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Gerda Lerner at Sarah Lawrence College

10 Quotes from the Jewish Founder of Women's History Month

by Abby Richmond and Bella Book

Here are some choice quotes on marginality, what progress looks like, and why women’s history matters, from the Jewish woman who started it all!

Bella Abzug on the cover of "Life Magazine," June 9, 1972

Why Don’t I Know More About Bella Abzug?

by Tara Metal

Among the many treats in Gloria Steinem’s new memoir My Life on the Road are the bevy of stories starring women who appear on jwa.org: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Gerda Lerner, Betty Friedan, and even Emma Goldman earned mentions. But as I read Steinem’s book, one name made more appearances than the rest: Bella Abzug.

Gerda Lerner

As the creator of some of the earliest courses in women’s studies and the chair of the conference that sparked what became National Women’s History Month, Gerda Lerner made contributions beyond measure to the field of women’s studies.

Gerda Lerner

From 1980 on, the celebration of Women's History Week, and later, Women's History Month, spread to every state, every county, and most communities in the U.S.A.

Gerda Lerner, 1981

Saluting Gerda Lerner as Women’s History Month Begins

by  Ellen K. Rothman

Back in the day (as we now say) when I was an undergraduate at a college that had been educating the country’s elite—all men, of course—for almost 350 years, the first ripples of Second Wave feminism were stirring things up outside the ivy covered walls. Inside, in a classroom filled entirely with women, an untenured (but well-published) female Senior Lecturer was teaching the institution’s first course on women’s history.

Gerda Lerner, 1920 - 2013

Lerner's life experience equipped her to resist conformity—in particular, questioning the societal norms insisting that women had no history.

Gerda Lerner at Sarah Lawrence College

Remembering Gerda Lerner: The "Mother" of Women's History

by  Joyce Antler

Gerda Lerner, pioneer in women’s history, remarkable public intellectual, and life-long activist, died this week in Wisconsin at the age of 92. A member of JWA’s Academic Advisory Council, she was enthusiastic about our mission of chronicling and transmitting the history of Jewish women. No historian was more identified with the field of women’s history. Receiving her Ph.D. at the age of 46, she wrote a series of groundbreaking books in which she almost singlehandedly created a conceptual framework for the field.

Judith Rosenbaum

From Margin to March: What to make of Women's History Month

by  Judith Rosenbaum

Here’s a not-so-secret little secret about me: I’m a major women’s history geek. I can go on about the stories of women’s lives for hours. Want to know about Emma Goldman?

Happy 90th Birthday, Gerda Lerner!

by  Leah Berkenwald

"I am a Jewish woman, I am an immigrant, and I will no longer permit others to define me." A Death of One's Own (1978).

Pioneering women's history summer institute

July 18, 1979

In the summer of 1979, a fifteen-day conference (July 13-29), co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence, the Women's Action Alliance and the Smithsonian Institution, was held at Sarah Lawrence College.

Gerda Lerner

Entering the field of United States history with a freshly minted Ph.D. in 1966, Gerda Lerner blazed a new professional path that led to the establishment of the field of women’s history. The force of her personality and her commitment to the possibilities contained in the historical study of women made her impervious to the ridicule with which the male-dominated historical profession initially responded to the notion of women’s history.

Historians in the United States

American Jewish women have been prominent within the historical profession. Indeed, many have been on the cutting edge of historical scholarship since the 1960s. In particular, Jewish women were at the forefront of developments within social history and in the creation of women’s history. While women generally, and Jewish women in particular, rarely made careers as historians in the first half of the twentieth century, Jewish women represented a significant proportion of academic historians both in American and European history as discrimination against Jews and prejudice against women lessened in the decades after World War II. Perhaps because of their sensitivity to the situation of powerless groups, most of them focused their attention not on traditional power elites but rather on those social groups traditionally ignored by academic historians: ordinary people, workers, peasants, minority groups, Jews, and especially women. They helped create, and were influenced by, new trends in historical scholarship that favored the study of such groups.

A Shout-Out to Dr. Gerda Lerner

by  Lily Rabinoff-Goldman

“Women’s history is women’s right – an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.” So Dr.

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