Newman, Pauline, 1887-1986

Hide Profile

Pauline Newman, labor organizer, Director of Health Education at the Union Health Center of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), and member of the National and New York Women's Trade Union League (N/NYWTUL), was born in Popelan, Kuvna, Lithuania, in about 1890, the youngest of Meyer and Theresa Newman's two sons and four daughters. Meyer Newman sold fruit and taught Talmud to the well-to-do sons of the village. Following his death, Theresa Newman and her three youngest daughters, including Newman, left Lithuania and immigrated to the United States to join two of the older Newman children. They arrived at Ellis Island in May 1901 and went to live with members of the family on the Lower East Side of New York City.

Newman received her earliest education as a member of her father's Talmud class. In New York she was unable to attend public school because of the family's poverty, but she educated herself through extensive reading on her own and as a member of the Socialist Literary Society.

At the turn of the century the great majority of people on the Lower East Side were Russian Jewish immigrants living in crowded, poorly built tenements. Most of them worked in the garment trade for very low wages, with long hours, and in unpleasant and unhealthful surroundings. Many of the Jewish garment workers were veterans of the labor movement and Socialist parties in Russia and, by the time Newman arrived in New York, they were taking the first steps toward organizing the workers and demanding better treatment and wages from the factory owners.

Newman worked in a brush and then a cigarette factory before finding employment at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in September 1901. Exposed to the wretched conditions of the garment industry, she sought ways to improve the workers' situation and in time became involved with the Socialist Party and with two new labor groups: the ILGWU and the NYWTUL. In November 1909 she left the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. That month the first great garment strike in New York City, the "Uprising of the Twenty Thousand," took place. The ILGWU sent Newman upstate during the strike to address labor and women's groups and raise funds to help support the workers, who lacked the benefits of a strike fund.

Newman became the first woman organizer for the ILGWU and spent the years 1911-1918 traveling and organizing for the Union, particularly in the Midwest. In Cleveland in 1911 she helped to organize the Cloakmakers' strike and was jailed briefly. In 1912 in Kalamazoo she helped direct the Corsetmakers' strike, which resulted in the shutdown of factories unwilling to cooperate with the Union. Although most of her work during this period was for the ILGWU, she was also occasionally on loan to the Socialist Party. In 1914 she was appointed a factory inspector for the Joint Board of Sanitary Control and helped to establish a sanitary code for the women's garment factories in New York.

Newman became active in the NYWTUL in 1905; there she met other major figures in the labor movement, including Rose Schneiderman, Mary Dreier and Leonora O'Reilly. In 1918 the ILGWU loaned Newman to the Philadelphia WTUL, which she served as president and organizer until 1923; here she met Frieda Miller, who was then secretary of the Philadelphia WTUL and who became her lifelong friend. She remained actively involved with the WTUL until it was dissolved in 1950, serving as vice-president of the New York League and as a member of the Executive Board of the National WTUL.

In 1924 Newman returned to New York City and joined the staff of the ILGWU Union Health Center (UHC) as Education Director. During the following decades she represented both the ILGWU and the WTUL on numerous committees and at state, national and international meetings. For many years she served on five Minimum Wage Boards for New York State. She was a member of the Advisory Committees of the Research Division of the New York State Department of Labor and of the New York State Equal Pay Law. On the national level, Newman was a member of the Trade Union Advisory Committee of the U.S. Women's Bureau and of the Children's Bureau, a member of the Women's Committee on Defense Manpower, delegate to the Mid-Century White House Conference on Children and Youth (1950), consultant to the U.S. Public Health Service in the field of industrial hygiene, and a visiting expert for the U.S. Army in Germany, where she investigated the conditions of working women (1949). In 1919 she represented the WTUL at the Canadian Labor Congress and in 1923 at the International Congress of Working Women in Vienna. In 1951 she was a delegate to the International Labor Organization Conference on the Problems of Domestic Workers, and in 1962 a delegate to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Newman joined the Socialist Party as a young woman and by 1908 began speaking publicly on behalf of the Party and its platforms. She was twice a Socialist candidate: in 1908 for Secretary of State, and in 1918 to represent her district in Congress. Later she supported Franklin Roosevelt and the reforms of the New Deal.

Throughout her life she was an outspoken and articulate defender of the rights of working people in general, and of working women in particular. Her support of protective legislation, equal pay, improved working conditions and the minimum wage, and her opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1930s are well-documented in her numerous articles, some published in ILGWU and WTUL publications, others in more widely circulated newspapers: the New York Call, New Leader, Labor Review, and Labor Woman. Newman also wrote a regular column in Justice, an ILGWU publication, mostly on issues related to the UHC.

After 1924 Newman lived in New York City and often shared a home with Frieda Miller until the latter's death in 1973. Newman helped to raise Miller's daughter, Elisabeth, and developed close ties to the latter's first husband, David Owen, who was Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, and their sons Hugh and Michael. (After Owen's death, Elisabeth married management consultant Chester Burger.) In 1981 Newman died on April 8, 1986 in New York City.

