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Sexist Disney Rejection Letter Shows Cartoonist Turned Away For Being Female In 1938

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A rejection letter from Walt Disney to an aspiring cartoonist in 1938 that dismissed her application because "girls are not considered for the training school" has reawakened feminist feeling on social media.

Designer Kevin Burg shared the letter after it was found in a box in his grandmother's basement after she passed away. It tells Miss Mary Ford, that she should not apply as "Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen as that is performed entirely by young men.

"The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with Indian ink and filling in the tracings on the reverse side with point according to directions."

walt disney

Walt Disney was producing Snow White And The Seven Dwarves at the time

Burg said his grandmother had never told him of the rejection and went on to raise her family. He told the Huffington Post UK she never pursued art as a career "but had a lifelong appreciation for art which she passed along to me. We don't have any examples of her work but I remember she would create beautiful sketches or doodles in a very 1940's or 1950's fashion illustration style."

He added "I think the letter is as fascinating as it is beautiful. My understanding is at the time Disney wasn't hiring ANY animators because they still had their famous Nine Old Men. She only mentioned the letter to my mom, but not my dad or aunt (her two children). When my grandmother passed away my mom found the letter and framed it. If she hadn't told anyone it could have been lost or given away."

The letter was sent to Burg's grandmother just three years before America joined World War Two, a move that would transform the way women were viewed in the workplace as women were allowed to enter the production process.