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Zella Luria Papers
Luria’s correspondence is mostly professional in nature and details her active involvement in professional associations such as the New England Psychological Association, the Eastern Psychological Association, and others; her work as a professor and member of numerous committees at Tufts; her wide-ranging research in the areas of sex, gender, genetics, and multiple personality disorder; and her extensive network of friends and colleagues. Her strong opinions and willingness to take a stand for what she believed was right are well-documented in her correspondence, as are her warm relationships with former students, coworkers, and professional peers.
Teaching and research materials include copious notes, annotated copies of journal articles, reports, and newsclippings, drafts of writings and reprints of Luria’s published work, lecture notes and transparencies, syllabi, course outlines, and exams. These materials document the psychology and women’s studies courses Luria taught at Tufts and as a visiting professor at other institutions, as well as her own substantial research and list of publications.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Luria conducted a study with Jackson College students investigating their attitudes toward work, marriage, motherhood, and education. The records of this study provide a fascinating picture of evolving viewpoints on women and their place in the world. Records include questionnaires on attitudes toward work, demographic questionnaires, graduate questionnaires, California Psychological Inventory personality tests, computer encoding forms and programming instructions, reports, form letters and permission slips, and related reference materials.
- 1933 -- 2010
- Majority of material found within circa 1960s -- 1990s
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Biographical / Historical
Zella Luria was born on February 18, 1924 in New York City to Dora (née Garbarsky), a factory seamstress, and Hyman Hurwitz, a house painter. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1944 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and received her PhD in experimental psychology and a minor in genetics in 1951 from Indiana University, where she also met microbiologist Salvatore Luria, whom she married in 1945. As a postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor at the University of Illinois, she was a clinician on the multiple personality case that became well-known as the inspiration for the film The Three Faces of Eve. After several years in teaching assistant and lecturer positions, she accepted a position as an assistant professor at Tufts in the Psychology Department in 1959.
At Tufts, she was known for her feminism, strong opposition to the Vietnam War, and vocal condemnation of social inequality. In 1969, she joined other faculty in voting to ban ROTC from campus. She was a popular teacher who won the Jackson College Teaching Award in 1969 and the Seymour Simches Award on Teaching and Advising in 1995. She worked to increase the number of women professors at Tufts and argued for better maternity leave and day care accommodations for faculty with children. A charter member of the Women’s Studies program, she also supported the Women’s Center and served as chapter president of the American Association of University Professors for several years.
Luria served as president of the New England Psychological Association from 1971-1972. She was a consultant to the Massachusetts chapter of Planned Parenthood, and worked with Physicians for Human Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights to provide clinical assessments of asylum seekers. Co-author of the influential textbook Human Sexuality (1979, 2nd ed. 1987) and associate editor of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, she also published over forty peer-reviewed journal articles. She retired from Tufts at age 78.
She had one child, Daniel, with her husband Salvatore Luria. After her retirement, she continued to spend summers in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, at the summer home she and her husband built in 1964. She died on June 10, 2018, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
11.5 Linear Feet (9 record cartons, 1 index card box, and 1 legal-size half document case)
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