Susan E. Cayleff, Ph.D.


Susan E. Cayleff is Professor of Women’s Studies and co-chair of [email protected], an ally training and social justice event program for LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and administrators at San Diego State University. She also directs the LGBT Studies Internship Program that places students at 15 different community-based organizations and services. Since 1995 she has been the faculty director and mentor of the Young Women’s Studies Club at Hoover High School. This multi-tiered mentoring program works to create feminist and racial awareness and bridge the academy and the community. She is also adjunct faculty in American Indian Studies and Chicano/Chicana Studies. She served as Department Chair 1997–2005 and joined the faculty at SDSU in 1987. Prior to her arrival at SDSU she was an Assistant Professor in the Institute for the Medical Humanities, Preventive Medicine, and Community Health Division, at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX, 1983-1987. She has a M.A. in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University.


Babe: The Life and Legend of Babe Didrikson Zaharias

An extraordinarily gifted athlete, Babe Didrikson Zaharias starred in track and field and won three Olympic medals in 1932. She picked up golf late yet quickly dominated the women's sport. She also competed in baseball, bowling, basketball, and tennis.

Interviews with members of Babe's family, peers, and others inform Susan E. Cayleff’s story of the athlete and the difficulties she faced as a woman trying to be her own person. The American public was smitten with Babe’s wit, frankness, and "unladylike" bravado. But members of the press insinuated that her femininity, even her femaleness, were suspect. Cayleff looks at how Babe used her androgyny and athleticism to promote herself before crafting a more marketable female persona for golf. She also explores Babe’s role as a cofounder of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA); her marriage to George Zaharias and their partnership in shaping her career; her romantic relationship with fellow golfer Betty Dodd; and her courageous public fight against cancer.

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Handbook Entries

Title Contributor Type
Zaharias, Mildred Ella Didrikson [Babe] Author

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