“The 1972 record album and illustrated book, Free To Be You…and Me, which this new volume memorializes, offered gender-neutral stories sung or told by celebrities of the day…Contributors to that classic understandably take pride here in what they accomplished. Marlo Thomas, who conceived of the idea behind Free To Be, is here (heavily represented in the photographs), along with Ms. magazine cofounder Gloria Steinem, actor Alan Alda, and writer Deborah Siegel, whose “Dispatches from My Twins’ First Year” nicely captures the everyday quandaries of parents trying to be nonsexist. Rotskoff and Lovett include separate essays by social justice activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin and her daughters Robin Pogrebin and Abigail Pogrebin, thus providing distinct generational perspectives. General readers familiar with the original record or book, both still available, and researchers interested in social, gender, and media studies will appreciate this work.”

Library Journal

on When We Were Free to Be


LORI ROTSKOFF is a cultural historian, writer, educator, and public speaker specializing in childhood and youth, women’s and gender studies, family issues, and arts and culture. After majoring in history at Northwestern University and working for a year at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, DC, she entered graduate school in American Studies at Yale, where she earned a Ph.D. in 1999.  She has taught undergraduates at Yale and Sarah Lawrence College, and currently offers seminar classes for adults at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, where she has taught since 2005.

Lori Rotskoff is co-editor, with Laura L. Lovett, of the anthology When We Were Free to Be:  Looking Back at a Children’s Classic and the Difference It Made, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2012.   Her previous book, Love on the Rocks: Men, Women, and Alcohol in Post-World War II America (2002) was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine and the American Library Association.

Lori’s book reviews have appeared in the Women’s Review of Books; the Chicago Tribune; Brain, Child:  The Magazine for Thinking Mothers; Reviews in American History;  and the Journal of American History. She has received fellowships and research grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Historical Society, the Sophia Smith Collection, and the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Ms. Rotskoff serves on the Board of Directors of Cool Culture, a non-profit organization that provides 50,000 low-income families with free access to 90 museums, gardens, zoos, and other cultural institutions in New York City. She is also an Advisory Board member of La Femme Theatre Productions.  She lives in Larchmont, New York with her husband and two sons.