Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services records
Scope and Content
The Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services records consist of organizational papers, minutes of meetings, reports, memoranda, correspondence, and other related items that document the formation, purposes, and activities of the committee from November 1942 to June 1946. The materials reflect the committee's concern with issues such as recruitment, social work education, social work in the military, and coordination of efforts with federal wartime agencies.
More than half of the reports in the records are the result of the committee's work in conjunction with Office of Community War Services (OCWS), formerly the Office of Defense, Health, and Welfare Services. The reports include studies and recommendations related to essential health and welfare services, occupational titles and job descriptions, education and training, and personnel shortages and related problems. The remainder are reports on the WTC's proposals for its own programs and activities in the areas of recruiting, training, and maintenance of standards.
Committee correspondence contains discussion of reports, memoranda, and ongoing activities, as well as routine notification of meetings and agenda. Much of the outgoing correspondence appears over the signature of Leona Massoth, the executive secretary of the AASSW, who acted as corresponding secretary for the WTC. Other frequent corespondents include Joseph P. Anderson, Harriett M. Bartlett, Gordon Hamilton, Leonard W. Mayo, Betty Kantola, Gertrude Binder, and Sue Spencer.
- Creation: 1942-1946
Language of Materials
Use of Materials
Open for use in Social Welfare History Archives reading room.
Please contact the Archives for copyright information.
The Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services (WTC) was an inter-association committee formed in early 1943 to increase the supply of trained social service personnel during World War II. Changing wartime living conditions, the draft, entry of women into war industries, and the growth of military camps demanded new community social services at the very time that trained personnel were being called to military service.
The trend toward integrated planning and coordinated activity in social work began prior to the creation of the Wartime Committee as common problems in related to professional education had brought the AASW, AAMSW, and AAPSW together in joint sessions in 1941 and 1942. The Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services evolved from these sessions and embodied a trend towards inter-assocation cooperation.
Three professional social work associations, the American Association of Social Workers (AASW), the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers (AAPSW), and the American Association of Medical Social Workers (AAMSW), joined with the American Association of Schools of Social Work (AASSW) to form the Wartime Committee as a means of addressing recruitment and training needs. The American Association for the Study of Group Work (AASGW) joined after the committee was formed. Established first as an independent body with two representatives from each organization, the Wartime Committee soon recognized the efficacy of allying with a single organization and, beginning in July 1943, operated as a special committee of the AASW.
Recognizing the importance of a program encompassing the needs and responsibilities of the social work field as a whole, the committee worked to relate the activities of social work education and practice by exchanging information, exploring the common interests of its member associations, and cooperative projects. Three goals for its program were: recruitment of personnel for professional training; development of training resources and clarification of objectives and methods of teaching; and a study of personnel supply and demand, criteria for selection, and standards.
The committee identified uniting to convince federal agencies that personnel supply and social services were essential to the war effort as crucial to meeting their goals. The opportunity for such cooperation with government agencies arose in February 1943, when the U.S. War Manpower Commission accepted the offer of the Office of Defense, Health, and Welfare Services (renamed the Office of Community War Services in April 1943) to develop a definition of essential services and a training plan covering welfare services. A committee was established headed by Catherine M. Dunn, special assistant to Charles P. Taft, then assistant director of the Office of Community War Services. It included representatives from public and private welfare services, professional associations, and the Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services. This committee became the major focus of the Wartime Committee, delaying until mid-1943 work on its own program. However, this important preliminary step provided a solid foundation for the Wartime Committee's future work.
The Wartime Committee's activities during the three and a half years of its operation included the following:
- Prepared a statement on essential services and training needs in social welfare. This was done at the request of the OCWS in cooperation with other social work organizations, as a basis for a statement later transmitted to the War Manpower Commission;
- Cooperated with the Office of Community War Services (OCWS) to craft a request for federal aid for student social work scholarships, later incorporated in a bill supported by the War Manpower Commission;
- Participated in a committee of the OCWS to prepare occupational definitions covering the social work profession for inclusion in the War Manpower Commission's occupational dictionary;
- Established an inclusive national recruiting program for the field of social work;
- Composed a statement of standards and principles for recruiting, training, and personnel for use by the committee and by governmental and voluntary agencies in dealing with personnel problems during wartime;
- Worked with the military, the Veterans Administration, the Civil Service Commission, the Red Cross, and schools of social work to promote recruitment and training of personnel for postwar service.
The Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services was the root of future inter-association work and, ultimately, the mergers that formed the National Association of Social Workers. The committee continued to function at least through mid-1946, though the circumstances surrounding its endinge are somewhat unclear. A new organization, the National Committee on Personnel in Social Work, was proposed, but no decision or action on that proposal is documented in these records. In 1955, the AASW, AAMSW, AAPSW, and the AASGW merged to form the National Association of Social Workers.
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The Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services records contain minutes, reports, and correspondence that document the committee's efforts to address the impact of the draft and wartime mobilization on the social service field.
Other Finding Aid
Unpublished inventory available. Please contact Archives for more information.
The records of the Wartime Committee on Personnel in Social Services were given to the Social Welfare History Archives by the Council on Social Work Education in 1973. The records apparently came into the possession of the Council because Leona Massoth, executive secretary of the American Association of Schools of Social Work (a predecessor to the Council), served as the Wartime Committee's corresponding secretary.
The inventory was prepared by Katherine Ewald in September, 1980.
- Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services (Organization)
- Wartime Committee on Personnel in the Social Services records, 1942-1946
- Katherine Ewald
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