Respondent
Masloff, Sophie
Interview Date
August 10, 1987
Abstract
Sophie Masloff, who subsequently became mayor of Pittsburgh, was the first Jewish woman on Pittsburgh's city council; started her career in politics at age seventeen and has held numerous positions in Pittsburgh's city government; birth date, December 23, 1918;
[T1S1] parents, Romanian immigrants; father's death when she was a small child; family residence in Hill District; number of siblings; religious upbringing; graduation, Fifth Avenue High School; mother's employment in a tobacco factory to support children; her adolescent years; marriage after high school; her daughter and grandchildren; campaigning for John Kane for county commissioner; he offers her a job after his election; employment in county commissioner office for 10 to 15 years; with the Common Pleas Court for thirty years as an aide; a delegate to almost every national convention; first Jewish president of Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women; becomes committeewoman for her district, member of Pennsylvania State Committee and secretary of Democratic Women's Guild of Allegheny County; affiliation with several Jewish organization, including the Anti-Defamation League and Hadassah; travels to Israel and Russia; reasons for her success; 1976, first Jewish woman on the city council; residences in Pittsburgh; improvements in the city; her working style; discussion of televising Pittsburgh's city council meetings; discussion of Pittsburgh's cable system; involvement with Stadium Authority, Buhl Science Center, and Allegheny County Mental Health and Retardation; views about lecturing; her mother's kosher home; visits to the White House, Kennedy Center; entertaining Mrs. Truman and Margaret, sisters of Jack Kennedy; a trip to Israel;
[T1S2] discussion of her trip to Russia, conditions there at that time; more discussion of a trip to Israel, visits to the White House; Mrs. Roosevelt's visit to Pittsburgh to dedicate the Bedford Dwelling, the country's first public housing; opinion of president Jimmy Carter, Mayor Caliguiri; her work with the City Council; hobbies; shopping for kosher meats; discussion of civic projects, housing problems; issue of the Anti-Defamation League; service award from B'nai B'rith; president of Catholic Youth Organization for two years;
[T2S3] family's history in Romania; early life in Pittsburgh; activities at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement (IKS); financial struggles and mother's illness during the depression; employment as a grocery store clerk at age thirteen; campaigning for John Kane at age 17; a listing of positions she held in city government; impressions of David Lawrence and John Kane; female colleagues in city government; more discussion of civic issues, parks and recreation, the Pittsburgh Zoo; discussion of judges in the Court of Common Pleas; her promotion under Judge Weiss; further discussion of judges and the ones who influenced her the most; her work on the city budget; her hopes for becoming president of the city council; opinions of Democratic governors; a description of a typical working day;
[T2S4] continuation of her work day; the struggles between the mayor and the city council; helping Jewish causes through city government; issues involving anti-Semitism; a list of political offices she has held; description of attending the Democratic National Convention; the purpose of the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women; views about voting for City Council members by district; a listing of awards she has received; her campaign for re-election to mayor in 1988; budget for drug programs; her daughter and grandchildren.
Subjects
Caliguiri, Richard S., 1931-1988; Carter, Jimmy, 1924-; Kane, John J., 1890-1962 ; Pittsburgh (Pa.); Pittsburgh (Pa.). City Council; Politics; Scranton (Pa.)
Birth Date
1918
City
Pittsburgh, PA
Profession
Politician
Work
Mayor of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh City Council
Residence
Squirrel Hill; Hill District; Roberts St.
Length (hours)
3
Interviewer1
Blum, Eleanor
Interviewer2
Levant, Marion
Collateral Materials
Box 104 FF 24
Identifier
ais196440.299
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh