About Anne Rogovin
Anne Snetsky (later changed to Setters), was born August 4, 1918, and grew up on the East Side of Buffalo, NY. Her parents, Rose and Chaim, immigrated from the Ukraine. Anne had five siblings: Sally, Silvia, Ella, Jacob, and Harold. She attended Hutchinson Central High School, and received both a bachelor's degree and master’s degree with honors in Special Education from Buffalo State College.
You might see Anne Rogovin visiting classes wherever she taught, imploring students not to make fun of the special needs students in her class, and urging them to treat her students with respect. You might see her with her students on a field trip at a grocery store or a local gas station interviewing the workers, then returning to school and writing a book about that trip. An educator, Anne Rogovin taught children with severe mental disabilities during a 30-plus-year career with Erie 1 BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services). She worked for BOCES because she refused to sign a loyalty oath required at the time by the Buffalo school system.
Anne authored several books: Learning by Doing, Home and School Activities for All Children (Abington Press); 1001 Wonderful Wonders: Activities for ALL Children (Abington Press); Turn Off the TV and...(Abington Press); Dear Parents: Letters to Parents of Young Children (Allyside Press); What's the Hurry? Developmental Activities for Able and Handicapped Children (Pro Ed Publications); and 1001 Activities for Children: Simple Games to Help a Child Explore the Wonders of Nature, the Imagination, the Senses, Art, Crafts, Music, and Much More (Grammercy Press). She also developed Learning by Doing Lotto Games (Ideal Publishers). These books and games are for parents of special needs and for all children-- showing them a myriad of ways to use the world around them to develop skills and interests.
Portrait of Anne Rogovin, photo by Milton Rogovin
Her 1980 book on learning by doing, Let Me Do It!: Fun Activities and Projects Your Young Child Can Do (Abington Press), was praised by Benjamin Spock as "wonderful and necessary...the most significant work ever written on the subject."
Anne received numerous recognitions, including the Buffalo News Citizen of the Year award, the Erie County Legislature's Award for Exemplary Achievement, and induction into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame.
The mother of Ellen, Mark, and Paula, Anne masterfully juggled teaching, parenting, and social activism.
Anne carried the same poster to the many national demonstrations in which she participated. The poster had a poem by Nelson Ortega. Ortega’s poem seemed to be the motivation for all of her work. She worked tirelessly to make this a better world:
the few flowers
which today bloom
scattered here and there
in spite of the bad weather
will invade the valleys
the mountains and the
with life’s fragrances
That joyful day
We will celebrate
The Spring of Humanity.
On the back of her poster Anne wrote the dates and causes of those national demonstrations. Here are just a few: South Africa (1987), Unemployment and Homelessness (1989), Persian Gulf war (1991), Jobs, Justice, and Peace – marking the 30th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1993). After the August 28, 1993, she wrote on the sign: “this demonstration is for my children, my 5 grandchildren, and all the children of the world. Milton is 'with' me.”
Anne was a partner to Milton in his photography. She often worked with him when he photographed on the Lower West Side of Buffalo, initiating dialog with people. Anne encouraged Milton to return to the Lower West Side over the decades.
Portrait of Anne Rogovin, 1978. Photo © Jim Kalett
She went with him when he photographed miners in 10 countries. Often, she was the inspiration for new photo projects. Anne corresponded with artists, musicians, activists, and museum directors – with the goal of making sure that Milton’s photographs would be seen not just in museums, but in health care clinic, subways, and in schools. It was Anne who worked alongside Milton in drafting his autobiography, Milton Rogovin, The Making of a Social Documentary Photographer (by Melanie Hertzog). It was Anne who handed Milton, (then aged 87) a clipboard, paper, and pen and insisted that he sit in a special chair and put into poetry his thoughts and feelings about the lives of the people in his photographs. Filmmaker Isadore Bleckman (formerly a cameraman for Charles Kuralt) later filmed Milton reading those poems. That footage evolved into the DVD Picture Man, the Poetry of Photographer Milton Rogovin.
Days before Anne died from cancer on July 7, 2003, Anne said, “Take advantage of every moment to live and do good work for humankind.”