Sleepy Hollow Cemetery resident Belle Moskowitz (October 5, 1877 to January 2, 1933), social activist and political advisor, died 80 years ago today. When announcing her death, the New York Times noted that during New York governor Al Smith's rise in the Democratic party, Moskowitz "wielded more political power than any other woman in the United States." She herself never held an elected office.
Born Belle Lindner in New York City to immigrant parents, she attended Horace Mann School and Teachers College at Columbia University. She launched a career in social service at the Educational Alliance, a settlement house for immigrants on Manhattan's Lower East Side. She left full time employment in 1903 when she married Charles Israels, an architect. While raising three children she volunteered with several service organizations.
After Charles' untimely death in 1911, she took a position as manager of the labor department at the Dress and Waist Manufacturers' Association. She also took an interest in politics, becoming secretary of New York City mayor Mitchell's advisory Council of Women. In 1914 she married Dr. Henry Moskowitz, president of the Municipal Civil Service Commission.
Moskowitz first came in contact with Al Smith in 1918 when serving as chair of a citizen's committee working for Smith's gubernatorial campaign. Over Smith's years in Albany, she would become one of his most trusted advisors, frequently tapped on policy issues and in preparation of speeches and policy papers. She was the prime political operative behind Smith's 1928 run for president.
Her obituary notes that 3,000 attended her funeral service at Temple Emanu-El on 5th Avenue in New York City, among them Al Smith and Eleanor Roosevelt. She was laid to rest in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery section 34 next to her her first husband, Charles.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is an historical, yet active cemetery. Famous burials include Washington Irving, Elizabeth Arden, Andrew Carnegie, and Walter Chrysler. We are nonprofit and nondenominational. Our services include traditional burials, community mausoleum crypts and niches, and natural burial.