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Oral History Interview with Blanche Wiesen Cook

Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt biographer, grew up in the Bronx and Queens, and attended Hunter College as an undergraduate when it was an all female school. She treasured her time learning from Ruth Weintraub and Mina Rees, whom she describes as the founders of the City University of New York. Blanche reflects upon her life-changing experience participating in sit-ins in North Carolina as the president of the Hunter College Student Government in 1961, spurred on by Eleanor Roosevelt herself.

In this interview, Blanche describes her perspective on Open Admissions as a faculty member teaching at John Jay College since 1967 when she worked closely with CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Julius C.C. Edelstein. She expounds upon her political beliefs and how they intersect with her activism, such as participating in demonstrations to save John Jay College in the 1970’s. She stresses the importance of education in her own professional life and for society at large, and shares her own pedagogical philosophy when teaching the police officers and firefighters in her classes.

Source | Medina, Douglas
Creator | Medina, Douglas
Date Created | April 1, 2014
Interviewer | Medina, Douglas
Interviewee | Wiesen Cook, Blanche
Rights | Obtain From Medina, Douglas
Item Type | Oral History (Digital)
Cite This document | Medina, Douglas, “Oral History Interview with Blanche Wiesen Cook,” CUNY Digital History Archive, accessed December 1, 2023,

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