Trude Pratt Lash (nee Gertrude von Adam Wenzel), one of New York's leading child welfare advocates and ER's dear friend, was born in Germany. After receiving her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Freiburg in 1930, she moved to New York, joined the Hunter College faculty, and became heavily involved with the International Student Service (ISS). After a brief return to Germany, she married Eliot Pratt, a prominent New York philanthropist, and soon began to work actively with student groups and refugee organizations. While heavily involved with the ISS in the 1930s, Pratt worked closely with Joseph Lash, whom she succeeded as ISS general secretary. Lash introduced Pratt to ER and the two women formed a close, life-time bond, grounded in friendship and work. By 1944, Trude decided to divorce Pratt and marry Lash, a painful decision that she reached with ER's counsel and support.
Trude Lash developed a strong reputation as a political and humanitarian activist in her own right. She served as secretary to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1945 to 1953. After leaving the UN, she joined the Citizen's Committee for Children, a New York-based advocacy group for children, as executive director, a position she held for twenty years. An active Democrat, she assisted ER in many campaigns, helped organize aid for Israeli children, and raise funds for liberal candidates and organizations. In 1987, she helped establish the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, which she now serves as co-chair emeritus.
Source: Maurine Beasley, et al., eds., The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001), pp. 308-309.
Recommended citation: Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and the Election of 1960: A Project of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, ed. by Allida Black, June Hopkins, John Sears, Christopher Alhambra, Mary Jo Binker, Christopher Brick, John S. Emrich, Eugenia Gusev, Kristen E. Gwinn, and Bryan D. Peery (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2003). Electronic version based on unpublished letters. .
For more information, visit The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers home page at https://erpapers.columbian.gwu.edu/.
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