News & Ideas

Writing from the Library (Fall 2018)

Scholars continue to flock to the Schlesinger to conduct research. Here we highlight three recently published books whose authors relied in part on the Library’s holdings.

Scholars continue to flock to the Schlesinger to conduct research. Here we highlight three recently published books whose authors relied in part on the Library’s holdings. 

Joyce Antler
Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement
(NYU Press, 2018)

Joyce Antler—the Samuel J. Lane Professor Emerita of American Jewish History and Culture and a professor emerita of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Brandeis University—has brought together her two specialties in her most recent book. “The role of Jewish women in the feminist struggle was never fully explained,” says the Washington Book Review. “Jewish Radical Feminism fills this gap both in the history of modern Judaism and feminism. This valuable study is a tribute to the struggle of these pioneer Jewish feminists.”

Antler relied on a number of Schlesinger collections in order to illustrate the impact that Jewishness and second-wave feminism had on each other, visiting the papers of the luminaries Wini Breines, Susan Brownmiller, Blu Greenberg, Nancy Grey Osterud, Ann Hunter Popkin, Susan Schechter, Naomi Weisstein, and Ellen Willis.

Sarah F. Rose
No Right to Be Idle: The Invention of Disability, 1840–1930s
(UNC Press, 2017)

In No Right to Be Idle: The Invention of Disability, 1840–1930s, Sarah F. Rose integrates disability history and labor history. Choice magazine highly recommends the book, saying, “Accessible writing and evocative case studies across seven chronologically and thematically arranged chapters reveal the well-intentioned but paternalistic operation of early disability services.”

Rose, an associate professor of history and director of the disability studies minor at the University of Texas at Arlington, consulted the Crystal Eastman Papers during her research. Although Eastman is best remembered as a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, the social investigator, peace worker, and feminist also brought attention to the issue of work accidents and worker’s compensation.

Since its publication, No Right to Be Idle has earned the 2017 Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of the State Archives Award from the New York State Archives and Archives Partnership Trust and the 2018 Philip Taft Labor History Book Award, and it was named a 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Jacqueline H. Wolf
Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018)

From 1965 to 1987, the cesarean section rate in the United States rose shockingly: from 4.5 percent to 25 percent of births. Jacqueline H. Wolf’s new book, Cesarean Section: An American History of Risk, Technology, and Consequence—called “absorbing” and “excellent” in a Slate review—is the first to chronicle the history of this surgical procedure, starting with its initial published account in 1830.

Wolf, who is a professor of the history of medicine at Ohio University, accessed the Schlesinger’s Nancy Wainer Papers while researching her book. An internationally known midwife who writes and speaks about childbirth, Wainer in 1973 founded the nonprofit C/Sec Inc. (Cesareans/Support Education and Concern), leading the charge to change hospital policies around C-section. Her work continues to be archived at the Library. 

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