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Grace Abbott

Grace Abbott (1878-1939) was an American social worker who specifically worked in advancing child welfare. Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Before embarking on her future career in social work, she worked as a high school teacher through 1906. In 1907, she began her graduate work in political science at the University of Chicago. While in Chicago, Abbott began her career in social work and took up residency in the well-known Hull House, an urban center for women engaged in early proto-feminism and social reform as well as a safe haven for the poor.

Abbott served on several committees and organizations for advancing the societal cause of the child welfare, including the Immigrants' Protective League (1908-1917), Child Labor Division of the U.S. Children's Bureau (1921 to 1934), and was also a member of the Women's Trade Union League.

Abbott was an author of several sociological texts, including The Immigrant and the Community (1917) and The Child and the State (1938, 2 volumes). She was also responsible for incorporating social statistics and research into legislative policy-making as well as investigating child labor violations in shipbuilding plants and other factories across the United States.

Abbott pioneered the process of incorporating sociological data relating to child labor, juvenile delinquency, dependency, and statistics into the lawmaking process; she spent much of her time as a political lobbyist for social issues in Washington, D.C She was associated with the Social Security Administration from 1934 until her death in 1939; during that time period, Abbott helped in the drafting of the Social Security Act and chaired several government committees on child welfare and social issues.