Oral history interview with Bella Abzug, 1996


Abzug, Bella S., 1920-1998 (Interviewee)
Grele, Ronald J (Interviewer)
Clark, Mary Marshall (Interviewer)
Swerdlow, Amy (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Bella Abzug, 1996
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Bella Abzug, 1996
In this multi-session interview conducted by Ronald J. Grele, Amy Swerdlow, and Mary Marshall Clark from November 1995 to February 1996, Bella Abzug reflects upon living in the Bronx with her family; her relationship with her husband, Martin Abzug; experiences with racism and anti-semitism; and people who influenced her at Walton High School and Hunter College. She goes on to discuss her legal care er as a labor lawyer, representing those accused by the House of Un-American Activities Committee during McCarthyism; balancing her life as a working mother of two; her involvement in the Willie McGee case and the Civil Rights Congress; and chauvinism in the legal field. Abzug explains how the Rapp-Coudert Committee affected her; what attracted her to feminism; nuclear disarmament and peace; and her experiences in politics. She recounts her role in the mayoral election of John V. Lindsay, her own campaigns for Congress, and how the media portrayed her during these campaigns
Collection Name
Individual interviews oral history collection
Women legislators; Women lawyers--United States; Sex discrimination in employment--United States; Political campaigns--United States; Women politicians--Press coverage--United States; Nuclear disarmament; Bronx (New York, N.Y.) Social life and customs 20th century; Abzug, Bella S., 1920-1998; Lindsay, John V. (John Vliet); McGee, Willie, 1915-1951 Trials, litigation, etc; United States. Congress
oral histories; sound recordings
Note (Biographical)
Bella Abzug (née Savitsky) was born in 1920 to Russian Jewish immigrants in the Bronx, where she grew up. She went to an all-girls high school, Walton High School, from 1934 to 1938 and went to Hunter College from 1938 to 1942. She married Martin Abz ug in 1942. Bella Abzug was one of the first women to attend Columbia Law School, from which she graduated in 1944. She was a labor lawyer until opening her own practice in the late 1940s, and she worked on many civil rights cases. Abzug was elected to the House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977. She helped co-found the Women's Environment and Development Organization and several other women's advocacy organizations
Note (Funding)
Digital reproduction funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Digitized by Safe Sound Archive, Philadelphia, 2010
Service copy (44 kHz, 16 bit) and rendered version (96 kHz, 24 bit) of sound file derived from a digital preservation master digitized at 96 kHz, 24 bit
Interviewed by Ron Grele on November 2 and November 11, 1995 and by Ron Grele and Amy Swerdlow on November 30, 1995. Interviewed by Mary Marshall Clark and Amy Swerdlow on December 1 and December 11, 1995, and January 9, January 23, and February 20, 1 996
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
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Available digital content for this interview.