Gerda Lerner, a former professor at the University of Wisconsin who is considered a pioneer in the study of women’s history, has passed away at the age of 92, a university official said Thursday (Jan. 3). Her son tells the AP she died peacefully of natural causes at an assisted-living facility in Madison.
Lerner was born 1920 in Vienna, Austria, fleeing her home country to escape the Nazis in the late 1930s. She eventually immigrated to the United States, married filmmaker Carl Lerner and earned her doctorate from Columbia University in 1966. Lerner would then go on to found the women’s studies program at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
Lerner was also a founding member of the National Organization for Women and helped create Women’s History Month. She retired from teaching at the University of Wisconsin in 1991. She is survived by daughter Stephanie, son Dan and four grandchildren.