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Josephine Clara Goldmark was the youngest of 10 children born in Brooklyn, New York to Viennese immigrants Joseph and Regina Goldmark. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College in 1898, she became the chair of the committee on labor laws for the National Consumers League (NCL), and subsequently its publications secretary. In 1907, Florence Kelley, head of the NCL, and Josephine persuaded the latter's brother-in-law, Louis D. Brandeis, to argue for a maximum-hours labor law in for women in Oregon in the case Muller v. Oregon before the Supreme Court. Josephine helped Brandeis in the research and writing of the amicus curiae brief that was known as the "Brandeis Brief." She went on to conduct many aggressive labor investigations. In 1911, she served on the committee investigating the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire in New York City. In 1912, the Russell Sage Foundation published one of her most important works, Fatigue and Efficiency, in which she demonstrated that excessive working hours not only hurt workers physically but also impaired their job performance. In 1919, she was named secretary of the Rockefeller Foundation's Committee for the Study of Nursing Education. She examined more than 70 nursing schools over a four year period. Her report, Nursing and Nursing Education in the United States (1923), prompted important reforms in nursing education. Josephine Goldmark was named assistant director of social research for the Russell Sage Foundation, and tbecame executive secretary of the Committee on Women in Industry during World War I. As manager of the Women's Service Section of the U.S. Railroad Administration in 1918–1920, she investigated the working conditions of women and children nationwide. She served as a consulting expert for a number of companies, philanthropies, and government commissions, and was vice-chair of the New York City Child Labor Commission. She also wrote a biography of Florence Kelley, Impatient Crusader, which was published posthumously in 1950.
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