Memoirs

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Collection

Vivian Gornick

Vivian Gornick chronicled her own feminist awakening and that of the country through both her journalism for the Village Voice and her powerful memoirs.

Death of writer Amy K. Blank

September 17, 1990

Amy Blank's poetry expressed the gentleness, insight, and devotion for which she was known.

Ariel Durant

Ariel Durant collaborated with her husband, Will, on their Pulitzer-winning, multi-volume history of western civilization as well as, unusually, their dual autobiography.

Sophia Dubnow-Erlich

Sophia Dubnow-Erlich’s socialist views were reflected both in her acclaimed poetry and in her passionate activism.

Sylvia Goulston Dreyfus

Sylvia Goulston Dreyfus worked to improve Boston both through community activism and through her support of art and music.

Lucy S. Dawidowicz

Lucy S. Dawidowicz believed that her passion for the shtetls she had known and her experiences working with Holocaust survivors in postwar Germany made her a better historian.

Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson

Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson became an important voice for women in the Conservative Movement as a founder of United Synagogue’s Women’s League and founding editor of their journal Outlook.

Rose Gollup Cohen

Through her moving 1918 autobiography, Out of the Shadow, Rose Gollup Cohen offered a vivid account of her life as an immigrant Jewish woman in the sweatshops of New York.

Vera Caspary

Vera Caspary wrote novels and screenplays featuring strong, complex women who were never simply villains or victims.

Sadi Muriel Baron

A pioneering neurologist and psychiatrist, Sadi Muriel Baron managed to interweave teaching, working with with poor urban families, and running a successful private practice.

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall smoldered on screen with what became known as her signature “look,” glancing up with a downturned chin, shining in her roles both alone and opposite her husband, Humphrey Bogart.

Nima Adlerblum

Nima Adlerblum’s scholarship and Zionist activism helped shape worldwide perspectives about the land where she was born.

Shelley Winters

An actress who cared deeply about the world, Shelley Winters donated the Oscar she won for her role as Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank to Otto Frank.

Birth of Cancer Patient Advocate Rose Kushner

June 22, 1929

"We women should be free, knowledgeable, and completely conscious when the time comes for a decision, so that we can make it for ourselves." Cancer patient advocate Rose Kushner

Death of prolific screenwriter and novelist Vera Caspary

June 13, 1987

“Those who come after us may find it easier to assert independence, but will miss the grand adventure of having been born a woman in this century of change.” Screenwriter Vera Caspary

Roz Chast

The Cartoonist and the Nursing Home: Roz Chast Talks to JWA About Her New Graphic Memoir

by Tara Metal

Roz Chast is one of The New Yorker’s most enduringly popular cartoonists, beloved for her signature neurotic style and quick wit. In her first graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Chast dives into the always frustrating, often funny, sometimes surreal world of elder care. As an only child, Chast was wholly responsible for making sure her aging parents were safe and taken care of, despite their tendency to drive her completely nuts. We meet her mother Elizabeth, a domineering woman who always had the last word, and her father George, an anxious man who adored Elizabeth. Together, the three of them navigate the last years of her parents’ lives, the brutal realities of aging, and the bittersweet comedy of reaching the end of the road.  

Topics: Family, Memoirs

Carol Ruth Silver

Carol Ruth Silver was one of the first two white women to be jailed in the Freedom Rides, an experience that sparked a career in law and politics, fighting for the rights of others.

Glückel of Hameln

Glückel bas Judah of Hameln’s remarkable life as a businesswoman and world traveler was preserved in her own words, thanks to the autobiography she wrote over the course of several years.

Lillian Roth

While Lillian Roth’s career as an actress and musician was derailed by her alcoholism and mental illness, the painful story of her life made her autobiography an international bestseller.

Anne Roiphe

A prolific journalist, essayist and novelist, Anne Roiphe is known for tackling issues of feminism and Jewish identity in her writing.

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers carved a place for herself among the Hollywood elite as a comedian and fashion commentator for whom no subject was ever taboo.

Gilda Radner

A gifted comedian, Gilda Radner made a name for herself as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live.

Mary Goldsmith Prag

The mother of the first Jewish congresswoman, Mary Goldsmith Prag was a literal pioneer in her own right as a gold-rush era teacher and the first Jewish member of the San Francisco Board of Education.

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember managed a hospital through the chaos of the Civil War and left an account of her life that offered a window into daily life for Jews in Southern high society.

Annie Nathan Meyer

Believing that education was the best path for women’s success, Annie Nathan Meyer founded Barnard College, New York’s first liberal arts college for women.
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