Feminist author, publisher, literary scholar and historian
Florence Rosenfeld Howe (March 17, 1929 - September 12, 2020) was an American author, publisher, literary scholar and historian who is considered a leader of the contemporary feminist movement.
1 Early life
4 Personal life
6 The Florence Howe Award
7 Selected bibliography
7.2 Chapters in books
9 External links
10 Secondary sources
Born in Brooklyn, New York on March 17, 1929, Florence was the daughter of Samuel, a taxi driver and Frances Stilly Rosenfeld, a bookkeeper. Florence loved learning from a young age. Her mother, Frances, encouraged her daughter to follow a teaching career.
In 1943, Howe entered New York's highly selective Hunter College High School. She was one of only five young women from Brooklyn to do so. In 1949, she was awarded entrance to Phi Beta Kappa, the elite academic organization which commends superlative academic achievement. Various people in power encouraged her to take graduate courses in literature and to become a college professor. After receiving a BA in English in 1950 from Hunter College, Howe entered Smith College and earned an MA in English in 1951.In 1954, Florence Howe attended the University of Wisconsin, resuming her work in graduate studies for art history and literature. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by DePauw University in 1987.
In 1960, Howe was employed as an assistant professor in the English department at a private women's college, Goucher College, located in Maryland. She taught black children in a Mississippi freedom school during 1964 and chaired the Modern Language Association commission on the Status of Women in the Profession.In 1964, Florence Howe’s book Myths of Coeducation, featured one of her essays titled “Mississippi Freedom Schools: the Politics of Education.” In 1965, the essay was published in the Harvard Education Review. This essay written by Howe explains her journey with feminism and how she was able to relate issues such as education, race and politics within feminism. In 1967, she signed a public statement declaring her intention to refuse to pay income taxes in protest against the U.S. war against Vietnam. Howe also founded The Feminist Press in 1970, "an educational nonprofit organization founded to advance women's rights and amplify feminist perspectives", the organization had published three books by 1973. In 1973, Florence Howe took on the role of President of the Modern Language Association after being voted in. In 1978, another essay written by Howe titled “Myths of Coeducation”, explains women's education and how it “functions within the patriarchal limits of the society in which it exists.” From 1972-1982, Florence Howe assisted in editing the Women's Studies Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal. In 1977, Florence Howe was presented an honorary doctorate in humane letters from New England College. In 1979, Florence Howe was presented another honorary doctorate in humane letters, given by Skidmore College. Florence Howe was responsible in co-editing various literature pieces throughout the years, such as “With Wings: An Anthology of Literature By and About Disabled Women (1987); Traditions and the Talents of Women (1991); and No More Masks (1993).” In 1982, Florence Howe published the Feminist Scholarship: The Extent of the Revolution, a journal article in which she wrote about her findings with feminism in higher education. In the years 1983 and 1993, Florence Howe served as a U.S. Department of State Grantee. In 1987, Florence was employed as a professor of humanities at SUNY.
She married three times during the 1950s-1960s, and took the last name of one of her husbands, Ed Howe. She later married Paul Lauter in the 1960s and divorced him in 1987.
In 1964, while living in Baltimore, Florence Howe travelled to Jackson, Mississsippi as a Freedom Summer volunteer and was tasked with serving as a teacher in a Freedom School for Black children. There she met a 16-year-old girl, Alice Jackson, with whom they became close. Alice came with her to Baltimore and Florence became her second mother, although an adoption was never formalized.
Florence had no children of her own, and she was survived by Alice, her two children and four grandchildren, who referred to Florence as Baba.
Florence Howe died on September 12, 2020 in New York City, at the age of 91. She lived on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, and prior to her death received hospice care for Parkinson's disease.
The Florence Howe Award
The Florence Howe Award for feminist scholarship of the Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages is named in her honor. The Florence Howe Award is an annual feminist scholarship acknowledging two outstanding essays by feminist scholars, one from the field of English and one from a foreign language. The authors receive $250 and are honored at an event hosted by the Women’s Caucus at the annual MLA meeting. To be selected, applicants must be members of the Women’s Caucus.
Howe, Florence; Lauter, Paul (1970). The conspiracy of the young. New York: World Publishing Co. OCLC 106506.
Howe, Florence (1993) . No more masks!: an anthology of twentieth-century American women poets. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 9780060552626.
Howe, Florence (1975). Women and the power to change. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070101241.
Howe, Florence (1977). Seven years later: women's studies programs in 1976: a report of the National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs. Washington D.C.: National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs. OCLC 4188651.
Howe, Florence; Lauter, Paul (1978). The women's movement: impact on the campus and curriculum. Washington D.C.: American Association for Higher Education. OCLC 4261912.
Howe, Florence; Hoffman, Nancy (1979). Women working: an anthology of stories and poems. Old Westbury, New York: The Feminist Press. ISBN 9780912670577.
Howe, Florence; Lauter, Paul (1980). The impact of women's studies on the campus and the disciplines. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, National Institute of Education, Program on Teaching and Learning. OCLC 6766027.
Howe, Florence; Howard, Suzanne; Boehm Strauss, Mary Jo (1982). Everywoman's guide to colleges and universities: an educational project of the Feminist Press. Old Westbury, New York: The Feminist Press. ISBN 9780935312096.
Howe, Florence (1984). Myths of coeducation: selected essays, 1964-1983. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253203397.
Howe, Florence; Saxton, Marsha (1987). With wings: an anthology of literature by and about women with disabilities. New York: The Feminist Press. ISBN 9780935312614.
Howe, Florence; Faragher, John Mack (1988). Women and higher education in American history: essays from the Mount Holyoke College Sesquicentennial Symposia. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393025019.
Howe, Florence (1991). Tradition and the talents of women. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252016851.
Howe, Florence; Casella, Jean (2000). Almost touching the skies: women's coming of age stories. New York: The Feminist Press. ISBN 9781558612341. 30th anniversary edition.
Howe, Florence (2000). The politics of women's studies: testimony from thirty founding mothers. New York: The Feminist Press. ISBN 9781558612419. Introduction by Mari Jo Buhle
Howe, Florence (2011). A life in motion. New York: The Feminist Press. ISBN 9781558616974.
Chapters in books
Howe, Florence (2000), "Learning from teaching", in Howe, Florence (ed.), The politics of women's studies: testimony from thirty founding mothers, New York: The Feminist Press, pp. 3–15, ISBN 9781558612419.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Introduction by Mari Jo Buhle
She contributed the piece "The Proper Study of Womankind: Women's Studies" to the 2003 anthology Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by Robin Morgan.