Introduction

Kaufman headshot from back cover of In Stitches, 1991
Publicity photo of Gloria Kaufman from the back cover of her humor collection In Stitches, published in 1991 by Indiana University Press.

In this year of Indiana University's Bicentennial, we are celebrating the legacy of women's studies pioneer Gloria Kaufman with the installation of an Indiana University Historical Marker in her honor. It was a rare honor: As of March 2020, Kaufman is one of only three individuals to have been so recognized. Unveiled March 4, 2020, with speeches by the IU South Bend Chancellor and other notables, the marker can be found immediately to the east of the Schurz Library's front entrance sidewalk. The text is as follows:

Gloria Kaufman (1929-2004) was a trailblazing advocate for women’s rights and community outreach. She served as an English professor from 1966 to 1993 at IU’s South Bend campus and founding director of the Women’s Studies program. In 1972, she coordinated IU South Bend’s first Women’s Studies course, “Interdisciplinary Analysis of Woman’s Role.” It was team taught, open to the public, and sought to “redress imbalances perpetrated for hundreds of years by male scholars." She edited two collections of feminist humor. She co-founded the IUSB Women’s Caucus (1971), was the first Affirmative Action officer (1974) for the campus, and established the Women’s Resource Center (1988). In the South Bend community, she served on city task forces championing women and cultural diversity. A memorial lecture inaugurated in 2005 celebrates Kaufman’s legacy as a “gentle revolutionary.”

We celebrated the marker's installation with an in-person exhibit of Kaufman's papers from the IU South Bend Archives, which can be seen on the first floor of the Schurz Library. The digital version of the exhibit features a wide range of materials, including publications, correspondence, video and audio recordings, photographs and ephemera. Must-see items include correspondence with women leaders such as Whoopi Goldberg and Hillary Clinton; video and audio recordings of Kaufman's lectures; and video essays produced by Kaufman's video production outfit G.K. Productions. Both the online and in-person exhibits were curated by Emily Richardson and Scott Shoger, with assistance from Kerri Clark, Tyler Davis and Emily Overmyer.

Introduction