The Ladder, March 1957, Vol. 1, No. 6
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THE PURPOSE OF
THE DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS
A WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR THE PURPOSE Of PROMOTING THE INTEGRATION OF THE HOMOSEXUAL INTO SOCIETY BY:
1. Education of the variant, with particular emphasis on the psychological, physiological and sociological aspects, to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society in all its social, civic and economic implications--this to be accomplished by establishing and Maintaining as complete a library as possible of both fiction and non-fiction literature on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions on pertinent subjects to be conducted by leading Members of the legal, psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behaviour and dress acceptable to society.
2. Education of the public at large through acceptance first of the individual, leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous conceptions, taboo's and prejudices; through public discussion Meetings aforementioned; through dissemination of educational literature on the homosexual theme.
3. Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychology, sociology and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.
4. Investigation of the penal code as it pertains to the homosexual, proposal of changes to provide an equitable handling of cases involving this minority group, and promotion of these changes through due process of law in the state legislatures.
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Published monthly by the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., a non--profit corporation, 693 Mission Street, Rm. 308 San Francisco 5, California Telephone: Exbrook 7-0773
Vice President--Del Martin
Publications Director--Phyllis Lyon
MEN talk about Lesbians
It was a pleasant surprise to find in the February issue of MEN an intelligent appraisal of Lesbianism in an article entitled "The Twilight Women Among Us" by Edward Dengrove, M.D., with Doris Kulman.
Dr. Dengrove, a Fellow and Diplomats of the American Board of Psychiatry, feels that the first step in overcoming the "great pressures on the personality" imposed by society is to get to "know each other better" and so has collaborated with Miss Kulman in an explanation of the Lesbian problem for the male reader.
"According to some estimates between three and five million American women depend exclusively upon other women for sexual
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gratification, while about a fifth of our female population have homosexual experience sometime during their lives. Paced by so many women not likely to respond to his amatory advances, it's not difficult to see that a man's lack of Knowledge may have disastrous, even tragic, consequences for him."
The article points out the difficulty in recognition of a Lesbian on sight. "Popular opinions to the contrary, few sale homosexuals marcel their hair, tint their nails and posture like chorus girls; fewer Lesbians still affect trousers, ties and gruffness of a drill sergeant, Most Lesbians in fact, are more apt to resemble Marilyn Monroe than Tugboat Annie."
Several case histories from actual psychiatric records are presented. They do not represent the usual warped and demented personalities offered in most studies of this nature. The appraisal and analysis is here handled with a great deal more intelligence and understanding.
BUT there is one point on which we wish to register an exception. "Those who are practicing homosexuals are likely to have not so much the instincts of a man as those of a vampire."
This statement is followed by a quotation from Dr. Benjamin Karpman's book, "The Sexual Offender and His Offences": "I am impressed with what seems to be a fact that women homosexuals are much more unscrupulous than their parallel brother's. Once they get hold of a victim they do not let go until she is emotionally bled white."
These are broad statements which cannot be substantiated, though we admit application can be made to a very few.
However, we do wish to congratulate the Zenith Publishing Corp. for a novel presentation of the Lesbian problem in its magazine, MEN.
Chansons de Bilitis
"Chansons de Bilitis" was one of the featured numbers sung by Mildred Miller in her recital debut at Town Hall last December. Miss Miller is a mezzo-soprano of the Metropolitan Opera Company.
"Chansons de Bilitis" is based on the "Songs of Bilitis" by Pierre Louys and was composed by Debussy. The name Daughters of Bilitis was taken from Louys narrative poem.
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Job-Hunting Doesn't Need To Be A Problem
The only thing a homosexual has to fear when looking for a job is whether his or her ability matches the job applied for--the problem of homosexuality per se does not enter the employment picture.
This was the consensus of the panel discussion held by the Daughters February 26 on "Employment and the Homosexual." Panel members were Helen Sanders, president of the Daughters of Bilitis; Dick McKenzie, manager of an employment agency; D. Stewart Lucas, president of the Mattachine Society, Inc., with Dr. Vera Plunkett as moderator.
