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On the Fringes of Academia: Jewish Women as University Faculty Before 1970

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Abstract:

This article traces the history of Jewish women in academia from the turn of the twentieth century, when women first began to earn doctorates and seek positions in public and private universities, to the end of the sixties, the cusp of second-wave feminism, when academia started to become a more hospitable place for women. It examines the career trajectories of two separate cohorts of academic women: the pioneering generation born in either Europe or the United States before World War I who attained faculty status at German, Austrian, and American universities before 1939 and the younger generation of immigrants from Central Europe and American women born before the outbreak of World War II who embarked on their academic careers in the United States before 1969. It compares these two generations with respect to marital status and Jewish identification, and evaluates the interconnections between these factors and academic advancement. Utilizing data from the 1969 Carnegie Commission National Survey of Higher Education Faculty Study, it then contrasts Jewish women in academia both with other women faculty and with Jewish men in the academy on the eve of the second women's movement.