Justine Wise Polier to Riki Kosut, October 13, 1978

Source: Viola W. Bernard Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Augustus C. Long Library, Columbia University

A couple leaving the New York offices of the Free Synagogue Child Adoption Committee, one of the first specialized adoption agencies in the United States. The agency was renamed Louise Wise Services in 1949 in honor of its founder.

Dear Riki,

In answer to your request for some material about early memories, I have written the following for you to use or throw away, as you see fit.

Judge Polier succeeded her mother, who had founded the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Child Adoption Committee when adoption was unknown in Jewish life. Judge Polier recalled the other day going as a child with her mother to visit the large congregate Hebrew Orphan Asylum. There she was surrounded by small children who ran up to her saying, “Will you be my Mummy,” and clinging to her. Then there was a conference with the angry Director who said to her mother, “I am glad my children are not here or you would try to kidnap them too.” There were many nights, she recalled, when a homeless child was brought home by her mother, and her father happily yielded his bed and slept on a sofa.

As ever,

Hon. Justine Wise Polier


Source: Justine Wise Polier to Riki Kosut, October 13, 1978, Justine Wise Polier Papers, Box 33, Folder 417, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

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