Ellen Synder-Grenier

Jun 30, 2022

Exploring Public-Facing Humanities

A Conversation with Ellen Synder-Grenier

New Books Network 2022

Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Ellen Synder-Grenier’s career as a curator and public historian
  • How Henry Street helped its neighbors survive the 1918 pandemic
  • A discussion of the book The House on Henry Street

Today’s book is: The House on Henry Street: The Enduring Life of a Lower East Side Settlement, which chronicles the sweeping history of the Henry Street Settlement and its enduring vision of a more just society. Through personal narratives, vivid images, and previously untold stories, Ellen M. Snyder-Grenier chronicles Henry Street’s sweeping history from 1893 to today. From the fights for public health and immigrants’ rights that fueled its founding, to advocating for relief during the Great Depression, all the way to tackling homelessness and AIDS in the 1980s, and into today―Henry Street has been a champion for social justice. Its powerful narrative illuminates larger stories about poverty, and who is “worthy” of help; immigration and migration, and who is welcomed; human rights, and whose voice is heard.

Our guest is: Ellen M. Snyder-Grenier, who is an award-winning curator and writer, and principal of REW & Co. She has directed research projects, developed physical and digital exhibitions, and written on the history of New York City—as well the urban centers of Newark and Philadelphia—with a focus on social justice. She is a Fellow of the New York Academy of History.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, the co-creator and co-producer of the Academic Life.

Listeners to this episode might be interested in:

  • · The House on Henry Street: The Enduring Life of a Lower East Side Settlement, by Ellen M. Snyder-Grenier
  • The Henry Street website
  • Windows on Henry Street by Lillian Wald
  • The House on Henry Street by Lillian Wald
  • This online journal about gender and the history of medicine
  • This NPR episode about the 1918 pandemic and Covid 
  • The Pandemic Perspectives episodes on the Academic life, such as this one

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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