Title: Oral History Interview with Mabel Pollitzer, September 19, 1973. Interview G-0047-1.
Interviewer: Myers, Constance
Interviewee: Pollitzer, Mabel
Subjects: Women--Suffrage--South Carolina Women's rights Jewish women--South Carolina
Abstract: Mabel Pollitzer was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1885. After graduating from Memminger, an all-girls school in Charleston, Pollitzer went to Columbia University, where she majored in science and education. After graduating in 1906, she returned to South Carolina to become a biology teacher at Memminger. Pollitzer taught for over forty years and also became involved in various civic activities during the first half of the twentieth century. In this interview, she describes her family background and the personal influence of her father's community involvement while she was growing up. In addition, she describes her participation in the women's suffrage movement in South Carolina. In particular, Pollitzer recalls her belief that pursuing national suffrage was more important than winning suffrage state by state, and as a result, she involved herself in the National Woman's Party. Pollitzer describes how politicians, notably Woodrow Wilson, responded to women's demands for suffrage, and she discusses her perception of women's rights leaders like Susan Frost, Ruth McInness, and Alice Paul. Aside from her advocacy of women's rights, Pollitzer also engaged in various community-centered projects. Here, she focuses on the ways in which she found ways to get her female students interested in science, and she describes her role in such community initiatives as banning the sale of fireworks and helping pass legislation for a free library in Charleston.