Respondent
Susman, Minnie
Interview Date
1975
Abstract
Minnie Susman, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh law school, practiced law in Butler County, PA, taught at Schenley High School, was education director of the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind and served as president of the local section of the National Council of Jewish Women and various other community organizations; birth year, 1909;
[T1S1] parents' immigration to United States from Russia and Lithuania; birth of her older sister; atmosphere in parents' home; early residence in the Hill District of Pittsburgh; family moves to Butler, PA; father's employment in tobacco business; her place of birth; ethnic mix in their neighborhood; sharing holidays with Christian friends; family store; her mother helps found the local chapter of Hadassah and National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW); father's involvement with the Joint Distribution Committee; synagogue involvement; recollections of saving stamps, soldiers on Armistice Day; childhood illness, early medical care and surgery; discipline in home; discussion of early education;
[T1S2] her high school education at Butler High School; views about herself as a teen; influence of a friend; dating in college; member, Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority; description of Butler; enters law school in 1929; meeting her husband, Milton Susman at the University of Pittsburgh; applying for teaching positions in Butler; the lack of Jews in the teaching field at that time; other influences in her life;
[T2S3] discussion of law school; being admitted to the bar in Butler; opinions of Christians; her involvement with her future husband's study group in law school; courtship; effects of the stock market crash of 1929; relationship with her siblings; their lives and professions;
[T2S4] parents' opinion of Milton Susman; early married life;
[T3S5] her lack of awareness about world events in her youth; her admission to the bar; political affiliation; her support of politicians Alf Landon, Wendell Wilkie; arguments with her husband over politics; anti-Semitism in political arena in WWII; her law practice in Butler; her relationship with Albert C. Troutman; her involvement with professional organizations, Hadassah, NCJW, Quota Club and American Association of University Women in Butler; her involvement with civil defense in Butler County; an incident of anti-Semitism;
[T3S6] interest in theater; her husband's writing for the <i>Jewish Criterion</i> for forty years; views of her early married life; vacations; retaining her maiden name of Spero; life during WWII; her husband's years in service; her teaching confirmation classes at Rodef Shalom Temple; moves to Pittsburgh during WWII;
[T4S7] the end of her thirteen years practice in Butler, PA; her farewell party at the Butler County Country Club; the beginning of her involvement with NCJW in Pittsburgh; becomes president of NCJW after a few months; her service in this capacity for three years; the beginnings of the Anathan House for senior citizens; fundraising for and history of Anathan House; its opening in 1949;
[T4S8] story of the birth of their son during Milton's speech for the United Jewish Appeal; her views about raising a child; balancing motherhood with volunteering; her husband's travel for United Jewish Appeal; her work as chairman of advanced gifts of United Jewish Fund; involvement with the Federation of Social Philanthropies and Federation of Jewish Philanthropies;
[T5S9] discussion of a group trip to Germany under the auspices of the West German government; the purpose of the trip; her feelings about the trip; writing a series of articles about the trip for the <i>Sun Telegraph</i>; begins teaching at Schenley High School, 1959; her depression at that time; begins a part-time job at the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind; becomes chairman of the resolutions committee for NCJW National Convention in Pittsburgh; discussion of her work with rehabilitation and training of newly blinded adults;
[T5S10] becomes education director for the Guild for the Blind; her work as Education director; her family's religious background; affiliation with Rodef Shalom Temple; her husband's service as an usher at Rodef Shalom; her learning about Judaism through teaching at temple;
[T6S11] discussion of her son's education; his wife's education; their marriage and careers; her son's doctoral thesis; his work with planned parenthood; discussion of attitudes toward sex when she was growing up;
[T6S12] beginnings of her husband's art collection; artists' works in their collection; their love of music and the theater; a trip to Israel; views about Israel; her return to volunteer work; chairman, oral history II project for NCJW.
Subjects
Anathan House (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Blindness; Butler (Pa.); Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America; Hill District (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Lawyers; Law; National Council of Jewish Women; Philanthropists; Charities
Length (hours)
6
Interviewer1
Krause, Corinne
Indexer
Reynolds, Jacqueline
Collateral Materials
Box 106 FF 46
Identifier
ais196440.463
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh