Ruth Ernestine Cook Brecher (1911 - 1966) and Edward Moritz Brecher (1912 - 1989)
Where: Yelping Hill
When: 1930s, 1949- 1989
Ruth Ernestine Cook was born in Ambler, Pennsylvania and studied at Swarthmore, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1933, and at Radcliffe, where she earned a master’s degree in 1938. Cook was hired as a research assistant in the Harvard government department the year before she graduated, and stayed on there until 1940.
Ruth Brecher, then Ruth Cook, visited Yelping Hill in the early 1930s as childcare helper for Elizabeth Wright, her and Edward Brecher's professor of English at Swarthmore College. Ruth and Edward were married early in World War II and became freelance writers under the byline “Ruth and Edward Brecher.”
Edward M. Brecher was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and earned his bachelor’s degree at Swarthmore College, then his master’s degree the University of Minnesota. For several years after graduation, Brecher researched and wrote for the United States Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce and the Federal Communications Commission.
In 1944, Ruth Brecher took a position as a reporter for Executives War Digest for a year, and then in 1947 moved to a position of assistant editor for Consumer
Reports; a position which she held until 1951 when she joined her husband in freelance writing.
While the Brechers were prolific writers in many areas, they are most known for their work relating to drugs, addiction, and sexuality. Their work appeared in many periodicals, including Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic, The Saturday Evening Post, as well as The New York Times Magazine, and they received several awards during their career. After Ruth’s death, Edward went on to publish The Sex Researchers, which on its publication in 1969 was deemed a standard textbook for training sex educators, and remains so today. As well as Love, Sex and Aging in 1984, and Licit and Illicit Drugs in 1972, for which Brecher was praised for both his voluminous scholarship and his frank portrayal of the topic.
In 1949, the Brechers began spending summers in Yelping Hill and a few years later became members of the Yelping Hill community. In 1956 they built a house on Yelping Hill Road, just off the edge of the Yelping Hill property, and lived and wrote there until Ruth's death in 1966 and Edward's in 1989. Together the Brechers published more than 200 articles and at least two books together. Edward continued writing after Ruth's death, producing many articles and several books. Two of the Brechers' sons, Earl and Jeremy, are writers still living in Cornwall.