Ann Klein (1923-1986) joined the fight for female equality as president of the Morristown League of Women Voters.
Recognized as an articulate and assertive proponent of women’s rights Klein spent her life encouraging women to participate in all aspects of government. She was later elected president of the New Jersey League of Women Voters, a position she held for five years.
Additionally, Klein successfully ran for the New Jersey Assembly in 1971 and became the first Democrat elected in Morris County in over 60 years. She resigned from the position two years later to become the first New Jersey woman to run in the gubernatorial race as a major party candidate. Although Klein lost the election to Brendan Byrne, she joined his cabinet as Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies. This appointment is considered to be the most significant appointment ever awarded to a woman in the state.
Klein persuaded Governor Byrne to split her department into a State Prisons Division and a Human Services Division. As Director of the new Department of Human Services, Klein advocated on behalf of orphaned children, led the fight against child abuse, and campaigned for a more efficient Medicaid system. Klein devoted her life and career to improving the lives of the physically disabled and mentally ill in New Jersey.
Klein, Ann, and Leah Dickstein. 1996. Ann Klein oral history (interview code: 14374). USC Shoah Foundation Collection in USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, 1994-2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1041742565
Questions to Explore
How was Klein recognized as an articulate and assertive proponent of women’s rights?
What was the gubernatorial race?
Why is being appointed as Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies considered the most significant appointment ever awarded to a woman in the state?
How did Klein improve the lives of the physically disabled and mentally ill in New Jersey?
Sullivan, Ronald Sullivan. “Ann Klein Enters Race for Nomination as Democratic Candidate for Governor.” The New York Times. The New York Times, February 13, 1973. https://www.nytimes.com/1973/02/13/archives/ann-klein-enters-race-for-nomination-as-democratic-candidate-for.html.