Geri M. Joseph

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Geri M. Joseph (1980)

Geri M. Joseph (born June 19, 1923) is an American journalist, academic and political figure who served as United States Ambassador to the Netherlands.

Life and career[edit]

Geraldine (Mack)[1] Joseph was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 19, 1923.[2] She graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1946[3] and became a staff writer for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, where she worked until 1953. In 1948 she worked as a speechwriter for Hubert H. Humphrey during his successful campaign for United States Senator.[4] In 1956 she was active in the campaign of Adlai Stevenson.[5]

From 1962 to 1963 she became a member of the National Commission on Youth Employment, and from 1962 to 1967 she served on the National Institute of Mental Health Advisory Council. She served on the National Commission on Income Maintenance Programs from 1967 to 1969. Joseph served as President of the National Mental Health Association from 1968 to 1969.[6]

Active in Democratic Party politics, Joseph served as Chairwoman of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party.[7] In 1959 she was named a member of the Democratic National Committee from Minnesota[8] and in 1968 she became Vice Chairwoman of the DNC.[9][10]

From 1972 to 1978 Joseph was a contributing editor and columnist for the Star-Tribune. In 1977 she was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Mental Health.[11][12][13]

Joseph was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1978, and served until 1981.[14]

From 1983 to 1993 Ambassador Joseph was a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.[15]

Joseph has also served as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations[16] and a member of the Carleton College Council.[17] She has also been a member of the board of directors for companies including Honeywell, Hormel, Northwestern Bell and Northwestern National Bank.[18]

Ambassador Joseph's awards include honorary doctorates from Bates College, Macalester College and Carleton College. She has also been recognized by the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Humphrey Institute.[19] Her husband and she are Jewish and have been active in their congregation.[20][21]

Geri Joseph's husband is Burton M. Joseph, a commodities broker with whom she had three children, sons Scott and Jon, and a daughter.[22][23] In 2003 her daughter, Shelley Joseph Kordell was shot and killed at the Hennepin County Government Center by her cousin Susan Berkovitz, with whom she was involved in a property dispute. Her attorney, Richard Hendrickson was also wounded in the attack. Berkovitz was convicted and is serving a life sentence.[24][25][26]


  1. ^ New York Times News Service, One Women is Giving Demo Party New Look, Miami News, September 13, 1968
  2. ^ U.S. Public Records Index, entry for Geri. M Joseph, Volume 1, 2010, accessed December 31, 2012
  3. ^ U.S. Department of State, Press Releases, Geri M. Joseph Sworn in as United States Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1978, page 305
  4. ^ Minnesota Historical Society, Biography, Geri M. Joseph, Geri M. Joseph Papers, 2000
  5. ^ Annette Atkins, Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out, 2008, page 228
  6. ^ National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, Nomination of Geri M. Joseph, 1978, page 1100
  7. ^ New York Times, Humphrey Opens Nine-State Drive, January 9, 1960
  8. ^ Milwaukee Journal, Democrats to Hear Minnesota Woman, January 18, 1962
  9. ^ Warren Weaver, Jr., New York Times, Humphrey Takes Control of Party, August 31, 1968
  10. ^ Jewish Women's Archive, Biography, Geri M. Joseph, 1998
  11. ^ Los Angeles Times, Senate Confirms Woman as Ambassador to the Netherlands, July 15, 1978
  12. ^ James P. Herzpg, Scripps-Howard Staff Writer, Carter Ambassador Choices Come Under Fire, Pittsburgh Press, November 1, 1978
  13. ^ New York Times, Editor To Be Envoy to Netherlands, June 15, 1978
  14. ^ Pioneer Press, Diplomat Encompasses the World, February 28, 1997
  15. ^ University of Rochester, Journal of Financial Economics, 1993, page 129
  16. ^ Council on Foreign Relations, Annual Report, 1995
  17. ^ Carleton College Council, Council minutes, August 17, 1991
  18. ^ Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Geri Joseph, January 8, 1995
  19. ^ Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Biography, Geri M. Joseph, 2008
  20. ^ Associated Press, Brainerd Dispatch, Slain Woman Believed it Was Her Duty to Help Family, October 1, 2003
  21. ^ Glenn Fowler, New York Times, Leader in Struggle for the Rights of Minorities; Burton Morris Joseph, November 15, 1976
  22. ^ Dorothy Kincaid, Milwaukee Journal, Minnesota Beauty Inspires Democrats, January 29, 1962
  23. ^ Judith Axler, New York Times, Geri Joseph Stirs Up New Battle for Democrats, September 11, 1968
  24. ^ Northern Herald, Sue Berkovitz: Why?, June 21 -- August 1, 2004
  25. ^ Art Hughes, Minnesota Public Radio, Hennepin County Moves Closer to Installing Detectors, July 28, 2004
  26. ^ Pioneer Press, Board OKs Metal Detectors in Courthouse, August 4, 2004

External resources[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Robert J. McCloskey
United States Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
William J. Dyess