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Cynthia Russett ’64PhD,
historian and feminist

Cynthia Russett ’64PhD, historian of American women and teacher of Yale women and men for more than four decades, died December 5 of multiple myeloma. She was 76 years old.

The Larned Professor of History, Russett joined the Yale faculty in 1967 as a lecturer, and became a full professor in 1990. Along with her teaching and scholarship in women's history and 19th- and 20th-century intellectual history, she also championed the careers of other female scholars.

Her course on women in American history drew not only traditional undergraduates but also adults—especially women—participating in Yale College's "special students" program, the forerunner of today's Eli Whitney students. The presence of those older women was a boon to their classmates, Russett told the Yale Alumni Magazine in 2002: “They could make it seem much more real and not just part of a distant historical past.”

Russett's survivors include her husband of 53 years, Yale political scientist Bruce Russett ’61PhD, and four adult children: Meg ’83, Mark, Lucia, and Daniel. Yale plans a memorial service in January.

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