Levinson, Harriet Dorfan
Interview Date
January 21, 1998
Harriet Levinson, a wife, mother and volunteer, whose personal experience with an autistic child and aging parent led her to work for programs for the aged and victims of Alzheimer's disease; birth year, 1920;
[T1S1] birth and early life in New York; family moves to Pittsburgh for father's work in industrial engineering at Blawnox Steel; education, Taylor Allderdice High School, University of Michigan and University of Pittsburgh; confirmation at Rodef Shalom Temple; marriage to Dr. Julian Levinson and birth of son, James; James diagnosis with infantile autism; father's career; family history; her employment with Gimbels Department Store as buyer of children's wear; discussion of son's illness; returns to graduate school while son Jimmy is in special school in Ann Arbor, MI; return to Pittsburgh after three years; son's treatment with Dr. Spock at Western Psychiatric Institute (WPI) for seven years;
[T1S2] recognizes the need for special schooling and live-in facilities; involvement with United Mental Health; opens a special school at Poale Zedeck Congregation; nationwide search for appropriate residential facility;
[T2S3] makes a successful arrangement with a farm for the mentally handicapped near Charlottesville, VA; involvement with community organizations as a means to use her skills and energies; service with Montefiore Hospital, United Jewish Federation, United Way, Ladies' Hospital Aid; chairman, 1983 Full Life Festival; awards for community service; appointment by Governor Thornburg to Pennsylvania Council for the Aging; involvement with programs at Riverview; evaluation of WPI while her son was there;
[T2S4] the need for long-term care facilities; personal involvement with care of her mother; the role of volunteerism in her life; hopes for the future of health care; the Council Care Day Care Centers for the aged sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women; her role in planning and obtaining funds for this project.
Aging; Autism; National Council of Jewish Women. Council Care Day Care Centers; Medical care; Mental health; Spock, Benjamin, 1903-1998; Synagogues;Congregation Poale Zedeck (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Birth Date
New York, NY
Occupation (father)
Industrial Engineer
Length (hours)
Faigen, Ann
Kimball, Harold
Collateral Materials
Box 104 FF 2
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