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Guide to the Frances Patai Oral Histories on Women Medical Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War ALBA.AUDIO.131

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596
special.collections@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jennifer Pondo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 16, 2022
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

  Updated by Kelly Haydon to state the audiovisual materials have been digitized and are accessible to patrons Edited by Megan O’Shea for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description, and to reflect new housing for collection  , April 2019 , May 2021

Biographical Note

Frances Patai was born on New York City's Lower East Side in 1930. As a teenager, she performed in Jewish resorts in the Catskills as an actress and dancer. In her twenties she attended classes at the City College of New York, earning her bachelor's degree in 1955 and her MA in 1957. Beginning in the 1970s she served as an English and Communications instructor at various institutions in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, including long-term appointments at John Jay College and the Borough of Manhattan Community Colleges.

Throughout her career Patai was concerned with the rights and status of women, addressing in a series of essays and articles issues related to rape, pornography, and abuse. During the 1980s she worked with the feminist organization Woman against Pornography, serving as spokesperson and organizing their annual WAP Awards, an event that promoted the non-sexist representation of women in advertising. In later life Patai turned her attention to the anti-fascist movements of the 1930s, and began to investigate the history of American volunteers who joined the Republican forces to fight against Franco's army during the Spanish Civil War. Patai focused her attention on the participation of American women volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, devoting her efforts to researching and writing a book on the contributions of nurses. Through her friendship with Fredericka Martin -- a nurse with the Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy who collected extensive biographical material on her former colleagues -- Patai gained access to unique primary materials, and to the surviving nurses themselves. She conducted these interviews over several years, as part of her research project. Patai died in 1998 before she could bring her project to fruition. She was 67 years old.