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JWA News Release: November 22, 2011

Contact: Alan Kravitz, akravitz@jwa.org; 617-232-2258



In renaming its popular History Makers series, Jewish Women’s Archive is returning the series to its roots and restoring the project’s original title.

For nearly 15 years, educators, researchers, students and people of all ages have used History Makers web exhibits, posters and teaching resources to highlight the lives and accomplishments of 16 trailblazing Jewish women who overcame social, cultural and religious barriers in order to create a more just and equitable world. They are: Bella Abzug, Beatrice Alexander, Gertrude Elion, Ray Frank, Emma Goldman, Rebecca Gratz, Emma Lazarus, Barbara Myerhoff, Molly Picon, Justine Wise Polier, Bobbie Rosenfeld, Anna Sokolow, Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, Henrietta Szold, Lillian Wald and Gertrude Weil.

The series was originally titled Women of Valor when it was introduced in 1997. In an effort to choose a more transparent title that would readily characterize the women in the series, the name was changed to History Makers in 2008. The return to the former name was motivated by a request from The HistoryMakers—an African American History archive asking JWA to cease using a title that was causing confusion between the two organizations.

“JWA and The HistoryMakers both work in the oral history and archive space and respect one another’s work. Given that History Makers is essentially their brand, whereas for JWA, it was the title of one among many projects and programs, there seemed little reason not to acquiesce to their request,” said JWA Executive Director Gail T. Reimer.

Rather than assigning this widely used section of jwa.org a new name, JWA decided to turn to its site visitors as well as its Facebook users and Twitter followers for help. An online contest was announced in October and drew a wide range of proposed names.

After several impassioned discussions of the proposed names, Women of Valor, suggested by Leah Wolff-Pellingra, emerged the winner.

Leah, a cantorial soloist and educator in Schenectady, New York, said that she suggested the name because she considered it “a natural fit for the work of JWA.”

“The women represented here have sustained our people and humanity,” Leah said. “The abiding worth of their actions continues to redefine the paths by which we, too, may become women of valor.”

About the Jewish Women's Archive

The mission of the Jewish Women’s Archive (jwa.org) is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich history of American Jewish women. JWA is nationally recognized as a vital contributor to a more expansive and inclusive vision of Jewish life, past, present and future. Through its innovative uses of technology and its collaborative partnerships, JWA has successfully changed the way history is researched, recorded, and taught.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA News Release: November 22, 2011." (Viewed on March 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/news/2011/112211-inspired-by-contest-winner-jwa-renames-its-history-makers-series-as-women-of-valor>.


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