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Esther Wattenberg papers

Identifier: SW0243

Scope and Content

The Esther Wattenberg papers document her long career of academic and professional work around issues such as child welfare, including Native American and childrem from communities of color; family support programs; income maintenance programs; poverty and women and poverty; foster care; the welfare of immigrant families; paternity; and foster care. The records document her research on paternity issues, school-linked services, protective supervision, and children in neglecting families and her involvement in state and federal legislation and other social issues surrounding children and families. The records include research files, correspondence, reports and studies, project files, and files related to professional and academic conferences, forums, and seminars. They also contain final and draft versions of reports, essays, reviews, commentary, and research papers. Also included are materials relating to the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affiars, and the University of Wisconsin.


  • 1957-2003


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

The collection includes files that are restricted to project personnally identifiable information. Please contact the Archives for additional information regarding access restrictions.


Please contact the Archives for copyright information.

Biographical Note

Esther Wattenberg was born on August 13, 1919 in London, Ontario, Canada. She earned her B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1941, her M.A. from the University of Toronto in 1944, and an additional M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1955. She began working at the University of Minnesota in 1964. In 1972, Esther Wattenberg was appointed jointly as an associate professor in the School of Social Work and as a researcher for the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). She was promoted to professor of social work and as coordinator of the CURA social services program. She was the founder and director of the University's Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. Her teaching and research included family and children's social services policies and programs, with a focus on child welfare. She worked extensively on research and advocacy for the welfare of women and children in marginalized communities and often testified at legislative committees at the state and national level on the issue of child welfare.

This information is this note is from: Esther Wattenberg papers Esther F. Wattenberg, MA. Obituary published in the Star Tribune, July 22, 2019.


33 Linear Feet (33 boxes)


Reports, project and grant files, academic papers, and other records related to the research, teaching, and professional activity of Professor Esther Wattenberg. Topics include social policy at the state and federal level, foster care, child welfare, and family and early childhood support programs.

Processing Information

The Esther Wattenberg papers were arranged and described by staff of the Social Welfare History Archives in 2019 and 2021.

Processing Information

The Esther Wattenberg papers were processed by Social Welfare History Archives staff. This included appraisal by the archvist to identify related groups of files and arrangement of files into series.

Esther Wattenberg papers
In Progress
Karen Spilman, Linnea Anderson
March 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • July 2015: Finding Aid updated by Lisa Calahan
  • 2020: Box and folder information added by student staff.
  • 4/7/2020: Minor revisions
  • June-August, 2021: Added remaining box and folder information to resource record. Notes fields updated.
  • January, 2022 : Added additional box and folder information to resource record

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Social Welfare History Archives Collecting Area