Voting Rights

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Birth of essayist and suffragist Nina Morais Cohen

December 6, 1855

Nina Morais Cohen; the daughter of Sabato Morais, a prominent Orthodox rabbi and a leading exponent of traditional Judaism—established he

Birth of Judge Jennie Loitman Barron

October 13, 1891

Judge, lawyer, and suffragist, Jennie Loitman Barron, was born on October 13, 1891 in Boston’s West End.

Three generations of activist Seaman family mark 10th anniversary of Women's Strike for Equality

August 26, 1980

When women and men paraded down New York's Fifth Avenue on August 26, 1980, to mark the tenth anniversary of Women's Strike for Equality and the sixtieth anniversary of women's right to vote, three

First North Carolinian graduates from Smith College

June 18, 1901

On June 18, 1901, Gertrude Weil became the first North Carolina resident to graduate from Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Wage Earners' League for Woman Suffrage holds first mass rally

April 22, 1912

The year-old Wage Earners' League for Woman Suffrage held its first mass rally on April 22, 1912, at New York's Cooper Union's Great Hall of the People.

"New Orleans Times-Picayune" celebrates 100th birthday of Elizabeth D.A. Cohen, Louisiana's first practicing female physician

February 22, 1920

The "New Orleans Times-Picayune" published an interview with Elizabeth D.A. Cohen, the first practicing female physician in Louisiana, on her 100th birthday.

Suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose addresses annual Thomas Paine dinner

January 29, 1848

For more than 20 years, Ernestine Rose, born in Poland in 1810, worked as a leading pro-suffrage, anti-slavery orator in the United States.

Lillian D. Wald

Lillian Wald began her work in 1893, when she discovered the need for health care among New York’s largely Jewish immigrant population. Her solution to this problem, in the form of public health nursing—a term she coined—served only as the beginning of her life’s work, which was dedicated to providing health care, education and social services to the poor and immigrant members of her Henry Street Settlement, and beyond.

Union of Jewish Women

The Union of Jewish Women (UJW) was the first national umbrella organization for Jewish women’s social service groups.

Edith Rosenwald Stern

Edith Rosenwald Stern, philanthropist, community leader, and civil rights activist left a legacy of commitment to social justice. With the same passion and strategy, she led the Jewish community in its philanthropy, encouraged her grandchildren to pursue their own charitable interests, and strongly supported Israel.

Pauline Perlmutter Steinem

Pauline Perlmutter Steinem, like her granddaughter Gloria Steinem, was an ardent activist for women’s rights, especially suffrage. She was also involved in Jewish activism, serving many local Jewish organizations and devoting a considerable amount of her income to send Jews to Israel just before World War II began.

Maida Herman Solomon

Professor of social economy at Simmons College School of Social Work, Maida Solomon was recognized as a pioneer in the field, along with a very small group of social work professionals who “invented” the field of psychiatric social work and oversaw its definition, its development of standards, and its integration with the other institutions of modern American medicine and education—in short, its professionalism.

Rosika Schwimmer

Rosika Schwimmer was a leader in the international pacifist and feminist movements, a passionate and forceful advocate of pacifism in a time of war. Schwimmer’s career soared during the early twentieth century, but, by the 1920s, she was caught in the backlash of antifeminism and antisemitism that swept the United States.

Rose Schneiderman

For nearly half a century, Rose Schneiderman worked tirelessly to improve wages, hours, and safety standards for American working women.

Anna Lederer Rosenberg

The first woman to serve as assistant secretary of defense, Anna Lederer Rosenberg achieved distinction in government and business.

Ernestine Rose

Ernestine Rose’s extemporaneous speeches on religious freedom, public education, abolition, and women’s rights earned her the title “Queen of the Platform.”

Pauline Newman

Pauline Newman was a labor pioneer and a die-hard union loyalist once described by a colleague as “capable of smoking a cigar with the best of them.” The first woman ever appointed general organizer by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), Newman continued to work for the ILGWU for more than seventy years—first as an organizer, then as a labor journalist, a health educator, and a liaison between the union and government officials.

Maud Nathan

After her daughter’s death, Maud Nathan battled grief by throwing herself into social justice work, transforming herself from a society wife into an influential social reformer. She devoted her life to leading organizations that worked to expose poor working conditions for women and children and was a tireless advocate for women’s suffrage.

Miriam Shomer Zunser

Miriam Shomer Zunser, journalist, playwright, and artist, was an important promoter of Jewish culture in America during the period before World War II.

Belle Winestine

Belle Winestine is best remembered as Jeannette Rankin’s legislative assistant, though she served in this capacity for only one year (1916–1917). Nonetheless, her work with Rankin served as an important apprenticeship that created a lasting friendship, profoundly influenced her understanding of the legislative process, and solidified what became her lifelong commitment to reform. For over seventy years, she devoted time, money, and energy to support and enforce legislation pertaining to women’s rights and children’s issues.

Rosalie Loew Whitney

In 1901, Rosalie (Rose) Loew became acting attorney in chief of the New York Legal Aid Society. She was the first woman to hold that post.

Rosa Welt-Straus

In 1878, she received her medical degree and was one of the first women in Europe to practice medicine. Rosa Welt, together with one of her sisters, immigrated to the United States, where she worked for many years as an eye surgeon in New York in the eye hospital and also in the eye clinic at the Women’s Hospital. In addition to her professional work, Welt-Straus was active in the struggle for women’s suffrage in New York and a partner in forming the International Woman Suffrage Alliance founded by Carrie Chapman-Catt.

Louise Weiss

A brilliant French journalist and a lifelong champion of European union and women’s rights, Louise Weiss was an influential voice in French and international affairs from the 1920s until her death in 1983.

Gertrude Weil

Gertrude Weil’s life is a rare example of southern Jewish social activism during the first half of the twentieth century. She was the first Jewish woman to lead a statewide secular women's movement in North Carolina, beginning her activist career in 1915 fighting for woman suffrage and continuing through to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Roosje Vos

Today Roosje Vos is known as a socialist organizer and it is generally assumed that her socialism represented a break from her Judaism. One could well argue, however, that her life followed a pattern similar to that of many radical Jewish women in many parts of the world. From this perspective, her socialist radicalism forms part of a secular Jewish tradition.

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