Ann Fessler  

Filmmaker and author Ann Fessler turned to the subject of adoption after being approached by a woman who thought Ann might be the daughter she had surrendered forty years earlier. As an adoptee, she was profoundly moved by the experience and has since produced three films and written an award winning non-fiction book on adoption. Her film, A GIRL LIKE HER, reveals the hidden history of over a million unmarried women who became pregnant in the 1950s - early 70s, and were banished to maternity homes to give birth, and surrender their children. The film combines footage from educational films and newsreels of the time period about dating, sex, "illegitimate" pregnancy, and adoption with the voices of these mothers as they speak today, about the long-term impact of surrender and silence on their lives. A GIRL LIKE HER has been screened at festivals, colleges, and conferences around the globe and has been subtitled in five languages. Her book, The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade (Penguin Press, 2006) was chosen as one of the top 5 non-fiction books of 2006 by the National Book Critics Circle, and was awarded the Ballard Book Prize, given to a female author who advances the dialogue about women's rights. In 2011, it was chosen by the readers of Ms. magazine as one of the top 100 feminist books of all time.

Available Title(s):

A Girl Like Her

A film by Ann Fessler, 2012, 48 min, Color

From 1945-73, 1.5 million unmarried young American women, facing enormous social pressures, surrendered babies to adoption. Lacking sex education and easy access to birth control, they were forced into hiding while pregnant and then into “abandoning” their infants. In her latest film, Ann Fessler, Professor of Photography at Rhode Island School of Design, reprises the…

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