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Memoirs

Content type
Collection

Death of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, widow of Wyatt

December 19, 1944

Josephine Sarah Marcus, born to German Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, NY, in 1861, grew up in San Francisco.

The Klezmatics' performance of Aliza Greenblatt's work, set to music by Woody Guthrie

December 20, 2003

Jewish contributions to American music have long been recognized, with the list of well-known songwriters featuring Broadway composers and lyricists like Irving Berlin, Oscar Hammerstein, and Steph

Birth of "writer's writer" Hortense Calisher

December 20, 1911

The daughter of a Southern Jewish perfume-maker and a German immigrant, author Hortense Calisher was born on December 20, 1911 in New York City

Dramatization of Anne Frank's diary broadcast on the radio

December 14, 1952

Soon after the 1952 publication of the English translation of Anne Frank's war-time diary of her family's hidden life in Nazi-controlled New Amsterdam

Barbara Walters becomes highest-paid journalist

October 4, 1976

On October 4, 1976, Barbara Walters became the first woman co-anchor of a major network evening news program.

Birth of entertainer Kitty Carlisle Hart

September 3, 1910

Born on September 3, 1910 [some sources say 1911, 1914], Kitty Carlisle Hart began a musical career at a young age and kept performing into her nineties.

Birth of Confederate nurse Phoebe Yates Levy Pember

August 18, 1823

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember was born into an assimilated Charleston, South Carolina, family on August 18, 1823.

"Life on the Fringes" explores Orthodox feminism

July 1, 2000

Haviva Ner-David's book, Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination, was published on July 1, 2000.

Birth of feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin

June 9, 1939

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, who has become one of the most well-known figures in both the Jewish and secular feminist movements, was born on Jun

Gertrude Stein publishes Alice B. Toklas "Autobiography"

June 1, 1933

American modernist writer Gertrude Stein published a memoir, ironically titled The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, on June 1, 1933.

Death of comedian Gilda Radner at 42

May 20, 1989

Gilda Radner's death from ovarian cancer on May 20, 1989 at age 42 cut short a vital life and comedic career.

Poet Maxine Kumin wins Pulitzer Prize

May 7, 1973
Writer Maxine Kumin won the esteemed award for poetry for her collection "Up Country: Poems of New England."

Review of Mary Antin's "The Promised Land" appears in the "New York Times"

April 14, 1912

Only 30 years old when she published her autobiography, The Promised Land, Mary Antin captured the dreams and experiences of turn-of-the-cent

Publication of Merle Feld's "A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey"

April 1, 1999

Merle Feld's memoir, A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey was published on April 1, 1999.

Anzia Yezierska

Having immigrated with her family from Eastern Europe, Yezierska chronicled the hunger of her generation of newly arrived Jewish Americans around the turn of the century. Her novels, short stories, and autobiographical writing vividly depict both the literal hunger of poverty and the metaphoric hunger for security, education, companionship, home, and meaning—in short, for the American dream.

Jean Starr Untermeyer

Jean Starr Untermeyer’s memoir, Private Collection (1965), recalls a childhood blighted by “fear of the loss of love.” The fear and the loss—and the love—shadowed her life, but they illuminated her art.

Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was an international star of vaudeville, music halls, and later film, performing in both Yiddish and English in a career that spanned over fifty years.

Alice Babette Toklas

Alice Babette Toklas, cookbook author and memoirist, is an indelible figure in modern cultural history.

Marie Syrkin

Marie Syrkin is best known as a polemicist for the State of Israel, whose keen arguments appeared in a wide range of publications for a period of almost seventy years. It is not a very well-known fact, however, that she recorded both the public and private aspects of her life and career in poetry written over the course of her lifetime.

Rose Pastor Stokes

In her autobiography as in her life, Stokes fused American values of self-improvement with immigrant and socialist ideals of community.

Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein, the American modernist writer, was an international celebrity, an artistic iconoclast, and a self-proclaimed genius.

Bella Spewack

The Spewacks’ early plays—Poppa, Spring Song, and War Song—deal with a variety of social issues, among them problems facing new immigrants, some of whom are Jewish. They focus on the clash of cultures, the effect of Americanization on traditional ways, and disenchantment with the elusive American dream. Who better than Bella Spewack, who has “seen it all,” to write about such things?

Susan Sontag

In her essays, or "case-studies," examining art and the "modern sensibility," Susan Sontag covered topics from photography to illness to fascism. One of the most widely read cultural critics of her generation, she was a lightning rod for both praise and vilification.

Kate Simon

Kate Simon wrote numerous books, including a series of guidebooks for Meridian Books. It was her raw, honest account of her life in her three-volume memoir, however, that was hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “a classic of autobiography.”

Jo Sinclair

Jo Sinclair’s works explore the repercussions of oppression in many forms: self-denial and self-destruction, antisemitism and Jewish self-hatred, continued psychic pain due to childhood suffering and dysfunctional family relations, repression of women’s sexual energy and sexual orientation, racism and the internalization of prejudice, poverty, and other forms of marginalization. Her work looks to self-knowledge as a means of emerging from one’s internalized ghetto.

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