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Alumnae Achievement Awards 1996

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz '63
Professor of History

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, who graduated from Wellesley in 1963 with a B.A. in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, spent much of her time on campus in the Clapp Library. “There,” she said, “I would wallow in the world of ideas.” After discovering her love for the study of history at Wellesley, Dr. Horowitz continued her education at Harvard University, receiving both her M.A. and Ph.D. in American civilization in 1965 and 1969, respectively.

During her first year of doctoral studies at Harvard, Dr. Horowitz met her husband. In 1970, she and her husband joined the faculty of Scripps College in California, and, since then, she has taught at numerous universities, including Harvard, MIT, the University of Michigan, and Union College.

Dr. Horowitz’s area of specialty is American cultural history, particularly architectural and social history of women’s colleges. In 1985, she published Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women’s Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. In that work, she explores the ways in which the architecture of the Seven Sisters colleges reflects the goals of their founders and influences the philosophy of these single-sex institutions. Of Wellesley, she says that the early trustees wanted “its academic buildings to be ‘heroic,’ to make strong statements about the noble and serious purpose they serve.” Some of her other publications include Culture and the City: Cultural Philanthropy in Chicago from the 1880s to 1919 (1974), Campus Life: Undergraduate Cultures from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the Present (1987), and Rereading Sex: Battles over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America (2002), which was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in history.

Dr. Horowitz is a member of the American Historical Association, the Society of Architectural Historians, and a council member of the American Studies Association. She was a fellow of the Smithsonian Institution 1972-73 and of the American Council of Learned Societies 1977-78. In 1984, she received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Humanities Center.

Currently, Helen Horowitz is the Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor of History at Smith College, where she and her husband have taught since 1988.


For more information about the Alumnae Achievement Awards, please contact us by email at specialprograms@alum.wellesley.edu or call the Alumnae Association at 781-283-2331.