Backes, Ruth, 1918-

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Ruth Backes, a consultant, professor and psychologist, was born in Mount Vernon, New York on August 25, 1918 to Harriett Crofut Emerson and Robert Stewart Emerson. She graduated from New Rochelle High School (1935) and New York University (1939). She later earned a M.Ed. (1978) and Ed.D. (1985) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Massachusetts. She married Frederick Tregonning Backes and had three children. Backes worked in the fields of mental health, human services and education, both as a volunteer and professional, all of her adult life. Her professional life included nine years with the Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A. and the United Service Organization (U.S.) (Baltimore, Maryland, New Haven, Connecticut, and Newfoundland, Canada); ten years with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Yale University (Meriden and New Haven, Connecticut); and six years as a part-time faculty member at Antioch/New England Graduate School (Keene, New Hampshire). For more than twenty years she had a small private practice in Amherst, Massachusetts, assisting mid-life working women with family, self-esteem, and employment issues. This work triggered her interest in researching the life of Frances Perkins, United States Secretary of Labor in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first woman to hold a position in a presidential cabinet. Backes began her research concerning Perkins in 1991 and completed it in 2000. During that period, she was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College (1991-1993) and a Research Associate at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center at Mount Holyoke College (1993-1994). Backes served as a member and board member of many community and professional organizations and as a consultant to numerous hospitals, mental health centers and schools. She was a founding member of the National Committee for Mental Health Education. Her publications include many journal, magazine, and newspaper articles as well as a 1989 book about bookstores in Amherst, Massachusetts.

From the guide to the Ruth Backes Papers MS 0769., 1864-1865, 1882, circa 1900-2001, 1934-2001, (Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ruth Backes Papers MS 0769., 1864-1865, 1882, circa 1900-2001, 1934-2001 Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
creatorOf Backes, Ruth, 1918-. Ruth Backes Papers, 1864-2001 (1934-2001). Mount Holyoke College, Williston & Miles-Smith Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bloom, Allan David, 1930- person
associatedWith Coggeshall, Susanna, b. 1916 person
associatedWith Coggeshall, Susanna W. (Susanna Wilson), 1916-2003. person
associatedWith Coggeshall, Tomlin, 1954- person
associatedWith Cook, Alice Hanson. person
associatedWith Cook, Alice Hanson. person
associatedWith Lash, Trude W. person
associatedWith Lash, Trude W. person
associatedWith Lubin, Carol Riegelman. person
associatedWith Neufeld, Maurice F. person
associatedWith Perkins family. family
associatedWith Perkins family. family
associatedWith Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965 person
associatedWith Poole, Peter A. person
associatedWith Poole, Peter A. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 person
associatedWith Strassberg, Richard. person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Labor corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States. Dept. of Labor--History
Women social reformers--Biography
Women cabinet officers--Biography
Women cabinet officers--United States--Biography
New Deal, 1933-1939
Women social reformers--United States--Biography
Biography as a literary form
Labor policy--United States--History
Labor policy
Women politicians--United States--Biography
Women politicians--Biography


Birth 1918

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Ark ID: w6nd4txd

SNAC ID: 74139819