Uncovering the World of Her Father

Deborah Tannen ’62, Ph.D., University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and author of numerous books and articles about the ways in which the language of everyday conversation affects relationships, now turns to memoir. In Finding my Father – His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow (Ballantine Books 2020).

Tannen traces her father’s life, from his childhood in Poland, where he was born in 1908, to his adolescence and adulthood in the United States, where he arrived in 1920 and died in 2006. The memoir not only examines Eli Tannen’s long life and the ways in which it reflects the near century that he lived, but it is also a daughter’s attempt to understand her father more deeply and to find a more truthful story about her family.

Sewell Chan ’94, the editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times, interviewed Tannen in September 2020. More than 100 alumnae/I attended this virtual event, organized by Ann Starer ’75. To watch the interview, log onto the HCHSAA events page at https://www.hchsaa.