Author, Preservationist, Philanthropist
Barbara Lubin Goldsmith ’53 is an author, social historian, activist, and philanthropist. For over 40 years, she has researched, written articles, published books, influenced legislation, and promoted worldwide freedom through her establishment of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award to support persecuted writers around the globe.
Barbara Goldsmith recognized the issue of deteriorating paper and galvanized the country’s leading writers and publishers into signing a declaration that they would only use acid-free paper, thus preserving our cultural heritage. In 1990, Goldsmith was instrumental in advocating for the U.S. Permanent Paper Law (1990), which requires the U.S. government to use acid-free paper for all federal records.
Goldsmith is an accomplished author and journalist, prolific in articles and books over nearly 40 years. In 1975, she completed her first book, The Straw Man, a novel about the New York art world that quickly moved up to #1 on the bestseller lists. Her nonfiction books have been meticulously researched and have provided rich portraits of key characters and eras in our history. Little Gloria … Happy at Last, became both a Paramount Pictures Film and a NBC television mini-series, winning two Emmys for Goldsmith in the process.
In addition to her Emmys, she has been deemed a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmark Conservancy. She has garnered an Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland, obtained an Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Literacy Achievements, and served on numerous commissions and boards, including the Wellesley Centers for Women.
Currently, she is a trustee at New York Public Library and the American Academy of Rome. She serves on the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Advisory Board and the Presidential Commission on Preservation and Access. She received honorary doctorates from Syracuse University, Pace University, and Lake Forest College, and has received a presidential citation from NYU and Brandeis Library Trust award for outstanding writing.
Goldsmith was an English major at Wellesley.