Feminist Reflections Gerda Lerner Nancy F. Cott After Gerda Lerner's death in January 2013 it seemed obvious that any event to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America that same year ought to be devoted to honoring Lerner. The two were intertwined in more than one way. Lerner's career as a historian coincided with the decades of the Schlesinger Library's major growth. Her force in developing the field of women's history made the collections of the Schlesinger Library grow and made them important. She was a speaker on the program for the library's fortieth-, fiftieth-, and sixtieth-anniversary events. Characteristically, she closed the program of the fiftieth anniversary with decisive and confident words: "Patriarchal ideas are obsolete and powerless. Feminist ideas, conversely, are future-oriented and powerful." Lerner decided to give her papers to the Schlesinger Library in 1975, and now, with the generous help of her children, Stephanie Lerner Lapidus and Daniel Lerner, her collection is complete. The founding years of the library and the career of Gerda Lerner are very strongly linked through Mary Ritter Beard's imprint on both. Historian Mary Ritter Beard deserves the name of women's history pioneer.
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Mar 15, 2015
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