Maggie Kuhn

Champion Against Ageism

March 7, 2020 at 2pm

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants. ”

Maggie Kuhn

An Unstoppable Advocate, Germantown-Style

Maggie Kuhn (1905-1995) lived only blocks away from Wyck Historic House, from the 1930s throughout her remarkable career. Maggie combined intense dedication, intelligence, energy, perseverance, and charm, to become one of the most effective advocates of the last century.

Maggie founded the Gray Panthers in 1970 after being forced to retire from a job she loved at the age of 65. Her outrage and determination fueled a political chain reaction that forever changed the lives of older Americans, repealing mandatory retirement laws and challenging perceptions and portrayals of “old age.”

Maggie and the Gray Panthers gained attention for their original tactics and the novel idea of old and young combining talents to work together for social change. Maggie tirelessly advanced a new, active, meaningful role for older citizens, focusing on social advocacy. Her advice, “Do something outrageous every day” inspired her audiences to put their passion into action.

Some may remember Maggie on TV with Johnny Carson, on Capitol Hill, and on the picket line, but her personal appearances—as many as 300 in a year, were the occasions when she bonded with people and was a role model for what a fulfilling, delightful old age can be.


Sue Leary headshot

This program will be hosted by Sue Leary, who worked with Ms. Kuhn the last years of her life. Sue Leary is currently the President of the American Anti-Vivisection Society in Jenkintown, PA. Join us on March 7 to learn more about the exhilarating life and loves of Maggie Kuhn.

In 1990, Sue Leary was hired as a personal assistant by Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers, to run her home office in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Sue worked with Maggie until her death in 1995. In that role, Sue was Maggie’s ‘gate-keeper’, negotiating and scheduling speaking engagements, visitors, and appearances, and accompanying her to meetings, including a presidential retreat at Camp David. Sue served as Maggie’s Executrix, sorting through all of Maggie’s papers and personal effects for her archives. Sue served on the national staff and the National Board of the Gray Panthers.

Sue and Maggie shared many passions, including concerns for peace, social justice and the environment, and a love of animals of all kinds. Since 1995, Sue has served as President of American Anti-Vivisection Society and its affiliate, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation.

Sue is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area, and for the last 20 years, has lived in Ambler, Pennsylvania.


Program recommended for guests 12 and older. Tickets are $25; Friends of Wyck pay $20; Students under 25 with school ID $10. For any questions about the program, or to purchase tickets over the phone, please contact Tess Frydman, Director of Interpretation and Public Outreach, at 215.848.1690 or at tfrydman@wyck.org.

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Vision 2020 is a national women’s equality initiative headquartered at Drexel University’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. In the year 2020, Vision 2020 will lead Women 100: A Celebration of American Women to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: women’s right to vote. Throughout the year, Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, will be home to Vision 2020’s Women 100 programs and events, complemented by the work of Proud Partners — organizations committed to gender equality that have created their own programming in support of Women 100. Vision 2020 applauds Wyck Historic House, Garden, and Farm, one of its Women 100 Proud Partners, on the organization’s commitment to advancing women’s equality and looks forward to its 2020 program. For more information or to get involved in Vision 2020’s Women 100, visit drexel.edu/vision2020.