Recommended Reads for Women’s History Month

To commemorate Women’s History Month, Purdue University Press is featuring books that celebrate the contributions women have made to Purdue University, the United States, and the rest of the world.

Refuge Must Be Given: Eleanor Roosevelt, the Jewish Plight, and the Founding of Israel

by John F. Sears

Refuge Must Be Given details the evolution of Eleanor Roosevelt from someone who harbored negative impressions of Jews to becoming a leading Gentile champion of Israel in the United States. The book explores, for the first time, Roosevelt’s partnership with the Quaker leader Clarence Pickett in seeking to admit more refugees into the United States, and her relationship with Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who was sympathetic to the victims of Nazi persecution yet defended a visa process that failed both Jewish and non-Jewish refugees.



Independent Vision: Dorothy Harrison Eustis and the Story of The Seeing Eye

by Miriam Ascarelli

Drawing on correspondence, private papers, and newspaper accounts of the day, Miriam Ascarelli chronicles the life of Dorothy Harrison Eustis, the woman responsible for founding The Seeing Eye, the first guide dog school in the United States.


The Deans’ Bible: Five Purdue Women and Their Quest for Equality

by Angie Klink

The Dean’s Bible shares the stories of five Purdue women, Dorothy C. Stratton, Helen B. Schleman, M. Beverley Stone, Barbara I. Cook, and Betty M. Nelson. The book spans one hundred years of their interwoven lives, their shared causes and obstacles, and their pursuit of equity for all people.


In Their Own Words: Forgotten Women Pilots of Early Aviation

by Fred Erisman

In Their Own Words takes up the writings of eight women pilots as evidence of the ties between the growth of American aviation and the changing role of women. Although these women were well known in the profession and widely publicized in the press at the time, many are largely overlooked today.



Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women Who Introduced Science into the Home

by Angie Klink

Based on extensive oral history and archival research, Divided Paths, Common Ground sheds light on the important role female staff and faculty played in improving the quality of life for rural women during the first half of the twentieth century. It is also a fascinating story of two very different personalities, Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, united in this common goal.

The Queen of American Agriculture: A Biography of Virginia Claypool Meredith

by Frederick Whitford, Andrew G. Martin, and Phyllis Mattheis

This is the story of Virginia Meredith, whose lifetime of work had her referred to as “the most remarkable woman in Indiana” and the “Queen of American Agriculture.” Meredith was also the first woman appointed to serve on the university’s board of trustees, had a residence hall named in her honor, and worked with her adopted daughter, Mary L. Matthews, in creating the School of Home Economics at Purdue University.

Escaping Extermination: Hungarian Prodigy to American Musician, Feminist, and Activist

by Agi Jambor, edited by Frances Pinter

Written shortly after the close of World War II and published for the first time in 2020, Escaping Extermination describes how Agi Jambor and her husband escaped the extermination of Hungary’s Jews through a combination of luck and wit.



Finding Edith: Surviving the Holocaust in Plain Sight

by Edith Mayer Cord

Finding Edith describes the childhood and adolescence of a Viennese girl growing up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism, World War II, and the religious persecution of Jews throughout Europe. Edith was hunted in Western Europe and Vichy France, where she was hidden in plain sight, constantly afraid of discovery and denunciation.


Of Exile and Music: A Twentieth Century Life

by Eva Mayer Schay

This autobiography is set against the backdrop of some of the most dramatic episodes of the twentieth century. It is the story of a stubborn struggle against unjust regimes, sustained by a deep belief in the strength of the human spirit and the transcendental power of music.


Crowns, Crosses, and Stars: My Youth in Prussia, Surviving Hitler, and a Life Beyond

by Sibylle Sarah Niemoeller, Baroness von Sell

Crowns, Crosses, and Stars is Sarah Niemoeller’s story from the privileged world of Prussian aristocracy, through the horrors of World War II resisting both Hitler’s dictatorship and his genocidal efforts, to high society in the television age of postwar America.


Sisters in Science: Conversations with Black Women Scientists on Race, Gender, and Their Passion for Science

by Diann Jordan

Sisters in Science is a book of interviews with prominent black women scientists across the United States. These scientists are pioneers in their chosen scientific profession and represent a broad spectrum of disciplines, ages, and geographical locations.

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