Nebraska Authors

Grace Abbott

Born 1878-11-17 Grand Island, NE (USA)

Died 1939-06-19
Chicago, IL (USA)

Grand Island, NE (USA)
Grand Island Cemetery

The sister of Edith Abbot and daughter of Othman Abbott and Elizabeth M. Griffin Abbott, Grace Abbott was the highest ranking female in the United States Government in the 1920s and 1930s. She was the first woman to be nominated for a Presidential Cabinet Post. Her pioneering research furthered the social reform efforts of today. Grace Abbott was a leader in the formation of National policies affecting women and children, industrial relations and immigration. She administered the nation's first child labor laws and headed the Federal Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor from before the Great Depression until passage of the Social Security Act of 1939. She was also the first woman to be appointed to a League of Nations commission.
Nebraska author, John Sorensen, is a biographer and champion of Abbott's work.

Places Lived

Grand Island, NE
Lincoln, NE
Chicago, IL
Washington D.C.

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


Sociology; Immigration Issues; Immigration Rights; Child Welfare; Social Security


Degree, 1898, Grand Island College, Grand Island, NE
Bachelor of Philosophy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Master of Philosophy Degree, 1909, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL


Director of Immigrants Protective League, Chicago, IL
Secretary of the Massachusetts State Commission on Immigration
Wrote Within the City Gates weekly articles for the Chicago Evening Post
Chief of the Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.
University Professor
Social Reformer
Child Labor Laws Advocate

Places Worked

Grand Island Public Schools
Chicago Evening Post
Immigrants Protective League
Chief of the Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.
Women's Trade Union League
Social Security Administration
University of Chicago, Professor of Public Welfare


“150 Notable Nebraskans”, Number 51 on the Journal Star Sesquicentennial List of Significant Nebraskans
Member of the Woman's National Peace Conference held at Hague
April 1915 Nebraska Hall of Fame memorial plaque in Grace Abbott Park in Grand Island, NE
Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns declared March 20th "Abbott Sister's Day"
The School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is named in her honor


Women's Trade Union League


The Immigrant and the Community. 1917.
The Child and the State. 1938.
From Relief to Social Security: The Development of the New Public Welfare Services and Their Administration. 1941.
The Grace Abbott Reader. 2008.

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Grace Abbott

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)