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Martha A. Wetstein

by Dorothy Thomas

Contributions to society are sometimes made by women who then disappear from recorded history because they change their name at marriage, change their occupation, or simply never reply to requests for information. Martha A. Wetstein is one of those women. Born in Philadelphia on May 10, 1880, daughter of Herman and Anne (Witkoff) Wetstein, she was educated in the local public schools and the Free Hebrew Academy. Quickly and briefly, she became a bright star in prison reform.

At twenty-two, Wetstein was a delegate to the National Prison Congress of 1902. By the time she was twenty-five, she is said to have been the second Jewish probation officer in the United States and the first to supervise all the Jewish cases in Philadelphia. Here the trail ends, but the Jewish men and women Martha A. Wetstein supervised benefited from her ability to speak their language and assist them in reestablishing themselves in society.


AJYB 7 (1905–1906): 115.

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How to cite this page

Thomas, Dorothy. "Martha A. Wetstein." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 19, 2018) <>.


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