Simkhovitch, Mary (Melinda) (b. Kingsbury)(1867–1951) social reformer; born in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Inspired by work among the poor while a student at Boston University, Radcliffe College, and Columbia University, she worked at New York City settlement houses and in 1902 founded her own, Greenwich House, where she encouraged grass roots activism by residents. She was a leader in urban revitalization efforts, and as president of the Public Housing Conference (1931–43) and vice-chairman of the New York City Housing Authority, she promoted construction of public housing. Her writings include a 1940 autobiography.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.