Research Areas

Memoir Writing; Women as Political Activists in History and in the Present; Women’s Health and Sexuality; Aging and Ageism


Ph.D., Boston College

M.A., Goddard College

B.A., Suffolk University


Mistress of Herself: Ernestine L. Rose Blog

Mistress of Herself: Ernestine L. Rose

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century

The New Ourselves Growing Older

Our Bodies, Ourselves 40th Anniversary

Paula Doress-Worters

Paula Doress-Worters

Paula Doress-Worters

Paula came to the WSRC/Brandeis from her work in second wave feminism and founding co-author of Our Bodies Ourselves to explore a long-standing interest in Ernestine Rose, a 19th century women’s rights advocate whose contributions had been under-recognized by historians. Though neglect of Rose has also been attributed to a lack of archival papers, Paula collected and published, a 389 page volume of Rose’s speeches and letters. Paula founded the Ernestine Rose Society, raised funds to restore the grave marker of Ernestine and William Rose and convened a commemoration at Highgate Cemetery in London on Aug. 4, 2002. To celebrate the 200th birthday of Ernestine Rose (b. Jan. 13, 1810), Paula led Bicentennial events across the U.S. to honor Rose’s early, significant, and still relevant leadership of first wave feminism. Through learning about Rose and 19th century women’s rights, Paula has gained a deeper perspective on second wave and current and future feminisms. She has begun a new writing project, exploring her own roots and the forces and influences that drew her to activism for social justice.

Current Projects

My project is an exploration of growing up with immigrant parents and three waves of WWII refugees in working class Roxbury as a path to embarking upon a life of activism in civil rights, anti-Vietnam war activism, the rise of second wave feminism and becoming a founding author of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Representative Publications

Doress-Worters, Paula. Mistress of Herself: Speeches and Letters of Ernestine L. Rose, Early Women’s Rights Leader. New York: Feminist Press, 2008.

Doress-Worters, Paula and Kristin Waters, “Ernestine L. Rose, Feminist, Freethinker, and Political Theorist.” Dictionary of Early American Philosophers. ed. John R. Shook. New York: Continuum, 2012.