Suzanne Wasserman

Suzanne Wasserman (1957- 2017) was a historian and award-winning filmmaker. She had a Ph.D. in American History from New York University. She was the Director of the Gotham Center for New York City History at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. Wasserman lectured and wrote about New York City history, especially the history of the Lower East Side. She published widely on topics such as the Great Depression, Jewish nostalgia, housing, restaurant culture, tourism, pushcart peddling, silent films, 19th century saloons and 21st century street fairs. She was an historical consultant on Ron Howard’s, Cinderella Man. She is the co-author of Life on the Lower East Side, 1937-1950: Photographs by Rebecca Lepkoff (Princeton Architectural Press, 2006) which is in its third printing.

Her 2003 award-winning film, Thunder in Guyana, is about her cousin, Janet Jagan, who became President of Guyana in South America. The film premiered at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in June, 2003 and aired nationally on PBS as part of the Independent Lens series in 2005 and Global Voices in 2010. Her second film, a short documentary, titled Brooklyn among the Ruins premiered at the Coney Island Film Festival in 2005 and was broadcast on PBS/WNET’s series REEL New York in 2006. Her films have been seen at over 50 festivals and other venues. Her third film is a short documentary, Sweatshop Cinderella, about the immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska. Sweatshop Cinderella and Thunder in Guyana are distributed by Women Make Movies.. (3/19)

Available Title(s):


Sweatshop Cinderella: A Portrait of Anzia Yezierska


A film by Suzanne Wasserman, 2010, 27 min., Color
In the forefront of early twentieth-century American literature about immigrant women’s lives, Anzia Yezierska’s work includes short fiction, novels, ...

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Thunder in Guyana


A film by Suzanne Wasserman, 2003, 50 min., Color/BW
THUNDER IN GUYANA is the remarkable tale of Janet Jagan, a young woman from Chicago who married Guyanese activist Cheddi Jagan, and set off for the Br...

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