Mary Lowenthal Felstiner

Mary Lowenthal Felstiner received her B.A. degree at Harvard, her M.A. at Columbia and her Ph.D. at Stanford. Since 1981 she has taught history at San Francisco State University. Her major research on Charlotte Salomon culminated in To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era, which in 1995 won both the Women’s Heritage Museum First Annual Book Award and the American Historical Association Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women’s History. Her most recent work, Out of Joint: A Public and Private Story of Arthritis (2005), has as its genesis her own experiences of a chronic health problem.

Articles by this author

Charlotte Salomon

Charlotte Salomon was living as a refugee from Nazism in Villefranche on the French Riviera when she made a startling discovery: that eight members of her family, one by one, over the years, had committed suicide. With this traumatic revelation in mind, she arrived at what she called “The question: whether to take her own life or to undertake something eccentric and mad.” Something “eccentric and mad” turned out to be an artwork in over seven hundred scenes, painted during one year (1941–1942), enriched by dialogues, soliloquies and musical references, arranged into acts and scenes, and titled “Life? Or Theater? An Operetta.”

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mary Lowenthal Felstiner." (Viewed on May 24, 2019) <>.


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