Fredi Kronenberg Papers Open for Research

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Fredi Kronenberg, October 7, 2003

Photo: Fredi Kronenberg, October 7, 2003. “Fredi495” disk 2018_029—049, Fredi Kronenberg Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library.

Archives and Special Collections in the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library is pleased to announce that the personal papers of Fredi Kronenberg are now available for research.* A respected physiologist and leader in the study of menopausal health and holistic medicine, this collection will serve as an important resource in the history of women’s health and alternative medicine during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Kronenberg’s research in evidence-based alternative medicine developed through her academic background in physiology (her 1979 Stanford dissertation was on the thermoregulation of honeybees), her post-doctoral research studying “hot flashes” conducted at Columbia Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, and her interest in alternative treatments to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Her research into phytoestrogens to relieve hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms led her to research the use of black cohosh, among other types of complementary and alternative medicine.  Her papers contain grant applications, questionnaires, participant guides, presentations, and other records documenting the recruitment, administration, and operation of these studies.

In addition to materials documenting Kronenberg’s own research, professional activities, and personal life, her papers contain the records of the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University. She was founder and director of the Center (1993-2007) which hosted workshops and continuing medical education courses at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, along with sponsoring numerous studies in the subject of hot flashes, nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and ethnobotany. She was engaged in a global network of scholarship and her papers document the exchange between practitioners of Western medicine and that of “traditional medicine” throughout the world.

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photograph of a cassette tape labeled "Menopause"

Not only is Kronenberg’s work important in documenting the development of integrative medicine during the 1990s-2000s, but her papers record her and other women’s activism beginning in the 1980s on the topic of menopause--often overlooked by the medical community and considered somewhat taboo. Her papers contain a number of sound recordings from menopause support groups she helped organize in the New York City metropolitan area, along with talks by her and physician colleagues, some which have been digitized and are accessible in the reading room. As one of the founders of the North American Menopause Society and active participant of similar organizations, her papers hold a wealth of material documenting the women’s health movement.

In addition to the sound recordings, a variety of records and formats are found in the papers, both digital and analog such as correspondence, course syllabi and assessments, fliers, programs for events and clinical studies, grant applications, questionnaires, annual reports, proposals, budgets, invitations, conference proceedings, writings, bibliographies and publications, photographs, and video recordings. The finding aid is now available via the Archives & Special Collections website, and the Columbia University’s online catalog.

Acquired by the Library in 2018 after her death in 2017, her records will serve as an important resource for the history of CUIMC and the health sciences for years to come.

*Please note that onsite research is only available to Columbia University faculty, students, and staff due to COVID-19 at the time this blog is published. Read more here: https://www.library-archives.cumc.columbia.edu/research-access-rules-procedures-during-pandemic