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Gerda Lerner (Austrian-American historian)

  • Gerda Hedwig Kronstein
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Lerner, Gerda
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Gerda Hedwig Lerner (née Kronstein; April 30, 1920 – January 2, 2013) was an Austrian-born American historian and woman's history author. In addition to her numerous scholarly publications, she wrote poetry, fiction, theatre pieces, screenplays, and an autobiography. She served as president of the Organization of American Historians from 1980 to 1981. In 1980, she was appointed Robinson Edwards Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught until retiring in 1991.

Lerner was one of the founders of the academic field of women's history. In 1963, while still an undergraduate at the New School for Social Research, she taught "Great Women in American History", which is considered to be the first regular college course on women's history offered anywhere.

She taught at Long Island University from 1965 to 1967. She played a key role in the development of women's history curricula and was involved in the development of degree programs in women's history at Sarah Lawrence College (where she taught from 1968 to 1979 and established the nation's first master's degree program in women's history) and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she launched the first Ph.D. program in women's history. She also worked at Duke University and Columbia University, where she was a co-founder of the Seminar on Women.

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