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Amsterdam, Judge Birdie[1, 2]

Female 1901 - 1996  (95 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Amsterdam, Birdie  [3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    Prefix Judge 
    Born 25 Mar 1901  New York, New York, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5, 6, 7
    Gender Female 
    _FSFTID KFG9-XVV 
    _UID B0DC8B57CFEE481891C94E85FBE58D5E8306 
    Died 8 Jul 1996  New York, New York, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 7
    Buried Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Person ID I21196  My Family Tree
    Last Modified 7 Nov 2016 

    Father Amsterdam, Joseph,   b. Abt 1873, Austria Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Dec 1938  (Age ~ 65 years) 
    Mother Sparling, Essie,   b. 21 May 1878, Austria Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Aug 1953, New York, New York, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Married 2 Jan 1895  New York, New York, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [9
    Family ID F7004  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Dunn, Frank Peter,   b. 9 Aug 1896, Russia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Oct 1972, Miami, Miami-Dade, Florida, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years) 
    Married 25 Feb 1930  Manhattan, New York, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Divorced Bef 1940  [10
    Last Modified 19 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F21129  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Justice Birdie Amsterdam, who achieved several judicial firsts, including being the first woman elected to the New York state Supreme Court, died Monday at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. She was 95 and lived on the Lower East Side, just steps from where she was born.

      Justice Amsterdam came to be called the ''first lady of the judiciary'' by her peers and other admirers, a sobriquet earned during 35 years on the bench.

      She was the first woman elected to the Municipal Court in New York County in 1940. She was active in the Democratic Party, but when she was up for re-election in 1949, she carried the endorsements of all three parties, all bar associations, the Citizens' Union, and the American Federation of Labor.

      In 1954, Justice Amsterdam was appointed acting justice of the City Court, another first for a woman, and won election to the office the next year.

      In 1958, she gained the Supreme Court bench as a Democrat-Liberal, supported again by a long roster of civic, communal, educational, labor, scientific, philanthropic, and religious groups. She served until 1975. In New York, the Supreme Court is the court of general jurisdiction, equivalent to Pennsylvania's Court of Common Pleas.

      Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, the first woman on the Court of Appeals in Albany, N.Y., the state's highest tribunal, recalled Justice Amsterdam's trailblazing achievements in a 1991 article in the New York Law Journal.

      The state Supreme Court was more than 250 years old before a woman was elected to it, Judge Kaye wrote, and even now, women do not enjoy the status of equals in the legal profession. ''Thoughts of Justice Amsterdam's arrival on the New York state Supreme Court serve to remind of us both of how far we have advanced toward these objectives and how much they continue to elude us,'' she wrote.

      Justice Amsterdam was one of six children of Joseph Amsterdam, a band leader from Austria. At 12, she taught English to foreign-born neighbors. Growing up in a neighborhood of immigrants and the poor awakened a commitment to social issues that guided her life as a lawyer and jurist. Her concerns ranged from playgrounds to summer camps, from slum clearance to shelter for the aged and the infirm, and from medical care to tuition assistance that could give a student a leg up. One of her special interests was the advancement of women in the legal profession.

      Justice Amsterdam graduated on a state scholarship from Hunter College High School at 17. Waiting to meet the age requirement for admission to New York University Law School, she spent a year studying economics, banking and accounting at City College. She attended evening classes at NYU and held a full-time job at Mount Sinai Hospital, keeping records and accounts.

      Once she received her law degree in 1922, Mount Sinai doctors helped her practice by steering friends her way. She swiftly established a reputation not only as a skillful lawyer but also as an eloquent friend of the downtrodden, a champion of women's rights and a diligent party worker. She became a Tammany Hall district co-leader on the East Side of Manhattan.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1717] SrolfromZucker2.

    2. [S1260] 1900 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2004;).

    3. [S1720] New York, New York, Marriage Indexes 1866-1937, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2014;).

    4. [S1699] 1930 United States Federal Census, (Name: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.;), Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1540; Page:11A; Enumeration District: 0496; Image: 1117.0; FHL microfilm: 2341275 (Reliability: 0).

    5. [S1694] 1940 United States Federal Census, (Name: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.;), Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll:T627_2638; Page: 63B; Enumeration District: 31-644 (Reliability: 0).

    6. [S1602] Social Security Death Index, Ancestry.com, (Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.Original data - Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security D;).

    7. [S1060] Obituary.

    8. [S326] FindAGrave.com.

    9. [S1918] New York, New York, Marriage Index, archive.org.

    10. [S1694] 1940 United States Federal Census, (Name: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.;).