|Peterson in 1962|
|2nd Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs|
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
|Preceded by||Virginia Knauer|
|Succeeded by||Virginia Knauer|
|1st Special Assistant to the President for Consumer Affairs|
January 3, 1964 – May 1, 1967
|Preceded by||Position created|
|Succeeded by||Betty Furness|
December 9, 1906
|Died||December 20, 1997(aged 91)|
|Spouse(s)||Oliver Peterson married 1932|
|Alma mater||Brigham Young University|
The daughter of Danish immigrants, Esther Eggertsen grew up in a Mormon family in Provo, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 1927 with a degree in physical education, and a master's from Teachers' College, Columbia University, in 1930. She held several teaching positions in the 1930s, including one at the innovative Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers in Industry, which brought milliners, telephone operators and garment workers onto the campus.
In 1938, Peterson became a paid organizer for the American Federation of Teachers and traveled around New England. In 1944, Peterson became the first lobbyist for the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. In 1948, the State Department offered Peterson’s husband a position as a diplomat in Sweden. The family returned to Washington D.C., in 1957 and Peterson joined the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO, becoming its first woman lobbyist.
She was Assistant Secretary of Labor and Director of the United States Women's Bureau under President John F. Kennedy. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson named Peterson to the newly created post of Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs. She would later serve as President Jimmy Carter's Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs.
Peterson died in December 1997.
- Molotsky, Irvin (22 December 1997). "Esther Peterson Dies at 91; Worked to Help Consumers". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Michale K. Winder, Presidents and Prophets (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2007), p. 337
- "Esther Peterson To Be Elevated". The Sumpter Daily Item. January 3, 1964. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Restless: The Memoirs of Labor and Consumer Activist Esther Peterson (Caring Publishing, 1997)
- Consumers Union bio
- Papers, 1884-1998 (inclusive), 1929-1998 (bulk). Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
- National Women's Hall of Fame
- AFL-CIO Profile
- Esther Peterson Scholarship