Madeline Levine

Social Worker, Founding Member of Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)

"I’ll tell you what the male/female thing is in least in my day, most of the big, good administrative jobs in social work went to men, not women, and the field was mostly women. All these women, and the few men who are social workers get the good jobs. But I shouldn’t say the good jobs, but the well-paying jobs. Social workers, you know, are the bottom of the barrel. And maybe that too is because we’re women, mostly women."


Madeline (Maddie) Levine was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, but has lived in Worcester with her husband and children for over fifty years. In this interview, Maddie discusses her childhood, her family life, and her education, and shares her thoughts on women in the workplace. The daughter of immigrants, Maddie describes her parents’ experiences emigrating to the U.S. from Russia and the influence of Jewish culture on her life. Marrying young after finishing high school and junior college, she reflects upon her struggles to go back to college at the age of 45. She emphasizes the importance of her husband’s support as she worked toward her Bachelor’s degree at Clark University and went on to earn her Master’s in Social Work from Boston University. She was a social worker at the Worcester Youth Guidance and the Jewish Home. Centrally involved in the establishment of the Worcester Institute for Senior Education (W.I.S.E.), Maddie gives a first-hand account of the program’s emergence as an educational opportunity for retired Worcester citizens. She discusses the importance of family in her life and talks about both the challenges and triumphs that her children have experienced over the years. Maddie also touches upon her early experiences with music and the continuing importance it has in her life and the lives of her family.  

Interview Date: 
November 15, 2006