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Edith Altschul Lehman

Both with her husband and in her own right, Edith Altschul Lehman funded endeavors from building schools in Israel to creating a children’s zoo in Central Park. The daughter of a wealthy, philanthropic banker, she married Herbert Lehman, himself a partner at Lehman Brothers, when she was eighteen. The pair shared a belief in the importance of trade unions, good public schools, and decent housing. Herbert Lehman’s idealism expressed itself in his political career as governor of New York and later as a senator. Meanwhile, Edith juggled her responsibilities as a political wife, a mother, and volunteer for important causes organizations like the Henry Street Settlement and the Play Schools Association, which offered daycare for children of working mothers. She also helped found Mount Sinai Hospital’s social service department. In honor of her fundraising efforts for United Jewish Appeal, a high school in Dimona, Israel was established in her name. The Lehmans also built the Central Park Children’s Zoo in 1961. After her husband’s death, Edith created major projects in his honor, including the Mount Sinai Medical School, the Lehman Fund for African American college students, and the Lehman School of Ethics at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

More on Edith Altschul Lehman
Edith Altschul Lehman
Full image
Edith Altschul Lehman.
Courtesy of Columbia University.
Date of Birth
August 8, 1889
Place of Birth
San Francisco, California
Date of Death
March 8, 1974

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Edith Altschul Lehman." (Viewed on November 13, 2018) <>.


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