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Ruth LewisFarkas

Ruth Lewis Farkas’s remarkable and varied career ranged from creating a retail chain that survived the Great Depression to teaching sociology to running international education initiatives. In 1928 Farkas married her childhood sweetheart and the couple opened a retail store, Alexander’s, which expanded to eleven locations by 1992. From 1955–1972 Farkas served as Alexander’s vice chair and their director of personnel and community relations, as well as president of Dolma Realty in Florida. She earned a master’s in sociology from Columbia in 1932 and a PhD from NYU in 1958, taught sociology at NYU from 1945–1955, and became director of the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry in 1962. She also served as vice president of the Child Study Association of America, president of the Beth Abraham Hospital for the Chronically Ill, and chair of the Women’s Division at the Albert Einstein Medical College, among other responsibilities. In 1964 Secretary of State Dean Rusk appointed her to a position at UNESCO and made her an advisor to the American delegation of the International Conference on Eradication of Illiteracy. She focused her later career on philanthropy and on researching gender perceptions through the Role Foundation, which she created in 1967.

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Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Lewis Farkas ." (Viewed on July 6, 2020) <>.


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