From the poet Emma Lazarus having her words inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty (you may remember the line “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s accomplishments in the Supreme Court, Jewish women have been leaving their mark on America. This Jewish-American Heritage Month, we are highlighting one such woman in our collections: Adrienne A. Mandel, member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1995-2006.
Adrienne A. Mandel was a Democrat who represented the 19th District, Montgomery County, in the Maryland House of Delegates. Her papers consist of committee files, correspondence, minutes, working papers, reports, photographs, speeches, and press releases pertaining to her service in the Maryland House of Delegates and bills that she supported, primarily relating to health care. The collection also includes topics directly relevant to Montgomery County, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and the Intercounty Connector (ICC).
The papers also consist of a number of items directly related to Jewish issues. The papers reveal that Mandel would give out the traditional triangle-shaped cookies called hamantaschen to fellow Delegates during the holiday of Purim while educating her fellows about this holiday of victory in the face of evil. She also was a strong advocate for Holocaust survivors living in Maryland. On top of various Holocaust education efforts, she was one of the leading figures in passing H.B. 177, the Holocaust Victims Insurance Act, ensuring that Holocaust survivors would not be taxed on insurance claims received via the International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) (more info here).
Adrienne Mandel was but one of many Jewish Americans who have made this country what it is today.
Below are a few further resources to explore at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA):
Jewish topics in the Women’s Studies pamphlet collection
Publications from the Jewish Museum of Maryland held in SCUA