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United States Veterans Administration Social Work Service records

Identifier: SW 2

Scope and Content

The records reflect the efforts of the United States Veterans Administration Social Work Service to develop a program of social services in the Veterans Aministration and to assist returning veterans.administrative records, general history files, staff training and development papers, technical staff bulletins, correspondence and reports from other agencies, and reports and correspondence documenting the Veterans Administration involvement in hospitalization and post-hospitalization care for returning veterans after World War II. The hospitalization and post-hospitalization files document the activities of the Veterans Administration Social Service after World War II in assisting veterans with physical disabilities or brain injuries.


  • 1921-1972

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Historical Note

In 1921, Congress established the Veterans Bureau by consolidating the veterans' services of the War Risk Insurance Bureau staffed by the American Red Cross, the United States Public Health Service, and the Federal Board of Rehabilitation. The World War Veterans Act of June, 1924, authorized hospitalization to "...veterans of any war, military occupation, or military expedition since 1897 not dishonorably discharged and without regard to nature or origin of their disabilities."

A medical advisory council to the director and medical director of the Vaterans Bureau was established in 1924. Members of this Council included a number of prominent physicians such as Dr. Allen K. Krause, Dr. H.A. Jettison, Dr. William A. White, and Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur. In 1924, the Council recommended that social workers be placed in the Veterans Bureau regional offices and hospitals. As a result, Frances A. Foster was brought in as Chief Social Worker to develop a program of social work for the Veterans Bureau. In 1926, the Red Cross withdrew its social workers from the Veterans Bureau. However, many former Red Cross psychiatric social workers remained in their jobs as government civil service staff. By 1927, the Red Cross had also withdrawn all its social workers from the general medical and tuberculosis hospitals.

In 1931, the Veterans Bureau, Pension Bureau, and National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers were combined to form the Veterans Administration. Cutbacks during the Great Depressionreduced the social work staff. Despite economic problems, the Social Work Service continued to grow in the late 1930's.

In the early 1940’s, the Veterans Administration began cooperating with selected schools of social work through agreements which provided for the placement of students for field work at various Veterans Administration facilities. The use of volunteers in Veterans Administration social work was also initiated in the 1940’s.

The Veterans Administration was reorganized by Public Law 293 in 1946 which "... abolished the Medical Services as then constituted and authorized a Department of Medicine and Surgery under a Chief Medical Director; appointments of doctors, dentists, and nurses were to be made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Administrator without regard to civil service requirements..." Public Law 293 also established the Special Medical Advisory Group to advise the administrator and chief medical director. The Social Work Advisory Council, also established in 1946, acted in a similar capacity for the Social Work Service.

During the twenty years after World War II, services to veterans were expanded to include out-patient care, foster home care, trial visits, and increased work with the blind chronic and veterans with tuberculosis and other chronic illnesses. The Veterans Administration Social Work Service also provided community and family counselling and educaiton programs to improve conditions for veterans.


19.75 Linear Feet


The records reflect the efforts of the United States Veterans Administration Social Work Service to develop a program of social services in the Veterans Aministration and to assist returning veterans.

United States Veterans Administration Social Work Service records
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