A 1966 oral history offers insights into roots of unemployment insurance

Elizabeth Brandeis Raushenbush and Paul Raushenbush | Courtesy of Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

When Paul Brandeis Raushenbush contacted the Oral History Archives to access an oral history interview with his grandparents, Elizabeth Brandeis and Paul Raushenbush, he was already researching their role in what would become a national unemployment insurance policy, part of the Social Security Act of 1935.

He couldn’t have foreseen the pandemic and that 17 million (and counting) Americans would file for unemployment benefits in three weeks.

Read “The nation’s first unemployment check — $15 — and the love story that led to it” in The Washington Post to hear how their educational trajectory and romance played an integral role into developing a system millions of American depend on (once they can actually access it).

And listen to the interview for yourself through the Libraries’ Digital Library Collection online.