“If I wanted to do something as crazy as go to law school,” Warren said, “then it was on me to figure out how to do that and still manage our home and our child.”
Her husband worked for IBM, a subcontractor for NASA, and when his project in New Jersey ended, he found a job in Texas. She wrote to the University of Houston Law Center and got a job teaching there.
The family moved in June. By the following spring, her husband had moved out.
“We never really fought and never really had hard words; it just didn’t work,” Warren said.
She did not file for divorce until the fall. By then, she had already met Mann at the opening reception of a small summer conference on law and economics in Florida.
“I saw this woman talking to someone, and I was just captivated,” Mann recalled. “I just walked right over. She barely noticed me. It took a couple of days.”
“You had good legs,” Warren interjected.
Mann, who was not previously married, had been teaching at the University of Connecticut for two years when they met. A graduate of Brown and Yale, he was a legal historian focused on 18th century bankruptcy and debt who later published a book called, “Republic of Debtors: Bankruptcy in the Age of American Independence.”
“There’s a conservativeness to him that is downright colonial; he just seems to think in the 18th century,” said Calvin Johnson, a University of Texas Law School professor who contrasted the couple’s divergent, complementary styles.
“He’s decidedly unexuberant,” Johnson said. “He’s a very sweet and gentle guy. But she’s got the exuberance.”
On the campaign trail, Mann seemed affable but awkward, hesitating while waiting to mention whose husband he was. Well-wishers mistakenly called him “Mr. Warren.”
But during an interview with his wife, Mann was assertive and wry, repeating his favorite bit of marriage advice: It’s always preferable to be a second husband, or “H2,” as he dubbed it.
“You will look great in comparison,” he said.
Mann and Warren married within six months of her divorce. Like many academic couples, though, they had teaching jobs that might have kept them apart. So Mann quit his tenure-track position in Connecticut for professorships at her schools in Texas before landing a job in St. Louis.
From the outset, Mann was close with Warren’s children. He flew back and forth almost every weekend, coaching soccer and attending parent-teacher conferences. They called him Dad. When Warren won tenure at Harvard years before Mann did, he commuted to Philadelphia from the mansard-roofed Victorian they bought in Cambridge.
Asked how they made it work, Warren said simply, “He did it all. . . . Bruce flew back and forth and back and forth.”
And then there was the help from Aunt Bee, Bess Amelia Reed Veneck.
Warren’s aunt emerged this campaign season in the debate over her family heritage. After Warren told reporters that Aunt Bee had always envied her mother’s high Indian cheekbones, the aunt’s death certificate revealed that Warren had identified her as white, not as American Indian.
In Warren’s family lore, Aunt Bee was a character all her own, a secretary who lived independently most of her life, but who married a man named Stanley, divorced, and remarried when he drifted back into her life. She never had children, but spoiled those around her, first Elizabeth and then her young children.
Even with help, Warren believed in being deeply involved in her children’s lives, said Sarah Barringer Gordon, a Penn Law School professor whom Warren encouraged to stay committed to teaching and “right on top of my kids’ lives and education.”
“She is a person who says don’t give any ground on either,” Gordon said. “She really has very, very high standards.”
One of Warren’s volunteer posts as a mother was serving as Girl Scout cookie chairwoman. She recalled how she got all the girls engaged in the math exercise, but could not resist double-checking their ledgers. “You hate to correct them, but you’ve got to back them up or it doesn’t come out right,” Warren recalled.
Later, she would work with both her children on her research. With her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, Warren coauthored two books, “The Two-Income Trap” and “All Your Worth.” Her son, Alex, designed and maintained the databases for his mother’s research.
Both children live in California. Alex Warren, 36, is a computer specialist engaged to be married in November, after the election. He did not return a call for comment, and Warren’s campaign did not make him available for an interview.Continued...