Beatrice Levi

b. 1919

Activist, innovator and visionary, Beatrice L. Levi has created educational opportunities for Baltimoreans of all ages. Born in Baltimore City, Maryland in 1919, Beatty was raised by her grandmother and mother after the death of her father when she was just five years old. Exposed to the cultural world of New York City by her uncles, Beatty had hoped to work in the New York publishing world before a bout with typhoid fever forced her to change her plans. Shortly after graduating from Goucher College, Beatty married Joseph Levi in 1941. In addition to her husband and daughters, Margaret and Alice, Beatty has dedicated herself to three important loves: the League of Women Voters, Tips on Trips and the Art Seminar Group. As a full-time volunteer for the League, Beatty worked to get out the vote of black Americans and on other pressing social issues. From 1971 to 1995, Beatty co-founded and operated Tips on Trips, an international travel consultation program providing interesting and innovative travel experiences for youth. As a co-founder of the Art Seminar Group, Beatty has brought arts education to hundreds of Jewish and non-Jewish Baltimoreans. In 2002, she received an honorary doctorate in Humanities from the Maryland Institute College of Art in recognition of her accomplishments.

Scope and Content Note

Beatrice, or Beatty, as she called herself, talks about her childhood—her schooling, her family, her involvement in Jewish life. She frequently visited New York City to see her uncles. She notes that while she was not wealthy, her family had access to certain luxuries, such as housekeepers.  Beatrice explains that many families had employees working in the houses in the early twenties. She also recounts how the Great Depression impacted her family. Beatty attended Baltimore Hebrew College before moving on to Goucher, where she majored in political science. She describes her academic drive and curiosity, which drove her throughout her life. She married her husband, Joe, just a few years out of college.  She was recovering from typhoid fever in the interim—and followed him to different cities when he wasn’t fighting in the Second World War. Later, in the addendum, Beatty remarks on how wonderful her husband was and how he evened her out. She also notes that, while she loved him very much, widowhood has allowed her to become closer to friends and do more activities in her own time. Beatty was involved with the League of Women Voters for much of her life and did volunteer work in the art community. She also created the program “Tips on Trips,” which provides travel advice for youth. Beatty proudly discusses the accomplishments of her two daughters throughout the interview—she is later asked if she could have three dinner guests, who they would be—and she immediately says that she would choose her husband and their daughters.

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Beatrice Levi. Interviewed by Marcie Cohen Ferris. 4 February 2002, 8 November 2002. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on February 25, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/levi-beatrice>.

Oral History of Beatrice Levi 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.