Shari Gabrielson Goodmann, founder of Women’s and Gender Studies, Passes Away

Shari Gabrielson Goodmann, who published feminist scholarship and literary biography as Shari Benstock, passed away early on Tuesday morning, May 26th, from complications related to early-onset dementia. She was seventy years old. 

A faculty member at the University of Miami from 1986 to 2006, where she founded the program in Women’s and Gender Studies, Gabrielson Goodmann also served as Chair of the English Department and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences. She had taught previously at the University of Tulsa, where she edited Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature.  Among other works, she was the author of Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940, and No Gifts from Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton. With her close friend and collaborator, Suzanne Ferriss, Professor in the Division of Humanities at Nova Southeastern University, she edited the essay collections On Fashion and Footnotes: On Shoes.  Benstock’s work was highly regarded, and translated into more than half a dozen languages.

Born in San Diego, CA, on December 2, 1944, the daughter of Dana and Myrl [Barth] Gabrielson, she grew up in small Iowa communities, and was educated at Luther College, Drake University, and Kent State University.  She married Mel Shivvers, with whom she had a son, Eric, who resides in Chicago with his wife, Amy Bernstein Shivvers.  Later she married Bernard Benstock, a distinguished scholar of James Joyce and of modernist literature, who preceded her in death in 1994, ending a twenty-year marriage and intellectual partnership. In 2004, she married Thomas Goodmann, Associate Professor of English at the University of Miami, who also grew up in eastern Iowa, and saw to her care across the years of her illness.

There will be a memorial service in Vinton, Iowa, Professor Gabrielson Goodmann’s hometown, later this summer. In lieu of other memorials, donations may be made in her name to VOR, a national non-profit organization advocating  for high quality care and human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities ( or to The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home (


Photo by Fritz Senn.

May 29, 2015