Marilyn Koenick Yalom ’54
Feminist Scholar, Cultural Historian
Marilyn Koenick Yalom ’54 is a feminist scholar, cultural historian, and writer. From 1976 to1987, she served as deputy director of Stanford University’s newly created Center for Research on Women, later renamed The Clayman Institute for Gender Research. She is currently a senior scholar at The Clayman Institute. She has taught at Stanford, and before that, she was a tenured professor of foreign languages at California State University at Hayward, and on the faculty of University of Hawaii.
Yalom is credited as being an early challenger of the traditional notions of family. She is widely respected and praised as a stalwart contributor of feminist scholarship.
Since stepping down as deputy director of The Clayman Institute in 1987, Yalom has turned her focus to writing and lecturing. A prolific writer, she has written nine books on a wide range of topics from medical history, to art history, to cultural and social history. A History of the Breast, Birth of the Chess Queen, The American Resting Place, and her most recent book, How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance, are just a few of her titles.
In a 2004 Wellesley magazine article, Yalom offered a revealing look back to her college days in the early 1950s through letters she sent to her then boyfriend, now husband of 58 years, Irv. Their story of combining career and family (they have four children) is one that serves as an inspiration to many who strive for both balance and excellence in their personal and professional lives.
Yalom has received numerous awards, including France’s Officier des Palmes Académiques, awarded by the French Government for her major contributions to French national education and culture.
Yalom was a French major at Wellesley and earned a M.A.T. in French and German from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in comparative history from Johns Hopkins University.