Marcie Cohen Ferris interviewed Rosalie Silber Abrams on May 24, 2001 at her home in Baltimore, Maryland as part of the Weaving Women's Words project. Abrams, an advocate of progressive health measures, was born in Baltimore, the daughter of Isaac and Dora Silber. Her parents owned Silber's Bakery. Rosalie graduated from Western High School and enrolled at Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. After serving as a nurse during WW II, she married William Abrams, a real estate broker in Baltimore, MD. Her experience as a nurse led her into politics in the 1960s, in order to make changes in the health care system and improve nurses' salaries. In 1963, she earned a BA in social science from McCoy College, the evening division of John Hopkins University. In 1969 she earned an MA in political science from JHU. From 1967 to 1971, she was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and served as Chairman of the Health & Welfare Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee throughout that period. She joined the Senate in 1971 and served as majority leader from 1979 until her retirement in 1983. at that time, she assumed the job of Director of the Maryland State Office on Aging. She retired from public service in 1995. She received numerous awards and commendations, including the Louise Waterman Wise Community Service Award (1969), the Award of achievement of the American Academy of Comprehensive Health Planning, and a special award for distinguished public service and leadership from Baltimore's Jewish Family Services. Rosalie Abrams died on February 27, 2009.Rosalie Abrams photo: Credit Joan Roth. Joan Roth's website
In the early 2000s, the Jewish Women's Archive conducted oral history interviews with 30 Jewish women living in Baltimore and another 30 in Seattle. Born in the early decades of the 20th century, these women lived through decades of political, social, and economic upheaval, as well as dramatic changes in expectations and opportunities for women. Doctors and lawyers, teachers and saleswomen, judges and social workers, homemakers and community volunteers, the narrators represent a wide range of backgrounds, affiliations, and experiences of American Jewish women. To find out more and to see the online exhibits based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/baltimore and Jewish Women's Archive/seattle
The complete audio recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive.
This project was made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Brenda Brown Lipitz Rever Foundation, and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Inc. In Baltimore, the project was a collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Maryland; in Seattle, with the Museum of History and Industry.
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