In starting the discussion Miss Sanders outlined 12 principles which form a basic guide both to the employer and the employee. They are:
1. Clearly defined ideal
2. Common Sense
3. Competent counsel
10. Standardized conditions and operations
11. Written instructions
12. Efficiency reward
"The worker sells two possessions (both his own) time and skill--he should be robbed of neither, nor should he rob himself," Miss Sanders pointed out. "All that the doctrine of equal rights can hope to accomplish is that the man who is most deserving shall be placed where he should be. Until the last page of the last volume is written in The Book of Years, merit alone will rule the earth."
If you bring to a job the willingness to work, even if skill is little, you will progress. The attitude of the prospective. employee counts most when interviewing for a job, Mr. McKenzie stated, adding that the three most important factors in job-hunting were ability to do the job, knowledge of the job and, most important of all, a friendly disposition toward the job.
Mr. Lucas reiterated this stand, emphasizing that "If you go into a job wholeheartedly, everything will work out. You are homosexual,
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so what?" If you are basically honest with yourself, your employer and co-workers, they will accept you for what you are and the subject of homosexuality need never come up.
If it does come up, Mr. Lucas advocates swinging the subject to an educational level, "Talk about the problem with authority and the other person will become interested," he said. The basic thing, he added, is to be honest. "Harbor no discrimination and no prejudices yourself."
"In an employment agency all manner of people come to see me" Mr. MacKenzie declared. "The homosexual factor involved is only minor but many people blame it as major. Clothes and dress are very important in looking for a job," he added, "and if you won't conform to society's ways then you must pay the price for your eccentricity by taking a job which is a far cry from that for which you are basically suited."
A Case In Point
Dr. Plunkett brought up the tale of a man she knows who has In his employ four homo sexual women. He was most satisfied with their work, although one did a lot of talking during working hours.
At the company's Christmas party, however, all four sat together and refused to mix with the other employees despite many efforts to get them to do so. As a result of this antisocial behavior the employer has resolved that just one misstep by one of the women and he will fire all four.
In discussing acquiring competent counsel when seeking a job. it was brought out that many job-hunters feel handicapped because they have less than an honorable discharge from the service. In cases such as this competent counsel is a must since such discharges are not the handicap the majority seem to feel they are.
The panel seemed to agree that when a homosexual employee runs up against an employer who is a latent or repressed homosexual a, vicious situation can ensue about which nothing much can be done.
Mr. MacKenzie stressed his belief that no one should admit that they were homosexual to anyone unless it was on a personal basis--that it is nobody's business but your own.
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Audience Participation Lively
The audience participation in the discussion was quite lively, with many pertinent points brought out.
"If anyone asks you why you aren't married--pass the question back to them."
"When asked if you're homosexual say yes--they'll never believe it."
"Don't worry about being accepted on the job, but accept others--make an effort to seek them out on a friendly basis,".
Final consensus of the panel was that homosexuals have nothing to fear in job hunting from the fact that they are homosexual. You should seek competent counsel, make a good appearance and maintain a pleasing disposition in approaching the interviewer.
DOB Library Is Growing
A New addition to the Daughters' library is a booklet published by the patients of Atascadero State Hospital. Entitled "The New Approach ... Sex Offender to Good Citizen" it outlines the aims and purposes of the state's hospital for sexual psychopaths.
In the introduction the booklet states: "The medical treatment and rehabilitation program now in operation for the sex offender at Atascadero State Hospital ...is probably the most advanced and modern program of its kind in the world. It is believed that the medical--Instead of punitive--approach will continue to prove successful both from a social and an economic point of view, in that the offender will be less likely to ever repeat his offense than if he were simply released after serving a term in prison. It is also believed that both society and the offender will benefit as a result of the earlier return of the offender to society and his community as a good citizen."
