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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 370: M-102: T-178: Phon-8: Phon-26

Papers of Caroline K. Simon, 1917-1993 (inclusive), 1950-1980 (bulk)


Papers of Caroline K. Simon, lawyer, judge, and Secretary of State of New York.


  • 1917-1993
  • Majority of material found within 1950-1980

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Caroline K. Simon 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.


26.87 linear feet ((58 file boxes, 2 folio+ boxes) plus 12 folio folders, 3 oversize folders, 25 photograph folders, 2 folio photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 5 audiotapes, 3 phonograph records, 1 reel microfilm)

This collection documents Caroline K. Simon's career as a lawyer, judge, and as Secretary of State of New York. The bulk of the collection covers Simon's professional life and includes speeches; correspondence; scrapbooks; articles and other publications; certificates; clippings; photographs; audiotapes; and phonograph records. There is relatively little personal material. The majority of the folder headings were created by Simon; those created by the processor appear in brackets.

Some clippings from the Caroline K. Simon papers were microfilmed in 1986 and discarded after filming. Some of those clippings had been in scrapbooks, and some were loose. Prior to microfilming, the scrapbooks and clippings were numbered as 1f+-11f+. This numbering system appears on the microfilm. The microfilm (M-102) is arranged chronologically within each of three sections: scrapbooks, loose clippings re: Simon, and clippings collected by Simon on particular subjects. When possible, other items (correspondence, publications, programs, photographs, etc.) were removed from the scrapbooks; those that could not be removed were microfilmed and retained. They were added to the unprocessed portion of the collection and processed in 2010. The scrapbooks and clippings were prepared for filming by Bert Hartry, and funding for the project was provided by The Friends of the Schlesinger Library. Dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets. Some scrapbook pages and items were numbered by the processor to aid the microfilmer, the proofreader, and the researcher. Many loose clippings were mounted by the processor. The film was proofread by the processor and corrections made where necessary. These corrections may disrupt the sequence of frame numbers. Some of the material was difficult to film: some clippings overlapped, much of the newsprint was brittle, there was discoloration from glue or adhesive tape, and occasional text was obscured by underlining by clipping bureaus. The film was carefully produced and proofread to ensure the greatest possible legibility.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1917-1993 (#M-102, 1.1-4.2, PD.1-PD.2), includes clippings and articles on Simon, her parents David and Julia Klein, and her husband Irving W. Halpern; awards, honors, and certificates; an oral history; and other biographical information. Most personal correspondence is arranged chronologically, and some in an incomplete alphabetical run. The subseries is arranged with biographical materials appearing first. For recorded interviews of Simon, see Series VI, Subseries A.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1927-1993, n.d. (#4.3-25.5. PD.3sl-PD.12), consists primarily of incoming correspondence and is arranged in three subseries. For personal correspondence, see Series I, and for letters congratulating Simon on her various political appointments, see Series V.

Subseries A, Alphabetical correspondence 1928-1988 (#4.3-11.9, PD.3sl-PD.5), is arranged with two incomplete alphabetical groupings of general correspondence appearing first, followed by an alphabetical list of individuals, organizations, and subjects. A few folders contain letters from well-known individuals, including Thomas Dewey and Helga Pedersen, but the bulk of the subseries concerns organizations and projects with which Simon was involved. Some printed material is included.

Subseries B, Chronological correspondence, 1927-1992 (#11.10-20.5, PD.6-PD.11), consists primarily of professional correspondence and reflects Simon's interest in juvenile delinquency and birth control, and her involvement with Jewish organizations. Much of the correspondence from the late 1950s and early 1960s concerns her campaign for City Council and her work as Secretary of State. The subseries also documents her extensive committee work. Considerable overlap exists with Series II, Subseries A, and Series V.

Subseries C, Invitations and engagements, 1959-1973, 1993, n.d. (#20.6-25.5, PD.12), includes invitations to speaking engagements, banquets, receptions, and other events. Simon's replies are included. The subseries is arranged chronologically. For additional correspondence re: speaking engagements, see Series IV.

