History Buzz January 3, 2013: Gerda Lerner: Women’s studies pioneer and University of Wisconsin professor emerita, dies at 92

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Gerda Lerner, women’s studies pioneer and UW professor emerita, dies at 92

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, 1-3-13

Gerda Lerner

Gerda Lerner

State Journal archives

“The history of women had been forgotten, oppressed, silenced and marginalized until the last 30 years. I’m one of the people that helped bring that history alive, to point out it was valid and important,” Gerda Lerner said in 2002, five years after this photo was taken. The pioneer of women’s studies died Wednesday night in Madison at age 92.

Enlarge Photo

Long before Gerda Lerner helped redefine the study of history to give women a more prominent place in it and before she established the doctorate program in U.S. women’s history at UW-Madison in the 1980s, she had to live through one of history’s worst horrors and — barely — survive it.

Lerner (then Kronstein), who died Wednesday night in Madison at age 92, spent her 18th birthday in a Nazi jail in Vienna expecting death and being fed food scraps by two gentile cellmates after authorities cut rations to Jews.

“They taught me how to survive,” Lerner told the State Journal in 2001. “Everything I needed to get through the rest of my life I learned in jail in those six weeks.”

Lerner, UW-Madison professor emerita of women’s studies, was able to escape alone to New York in the late 1930s. Decades later she started an academic career as a historian of women who led a movement almost from its infancy, eventually writing 11 books, earning 18 honorary degrees and in 2002 becoming the first woman recipient of the prestigious Bruce Catton Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Historical Writing from the Society of American Historians.

“She’s one of two people from what you might call the eldest generation of this wave of women’s history,” said Linda Gordon, a New York University professor who taught women’s history at UW-Madison with Lerner in the 1980s and 1990s. “She had an enormous influence.”…READ MORE

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: