Lillian Herlands Hornstein was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1909 and entered Washington Square College in 1925. She received her B.S. summa cum laude(1929), M.A. (1930) and her PhD. "with distinction" (1940) from New York University. Prof. Margaret Schlauch was her inspiration and favorite professor in the Medieval English Literature field. The topic of Prof. Hornstein's PhD thesis was a study of the sources of The King of Tars. She started as a graduate assistant in 1930 and became full professor in 1959. She retired as Professor Emerita of English in May, 1974. She received the "Great Teacher" award granted by the Alumni federation, in 1970, the W.S.C. Alumni Achievement award in 1973, and the NYU Presidential Citation, 1974. She was married to George D. Hornstein, Professor of Law at NYU.
Dr. Hornstein was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and of the consultative Board of the Modern Humanities Research Association, and was Chairman of Middle English at the Modern Language Association (1953-54, 1964-65, 1970). She was the President of the Academy of Literary Studies(1975-76), the Medieval Club of N.Y. (1963), the New York Council College Teachers of English (1950-51)and the Society for the Libraries of NYU She was also very involved in numerous NYU associations and committees.
Her publications show her wide interests in the field of literature. She compiled a Reader's Companion to World Literature(1956). She also participated in the Manual of Writings in Middle English (1968). She published her studies of the King of Tars in various literary journals. One of its versions, published in the PMLA, was voted one of the three best articles on literary criticism from the first 75 years of that journal. After she retired from NYU, she researched thoroughly Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale for the Chaucer Variorum.
Her contributions to society and academia are well accounted for in the Dictionary of American Scholars, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in World Jewry, Who's Who of Women in Education and the Dictionary of International Biography.
From the guide to the Lillian Herlands Hornstein Papers, 1930-1980, (New York University Archives)