Elinor Guggenheimer

Elinor Guggenheimer focused her career in city government on higher standards for childcare and on greater representation of women in politics. Guggenheimer graduated Barnard in 1934 and worked briefly as a documentary filmmaker. She was active in a number of Jewish organizations, including the YWHA, the Jewish Association of Neighborhood Centers, and the Educational Alliance. After WWII, she led efforts to save over ninety day nurseries (day care centers) and improve their quality of care. In 1948 she became founding executive director of the Day Care Council of New York, and in 1958 she founded the Intercity Day Care Council. In 1960 she was elected to the city’s Planning Commission, and the following year ran for city council president. In 1974 she was appointed Commissioner of Consumer Affairs for the city. Determined to help other women win elections and serve their constituents effectively, she helped found the Women’s Political Caucus in 1971 with Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisolm, and others. In 1973 she also founded the Women’s Forum, meant as a network for women leaders in various professions. Guggenheimer wrote books on urban planning and social entertaining, and her musical, Potholes, enjoyed a short off-Broadway run in 1979.


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Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Elinor Guggenheimer." (Viewed on February 28, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/guggenheimer-elinor>.


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