Kerewsky-Halpern, Barbara

Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern Papers

ca. 1942-2000
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1067
Depiction of Kerewsky-Halpern teaching ca. 1980
Kerewsky-Halpern teaching ca. 1980

Barbara Kerewsky Halpern was an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts. She was also a prodigious writer, researcher, and lecturer. After earning a bachelors in geography from Barnard College (1953), she accompanied her new husband, Joel M. Halpern, to Serbia, helping him with his field project which would later result in his Ph.D. thesis and book, A Serbian Village (1958). She continued to work with her husband on numerous projects. After her youngest daughter was school age, she went back to college, earning a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, followed by a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1979. In 1983, she published a book entitled “These Are Your Neighbors” published by the Cambridge Book Company. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the mid-1970’s, which motivated her to investigate various medical issues within Anthropology, eventually becoming a medical anthropologist. She became a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais method, establishing her own practice under the name, “Mind Over Movement”. She gave presentations throughout her life, lecturing on various topics. In 1992, she served as an expert witness in the trial of Sadri Krasniqi, an Albanian man falsely accused of sexually molesting his daughter. In 1995, she was interviewed on the television program 20/20 by Hugh Downs about the case.

The Barbara Halpern Papers consists of many letters received from her childhood pen pals, college friends and family members. Documents from her early schooling as well as those of college and professional work as a lecturer and Feldenkrais practitioner form the bulk of the collection. Correspondence with Ethel (nee Russell) Breen, a young British girl, began in 1942 and continued to Breen’s death in 1996. The bulk of these letters, dated from 1942 to 1952, mention World War II, and other elements of daily life at that period.

Subjects

Feldenkrais methodMedical anthropologyMultiple sclerosisWorld War, 1939-1945--Children