And despite coming from a home that was different than many of her classmates’ roots, Maddox says she has fond memories of the other Radcliffe students.
“I really enjoyed meeting and going to classes with the other girls, and I found the courses stimulating, but I didn’t have a date every Saturday night,” she says. “For me, the social scene was trying to get home and see my mother.”
She doesn’t remember ever being frustrated with Harvard men, “except if they didn’t notice me, or if I didn’t look pretty enough,” she says. “I played the game by the then-rules, and I certainly wasn’t a feminist.”
And Maddox says the exclusion of women from libraries, dining halls and dorms at Harvard never bothered her much.
“We wouldn’t go into Lamont [Library] like we wouldn’t go into a men’s room,” she says. “You never thought of making a protest of it.”
Although Maddox says she went home so often in her first year that even the dean commented on it, the academics eventually drew her into the core of Radcliffe life.
“I didn’t have any ambition, I just wanted to get through [college],” Maddox says.
Falling into Place
Maddox says she never thought she would end up a writer, but “just fell into journalism and writing—it’s all about just asking the right questions.”
After college, Maddox took up all sorts of odd jobs until she landed a position as a writer for the Quincy Patriot, the daily paper for Quincy, Mass.
Maddox says she had “no inkling” that she would go into journalism while she was at Radcliffe, where she was too afraid to try out for The Crimson or The Radcliffe News.
But at the Quincy Patriot, which provided a “great training ground” for her in a remarkably egalitarian atmosphere, she found her perfect match.
“Journalism and I just clicked, and I never looked back,” Maddox says of her first newspaper job.
Maddox remained at the Quincy Patriot for about three years.
“The only thing a woman couldn’t cover was a trainwreck,” she says.