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Helene Gans Papers

Identifier: SC09

Collection Scope and Content Summary

This collection consists of correspondence, including a letter from Eleanore Roosevelt; a report written for the Standing Committee on Social Welfare; copies of Gans's resume; and minutes for a public hearing before the board of estimate and appointment.


  • Creation: 1917-1984



This collection has no restrictions.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard College Archives and Special Collections. The Barnard College 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

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes.


Helene P. Gans was an early leader in civic, consumer, and labor movements during the first half of the twentieth century. Born in 1893 and a native of Chicago, she attended the Unversity of Chicago in 1914 and then moved to New York two years later, after attending secretarial school. There, she met and later married Leonard S. Gans, with whom she had two daughters, Barbara Gallant and Nancy Spriggs. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Gans was involved with various organizations that were invested in the Depression's impact on unemployment and living costs. Working with the National Women's Trade Union League, she wrote a study called "Cut-Rate Wages" in 1932, which encouraged the New York State Legistlature to enact its first minimum-wage law. She wrote about unemployment for the League of Women Voters, and from 1938 to 1941, she served as executive secretary for the Consumers League of New York. From 1942 to 43, Gans was the eastern regional director of the women's division of the Treasury's war bond drive, and later served as the director of the women's division in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Helene Gans died in New York City on May 7, 1980.


0.21 Linear Feet




This collection consists of the personal papers of labor activist, Helene Gans.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the order in which it was received.

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

Acqusition Information

Donated to the Archives by Nancy Spriggs. Acquired, 2013.


No additions are expected.

Processing History

This collection was processed by Stephanie Neel in October 2014.

Descriptive Rules Used: Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Encoding: Machine readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002.

Finding aid written in English.

Guide to the Helene Gans Papers
Stephanie Neel
© 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States