Writing from the Library (Spring 2017)

Jane Crow book cover
By Ivelisse Estrada

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.

Rosalind Rosenberg
Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray
(Oxford University Press, 2017)
The historian Rosalind Rosenberg has written what could become the definitive biography of Pauli Murray, whose personal papers are housed at the Schlesinger. Although many are familiar with Murray’s activism in the civil rights and women’s movements, this book reveals another aspect of the extraordinary figure: that years before the term “transgender” made it into mainstream consciousness, Murray identified as male. The biography has a mid-April publication date, but trade journals have already praised it. “Assiduous research and clear prose give Murray her due,” said Kirkus Reviews. “Placing Murray in historical context with practiced ease, Rosenberg weaves these many threads together into an authoritative narrative that will introduce Murray to many future generations,” said Publishers Weekly. “Rosenberg shows how Murray pursued an intersectional activism, repeatedly identifying the ways in which race, class, and gender worked together to constrain opportunity.”

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz AM ’65, PhD ’69
A Taste for Provence
(University of Chicago Press, 2016)
Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz—the Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor of American Studies and History emerita at Smith College—investigates how Provence, once considered a French backwater, gained its allure in the postwar period. The Wall Street Journal said, “How Provence went from nowheresville to a nouveau-Eden is the subject of Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz’s A Taste for Provence, a fascinating survey of the many ways in which business, literature, art, and food fashions shape desires about where to travel and how to live.” At the Schlesinger Library, Horowitz studied cookbooks and Gourmet magazine and perused photographs in the Julia Child collection to build her narrative. Look for mentions of Elizabeth David and MFK Fisher, whose papers are housed at the Schlesinger.

Marjorie J. Spruill RI ’07
Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics
(Bloomsbury, 2017)
Marjorie J. Spruill relied on a wealth of materials at the Schlesinger Library while researching this history of battling factions in the women’s movement: feminists and their conservative counterparts. “Spruill remains evenhanded in her treatment, tracing the tensions within each group and among their supporters,” wrote Publishers Weekly. “Her rigorous research and intense accuracy will make this an indispensable handbook on the history of the National Women’s Conference and its enduring legacy on American politics.” During the course of her research, which she began as the 2006–2007 Hrdy Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Spruill mined the papers of Catherine Shipe East, the records of the National Organization for Women, and materials about Shelah Leader and the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. Spruill is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina.

For a running list, updated monthly, of books researched at the Schlesinger, visit www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/schlesinger-library/collection/new-books.

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