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Dr. Ruth Harriet Jacobs, 88, of Wellesley; sociologist and gerontologist taught at BU, Clark

Dr. Jacobs, who wrote nine books, often sported shirts and buttons that advertised her pride in her advanced age.
Dr. Jacobs, who wrote nine books, often sported shirts and buttons that advertised her pride in her advanced age.

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Well into her 40s when she began building a career as a sociologist, gerontologist, author, and professor, Ruth Harriet Jacobs ended up devoting much of her work to advocating for older women.

“We live in a society that loves anything old — antiques, old wine, old cars, vintage clothes, vintage cheese — everything except old people,” she told the Globe in 1999. “It’s somehow a disgrace to have wrinkles or gray hair or a changed body shape.”

Dr. Jacobs, who wrote nine books, formerly taught at Boston University, and led the sociology department at Clark University in Worcester, died Sept. 5. She was 88 and lived most of her adult life in Wellesley.

“I think aging is an achievement,” she told the Globe in 1992.

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