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Guggenheimer, Elinor Coleman

in: People

Elinor Coleman Guggenheimer (April 11, 1912 — September 29,  2008) — Childrens Advocate, Founder of the Day Care Council of New York and Co-Founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus

Elinor Coleman Guggenheimer
Elinor Coleman Guggenheimer
Photo: New York Women’s Agenda

Elinor Coleman Guggenheimer was born in New York City on April 11, 1912.  A public official and civic worker, Elinor Guggenheimer was educated at Vassar and Barnard (A.B., 1934).was a lifelong activist and a genius at coalition building. A prominent New Yorker and philanthropist, Guggenheimer was also a working mother and a pragmatist who understood that you can accomplish a lot more in less time with fewer resources if you hook up with other like-minded people. Over the course of 70 years in public service, Guggenheimer founded the Day Care Council of New York, the Day Care and Child Development Council, the Child Care Action Campaign, the New York Women’s Agenda, the International Women’s Forum, and the Council of Senior Centers and Services, and cofounded the National Women’s Political Caucus. Every one of these organizations, with the exception of the Child Care Action Campaign, is still going strong, and every one, including the CCAC, has made significant contributions to public policy. The National Women’s Political Caucus, for example, was founded in 1971 to improve the status of women by promoting and supporting women candidates and advocating for the appointment of women to policy-making posts in government. When the organization began, there were only 15 women in the 92nd Congress. In the 109th, there are 82.

In December, 1997, the First Lady, Hillary Clinton awarded Elinor Guggenheimer the Presidential Citizens Medal on behalf of the President. The text of the citation reads as follows:

For the past 50 years, Elinor Guggenheimer has been a tenacious and effective champion on behalf of America’s children. She began her crusade by persuading New York City to assume funding of Federal day care centers following World War II. Later, as founding President of the Child Care Action Campaign, she helped to elevate day care to a national concern. Throughout a lifetime of service, she has expanded the focus of her advocacy and generously lent her talents to issues that confront seniors, women, and consumers. Elly Guggenheimer’s indomitable spirit and extraordinary efforts to improve the lives of her fellow citizens have helped to illuminate our common path to a better America.


New York Women’s Agenda:

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Social Welfare History Project (2011). Elinor Coleman Guggenheimer (April 11, 1912 — September 29, 2008) — Children’s advocate, founder of the Day Care Council of New York and co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved [date accessed] from