Esther Lazarus Papers
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.
- Bulk: 1950-1979
- Lazarus, Esther, 1900-1980 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
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.]
3.1 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Collection is arranged in 6 series:
- Biographical File
- Speeches, Essays, and Addresses
- Subject Files, 1934-1980
- Oversize Materials
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.
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.
- Baltimore (Md.). Department of Social Services
- Child welfare
- Personal papers
- Public welfare
- Social service
- Social workers
- University of Maryland at Baltimore. School of Social Work and Community Planning
- WISH (Women in Self-Help)
- speeches (documents)
- Finding aid for the Esther Lazarus Papers
- Description created by University of Maryland at Baltimore staff (1992). Finding aid created by Special Collections and 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
- Script of description