Gerda Lerner, 1920-2013














Gerda Lerner, former Sarah Lawrence professor and co-founder of the women’s history graduate program, the nation’s first, died on Jan. 2, 2013 at the age of 92. In addition to her work at Sarah Lawrence, Lerner founded the nation’s first doctorate program in women’s history at University of Wisconsin, Madison, was the author of many scholarly works, including “The Creation of Patriarchy” (1986) and “The Creation of Feminist Consciousness” (1997), and became one of the early female presidents of the Organization of American Historians.

The New York Times chronicled Lerner’s life in an obituary, published today.

A list of Lerner’s publications: 


  • No Farewell (1955) an autobiographical novel
  • The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina: Rebels against Authority (1967)
  • The Woman in American History [ed.] (1971)
  • The Female Experience: An American Documentary (1976)
  • A Death of One’s Own (1978/2006)
  • The Majority Finds Its Past: Placing Women in History (1979)
  • Teaching Women’s History (1981)
  • Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey (1982)
  • The Creation of Patriarchy (1986)
  • The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-seventy (1994)
  • Scholarship in Women’s History Rediscovered & New (1994)
  • Why History Matters (1997)
  • Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (2002)



  • Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom (1957)
  • Black Like Me (1964)
  • Home for Easter (n.d.)

The staff here at Re/Visionist and the members of the Women’s History Graduate Program at Sarah Lawrence College honor this formidable woman, and as we consider ways to formally pay homage to her life and work, we encourage you to contribute ideas, thoughts, and inspirations you might have.

Thank you, Gerda Lerner. Your life’s work is eternal and immeasurable in value and power.

Emilie Egger, Emma Staffaroni, Katy Gehred

3 thoughts on “Gerda Lerner, 1920-2013

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I wonder why so few places mention Fireweed, her political memoir? It is excellent and I read it at SLC.

    1. Meg,

      Thank you for commenting. I have amended the post to include Fireweed in the list of Lerner’s works. Thank you for bringing this oversight to our attention.

      Emilie, web editor

  2. Meg, in whose class at SLC did you read it? (if you don’t mind my curiosity!)
    Thanks for commenting!!

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