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Pauline Menes papers

 Collection 0107-MDHC

Pauline H. Menes (1924-2009) was a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing the 21st district of Prince George's County from 1966 until 2007. During her legislative career, Delegate Menes focused on the issues of education, health care, the criminal justice system, aging, the arts, and women's concerns. Her papers also deal with the subjects of abortion, battered spouse and divorce legislation, the Metro, rape, the University of Maryland, and the National Women's Conference. The files consist of correspondence, agenda, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, and press releases.


  • 1970-1986
  • Majority of material found within 1977-1978

Use and Access to Collection

This collection has recently been reprocessed. This means that materials may no longer appear in the same order as represented in this finding aid, and that more materials may have been incorporated into this collection. Please contact us before visiting the Special Collections reading room to view this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


3.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Pauline Menes papers consist of material accumulated by Menes during her career as a delegate in the Maryland General Assembly. The collection covers the years 1970 to 1986. The bulk of the materials date from 1977 to 1978. Her papers include professional correspondence, agenda, minutes, newspaper clippings, press releases, certificates of achievement, photographs, studies and reports. Among the central topics covered in the papers are abortion, battered spouse and divorce legislation, the Metro, rape, the University of Maryland, numerous organizations in which she was involved, and the National Women's Conference.


Pauline Herskowitz Menes has represented the 21st district of Prince George's County, Maryland, in the Maryland General Assembly since she first took office in 1966 until 2007.

She was born on July 16, 1924 in New York City, New York. She spent her childhood in New York and graduated from Grove Cleveland High School in 1941. She then entered Hunter College to study business economics and geography, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1945.

Upon graduation, Menes moved to Washington, D. C. to work for the government as an economist on a temporary wartime basis during World War II. She worked as an economist in the Office of the Quarter Master General from 1945 to 1947, where she met her husband Melvin while training him as her replacement. They were married on September 1, 1946. She then served as a geographer for the Army Map Service, a position she held from 1949 until 1950.

Menes' entry into politics came in 1953 when she became active in organizing a voter registration drive in the University Hills area and served as Precinct Club Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Corresponding Secretary. She continued to participate in Prince George's County politics, serving as Campaign Secretary for the 1962 Primary and General Elections, 1962 Register of Wills candidate, 1963 County Board of Elections Chief Clerk, and 1966 Secretary for the Democratic Steering Committee. She worked as a substitute teacher in county public high schools during 1965-1966 until she gained a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1966. With that appointment, she served Prince George's County on a full-time basis, beginning her 6th term in 1987.

Menes identified two of the issues that originally motivated her to enter politics as education and health care. During her tenure in the legislature, she focused on these and other issues including the criminal justice system, juvenile justice, aging, the arts, and a broad range of women's issues. These interests are reflected in the major political and governmental positions she held over her twenty-two years in politics, such as: the National Order of Women Legislators (National President, 1979-1980); Maryland State Arts Council (Member, 1968-1987); Maryland Commission on Aging (Member 1975-1987); National Conference of State Legislators (Founding President, 1977-1979); Prince George's County Women's Political Caucus (Charter member 1971); Prince George's County Domestic Violence Task Force (Member 1983-1985); The Arts, Tourism, and Cultural Resources Commission of the National Conference of State Legislatures (Member 1981-1987); the Maryland Women Legislator's Caucus (President 1975-1979); and the leader of the Maryland delegation to the National Women's Conference (1977).

More recently, Menes ran on an incumbent's ticket in 1986, identified as the "21st Democratic Team," headed by Senator Arthur Dorman. Menes and Dorman had run on the same ticket since their initial campaign in 1966, in which both were elected.

Campaign literature for her 1986 election emphasizes the need to improve local schools, revitalize older commercial areas, and prevent traffic congestion problems that have plagued neighboring Montgomery County. In her campaign statements, Menes emphasized her past focus on services for the elderly and expressed the need to establish additional government services as the elderly population increases. She also brought attention to the link between crime and drugs and the need for a crackdown on drug dealing and the development of new drug treatment programs in prisons and neighborhoods.

Delegate Menes served as Chairman of the Special House Committee on Juveniles and Drugs, a member of the Judiciary Committee (since 1979), and a member of the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee (since 1979).

Recognition of her legislative accomplishments has come from many sources. Among the numerous awards she received are the Ann Landon Scott Award for Legislative Excellence by the Maryland National Organization for Women in 1976, the International Women's Year Award by the Prince George's County International Women's Year Commission in 1977, and the Woman of the Year award by the College Park Business and Profession Women's Association in 1978.

In 2007, Menes retired after serving 40 years in political and public service. After retirement, Menes continued to remain politically active, campaigning for Hilary Clinton in 2008.

Pauline Menes died on May 16, 2009.


The collection is organized as 7 (seven) series.

Series 1
Biographical Material
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5
National Women's Conference
Series 6
Series 7

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The papers of Pauline Menes were donated to the University of Maryland College Park Libraries by Delegate Menes in June 1987.

Related Material

The Goucher College Archives in Towson, Maryland, contains an oral history interview with Pauline Menes from 1980 in its Maryland Women Lawmakers Oral History Project Collection.

Processing Information

The papers of Delegate Menes have been arranged based upon the original order in which they were received. Seven series were identified that correspond to issues and organizations with which Menes was connected. The materials were then arranged into the appropriate series. Reading file material and state documents that were not annotated in any way were separated from the collection and dispersed or discarded. All paper clips were replaced with plastic clips. Photographs were separated and transferred to the photographic collection. The materials were then refoldered into acid-free folders and boxed into acid-free containers. Finally, the guide was written.

Guide to the Pauline Menes papers
Processed by Patricia A. McCracken.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742