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COLLECTION Identifier: A-166

Papers of Maimie Pinzer, 1910-1922


Correspondence, reports, photographs, etc., of Maimie Pinzer, stenographer and founder of Montreal Mission for Friendless Girls, a halfway house for young prostitutes.


  • 1910-1922

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Maimie Pinzer as well as 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.


1.88 linear feet (4 + 1/2 file boxes)

The collection contains correspondence, reports, and photographs of Maimie Pinzer. The bulk of the collection is letters from Pinzer to Fanny (Quincy) Howe about Pinzer's past, her marriages, her training and work as a stenographer, her efforts to establish and maintain the Montreal Mission for Friendless Girls, the individual girls, how they came to the Home, their problems and feelings, and their adjustment to life at the Home. Pinzer and Howe were introduced by a Philadelphia social worker.


Maimie Pinzer (1885-1940) was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father died when she was 13; she therefore left school in order to help at home, and also had a series of jobs in department stores. Because Pinzer and her mother fought constantly she left home on several occasions to live briefly with men. Finally she left home permanently. In 1904-1905 Pinzer was hospitalized for morphine addiction, and one eye had to be removed. During this time she met a Philadelphia social worker who helped her give up her life as a prostitute, and encouraged a correspondence between Pinzer and Fanny Quincy Howe (Mrs. M. A. DeWolfe Howe) of Boston, which makes up the bulk of this collection.

After leaving the hospital, Pinzer met and married her first husband. In the spring of 1911, they decided to live separately and in July Pinzer moved to New York City to live with the man whom she married in 1917 after her divorce.

Pinzer returned to Philadelphia in November 1911, living at the home of her brother, and studying stenography. In May 1912 she took a job as a stenographer with a meat-processing firm in White Plains, New York. Here she became deeply involved in the lives of the elderly couple with whom she lived.

Pinzer moved to a branch office of the firm in Wilmington, Delaware, and again in 1913 to a branch office in Montreal, Canada. In 1914, Pinzer and three friends established the Business Aid Bureau, a firm which duplicated and wrote letters for Montreal businesses. Always plagued with landlord and personnel problems, the BAB suffered from the general decline in the economy after the outbreak of World War I and by the spring of 1915 had ceased to function.

During 1915 Pinzer began the Montreal Mission for Friendless Girls, a half-way house for young prostitutes. The correspondence between 1915 and 1918 describes Pinzer's efforts to establish the Home and keep it going as well as the individual girls, how they came to her, their problems, feelings, and how they fit into the life of the Home.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 71-6

The papers of Maimie Pinzer were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in December 1970 by Helen Howe.


  1. Box 1: 1-14
  2. Box 2: 15-33
  3. Box 3: 35-42: redacted transcripts of folders 1-33
  4. Box 4: 43-48: original transcripts of folders 1-21
  5. Box 5: 49-50: original transcripts of folders 22-33

Processing Information

Processed: January 1971.

In 1975, The Feminist Press and the Schlesinger Library undertook a joint project to publish Maimie Pinzer's letters. At that time, Schlesinger staff created typed transcripts of the letters. Because the donor had wished to protect the privacy of unknown heirs to women mentioned in the letters, individual names were redacted from the transcripts, and then replaced with alternate names in the published book, The Maimie Papers.

Pinzer, Maimie, 1885-1940. Papers of Maimie Pinzer, 1910-1922: A Finding Aid
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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