An Interview with Mary Beth Norton
Editor's Introduction: Historian Mary Beth Norton, of Cornell University, specializes in early American and women's history. Norton has written The
British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774-1789 (1972);
Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women,
1750-1800 (1980; 1996); and Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and
the Forming of American Society (1996), which was one of three finalists for the 1997Pulitzer Prize in History. She has coauthored a widely used introductory college American history text, A People and a Nation, and has edited a number of anthologies on early US and women's history.
On April 27th, 2000, Norton delivered the 2000 Fossieck Lecture at the University at Albany, SUNY. Her talk was titled "Sex, Religion, and Society in Early America; or, a 17th-Century Maryland Mènage a Trois and its Consequences" [available under the Sept. 14, 2000 broadcast at the University at Albany's Talking History Web site]. Earlier that day, she sat down with historian Ben Barker-Benfield to discuss her career and her approach to the study of early American women's history. We thank Dr. Norton for permission to include that conversation in this issue of the Journal for MultiMedia History.
This piece continues the series we initiated in our last issueconversations with outstanding historians, examining both their scholarship and the personal and social roots of their academic work.
Norton: People who describe themselves as doing gender history as opposed to women's history tend to look at both masculinity and femininity rather than primarily at women. They may still look primarily at women but they tend to define what they do a little bit differently. Gender history very much grew out of women's history. Women's history began in an attempt to restore women to history. As you well know, women had been left out of the writing of history for many, many years and so historians who started to look at women, like myself, began by looking specifically at the experiences of women but many of us realized that when we started to look at the experiences of women that we also had to look at the experiences of men. As men. And that's different from looking at men and calling it history. Which had been in the past. That is, that most history in the past has been written about men but it hasn't been written about men in their capacity as men. But when you're doing women's history you have to think about not only the history of women as females but also men as males and when this came home to me was when I was working on my book Liberty's Daughters in the late 1970s when I was trying to interpret passages in women's diaries from the late 18th century in which they talked constantly of the drudgery of their lives. And I thought to my myself, why do they see their lives as drudgery? Everybody in the late 18th century had very difficult work lives. What might they be comparing themselves to? And so I decided I had to look at some diaries of men as well to see if men were leading somewhat different lives. If their husbands and fathers were leading somewhat different lives than they were. And low and behold I discovered that that was true. That the women were doing the same thing day after day, but that the men, most of whom were farmers, had a much more varied existence. They would do one chore for three weeks, and then they would so something else for two weeks plus they would go to the mill, they would go to the tavern, they would see their friends, whereas the women were stuck in the household most of the time doing the same things over and over again. Every week laundry. Every day cooking. That sort of thing. And so it was looking at the men's experience that helped me to understand the women's attitudes towards theirs and so I was led to gender history for that reason.
Barker-Benfield: I think what you've just said many ring some bells with contemporary men and women. I'd like to back up a bit because, we will come back to Liberty's Daughters, but there was a while before you actually got into women's history and I wonder if you could tell the audience a little bit about your student days at the University of Michigan. You know what you specialized in and who the professors were and what the subject was of your graduate thesis.
Norton: As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan I was interested primarily in American history, but not in the colonial period. Colonial America at that time seemed to me to be the take up the first three weeks of any course until we got to the interesting stuff. I was not particularly interested at all in colonial America. In fact, I never took a course in colonial American history as an undergraduate. Although there were such courses offered at the University at Michigan. At Michigan I primarily worked with John Higham who is a very distinguished historian of American immigration and American intellectual history of the 19th century and I did my senior honors thesis with him. And, actually, my senior thesis was a study of Clarence Darrow and his changing legal philosophy. And it was my first experience using real unpublished primary source materials. I had a summer job in Washington, D.C., the summer between my junior and senior years of college and the Clarence Darrow papers were at the Library of Congress manuscript division. So every Saturday I would go work at the manuscript division on the papers of Clarence Darrow. And that was my first experience with doing, with looking at primary source materials in an unpublished form. It was wonderful. I got a chance to look at some of the drafts of his closing arguments and look at a lot of newspaper clippings. Unfortunately, most of the really personal papers were missing from that collection. They were not, the collection that was at the Library of Congress, was given by his wife or was sold by his wife to his biographer, Irvin Stone. And then Irvin Stone passed those on to the Library of Congress after he finished his biography. But almost all the personal material had been removed from the collection. Still for my purposes, which was a study of his legal philosophy, it was excellent because it had many, many reports of speeches that he had given, some of the trial transcripts, things like that.