Daughters of Bilitis is slowly but surely collecting a very respectable library on Lesbiana and related subjects. Books will be available at the office very so on--and all donations of books or money for books are extremely welcome.
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The ACLU Takes a Stand On Homosexuality
The following stand on homosexuality was adopted by the American Civil Liberties Union National Board of Directors on Jan. 17, 1957.
The Daughters of Bilitis wishes to take this opportunity to commend the ACLU for its fine work in the defense of civil rights for all citizens and to urge readers of THE LADDER to support this work whenever and wherever possible.
The American Civil Liberties Union Is occasionally a called upon to defend the civil liberties of homosexuals. If is not within the province of the Union to evaluate the social validity of laws aimed at the suppression or elimination of homosexuals. We recognize that overt acts of homosexuality constitute a common law felony and that there is no constitutional prohibition against such state and local laws on this subject as are deemed by such states or communities to be socially necessary or beneficial. Any challenge of laws that prohibit and punish public acts of homosexuality or overt acts of solicitation for the purpose of committing a homosexual act is beyond the province of the Union.
In examining some of the cases that have come to our attention, however, we are aware that homosexuals, like members of other socially heretical or deviant groups, are (more vulnerable than others to official persecution, denial of due process in prosecution, and entrapment. As in the whole field of due process, these are matters of proper concern for the Union and we will support the defense of such cases that come to our attentions.
Some local laws require registration when they enter the community of persons who have been convicted of a homosexual act. Such registration laws, like others requiring registration of persons convicted of other offenses are, in our opinion unconstitutional. We will support efforts for their repeal or proper legal challenge of them.
The ACLU has previously decided that homosexuality is a valid consideration in evaluating the security risk
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factor in sensitive positions. We affirm, as does Executive Order 10450 and all security regulations made thereunder, that homosexuality is a factor properly to be considered only when there is evidence of other acts which come within valid security criteria.
Calendar of Events
|Tuesday, March 26||--Monthly discussion meeting at 465 Geary St. Kenneth C. Zwerin, attorney, will discuss the legal status of the Daughters of Bilitis and answer questions those attending may have relating to the Lesbian and the law.|
|Wednesday, April 10||--Monthly business meeting, 1030-D Steiner St., 8 p.m.|
|Tuesday, April 23||--Dr. Blanche M. Baker, San Francisco psychiatrist, will speak at the monthly discussion meeting at 465 Geary St., on "Self Acceptance". All are invited to attend this meeting, which starts at 8:15 P.m.|
|Saturday, April 27||--Bowling at the Sports Center, 3333 reservations by Thursday night, April 25, to Fill more 6-0404 so alleys may be reserved. You don't have to be a professional the low 70s to the almost 300s. Come on out and join the fun.|
Circle the above dates on your calendar. That way you won't get caught short the night of one of the events with something quite dull scheduled when you'd much rather attend a Daughters function.
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TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE... Book Reviews, That Is
We had a brainstorm! We thought it might be fun, and a hit novel, to have two reviews on the same book from two very different, points of view--the homosexual and the heterosexual.
And so we have given Carol Hales' novel, "Wind Woman", the treatment:
- 1 -
"The Lesbian 's problem Is not why she likes women, but why she doesn't like men."
This statement, made at the December public discussion meeting of the' Daughters of Bilitis by Basil Vaerlen, San Francisco psychotherapist, is born out in Carol Hales' novel, "Wind Woman".
Laurel Dean's story unfolds in a series of flashbacks as told to her psychoanalyst. It is the story of an unhappy home life and of insecurity replaced by the fantasy of a tender and gentle beloved "wind woman".
Carol Hales knows whereof she writes. She depicts several types of women who experience a Lesbian relationship--Zalda who wants the intense friendship without any physical manifestation, 17-year-old and "knowing" Janice of a Bohemian background, the bisexual Vivian, Regan of "the light touch" and no roots, the exhibitionist of the "gay bar". All of these women play a part in Laurel 's search for her ideal. All of these women most of us have known in our own experience.
