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Title usage: ---- Ms.

In this morning's Boston Globe, Alex Beam wrote an article about the term Ms. (first coined in 1901!) and he has this marvelous quote from a William Safire column in the Times in 1982.
"Actually, my Miss name was Holtz. My Mrs. name was Goodman," she wrote. "But I am no longer married to Goodman, or Dr. Goodman as The Times would put it. Now Miss Holtz isn't exactly right. Nor is Miss Goodman. Nor is Mrs. Goodman.

"To compound the problem, I will be marrying a perfectly delightful person with a single flaw. His name is neither Goodman nor Holtz but Levey. I will not become Mrs. Levey, needless to say. Nor will I go back to Holtz. Due to bylines and children, I shall forever remain Goodman, unless I change this time to Goodperson, Or simply Good."

She signed the letter "Ellen May Holtz Goodperson."

Beam closes: "Good for her. After four more years of careful deliberations, the Times started using "Ms." in 1986."

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In February of 1986, I had a job in IBM real estate. We built office buildings for leasing. We built one in NYC and a Times reporter wanted to quote me for his piece on the building. He got his quote and verified the spelling of my name and then asked 'Are you married?'. ???? I got up on my ERA high horse and asked him what that had to do with IBM real estate and he said he had to use a title - either Miss or Mrs. with my quote. I said that he could use Ms. He said he could not. Stalemate.

Because I was young and full to the brim of the importance of me, I verified with my manager 'Am I required by IBM to divulge my marital status to the New York Time?' 'Of course not.'

So I didn't. I called the reporter back and suggested he get a quote from Mr. Manager.

In retrospect, I'm very grateful to IBM for indulging me.


good for them! (or at least, good for you manager at the time)

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