Beatrice Biller was born in 1907 and grew up in Salem and Ipswich, Massachusetts, where she developed a strong Jewish identity. She was a dedicated kindergarten teacher in Salem but was forced to retire once she married in 1931. Beatrice became a tireless volunteer, involving herself in numerous projects throughout her life. Even at 90, she was still working to help others. She was a lifelong member of Temple Israel Sisterhood. Her volunteer projects ranged from initiating a sewing circle at Temple Israel, whose goal was to donate clothing to hospitals and soldiers, to translating books into Braille for the Boston Aid to the Blind. Her most notable role was as the Director of Volunteers at the Jewish Memorial Hospital, where she volunteered for over 30 years.
Biller talks about her family and immigration history, her childhood on the Eastern Shore of Massachusetts, moving to Salem, and attending the Lesley Normal School [now Lesley University] to study education. She describes her experience as a substitute teacher until she married her husband, Saul Biller, and moved to Somerville. Beatrice Biller was born in 1907, so she can remember seeing the first cars and living through both World Wars. She also discusses starting and raising her family and her involvement in Temple Israel, the Sisterhood at the Temple, and a sewing group there. Biller was involved in various volunteer activities, including with the Red Cross, the Jewish Braille Society, and Boston Aid to the Blind.
How to cite this page
Oral History of Beatrice Biller. Interviewed by Emily Mehlman. 25 February 1997. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/biller-beatrice>.
Oral History of Beatrice Biller by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.