Women of Valor

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Timeline

Barbara Myerhoff, 1935 - 1985

1935

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

1954

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

1958

Receives BA in Sociology from University of California at Los Angeles

1963

Receives Masters Degree in Human Development at University of Chicago.

1965

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.

1968

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.

1972

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

1974

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

1976

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

1977

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.

1979

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

1980

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

1981

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

1982

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

1984

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.

1985

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>.