Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch

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Mary Melinda Kingsbury Simkhovitch
Simkhovitch and (O Hagan) Shinn.jpg
Simkhovitch and Anne O'Hagan Shinn in 1886 to 1890
Born Mary Melinda Kingsbury
(1867-09-08)September 8, 1867
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Died November 15, 1951(1951-11-15) (aged 90)
Spouse(s) Vladimir Gregorievitch Simkhovitch (1874-1959) (m. 1899)
Parent(s) Laura Davis Holmes (1839-1932)
Isaac Franklin Kingsbury (1841-1919)

Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch (September 8, 1867 – November 15, 1951) was an American city planner[1] and social worker.[2]


She was born in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to Laura Davis Holmes (1839-1932) and Isaac Franklin Kingsbury (1841-1919). She graduated from Newton High School in 1886 and received her B.A. from Boston University, where she had been a member of Phi Beta Kappa, in 1890. During college she performed volunteer work in a teenage girls' club at Boston's St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, an African American congregation, and at "St. Monica's Home for old colored women." After graduation she taught Latin in the Somerville, Massachusetts High School for two years. In 1894 she started a year of graduate school at Radcliffe College. In 1895 she attended the University of Berlin on a scholarship from the Women's Educational and Industrial Union. Her mother accompanied to Europe in the summer of 1895 and stayed in Berlin while school was in session. It was there that Mary met and became engaged to Vladimir Gregorievitch Simkhovitch (1874-1959), a Russian student of economics. During the summer of 1896 she and her friend Emily Greene Balch, the future Nobel Peace Prize winner, attended the International Socialist Trade Union Congress in London.[2]

After London she attended Columbia University where she worked with Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman and James Harvey Robinson and boarded with the writer Anne O'Hagan Shinn.[3]

Greenwich House

In 1902, she and others founded the Greenwich House, a settlement house in Greenwich Village in New York City.[4] In 1905, she was a member of the Committee of Fourteen that was seeking to reduce prostitution in New York City.


She died on November 15, 1951 in New York City.[5][6]


Her papers are archived at Harvard.[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wirka, Susan Marie (1996). Planning the Twentieth-Century American City. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 55–75. ISBN 0-8018-5163-7. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mary Melinda (Kingsbury) Simkhovitch, 1867-1951". Harvard. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  3. ^ SIMKHOVITCH, MARY KINGSBURY (1938). Neighborhood; my story of Greenwich House. p. 57. 
  4. ^ "Mrs. Simkhovitch Lauded. Portrait of Greenwich House Founder Is Unveiled.". New York Times. May 27, 1937. Retrieved 2008-04-27. A portrait of Mrs. Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch, founder and director of the Greenwich House, was unveiled yesterday afternoon at the community center, 27 Barrow Street, in a ceremony held in observance of the thirty-fifth anniversary of the institution. 
  5. ^ "Noted Social Worker Dies In New York. Mrs. Mary Simkhovitch, Local Doctor's Sister, Was Settlement Founder.". Associated Press in New York Times. November 15, 1951. Retrieved 2008-04-27. Dr. Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch, 84, educator and social worker who developed a new approach to settlement work, died today. 
  6. ^ "Died.". Time (magazine). November 26, 1951. Retrieved 2008-04-27. Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch ("Mrs. Sim"), 84, famed Manhattan social worker, agitator for public housing, woman suffrage, federal aid to education, kindergartens; in Greenwich House, the famous settlement she founded 50 years ago. With her Russian-born husband, Columbia Professor Vladimir Simkhovitch, she started out by collecting $3,000 on Manhattan streets, moved into a drafty tenement on Jones Street, then one of the city's sleaziest. Soon she was giving parties for her polyglot neighbors, gradually began giving them milk, baby and dental clinics, a diet kitchen, cooking lessons, public baths, music lessons, a children's theater, room for sport (Gene Tunney learned to box in the Greenwich House basement). A gay, grandmotherly type, Mrs. Sim once said: "I hate to be pictured as a lovely woman doing good. I'm really pretty realistic." 

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