On This Day in Jewish History: June 26th, 1928
Belle Moskowitz becomes a noteworthy leader at the Democratic National Committee, overcoming the male majority to emerge as a powerful female politician.
Belle Moskowitz’s career was completely unprecedented. Born on October 5, 1887, to Prussian-Jewish immigrants, she attended public school in New York City, destined to have a moderate career in public service. After two decades as a settlement worker, social and civic reformer, and labor mediator, however, she became one of Alfred E. Smith’s closest advisers, which would change her life forever.
As a female in politics, Belle Moskowitz was surprisingly successful. In New York, she created major networks that helped Al Smith obtain the Presidential nomination, making Smith the first ever Catholic candidate for U.S. President. Through her organizational skills on his campaign, alongside her strategy in his so-called “kitchen cabinet,” his campaign for president in 1928 made her the most powerful woman in the National Democratic Party — the first Jewish woman to achieve such an immense reputation. In addition, she was the first ever woman to attain such a high standing without any prominent familial political ties, cementing her as someone who created her own narrative without anyone’s aid. Although Smith was unsuccessful in 1928, losing to Herbert Hoover, Moskowitz would continue as his campaign manager, coordinating Smith’s campaign in the next 1932 presidential election, which he (again) lost to Franklin Roosevelt.