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Shaping My Feminist Life

Shaping My Feminist Life

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Author Kathleen C. Ridder

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 15, 1998)

In this sometimes startlingly candid account, Kathleen Ridder explores the passions that have motivated her in constructing and pursuing a life of community service and personal accomplishment.


A native New Yorker, the twenty-year-old Ridder arrived in Duluth in 1943 as a new member of a socially prominent family of newspaper publishers. In consciously seeking to be her own person, Ridder found over the following decades numerous outlets for her considerable energies and interests: Minnesota Independent-Republican politics, the Urban League and the emerging civil rights movement, alternative education, Twin Cities regional government, feminist organizations, and the women's athletic program at the University of Minnesota. She interweaves these public details with the more private ones of her marriage of fifty-plus years, her enjoyment in raising four children, and her ongoing nurturance of her spiritual life.

Unifying Ridder’s narrative are her natural feminism, her innate sense of fair-mindedness, and her conviction that privilege and position bring with them the obligation to work toward the social good of the community.

Reviews and news

"Kathleen Ridder's story is told in a characteristically strong voice. From the first page we hear a woman speak who has no hesitation in addressing her readers and who doesn't engage in the self-denigration so often instilled in women who haven't had a full-time professional career. . . . Her story tells us why she grew up with such healthy self-esteem in the conservative 1940s and 50s when women were supposed to marry young, have lots of children, and submerge themselves in a husband's career. . . . She had the sense of being one of the managers of the world, and acted like it."
Jill Ker Conway

  • 224 pages
  • 5.25 x 8 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873513654

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