Bernice Kert

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Born in St. Louis to Gus Galansky, a wholesale grocer, and his wife, Mary, a homemaker, Bernice Kert (1923-2005) attended the University of Michigan and won the university’s Avery Hopwood Award for young writers, also awarded to playwright Arthur Miller. After earning her bachelor’s degree in English in 1944, she taught English as a graduate student and sold her first short story, “Look at Me, Lorrie,” in 1946 to a new magazine called Seventeen. Her writing career was put on hold in 1945, after she married Morley Kert, who joined the university’s department of cardiology. They moved to California in 1948, and her husband built a private practice while doing clinical research at UCLA. They had three children and she supported his career as a Beverly Hills cardiologist, sidelining serious writing. At age 40, Kert started writing fiction, eventually selling several short stories and completing three unpublished novels. At age 50, she started researching her first nonfiction book, The Hemingway Women, which appeared in 1983. A Guggenheim fellowship funded the research for Kert’s biography of the woman who married John D. Rockefeller Jr., Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: The Woman in the Family, published in 1993. Kert was a feminist in her time, and it was very important to her to write about women who supported or were married to powerful men.

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