Doris & Eddy: The Waldorf-Astoria Incident

Doris and Edward got married September 16, 1922 in a municipal chapel in New York. According to what Doris would later write, they got married without the traditional wedding rings because they considered them to be a taboo or a symbol of a woman being tied down by a man.

Their wedding got a lot of publicity because that same night, Doris, an early feminist and member of the Lucy Stone League, insisted on registering at the Waldorf-Astoria with her maiden name. However, according to Susan Henry and Bernays’ autobiography, Doris’ decision to sign with her maiden name was driven by him. Apparently, she did not care as much about the matter. On the contrary, Bernays did seem to want to maintain their separate names and thought they would both benefit from being treated as independent people by others.  This may partially explain Bernays’ aberration for the institution of marriage. Lets not forget he was convinced that he would never get married, an opinion which was very strong for him. His brother in law even took the Bernays name to keep the family name for more generations. In his autobiography, Bernays said:

“I have an inner fear that marriage… would take away some of my liberties as an individual if there were always a Mrs. added to my name.”

On another note, Bernays was emphatic on the social advantages this situation would give them, and he believed they would both be able to interact better with the opposite sex if their marriage was unknown. He also explained the importance of his decision in the following terms:

“I think a woman should retain her identity…is very important to her own development, and I think it is equally important to the man’s own independence not to be treated in terms of her, but in terms of himself.”

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