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Muslim leader attacks series on harems, September 7-15, 1958

September 14, 2008 |  5:07 am

U.S. Woman Tells of Life in Moslem Harem --September 1958

Ever wonder about life in a harem? Here's your chance to find out what it's like. Just go with this young American explorer on her most exciting adventure -- behind palace walls into the closely guarded inner sanctum where wives and concubines live.

Above, Jane Dolinger's two-part series provoked this response from Shukar Ilahi Hussain of the Los Angeles Mosque. Unfortunately, The Times wrote almost nothing about the Los Angeles Mosque in the 1950s. There's also very little information in The Times on Shukar Ilahi Hussain (or Husain, as we sometimes spelled his name). Dolinger later turned her experiences into a book titled "Behind Harem Walls."

In researching Dolinger via Google, I contacted one of her friends, Gail Howard, who writes of Dolinger and her husband, Ken Krippene:

Yes, she is the same one and only Jane Dolinger.

Jane told us that she never encountered a man while she was "behind harem walls" doing research for her book and interviewing the women. Except for her harem experience, Jane and Ken always traveled together.

They were a great team. Their books and articles were well researched because they spent time in the actual locations from which they spun their fascinating stories. My sister, Terry, posed for photos in an Indian sari doing yoga postures, carrying water from the well, sweeping the dirt in front of a mud hut with thatch roof where she supposedly lived alone in some isolated place in Ecuador.

The story with these photos appeared in newspapers all over the world. The copy Jane sent us was in Arabic so we don't know exactly what it said. (My sister was a television writer and producer living in New York City when she wasn't traveling with me.)

Jane and Ken had a knack for weaving fanciful fiction from exotic locales that captured the imagination of their readers. My Ecuador web site has attracted people looking for Jane Dolinger, one who fell in love with Jane and one in love with a character in her book, the Jaguar Princess.

After Ken passed away Jane remarried. In 1992, Jane was planning to return to the Amazon for more adventures.

Sad to say, the last we heard from Jane was in 1994, while she was at a clinic in Germany in a last ditch effort to cure her terminal cancer. She died shortly after.

Losing this daring, high-spirited friend who was ready to go anywhere in the world at any time was very sad. There were very few women in the 1960's who were as adventurous as we were.

Gail Howard


Travel writer Jane Dolinger and her husband, writer Ken Krippene, in a photo dated July 23, 1961, courtesy of


'Five weeks in a harem was enough for me.'


'Inside, there was laughter, music and girlish gaiety.'


'Man needs a  woman for his every mood.'


'Someone had cast an evil eye upon me.'