From the guide to the Papers, 1900-1980, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Caylor, George Nathan, 1885-1973. Papers, 1903-1973. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Guide to the George N. Caylor Papers, 1903-1973 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Rose Schneiderman Papers, Bulk, 1909-1920, 1909-1964, (Bulk 1909-1920) Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. ILGWU. Oral history. Cornell University Library
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Communications Dept. ILGWU. Communications Department biography file photographs. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Trade union women oral history project, 1978-1979 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Newman, Pauline. Papers, 1903-1982 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations (University of Michigan-Wayne State University). Program on Woman and Work. Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, Women and Work Program (University of Michigan) transcripts of oral history project, 1978-1979. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Schneiderman, Rose, 1882-1972. Papers, 1909-1964 (bulk 1909-1920). New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1965. Papers, 1797-1968 (bulk 1897-1968) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Newman, Pauline. Additional papers, 1926-1982 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Newman, Pauline. Pauline M. Newman, autobiography, 1969. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Wertheimer, Barbara. Barbara Wertheimer. Additional files, 1972-1987. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Women's Trade Union League of New York Records, 1903-1955 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Miller, Frieda S. Papers, 1909-1973 (inclusive), 1929-1967 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Guide to the New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection, 1979-2000 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Rose Schneiderman Photographs, 1909-1962 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Tyler, Gus. ILGWU. Oral histories, 1966-1985. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Guide to the New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection, 1979-2000 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations (University of Michigan--Wayne State University). Program on Women and Work. Transcripts of oral history project, 1970-1978 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers of Frieda S. Miller, 1909-1973 (inclusive), 1929-1967 (bulk) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn ILGWU. Union Health Center records, 1911-1977. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
referencedIn Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1963. Papers, 1797-1963 (inclusive), 1897-1963 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Communications Dept., Biography files. Pt.3. Cornell University Library
referencedIn ILGWU. Union Health Center records, 1911-1977. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
creatorOf Newman, Pauline, ca. 1890-1986. Papers, 1900-1980 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Manchester, Lee. Life and labor, a short history of the Women's Trade Union League, 1973. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Miller, Frieda S. Additional papers, 1948-1963 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Newman, Pauline,. Oral history interview with Pauline Newman, 1976. Wayne State University. Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
referencedIn Caylor, George Nathan, 1885-1973. Papers, ca. 1955-1965. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Rose Schneiderman Papers, Bulk, 1909-1920, 1909-1964 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Newman, Pauline M. Autobiography. 1969. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Rose Schneiderman Papers, Bulk, 1909-1920, 1909-1964, (Bulk 1909-1920) Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Additional papers, (scattered), 1926-1982 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn [Memorial service] [sound recording]. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Newman, Pauline, 1888-1986. Reminiscences of Pauline Newman : oral history, 1965. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Rose Schneiderman Collection. Photographic prints, 1909-1962. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Union Health Center. ILGWU. Union Health Center records, 1911-1977. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Marsh, Elizabeth Phillips. The uprising of the twenty thousand : a study of women and trade unionism. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. Yivo archives - Interviews in Amerikaner, Yiddishe Geschichte Bel-Pe, 1963-1964. Cornell University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Mildred, 1894- person
associatedWith Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. corporateBody
associatedWith American Federation of Labor. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Mary, 1872-1964. person
associatedWith Bernhardt, Debra E. person
correspondedWith Bloodworth, Bess person
associatedWith Bolton, Frances Payne, 1885-1977. person
associatedWith Bondfield, Margaret, 1873-1953 person
associatedWith Borah, William Edgar, 1865-1940. person
associatedWith Boston Women's Trade Union League corporateBody
associatedWith Broun, Heywood, 1888-1939 person
associatedWith Brownell, Herbert, 1904- person
associatedWith Brownell, Herbert, 1904-1996. person
correspondedWith Buchanan, Lucille person
associatedWith Burger, Elisabeth. person
correspondedWith Cabrera, Alice person
correspondedWith Cabrera, Tom person
associatedWith Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947. person
associatedWith Caylor, George Nathan, 1885-1973. person
associatedWith Christman, Elisabeth, 1881-1975. person
associatedWith Coit, Eleanor G. person
associatedWith Cook, Cara. person
associatedWith Cook, Nancy, 1882-1941. person
associatedWith Douglas, Helen Gahagan, 1900-1981. person
associatedWith Dreier, Mary Elisabeth, 1875-1963 person
associatedWith Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1963. person
associatedWith Dubinsky, David, 1892- person
associatedWith Edwards, India. person
correspondedWith Elisabeth Owen Burger person
associatedWith Gawthorpe, Mary person
associatedWith Gawthorpe, Mary. person
correspondedWith Golden, Harry person
associatedWith Green, William, 1870-1952. person
associatedWith Harriman, William Averell, 1891- person
associatedWith Herrick, Elinore Morehouse, 1895-1964. person
associatedWith Herrick, Elinor Morehouse, 1895-1964 person
associatedWith Hillman, Bessie. person
associatedWith Hillquit, Morris, 1869-1933. person
associatedWith Hoffman, Anna Rosenberg, 1902-1983. person
correspondedWith Hugh Owen person
associatedWith Humphrey, Hubert Horatio, Jr., 1911-1979 person
associatedWith Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations (University of Michigan-Wayne State University). Program on Woman and Work. corporateBody
associatedWith Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations (University of Michigan-Wayne State University). Program on Women and Work. corporateBody
associatedWith International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Communications Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Health Center. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Union Health Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Ives, Irving McNeill, 1896-1962. person
associatedWith Jacobs, Sophia Yarnall, 1902- person
associatedWith Kenyon, Mildred Adams, 1894- person
associatedWith Kessler-Harris, Alice person
associatedWith Kessler-Harris, Alice. person
associatedWith Keyserling, Mary Dublin, 1910- person
associatedWith Kirchwey, Freda, 1893-1976. person
associatedWith LaGuardia, Fiorello H., 1882-1947 person
associatedWith La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947. person
associatedWith Lash, Joseph P., 1909- person
associatedWith Leab, Daniel J. person
associatedWith Lehman, Herbert Henry, 1878-1963. person
associatedWith Lenroot, Katharine Frederica, 1891- person
associatedWith Manchester, Lee. person
associatedWith Marsh, Elizabeth Phillips. person
associatedWith MARY ELISABETH DREIER, 1875-1963 person
correspondedWith Maurer, James person
associatedWith Meany, George, 1894-1980. person
associatedWith Miller, Frieda, 1889-1979 person
associatedWith Miller, Frieda Segelke, 1889-1973 person
associatedWith National Women's Trade Union League corporateBody
associatedWith National Women's Trade Union League of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Nestor, Agnes, 1880-1948. person
associatedWith New York Women's Trade Union League corporateBody
associatedWith O'Reilly, Leonora, 1870-1927. person
correspondedWith Owen, David person
associatedWith Owen, David. person
correspondedWith Owen, Michael person
correspondedWith Owen, Trevor person
associatedWith Paret, Bertha R person
associatedWith Paret, Bertha R. person
associatedWith Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965. person
associatedWith Pesotta, Rose, 1896-1965 person
associatedWith Peterson, Esther Eggertsen, 1906- person
associatedWith Peterson, Esther Eggertsen, 1906- person
correspondedWith Peterson, Vera person
associatedWith Philadelphia Women's Trade Union League corporateBody
associatedWith Polier, Justine Wise, 1903-1987. person
associatedWith Rankin, Jeannette, 1880-1973. person
associatedWith Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Robins, Margaret Dreier, 1868-1945 person
associatedWith Robins, Raymond, 1873-1954. person
associatedWith Rooney, John J, 1903- person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), Jr., 1917-2007 person
associatedWith Schneiderman, Rose, 1882- person
associatedWith Smith, Margaret Chase, 1897-1995. person
associatedWith Socialist Party corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Swartz, Maud person
associatedWith Swartz, Maud. person
associatedWith Swartz, Nelle. person
associatedWith Swartz, Nelle, 1882? -1952 person
associatedWith Switzer, Mary Elizabeth, 1900-1971. person
correspondedWith Tannler, Sally person
associatedWith Thames Television corporateBody
associatedWith Thompson, Dorothy, 1894- person
associatedWith Thompson, Dorothy, 1894- person
associatedWith Tobin, Maurice Joseph, 1901-1953. person
associatedWith Tone, Gertrude Franchot person
associatedWith Tone, Gertrude Franchot. person
associatedWith United States. Women's Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau corporateBody
associatedWith Van Kleeck, Mary, 1883- person
associatedWith Wagner, Robert Ferdinand, 1877-1953. person
associatedWith Wayne State University. Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs. corporateBody
associatedWith Wertheimer, Barbara M., person
associatedWith Winslow, Mary Nelson, 1888-1952 person
associatedWith Winslow, Mary N. (Mary Nelson) person
associatedWith Women's Trade Union League corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Trade Union League of Boston. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Trade Union League of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Trade Union League of Philadelphia. corporateBody
associatedWith Woodsmall, Ruth Frances, 1883-1963. person
associatedWith Yivo Institute for Jewish Research. corporateBody
associatedWith Yorburg, Betty, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York City NY US
Republic of Lithuania 00 LT
Subject
Skilled labor
Women textile workers
Women in the labor movement
Jews
Labor unions--Officials and employees
Jews--Social life and customs
Work environment
Women labor union members
Labor laws and legislation
Women--History--20th century
Collective bargaining--Textile industry
Equal rights amendments
Labor movement
Strikes and lockouts
minimum wage
Clothing workers
Strikes and lockouts--Textile industry
Textile industry
International labor activities
Children--Employment
Sweatshops
Labor
Interviews
Labor inspection
Labor unions--Organizing
Labor unions
Women--Social conditions
Equal pay for equal work
Women--Social networks
Archival resources
Working class
Health education
Textile workers
Socialism
Oral History
Politics, Practical
Women--Employment
Friendship
Women--Suffrage
Occupation
Labor Activist
Union Leader
Activity

Person

Birth 1887-10-18

Death 1986-04-08

Female

Lithuanians,

Americans

English,

Yiddish

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6dc8sbc

Ark ID: w6dc8sbc

SNAC ID: 85556169