Even before she gained suffrage, Sadie Loewith took on leadership roles in business and local government and fought to ensure other women could do the same. Her activism began with her work for women’s suffrage, and from 1920 on she involved herself in every election, from local politics to national causes. During World War II, she chaired the women’s division of the Bridgeport War Finance Committee, running five bond drives, and chaired the Women’s Mobilization Committee. She served on the Bridgeport Board of Education, establishing a higher minimum wage for teachers and equal salaries for men and women, and was named a Fairfield County commissioner in 1947, where she successfully pushed for women’s representation in policy-making boards for the police department and the board of health.
“Politics makes strange bedfellows,” the adage states. Those “bedfellows” were joined by a feisty, strong, opinionated woman in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in the 1920s. She was Sadie Loewith, teacher, businesswoman, active Republican Party worker, chairperson, organizer, and politician of high repute. Her interests were many and varied, and her ability to lead and to elicit respect was unwavering.
Early Life and Career
Sadie (Rosenthal) Loewith, born July 17, 1890, was the eldest daughter of Philip J. and Jennie (Berman) Rosenthal. She moved with her parents, her brother, Albert, and her sister, Helen, from New York City to Bridgeport in 1894. She excelled academically and graduated first in her class from Bridgeport Normal School. On June 14, 1912, she married Walter Loewith. After teaching for several years and taking private instruction at Yale Art School, she joined her husband in his insurance brokerage firm in 1929. Upon his death in 1952, she took over the operation of the firm.
Loewith’s interest in politics began prior to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. She worked ardently in support of woman suffrage. Following the passage of the amendment, Loewith vowed to use her new enfranchisement to effect positive changes for women. From 1920 on, she served in every election—local, state, and national—as an active party worker. She organized, and served as president of, a string of Republican women’s groups, including the Bridgeport Council of Republican Women and the Fairfield County Women’s Republican Association. She also served for six years as an active and innovative member of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Under her tenure, and as a result of her backing, new buildings were erected and a single salary schedule for men and women was implemented. In addition, she helped establish a higher minimum wage for teachers. Loewith also served Bridgeport in other areas—as a member of the board of recreation and as a lobbyist working on the Aid to Dependent Children bill, which was passed by the 1939 legislature. In 1947, she was named a Fairfield County commissioner.
Legacy and Jewish Life
Throughout her political career, Loewith was an articulate advocate of women’s representation on the policy-making level. She was instrumental in establishing such representation in the police department and on the board of health as well as on the GOP town committee. Among her other civic involvements were the arts and community services.
During World War II, Loewith was chair of the women’s division of the Bridgeport War Finance Committee for five bond drives. As a member of the Bridgeport War Council, she chaired the Women’s Mobilization Committee to recruit women for war work in industrial, retail, and commercial establishments.
Within the Jewish community, Loewith served as president of the sisterhood of the Park Avenue Temple (now known as Congregation B’nai Israel), as honorary president of the Bridgeport Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, which she helped organize and which she headed for eight years, and as director of the Inter-Group Council, which was affiliated with the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
Sadie Loewith died on January 26, 1956, at age sixty-five.
Obituaries. Bridgeport (Conn.) Post, January 26, 1956, and NYTimes, January 27, 1956, 23:3.
WWIAJ (1928, 1938).