Skip to main content

Shirley A. Siegel Papers

Identifier: BC20-22

Collection Scope and Content Summary

This collection contains the personal and academic papers of Shirley Adelson Siegel while she was a student at Barnard College from 1933 to 1937. Included in the collection are clippings; materials relating to Siegel’s involvement in clubs, including the founding of the Menorah Society; Siegel’s academic work; correspondence; and Barnard Alumnae magazines in which she was featured.


  • Creation: 1933 - 2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1933 - 1938



This collection has no restrictions.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections. The Barnard Archives and Special Collections approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Reproduction Restrictions

Photocopies or scans may be made for research purposes.


Shirley Adelson Siegel was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1918. She attended Barnard College from 1933 to 1937. Through a New Deal program called the National Youth Administration, Siegel was given the opportunity to work for an organization called the New York Legislative Service, on the topic of housing. This opportunity shaped Siegel’s professional interests, and she would continue to work on housing justice issues for much of her career. When she attended Yale Law School in 1938 as the only woman in her class, her interest in housing issues was supported by the faculty there.

Upon finishing her law degree, after experiencing significant discrimination for being a woman and Jewish, Siegel became the first female lawyer at the firm Proskauer, Rose & Paskus. She continued her work on housing issues, volunteering for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Citizen’s Housing Council. In 1959, she was approached by the New York State Attorney General to organize a civil rights bureau, where her early work was focused on local labor unions and equal rights to apprenticeship opportunities. Shirley Siegel also served as general counsel of the Housing and Development Administration, and in 1979 she was appointed as the New York State Solicitor General.

Following her professional work as a practicing lawyer, Siegel went on to teach land use planning law at Columbia University, and state and local government law at Cardozo Law School and Fordham Law School. She retired from teaching in 2004, at the age of 86. However, in 2008, she became active in housing law again, through the New York City Bar Justice Center, where she does pro bono legal work for the Lawyers Foreclosure Network, a group that provides legal assistance to low-income homeowners facing foreclosure.


1.04 Linear Feet (2 full size document boxes, 1 half size document box)




This collection consists of the personal papers of Barnard College alumna, Shirley Adelson Siegel

Collection Arrangement

Materials are grouped topically within each box. Box 1 contains club-related materials, clippings, and correspondence. Box 2 contains Siegel’s academic work. Box 3 contains letters from Siegel’s travels to Europe, primarily London, from 1937 - 1938.

Physical Location

This collection is located in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library. To use this collection, please contact the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at 212.854.4079 or

Acquisition Information

Materials in the collection were donated by Shirley Siegel in 2011.


No additions are expected.

Processing History

This collection was processed and the finding aid written by Dinah Handel, August 2015.

Guide to the Shirley Adelson Siegel Papers
In Progress
Dinah Handel
© 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States