Jean B. (Midge) Quandt died peacefully early March 14th, 2018 at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center at the age of 85 after battling Parkinson’s Disease for almost three years. Midge was born in Cleveland to John Briggs and Mary Shepley Briggs and received her secondary education at Miss Porter’s School. She obtained a BA from Connecticut College, an MA in History from Radcliffe College where she met her future husband Richard, and another MA and a PhD in American History from Rutgers University. In her early post graduate years she taught briefly at secondary schools in the Princeton area and also at Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University and Rutgers. Her best-known book was From the Small Town to the Great Community, Rutgers University Press, 1970, an analysis of the idea of community in modern American thought through the writings of nine intellectuals and how their thought relates to some of the major assumptions of Progressive reform in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After she gave up teaching, she created with Edie Jeffrey and the late Sonia Gutman an independent scholars’ research group and eventually turned to studying Latin America, particularly Nicaraguan, politics. Her articles appeared in the Nicaragua Monitor, Against the Current, the Monthly Review, and numerous other publications. She made frequent trips to Nicaragua and interviewed many political personages, including the former President Daniel Ortega.
She adored Maine and spent most summers there in Bass Harbor, where she and her husband owned a small summer house. It was the place to sail, play tennis, relax and spend time with family. She also loved Provence, particularly Nice, Les Baux-de-Provence and Avignon. She loved her dogs and her friends deeply. She loved books, art, poetry and theatre. She was fiercely loyal, a progressive spirit, a feminist and advocate of the disenfranchised who defied many conventions of her generation. She is missed and mourned by her devoted husband Richard of sixty-two years, her loving son Stephen, her son-in-law Thom Heyer, her brother John Briggs, her sister-in-law Kate Halle Briggs, her sister-in-law Alexa Aldridge and her husband Fred Aldridge, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was deeply loved and will never be forgotten.
A memorial service will take place on Sunday, May 27th at 2 pm at Stonebridge at Montgomery in the Auditorium with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Alliance for Global Justice at https://afgj.org/
Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.
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