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Ruth Gay

Through her writing, Ruth Glazer Gay captured an engaging view of the Jewish community, both past and present. Gay began working in the labor movement as an education director for Amalgamated Clothing Workers in 1943 before becoming a writer and editor for both Labor and Nation and the American Joint Distribution Committee’s JDC Review. She also published freelance human-interest pieces in Commentary throughout the 1940s and 1950s for their “American Scene” department on topics like the Jewish delicatessen. But in the 1960s she turned her interests from the Jewish community’s present to its past, publishing Jews in America: A Short History in 1965. She earned a master’s of library science in 1969 and from 1972–1985 served as an archivist/cataloguer at Yale University. In 1984 she travelled to Berlin, where she organized the archives of the West Berlin Jewish community. Throughout her career, Gay continued to write articles on Jewish life in America and Germany for Midstream, Conservative Judaism, and the American Scholar. She also published two more books, The Jews of Germany: A Historical Portrait in 1992 and Unfinished People: Jewish Immigrants to the United States 1880–1914, which won the 1997 National Jewish Book Award for nonfiction.

Topics: Labor Rights

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Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Gay ." (Viewed on May 28, 2020) <>.


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