Daniel Amnéus, Ph.D.

The late Daniel Amnéus was Professor of English (Emeritus) at California State University at Los Angeles. His specialty was Shakespearean textual criticism. He has been married and divorced twice having two children and two grandchildren. He is the only man listed in Who’s Who of American Women.

Obituary Notice: Daniel Amnéus

by Dr. Francis Baumli

With great sadness I must report that Professor Emeritus Daniel Amnéus succumbed to a disabling stroke in late 2003 and subsequently died on December 18.  He is survived by his wife Pat, his daughter Pam, and his son Paul.  Dr. Amnéus was the leading writer and theoretician of the fathers’ rights movement, lending courage to the ranks of that beleaguered squadron for many years until his death at the age of 84.

Along with being the foremost Shakespeare scholar in the world (he taught English literature at California State University-Los Angeles), Professor Amnéus authored three important books on fathers’ rights: Back to Patriarchy, The Garbage Generation, and The Case for Father Custody. In 1977, with Richard Doyle (author of The Rape of the Male, long-time publisher of The Liberator, and head of Men’s Defense Association), he and several other leaders of the fathers’ rights movement founded MEN International (MEN being an acronym for Men’s Equality Now).  This group, which began in Amnéus’ living room, went on to become, for many years, the most vigorous and articulate organization of the fathers’ rights movement.

Within that movement there was “the presiding triumvirate.”  Namely, Charlie Metz (author of Divorce and Custody for Men), Richard Doyle, and Daniel Amnéus.  I once joked to Professor Amnéus, “There is a profound analogy here. Charles Metz, Richard Doyle, Daniel Amnéus—like God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”  I immediately realized that I had probably stepped too heavily on his modesty and perhaps also on his religious sensibilities.  I hastily added, “I don’t mean it literally.  It’s just an analogy.”

“You are being too generous,” he merely replied, and went on to talk of other things.

Charles Metz (born in 1920 but destined to live only 50 years), was the man who originally seized the helm of an inchoate and fragmented population of men who believed in fathers’ rights, and transformed them from a sluggish, uncertain assemblage of irate men into an energetic and vocal force.  Richard Doyle took over after Charlie Metz passed on.  If Doyle’s work at making the fathers’ rights movement a cohesive, unified group never achieved its noble aim, he himself, by virtue of his charisma, eloquence, and sheer energy gave unified focus to that movement despite its internal factionalism.  During all this time Daniel Amnéus was the trusted navigator whose unique wisdom kept the movement on course.  In that role he served as chief advisor and sage to nearly every leader in the fathers’ rights movement.

I recognize Professor Amnéus as one of the most intelligent men I have ever had the privilege to work with.  He was very well known for those long pauses, which could stretch for as long as 15 minutes, as he pondered a question he had just been asked.  When he finally answered, his soft voice was articulate, his opinions studied and precise, and his erudition so vast that even if you disagreed with him you listened intently because you did not want to miss this opportunity for learning.  When it came to interpersonal relationships, Amnéus’ dedication to friends and family was exemplary; intimacy was easy with him precisely because he possessed such a strong sense of masculinity.  As an ideologue Amnéus was uncompromising in his loyalty to what he believed to be the truth, but he also was a fair and attentive listener.  If his opinions were stern and his view of society pessimistic, his heart was warm and he blessed every person with his belief in their intrinsic goodness.

For me he was mentor, friend, and the voice that could calm with these words: “Just say what you believe is true. People may not like you for it, they might even hate you, but they will respect you. If someday they are searching for the truth, then you are the person they will come to because they respect you.”

“So did God call you home because He is searching for the truth about fathers’ rights?”  This is what I wish I could say to Daniel Amnéus right now.

I know what his response would be.  First that quiet chuckle, next a long pause, then a very profound answer that would educate me anew about matters concerning fathers’ rights, and leave me feeling humbled about issues in theology.

Requiem for Dr. Daniel Amnéus

by Robert Lindsay Cheney Jr.

