Edith H. Furstenberg, a retired Children’s Guild social worker and family matriarch, died of congestive heart failure Feb. 2 at Roland Park Place. The former Guilford resident was 104.
Born in Baltimore on May 20, 1910, she was the daughter of Sidney Hollander, a pharmacist who invented the Rem cough medicine and became a philanthropist, and Clara Lauer, a homemaker. She grew up on Talbot Road in Windsor Hills and was a 1928 Park School graduate. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Goucher College and a master’s degree at what is now the Columbia University School of Social Work.
On March 8, 1934, she married Frank Folke Furstenberg, a Swedish-born physician who had moved to Baltimore for a residency at Sinai Hospital. She worked in children’s services, also at Sinai.
In 1942, Dr. Furstenberg, a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, was assigned to posts in Key West and Valparaiso, Fla., and in San Francisco. She and the family accompanied him.
Mrs. Furstenberg resumed her social work career in 1954 when her youngest children began school and worked for many years at the Children’s Guild and later at Sinai Hospital and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, family members said.
While at Sinai Hospital in the 1960s, she encountered teen pregnancy in girls living in Baltimore’s poor neighborhoods. She sought advice from her son, Dr. Frank Furstenberg Jr., who was then a student at Columbia University. Her questioning led to his undertaking a comprehensive study on teen pregnancy and poverty. The three-decade study, authored by her son, a retired University of Pennsylvania sociologist, confirmed that living in “economically-depressed neighborhoods, not teen motherhood, perpetuates poverty.”
Read the full story about this dedicated visionary in this Baltimore Sun article.