Barker-Benfield: So this thesis must have played some role in your moving on to graduate school at Harvard?
Norton: Yes, I loved doing historical research and so I applied to go to graduate school and was accepted at Harvard and went expecting to be an 19th century American intellectual historian. But then my first year at Harvard I took a class in colonial America, a seminar in colonial American history, not from Bernard Bailyn, who is the great, was the great colonial historian at Harvard, he's now retired, but from Frederick Tolls who was visiting from Swarthmore because Bailyn was on leave writing what became his, perhaps his most famous work, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. And so I did not meet Bailyn but anyway I took this class from Tolls and on the one hand I got turned off of the subject that I had originally come to Harvard to study. I found that I wasn't interested in it any longer and on the other hand I found what Tolls was teaching much more interesting. And I actually did a graduate seminar paper that semester. It was my second semester of my first year at Harvard. On Massachusetts reactions to the stamp act. And for doing that I read a lot of letters and diaries and pamphlets at the Massachusetts Historical Society and at the Harvard Library. And I was thrilled by what I was reading. It just touched me in a way that nothing I had done before had touched me. And particularly the work of James Otis. I now say I was converted to colonial history by James Otis. Who was a brilliant pamphleteer of the stamp act crisis. And he really, it was like James Otis reached out across the years and said "here's the colonial period, it's waiting for you." And so I have been a colonial historian ever since.
Barker-Benfield: Now he was really an intellectual leader of the revolution?
Norton: Of the early years of the revolution. He actually went mad by the time of the revolution itself. He was in a brawl in 1769 and his subsequent mental deterioration is usually attributed to the aftermath of probably a concussion that he suffered in this brawl with a supporter of British authority in 1769. But in 1764 and 1765 he was one of the most forward thinking of the colonists and he wrote several really brilliant pamphlets on behalf of the colonial position.
Barker-Benfield: But you ended up writing a dissertation actually on the loyalists.
Norton: On the loyalists, that's right.
Barker-Benfield: Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Norton: Sure. Yes, I did end up writing about loyalists. My original idea actually was to write a dissertation about James Otis because, he was the one who turned me into a colonial historian after all. But then I found there was a dissertation on him and I read it and it bored me to tears and I decided I wouldn't be interested in doing that. So I talked to Bailyn about it and Bailyn said "well why not," and I thought well I'll work on Otis's opponents instead of working on Otis and Bailyn thought that was a pretty good idea. So I ended up focusing on the loyalists who went to England during the revolution which was wonderful for me because I loved London. I had been to London as a tourist a couple of years earlier and it was great to have a dissertation topic that required me to live in London since all my loyalists had gone to live in London I obviously had to go and live in London to study them. So that was, I had a really wonderful time in London in the spring of 1968 with a lot of other historians.
Barker-Benfield: And your dissertation became a book but it also is a prize winning book, but it also is a bridge that led you to Liberty's Daughters.
Norton: Right, yes, it did and the actual, actually the book didn't win the prize the dissertation won a prize. The dissertation won the prize for the best dissertation in American history that year. And that led to a publishing contract. The best thing about winning that prize is that it gives you a contract to publish your book. So, yes, I did that. And then actually it wasn't really the dissertation that led me to the, it wasn't the dissertation that led me to Liberty's Daughters. After I published the dissertation, I was casting about for another topic and at that time the very first articles in women's history were being published. And most of them focused on the early 19th century, the antebellum period and the people who were writing these articles and books about women and antebellum America were writing almost exclusively on middle class white women. And they all made assumptions about the colonial period that I thought were incorrect even though I had not formally studied women in the colonial period in my dissertation. I thought I had read a lot of letters that passed between loyalist, exile, husbands, and their wives, or between widows, loyalist exile widows, and their families. And I felt I had a sense of what something about women's lives were like even though I had not specifically focused on women. So I thought that many of these articles written about 19th century women were making mistakes and assumptions they were making about the lives of 18th century women and in particular in their assumption that 18th century women lived in a kind of golden age of equality with men. I thought that was simply not right. And so I decided well I'll write an article to and look at some of the information, look at women in the 18th century, and convince these folks that they're wrong. And that led me to my book, Liberty's Daughters. It wasn't an article at all. Eight years later it was a book. But the way I'd made the transition to it was by writing an article about loyalist women. Because when I started working on women, I realized that I knew nothing about women's history at all. But I knew a great deal about loyalist and I particularly knew a great deal about the loyalist claims that were presented to the British government at the end of the war. And I realized that there were women who had been loyalist claimants, so I had looked at some of the evidence about those claims for my dissertation although I had never broken the women out as a separate group. And so what I did was I pulled out of my files all the names of loyalist women who had submitted claims to the British government. I, before I thought about it, I thought maybe there were a hundred, or two hundred and then I went through the fifteen hundred cards that I had made for claimants and there were over three hundred names of women. I was astounded. I had never realized because I hadn't asked the question that way. I'd never realized there was that many women in the group that I'd looked at for my dissertation. So then I did a separate article specifically on loyalist women.
