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Gerda Lerner

Gerda Lerner, 1920 - 2013

Gerda Lerner's life and work so inextricably intertwined, gained prominence thanks to her fearless, continual examination of the world.

"In our culture, and in most patriarchal cultures, we have made an artificial division between thinking and acting, as though the two were mutually exclusive," she said in a 2002 interview with the Wisconsin Academy Review. "The most important thing, the thing I have always lived by, is that you must be engaged in some way in the world in which you live. How, is for each person to choose."

Remembering Gerda Lerner: The "Mother" of Women's History

Gerda Lerner, pioneer in women’s history, remarkable public intellectual, and life-long activist, died this week in Wisconsin at the age of 92. A member of JWA’s Academic Advisory Council, she was enthusiastic about our mission of chronicling and transmitting the history of Jewish women. No historian was more identified with the field of women’s history. Receiving her Ph.D. at the age of 46, she wrote a series of groundbreaking books in which she almost singlehandedly created a conceptual framework for the field.

Gerda Lerner

As the creator of some of the earliest courses in women’s studies and the chair of the conference that sparked what became National Women’s History Month, Gerda Lerner made contributions beyond measure to the field of women’s studies.

Gerda Lerner

Gerda Lerner was a pioneer in the field of women’s history. She was born in Vienna, Austria in 1920. As a teenager, she experienced the Nazi’s rise to power and became involved in the underground resistance movement. She was imprisoned and then, with her family, forced into exile. In 1939, she alone was able to find refuge in America, where she became a political activist.

Saluting Gerda Lerner as Women’s History Month Begins

Back in the day (as we now say) when I was an undergraduate at a college that had been educating the country’s elite—all men, of course—for almost 350 years, the first ripples of Second Wave feminism were stirring things up outside the ivy covered walls. Inside, in a classroom filled entirely with women, an untenured (but well-published) female Senior Lecturer was teaching the institution’s first course on women’s history.

From Margin to March: What to make of Women's History Month

Here’s a not-so-secret little secret about me: I’m a major women’s history geek. I can go on about the stories of women’s lives for hours. Want to know about Emma Goldman?

Happy 90th Birthday, Gerda Lerner!

"I am a Jewish woman, I am an immigrant, and I will no longer permit others to define me." A Death of One's Own (1978).

Pioneering women's history summer institute

July 18, 1979

A Summer Institute in Women's History, held at Sarah Lawrence College from July 13-29, 1979 immersed 43 female leaders in women's history and led to the creation of Women's History Month.

Amy Swerdlow

Amy G. Swerdlow—teacher, scholar, writer, social activist, and active participant for Women Strike for Peace (WSP) since its inception.

Gerda Lerner

Entering the field of United States history with a freshly minted Ph.D. in 1966, Gerda Lerner blazed a new professional path that led to the establishment of the field of women’s history. The force of her personality and her commitment to the possibilities contained in the historical study of women made her impervious to the ridicule with which the male-dominated historical profession initially responded to the notion of women’s history.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Gerda Lerner." (Viewed on July 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/11315>.

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