Virginia H. Knauer papers, 1956-2005

PSUA 9422

Collection Overview

Title:
Virginia H. Knauer papers
Dates (Inclusive):
1956-2005
Creator:
Knauer, Virginia H.
Creator:
Knauer Burden, Valerie
Abstract:
The collection contains the records of the Honorable Virginia Knauer and documents her professional career as a government official and consumer activist.
Collection Number:
PSUA 9422
Size:
31 Linear Feet
Location:
Some materials stored off-site. Allow three days advance notice to use the materials. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Repository:
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.
Languages:
English

Biographical or Historical Note

Virginia Harrington Wright Knauer was born on March 28, 1915, in Philadelphia, PA. She died on October 16, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Ms. Knauer became active in Republican politics when she rallied women to support the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower. She ran successfully for office herself in 1959 and was one of the first two women elected to serve on the Philadelphia City Council (1960-68). She was appointed by Governor Ray Shafer to the newly created position of chief consumer advisor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in January 1968 and served until April 19, 1969. She left that office to succeed Betty Furness as the Special Assistant to the President for Consumer Affairs in Richard Nixon’s presidential administration. She was appointed Director of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs (1971–1977 and 1981–1989). Knauer served Presidents Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. In private business she continued her work as an advocate for consumer education and corporate accountability. In particular, she encouraged and mentored women to become active in government. A 1933 graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls, she went on to earn dual degrees in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1937. She continued her studies in portraiture at the Academy of Fine Art in Florence, Italy, prior to World War II. In 1940, she married Wilhelm F. Knauer, a lawyer and deputy state attorney general. They had two children, Bill, Jr. who became a lawyer and judge, and Valerie Knauer Burden who was a partner in Virginia Knauer Associates during the late 1970s. Knauer had three granddaughters, Nancy J. Knauer, Dr. Frances F. Burden, Virginia B. Hart, and a great-grandson, Charles F. Hart.

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Scope and Contents

The collection contains the records of the Honorable Virginia Knauer (speeches, publications, minutes, financial reports, membership records, convention proceedings, correspondence, photographs, awards and relics) and of her professional career as a government official and consumer activist. It contains papers from consumer and women's organizations, Boards of Directors/Trustees and Universities to which she dedicated many years. The collection also includes papers and photographs from her activities in international organizations, both professional and personal, throughout her life.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged into nine series: Consumer Affairs, Political, Professional, Speeches, Memberships, Personal, Photographs, Awards, and Audio/Visual Material.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Restrictions

Copyright, where it persists, is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Item Title], Virginia H. Knauer papers, PSUA 9422, Special Collections Library, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Valerie Knauer Burden in 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Theresa Lafer, December 2012.

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Collection Inventory

Click associated checkboxes to select items to request. When you have finished, click the Submit Request button.

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