Barker-Benfield: All historians want to be pioneers but actually you are a pioneer. You were a pioneer. And did you feel alone, were there other people in the field, how did it feel sort of breaking this new ground?
Norton: At the time that I started doing the history of women in the 18th century there were very, very few people who were working on women's history in that period. As I said, there were growing numbers of historians working on women's history in the 19th century. There was hardly anybody working on women in the colonial period. And, yes, I did feel very much alone and some people told me I was crazy. In fact, one senior historian said to me, "what are you doing changing topics, you had a perfectly good field when you were studying loyalists. Why are you doing this weird thing and looking at women?" And then there were other people who said, "you're never going to find any evidence. There's no sources for women's history in the 18th century." But eight years later I proved them wrong.
Barker-Benfield: Yes, now how did you told us a little bit about Liberty's Daughters and its destruction of the myth of the golden age. It was also one of the very, in fact it generated the idea of republican motherhood.
Norton: It was one of two books that did that. The other one being Linda Kerber's, Women of the Republic, which came out six months after my book did. Our books were both published in 1980. We had been working on our two books simultaneously throughout much of the late 70s. We had known the other book was being done. We knew that most of the time we were working on our books. But the two books are very different and I actually like to assign them together to my graduate students today to show how two historians can have about the same idea at about the same time and still write two very different books. Linda is the one who talked about republican motherhood specifically I conceptualized it slightly differently and talked about republican womanhood. I didn't confine it to mothers the way she did.
Barker-Benfield: I think the ambiguity of women's position at the ending is a very striking aspect of that book. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Norton: Right. Well at the end, one of the basic trajectory of my argument in Liberty's Daughters is that the revolution is in some ways some limited ways liberating for women in that what it does is it the revolution, well I'll back up one second, the revolution is a very destructive and disruptive experience for American families. For women and men. It's the first major war that took men away from their families for long periods of time. Many of the leaders of the revolution were away from home for many years at erratic intervals. These are the men who were in congress, the officers of the continental army and so forth. And so their wives had to take on new tasks at home. Their wives had to do things they never had to do before. They had to decide what fields to plant with what grain. They had to decide where to sell the crops. They had to decide what to do about servants. They had to decide do I sell this horse, or do I buy that horse or what do I do about the livestock. All kinds of questions that women had never previously been in charge of. And they couldn't ask anybody for advice. Their husbands were away sometimes there was no other men in the neighborhood who they trusted or they didn't want to and so one of the things I do in the book is I chart the changing relationships of husbands and wives as wives have to take on more and more responsibilities. And to me a simple change of pronoun in many of the letters summed it up as I discovered in the early letters after husbands and wives were separated by the revolution. Men and women would talk about the farm as the husbands. The husbands would say it's my farm and the wife would call it your farm. In many of these families after several years it became our farm. And what's wonderful, as in the letters of Abigail and John, it goes further and for Abigail it becomes my farm and for John it becomes your farm. So they make this final leap. There's a complete change of the personal pronoun of who's doing the farming. But in any event, that for me symbolizes the kinds of opening up for women that occurred at the end of the revolution. Yet on the other hand, the other thing that happens at the end of the revolution is that or by the end of the revolution, is that although women's experiences now seem to be important for the survival of the nation and for the future of the country, the way it gets conceptualized is that women are important insofar as they help their menfolk to become good republican citizens and so that is embodied in republican husbands but especially in republican sons. And this is the theme of republican motherhood that what women do in the republic is they raise good republican sons who can go on to keep the republic alive. One of the key issues in America at this time is the belief in that fragility of the republican system of government and the belief of the rising generation is absolutely crucial to the maintenance of that government. And so, therefore, there begins at the end of the revolution this very strong emphasis on the improvement of women's education. Because the reasoning goes like this: if every republican boy can grow up to be president then every republican boy's mother has to be capable of educating him to be a good republican citizen. And, therefore, she has to be educated. This was the first time there was a rationalization for women learning more than the basics of education in this country.
