It is with very great sadness we have learnt of the death of Lee Davidoff.
Leonore Davidoff died on 19th October at the age of 82. She came to Essex with David Lockwood in 1968, was appointed a research officer in 1969, became a lecturer in social history in 1975 and retired in the mid 1990’s. She maintained a long, continuous association with the sociology department through her retirement as a research professor. A few weeks before she died, she was made a Professor Emerita. Her contribution to the study and teaching of gender history was pathbreaking and pioneering; and her work has been recognised across the world. She was also a most loved and appreciated teacher and tutor, and her work has inspired generations of students from around the world.
A funeral took place on November 3rd and opened with this poem (which Lee had requested).
The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The university held a celebration of Leonore’s life at Wivenhoe House on November 3rd.
MIriam Glucksmann has written an obituary…..
Leonore was born in New York to Jewish immigrant parents from Eastern Europe, and originally studied music at Oberlin College (breaking with the family tradition of studying medicine) before switching to sociology. At 21 she left the United States to pursue graduate studies at the London School of Economics, writing her MA on `The Employment of Married Women’, a substantial 300 page dissertation by research. Her topic had not previously been studied, nor indeed been considered a serious field for research, but this prescient work broke new ground, signalling a first step in founding the new research field of women’s history.
At LSE also she met her husband, the sociologist David Lockwood (who died earlier this year), and moved with him first to Cambridge and then to Essex, while bringing up their three sons. Leonore was acutely aware of the marginalisation of ‘faculty wives’ at this time and the lack of seriousness accorded to the work of women academics, especially if they were wives or mothers. She greatly valued her membership, as Senior Fellow, of Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge which had been expressly established by marginal women for mature women scholars who were otherwise ignored and isolated….
You can go to the SoES obituary page for more of this obituary and for links to this and the comments from friends.