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Elizabeth Hall Janeway Edit Profile

novelist

Elizabeth Hall Janeway, American writer. Recipient educator's award Delta Kappa Gamma, 1972; named Distinguished Alumna Barnard College, 1979; recipient Medal of Distinction, 1981.

Background

Janeway, Elizabeth Hall was born on October 7, 1913 in Brooklyn. Daughter of Charles H. and Jeannette F. (Searle) Hall.

Education

Student, Swarthmore College. AB, Barnard College, 1935. Doctor of Philosophy in Literature (honorary), Simpson College.

Doctor of Philosophy in Literature (honorary), Cedarcrest College. Doctor of Philosophy in Literature (honorary), Villa Maria College. Doctor of Hebrew Literature (honorary), Russell Sage College, 1981.

Doctor of Hebrew Literature (honorary), Florida International University, 1988. Doctor of Hebrew Literature (honorary), Simmons College, 1989.

Career

Intent on becoming an author, Janeway took the same creative writing class again and again to help hone her craft. Elizabeth described Eliot as "the most intelligent man I had ever met." The Janeways mingled with United States Supreme Court justices and many other luminaries of the day (she recommended Erica Jong's Fear of Flying to Justice William O Douglas). At the behest of labor organizer Walter Reuther she aided General Motors workers with their mid-1940s strike against the company.

A later novel, 1949's The Question of Gregory, attracted attention due to the eerie similarities between Gregory and James Forrestal, a Defense Secretary and acquaintance of the Janeways who committed suicide. Janeway denied any connection between fact and fiction. She said the real theme of the book was "liberals in trouble".

All in all Janeway wrote seven novels. One, 1945's Daisy Kenyon, was made into a film starring Joan Crawford. For a time Janeway was a reviewer for the New York Times.

She was also a reviewer for Ms. magazine. From 1965–1969 she served as president of the Authors Guild, addressing lawmakers about copyright protection and other matters. Many of Janeway's early works focused on the family situation, with occasional glimpses at the struggles of women in modern society.

In the early 1970s, she began a more explicitly feminist path with works such as Man's World, Woman's Place: A Study of Social Mythology. She befriended Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Kate Millett and was strongly in favor of abortion rights. Janeway continued to write and go on lecture tours.

She learned to speak Russian so that she could visit the Soviet Union. She was an executive of International PEN. At its 1981 commencement ceremonies, her alma mater Barnard College awarded Janeway its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction. Elizabeth Hall Janeway died in 2005 at her Rye, New York home.

She was survived by two sons: Columbia Graduate School of Journalism professor, Boston Globe editor and former Atlantic Monthly executive Michael Janeway and William H. Janeway, until 2006 a vice-chairman at Warburg Pincus, as well as by three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Achievements

  • In that capacity she introduced writer Anthony Powell and served as a champion of controversial works such as Lolita. Janeway was a judge for the National Book Awards in 1955 and for the Pulitzer Prize in 1971.

Works

Politics

Never a supporter of the Communist Party or even a socialist, she did breathe the progressive air of 1930s New York City. She always laughed as she described how she and a Barnard friend met their physical education requirement by improvising a tap-dance version of The Internationale.

Membership

Past chairman New York State Council Humanities. Past board directors National Organization of Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, Federation State Humanities Council. Board directors National Cultural Alliance.

Member Authors Guild (council), Authors League American (council), Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association, Phi Beta Kappa (honorary).

Connections

Married Eliot Janeway (deceased 1993). Children: Michael, William.

father:
Charles H. Hall

mother:
Jeannette F. (Searle) Hall

spouse:
Eliot Janeway

children:
Michael Janeway

William Janeway