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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Eileen Whalen Fawcett Papers MSS.2730

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Publication:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266
205.348.0500
archives@ua.edu

March 2014

Creation:

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-03-21T09:50-0500

Language Usage:

English

Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Eileen Whalen Fawcett Papers

Unit ID:

MSS.2730

Repository:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Quantity:

0.2 Linear feet

Dates:

2007

Abstract:

Contains the typed manuscript of Eileen Whalen Fawcett's book, Secrets Kept: The Story of a Priest's Daughter. There is also an article from the March 2007 issue of Today's Woman Magazine.

creator

Fawcett, Eileen

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Wade Hall, 2009

Processing Information:

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2010

Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of the typed manuscript of Eileen Whalen Fawcett's book, Secrets Kept: The Story of a Priest's Daughter. There is also an article from the March 2007 issue of Today's Woman Magazine and a brief statement from Wade Hall explaining that Eileen Fawcett was his secretary when he chaired the humanities and arts program at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Biographical/Historical note

Eileen Whalen Fawcett was born in 1941, in Grenora, North Dakota. When she was four, her family moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana. In order to hide their relationship with her father, Arnold Backes, who was a Roman Catholic priest, Eileen's mother, Lucille Thull of Grenora, North Dakota, and her four children pretended that Lucille was a widow and Arnold was her brother. He would leave his parishes in North Dakota to "visit" them, generally staying about six months at a time. The children [Mary (Lucille's daughter from a previous relationship), Eileen, Richard (probably Arnold's son by an unknown woman) and Rose Lea] learned to keep the secret.

The strain of leading a double life contributed to Arnold's mental breakdown when Eileen was 11. He was taken to a hospital in St. Louis, where after months of counseling and therapy, he died following a fall from his fifth floor window trying to escape in April, 1953. The strain on Eileen's mother wasn't much less. She had the burden of holding the family together after Arnold's death. Lucille's increasing dependency on Eileen after Mary married forced Eileen from one job to another, most of which she was totally unsuited for.

To escape these pressures Eileen married her first husband Denny. In fact, Denny was the first outsider Eileen ever told about her father, nine years after his death. Afterwards she swore him to secrecy. The couple had two children, Leigh Ann and Denny Jr., but Denny's responses to Eileen's bouts with bipolar disorder made her realize that they were totally incompatible. After 17 years of marriage, Eileen filed for divorce.

After many years of counseling and therapy, Eileen conquered the insecurities and fears that seeded her manic-depressive episodes. She remarried, reconnected with her children, and made contact with her father's family.

Preferred Citation:

Eileen Whalen Fawcett Papers, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama.

Source(s)

Fawcett, Eileen (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Hall, Wade H. (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Authors (lcsh)

Literature and Authors (localbroad)

Women (localbroad)

Secrets Kept Manuscript and Article Box SC0036 Folder 2730.1