Series III, WRITINGS, 1927-1993 (#25.6-26.3), consists of articles by Simon, book reviews, and letters to the editor of various newspapers. Some related correspondence is included, as well as a scrapbook of Simon's writings (1927-1944) and a transcript of the essay she recorded for Edward R. Murrow's This I Believe radio program. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series IV, SPEECHES, 1936-1981 (#26.4-49.12, PD.13-PD.17), includes speeches given by Simon for groups ranging from the Schenectady County Republican Women's Club to the Hudson Valley Girl Scout Council to the Staten Island Real Estate Board. Simon also spoke frequently at commencement exercises and for Republican and Jewish organizations. Topics included The Treatment of the Woman Offender,Myths about Missiles in Politics, and women's liberation. The speeches are arranged chronologically, followed by speech notes and cards, and some speech excerpts. Some folders contain only correspondence and publicity. See Series V, Subseries A and B, for additional speeches.

Series V, NEW YORK GOVERNMENT, 1941-1983 (#49.13-58.13, FD.3-FD.11, 60F+B.8, PD.18-PD.21) contains material on Simon's work for New York State in various appointed positions; it is divided into five subseries.

Subseries A, New York State Commission Against Discrimination, 1944-1958 (#49.13-50.5, FD.3-FD.11, 60F+B.8), includes correspondence, speeches, and activity and progress reports. The subseries also includes a dismantled scrapbook of congratulatory letters re: Simon's appointment, and her earlier appointment to the New York State Industrial Board.

Subseries B, New York City Council campaign, 1956-1959 (#50.6-51.14m), documents Simon's unsuccessful campaign on the Republican ticket for presidency of the New York City Council. The subseries includes clippings, campaign buttons, correspondence, press releases and other publicity items, and speeches.

Subseries C, Secretary of State, 1958-1967 (#51.1-54.13, PD.18-PD.20), includes letters congratulating Simon on her appointment; annual reports and budgets, etc.

Subseries D, Court of Claims, 1963-1972 (#55.1-58.9, PD.21), includes congratulatory letters re: Simon's appointment to the New York State Court of Claims, and a log of cases over which she presided.

Subseries E, Other, 1941-1983 (scattered) (#58.10-58.13), contains a small amount of material documenting Simon's involvement with several other state agencies and task forces.

Series VI, AUDIOVISUAL, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND OVERSIZED, 1917-1990 (scattered) (#Phon-8.1, Phon-26.1 - Phon-26.2, T-178.1 - T-178.5, PD.22-PD.28, FD.1-FD.12, 59F+B.1-60F+B.10, OD.1-OD.3), contains recorded interviews of Simon, photographs, certificates, dismantled scrapbooks, and other oversized materials.

Subseries A, Audiovisual, 1941, 1953, 1961-1963 (#T-178.1 - T-178.5, Phon-8, Phon-26.1 - Phon-26.2), includes recordings of radio and television interviews of Simon.

Subseries B, Photographs, 1948-1988, n.d. (#PD.22-PD.28), consists primarily of images of Simon. Some family members, friends, and colleagues are also included.

Subseries C, Oversized, 1917-1990 (scattered) (#FD.1-FD.12, 59F+B.1-60F+B.10, OD.1-OD.3), includes certificates and awards, scrapbooks, and other oversized items.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].


Caroline (Klein) Simon was born in New York City on November 12, 1900, the daughter of David and Julia (Feist) Klein. Simon took classes at Columbia University before marrying Leopold King Simon, a lawyer, in 1922. They had two children, Lee and Cathy. Simon had hoped to attend Columbia Law School, but the school had no female students at the time and felt they could not accommodate any, due to the lack of "appropriate" toilet facilities; she enrolled in the New York University School of Law instead and received her diploma in 1925, passing the bar exam the following year. Since New York City law firms were reluctant to accept a female clerk, Simon served an unpaid clerkship with the firm Greenbaum, Wolff & Ernst before establishing her own law office. A strong believer in birth control, Simon was active in the Citizen's Committee for Planned Parenthood and edited the Birth Control Review in 1939 and 1940. She served as a commissioner on the New York State Workmen's Compensation Board from May 1944 to July 1945, and was then appointed Commissioner of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination; she left that position in 1955. Leopold Simon died in 1952, and she married Irving W. Halpern, Chief Probation Officer of the New York Court of General Sessions, the following year; Halpern died in 1966.

