The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Madeline Borg

July 31, 1878–1956

by Jack Nusan Porter

In Brief

Madeline Borg dedicated her career to giving children second chances—through studying juvenile delinquency, working with child welfare and probation associations, and by founding the Big Sister movement. After studying juvenile delinquency at Columbia University, Borg founded the Big Sister Movement, which paired girls with companions and mentors. She later created an offshoot specifically for Jewish Big Sisters. Finding new ways to approach children’s problems, Borg served in leadership capacities for organizations such as the National Probation and Parole Association, the Child Welfare League, and the Jewish Board of Guardians. In 1929, she was appointed to the New York City Crime Prevention Bureau’s executive committee. Active in a number of Jewish charities, Borg was also recognized for her philanthropic work in New York.


Madeline Borg was active in philanthropic work for over fifty years.

She was born in New York City on July 31, 1878. At Columbia University, she concentrated on the causes of juvenile delinquency. She was especially active in promoting psychiatric clinics as an integral part of the study of child behavior. Her major contribution was as founder of the Big Sister movement in America in 1912, an organization that provides young girls with companions and role models. In 1914, Borg helped to found the Jewish Big Sister movement. In 1939, she became president of the New York Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, one of the first women to hold such a post. Other positions she held included chair and member of the executive committee of the Jewish Board of Guardians of New York; member of the executive board of the American Jewish Committee; vice president of the National Probation and Parole Association, which helped prisoners upon their release; director of the Child Welfare League, which was active in the prevention of juvenile delinquency; vice-chair of the Mental Hygiene Committee of the State Charities Aid; member of the executive committee of the Girls’ Service League of America; trustee of the Training School for Jewish Social Workers; head of the Women’s Division and vice president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York; president of the Montefiore Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary Society; and active officer in the Salvation Army.

In 1929, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her a member of the New York State Old Age Pensions Committee. At the same time she was named to the executive committee of the New York City Crime Prevention Bureau. In 1939, she was a trustee of the New York World’s Fair and active on several of its administrative committees.

Her husband, Sidney Cecil Borg, was a financier and civic and communal leader in New York City.

Madeline Borg died in New York City on January 9, 1956.


AJYB 58:475.

BEOAJ; Obituary. NYTimes, January 10, 1956, 31:1.


WWIAJ (1926, 1928, 1938).

Have an update or correction? Let us know


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

How to cite this page

Porter, Jack Nusan. "Madeline Borg." Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. 31 December 1999. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 20, 2021) <>.