Barker-Benfield: I think your work has taken a line to demonstrate how central to all of American history women have been and you have before we get your next research, you also committed yourself in the period after the publication of Liberty's Daughters to the authoring of a textbook to be used very widely in colleges in the publication of at least three anthologies. Could you tell us something about your vision of historian as a more general kind of educator?
Norton: I think that writing the textbook, let me talk about that. Writing the textbook has been one of the most important things I've done. It certainly is the thing that I have written that more people read than anything else I'll ever write.
Barker-Benfield: Could you give us the title?
Norton: Yes, the textbook is called A People and a Nationpublished by Houghton Mifflin Co. the publisher would like me to say. And we started writing it, we the team of six historians, started writing it in the late 1970s, the first edition came out in 1982 and it's come out every four years since in a new edition. Except this sixth edition is coming out after only three years for complex reasons that I won't go into but after this we'll go back to four years again. Basically what that means for me is a pattern of two years on and two years off. Because it takes about two years to prepare a new edition. And that involves one year of revising and rethinking and then another year in production. And we've just finished the year in production of this book. It's a very interesting, intellectual exercise not only is the money nice, because it sells very well not only in colleges but also in high schools. It's used widely for American history, advanced placement courses, and honors courses at the high school level as well as for history classes in college. The great benefit of this book for me is that it forces me every four years to rethink everything. I have to keep up, and it forces me to keep up in the field, and it forces me to think about the big picture constantly. I can't just squirrel myself away in a little corner and think about only my, my own little niche of history. That is, the history of women or gender. I have to think about how that fits into the bigger picture of early American history. In this textbook I write the first eight chapters. So I write from the beginning to the election of Thomas Jefferson and I'm responsible for every aspect of that so I write the foreign policy, I mean, I write every topic in that period and I have to think about how it all fits together. It's very useful because most of us we never get a chance to revise what we say in print. And I'm basically forced to revise what I say. And I change, sometimes dramatically, from one edition to another. For example, in this sixth edition, for the first time because of the publication of three or four major new books on colonial slavery since I did the previous edition, I now for the first time can be very specific about the experiences of slaves in the colonial period. I never could talk specifically very much about it before. Now we've had three major books that have come out. And so, therefore, I had to completely revise my treatment of colonial slavery, which by the way greatly expanded because now I had information that was never available before. Which by the way required me to throw out a bunch of another chapter because I have to keep a steady state, I can't add number of words, I add material, but I can't add words. So something has to go. Whenever I add something new to the textbook, and when you add something new in dramatic ways, it really causes you to say okay what is less important now. And so a big chunk of chapter three disappeared to make room for colonial slavery.
Barker-Benfield: Could you just say a word or two about why you published the anthologies on women's history?
Norton: Well, one of the anthologies on women's history was called Women of America. It's now out of print. It was published years ago. My friend Carol Burkin and I did it because we didn't find an adequate textbook available for us for teaching women's history in the early days. I think it were an original publication date of that of 1978. And we sat around her kitchen table constantly complaining about how there were no good books to use for teaching and so finally we decided well put up or shut up and do it ourselves. So we did. The other, another of the anthologies, I co-edited with Carol Groneman and those were papers from the 6th Berkshire Conference on Women's History that I was, that she and I were the co-chairs of in 1984.
Barker-Benfield: Could you tell us what the Berkshire Conference is? It's very important for scholarship.
