Helen Lehman Buttenwieser

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Helen Lehman Buttenwieser (October 8, 1905 – November 22, 1989) was an American lawyer and philanthropist.

A member of the Lehman family of New York,[1] she graduated from Connecticut College and New York University Law School, and became the first woman to work at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. In 1929, she married Benjamin Buttenwieser, a prominent banker and philanthropist. She left Cravath after a year because of the impending birth of a child.

Her legal work focused on aiding women and children (especially adoption, foster care, and child welfare) and preserving civil liberties. From 1946 to 1948 she chaired a New York City investigation into reforming the adoption system. She founded her own law firm, Brennan, London and Buttenwieser, becoming active in the New York Democratic State Committee, the New York City Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society, the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Helen Lehman Buttenwieser Scholarship and Fellowship at Columbia University is named in her honor.


  1. ^ "Helen Buttenwieser, 84, Lawyer and Civic Leader". The New York Times. 23 November 1989. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 

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