Carolyn Sutcher Schumacher graduated from South Shore Public High School in Chicago, Illinois, in January 1951 and began studies in liberal arts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In January 1953, she transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education in August 1954. She completed a Master’s degree in History at the University of Washington (Seattle) in June 1956 and moved to Pittsburgh to begin a career in teaching in the Pittsburgh Public Schools at the Spring Garden Elementary School in 1957. She later began her doctoral studies in History at the University of Pittsburgh in September 1969. Her dissertation,
School Attendance in Nineteenth Century Pittsburgh: Wealth, Ethnicity and Occupational Mobility of School Age Children, 1855-1865 was completed in 1977 under the direction of Dr. Samuel P. Hays.
Following her employment with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Dr. Schumacher held positions as a curriculum writer at the University of Pittsburgh, worked in Carnegie Mellon University’s history department and was also the administrative director of the Archives, Museum, and Editing program at Duquesne University.
Dr. Schumacher was professionally active with local and national organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, in an attempt to abolish corporal punishment in schools. She held membership in the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, History of Education Society, and the Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Professions. She was also a founding member of the National Committee to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools, a chairperson for the Pittsburgh Committee for the Abolition of Corporal Punishment in Public Schools, and a board member of the Pittsburgh Chapter American Civil Liberties Union.
Dr. Schumacher received a $3,000 grant from the H.C. Frick Educational Commission for a 15-month records survey of the Pittsburgh Public Schools and became the director of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Archival Project. Her perspective on the project was published in an article in entitled, “Using Board of Education Materials for Local History,” which appeared in the
Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, in January 1983. Following her work on the records survey she held positions at the Frick Art and Historical Center and at the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, where she became the director of the Library and Archives Division in 1990. She was with the Historical Society when it opened the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center in 1996 and retired from professional activity in 1998.