Death of Prof. Ann Fitzgerald, 1947 – 2011

On October 19, 2011, the following announcement was released by Rena Fraden, Dean of Faculty:

Dear Colleagues,

It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Ann Fitzgerald, whom many of you know from her teaching in the Graduate American Studies Program, where she taught “Body Art in Fiction, Film, and Practice.” At the time of her passing, she was teaching a graduate course on museum exhibition. Not only was Ann a valued member of the Trinity community in her own right, but she was also the wife of Paul Lauter, Allan K. & Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Literature. Ann died of irreversible brain injuries occasioned by a fall.

Ann Fitzgerald was one of the founders in the field of women’s studies. As a new assistant professor of English at Denison University in Ohio, she originated a large women’s studies lecture course that was taken by hundreds of students. She served as director of women’s studies at Denison for a dozen years, and was instrumental in establishing women’s studies within the colleges comprising the Great Lakes Colleges Association. She led the effort to create the first-in-the-nation requirement that undergraduates take coursework in women’s and black studies. She wrote and lectured widely on women’s studies, as well as on multicultural education. In 2003 she directed the Antioch College Women’s Studies in Europe program.

After moving to New York in 1985, she served as director of programs for the Association of Junior Leagues International as well as for the Child Care Action Campaign. She then worked as director of student services for Marymount Manhattan College. She wrote studies on women’s education and at-risk youth for the Carnegie Commission on Adolescent Development, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education.

In 1995, Ann began an entirely new career at the American Museum of Natural History. She served as senior researcher for a number of exhibitions, notably those on “Body Art: Marks of Identity” and on “Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit.” For the Body Art show, she was responsible for the sections on contemporary tattoo and piercing. She became active in the tattoo community and lectured extensively in the United States, Europe, and Asia on the subject.  Her book, Class, Culture, and Literature, edited with Paul Lauter, was published in 2001 by Addison, Wesley, Longman.

Ann Fitzgerald was educated at Mt. Holyoke College and St. Andrews University in Scotland, and received her master’s degree in English and art history from the University of Wisconsin.

Our thoughts are with Paul as he grapples with this sudden heavy loss. I will keep you informed of any public memorials planned.

Rena Fraden
Dean of Faculty


About William Barnett

I am Director of Graduate Studies at Trinity College (Hartford, CT).

2 responses to “Death of Prof. Ann Fitzgerald, 1947 – 2011”

  1. Sabine Broeck says :

    this is a response from the Collegium for African American Research (CAAR) community. as the acting president i want to express our deepest sadness and shock and send our sincere condolences to trinity college, as well as the communities who loved and worked with Ann, and a sad hug to paul lauter. we will always so fondly remember Ann’s intelligent, vivacious and compassionate presence at so many conferences and occasions over the last years, in so many places that she lit up with her intellectual, incorruptible sharpness and her infectious laughter.
    sabine broeck, university of bremen/germany

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