Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Julia Schoenfeld

 

Miss Schoenfeld was born in Bellaire, Ohio, of German- Jewish parentage. Her father was born in Germany and migrated when a very young man to this country. Her mother was born in Frederick, Maryland, the daughter of German parents. When Miss Schoenfeld was a few months old her parents moved to Columbus, Ohio, and engaged in mercantile enterprises, but meeting with reverses, the family moved to Meadville, Pennsylvania, which Was chosen for their home on account of its educational advantages. It was a college town with musical schools, where children could be given opportunities at a small cost Miss Schoenfeld was graduated from the public schools of Meadville and entered Allegheny College in 1894, being graduated in 1897. She decided to study medicine and entered the Woman's Medical College at Toronto, Canada, but her father objecting to her being a professional woman she gave up her work. While at school in Toronto the family moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania. On Miss Schoenfeld's return, she was appealed to in the interest of the work for a settlement in the Jewish district in Pittsburgh and was requested to undertake the establishment of this institution. She was then but twenty-one years of age, but filled with a desire to work for others. She offered her services to those interested in the movement and the Columbian Council Settlement developed from this small beginning. After three years' residence at the settlement, which was located in the heart of the Ghetto, Miss Schoenfeld left on account of ill health and returned to Johnstown. This was in 1902. At this time Miss Schoenfeld organized the Civic Club of Johnstown. This being an industrial center, iron mills and mines have brought to the community thousands of foreigners, for whom her efforts were made.

The first work this club undertook was the establishment of the Juvenile Court. Miss Schoenfeld, during the first year, served as volunteer probation officer; she also helped in the establishment of vacation schools and playgrounds. Her successor at the Columbian settlement remained but a year and she again called to serve in the work in Pittsburgh, where she remained a year. Later an opportunity offered to study vacation and amusement resources of working girls in New York City by the committee who had organized themselves for that purpose.

In 1906 Miss Schoenfeld left for New York and as a result of her work there is in New York today the best legislation that has ever been enacted in regard to licensing and regulating dancing academies, public amusement parks, etc. In 1911 Miss Schoenfeld received her degree of M.A., from Columbia University. She has spent much time in the study of the immigrant question and its relation to the protection of girls in this country, and as secretary of the committee on immigrant aid of the Council of Jewish Women she has developed the protective bureau for girls. She has visited many cities, studying the work done in each along the lines of philanthropic and social endeavor; attended many conferences in this country and abroad. While in London in 1907, she made a close study of the Toynbee Hall and University Settlement. She has been an active worker on the state committee and state confederation of Women's Clubs, also in the Consumers' League and with other state and national organizations for the improvement of working conditions among women and children. She has written many articles for the press and addressed many of the prominent clubs of the country relative to the work in which she has been such a valuable worker and adviser. She is considered today one of the prominent women in the philanthropic work of our country and a valued representative of the able women of her race.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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