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Esther Lazarus Papers

 Collection
Identifier: R0040-EL

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the work of Esther Lazarus (b.1900-d.1980). Lazarus began working at the Baltimore Department of Social Services in 1938, and she served as the director from 1953 until her retirement in 1968. The majority of the collection documents Lazarus' time with the Baltimore Department of Social Services, but it also documents her positions with and contributions to various others organizations and programs. The collection includes a photograph dated 1915-1920 of Esther Lazarus, however there are few documents dated before her social work career began. Materials in the collection include, biographical documents describing Lazarus' life, news clippings, working files organized by subject, photographs, speeches, and correspondence.

Dates

  • 1915-1980
  • Bulk: 1950-1979

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Esther Lazarus (b.1900-d.1980) was a social and welfare services leader and advocate who spent her social work career in Baltimore, Md. A native of Baltimore, she graduated from Eastern High School and the University of Chicago. Lazarus earned her master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1938. However, her career in social work in Baltimore began during college when she worked with the Hebrew Benevolent Society and continued when she began working as a juvenile court probation officer under Judge Thomas Waxter. In 1938 Lazarus was the first training director in the Baltimore Department of Public Welfare. She then served as the assistant director of the Baltimore Department of Public Welfare between 1943 until 1953. Lazarus later served as director of the Baltimore department of Social Services from 1953 until her retirement in 1968. During her position as director she helped form new programs for children and families including Protective Services for Children and the Baltimore Emer­gency Services Center. Lazarus also assisted in the development of a welfare system when she served as consultant to the Virgin Islands.

After her retirement in 1968, Esther Lazarus supported the Waxter Center for senior citizens; she was a founding member of the board of directors of the House of Ruth, a shelter for battered women; and she co-founded WISH (Women in Self Help), a telephone referral service for women. Between 1970 and 1973, she also served as a consultant to the United States Department of Health, Education and Wel­fare.

Timeline: 1900 - Born April 1, in Baltimore, Md. 1926 - Ph.D., University of Chicago 1932 - Married Albert D. Goldman 1938 - M.S.W., University of Pennsylvania 1938 - First training director, Baltimore Department of Public Welfare 1943 - Assistant director, Baltimore Department of Public Welfare 1953 - Director, Baltimore Department of Social Services 1968 - Retirement from Baltimore Department of Social Services 1974 - Founder, Women in Self-Help (WISH) 1980 - Died June 16, Baltimore, Md.

[Information for this historical note was gathered from past finding aid information, a Baltimore Sun obituary for Lazarus, and "100 Years of Professional Social Work: History of Social Work in Maryland" by Jessica Elfenbein.]

Extent

3.1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

Collection is arranged in 6 series:
  • Biographical File
  • Speeches, Essays, and Addresses
  • Correspondence
  • Subject Files, 1934-1980
  • Miscellany
  • Oversize Materials

Custodial History

The collection was originally donated to the University of Maryland at Baltimore by Esther Lazarus in 1988. The collection was arranged and described there in 1992. The collection was transferred to the University of Minnesota's Social Welfare History Archives in 2002, and to the University of Baltimore in 2003.

Processing Information

The collection was originally donated to the University of Maryland at Baltimore by Esther Lazarus in 1988. The collection was arranged and described there in 1992. Any further arrangement and description at University of Baltimore occurred after 2003.
Title
Esther Lazarus Papers
Author
Description created by University of Maryland at Baltimore staff (1992). Finding aid created by UB Special Collections & Archives staff (circa 2003). Revised by Aiden Faust (2011). Revised by Laura Bell (May 2021).
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 1992: Finding aid created
  • 2003: University of Baltimore finding aid created
  • 2011: Descriptive fields added
  • 2014-2016: Finding aid prepared from legacy finding aid and added to database
  • May 2021: Historical note and scope and content note updated and other descriptive notes added

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Regional Studies Archives Repository

Contact:
H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, Room 104
1415 Maryland Avenue
Baltimore Maryland 21201 USA
410-837-4253