Rowan Professor to Discuss Jewish Girls in Turn-of-the-Century America During March 30 Lecture and Booksigning

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Dr. Melissa Klapper, a Rowan University assistant professor of history, will discuss the struggles of Jewish girls to develop an American identity without abandoning Jewish tradition and culture at th

Dr. Melissa Klapper, a Rowan University assistant professor of history, will discuss the struggles of Jewish girls to develop an American identity without abandoning Jewish tradition and culture at the turn of the 20th century during a booksigning and lecture on Wednesday, March 30, at the Rowan University Bookstore on U.S. Route 322, Glassboro.

During the 10:45 a.m. program, Klapper will delve into themes chronicled in her book Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 (New York University Press, $45 hardcover). In the book, Klapper explores the dual roles girls played as guardians of Jewish tradition and agents for acculturation into late 19th- and early 20th-century American society. ?Because of the importance the American Jewish community placed on girls during this period, it is imperative that historians take a closer look at their experiences,? said Klapper. ?Fortunately, many Jewish girls wrote letters and kept diaries that document their efforts to reconcile their cultural history with life as American girls.?

Dr. Hasia Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University praised the authentic portraits of life within Klapper?s book. ?By combining intellectual matters of several literatures?the history of education, women's history, American Jewish history, the history of the United States over the course of a crucial six-decade period?Klapper has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of the past and those who peopled it.?

Klapper earned a doctoral degree in American and women?s history at Rutgers University and is a 1995 graduate of Goucher College. Her scholarly interests focus on the intersections of gender, ethnicity and youth. She teaches United States history, American women's history, urban history and historical methods at Rowan University.

Sponsored by the Rowan History Department, the March 30 lecture and booksigning are being held in conjunction with the University?s 2005 Women?s History Month observance. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the event or to arrange an interview with author and history professor Dr. Melissa Klapper, contact the Rowan University Relations Department at 856-256-4583.

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