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Barbara Balser Papers

Identifier: Mss 262

Scope and Contents

Researchers studying the Barbara Balser Papers will gain insight into the hard work and dedication of one of Atlanta’s successful business women. The papers are arranged in folder order then by date.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1896 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Barbara Bernstein Friedland Balser served as Co-chair & CEO of Balser Companies, a nationally-known think tank that designs special benefits programs for companies like Home Depot and UPS, Barbara first entered the finance and insurance arena decades ago as an "exception to the rule," a woman who was also the family bread-winner. A newly single mother with three young children in the mid-1970s, Barbara built her business helping ordinary working people identify their retirement dreams, family protection concerns and other personal financial goals. Barbara gained understanding of the importance of finding custom solutions for her clients' lifestyle goals. She acquired critical insights into benefit planning in a time before "human resources" was even coined. As corporations became the chief providers of benefit programs, and women broke through corporate glass ceilings, Barbara was soon consulting in a business she thoroughly enjoyed and became acquainted with other women in powerful corporate positions. A founding member of The Committee of 200, an organization of the top businesswomen in America and internationally, Barbara quickly became part of this sisterhood of achievers. She still cannot find enough hours in the day to accomplish all she would like, and this drive isn't limited to business. Her commitment to education, social issues and the arts has resulted in five decades of personal involvement through numerous organizations and projects. A Magna Cum Laude alumna of Boston University, this Richmond, Virginia native played a major role through the Anti-Defamation League and B'nai B'rith Women as president of Support Atlanta Schools, part of an Atlanta coalition of 50,000 women, who together worked to keep public schools open and to foster a smooth transition to the newly desegregated classrooms and faculties. As a volunteer, Barbara has aligned her time with organizations that reach beyond the norm. It may seem like a tall order to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens, yet that has been the purpose of the Anti-Defamation League since 1913. Barbara served this international organization as National Chair from November 2003 to November 2006, becoming the first southerner and first woman to hold the post. At the conclusion of her term, Barbara was presented with the newly created Barbara B. Balser Lifetime Achievement Awarded, to be presented thereafter to a person within the ADL Family who has devoted decades of service and leadership advancing the mission of the Anti-Defamation League. She continues to serve the League today as a Trustee of the ADL Foundation and a member of the National Advisory Committee. In addition, their philanthropy covers a diverse group of charities, civic and educational endeavors, including the Naples Winter Wine Festival, Aid Atlanta, Aid and Comfort of Santa Fe, the Board of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Friends of the Israel Museum, the President’s Council of the School for Advanced Research, the Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Camp Sunshine, and the Jewish Federation of Southwest Florida … just to name a few. Barbara and Ron have six children and nine grandchildren. Their children and mates are Barton Friedland and Felix Drobek, Lisa and Dan Balser, Deborah and Jon David Friedland, Jennifer and Jonathan Balser, Ginger and Wayne D. Reid, II, and Laura G. Balser and Matthew D. Smith.


3 Linear Feet (5 archival boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection focuses on Barbara Balser’s national chairmanship with the Anti-Defamation League.


The papers are arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder.

Physical Location

The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Separated Materials

Photos removed to the Photo Vault, a silver coin given Barbara Balser (the first woman to read from the torah in Richmond, Virginia) on her Bat Mitzvah by Mr. Perlstein, a tortoise shell hair comb and memorabilia from Gerald M. Rafshoon's involvement with Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign, and two diplomas from The American College.

Barbara Balser Papers, Mss 262
Demece Harvey
November 2013
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States