Barbara Handman
Barbara Ann Schlein

(1928-03-11)March 11, 1928
DiedNovember 14, 2013(2013-11-14) (aged 85)
New York City, New York, United States
Other namesBobbie
OccupationArts activist and preservationist, political consultant
Spouse(s)Wynn Handman (1950-2013; her death)
ChildrenLaura Ickes, Liza Handman

Barbara "Bobbie" Handman (March 11, 1928[1] – November 14, 2013) was an American political consultant and arts activist, known for her role in preserving historic Broadway theater houses. She was the executive vice-president and New York City office director of People for the American Way from 1981 until 2003.[2][3]

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[4] Handman was the wife of stage director and teacher Wynn Handman. In 1982, she helped organize Save the Theatres, an organization that tried unsuccessfully to prevent the razing of the Morosco, Helen Hayes, and Bijou Theaters.[5][6] In 1988, the group succeeded in having 28 Broadway houses designated as landmarks by the New York City Board of Estimate.[7]

Handman served on the board of the Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation and on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission.[8]

She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998 for her work as an arts advocate.

Handman's daughter Laura Handman is married to Harold M. Ickes.[4]


  1. ^ Doug Struck, "The FDR Memorial's Deeper Meaning", Washington Post, May 1, 1997.
  2. ^ Alvin H. Reiss, "Key ally helps arts in battle over NEA", Fund Raising Management, June 1, 1992.
  3. ^ "Handman obituary 111413". Archived from the original on 2013-11-20.
  4. ^ a b Melena Ryzik, "Nearly 60 Years and Counting, Working on the Art of Theater", The New York Times, May 20, 2007.
  5. ^ The name of the organization was "Save the Theatres, Inc., as noted in court papers. See Shubert Organization, Inc. v. Landmarks Preservation Commission of the City of New York and Save the Theatres, Inc., Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, May 16, 1991, accessed March 10, 2013 Archived May 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Proposal to Save Morosco and Helen Hayes Theaters" Archived 2015-05-20 at the Wayback Machine, LHP Architects, accessed March 10, 2013
  7. ^ Jeremy Gerard, "Theaters as Landmarks: Who Likes the Ruling, Who Doesn't, and Why", The New York Times, March 14, 1988.
  8. ^ White House press release, Sept. 22, 1994. Archived June 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine