Plitt, Jane R. 1948-

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PLITT, Jane R. 1948-

PERSONAL: Born March 19, 1948, in Suffern, NY; daughter of George (an entrepreneur) and Rose (an office manager) Plitt; married James Bruen (a business executive), September 1, 1973; children: Brett, Beth. Education: Cornell University, B.S., 1969. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, hiking, movies.

ADDRESSES: Home—1394 Highland Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; fax: 585-271-3135. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Rochester Telephone Co., Rochester, NY, labor relations manager, beginning 1969; National Organization for Women, Chicago, IL, executive director, beginning 1973; Cresap, McCormick & Paget, Chicago, consultant, beginning 1975; New York State Department of Commerce, Rochester, business ombudsperson, beginning 1977; JP Associates, Rochester, president, beginning 1979. State of New York, arbitrator, 1979—; Workers Compensation Board, member of administrative practices and procedures committee. University of Rochester, visiting scholar, beginning 1996. Unite and Write, board member and chair, 1996-99; Writers and Books, board member, 2001—. WXXI Public Radio and Television, board member and board chair, 1983-99; Susan B. Anthony House, board member, 2001-03; Rochester Women's Network, founder; Rochester Chamber of Commerce, president of Small Business Council; member of Riverside Convention Center.

MEMBER: National Association of Women Business Owners (founder of Rochester chapter).

AWARDS, HONORS: Best ombudsman of New York State designation, 1979; W Award, Rochester Women's Network, 1991.


Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream: How One Woman Changed the Face of Modern Business, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 2000.

Contributor to books, including It's Harder for Women, edited by William Stolze, Rock Beach Press, 1988. Contributor to periodicals, including Franchising World and Chicago Sun-Times.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on nurses at Normandy Beach during World War II; research on mothers of football players.

SIDELIGHTS: Jane R. Plitt told CA: "As a young child I babbled incomprehensibly. When my mother asked my first-grade teacher about whether speech therapy might help me, she was told 'No, there is nothing wrong with Jane. Her mind just is working faster than her mouth. Eventually it will catch up.' Finally I discovered writing. That discovery provided a profound outlet for my soul and brain to connect. I had thoughts, deep ones, the passion of a child of the sixties, and the ability to research information. By combining all, I could produce a story that might influence others.

"As a young professional, I learned to write persuasive business memoranda, then answers to grievances, then arbitration awards, business proposals, plans, and marketing pieces. All of this productive writing did not satisfy my soul. What difference did it make?

"Happenstance connected me with the buried story of Martha Matilda Harper, creator of modern retail franchising. Middle-age curiosity propelled me to uncover and document her story over a six-year journey that had me give up business and become a visiting scholar.

"Influenced by two high school teachers, one who taught me to simply tell the story without introduction or conclusion, the other who gave me a love of history, I wrote my first book. My new projects continue my interest in documenting the story of forgotten women. It seems that in rediscovering their stories, my soul pulsates.

"The writing process continues to be arduous. How to find the right voice, the right words, the right length? Ultimately, it is a painful journey that gets done only through perspiration, lots of rewrites, lots of heartaches, and finally the magic of creative preparation."



Booklist, June 1, 2000, Margaret Flanagan, review of Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream: How One Woman Changed the Face of Modern Business, p. 1820.