Barbara Ehrenreich

On this date in 1941, author Barbara Ehrenreich was born in Butte, Montana. She graduated from Reed College in 1963 and earned her Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in 1968, working in the field of science, then turning to writing. Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (1972), co-written with Deirdre English, was a widely acclaimed expose, of male domination of female health care. Essays by this atheist, socialist and feminist are regularly featured in mass-circulation periodicals, such as The Nation, Ms., Mother Jones, Esquire, Vogue, and The New York Times Magazine. For many years, Barbara Ehrenreich was a regular columnist for Time. Other books include For Her Own Good: One Hundred Fifty Years of the Experts' Advice to Women (1978, with Deirdre English), The Hearts of Men (1983), The Worst Years of Our Lives (1990), and the classic expose Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America, in which she went undercover as a waitress and member of the working-class poor. Her classic article, "U.S. Patriots: Without God on Their Side," originally appeared in Mother Jones, February/March 1981, and is reprinted in the anthology Women Without Superstition. In an essay for The New York Times Magazine, Ehrenreich proudly described her family as "the race of 'none,' " as being "the kind of people . . . who do not believe, who do not carry on traditions. . ." Ms. Ehrenreich was named "Freethought Heroine" by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1999.

“In my parents' general view, new things were better than old, and the very fact that some ritual had been performed in the past was a good reason for abandoning it now. Because what was the past, as our forebears knew it? Nothing but poverty, superstition and grief. 'Think for yourself,' Dad used to say. 'Always ask why.'”

—-"Cultural Baggage," Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times Magazine, April 5, 1992

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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