History: Midori Shimanouchi Lederer (1923-2005) was the founder of Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI), a social services agency for New York’s elderly Japanese and Japanese American residents. Born and raised in Fresno, California, Lederer was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, when she and her family were forcibly removed from their home and incarcerated at the Topaz War Relocation Center, a concentration camp, in 1942. Her 1943 appeal to the US government granted her permission to leave Topaz and resume her studies at Pace College in New York. While living in New York she became involved in the film and publicity industries. In 1952 she became the secretary of renowned film producer Michael Todd and served as his production assistant. She later joined Bill Doll and Company, a top New York-based firm of press agents in 1960 and eventually rose to partner and vice president.
With encouragement from her husband, Peter Lederer, Midori retired in 1971 and began channeling her energies toward community volunteer work. Throughout the 1970s, she volunteered at a drug rehabilitation agency in the Lower East Side Center, the Japanese American Help for the Aging, and the Japanese American Senior Support Group. She founded JASSI in 1981, and with volunteers Kimi Shimizu and Cyril Nishimoto and a small start-up fund, began providing free counseling services to Japanese seniors at her home. JASSI’s services quickly grew to encompass legal and immigration services; assistance to restaurant workers, abused women, and international students; and a support group in Japanese. In addition to her work with JASSI, she also served on the boards of the Asian American Federation of New York, The Methodist Church Home for the Aged, and the Japanese American Association of New York. She was the recipient of many honors in recognition of her work, including the Ellis Island Honorary Award, Justice in Action Award, and The Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan.
Summary: The collection contains photographs, correspondence, oral history transcriptions, videos, and cassette tapes that document Midori Shimanouchi Lederer’s professional career and many contributions as a long time volunteer community worker within the Japanese and Japanese American community.
Total Size: 2.0 linear feet in 1 record carton, 1 manuscript box and 1 small carton
APA-related size: 2.0 linear feet in 1 record carton, 1 manuscript box and 1 small carton
Languages of materials: English (primary), with several documents and a videocassettes in Japanese
Arrangement: Arranged into three series; folders within series are arranged alphabetically.
Location: Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
Bibliographic Control: finding aid
Finding Aid Link: http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/tam_596/index.html
Conditions Governing Access: Contact repository for detailed information on conditions governing access.