In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com.
The following post is from Harriet Simons. Harriet was Director of Choruses at the State University of NY at Buffalo from 1972-1998. Named 1996’s Conductor of the Year by her state choral directors association, she prepared choruses for Pablo Casals, Robert Shaw, Lukas Foss, and Pierre Boulez. Simons has published many articles, one book, Choral Conducting: A Leadership Teaching Approach, and a chapter in Wisdom, Wit and Will: Women Choral Conductors on their Art.
It didn’t take any time for me to decide not to change my last name when I married. I was 42 years old, a feminist, a church member (liberal church), and had built a professional career as a choral conductor. My name was on every program I presented each year. It was on the articles I had published in professional journals. I was marrying a man who had been previously married. His former wife had taken his name. I did not want to be another “Mrs. C.”
My husband-to-be had no objection. I don’t remember having to explain my choice to anyone. My parents and siblings never said anything about it. I am not sure if people were hyphenating names at that time. (I married in 1979.) I don’t believe I knew of anyone who had done so. Obviously, I was too old to consider having children, so that did not enter into my decision. If it had, I would have probably gone the hyphenation route.