Junior League Founder Mary Harriman Cited by the National Women’s History Museum

She joins other Junior League members as examples of American women who helped to shape American history, politics and institutions for the better

New York, NY – March 21, 2011 – Mary Harriman, the founder of The Junior League, has been cited on the National Women’s History Museum website for her work in mobilizing women to deal with the problems of the immigrant poor more than 100 years ago, at a time when public assistance was rare. Other notable League members on the website include Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Chase Smith and Shirley Temple Black. 

Says Delly Beekman, President of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., Mary Harriman is an amazing legacy for the Junior League today precisely because she redefined what a woman’s role should be in the early 20th Century.  A member of one of the wealthiest families in America, she brought a group of her friends together to work in settlement houses serving the needs of immigrant women and children whose families were mired in poverty with few support systems.  In doing so, she created the organization that is today one of the most influential women’s volunteer organizations in the world.”

The National Women’s History Museum was founded in 1996 by Karen K. Staser to preserve and celebrate the role of women across our country’s history.  At this point, it exists only as a website.  Legislation to authorize it was first introduced as a bill in the House by past Junior League member Representative Carolyn Maloney in 2009, but the initiative to build the first national museum in Washington, DC dedicated exclusively to women failed to pass in the Senate. It will be reintroduced this Congress.

“Women like Mary Harriman have greatly contributed to the building of this nation. NWHM is pleased to include her biography as an example of one of this country’s leaders. NWHM proudly counts the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. as a NWHM Coalition Member and one of the most outstanding women’s organizations in America,” said Joan Wages, NWHM President & CEO.

Supporters can sign a petition here urging passage of the National Women’s History Museum Act to give the National Women’s History Museum a permanent home in Washington, D.C.

The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. is a member of the NWHM National Coalition, which includes some of the best-known women’s professional and service organizations in the U.S.

About NWHM
The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), founded in 1996, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women, and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation’s history. Until legislation passes in Congress designating a permanent museum in Washington, D.C., the NWHM promotes women’s history through its temporary exhibits, special events, Online Museum, and educational materials.

About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.

Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is comprised of more than 155,000 women in 292 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world. 


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