Skip to main content

Harriett Joan Ehrlich Papers

Identifier: 2008-005

The contents of this collection comprise the life of Harriet Joan Ehrlich. The bulk of the materials contained within revolve around Ehrlich’s tenure with the EEOC, specifically as director. The collection has been divided into eight (8) series: Correspondence, Certificates, Personal Writings, Multimedia, News Clippings, Press Books, In-Service Educational Materials, and Ephemera.


  • 1967-2007
  • Majority of material found within 1990-2005

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


4.0 linear feet

Biographical Information

Harriet Joan Ehrlich was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on February 12, 1935. She attended Syracuse University where she received a bachelor’s degree in home economics and started her career as a bridal consultant for Bloomingdales Department store. Ehrlich spent her younger years making a name for herself in the civil rights movement before joining the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Houston. While working as a director of a state enforcement unit in Philadelphia, Ehrlich pushed the local school district to resolve unequal pay for female janitors.

Over the next 24 years, Ehrlich worked tirelessly for the EEOC, becoming director of the Houston office and later the office in San Francisco. She actively spoke to the press, pushed EEOC lawyers to file more and larger cases, and reached out to civil rights leaders, clergy and business leaders. Even while bed ridden Ehrlich continued her work in labor advocacy, convening her staff in a San Francisco hospital room. Ehrlich died of leukemia at the age of 72.


Houston Chronicle,

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Stacey Hendler Ross on March 25, 2008.

Guide to the Harriett Joan Ehrlich Papers
Timothy Wyatt
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-08-05: As a part of the 2021 Special Collections reparative description project, Brooks Whittaker added subject headings to this finding aid to better represent individuals and promote discoverability of collection materials.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA