Letty Cottin Pogrebin class of 1959


WGS Board Member Letty Cottin Pogrebin answers the Brandeis Questionnaire in the Fall 2012 / Winter 2013 issue of Brandeis Magazine:

When it was launched in 1971, Ms. magazine heralded a new world for women — and men. It catapulted below-the-radar topics like domestic violence, sexual harassment, the right to abortion and workplace discrimination into the national conversation, and quickly became an avatar of modern feminism.

As founding editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin ’59, has said, “Ms. translated a movement into a magazine.”

Less than a dozen years after Pogrebin graduated from Brandeis, her work at Ms. brought her visibility and influence. In the same year she co-founded the magazine with Gloria Steinem, the two — along with other important figures in the feminist movement, including Congresswoman Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan, author of “The Feminine Mystique” — established the National Women’s Political Caucus.

These early landmark achievements set a lifelong pace for Pogrebin as a social justice activist. Her voracious intellectual appetite is matched by her versatility: She is a columnist, novelist, nonfiction author, memoirist, lecturer, political commentator and doting bubbie of six. She has written for The New York Times and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as The Nation, Elle, Family Circle and The Huffington Post. Her lectures cover considerable cultural and political territory: being Jewish and female in America, family politics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and getting over getting older, to name just a few subjects.

More often than not, Pogrebin’s intellectual pursuits grow out of her personal experiences — as a Jew, a woman, a feminist, a colleague. She has just completed her 10th book, “How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick” (Public Affairs, 2013), inspired by her struggle with breast cancer several years ago and her observation of the awkward, misguided interactions people sometimes have with those who are ill.

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