating things about it were the lock on the leather binding that held it shut and the tiny key that came with it. In the five lines provided for each day, I seldom went beyond the daily activities of getting up, eating, and going to school. As my entries became more and more repetitive, I became increasingly bored-in spite of the thrill of locking my diary each night and carefully hiding the key in my underwear drawer, the most private space I had. In describing the differences between diaries and memoir, she writes, In their dailyness, they [diaries] are embedded in the present without the long view. They lack the perspective that later experiences may give to an event. By the time Win was twelve, she had graduated from the methodical diary entries to her journals, which reveal a girl far beyond her years, precocious writing, and a budding talent. Her journals at twelve are far more than simply a daily record of the summer of 1934. In her entries, Win copied poems, kept lists of the books she was reading and from whom she had borrowed each one, and spent pages in deep philosophical thought about life and what she might experience as she grew up. She pondered religion, wrote about her special quiet times with her mother, and questioned what her elders had told her about God and eternal life.
Because there are few other diaries or personal journals in the boxes strewn about my study, I was convinced that Win did not continue keeping chronicles of her life after those summer journals. Yet, sitting on the sofa in Win s apartment at TigerPlace, a senior residence in Columbia, with her youngest daughter, Beth, I marveled as she brought out irref

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