Anna LedererRosenberg

Anna Lederer Rosenberg was a significant political force long before becoming the first female assistant secretary of defense. She volunteered as a nurse in an embarkation hospital in WWI before her speeches on women’s suffrage brought her to the attention of Tammany Hall politicians who hired her as a campaign manager in 1920. By 1924, she had opened her own PR firm, running congressional campaigns. She also served as regional director of the National Recovery Administration; Social Security; and Defense, Health, and Welfare Services, among others. In WWII, she acted as President Roosevelt’s personal representative in Europe and recruited workers for the Manhattan Project. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Medal of Merit. In 1950, she became assistant secretary of defense, a policymaking post that involved overseeing procurement and utilization of military manpower. She stepped down in 1953, returning to her PR firm, but remained engaged in politics, mediating a transit strike in 1960 and serving a variety of groups that included the New York City Board of Education, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and lent her voice to civil rights and urban action causes.

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The first woman to serve as United States assistant secretary of defense and the first woman to receive that nation's Medal for Merit, Anna Lederer Rosenberg succeeded in two male-dominated worlds, government and business. She is shown here with General Omar Bradley in France in 1944.

Courtesy of Thomas Rosenberg

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Anna Lederer Rosenberg." (Viewed on November 17, 2019) <>.


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