Josephine Clara Goldmark

Josephine Clara Goldmark (1877-1950) was born in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of ten children. Her father was a Jewish immigrant who had fled his native Austria-Hungary following a death sentence for his activities during the 1848 revolution. After graduating from Bryn Mawr college in 1898, she went to work for Florence Kelley at the National Consumers League where she investigated aggressively labor conditions and wrote prolifically about her findings. Her research about the effects of industrial work, low wages, and long hours on workers, particularly women and children, had a major effect on US labor law. In 1908, she helped compile a major brief for the US Supreme Court case Muller v. Oregon, popularly known as the “Brandeis Brief” (after her brother-in-law Louis Brandeis, who filed it), which was instrumental in getting the Supreme Court to declare state maximum-hours laws constitutional.

In 1911, Goldmark was part of the investigating committee into New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The Russell Sage Foundation published her book
Fatigue and Efficiency in 1912, a study of the effects of long hours on workers’ health and job performance. During 1919-23, Goldmark researched the state of US nursing schools with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. She published her research in Nursing and Nursing Education in the United States (1923), which was influential in modernizing American nursing education. Her biography of Florence Kelley, Impatient Crusader, was published posthumously in 1950.

Her sister, Pauline, was the secretary for the New York City office of the National Consumers League. Her sister, Alice, was married to
Louis Brandeis.

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