A rejection letter from Walt Disney Productions sent in 1938 has resurfaced on Reddit overnight as a reminder that for women in Hollywood, there was a time when equal opportunity was unimaginable.
Addressed to an aspiring cartoonist, Mary Ford, the letter paints an uncomfortable picture of the challenges women faced pursuing careers in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Disney Rejection Letter to a Woman, 1938. pic.twitter.com/Ow9NG9r2Ak
— History In Pictures (@historyepics) June 14, 2017
“Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen as that is performed entirely by young men,” the letter reads.
“The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with Indian ink and filling in the tracings on the reverse side with point according to directions.”
Bleak words disguised on cheery paper, Mary was ultimately advised to shoot for the lower stars of the tracing department where women could be trusted with the ink.
The letter was discovered by Mary’s surviving grandson, Kevin Burg, several years ago – who told the Huffington Post at the time that he believed his grandmother never pursued her dreams.
“[She] had a lifelong appreciation for art which she passed along to me,” he told the website.
“We don’t have any examples of her work but I remember she would create beautiful sketches or doodles.”
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