Doris Fleischman, feminist pioneer

Doris Fleischman (1891–1980)—feminist pioneer, journalist and author, as well as the business partner and wife of Edward Bernays—was one of the first of her generation to “have it all.” She grew up a fierce advocate for women’s rights, making headlines as the first woman to use her maiden name when checking into hotels, registering for a passport and signing her daughters’ birth certificates. In her 1955 book, “A Wife is Many Women,” Fleischman demonstrated that being progressive and independent were not mutually exclusive from being a wife, mother and head of household. In fact, while raising her family, she would hold dinner parties for dozens of clients, celebrities and politicians several times a week. Nonetheless, Fleischman never wanted her husband to see how difficult it was to manage a household, often waiting for Bernays to leave the apartment in the morning before adjourning her daily meetings with household staff, which included a dozen or more cooks, cleaners and chauffeurs. After years of proving that “having it all” was indeed a possibility for women, Flesichman succumbed to a stroke and died at age 89 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.