Women of Valor



Barbara Myerhoff, 1935 - 1985


Born in Cleveland, Ohio on February 16; raised by her mother, Florence (Mann) and stepfather Norman Siegal as well as her grandmother Sofie Mann; the Siegals move to Los Angeles, California when she is a teenager


Marries Lee Myerhoff, psychologist; they have two sons: Nicholas (b. 1968) and Matthew (b.1971); they divorce in 1982


Receives BA in Sociology from University of California at Los Angeles


Receives Masters Degree in Human Development at University of Chicago.


Begins fieldwork on the Huichol Indians of Northern Mexico; is the first non-Huichol, together with Peter Furst, to embark on the peyote hunt, a sacred annual pilgrimage.


Receives doctorate in Anthropology for her dissertation on Huichol ritual from University of California at Los Angeles; becomes an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern California where she wins various awards for her creative teaching.


Begins fieldwork on elderly Jews at the Israel Levin Center in Venice, California.


Publishes her first book, Peyote Hunt: The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians, which is nominated for a National Book Award.


Becomes full professor at USC and Chair of Anthropology Department; heads the department until 1980 and develops innovative graduate program in Visual Anthropology.


Completes film Number Our Days with director Lynne Littman, depicting her research at the Israel Levin Center; wins an Oscar for best short documentary; co-edits Secular Ritual: Forms and Meaning.


Publishes the book Number Our Days, the culmination of her work at the Israel Levin Center; receives excellent reviews for her work including selection as one of the year's ten best Social Science books by the New York Times; begins teaching occasional workshops in New York on performance, life histories, ritual and storytelling at NYU and the Hunter/Brookdale Center for the Aging


Organizes "Life not Death in Venice," an ambitious exhibit at USC featuring the work of elderly Jewish artists and celebrating shetl culture


Helps adapt Number Our Days for the stage, performed at the Mark Taper Forum.


Begins studying and filming the Jewish community in Fairfax, California.


Diagnosed with cancer, Myerhoff asks director Lynn Littman to collaborate on the Fairfax film; they focus In Her Own Time on Myerhoff's experiences with the Hasidic community as they try to heal her; co-edits The Feminization of America: How Women's Values are Changing Our Public and Private Lives.


Died in Los Angeles of lung cancer on January 7, at age 49

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Barbara Myerhoff - Timeline." (Viewed on April 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/myerhoff/timeline>.