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Jean Field Committee Records, 1951-1952
MSS 71  
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These are records from the Jean Field Committee, which was formed in 1951 to aid Jean Field in her child custody appeal case. Field lost custody of her children in 1950 based only on the contents of two letters she wrote criticizing the U.S. government involvement in Korea at the time. She had been awarded sole custody in 1940 when her husband abandoned her and the children. He never had any further contact nor provided financial support up to the time of the custody reversal. The records contain correspondence, fliers and brochures, an account written by Field, a report of a support raising tour conducted by Martin Hall, and receipts of donations made to the committee.
Jean Field was a single mother, living in Santa Monica, California, who had been raising her two children without any financial support or contact from their father for ten years, when she was declared an unfit mother and denied custody by the Oklahoma courts in 1950. Field had been awarded sole custody of her children by the Oklahoma court at the time of her divorce in 1940 because her husband, Vernon Field, had abandoned his family. The children were visiting their father in Oklahoma for the first time since he had left the family. In response to questions asked during a telephone conversation with her son Jay regarding U.S. involvement in Korea, Field wrote two letters expressing her pacifism and objections to U.S. foreign policy of the time. These letters were the sole basis for the change in parental custody issued by the Oklahoma court. On the belief that the Oklahoma court had no jurisdiction to award custody, Field went to Oklahoma to retrieve her children. Upon returning with them to California she was arrested for kidnapping. The California court recognized the Oklahoma court's decision and returned the childred to their father, who took them back to Oklahoma. Field's only recourse was to appeal her case in the Oklahoma courts.
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