TSR Chat with Rose Estes


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What a great weekend. First I got nominated for an Ennie Award.
Congratulations!

Her first job was to explain D&D to teachers and clergy as a way to help mitigate the Satanic panic that started to appear in 1976.
Oof. That is one heck of a first job at TSR. At that time, that would've been on the front lines of the Satanic Panic culture war. That stress alone would've given plenty of impetus to succeed at something else!

She was much less...polite about Gary. Some of the things she said might sound outrageous or spiteful if we didn't already know certain things, both from witnesses and Gary's own words. As the only women hire at first, she recalls vividly some of the things he told her. One statement was, "Women are good for only two jobs: secretaries and housewives. Anything else and they're a whore." He paid her $32,000 a year for all of her writing, and told her on a nearly daily basis how lucky she was to have that job. She mentioned how mistreated Mary was, because she worked to the bone to make the family work, and as soon as Gary found money, he "wanted a wife to put in fur coats and diamond earrings, and that wasn't Mary. But it was Gail. Who was also his secretary..." She also recalls (she is Jewish) that he came back one time from California and told her, "If you don't like Jews, stay out of California." She was heartbroken when Gary went off on Rob Kuntz in a meeting in front of the others. She made a comment about how no one was allowed to edit anything Gary wrote, and as an author, advocated against the now famous high-Gygaxian, because it wasn't reader friendly, especially for younger new gamers.

Note: I do not verify if Gary actually said those things or not. I only point out how some of them are in alignment with things he's said about women publicly.

This unfortunately does jive with other statements Gygax made about women. As for the anti-semitism, that is unfortunate to hear. But I can't say I'm terribly surprised. He was born about the same year as my dad, and my dad grew up with people asking if they could feel his horns, or saying he was so nice that he must be joking about being Jewish.
 

I don't pay much attention to writer's names. (Same thing with musicians, actors, etc) but I'm thrilled to read this interview and to learn a bit about someone who impacted my early gaming. Thanks for doing this and posting it. Much appreciated. @Sacrosanct

To me, it is much more probable that "Rose is hard to control" actually means "Rose won't sit down, be quiet, and do what we men tell her to do."
I was going to say exactly this. Sounds like if she had been a man they would have described her as "determined" or "confident".
 

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