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Q: Ms or Mrs ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Ms or Mrs
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: debby1-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 18 Aug 2004 12:10 PDT
Expires: 17 Sep 2004 12:10 PDT
Question ID: 389574
I am divorced and widowed.  I changed my last name due to personal
reasons.  I have 3adult children. I went back to my childrn's last
name which is MORGAN only because I liked the name not because of my
ex husand.Am I a Mrs. or Ms.
Subject: Re: Ms or Mrs
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Aug 2004 13:18 PDT
The old-fashioned way to handle this has been for a divorced woman who
decides to use her ex-husband's surname (for whatever reason) to go by
"Mrs. [maiden name] [ex-husband's surname]." For example, a woman born
with the name "Sally Jones" marries "Joseph Harris." While she is
married, her formal title is "Mrs. Joseph Harris." After a divorce, if
she chose to retain her ex-husband's surname, she would become "Mrs.
Jones Harris."

Although a title such as "Mrs. Sally Harris" is often seen, some of
the more traditional authorities on such matters do not consider this
to be proper. If you'd like to call yourself "Sally Harris," the
better choice may be "Ms. Sally Harris."

"Mrs. - Traditionally, divorced women are known as 'Mrs.' followed by
her maiden and her ex-husband's last name."

Card Supply: Women's Social Titles

"A divorced woman was referred to by a combination of her maiden name
and her former married name; the former Mrs. Charles Smith would be
called Mrs. Johnson Smith, if Johnson were her maiden name."
Locust Valley Library: Personal Name Index

"The title 'Mrs.' should never be used before a feminine first name.
'Mrs.' means, 'the wife of,' and should only be used before a man's
first name, as in 'Mrs. John Smith.' Many people often use the title
with a feminine first name, as in 'Mrs. Jane Smith.' But under strict
etiquette, this is an improper usage of the title. If a woman's first
name is to be used in an invitation, the title 'Ms.' should be used,
as in 'Ms. Jane Smith.' Widows can be referred to as either 'Mrs.
Smith' or 'Ms. Smith.' But if her late husband's first name is used,
use 'Mrs.' For divorced women, the title 'Ms.' is used, whether they
retain their ex-husband's name or if they revert to their maiden

Columbia Business School: Women on the Street - What's in a name?

Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: divorced woman name title mrs ms

If I were making this decision for myself, I would opt for "Ms." with
my first name and my ex-husband's surname. Although I have studied
etiquette extensively, I'm not a slave to tradition.

In the end, the name by which you choose to be called is a matter of
personal choice, of course. Technicalities are much less important
than they used to be; the old guidelines on names and titles have been
loosened considerably. I suggest that you make your decision based
upon your own taste. Discuss this with your friends and family, and go
with whatever feels right and comfortable.

I hope this is helpful. If anything is unclear, or if a link doesn't
work for you, please request clarification; I'll be glad to offer
further assistance before you rate my answer.

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Ms or Mrs
From: nelson-ga on 19 Aug 2004 16:26 PDT
In the business world (in the U.S., at least), women are always Ms.,
never Miss or Mrs.

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