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Ruth Hale

Born: 1886
Birthplace: Rogersville, TN
Died: 18-Sep-1933
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Respiratory failure

Gender: Female
Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Activist, Critic
Party Affiliation: See Note [1]

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Maiden name crusader

Ruth Hale wrote for numerous major newspapers and magazines, and working for the Philadelphia Public Ledger she became the first widely-read female drama critic. Politically active, she spoke and wrote against the executions of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, anarchists convicted of murder in a trial of questionable integrity, and after their executions she became an activist against capital punishment. She was better known, however, for her feminism. She was the wife of newspaper columnist Heywood Broun but did not adopt his last name, and in 1921 she was refused an American passport unless her name was listed as "Ruth Hale Broun". In protest she and her husband cancelled their plans to visit Europe, and Hale established the Lucy Stone League, a group that advocates for women's legal right to keep their last names upon marriage. She made headlines later that same year when she and Broun purchased a home and, after some legal wrangling, successfully had the deed issued to both of them as separate persons, not as Mr & Mrs Heywood Broun -- a first in New York history.

Hale was also an occasional stage actress, wrote the Broadway adaptation of Elinor Wylie's novel The Venetian Glass Nephew, and dined often with Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Harpo Marx and friends at the Algonquin Round Table. Near the end of her life she divorced Broun, a parting she described as "gentle, quiet and refined". She said they remained in love, and they continued essentially living together, but she had "always wanted to be an old maid". She died thirteen months after their divorce, with her ex-husband at her side. Their son, Heywood Hale Broun, became a familiar television sportscaster.

[1] National Women's Party

Father: Richard Hale
Mother: Anne Riley Hale
Heywood Broun (journalist, b. 7-Dec-1888, m. 6-Jun-1917, div. 17-Nov-1933, d. 18-Dec-1939)
Son: Heywood Hale Broun (sportscaster, b. 10-Mar-1918, d. 5-Sep-2001)

    University: Hollins University
    University: Drexel University

    The Brooklyn Eagle
    Chicago Tribune
    The New York Times
    Philadelphia Public Ledger
    The Washington Post
    Vanity Fair
    Algonquin Round Table

Author of books:
The First Five Years of the Lucy Stone League (1926)

Wrote plays:
The Venetian Glass Nephew (1931)

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