Norton: The Berkshire Conference of Women's History happens every three years. It's an international conference. People literally come from all over the world. It is a conference that focuses on the history of women generally. It's sponsored by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians of which I'm a member and former president. Which is actually a very small group of women but we basically give a party to which, I think of it as giving a party every three years, to which a couple of thousand of people come. A couple thousand of our closest friends. It's very nice. The last one was last year in Rochester. And the next one will be two years from now in June in Storrs, Connecticut, at the University of Connecticut.
Barker-Benfield: So as well as showing how women's history must be a part of American history as a whole, you also continue to demonstrate and explore other aspects of women's history in these anthologies?
Norton: Oh, very much so, yes, right.
Barker-Benfield: Okay. Now we've come to your most recent publication, not your most recent research which takes us as you've showed, takes a while for a book to come out but your most recent book is called Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power in the Forming of American Society. That really is about women and men in a very sort of nitty gritty kind of a sense. Could you tell us something about its conceptual scheme and its findings?
Norton: Sure. Well I should say how I got started doing it I think. After I finished Liberty's Daughters, that's when I actually wrote the textbook for the first time. And that took a long time. Just when I was finishing up Liberty's Daughters was when I was also starting writing the textbook. And then after that was over I knew I wanted to write, continue to write, about women in the colonial period but I didn't just want to redo Liberty's Daughters for an earlier period. I knew that I wanted to look back at the 17th century where I had never worked before. Because all my previous work including all my graduate seminar papers and work in college, sorry graduate school, had been on 18th century and so I wanted to discover the new world in effect of the 17th century. But I didn't just want to redo Liberty's Daughters for that period it wasn't interesting to me. I wanted a conceptual challenge. So I decided at that point I was moving more into understanding and part because of the story I told you earlier about how I needed to look at men's diaries to understand what women were telling me at the end of the 18th century. I thought well what if I look at both women and men. And in particular what set me off was I was invited to give a talk and I decided in that talk to survey existing interpretations of women in the colonial period generally. And I went back and I re-read one after another a whole lot of articles and books that I had read over the years but I re-read them in a concentrated space. And I realized that a lot of people had written about the analogy drawn between the family and the state in the 17th century and how important it was to the first settlers of America that their belief that the family and the state were analogous that the king was like a father to his people and a father was like a king in his household but I realized that no one had ever paid any attention to gender in that when they talked about this. And I began to ask the question, "what did it mean for men that the power of fathers was analogized to the power of a king?" Or "what did it mean for women that the fifth commandment, honor thy father and mother was said to be the basis of all political authority?" And I asked the question, "if, in fact, I was just hypothesizing about it, if in fact the family was seen as the equivalent of the state and if honor thy father and mother was seen as the source of all authority then wouldn't that by extension potentially give women authority in the state?" And I was very interested in investigating that question. So that's what lies behind the book Founding Mothers and Fathers. And indeed I did discover that certain kinds of women in the 17th century could and did wield power in what we would today call the public sphere in very interesting ways.
Barker-Benfield: Nonetheless, you present a world that's now, to quote a phrase, lost in the patriarchy, goes. So could you, I know that you don't quite get there because that's beyond your period could you just tell when it went?
Norton: Well some people would say, it's never gone, but the patriarchal world of the 17th century I think disappears between sometime between 1670 and 1750. I mean I now understand that I've written volumes one and three of Atrilogy, Founding Mothers is volume, I mean Liberty's Daughters is volume three, Founding Mothers and Fathers is volume one, and now I'm working on trying to fill in the middle. And the middle is when a lot of ways is where the interesting changes take place. Where in fact the family and the state become conceptually separate from each other because by the time one gets to 1750 where I started Liberty's Daughters it's very clear that the family and the state are two different things. But where I leave off the story at the end of Founding Mothers and Fathers in 1670 or thereabouts the family and the state are still the same. They're still very much seen as entwined. And the power of the king is still seen as very much the power of a father and vice versa. So I'm now currently involved in looking for what happens in the middle.
Barker-Benfield: Conceptually that may be on the big picture very interesting, but what I found about Founding Mothers and Fathers is that it's just full of the most interesting stories.
Norton: Oh, I had such a wonderful time.
Barker-Benfield: I was just wondering if you could just maybe, I've listed a couple of things may be you want to volunteer some but the stories very painful things. You wrote a story of child abuse, involving John Humphrey's daughters.