And Laurel, through analysis, finally comes to accept herself. The book ends on the hope that Laurel will find fulfillment in a homosexual relationship.
Miss Hales has a simple and easy style of writing. She has done a good job of characterization. The layman will find a truer picture of Lesbianism, while the Lesbian herself can find "greater insight" into her own make-up.
- Del Martin
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I thought it would be a simple matter to briefly review "Wind Woman" but the author left so many "loose ends" that I find it difficult not to add my own thinking to the author's work.
Aside from the molasses-sweet type of story telling the author has done a magnificent job of presenting with understanding the theme of inversion. I do not know how true a. portrayal of Lesbian love she has made or how it will be accepted by the general reading public or the homosexual Carol Hales has done an excellent job of interpreting the impact of the emotional trauma of childhood, or has she lifted the therapy sessions from a case history?
Perhaps to the homosexual the complete acceptance of herself by the heroine after therapy will be acceptable, but I doubt if it will be to the heterosexual. Here is where it is difficult for the heterosexual to have a complete understanding of the homosexual. Miss Hales further confuses the heterosexual reader by the sexually satisfactory heterosexual affair with the doctor ... and all the time we thought it" was because heterosexual affairs were not satisfying!
- Vera H. Plunkett
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As promised, THE LADDER begins with this Issue its running bibliography of Lesbian literature (fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry).
1. THE COLLECTED WORKS OF PIERRE LOUYS. Paperback edition published by Avon Publications, Inc., 575 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y., 1955.
2. THE WELL OF LONELINESS by Radclyffe Halt. Sun Dial Press, Garden City, New York, 1928.
3. WIND WOMAN by Carol Hales. Woodford Press, 1553.
For review of this book see pages 10 and 11.
4. CLAUDINE AT SCHOOL by Colette. Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy, Inc.
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THE SEARCHERS PROBE
"The Homosexual Neurosis"
A panel discussion on "The Homosexual Neurosis" was held Feb. 4 at the Clarion Club in Los Angele s by a non-profit corporation known as The Searchers. This group was founded March 1, 1956, by Dr. Robert Lord and is dedicated to the search of knowledge and understanding of science, philosophy, psychology, literature and the arts.
The panel was composed of Dr. Lord, director of the Searchers and moderator of the panel; Dr. R. W. Deobler, consultant psychologist; Dr. N. D. Tabachnick, psychiatrist; Rev. Herbert Snyder, head of the Liberal Church; Dr. Arthur E. Briggs, Dean of Law and ethical culture leader; Herbert Selwyn, attorney; Haskell Shapiro, attorney, and William Lambert of ONE, Inc. The panel members defined their position:
Dr. Deobler: Homosexuality a symptom of emotional illness.
Dr. Tabachnick: A symptom of arrested development.
Rev. Snyder: Did not claim to understand the origin of homosexuality, but felt it primarily an individual choice. At one point expostulated, "Well, who isn't neurotic?"
Dr. Briggs: Enthusiastic support of a person's right to be homosexual without harassment--perception of the spiritual aspect as well as the physical.
Herb Selwyn: Didn't pretend to know why or how one might be homosexual, but felt that the laws were wrong which made any non-physic ally harmful sexual acts between two consenting adults illegal. He also offered that he would no more fear that a homosexual teacher would seduce his young son than a heterosexual teacher his daughter.
Dean Briggs: Allowed that it was less likely that the former would happen than the latter.
Haskell Shapiros Remarked that the laws pertaining to "un-natural sex acts" applied equally to heterosexuals as to homosexuals and equally to married heterosexuals as to unmarried ones ... The laws seemingly having been designed to help procreation along."
Bill Lambert: Stated ONE'S position--apparently that they didn't go along with anyone's position. He didn't
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make it clear as to what ONE did think as to the theories of genesis, but he did make it clear that (human resources were being wasted and that ONE was out to save them--male and female.