January 8, 2004

The honorable Dr. Daniel Amnéus passed away on December 18th, 2003.  Like a somber mid-December storm, a great passing has occurred in this nation; quietly, and without fanfare.  Like a dark rain, something important has passed us all, in profound silence.  But that passing has meant something.  I hope to put the words here to show who and what this man was, and what he had accomplished.

Most fathers’ rights advocates have no idea who Dr. Amnéus was.  They have no idea of his foundational contributions to the movement.  They have not read his most compelling works.  Yet they must.  The modern contemporary men’s movement and its achievements of the last decade can be directly traced to him.  He was not the first fathers’ rights advocate, but certainly he was the most concise and eloquent of our forefathers who wrote about fathers’ and family rights, (at a time when it was not only not recognized, but openly excoriated).  Like Galileo, he saw an immutable truth, and wrote comprehensive text about it which allowed our modern movement a solid socio-political treatise which indomitably changed the face of fatherhood, and made fathers’ rights marketable and more mainstream.  He paid a price for that dedication and truth: his work was mostly ignored.

The man was a great intellect, coming clearly from a classical background and training.  His mind was eminently empirical, and he countenanced no less excellence in either his work or his students work.  You would have to know the man to understand the intellect.  He was a quiet, reserved man, one who tread in a measured pace.  He wanted to help others, so he took the tools of his trade—his mind, his teaching and his writing—and applied them to the current problem of modern fatherhood.  The fathers’ rights movement has no idea of the treasure it has lost.  A great national treasure has passed from our midst, and there is nothing in recognition.  Only silence.  We should mark him better; and defend not only his name, but his work.

His first book on fathers’ rights was called Back to Patriarchy, printed by Arlington House Publishers in June of 1979.

Although it was good, it had not truly established his voice.  It was merely the first gauntlet thrown.  His second work was The Garbage Generation, (published under his own label of Primrose Press, 1990), which finally came into his own.  This book defined not only the standards of fatherlessness, but established the watermark of the modern men’s movement.  All father advocates owe their work to The Garbage Generation, yet, the future was to arrive in his next book.

Dr. Amnéus’ next book, The Case for Father Custody (Primrose Press, 1998), was a body of work which is the watershed of our movement.  Where contemporary men and authors have written mere exposés, such as Dr. Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power; Dr. Wade Horn’s The Fatherhood Initiative; Jeffery M. Leving’s Fathers’ Rights: Hard-Hitting & Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute; Dr. Steven Baskerville’s work; David Blankenhorn’s Fatherless America, etc., it was Amnéus who wrote to the breadth of humanity.  Where modern writers speak to the illness, Amnéus addressed and uncovered the genetic code and model.  He gave us the answers, deep within his intrinsic thoughts, his profound insight and empirical and definitive proofs.  He gave us the fatherhood genome and revealed every code throughout its DNA.  Our movement quietly stands on Amnéus; most people have no idea of this.  It is not only the men’s movement who (must) appreciate his work, but rather, it is humankind who will benefit.  Like the great classics of our time, The Case for Father Custody will be a definitive work about fathers’ rights which will stand separate from all other lesser works.  It is the classic of our time, and we must respect that and pay homage.

Most people have not read Amnéus.  They do not know he even existed.  However, when they are introduced to his work, the reaction is profound.  His work is irrefutable, un-rebuttable.  It is the duty of any true fathers’ rights advocate to read Dr. Amnéus’ The Case for Father Custody.  We must make new effort to adopt Amnéus’ work into the lexicon of the modern fathers’ rights movement.

The fathers’ rights movement has lost a great man.  We have lost others before him, and continue to lose those who have given so much to our cause.  We must recognize these great men, and more importantly, not forget their words and their work.

Then, we must teach them.  It is time to venerate those who came before us, and gave us so much, and left us with the treasure to carry forward.

It is time we acknowledge those like Dr. Daniel Amnéus and make them monuments to be remembered and admired.  For they have set our compass and our future.