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Miriam's Words

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About the author:
Miriam Barber Judd (author) was born in India in 1904 to missionary parents. They moved back to the United States when she was 8 and they settled in Montclair, NJ. She attended Mount Holyoke College, graduating in 1925. It was there that she first met Dr. Walter Judd. They were both involved with the Student Volunteer Movement, and she was the editor of their magazine in New York City for two years. She then taught English in India for two years. She received a Master's degree from Columbia Teacher's College. She and Walter were married in 1932, and after a short stay in Minnesota, they moved to China, where Walter was head of a hospital in the interior. After the Japanese invaded, she was finally forced to flee for good with her two young daughters, and Walter joined them a year later in New Jersey, where by now Miriam had given birth to a third daughter.

After Walter's election to Congress in 1942 on the strength of his stance against Japanese militarism, they moved to Washington, D.C., where they stayed for the remainder of their lives. There, Miriam ran a household and raised three daughters while volunteering with the Red Cross, Congressional Wives' Club, United Givers' Fund and Meals-on-Wheels. She was involved in several church leadership roles as well. She was dedicated to the YWCA, serving on the board of the area branch as well as the national organization, and it was during her presidency of the National Capitol Area YWCA that all the branches of the area were first desegregated. She also remained very active in her Mount Holyoke alumnae activities, and spoke to many civic groups about her experiences. She died in 1994 at almost 90, just four months after Walter's death.

Mary Lou Judd Carpenter (editor) was born in Rochester, MN but lived in China until she was almost four. After several years in Montclair, NJ and Minneapolis, MN, her father, Dr. Walter H. Judd, was elected to Congress and the family moved to Washington, D.C., where she grew up. After graduation from Mount Holyoke College in 1955, Mary Lou worked in New York City and at the University of Michigan. Since 1960 she has lived in Minneapolis where she has participated extensively in volunteer efforts on behalf of human rights, social welfare, and church, school, and community well-being. She has three children and seven grandchildren.

Miriam's Words

The Personal Price of a Public Life

Authored by Miriam Barber Judd
Edited by Mary Lou Judd Carpenter

Miriam Barber Judd was a missionary, a college-educated woman, a mother, a deeply faithful woman, and a strong leader for the empowerment of women. Yet the role she was most known for, at least publicly, was as the wife of Congressman Walter H. Judd. In this role, she had tea with Eleanor Roosevelt, lunch with Mamie Eisenhower, went boating with the Kennedys, met dignitaries and movie stars, and became friends with the Nixons. In this deeply moving collection of letters, we see the depth of this amazing woman’s life. We see her as the young woman living in China in the midst of incredible civil turmoil, where she clung to her children while fleeing across the countryside to escape invasion by the Japanese. We see her yearning to be with a husband whose passion for human service keeps him at a great distance. Through her private writings, we see her fears as she raises three young daughters—practically alone. We see the tension between being dutiful wife and conflicted mistress to a man’s work. We see the strife of being an educated, strong woman at a time when a woman’s purpose was to keep house. Miriam’s Words: The Personal Price of a Public Life is more than a collection of letters—it is history unfolding. It is the evolution of human rights, women’s rights, and civil rights. It is the journey of one woman who was prepared for anything, but reluctant about the direction of her husband’s life in public service. Through her strength, her faith, her work with the YWCA—we clearly see the woman behind the man. Miriam’s Words is a poignant, first-person, real-time account of a woman who set out to right wrongs, to make a difference, and to lead the way for generations to come.

Publication Date:
098904890X / 9780989048903
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8" x 10"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Historical / General

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