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March 11, 2011

Bess Barr LeBedoff

“I was a woman in an industry perhaps more traditionally masculine than any industry in the country.” [1]

Thus did Bess Barr LeBedoff describe the numerous personnel positions she held in manufacturing and shipbuilding during World War II. As for many women, when the war ended, so did her employment. After her husband died in 1949, she returned to the workforce, serving as Director of Western Reserve University’s Personnel and Placement Service from 1951-1958.

During her tenure as director the Personnel and Placement Service helped match students and alumni with job opportunities. The department also operated as the university’s employment office, recruiting, screening, and training employees for secretarial, technical, clerical, and minor administrative positions.

On behalf of students and alumni, Mrs. LeBedoff was tireless in her outreach to potential employers. She also adopted a no-nonsense approach to career counseling, including “a frank discussion of what the well-dressed candidate does not wear…” [2]

Among her many civic activities were Cleveland League of Women Voters trustee, Cleveland Metropolitan YWCA director, Lakewood Hospital Board, Women’s City Club, College Club, and others.

Mrs. LeBedoff retired from Western Reserve University in 1963 and died in 1977.

[1] 7PI “Bess Barr LeBedoff” obituary, Cleveland Plain Dealer, (3/25/1977): 48
[2] 4ND 1:1 Memorandum, Bess Barr LeBedoff to Webster G. Simon, 1950

Other stories about CWRU women
Other Women's History Month recollections include Mary Frances Pinches, Carolyn Neff and Helen Stankard

Posted by jmt3 at March 11, 2011 01:56 PM

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