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The unfit heiress : the tragic life and scandalous sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt  Cover Image Book Book

The unfit heiress : the tragic life and scandalous sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt / Audrey Clare Farley.


"At the turn of the twentieth century, American women began to reject Victorian propriety in favor of passion and livelihood outside the home. This alarmed authorities, who feared certain "over-sexed" women could destroy civilization if allowed to reproduce and pass on their defects. Set against this backdrop, THE UNFIT HEIRESS chronicles the fight for inheritance, both genetic and monetary, between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her mother Maryon. In 1934, aided by a California eugenics law, the socialite Maryon Cooper Hewitt had her "promiscuous" daughter declared feebleminded and sterilized without her knowledge. She did this to deprive Ann of millions of dollars from her father's estate, which contained a child-bearing stipulation. When a sensational court case ensued, the American public was captivated. So were eugenicists, who saw an opportunity to restrict reproductive rights in America for decades to come. This riveting story unfolds through the brilliant research of Audrey Clare Farley, who captures the interior lives of these women on the pages and poses questions that remain relevant today: What does it mean to be "unfit" for motherhood? In the battle for reproductive rights, can we forgive the women who side against us? And can we forgive our mothers if they are the ones who inflict the deepest wounds?"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781538753354
  • ISBN: 1538753359
  • Physical Description: viii, 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York, NY : Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, 2021.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references.
Formatted Contents Note:
The sterilized heiress -- "Over-sexed" -- Remaking the world -- Mayhem -- The newcomer -- The chrysalis -- An accident -- A new Ann -- Fugitive prisoner -- Plotting -- The wizard -- Love of the lamp -- The criminal trial -- Burying the sterilized heiress -- Mr. Marriage -- The inquest -- Operation lawsuit -- Madrigal v. Quilligan -- Another reveal -- Remembering Ann.
Subject: Hewitt, Ann Cooper, 1914-1956.
Hewitt, Ann Cooper, 1914-1956 > Trials, litigation, etc.
Heiresses > United States > Biography.
Socialites > United States > Biography.
Involuntary sterilization > United States > History > 20th century.
Reproductive rights > United States > History > 20th century.
Involuntary sterilization.
Reproductive rights.
United States.
Genre: Biography.
Trials, litigation, etc.

Available copies


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
East Grand Forks Campbell Library 363.97 FARLEY (Text) 520284 Non-Fiction Available -

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