Women of Valor


An Unconventional Courtship

Bella Abzug, 1920 - 1998

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Abzug Jokes About her Family to Students at Kingsborough Community College

"While I was at Columbia, my future husband, Martin Abzug, courted me in an unconventional manner. He typed my term papers while I studied in the library, and before we married we had long discussions about who would do what. It was agreed that I would work at my legal career even after we had children... Our informal understanding of respect for each other's work has endured throughout our marriage..."

Bella Savitsky met Martin Abzug in 1942 while on vacation in Florida. But it was back in New York that he won her heart, not only with his typing, but with his deep respect for her and the role she hoped to play in the world. Martin and Bella raised two children—Eve Gail, born in 1949, and Isobel Jo (Liz), born in 1952. While Bella practiced law, Martin wrote novels and worked as a stockbroker. Together they weathered a pervasive hostility against families with working mothers.

Over the years, Bella pointed repeatedly to Martin's support as her crucial foundation in a hostile world. And as she later liked to say, "I think he even voted for me."

  1. "While I was at Columbia..." quote from Bella Abzug, Gender Gap: Bella Abzug's Guide to Political Power forAmerican Women, with Mim Kelber (Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1984) 159.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Bella Abzug - An Unconventional Courtship." (Viewed on April 16, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/abzug/unconventional-courtship>.