Women’s History Month: Julia Reinstein '28

March 08 2017
Category: Academics

March is Women’s History Month, and throughout the month, we will honor women who made an impact on the Elmira College community. Today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day, and we kick-off the celebration with Julia Reinstein '28. 

Julia Reinstein (1906-1998) graduated from Elmira in 1928 with a bachelor’s degree in history. She was originally from Cheektowaga, New York, and was known for being the town’s first historian, an advocate for women's rights, and a philanthropist. She and her husband also volunteered as civil defense workers.

In 1990-91, a generous donation from Reinstein established what is now the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Elmira College.

Annually the Women's and Gender Studies Program, in cooperation with the EC Students Against Sexism and Stereotypes (SASS), organizes the Julia Reinstein Symposium, made possible by a bequest from Reinstein.

SASS and the Women and Gender Studies program recently celebrated the 23rd annual Reinstein Symposium, which centered around the theme, "Planned Parenthood: 100 Years Strong.”

Reinstein was also considered a feminist and an early lesbian activist. The Speidel Gymnasium bell tower on campus is named after her, as well as a library in her hometown of Cheektowaga. 

Julia Reinsten (on the right) with feminist Liz Kennedy
This photo of Julia (on right) was captured from one of the first lectures sponsored by the Elmira College Women's and Gender Studies Program. Julia is with Dr. Liz Kennedy, a founding feminist in the field of Women's Studies and is a lesbian historian whose book Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: A History of the Lesbian Community (co-authored with Madeline Davis) documents the lesbian community of Buffalo, New York in the decades before Stonewall.

Content contributed by Kylie Vandermark' 18