CAROLINE KLEIN SIMON, FORERUNNER OF ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS
On January 1st, 1959, Caroline Klein Simon became the second woman to be sworn in as New York Secretary of State. Simon was born November 12th, 1900 in New York City. In 1925 she graduated from New York University Law School. As a woman, she struggled to find work. Simon took an unpaid job at a law firm, which gave her time to take part in women’s groups in the city. After working there for a year, the firm offered her a full time position, which she declined. Simon chose instead to dedicate her life to public service.
In 1935 she became the executive director of the New York State Council of Jewish Women. In August of 1943, she became a member of the State War Council’s Committee on Discrimination in Employment. In 1958 Simon also served as the legal advisor to the American delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She held her position of New York Secretary of State from 1959 until 1963, at which point Simon was appointed a judge of the New York Court of Claims. She continued to practice law well into her 90s, helping to draft the first state law barring employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or nationality.