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Women's history pioneer Gerda Lerner dies at 92

Published On: Jan 03 2013 09:40:04 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Gerda Lerner, a pioneer in the field of women's history and founding member of the National Organization for Woman, has died in Wisconsin. She was 92.

Her son said his mother died peacefully Wednesday night at an assisted-living facility in Madison, the city where she founded a doctoral program in women's history at the University of Wisconsin.

Lerner was born in Austria to a privileged Jewish family in 1920, and spent six weeks in a Nazi prison as a teenager. She later wrote that the experience taught her how society manipulates people, a lesson she saw reinforced by academics who suggested history was only about men.

She eventually came to the U.S. and established the nation's first graduate program in women's studies at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.

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