Writing from the Library (Fall 2017)

Writing from the Library: Fall 2017

Scholars continue to flock to the Schlesinger to conduct research for their projects. Here we highlight three recently published books that relied in part on the library’s holdings.

Christoph Keller and Jan Heller Levi, editors
We’re On: A June Jordan Reader
(Alice James Books, 2017)

Christoph Keller and Jan Heller Levi gathered public and private writing by June Jordan to give a sense of the poet, essayist, and activist and the impact she had during her 40-year career. In addition to the poetry, unpublished writing, speeches, and letters mined by the editors, the Papers of June Jordan at the Schlesinger Library include photographs, audio, video, and more.

Said Publishers Weekly in a starred review: “Jordan begs us to trust one another and to tell the truth, to read the world more closely, to learn the wisdom of those who came before, who resisted before, and loved before. She laid a foundation, leaving a revolutionary blueprint for poetry to transform our lives beyond the white gaze and its literary imagination. . . . This book is not just a collection of figurative words; it is a tool for liberation.”

Keller is a novelist and a playwright, and Levi is a poet and a professor of English at Hunter College.

Jessica M. Frazier
Women’s Antiwar Diplomacy during the Vietnam War Era
(University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

Jessica M. Frazier takes a different tack on the Vietnam narrative by focusing on a group of American women who reached out to Vietnamese women in hopes of cooperating to end US intervention. According to Reviews in History, “Women’s Antiwar Diplomacy During the Vietnam War Era illuminates a consistently overlooked feature of anti-war activism: the transnational exchanges and relationships forged between US women and their Vietnamese counterparts. . . . [The book] provides a compelling rumination of cultural imperialism, US feminism, and antiwar activism.”

A 2011–2012 recipient of a Schlesinger Library Dissertation Grant, Frazier is now an assistant professor of history at the University of Rhode Island whose research interests include transnational social movements, diplomacy, and race. She consulted several collections during the course of her research for this book, including the papers of the activists Charlotte Bunch, Florence Luscomb, and Nancy Grey Osterud ’71; the author and activist Barbara Deming; and the economist Helen Boyden Lamb ’28, PhD ’43.

Karissa Haugeberg
Women against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century
(University of Illinois Press, 2017)

Karissa Haugeberg looks at antiabortion activism from the 1960s through the 1990s for this social history of the movement. At the Schlesinger, she researched the Papers of Mildred Jefferson, a surgeon and right-to-life activist who in 1951 also became the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

The book earned reviews in the New Yorker and the Times Literary Supplement. “Some of the most vociferous and effective opponents of abortion have been women, and Haugeberg focuses on them,” said the New York Review of Books, which called the book “excellent” and put it on that issue’s cover. “Through their eyes we see what moved them, and through their activities, the increasing violence of the movement.”

Haugeberg is an assistant professor of history at Tulane University, where she also edits the Newcomb College Institute’s Journal for Research on Women and Gender.

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