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Women of the Hall

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Photo Credit: The Boston Globe
Year Honored: 1993
Birth: 1906 - Death: 1997
Born In: Utah, United States of America
Died In: District of Columbia, United States of America
Achievements: Humanities
Educated In: Utah
Schools Attended: Brigham Young University
Worked In: Massachusetts, Utah, New England, District of Columbia

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Esther Peterson

Throughout her life, Esther Peterson has been a powerful and effective catalyst for change - for the labor movement, the women's movement and the consumer movement. Peterson joined the staff of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers in the late l930s and later became the effective legislative representative of the AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Department. In 1961, she had her pick of positions in the Kennedy Administration and chose to head the Women's Bureau in the Department of Labor. As Assistant Secretary of Labor, she achieved the creation of the first presidential commission on women, headed initially by Eleanor Roosevelt. This pioneering group for the first time focused federal attention on the status and condition of women in the workplace. Peterson served Presidents Johnson and Carter as adviser in consumer affairs. She continues to work actively in international affairs. On the occasion of her honoring by Radcliffe College Peterson said, "We have a tremendous responsibility to future generations to leave an accurate record of our history, one which lays bare not only the facts, but the process of change."
Additional Sources:


Ambrose, Susan A. Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering: No Universal Constants. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997. NOTES: ""Labor and Social Change"" series.

Restless: The Memoirs of Labor and Consumer Activist Esther Peterson Washington, D.C.: Caring Pub., 1995.

Oral History Interview, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. By Martha Ross. Sanford, North Carolins: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1978.

Correspondence 1963, 1 reel on microfilm. John F. Kennedy Library. Boston, Massachusetts.

Papers and Additions 1910-1984. Radcliffe College, The Arthur & Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. Cambridge, Massachusetts.