'Mad Men' series inaccurately depicts difficulties of divorce for women in '60s

Historians in the News

..."As historians, most of us just love 'Mad Men' -- it is so realistic, not just in the details, but in the gender dynamics," said Stephanie Coontz, a sociologist and professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. "But, I think in this case they've gotten it wrong."

Discovering Don was not the man she thought she knew was merely the last straw for Betty, who surely suspected her husband's many dalliances. So she began a flirtatious relationship with Henry Francis, a well-placed aide to Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York.

Henry flew with her to Nevada, where "divorce mills" of the day allowed (mostly) women to establish residency for six weeks, then file for divorce.

But Ms. Coontz, who has authored a number of books examining American life and family, said she doubts someone like Henry would have considered courting a married woman with three young children.

"In 1964, Nelson Rockefeller could not run for president because he was divorced -- anyone with high aspirations, unless he was absolutely besotted with love, would never have considered getting involved in a divorce."...

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