Dr. Briggs: Mentioned that a number of great men had been homosexuals. Notably Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Tchaikovsky, Etc.
Dr. Deobler countered that homosexuality had nothing to do necessarily with a man being a genius ... that that was like saying because milk came in bottles, the bottles had made the milk.
Bill Lambert said that since a good many geniuses had seemingly insisted on coming in homosexual bottles, it might be wise not the break their containers, no matter what the source of their genius.
The crossfire period was delightful. A highlight for the homosexuals present occurred when someone asked Dr. Doebler why he felt that all homosexuals were neurotic. He answered that he 'd never known any "happy" homosexuals. The audience rocked with laughter and Dr. Lord, moderator, had to calm them down for the next questioner who asked Dr. Deobler if he 'd ever had any "happy" heterosexual patients. Dr. Deobler squirmed but answered forthrightly that he never had.
The panel and crossfire periods were so successful that repeat performance was held February 27 under the heading "Are Homosexuals Neurotic?" or "Should Homosexuals be Coerced Into Heterosexual Practices?" The panel members were the same but for the addition of Lyn Pederson of ONE, Inc.; Ron Argall of the Mattachine Society, and Dr. T. E. Bessent, chief psychologist at Metropolitan State Hospital at Norwalk, Calif. Dr. Tabachnick and Rev. Snyder were absent.
As to the first question, everyone kept their original positions. Dr. Bessent gave a refreshing) opinion that he didn't think homosexual behavior was a measure of emotional illness. He felt that one had to examine the particular individual in question and find out why he was homosexual. His homosexuality might have a neurotic basis or it might not.
Lyn Pedersen felt that most homosexuals were neurotic because of their position in society, outside of any individual reasons they might have. He felt It primarily a minority problem.
Ron Argall didn't see where psychological reasons had anything
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to do with homosexuality. He cited Japan as a case where the economic and social structure forced homosexuality on the individual as a matter of course.
As to the second question, nobody, but nobody, felt that homosexuals could or should be coerced into heterosexual practices. Haskell Shapiro felt that if the human race were in danger of becoming extinct, which it isn't, that homosexuals should be "persuaded" to reproduce--but never coerced.
- Sten Russell
Winston Reactivates Cory Book Service.
Those of you who have found it hard to fill the gap left by the demise of the Cory Book Service will be happy to know that it has been reactivated under the name of Winston Book Service, 250 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead, Long Island, New York. Originally started by Donald Webster Cory, author of "The Homosexual in America", the Cory Book Service made available books that dealt with homosexuality and other problems of sexual variance. The service was stopped by the sudden death of its owner over a year ago.
Quarterly. Publication Time Drawing Near
Of you readers who have sent in your 50 cents for the quarterly publication which will embody the first three Issues of THE LADDER, we ask your indulgence and patience.
We hope within the next several months to be able to print and mail this publication. Our energies recently have been used up in moving to our new offices and in publishing THE LADDER. Now that we are achieving a semblance of order we hope to have the quarterly out very soon.
If you want a copy of the quarterly please let us know. Single copies are 50 cents. If you are already a subscriber but didn't receive the first three issues let us know and we will start your subscription with the quarterly.
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"In the Feb., 1957 Issue of THE LADDER there Is a quotation attributed to a Dr. Blanche M. Baker, on page 6, that the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the "psychiatrist goes deeper, stays longer and comes up dirtier." (my underlining)
I hope this Is a misquote and that Dr. Baker, whoever she may be, did not author such a rotten remark. If any psychiatrist or psychologist feels that become dirtied by contact with their clients, no natter how deep they go, they don't belong in the field of attempting to be therapeutic to other human beings, I cannot conceive of a filthier insult to patients and humanity in general than the statement quoted."
Martin Katzman, M. D.
San Francisco, Calif.
