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Brunhilde Kaufer Liebes ’35

Brunhilde Kaufer Liebes ’35, March 11, 2011, in Novato, California. “Books were always important,” Brunhilde once said in an interview. As a girl, she often visited the Belmont library in southeast Portland. “I read books from one end to the other. I said, 'books are my best friends,' because people sometimes changed.” Her love of books led her to Reed, inspired her to start a bookstore, and prompted her to volunteer at the library in Mill Valley, California, even in her 90s. Brunhilde earned her BA in sociology and anthropology, writing her thesis with Alexander Goldenweiser [sociology 1933-39]. She had strong memories of the political tenor of the time, when Reedites brought food and supplies to the Portland dockyards to support the longshoremen in the great West Coast waterfront strike, and hanged Adolf Hitler in effigy. (“We knew he was a horrible man.”) After graduation, she worked for the alumni association and typed the manuscript for Goldenweiser's textbook Anthropology: An Introduction to Primitive Culture. She did graduate work at the University of Hawaii, where she met Richard Liebes; they married in 1939, and were together until his death in 2006. Brunhilde was known as “a pillar of Mill Valley culture”; she lived in the city for over 50 years. She enjoyed Israeli folk dancing; hiking, camping, and backpacking; and was active with the Sierra and Alpine clubs. Survivors include two sons, three grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2011

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