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Amy Swerdlow

1923 – 2012

by Moira Reynolds

An active participant for Women Strike for Peace (WSP) since its inception, Amy G. Swerdlow—teacher, scholar, writer, and social activist—has written the following about this organization:

By stressing the global issues and international cooperation rather than private family issues, WSP challenged the key element of the feminine mystique: the domestication and privatization of the middle class white woman. By making recognized contributions to the achievements of an atmospheric test ban, WSP also raised women’s sense of political efficacy and self-esteem.

Amy Miriam Galstuck Swerdlow was born on January 20, 1923, in New York City, the daughter of Joseph J. and Esther (Rodner) Galstuck. In 1949, she married Stanley H. Swerdlow and the couple had four children: Joan, Ezra, Lisa, and Thomas. Swerdlow holds a B.A. from New York University (1962), an M.A. from Sarah Lawrence College (1973), and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University (1984).

Before marriage, Swerdlow worked briefly in publishing, and has been a member of the board of directors of the Feminist Press since 1973. A delegate to the National Women’s Conference in 1977, she has focused on women’s history. From 1976 to 1979, she was director of the American Historical Association’s Institute for Women’s History in Secondary Schools. In 1981, she was appointed professor of women’s and American history at Sarah Lawrence College. Swerdlow is director emerita of the Women’s Studies Program at Sarah Lawrence, a post she “inherited” from Gerda Lerner, who introduced her to United States women’s history and encouraged her to dig into the field. She has edited feminist publications and contributed articles and essays to journals and books. She is the author of Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960’s.

On March 8, 2004—International Women’s Day— Swedlow and five other initiators of “Women’s History Month” assembled at Sarah Lawrence: They came to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of an idea that now features on the national calendar.


“Abolition’s Conservative Sisters: The Ladies’ New York City Anti-Slavery Societies, 1834–1840.”

In The Abolitionist Sisterhood, edited by Jean Fagan Yellin and John C. Van Horne (1994);

“‘Clean Bombs’ and Clean Language.” In Women, Militarism, and War: Essays in History, Politics, and Social Theory (1990);

“The Congress of American Women: Left-Feminist Peace Politics in the Cold War.” In U.S. History as Women’s History: New Feminist Essays, edited by Linda K. Kerber, Alice Kessler-Harris, and Kathryn Kish Sklar (1995);

Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960’s (1993).


Contemporary Authors 105 (1982);

Who’s Who in America. 49th ed. (1995).


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This is so sad. I had no idea this giant of a lady had passed away.

I love you Amy.

I will miss you Amy. I miss you already.

Activist, professor, and author Amy Swerdlow.

Courtesy Sarah Lawrence College.

How to cite this page

Reynolds, Moira. "Amy Swerdlow." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on June 23, 2021) <>.


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