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COLLECTION Identifier: 2002-M114--2002-M162

Additional papers of Mildred Robbins Leet, 1928-2005


Papers of Mildred Robbins Leet, social activist and cofounder of Trickle Up, a New York-based international non-governmental organization dedicated to alleviating poverty.


  • Creation: 1928-2005

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. The papers have been screened by library staff, and documents access to which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy have been placed in red sleeves within their original folders and temporarily restricted for the times specified; red sleeves and their contents must be pulled by library staff before research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.21 linear feet ((1/2 file box) plus 4 photograph folders and electronic records)

These addenda contain the transcription of an interview with Leet; publications, and reports, and speeches she delivered. Four folders of photographs featuring Leet with her family, as well as her professional and philanthropic work and travels, were added in January 2015.

A memorial web site was captured as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX).


Social activist and volunteer Mildred Robbins Leet was born Mildred Elowsky in 1922. Rasied in Brooklyn, New York, she graduated from New York University (B.A. 1942). She married Louis J. Robbins (1913-1970) in February 1941 and the couple had two children, Jane Marla (1943) and Aileen (1947). During World War II she volunteered as an air-raid warden and a nurse's aide, and following the war continued her commitment to volunteerism. She actively engaged in volunteer activities for Cerebral Palsy and in 1948 became one of the founders of United Cerebral Palsy, where she served as first president of the women's division. Leet expanded her volunteerism into politics and with Marietta Tree co-chaired New York's Volunteers for Stevenson (1956). She served as a United Nations (U.N.) representative (1957-1964) and president (1964-1968) of the National Council of Women of the United States, emphasizing civil rights, family planning, and international peacekeeping. From 1968 to 1970, she was an active member of the Women's Advisory Committee on Poverty in the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity. Her expertise in international relations led to her involvement in the development of the International Peace Academy (1968-1974).

In 1974 she married Glen Leet (1908-1998), then President of the International Society for Community Development. Among his many activities in foreign development, he served as U.N. Advisor to Greece (1947-1950), and the first U.N. Consultant on Social Welfare Policy. In the 1960s he became President of Save the Children. Together Glen and Mildred developed Hotline International, a telecommunications conferencing program that covered five U.N. conferences from 1974 to 1978. The couple also co-founded the Trickle Up Program (1979), which continues to receive awards for its philanthropic work. The enduring program assists low-income people worldwide by providing conditional seed capital and business training. The grants enable participants to launch a small business in partnership with local agencies. The recipient of numerous degrees and honors, Leet has written and lectured widely on women and development and technology. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame (2003) for philanthropic endeavors.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2002-M114, 2002-M162. Accession numbers 2002-M121, 2002-M129 were added in January 2015.

These addenda to the papers of Mildred Robbins Leet were given to the Schlesinger Library by Mildred Robbins Leet in August 2002.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Mildred Robbins Leet, 1966-1986 (2002-M94) and Additional papers of Mildred Robbin Leet, 1929-2002 (2002-M108).

Processing Information

Container List: November 2006

By: Marilyn Morgan

Updated January 2015

By: Paula Aloisio

Leet, Mildred Robbins, 1922-2011. Additional papers of Mildred Robbins Leet, 1928-2005: A Container List
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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