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Gil Schmerler’s book about the murder of his aunt Henrietta Schmerler set for exhibit at the 2020 Tucson Festival of Books

The author published his findings about his aunt’s murder and the aftermath in a riveting book.


Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA – WEBWIRE

Check out Gil Schmerler’s book exhibit at the 2020 Tucson Festival of Books.

On March 14 – 15, 2020, the book “Henrietta Schmerler and the Murder that Put Anthropology on Trial” (Scrivana Press, 2017) will be exhibited by Readers Magnet at the 2020 Tucson Festival of Books. This is the fourth largest book event in the USA, held at the University of Arizona campus in Tucson.

Schmerler’s book “Henrietta Schmerler and the Murder that Put Anthropology on Trial” won a New Mexico/Arizona Book Award in the “Arizona History” category in 2017. The book represents the culmination of the 30-year effort by the author and his sister Evelyn Kamanitz (who decided not to be co-author) to search for the truth in their aunt Henrietta Schmerler’s murder in 1931.

Gil and Evelyn had heard only that their late aunt, a young Columbia anthropology student at the time of her death, had died or was killed in Arizona – but never knew the whole story. Their father didn’t like to talk about what had happened to his sister. It was only during his late teens that Gil found in the family’s basement an old magazine that ran a sensational and lurid story of Henrietta’s murder. Decades later, he and Evelyn came across papers and letters Henrietta sent to family members in another aunt’s apartment. They realized there was a lot more to Henrietta’s story that needed to be told.

In a radio interview with KSJE 90.9 FM in Farmington, New Mexico, Gil described his aunt as follows:
 
“Henrietta Schmerler was my father’s older sister, a precocious student. She was working on her doctorate in anthropology at Columbia University when she was assigned to the White Mountain Apache Reservation for a summer of fieldwork in 1931. She apparently worked quite diligently on the reservation for three and a half weeks. She was interviewing everyone she could to find out about Apache culture and rituals.
 
“For much of that time, she lived in a cabin by herself. She found it difficult to find women to interview. Her mentors at Columbia University later said that interviewing women was her assignment, but we could never find any concrete evidence of that. She was most successful in the information she collected at the tribal dances, both social and ritual. In order to get to one of the most important dances of the summer, she accepted a horseback ride from a young Apache man, whom she did not know. Along the way, from every bit of evidence we could collect and according to the jury that heard the case at that time, he raped and murdered her.”
 
Gil explained:
 
“The rest of the book is about the search for Henrietta’s body, the search for the killer, and eventually the trial of her murderer. What we found after Henrietta’s death is how much of the story was told through the eyes of the defense, the FBI, and probably most regrettably from our point of view, from the very eminent anthropologists who were mentors and guides but who saw their entire discipline in anthropology and methodology at risk. (Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Franz Boas were prominent among them.) I should say there was also a great deal of sensationalism in the press at the time, particularly in the pulp men’s magazines of the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, and for many years after and maybe still today. Her story has been told throughout the years in a manner that most likely does not reflect the reality of that situation, and that’s what we try to correct.
 
“The research for the book was painstaking, including a two-year Freedom of Information Act suit against the FBI for their files. (J.Edgar Hoover appears as a prominent player, having put Henrietta’s murderer among America’s Most Wanted at the time.) The book is an attempt to debunk the sensationalism and prejudices of the time, and an attempt to come closer to an understanding of Henrietta herself.”
 
The Tucson Festival of Books attracts over 100,000 visitors every year. The book festival hosts a variety of exhibits, author panels, book signings, food vendors, cultural programs, and special programming for children and teens, among other activities.
  
Order “Henrietta Schmerler and the Murder that Put Anthropology on Trial” today from Lulu.com or on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
 
Check out the website http://henriettaschmerler.com/ for more details about the murder case of Henrietta Schmerler and the writing of the book.

Henrietta Schmerler and the Murder that Put Anthropology on Trial
Author | Gil Schmerler
Published date | July 4, 2017
Publisher | Scrivana Press
Paperback price | $14.95
 
About the Author
Gil Schmerler has been on the graduate faculty of the Bank Street College of Education in New York City, specializing in educational leadership, since 1990. Previously he was a public and private school administrator, an alternative school director, and a high school English teacher. He graduated from Amherst College and did his graduate work at Teachers College, Columbia University. His published works include “Not So Easy Going: The Policy Environments of Small Urban Schools and Schools-Within-Schools” (co-authored with Mary Anne Raywid) and numerous articles and chapters.
 
 


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 Henrietta Schmerler
 The Murder
 Anthropology On Trial
 Gil Schmerler
 Native American History


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