Join us at Roosevelt House for a conversation about A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir, the lively, intimate posthumous memoir of an iconic woman, gay life in New York in the second half of the 20th century, and the rise of LGBTQ activism. Edie Windsor became internationally famous when she sued the U.S. government, seeking federal recognition for her marriage to Thea Spyer, her partner of more than four decades. The Supreme Court ruled in Windsor’s favor, a landmark victory that set the stage for full marriage equality in the U.S. Beloved by the LGBTQ community, Windsor embraced her new role as an icon; she had already been living an extraordinary and groundbreaking life for decades.
In this memoir, which she began before 2017 and which was completed after her passing by her co-writer Joshua Lyon, Windsor recounts her childhood in Philadelphia, her realization that she was a lesbian, and her active social life in Greenwich Village’s electrifying underground gay scene during the 1950s. Windsor was also one of a select group of trailblazing women in computing, working her way up the ladder at IBM, and achieving their highest technical ranking while developing software. In the early 1960s, Windsor met Thea Spyder, an expat from a Dutch Jewish family that had fled the Nazis, and a widely respected clinical psychologist. Their partnership lasted 44 years, until Spyder died in 2009. Windsor found love again, marrying Judith Kasen-Windsor in 2016.
Joshua Lyon will be joined in conversation with Windsor’s spouse Judith Kasen-Windsor and Blanche Wiesen Cook, distinguished professor of history and women’s studies at John Jay College.