"P.S. I will not attempt to give you a better distinction between psychiatrists and psychologists. It is a terribly complicated situation and cannot be explained in one paragraph, much less trite witticisms."
Dr. Baker, San Francisco psychiatrist, holds five degrees -a B.A. and B.S.C. in education, M.A. in physiology, M. D., and Ph D. in abnormal psychology. She will be the speaker at the public discussion meeting of the Daughters of Bilitis April 23 when she will discuss "Self Acceptance."--Ed.
"Thank you for the January copy of THE LADDER. Please send me an application for associate membership.
I was very mush interested in the lead article of LaVere's on emotions, etc., and the one on fear. I suppose most of us who do have a rather high moral code are even more subject to fear of one sort or another than even we realize.
I'm working now and hope, one day, to have a doctor's degree in psychology but I wonder how much my fears are slowing things up for me and what would really happen if my present supervisor knew of my deviant life?"
B. M., Battle Creek,. Mich.
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"Congratulations!! However silent or distant we may be there are many many friends of yours back here in the East. Although I wish my spine, backbone and courage could be as great as yours--it isn't.
"I'm proud of you for having started the ball rolling.... could I help in some small way to push it anonymously for now? There are dozens who feel as I do--we need enlightenment I guess, Hope you understand... "
Anonymous, Brunswick, Ohio
At the risk of sounding mercenary, those of you who don't want to reveal your names could throw a few anonymous dollar bills in an envelope to help the cause.--ed.--
SOME OF YOU MAY NOT KNOW.....
In these first six issues of THE LADDER there has been mention of the Mattachine Society, but note that we have failed to include the society's very fine publication --"The Mattachine Review."
This monthly magazine, devoted to the airing of the homosexual problem, contains contains articles, book reviews, letters
If you hurry, you can still get an annual subscriptions the present rate of $2.50. Effective April 1st (and this is no APRIL FOOL'S joke) the subscription rate ill go up to $4.00 per year.
Send your check or money order NOW to
693 Mission St., Rm. 307
San Francisco 5, Calif.
(mailed in lain sealed envelope)
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We were in a
like Margaret O. Richardson
"According to psychiatry,
I am maladjusted,
For now and then I find myself
And while I know the simple reasons
For this melancholy,
The cost of living keeps me broke,
Heck, how can I be jolly?"
BUT we've found the answer now
For when you grow in size and cost yon simply have to grow too in
-PRICE--from $1.00 to $2.50 per yr.
AND you have one last
chance at the LOW PRICE
The new rate of $2.50 be comes effective June 1, 19.57. Subscriptions no THE LADDER up to two years received prior to this date will be honored at the present dollar rate.
ORDER NOW AND SAVE! Send your check or money order to
693 Mission St., Rm. 308
San Francisco 5, Calif.
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MEMBERSHIP in the DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS may be either a voting or associate membership.
|VOTING MEMBERSHIP:||$5.00 initiation fee and $1.00 monthly due s. THE LADDER is sent FREE.|
|ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP:||$2.50 initiation fee and .50 monthly dues. THE LADDER is sent FREE. Since most people having this membership are not residents of the area in which meetings are held, copies of business meeting minutes are also mailed to these members.|
|THE LADDER:||A monthly publication by the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., mailed by first class mail in a plain sealed envelope for $1.00 per year.|
|CONTRIBUTIONS:||are gratefully accepted from anyone who wishes to assist us in our work. We are a non-profit corporation working entirely on donated labor. Our fees are not of such amounts as to allow for much expansion of the publication. While men may not become members of the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., many have expressed interest in our efforts and our publication and have made contributions to further our work. Of course, anyone over 21 years of age may subscribe to THE LADDER.|
|TO BECOME A MEMBER:||Write to the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., Room 308,693 Mission Streets, San Francisco 5, Calif., requesting an application.|
|TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LADDER:||Send. $1.00 for one year enclosing coupon below or facsimile.|
SEND THE LADDER TO:_____
I am 21 years of age or older_____
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