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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       BARBARA MILLER ASHER 

MODERATOR:                    JEWISH WOMEN OF ACHIEVEMENT (GROUP)

LOCATION:                         ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                                  NOVEMBER 20, 1985

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY

Barbara Miller Asher was born in 1938 in Marshfield, Wisconsin, a predominately Catholic town. There she grew up with her parents and younger sister. Her mother was a catholic, originally from Chicago, and her father was from one of the few Jewish families in Marshfield. Growing up in the small town she was not especially connected to her Jewish roots, but became involved in the community in college and remained invested throughout her lifetime.

In college at H. Sophie Newcom Memorial College (a coordinate of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana) she also became involved in many student organizations and leadership positions. This pushed her forward into a life of community involvement and public service.

After college she moved to New York City to work for New York University for a few years, and while there, worked at Bloomingdale’s, where she met her husband, Norman. Once married, the two left New York for Atlanta, where her husband had grown up.

In Atlanta Barbara got a job at Rich’s and tried to find other social outlets. She eventually landed on volunteering with the National Council of Jewish Women. Upon the birth of the first of her two children she left the work force, committing all her time to volunteer work through various organizations.

Her 14 years of volunteer work gave her a lot of support when she decided to run for public office, and she was elected to the city council in 1977. Barbara was very committed to serving her community and served multiple terms in office.

Scope of Interview

Barbara discusses the trajectory of her life to open the discussion. This includes some of her experiences growing up in a small, predominately Christian town with her family, leaving home to go to college in Louisiana, her life of public service in Atlanta, and her multiple city council races. After she gives this broad account of her life, Barbara answers questions from members of the Jewish Women of Achievement which cover such topics as the impact of her parents on her life, the importance or role models, the complications of public office, and her own family life.

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