Beatrice Winser: Librarian, Museum Director, and Advocate for Women’s Equality


  • Timothy Crist



Beatrice Winser (1869-1947) was a woman of fierce intelligence who used her extraordinary aptitude for managing organizations to help establish both the Newark Public Library and the Newark Museum. In 1915, Mayor Thomas Raymond appointed her to the Newark Board of Education, making her the first woman to serve on a Newark board or commission, in what she said was “quite a victory” for suffragists. She was called “the busiest woman in Newark” by a local newspaper in the 1930s when she served simultaneously as Librarian and Director of the Newark Museum, as trustee of Dana College and later the University of Newark, and leader or participant in a host of other projects and organizations. When the newly formed University of Newark conferred an honorary doctorate on her in 1937, in the same group with Louis Bamberger, she was cited as “an ideal public servant and a luminous personality.”

This paper draws on the extensive archival materials about Beatrice Winser at the Newark Public Library, the Newark Museum, and the New Jersey Historical Society to discuss her pioneering work with the Newark Public Library and her advocacy for women’s rights in the first decades of the 20thcentury.