Peg Yorkin interviewed by Natalie Fousekis, September 27, 2016, Beverly Hills, California, Oral History #5936, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history with Peg Yorkin, co-founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation, for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project. The purpose of this interview was to learn about Yorkin’s life leading up to her philanthropic endeavors, particularly providing the financial foundation upon which the Feminist Majority Foundation was established. Specifically this interview discusses Yorkin’s childhood and family life in New York City; memories of parents and the challenges of having an alcoholic father; early education and above-average intelligence; attending college at Barnard during World War II; developing a desire to act and joining the Neighborhood Playhouse drama school; tells story of how her hand earned the ‘turning-the-page’ role on “Let’s Pretend” children’s television show; meeting her first husband at summer stock, but the marriage not lasting more than two years; relocating to Los Angeles, California, and working at Bullock’s Department Store; meeting second husband, Bud Yorkin, a television producer and director; starting a family and moving to Encino, California, as Bud earned acclaimed success; the challenges of being a stay-at-home mother during the 1950s and need more stimulation; getting involved with SHARE [Share Happily And Reap Endlessly], a women’s philanthropic organization consisting mainly of Hollywood wives; her role producing for the Pilgrimage Theater and the L.A. Free Shakespeare Festival; running a Bingo game and raising thousands of dollars for charity; writing her book Bingo for Profit for the Non-Profit World; advocating how names of women in SHARE did not have to include their husbands’ name; becoming active as a feminist during the Equal Rights Amendment; meeting Ellie Smeal and early discussions of forming Feminist Majority Foundation; divorce from Bud Yorkin; and finally, how meeting Roz Wyman (Los Angeles City Council) helped her get more involved as a feminist and activist.
Peg Yorkin (left), Natalie Fousekis (center), and Kathy Spillar (right) at Feminist Majority Foundation offices, 2017.
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