Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

ROSEMARY RUETHER
(1936-)

Beth Blissman

Rosemary Radford Ruether is a strong feminist woman in a long line of strong, independent, and intellectual women. Her upbringing was influenced a great deal by her mother and her mother's friends, whom she describes as deeply affected by the very first wave of feminism in this country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. "These women were an important reference group for me in my development. Vigorous, intellectually active, and socially concerned into their late eighties and even nineties, they provided me a sense of roots for what I was doing" ( Ruether, Disputed Questions 1989, 22).

Ruether's cultural roots are also complex and varied. She was born on November 2, 1936, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father, Robert Armstrong Radford, was from an aristocratic line of Virginia and Mississippi gentry. Religiously, Rosemary described him as "an Anglican of the twice-a-year variety." ( Ruether, "Beginnings" 1925, 35). Her Mother, Rebecca Cresap (Ord) Radford, was a devout, but independent-minded, Catholic who descended from an English family that came to the United States in the early nineteenth century and pioneered in California and Mexico. Rosemary spent much of her early childhood in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., and attended a private Catholic school. She describes her early influences as supportive of women and somewhat insulated from the larger, more sexist, and parochial church and society. Even though her father's family and her mother's paternal relatives held very conservative views about the role and place of women, Ruether notes that she did not encounter oppressive male figures on a daily basis "until it was far too late for me to change my assumptions" ( Ruether, Disputed Questions 1989, 12). From 1947 to 1949, her family lived in Greece for a time, where her father died suddenly in 1948 due to pneumonia. A few years later Rosemary moved with her mother and her two older sisters to California, near her mother's childhood home, and finished high school at a public school in La Jolla, California.

Rosemary Ruether then went on to Scripps College in Claremont, California,

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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