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The Fierce Life of Grace Holmes CarlsonCatholic, Socialist, Feminist$
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Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479802180

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479802180.001.0001

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The Break

The Break

(p.156) 5 The Break
The Fierce Life of Grace Holmes Carlson

Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

NYU Press

Chapter 5 examines Grace’s decision to leave the SWP in 1952 and to return to the Catholic Church, a choice that shocked her former Trotskyist comrades. Stemming from personal and spiritual reasons after the death of her father, Grace’s break with the SWP was not due to political factionalism; she remained a Marxist and, unlike other high-profile defectors, never informed for the FBI. But because she had been blacklisted as a former high-level SWP member, she could not find a job. Her experiences during the early 1950s show the impact of the Second Red Scare on individual lives, providing a case study of a woman’s experience, which heretofore has been largely overlooked. With the help of a local priest, Grace found work first as an administrative assistant at St. Mary’s Hospital in Minneapolis and then as a faculty member who was deeply involved with the mission of Saint Mary’s Junior College (SMJC). With Sister Ann Joachim Moore, she cowrote the St. Mary’s Plan for the new college in 1964. She also soon reunited with her husband, Gilbert, and began to rebuild her life with a new (mostly Catholic) network of colleagues and friends.

Keywords:   Second Red Scare, FBI, St. Mary’s Junior College, Sister Ann Joachim Moore, St. Mary’s Plan, Catholic network

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