Memoirs

Content type
Collection

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.

Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman displayed courage not only in her writing of powerful and controversial plays like The Children’s Hour, but in her public refusal to name colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber didn’t just record history, she made history as the youngest-ever PhD, an honorary general, and the reporter who covered the famed voyage of the Exodus 1947.

Aliza Greenblatt

Aliza Greenblatt’s career led her on two very different Jewish journeys, as a philanthropist who organized massive support for the State of Israel, and as a popular Yiddish poet.

Edna Ferber

In her novels, short stories, and plays, Edna Ferber captured the rich variety of life in America, from the Mississippi River in Show Boat to the wilds of Alaska in Ice Palace.

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron mined her most painful experiences to create brilliant comedies like Heartburn and When Harry Met Sally.

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp led a life equally as colorful as her famous lawman husband, but struggled for the right to define her own story.

Hortense Calisher

Praised as a “writer’s writer” for her unique voice and deft style, Hortense Calisher was little known outside the literary community despite winning the highest honors for her novels and memoirs.

Mary Antin

An immigrant girl who achieved literary fame at the age of thirteen, Mary Antin became a symbol of the American dream.

Alix Kates Shulman

From her radical marriage contract to her lyrical novels and memoirs, Alix Kates Shulman’s honesty and willingness to share her story helped shape the conversation about women’s liberation.

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Both in her own writing and as founding editor of Ms. magazine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin gave voice to the driving concerns of women in the feminist movement.

Susannah Heschel

As a scholar and author, Susannah Heschel has explored issues of Jewish feminism and 19th and 20th century German Jewish history.

Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler’s massively successful play The Vagina Monologues gave her a platform to launch V-Day, a campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Dianne Cohler-Esses

Dianne Cohler-Esses broke new ground as not only the first woman from the Syrian-Jewish community to become a rabbi, but also the first non-Orthodox rabbi from that community.

Kim Chernin

Through poetry, fiction, and memoir, Kim Chernin powerfully reimagined her personal history and her Jewish identity.

Susan Brownmiller

Susan Brownmiller sparked a fundamental shift in society’s understanding of rape with her groundbreaking book, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape.

Jean Trounstine

Jean Trounstine taught literature to women inmates and cofounded an award-winning alternative probation program that uses writing and literature to offer prisoners a second chance.

Galina Nizhnikov Veremkroit

Galina Nizhnikov Veremkroit risked her own safety to become one of the first female refuseniks to protest for the right to leave Soviet Russia.

Betty Spiegelberg

Levi Spiegelberg followed his brother Solomon to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1848. Together they formed the partnership of Spiegelberg Brothers, an extremely successful merchant enterprise. Like many pioneer Jewish men, Levi wished to marry within his faith. Those who could afford the expense, often returned to Europe to find a Jewish bride. Betty married Levi in 1848. She arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1860's after taking the railroad to the end of the Missouri and then traveling up the steep Santa Fe Tail by ox train.

Fanny Jaffe Sharlip

Fanny Sharlip was born in the small town of Borosna, Russia. In her memoirs written in 1947, she characterizes herself as a child "always hungry for knowledge. I asked too many questions. I was told over and over again that it was not healthy to know too much. I could not be harnessed by telling me that children don't have to know. That only made me more curious." Fanny loved school and was an excellent student. "I was very happy as only a child my age could be; I lived and breathed school.

Mary Goldsmith Prag, California educator and mother of the first Jewish Congresswoman, dies

March 17, 1935

Mary Goldsmith Prag, California educator and mother of the first Jewish Congresswoman, dies.

Death of Ruth F. Weiss, last European eyewitness of the Chinese Communist Revolution

March 6, 2006

Ruth F. Weiss was the last European eyewitness of the Chinese Communist Revolution.

"Against Our Will" author Susan Brownmiller is born

February 15, 1935

Susan Brownmiller: "My chosen path – to fight against physical harm, specifically the terror of violence against women."

Immigrant Mary Antin packs the house at the Waldorf Astoria.

December 8, 1912

Mary Antin writes, “I was born, I have lived, and I have been made over. Is it not time to write my life’s story?”

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