Rose Schneiderman

Lived:April 16, 1882—August 11, 1972 (aged 90)

Rose Schneiderman was a Jewish suffragist, labor rights activist and orator. Her diminutive stature—she was only 4’9” —flaming red hair, powerful speaking skills and penchant for socialism earned her the nickname “The Red Rose of Anarchy.”

Schneiderman was born on April 16, 1882, to working-class parents in Poland. The family immigrated to New York City in 1890 and three years later, Schneiderman’s father died leaving behind three children and a pregnant wife. In 1895, at the age of 13, she had to drop out of school and start working as a salesgirl and, later, in a factory.

It was this factory work that first piqued Schneiderman’s interest in labor activism. In 1903, twenty-one-year-old Schneiderman organized the United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers’ Union where she impressed male union leaders with her knack for organizing and within a year she became the first woman elected to national office in a labor union. In 1906, she won the vice presidency of the New York Women’s Trade Union League and, two years, later became their chief organizer. In 1909-1910, Schneiderman helped lead a strike of 20,000 New York shirtwaist makers, the largest strike of women workers in America at the time. By 1914, however, Schneiderman felt disillusioned with the antisemitism present in the American labor movement and increased her suffrage activism instead.

Schneiderman had already been an ardent suffragist, helping found the Wage Earner’s League for Woman Suffrage in 1911 and touring for the Ohio suffrage campaign in 1912. In 1917, she became chair of the Industrial Wing of the New York Woman Suffrage Party and helped lead the charge for New York women to win the vote that year. In 1920, Schneiderman unsuccessfully ran for the Senate. Throughout the next twenty years, she would go on to be a nationally known figure as the president of the National Women’s Trade Union League, a long-time advisor to Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, the only woman on Roosevelt’s National Labor Advisory Board, secretary of labor in New York State, and an avid supporter of resettling European Jews away from the Nazi threat.

Schneiderman died on August 11, 1972, after retiring from public life in 1949.

Orleck, Annelise. “Rose Schneiderman.” Jewish Women's Archive. Jewish Women's Archive, March 20, 2009. https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/schneiderman-rose.

“Rose Schneiderman.” The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project. George Washington University. Accessed January 29, 2020. https://www2.gwu.edu/~erpapers/teachinger/glossary/schneiderman-rose.cfm.