From 1956 through 1959, Simon served as Commissioner of the State Youth Commission, running unsuccessfully for President of the New York City Council on the Republican ticket in 1957. In January 1959, she became Secretary of State of New York during Governor Nelson Rockefeller's administration. She was the second woman to hold the office, serving until August 22, 1963. Simon was quoted as saying in 1959, "There are four things a woman needs to know. She needs to know how to look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man and work like a dog." From late August 1963 to 1971, she sat as a judge on the New York State Court of Claims and later practiced law with the firm of Decker, Hubbard and Welden. She was actively involved in many organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the National Council of Women of the United States, the United Nations, and Freedom House. She published articles on discrimination, prisoners' rights, jury service, youthful offenders, the problems of women in society, and other subjects, and also spoke frequently on these topics. Simon died of a heart attack on July 29, 1993.


The collection is arranged in six series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1917-1993 (#1.1-4.2, PD.1-PD.2, M-102)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1927-1993, n.d. (#4.3-25.5, PD.3sl-PD.12)
  3. ___Subseries A. Alphabetical correspondence, 1928-1988 (#4.3-11.9, PD.3sl-PD.5)
  4. ___Subseries B. Chronological correspondence, 1927-1992 (#11.10-20.5, PD.6-PD.11)
  5. ___Subseries C. Invitations and engagements, 1959-1973, 1993, n.d. (#20.6-25.5, PD.12)
  6. Series III. Writings, 1927-1993 (#25.6-26.3)
  7. Series IV. Speeches, 1936-1981 (#26.4-49.12, PD.13-PD.17)
  8. Series V. New York government, 1941-1983 (#49.13-58.13, FD.3-FD.11, 60F+B.8, PD.18-PD.21)
  9. ___Subseries A. New York State Commission Against Discrimination, 1944-1958 (#49.13-50.5, FD.3-FD.11, 60F+B.8)
  10. ___Subseries B. City Council Campaign, 1956-1959 (#50.6-50.14m)
  11. ___Subseries C. Secretary of State, 1958-1967 (#51.1-54.13, PD.18-PD.20)
  12. ___Subseries D. Court of Claims, 1963-1972 (#55.1-58.9, PD.21)
  13. ___Subseries E. Other, 1941-1983 (scattered) (#58.10-58.13)
  14. Series VI. Audiovisual, photographs, and oversized, 1917-1990 (scattered) (#Phon-8.1, Phon-26.1 - Phon-26.2, T-178.1 - T-178.5, PD.22-PD.28, FD.1-FD.12, 59F+B.1-60F+B.10, OD.1-OD.3)
  15. ___Subseries A. Audiovisual, 1941, 1953, 1961-1963 (#Phon-8.1, Phon-26.1 - Phon-26.2, T-178.1 - T-178.5)
  16. ___Subseries B. Photographs, 1948-1988, n.d. (#PD.22-PD.28)
  17. ___Subseries C. Oversized, 1917-1990 (scattered) (#FD.1-FD.12, 59F+B.1-60F+B.10, OD.1-OD.3 )

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 71-17, 71-123, 72-24, 72-110, 73-18, 73-127, 74-22, 74-25, 74-276, 75-376, 76-321, 77-M111, 78-M2, 78-M67, 78-M98, 79-M194, 80-M28, 80-M155, 81-M62, 81-M65, 82-M132, 83-M250, 84-M13, 86-M3, 86-M115, 86-M194, 87-M20, 87-M25, 87-M139, 88-M75, 88-M169, 89-M96, 90-M4, 90-M87, 90-M148, 90-M186, 91-M92, 92-M13, 92-M127, 93-M38, 93-M176

The papers of Caroline K. Simon were given to the Schlesinger Library by Caroline K. Simon between January 1971 and November 1993.

Processing Information

Processed: June 2010

By: Susan Earle

Simon, Caroline K. (Caroline Klein). Papers of Caroline K. Simon, 1917-1993 (inclusive), 1950-1980 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund.

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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