Minnie Low

At a time when social work usually meant wealthy people donating to the poor, Minnie Low pushed for new kinds of aid such as vocational training and loans that made the needy self–sufficient. Low co-founded the Maxwell Street Settlement House in 1893, in the process beginning a lifelong friendship with Jane Addams of Hull House. She also began working as secretary for Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, founder of the National Council of Jewish Women. In 1897 Low became executive director of NCJW’s Bureau of Personal Service, which she ran until her death. There, she helped immigrants find housing, loans, legal aid, and medical care, and ran a workroom where workers were paid in coal, clothing, and other essentials. She also investigated people who applied for aid from other local charities to prevent scam artists from taking unfair advantage of services. Also in 1897, Low founded the Woman’s Loan Association, which offered interest–free loans to immigrants trying to set up small businesses. From 1914–1916 she served as president of the National Conference of Jewish Charities. In all, Low led and volunteered for a dozen organizations, from the first Juvenile Court of Chicago to the Jewish Home Finding Society, an adoption agency.


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Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Minnie Low." (Viewed on November 19, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/low-minnie>.


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