Erica Rubenstein, Art Historian

Erica Beckh Rubenstein

Erica Beckh Rubenstein died on November 20th, 5 days before her 100th birthday.  Her daughter, Emily Morrow, her son, Daniel, and his wife were with her and witnessed the mystery of her death.

In September, 2014, many of her family and friends gathered to celebrate her life, a life rich in relationships and meaning.  In the last decade, Erica had lost aspects of memory but retained her wisdom and insight.

Erica was born in Bristol, England, and, at the age of 12, moved to the US where her father, a Unitarian minister, lectured at the Labor Temple in NYC.  She graduated with a degree in Art History from Vassar College in 1937.  She went on to complete a master’s degree and PhD in Art History from Radcliffe College in 1942 and 1944. 

In 1942 Erica married Lewis Rubenstein ( and she became an active partner in his creative life as an artist. They made their life in Poughkeepsie, New York, where Lewis taught studio art at Vassar College. Lewis’ art can be viewed at

In 1992 Erica, ever pragmatic, urged Lewis to accept the fact that they were ageing.  They moved to Wake Robin, a life-care community in Shelburne, Vermont, and became part of that supportive, caring community.

Erica was predeceased by Lewis and over the last eleven years, she said how much she missed his gentle presence and companionship.  She is survived by her son, Daniel (Nancy), her daughter Emily Morrow (Paul), her grandchildren Ari (Sarah), Beth (Michael), Josh (Siobhan) and Lillian Morrow (fiancé Mark Howden) and eight great grandchildren – Zoe, Sacha, Eli, Ana, Yemaya, Alder, Ronan and Bronwen. 

Years ago Erica said she would describe herself as a catalyst.  During her student years at Radcliffe, she joined other students in persuading the university to accept and fund Jewish refugees on student visas during the Nazi era.  Other colleges joined in the movement to save Jewish scholars.  Many lives were saved.  During the Vietnam War, Erica organized a draft counselling service in Dutchess County and through her efforts, many more lives were changed. 

Erica’s spirit will continue to be a catalyst for social justice.   In lieu of flowers the family asks that you voice your commitment to social justice, equality and fairness or make a donation to the American Friends Service Committee. 

Erica’s Thesis: “Tax Payers’ Murals”