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Rachel Ginnis Fuchs

1939 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Rachel Ginnis Fuchs Obituary
Fuchs, Rachel Ginnis
77, of Phoenix, passed away on October 15, 2016. A noted scholar of French women's history, she died peacefully, surrounded by family, in Charleston, South Carolina. The cause was a subdural hematoma. Dr. Fuchs, whose specialty was the social history of 19th-century France, was Regents' Professor and Distinguished Foundation Professor of History at Arizona State University. Her books include "Abandoned Children," "Poor and Pregnant in Paris," "Gender and Poverty in Nineteenth-Century Europe," and "Contested Paternity: Constructing Families in Modern France." Her pioneering studies of the intersections of gender, poverty, and law in 19th-century France reshaped the field of European historical studies. She was a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Camargo Foundation as well as numerous academic awards and teaching prizes. Rachel Ginnis was born on Staten Island in 1939 to Louis Ginnis and the former Helen Halprin. She graduated from Curtis High School on Staten Island in 1956, then attended the University of Michigan, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. from Boston University in 1959 and 1962, respectively. She earned a PhD in history from Indiana University in 1980. She began her career at Arizona State in 1983, teaching and mentoring several generations of undergraduates and graduate students before retiring in 2015. At her death she was halfway through an appointment as the General Mark W. Clark Distinguished Visiting Chair of History at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Known for her indefatigable energy, spirit of collegiality, and generous support of colleagues, she served variously as president of the Society for French Historical Studies and the Pacific Coast branch of the American Historical Association; associate editor and board member of "French Historical Studies"; co-president of the Coordinating Council for Women in History; associate chair of the History Department and interim director of the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State; and on numerous review panels for fellowships, academic presses, and journals. Her focus on the lives of women, children, and the poor was not merely academic. She was a passionate advocate for women and children and for reproductive rights, serving as a board member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Dr. Fuchs is survived by her husband, Norman Fuchs, a Purdue University emeritus professor of physics. High school sweethearts, they were married in 1959. She is also survived by her daughter Mindy Lokshin and son-in-law Boris Lokshin, of Reno, NV; a son, Daniel Fuchs, and daughter-in-law Naomi Williams, of Davis, CA; four grandchildren, Benjamin Lokshin, Julian Fuchs, Jacob Lokshin, and Eliot Williams; her sister Lynn Basch and brother-in-law Fred Basch of Boston; as well as many cousins, nephews, and grand-nieces and -nephews. A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 22, from 4 to 6 pm, at the Arizona Grand Resort Convention Center, 3rd Floor, in Phoenix. Memorial donations may be sent to Planned Parenthood of Arizona ( or to the Desert Botanical Garden (
Published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 20, 2016
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