Faith Seidenberg, Famed Syracuse University Graduate and Lawyer, Passes into History

OHA is saddened by the recent death of Faith Seidenberg (91), a Syracuse University graduate, lawyer, and feminist who, along with fellow local litigator, civil rights activists, and feminist Karen DeCrow, fought for the rights of women, most notably at McSorley’s Ale House in New York City in 1969-1970.


Seidenberg and the late Karen DeCrow were the lead plaintiffs in the landmark 1970 discrimination case against the McSorley’s Ale House which, at the time, refused to serve women as it hadn’t for 115 years.

The story goes, the two women, who were looking to escpae the cold, entered the bar at 15 East 7th Street in the East Villages of New York City and were escorted to the door shortly after and left voluntarily. Seidenberg and DeCrow sued the establishment. Following a landmark ruling barring discrimination in public places on the basis of sex, the two women were invited to the bar by the manager at the time along with Barbara Shaum, who owned a leather store a few doors down from the bar.

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DeCrow went on to become president of the National Organization for Women and OHA was lucky enough to sit down with her before her passing to talk to her about her experiences. Her oral history is below: