Campus bookstore features women authors

March 7, 2016 11:00 AM

Faith Dawson

Author Marlene Trestman

Biographer Marlene Trestman, right, and novelist Katy Simpson Smith will sign their new books at the bookstore in the Lavin-Bernick Center on Wednesday and Thursday. (Book cover and author photo from LSU Press; illustration by Melinda Viles)

Bessie Margolin started her career in the 1930s, when few women were lawyers, much less Southern Jewish women.

The Tulane University Bookstore on the uptown campus celebrates Women’s History Month with a pair of readings and book signings by female authors.

On Wednesday (March 9), New Orleans author and former Tulane University adjunct professor Katy Simpson Smith will read from and sign her new novel, Free Men. Smith’s second novel of historical fiction, set in 1788 in the territory that would later become Alabama, follows three men on the run after they commit murder. Her first novel, The Story of Land and Sea, received critical praise for its rhythmic and lyrical prose.

Smith earned a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina and a master of fine arts degree from Bennington College. In 2013, she also authored We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835.

On Thursday (March 10), the bookstore hosts a signing with New Orleans native Marlene Trestman, who wrote a biography of the late fair labor lawyer Bessie Margolin called Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin.

Margolin was also a New Orleans native and attended Newcomb College and Tulane Law School before embarking on an impressive legal career that included wage and labor protections. She started her career in the 1930s, when few women were lawyers, much less Southern Jewish women. She won 21 of her 24 Supreme Court arguments. In 1966, she co-founded the National Organization for Women. Margolin was inducted into the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame in 2013.

Margolin and Trestman shared life experiences — both were Jewish orphans who grew up in New Orleans and attended Isidore Newman School — and later Margolin mentored the young Trestman during college and law school and as she pursued a legal career of her own. Trestman’s next book will be The History of New Orleans Jewish Orphans Home, 1855-1946.

Both events take place from noon until 1 p.m. at the Tulane University Bookstore in the Lavin-Bernick Center.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000