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Grace Abbott (1878–1939)

Author of The Grace Abbott Reader

Includes the names: Chief Abbott, Children's Bureau Grace

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Grace Abbott, the younger sister of Edith Abbott, graduated from Grand Island College in 1898, and worked as a teacher in her home town before beginning her career in social work. In 1908 she moved to Chicago to continue her education and joined her sister at the Hull House project organized by Jane Addams. She received a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. For nine years, she worked as the director of the newly-established Immigrants Protective League; from this experience, she wrote several books, including The Immigrant and His Community (1917). Her later appointments included head of the Industrial Division of the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, where she was responsible for developing enforcement plans for the first federal child labor law passed by Congress. She fought for further legislation to protect the rights of children, and for federal and state aid to women and children. She helped pioneer the use of sociological data and statistics on child labor and juvenile delinquency in the lawmaking process. She was appointed as the American delegate to the International Labor Organization in 1935 and 1937. Grace Abbott was also professor of public welfare at the University of Chicago from 1934 until her death. Her other written works include The Child and the State (1938), From Relief to Social Security (1940), and The Tenements of Chicago (1936), co-written with her sister Edith.
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