In Memoriam: Dorrit Cohn (1924-2012)

Dorrit Cohn, the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature Emerita at Harvard University, died earlier this month. She was 87 years old.

Born in Vienna, she left Austria just days before the Nazis took over. She came to the United States in 1939 and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in comparative literature from Radcliffe College at Harvard University. She then studied comparative literature at Yale and many years later earned a Ph.D. in German at Stanford University.

Dr. Cohn began her academic career at Indiana University in 1964 and came to Harvard in 1971. Before she arrived at Harvard, only four women had ever been awarded tenure in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Professor Cohn retired from teaching at Harvard in 1995.

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