Norton: The child sexual abuse of the daughters of John Humphrey's was very interesting. This is a man who was one of the founders of Massachusetts Bay. His daughters, he left his daughters, it's not entirely clear why but he sort of turned his daughters over to some neighbors and the neighbors some of the men were involved in sexually abusing the daughters and the story didn't come out for quite a long time. John Humphrey went back to England with his wife and leaving the daughters in America in the charge of these neighbors and where they were sexually abused. And when the story came out and when the girls blurted out to, it turns out, the new wife of their older brother, what had happened to them, everybody gets punished. The men who were involved in abusing them were punished in a very dramatic way, the chief miscreant had his nose slit open and his ears cut off, if I remember correctly. I remember the nose slit open. I think the ears cut off is right too. Plus, he was forced to wear a noose around his neck in perpetuity. And so that everyone would know his heinous crime as if they didn't know already from having his nose slit open. I mean this guy must have been grotesque. And they also, originally at least, forbade him to leave Boston. He had to be in the area, he couldn't go out of town. Finally, about five years later his wife petitioned rather piteously to ask him, to ask the government to let him leave Boston because he needed to get work and he couldn't work within Boston, he couldn't get enough work within Boston. So they did allow him to leave the confines of Boston. But then about five years after that she petitioned again so that he could take the noose off his neck. And they refused. And they said as long as they stayed in the colony that he had to keep the noose on his neck. But they actually left the colony soon thereafter and I think that he could take it off then.
Barker-Benfield: To symbolize the fact that he could have been killed?
Norton: Oh yes, absolutely, it was a symbolic hanging was actually quite important punishment. It was to remind people that it was only the mercy of the government that had kept you alive. I mean, one wonders what would happen today if people who had gotten off from you know potential capital offenses were forced to wear nooses around their necks. And they also had these provisions that you couldn't hide it under your clothing or whatever. It had to be visible at all times or you would be whipped if you were one of these guys to do that. Actually my favorite story from the book is Thomas St. Hall.
Barker-Benfield: Actually, that's the other question.
Norton: That was the other one that you were going to ask?
Barker-Benfield: Next one, under the clothing. Okay, that's a good lead in.
Norton: Thomas St. Hall is my absolute favorite story from the book. This is a person in seventeenth century Virginia. Actually in 1627 who gets called up before the general court of the colony of Virginia and the question is "What sex is this person"? The person sometimes called himself Thomas and dressed as a man and sometimes called herself Thomasin (not sure of spelling) and dressed as a woman. And this was rather disconcerting to the citizens of Virginia. The residents of early Virginia. And so this caused a lot of consternation among the Virginia population. Especially among the female population. And when at the times when Thomasin was dressed as a woman there were groups of women who would examine Thomasin's body and they decided that Thomasin was actually a man. And they actually convinced, Thomasin was a servant, and they actually convinced one of Thomasin's masters that Thomasin was a woman and so the master put Thomasin into men's clothing and called the servant Thomas and, but then, it had to come before the court because there was just too much confusion. So when the court had to decide, first I should say, when the court asked the person what sex are you, the person said I am both sexes. And so the court decided fine you're both sexes and so the court officially issued a decision that said that this was a person of dual sex and prescribed the clothing that the person should wear. And the clothing was to be male trousers, an apron and a female headdress. The headdress that a woman would wear. So unfortunately the Virginia colonial records were burned largely in a fire in the Virginia capitol building during the Civil War and so we don't know what in the long run happened to this person. This is just, this case is survived has survived in the one surviving piece, the one surviving record book from the 17th century Virginia general court records from this early period. And just a few pages further on the book was burned away. So we actually don't know what happened. It's just remarkable chance that we have this case. But it's a wonderful case.
Barker-Benfield: So this is a wonderful book. I should mention that it's published by Vintage.
Norton: By Vintage, yes.
Barker-Benfield: Founding Mothers and Fathers and as you can tell I mean this is really a very exciting book. And if you can't be certain about the outcome of the Thomasin Hall case, we can be certain that Professor Mary Beth Norton has really played an enormously important role and continues to do so in the writing of women's history in America. Thank you very much, indeed.
Norton: I was delighted to be here.
Mary Beth Norton
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