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Abzug, Bella (1920-1998), lawyer, feminist leader, and U.S. representative  

Edward L. Lach Jr.

Abzug, Bella (24 July 1920–31 March 1998), lawyer, feminist leader, and U.S. representative, was born Bella Savitsky in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of Emmanuel Savitsky, butcher, and Ester Tanklefsky Savitsky. She attended local schools before entering Hunter College in Manhattan, where she took part in student government and was active in the Zionist movement. She entered Columbia University Law School following her graduation in 1942 but soon left school and took a wartime job in a shipyard. She married Martin Abzug, a writer who later became a stockbroker, in 1944; the couple had two daughters. Abzug returned to Columbia and served as editor of the ...

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Cover Abzug, Bella (1920-1998)
Bella Abzug. Campaign poster. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109588).

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Engle, Lavinia M. (23 May 1892–29 May 1979), women’s suffrage advocate, Maryland state representative, and federal social insurance official  

Nikoleta Sremac

Engle, Lavinia M. (23 May 1892–29 May 1979), women’s suffrage advocate, Maryland state representative, and federal social insurance official, was born Lavinia Margaret Engle in Forest Glen, Maryland, one of three children of Lavinia Hauke and James Melvin Engle. Her parents were both Quakers who greatly influenced her life and career. Her father was a Treasury Department official, giving her an early role model in government service. Her mother was also an advocate for women’s suffrage, once testifying before Congress alongside ...

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Gardener, Helen Hamilton (1853-1925), author, suffragist, and U.S. Civil Service commissioner  

Elisa Miller

Gardener, Helen Hamilton (21 January 1853–26 July 1925), author, suffragist, and U.S. Civil Service commissioner, was born Alice Chenoweth in Winchester, Virginia, the daughter of the Reverend Alfred Griffith Chenoweth and Katherine A. Peel. A Methodist minister, Chenoweth freed his inherited slaves in 1854 and transplanted the family to Washington, D.C., so that his children would not grow up tarnished by slavery. In 1855 the family moved to Greencastle, Indiana, where Gardener went to local schools and was tutored at home. In her late teens she moved by herself to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she attended high school. She later was a student at Ohio State Normal School, where she served as a teacher and principal after her graduation in 1873....

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Cover Gardener, Helen Hamilton (1853-1925)
Helen Hamilton Gardener. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92538).

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Hernandez, Aileen Clarke (23 May 1926–13 Feb. 2017), feminist activist, government official, and business consultant  

Katherine Turk

Hernandez, Aileen Clarke (23 May 1926–13 Feb. 2017), feminist activist, government official, and business consultant, was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jamaican immigrants Charles Henry Clarke, Sr., an artist’s brush maker, and Ethel Louise Clarke (née Hall), a seamstress. They raised Aileen and her two brothers in the predominantly white neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She blossomed at the all-girls Bay Ridge High School, graduating as the salutatorian of the class of ...

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Howorth, Lucy (1895-1997), lawyer, politician, and feminist activist  

Jill Norgren

Howorth, Lucy (01 July 1895–23 August 1997), lawyer, politician, and feminist activist, was born Lucy Somerville in Greenville, Mississippi, the youngest of four children and second daughter of Robert and Nellie Nugent Somerville. Many of her forefathers were legislators, lawyers, or judges. Her female ancestors were known as women of strong character who were well respected in their communities. Through homeschooling and example, Nellie Somerville passed on to her youngest child a love for learning and a concern for contemporary social issues. Nellie, a college graduate, advocated temperance and was president of the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association. She was also a devout Methodist, a perspective never accepted by Lucy. Nellie began taking Lucy to community meetings, including suffrage rallies, before her first birthday. When she was older Lucy helped at suffrage conventions and met national women’s rights leaders including Dr. ...

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Rosenberg, Anna Marie Lederer (1902-1983), labor and personnel consultant and assistant secretary of defense  

Christy L. Thurston

Rosenberg, Anna Marie Lederer (19 June 1902–09 May 1983), labor and personnel consultant and assistant secretary of defense, was born in Budapest, Hungary, the daughter of Albert Lederer, a furniture manufacturer, and Charlotte Bacskai, a children’s author and illustrator. Her father was prosperous until Emperor Franz Joseph canceled a furniture order, causing the family to go bankrupt, close down the factory, and move to the United States in 1912. Albert Lederer never forgot that experience, and, no longer at the whim of an emperor and appreciative of his newly found freedoms, he encouraged his daughter to be a patriotic American. She entered New York City’s Wadleigh High School in 1914 and organized the Future Voters League to encourage woman suffrage. While in high school in 1919 she settled a strike by students protesting compulsory military training, and that same year she served as a volunteer nurse and sold Liberty Bonds financing World War I. In 1919 she married an American soldier, Julius Rosenberg; they had one son. Later that year she became a naturalized citizen....

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Simonson, Joy R. (16 January 1919–24 June 2007)  

Susan Ware

Simonson, Joy R. (16 January 1919–24 June 2007), government official, District of Columbia activist, and feminist, was born Joy Rosenheim in New York City to Sidney Teller Rosenheim, a stockbroker, and Rosalie Frank Spiegel, a suffragist who was later active in the League of Women Voters. The family, which was Jewish but not especially observant and included a younger brother, moved to Westchester County when Joy was young. After her father’s death in 1931, her mother had enough resources to remain in Scarsdale, where Joy graduated from Scarsdale High School in 1936. After a brush with anti-Semitism during her interview at Swarthmore College, Joy chose Bryn Mawr College instead, where she majored in social economy. With papers on topics such as “Problems of the Professional Woman,” she was already demonstrating her lifelong commitment to women’s issues....