Fermaglich Wins Book Prize

Dr. Kirsten Fermaglich’s book, A Rosenberg By Any Other Name has been selected to receive the American Jewish Historical Society’s Saul Viener Book Prize. The committee deliberated carefully and had the following to say about your book: 

A Rosenberg By Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America is Kirsten Fermaglich’s original and compelling study of Jewish name changes in New York in the twentieth century. It effectively illuminates some of the key cultural and structural dynamics that enabled the flourishing of antisemitism in employment, education, and social life from the 1910s to the 1960s, and how Jews responded. In Fermaglich’s hands, New York City Civil Court records, which she reviewed in the thousands, proved to be a remarkable source for the study of Jews, who were the majority of people who filed for name changes. The petitions offered rationales for why people sought new names, and from them she builds a powerful case for what motivated first and last name changes and what did not. This first historical study of Jewish name changes is a work of intellectual depth and originality that draws on untapped sources to tell a story about real men and women who negotiated identity, the state, and antisemitism, and the consequences of their strategies.