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Wertheimer, Barbara Mayer (1926–1983) - U.S. Labor History

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Barbara Mayer Wertheimer was born in New York City in 1926. She received a B.A. from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1946 and an M.A. from New York University in 1960. She married Valentin Wertheimer, who was eventually vice-president of Amalgamated Clothing Workers. The two moved to Pennsylvania, where they served as an organizing team for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Barbara became associate, then acting national education director from 1947 to 1958. Following this, she served as a consultant for the American Labor Education Service from 1960 to 1961. She was community services consultant for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal from 1961 to 1966 and senior extension associate and labor program specialist at the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations for Cornell University from 1966 to 1972.

Wertheimer wrote Exploring the Arts: Handbook for Trade Union Program Planners in 1968 and Handbook for Consumer Counselors: A Resource and Training Manual in 1970. She then became director of the Trade Union Women’s Studies and senior extension associate from 1972 to 1977. She wrote Trade Union Women: A Study of Their Participation in New York City Locals with Anne H. Nelson in 1975 and We Were There: The Story of Working Women in America in 1977. She was associate professor and director of the Institute for Women and Work from 1977 to 1983. She was editor of Labor Education for Women Workers in 1981 and wrote Education Needs of Union Women , a monograph, in 1982. She was also a member of the editorial board of Labor History and past commissioner, later “Friend of the Commission,” of the New York City Commission on the Status of Women. She was on the advisory committee for “Twentieth Century Union Woman: Vehicle for Social Change” at the University of Michigan for the National Oral History Project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Wertheimer was also on the advisory committee for “Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter,” a film project, and editor of the Newsletter of the Committee on Programs for Union Women. She was president and founding member of the New York State Labor History Association. Barbara Wertheimer died of lung cancer on September 20, 1983, at her summer home in Lakeville, Connecticut. At the time of her death she had received a Ford Foundation fellowship and was writing Our Century, Our Time: A Narrative History of Working Women from World War I to the Present .

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