Professor Sklaroff has been awarded an NEH Public Scholar Program Grant for the academic year 2016-2017
Professor Sklaroff will use the award to complete her book Wanting to be Wanted: Sophie Tucker and the Creation of a Show Business Legend (forthcoming, University of Texas Press). It is the first in-depth biography of American performer Sophie Tucker, whose career spanned vaudeville, radio, motion pictures, Broadway, and television in the first half of the 20th century. A pioneer in the development of early jazz, an advocate for African-American performers, and a spokeswoman for religious tolerance, Tucker was one of the most influential women in the cultural landscape of her time. This biography moves beyond the “Red Hot Mama” label most commonly associated with Tucker and explores her larger historical significance.