Ida EspenGuggenheimer

Ida Espen Guggenheimer supported Zionism, civil rights, and feminism throughout her life, from hosting talks on birth control to supporting political prisoners. Guggenheimer raised funds to help Hadassah create both medical field units and the Hadassah Hospital in Palestine and briefly served as president of their New York chapter in 1915. She marched in picket lines for women’s suffrage and labor rights. During the 1930s and 1940s she worked with the League of Women Voters, the Women’s Trade Union League, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others. Through the ACLU, she held fundraisers at her home for the Bail Fund for Political Prisoners and hosted Margaret Sanger for talks on birth control. She supported a number of political prisoners and unjustly accused minorities, including the Scottsboro boys, labor organizer Angelo Herndon, and political activist Tom Mooney. During the Holocaust, Guggenheimer not only sponsored countless refugees, but offered her summer home in Canada as a way station for those who could not secure a visa to the US. A patron of the arts, she supported Ralph Ellison as he wrote Invisible Man, for which he thanked her in the book’s introduction.

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Date of Birth

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ida Espen Guggenheimer." (Viewed on February 21, 2020) <>.


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