This Week in History


Publication of Gladys Rosen's Jewish bicentennial guidebook

May 2, 1975

Born and raised in New York City and educated at Columbia University, Gladys Rosen became the program specialist at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in the early 1970s. There, she drew on her training in history and Judaic studies to write several guidebooks focused on American Jewish history. First, in 1971, Rosen wrote a manual entitled "Guidelines to Jewish History and Social Studies Instructional Material." Designed to counter the absence of information about Jews in elementary and secondary school history textbooks, the manual presented brief summaries of Jewish history from the Biblical era to the modern era, and provided a bibliography of books covering world and American Jewish history.

Four years later, with the U.S. Bicentennial approaching, the American Jewish Committee published another Rosen booklet, entitled "Jews in American Life: A Guide to Local Programming for the Bicentennial." Publication was announced on May 2, 1975. Sold for $1 per copy, the booklet was directed to the Jewish community, encouraging Jews to bring the story of Jewish contributions to American history into Bicentennial celebrations. The booklet included guidelines for developing local community archives and family genealogies, and for conducting oral histories. While the AJC's publicity highlighted the achievements of a variety of Jewish men, from colonial militiaman Asser Levy to Confederate cabinet member Judah Benjamin, it did little to disseminate information about Jewish women's contributions.

In addition to writing these and other publications, Rosen helped organize conferences for the AJC on the Jewish family, the changing role of the Jewish woman, and Jewish education. She was also active in continuing education projects, serving as the assistant director of the Academy for Jewish Studies Without Walls and the Jewish Studies Summer Seminar series. In addition, Rosen has edited two books: Jewish Life in America: Historical Perspectives (1978) and (with Steven Bayme) Jewish Family and Jewish Continuity (1994).

To learn more about Gladys Rosen, visit Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.

Sources: Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, p. 1168; New York Times, October 30, 1971, May 3, 1975.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Publication of Gladys Rosen's Jewish bicentennial guidebook." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <>.