Jane Weinberger collection, 1985-2004
Collection Scope and Content
This collection contains Weinberger’s resume, a catalog of books published by Windswept House Publishers, notes, newspaper articles, and a resolution from the Jackson Laboratory.
Rebecca Jane Weinberger (nee Dalton) was born in Milford, Maine, on March 29, 1918. She attended the University of Maine and graduated from the Somerville Hospital School of Nursing in Somerville, Massachusetts. She enlisted as an Army nurse and found herself playing chess with a young officer, Caspar Weinberger, on a troop ship in the summer of 1942. She and Mr. Weinberger married three weeks later when the ship docked in Sydney, Australia.
After World War II, they settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Mr. Weinberger worked as a lawyer. Jane Weinberger persuaded him to run for the state legislature and managed his campaign. He served for six years in the State Assembly in the 1950s, and in the 1960s worked in the administration of Gov. Ronald Reagan. Jane Weinberger threw herself into the social and cultural life of Washington, becoming chairwoman from 1981 to 1986 of the Folger Shakespeare Library. She was also on the board of directors for Amherst College and the Jackson Laboratories.
Jane Weinberger first began writing and publishing during Reagan’s first term, while her husband was Defense Secretary. Her foray into publishing began as the result of one of the Reagan administration’s budget cuts. President Reagan had eliminated funding for the Future Scientists Fund, which would team students with scientists at the Jackson Laboratory for the summer. Weinberger was a key supporter of the program. Weinberger authored a children’s book, Vim, about a lab mouse, in order to raise money for the Future Scientists Fund. She collaborated with her husband on another children’s book, Kiltie, about the Weinbergers’ family dog. Jane Weinberger founded the publishing company Windswept House Publishers in 1984. The publishing house was named for the Weinberger family home located in Somesville, Maine on Mount Desert Island. Weinberger ran the company from her home.
In 1991, Weinberger released As Ever: A Selection of Letters from the Voluminous Correspondence of Jane Weinberger, 1970-1990, a compilation of letters which she had written to her friends and family. She authored her last book, Experience the Journey, in 2003. She died at a nursing care facility in Bar Harbor, Maine, on July 12, 2009, aged 91.