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Pinzer, Maimie, 1885-1940. Papers of Maimie Pinzer, 1910-1922: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: A-166
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Maimie Pinzer, 1885-1940
Title: Papers of Maimie Pinzer, 1910-1922
Date(s): 1910-1922
Quantity: 1.25 linear feet (3 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, reports, photographs, etc., of Maimie Pinzer, stenographer and founder of Montreal Mission for Friendless Girls, a halfway house for young prostitutes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 71-6
The papers of Maimie Pinzer were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in December 1970 by Helen Howe.

Processing Information:

Processed: January 1971

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Maimie Pinzer as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Maimie Pinzer Papers, 1910-1922; item description, dates. A-166, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


Maimie Pinzer (1885-1940) was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father died when she was 13; she therefore left school in order to help at home, and also had a series of jobs in department stores. Because Pinzer and her mother fought constantly she left home on several occasions to live briefly with men. Finally she left home permanently. In 1904-1905 Pinzer was hospitalized for morphine addiction, and one eye had to be removed. During this time she met a Philadelphia social worker who helped her give up her life as a prostitute, and encouraged a correspondence between Pinzer and Fanny Quincy Howe (Mrs. M. A. DeWolfe Howe) of Boston, which makes up the bulk of this collection.
After leaving the hospital, Pinzer met and married her first husband. In the spring of 1911, they decided to live separately and in July Pinzer moved to New York City to live with the man whom she married in 1917 after her divorce.
Pinzer returned to Philadelphia in November 1911, living at the home of her brother, and studying stenography. In May 1912 she took a job as a stenographer with a meat-processing firm in White Plains, New York. Here she became deeply involved in the lives of the elderly couple with whom she lived.
Pinzer moved to a branch office of the firm in Wilmington, Delaware, and again in 1913 to a branch office in Montreal, Canada. In 1914, Pinzer and three friends established the Business Aid Bureau, a firm which duplicated and wrote letters for Montreal businesses. Always plagued with landlord and personnel problems, the BAB suffered from the general decline in the economy after the outbreak of World War I and by the spring of 1915 had ceased to function.
During 1915 Pinzer began the Montreal Mission for Friendless Girls, a half-way house for young prostitutes. The correspondence between 1915 and 1918 describes Pinzer's efforts to establish the Home and keep it going as well as the individual girls, how they came to her, their problems, feelings, and how they fit into the life of the Home.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Cost and standard of living
Finance, Personal
Halfway houses
Jews--Social life and customs
Montréal (Québec)--Social conditions
Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions
World War, 1914-1918
Howe, Fanny Quincy, 1870-1933
Howe, Helen Huntington, 1905-1975
Sedgwick, Ellery, 1872-1960