Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Ruth Bleier (1923–1988) was a neurophysiologist and also one of the first feminist scholars to explore how gender biases have shaped biology. Bleier was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania in 1923. She received her B.A. in 1945 from Goucher College, and subsequently received her M.D. from Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1949. She interned at the Sinai Hospital in Baltimore and then practiced general medicine in inner-city Baltimore for ten years. She married Leon Eisenberg, and together they raised 2 children and ran a medical clinic for the impoverished population of Baltimore.
Bleier advocated for civil rights with the Maryland Committee for Peace in the early 1950s; this work lead to a subpoena from the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC). She was placed on the HUAAC blacklist which resulted in losing her legal ability to practice medicine. She then went to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1957 to study neuroanatomy, completing her post-doctoral fellowship in 1961. Bleier gave up her medical practice in order to teach psychiatry and physiology. She then joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison department of Neurophysiology in 1967; at the same time Bleier was also working with Weisman Center of Mental Retardation and the Wisconsin Regional Primate Center.
By the 1970s, Bleier was devoted to the application of feminist analyses and viewpoint to the practices and theories of science. She also began to focus on improving women's access and station in higher education. Her books regarding biology and feminism, Science and Gender: A Critique of Biology and Its Theories on Women (1984) and Feminist Approaches to Science (1986), have become prominent readings for women's studies to explore the biological differences of sexes and the origins of gender differences.
Bleier was a founding member of the Association of Faculty Women at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and also helped establish the Woman's Studies Program in 1975, serving as chair from 1982 to 1886.
Biographical information from National Library of Medicine.
The papers of Ruth Bleier, including personal and professional letters; newspaper clippings; newsletters; professional writings; and reference materials, document Bleier's academic and activist activities. The materials are arranged in 6 series: Personal Correspondence, 1953-1988; Professional Correspondence, 1972-1986; Academic Writings, 1979-1986; Peace Activism, 1950-1955 (divided into subseries for FBI File, 1974-1979; House Un-American Activities Committee Investigation, 1951-1984; Maryland Committee for Peace, 1950-1951; Maryland Peace Council, 1952-1955; and Other Organizations, 1951); Women's Rights Activism, 1971-1987 (divided into subseries for Association of Faculty Women/University Community Women, 1974-1979; Association of Women in Science, 1972-1975; Joan Roberts Tenure Denial Case, 1972-1974; and Feminism in Science, Medicine, and Academia Issues and Background, 1971-1987); and Biographical Materials, 1945-1988.
Forms part of: U. S. Health Activism History Collection
Acquired by Walter J. Lear from Kathy Eisenberg (Bleier's daughter), 2005. Gift of Walter J. Lear, 2006.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Clémence Scouten
- Finding Aid Date
- 2015 May 12
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.