Love in Chains – 1952

Robert St. Estephe–Gonzo Historian–is dedicated to uncovering the forgotten past of marginalizing men. “Gonzo journalism” is characterized as tending “to favor style over fact to achieve accuracy.” Yet history – especially “social history” – is written by ideologues who distort and bury facts in order to achieve an agenda. “Gonzo” writing is seen as unorthodox and surprising. Yet, in the 21st century subjectivity, distortion and outright lying in non-fiction writing is the norm. Fraud is the new orthodoxy. Consequently, integrity is the new “transgressive.”

Welcome to the disruptive world of facts, the world of Gonzo History.


Philip Chain is the earliest known example of a father who used picketing to attract attention to his plight as a parent who had been denied access to his child by a malicious mother. It was not until the 1970s that fathers’ rights groups were formed and started doing group pickets, usually in front of courthouses. Chain, however, took his signs to his own home which he was legally barred from. Gender ideologues have for decades claimed fathers only try to “see” their children (as if “seeing” were enough) in order to manipulate the “intrinsic victim of patriarchy,” the mother.

The true history of child custody proves otherwise. Despite the fashionable social constructivist theories that are dogmatically spewed and sold by professors, claiming that the further back in history we go the less parents (of both sexes) loved their children, history is on the contrary rich with tales of fathers who made great sacrifices to try to retrieve children that ex’s, the courts and other entities. A particularly poignant example is that of US Civil War veteran John McCray, featured in the AVfM article “A Father’s Undying Love.” After the war McCray devoted his life to trying to find the children his wife had hidden away from him.

The story of James Welch, “the father who would not give up,” has a happier ending. Two decades before Mr. Chain’s modest protest efforts shown here, Welch, an aggrieved Louisiana  father of a child held in Venezuela, came to perfect the art of activism, garnering national publicity with dramatic demonstrations in front of the White House in Washington D.C., issuing a newsletter and getting his case into the official government Congressional Record.

The beginning of organized group father’s rights protests an be traced back to 1966 in California, where members of U.S. Divorce Reform Inc. and American Marriage and Divorce Reform, Inc. joined forces to picket the court house in Pasadena.



PHOTO CAPTION (Article 1 of 4):

PLEADS TO SEE CHILD – Policeman talks with Philip Chain, 38, who is picketing his former wife in Hollywood, Cal., with a sign pleading he be permitted to see the couple’s child, Darlene, 3.  He told police their divorce decree gave him visiting rights, but the former wife, Esther, refused to let him see Darlene, saying the girl is sick. Police said the picketing broke no law.

[“Pleads To See Child,” syndicated (AP), The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune (Mo.), Nov. 5, 1952, p. 5]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 4): “Esther please let me see my baby.”

Carrying a placard on which these words were printed, Philip Chain, 38, of 3200 San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, yesterday walked back and forth in the 800 block of N. Edinburgh St. his wife lives in the neighborhood.

Chain alleged that his former wife, Esther, 30 refused to allow him to see the couple’s baby Darlene, 3, telling him the youngster was ill.

Chain said that he and his wife were married on June 20, 1948, separated last January and that she had obtained an interlocutory decree in September. He said that he was granted weekly visiting privileges by the court.

Mrs. Chain could not be reached for a statement.

Police called to the scene tried to discourage Chain from his picketing but he refused. Officers allowed him to continue, saying he was breaking no law.

[“Man pickets in Plea to See Child,” Los Angeles Times (CA.), Nov. 3, 1952, part 2, p. 1]



PHOTO CAPTION (Article 3 of 4):

PICKETS FOR PATER RIGHTS — For the second time since being divorced in 1952, Philip Chain, 38, above, picketed the Los Angeles home of his former wife, Mrs. Esther Critichfield Chain, because she was not at home when he came to visit their 4-year-old daughter, Darlene. According to a court order, Mr. Chain explains, he can visit the child on Sundays and holidays, but this Sunday when he arrived there was a sign on the door reading “Not at home,” so he put up the placards and started picketing the house.

[“Pickets For Pater Rights,” syndicated (NEA), The Sandusky Register-News (Oh.), Dec. 23, 1953, p. 7]



FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): Philip Chain, 38, who charges that his ex-wife will not permit him to see their daughter, Darlene, 4, was back “picketing” yesterday in front of 853 N. Edinburgh Ave.

He said he came to the house to take the youngster out to dinner but was greeted by a “Not at Home” sign on the front door. His former wife, Esther, 31, had taken the child away to a party, he learned.

Her refusal to allow the child to visit her father from 1 to 6 p. m. on Sundays and holidays is a violation of the court order, Chain said, which granted Mrs. Chain an interlocutory degree in September, 1952, and granted him visiting privileges. [sic: a “privilege,” not a right!]

~ Fifth Refusal ~ 

“This is the fifth time she has refused to let me see my daughter,” Chain said. “The last time I saw her she said unless I paid $13 a week support for the girl I couldn’t see Darlene.”

He explained that he is out of work now and has not been able to pay that amount. He lives with his parents at 2426-A N. Buena Vista St., Burbank.

Legends on the signs he exhibited and some which he taped to window screens of the Edinburgh house read:

“Waiting to see my baby”; “Why can’t a father see his child?” and “I plead for justice.”

The Chains were married on June 20, 1948, and were separated in January, 1952. He said their divorce was not yet final.

[“Man Pickets Ex-Wife; Wants to See Daughter – ‘I Plead for Justice,’ Reads One Legend as Husband Resumes His Sidewalk Parade,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Dec. 21, 1953, part 3, p. 4]


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